PC Doctor October 6, 2010

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Hi PC Doctor:

I have a desktop Emachine running windows 7 and HP laptop running Vista for home computers. The laptop is wireless and the desktop is wired to a Westell 327 modem/router.

The desktop has recently had problems where the internet connection keeps dropping like every 10 or 15 seconds and of course it keeps trying to connect.  My laptop at the same time does not have any problem.

I previously set up a home network so we could print to the printer but that is no longer needed so I disconnected from that and am still having the same problem.  My next thought would be to try a new cable.

I have contacted my internet provider but they could not find anything that would cause the problem.  Any suggestions?  Great articles by the way.  Love your column.  



Dear Tom:

The Westell 327 router and its connection to the internet are working correctly, as confirmed both by the wireless laptop working well, and by your conversation with your internet provider.

Something is amiss with the Emachines desktop.  You might want to start out by downloading and installing the latest network driver from the Emachines web site:  www.emachines.com/support/drivers.html

The Westell 327 has a top speed of 100 Mbps (mega bits per second).  But your Emachines PC can transmit faster, 1000 Mbps. So, if this updating the driver doesn’t resolve the problem, changing the speed setting of the network card in the Emachines PC might fix it. 

The default speed setting on the network card in the PC is “Auto negotiate”.  So it may keep asking the slower Westell 327 for a higher speed than it supports.

This procedure is fairly to complex, so you may prefer to have someone more experienced change it for you.

To set the network card speed in Vista, right-click on Computer, then choose Manage from the pop-up menu. The Computer Management window will then appear. Click on DeviceManager in the left pane.  The right pane will then display a list of all the hardware components.  Right-click on your network card, and select Properties from the pop-up menu.  Click on the Advanced tab and then highlight Link Speed and Duplex.  The Value drop down menu will display “Auto negotiate”, click the drop down list and choose “100Mbps full duplex”.  Now click OK, and then close each of the open Windows.  Test it again and see if it is more reliable.

                        PC Doctor

Dear PC Doctor:

I frequently get this annoying message when I boot up.  It says something like "your browsing session ended suddenly.  Do you want to return to your homepage or ???”  Why do I keep getting this and how do I eliminate it?  I'm using Internet Explorer, Verizon Broadband and Windows XP.  Thanks



Dear Bob:

This sounds like a problem with IE settings. If you are still running an older version of Internet Explorer, I recommend that you upgrade to Version 8. 

If you are running IE8 with XP, Microsoft provided this great “Fix it” widget to restore that the default settings: www.support.microsoft.com/kb/923737

PC Doctor


Until next time.. happy computing!