Second hand computer blues

December 21st, 2010 Paul Wallbank Posted in Buying a computer, Consumer rights 1 Comment »

Hi, I recently got a 2nd hand IBM Thinkpad, it sort of works, but if you want to open a program you need to right click and start,if you try any other option the next message appears ” This file does not have a program associated with it for performing this action. Create an association in the folder options control panel”.

I can’t access the individual modules of the control panel even with a right click. same message appears. Have tried to format the hard drive to install a clean version of Windows XP but nothing happens. Almost all CD’s or DVD’s are returned with a message of “corrupted disk, can’t read” message so can’t do an installation from DVD drive.

Help. Can’t access System info but it is a Pentium 3 with Windows XP Professional installed. Unfortunately lot of pirate software as well which I have deleted and was able to get Ad-Aware 6 and Spybot Search and Destroy installed from disk drive (Yaaay). Found loads of bad bits now quarantined or deleted but have not been able to insatll any anti virus. Tried over the internet but would again do nothing. Click on Download and nothing happens.


Hi Nikki, you’ve illustrated why we don’t like second hand computers as there’s always a risk you’ll inherit a whole pile of trouble. Which is exactly what happened to you.

The first thing you need to check is that the hard drive is okay. To do this, follow our instructions checking a hard drive for errors. If a message appears that chkdsk has detected bad blocks then the hard drive is dying and it’s probably going to be best to write the system off.

Next, you’ll need to fix the file association problem, we discuss how to do this on our How to Remove Playitall page. This should fix the problems with opening files and the Control Panel.

Repairing the associations may also fix the problem with reading the optical drive, if it doesn’t then the device is probably damaged. You can pick up a cheap USB external DVD reader/burner if you really need one, however many people are finding they download software or use cloud services so an optical drive really isn’t essential.

Once you have everything running, it’s essential you give the system a good scan for malware. We show how to do this in our removing a trojan page. Make sure you do this before using the computer for any password protected sites or online transactions.

All of this sounds like it’s hard work and it is. If you need to get in a computer tech to do all of this you’ll probably spend more than a cheap netbook would cost which is why we recommend avoiding second hard Windows systems.

Paypal is asking for my drivers licence details

December 18th, 2010 Paul Wallbank Posted in Consumer rights No Comments »

“Paypal” is sending out emails to get all your info at the moment. I am not sure how common it is. I have received 2 different ones from them. The first opened a page asking for all my details including
drivers licence address and bank details and the second opens up a paypal page which is identical to the real one. although I didn’t enter in any details I knew it was suspicious because it wasn’t my Paypal email

Just thought I would let you know.

Thanks very much that. It’s a worthwhile reminder that Phishing scams are still alive and well.

Phishing is where crooks make an almost identical replica of a legitimate organisation’s webpage – common organisations are financial ones like Paypal, eBay and banks – and ask you for your essential details.

In most cases they try to capture account details, user names and passwords but they sometimes also try to capture personal information like drivers licence details or social security numbers so they carry out identity fraud.

You should never give any details out in reply to an email even if it does look like the site and the message is valid.

If you think the message might be genuine, then contact the organisation yourself to confirm they are legitimate. Don’t use any links, email addresses or phone numbers given on the suspicious message as these are often fake as well.

Scam warning: Selling an expensive item overseas through Paypal

December 16th, 2010 Paul Wallbank Posted in Consumer rights, Internet No Comments »

“I’m selling an expensive item, a horse float, that a lady in Malaysia is keen to buy through Paypal. She’s really eager for the purchase, hasn’t bartered and will pay for delivery. Can I trust this?”

No, when you’re selling an expensive item you need to take care. This particular scam is a variation on the various check frauds where you’ll find yourself out of pocket from unexpected expenses that arise, a dispute over delivery or a reversed transaction into a hacked PayPal or eBay account.

The fact the buyer isn’t concerned about the amount is a give away, along with the fact they are prepared to pay for freight to Malaysia.

Some articles on this particular scam can be found at the following sites;

In situations like this you need to follow your senses; if something doesn’t smell or feel right then you shouldn’t go ahead with the deal.

Remember – if something is too good to be true, it probably is.

“You may be a victim of software counterfeiting” message

October 10th, 2010 Paul Wallbank Posted in Buying a computer, Consumer rights, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP No Comments »

Purchased brand new desktop with Windows7 pre-installed, and I am unable to activate the product key the technician and I wrote down, as one  message says it it not genuine. A message in the bottom right hand corner reads “Windows7  Build 7600  This copy of Windows is not genuine”

The system cost was over $2000 from a reputable national chain. No back-up disc included.

To make matters worse, when turned off, next morning I find the console is on again – seems to have a mind of its own.

What can I do as I work full time and have never had such problems with a new computer?

Normally there is a sticker on the side of the computer with the authorisation number. That number should verify the system when it first runs.

In this case, either the wrong number has been put it or the number supplied wasn’t correct.

You’ll have to check with the store you bought it from as this is their problem.

Be careful though, the store’s first reaction will be to refer you either to Microsoft or to the manufacturer of the computer. Given the system has been like this since you’ve bought it, this is the retailer’s problem.

You don’t say if you bought this on a discount as floor or returned stock and it may be that somebody has tampered with the computer before you bought it.

Unfortunately in this case, you’re going to have to stand up against the store. You might want to follow our sister site’s checklist for dealing with disputes. Good luck.

should I install Windows 7

March 3rd, 2009 Paul Wallbank Posted in Consumer rights No Comments »

I have been offered a copy of the new version of Windows should I install it?

Yikes! who offered it to you?

First, Windows 7 is still in beta. That means it’s being tested. Do you really want to be Microsoft’s crash test dummy? 

Second, if someone is claiming your getting the latest and greatest cheap or for free then they are trying to trick you. There’s a good chance whatever they are offering you is either defective or infected with a virus or spyware.

Our recommendation is not to install Windows 7 unless you are a serious computer user who understands the limitations of beta software.

You should avoid this generous offer.

How to reset a DVD region code

December 29th, 2008 Paul Wallbank Posted in Consumer rights, software No Comments »

We have just realised we used our last ‘regional code’ change for our DVD player to code 1 and we need code 4 (aus)(DVD installed inside the laptop). What is the best option for being able to use our DVD player again? ie. software (bought/free) or new external DVD player?

You could try another DVD playing program, but that can be hit and miss. A free DVD player is VLC Player and that may resolve the problem. 

Another option is to use a program like AnyDVD which overcomes the zoning settings before the player can read it.

It may be worthwhile doing contacting the laptop manufacturer to see if they have a workaround or an update. In some countries, such as Australia, DVD region coding isn’t legal and may be a breach of consumer rights.