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Q: I’m using an HP DeskJet USB color inkjet printer, but I get an error message most of the time when I try to print. The printer works fine on my other PC. What’s the trouble?
A: There is a known issue with a number of HP DeskJet printers (such as the DeskJet 990Cse) and with the VIA USB Host Controller chip. When you try an HP printer on PCs with a VIA USB Host Controller chip, there may be an error message. Check to see if you have a VIA controller. If so, go under Start, choose Settings, select Control Panel, then double-click the System icon. Click the Device Manager tab, then scroll down until you see the Universal Serial Bus Controller.
If you see an entry such as “VIA VT 83C572NT 82C586 PCI to USB Universal Host Controller,” chances are that’s where the trouble is. Other controllers (such as an NEC host controller) will work fine. If you’re faced with a VIA Host Controller, you may need to attach the printer to the PC’s parallel port to alleviate the problem. However, VIA provides a patch for its host controller. The file to download is labeled the USB Filter Driver, which is located on the drivers page. You can also contact your system manufacturer.
Q: I installed a CD-RW drive under Windows 98 SE, but each time I start the system, a DirectCD message comes up and says the program may not run correctly on Windows 98. Any ideas?
A: I actually had this very same problem on my own system, and it turned out to be a problem with the version of DirectCD that was installed with the drive. For example, this is a known issue with some recent HP CD-RW drives. After installing any of the DirectCD versions that ship with the HP CD-Writer Plus 7100, 7200, and 8100 series drives on a system with Windows 98 SE installed, an error message says the DirectCD program may not run correctly.
In most cases, you can choose to Run Program, and the system will work fine. However, it’s best to try updating DirectCD. Check the “Don’t display this message” box (otherwise the message will appear every time the system is booted) and click Run Program to allow DirectCD to load. If you’re using an HP drive, you can download DirectCD 2.5d. If you’re using another manufacturer’s CD-RW drive, visit its technical-support Web site for updated files and drivers (including DirectCD).
Q: I’m using a SoundBlaster Live! card from Creative Labs, but I’m seeing an error indicating that there isn’t enough memory to load SoundFonts. How can I get around this problem?
A: This type of problem normally occurs when a SoundFont-compatible MIDI file tries to play, but insufficient memory has been allocated to the SoundFont cache. You can generally work around this type of trouble by allocating more memory to the SoundFont cache, or make the SoundFont bank(s) smaller. To allocate more system RAM to the SoundFont cache, open the SoundFont control applet and select the Options tab, then move the SoundFont Cache slider to the right. Keep in mind that the maximum size of the SoundFont cache will depend on the amount of system RAM available. If you’re running short of system RAM, open the SoundFont control applet and select the Configure Banks tab, then select a smaller SoundFont bank from the Select Bank box (down to 2MB). Unfortunately, smaller sound fonts will result in lower sound quality.
Q: I installed a new UDMA/100 hard drive and controller in my system. The drive is recognized incorrectly as a UDMA/33 drive. What can I do to get the drive recognized properly?
A: Since the drive and controller seem to be responding, there are probably two reasons why the DMA Mode 5 (UDMA/100) drive is identified as a DMA Mode 2 (UDMA/33) drive. The first problem may be with the drive itself. Some of the UDMA/100 hard drives in the market are capable of UDMA/100 operation, but are not enabled for UDMA/100 operation out of the box–a utility is needed to enable UDMA/100 operation. Recheck the installation instructions for your hard drive and see if you need to run a routine (usually on the floppy disk accompanying the hard drive) in order to activate the UDMA/100 mode. This problem may also occur if the wrong cable is used. An ordinary 40-pin IDE cable is inappropriate for UDMA/66 or UDMA/100 drives. These faster drives require a 40-pin/80-wire cable. Make sure you’re using the proper cable for high-speed data transfers.