Ask the Doctor


Mysterious Random Folders

Ask the Doctor LogoI have four hard drives I use for storage. One of my drives is a 1TB WD Caviar Green. A folder named “35c7b77f9e7bab635e2efb4b74b9” keeps appearing, with a file “MPMiniSigStub.exe” and a bunch of files with names like “1.81.790.0_to_1.81.799.0_mpasdlta.vdm._p.” When I delete the folder a new one with a similar randomly generated name appears in its place, with similar files in it. I scanned with Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware, Norton 360 4.0, and Microsoft Security Essentials; none of them detected anything bad. I have also “hidden” the folder, but it reverts back to non-hidden status.

—Kevin Young

Read the Doctor's advice for Kevin after the jump.


Migrating to Home Server

Ask the Doctor LogoI’ve been considering building a Windows Home Server. My problem is that I have three 1.5TB hard drives with media on them. Can I move these drives to a Windows Home Server machine without formatting them? They are currently formatted in NTFS on a Win 7 machine. I have everything for the home server except the case and power supply. I also have a 40GB hard drive that I had planned to install the Home Server software on. I don’t have the money to buy new drives to transfer the media from the other drives. Also, will I be able to stream .vob and Blu-ray files to Media Center on my other machines?

—Michael Engles

Read the Doctor's advice for Michael after the jump.


Next-Gen Wireless Worse than Last-Gen?

Ask the Doctor LogoI have a Netgear WNDR3300 dual-band router that broadcasts both 802.11g and 802.11n signals. Today, I noticed that in certain areas of my house, the 802.11g signal is actually stronger than my 802.11n signal, by a lot! Shouldn’t this be the other way around? Currently, the router sits atop a bookcase in my basement as I don’t have anywhere to put it upstairs. The signal comes from a cable modem and is attached to a Windows 7 Pro 64-bit computer. What gives?

—Brian L.

Read the Doctor's answer for Brian after the jump.


What Happened to AutoRun?

Ask the Doctor LogoI am using Windows 7 Home Premium and I have found that there is no longer an AutoRun option that permits the automatic startup of USB flash drives that contain software. I am particularly referring to flash drives that contain portable operating systems such as Portable Apps or SanDisk U3 Launchpad. The user is now presented with a prompt that permits viewing the files and double-clicking the application to be executed.

Is there a registry hack that I can use to restore the AutoRun feature for USB flash drives that contain applications?

—Bob Blum

Read the Doctor's answer for Bob after the jump.


Streaming Internet Radio Room-to-Room

Ask the Doctor LogoMy PC is in my home office and my home theater system is in my living room about 30 feet away. I like to listen to jazz but my local jazz radio station changed format so I started listening to jazz streamed over the Internet on my PC. I would like to stream this music to my home theater system. I already have a CAT-6 cable strung from my router to the DVR in my living room for on-demand TV. I’ve tried to sort through all the streaming devices available but have only managed to be confused and overwhelmed by the features and specifications. I wouldn’t mind streaming video too, but that is not my priority. A unit that will play Blu-ray discs is an acceptable option as all I have on my home theater system is CD/DVD, but, again, that is not a priority. Can you suggest some viable options for me? Thanks a heap!

—David Winokur

Read the Doctor's advice for David after the jump.


Which Power Connector?

Ask the Doctor LogoI have what I thought was a simple question, but I can’t seem to find a definitive answer. I have an Asus P6T Deluxe motherboard and a Core i7-930 CPU. Should I use my PSU’s 8-pin or 4-pin connector for the CPU?


Read the Doctor's answer for Craig after the jump.


Reinstall from Image to Defeat Malware?

Ask the Doctor LogoI have a system with anti-virus and anti-spyware software installed. I also made a backup image with Acronis True Image some time ago. Now, somehow it got a bad malware infection that nothing can remove completely. The usual method is to reformat and reinstall Windows, but what if I use a clean image from Acronis to restore my system? Can that be done? Will it get rid of all the malware, or will some be left behind?

—Ted Bunny

Read the Doctor's answer for Ted after the jump.


Persnickety Second DVD Drive

Ask the Doctor LogoI have a problem with my second DVD drive: Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. My system is a home-built Biostar TA790GXB A2+ motherboard with an AMD Athlon II X2 250 running at 3GHz, a GeForce GTS 250 videocard, 8GB of RAM, two 500GB Hitachi hard drives, and Windows 7 32-bit, with all the required updates installed. There is also an LG CH08LS10 SATA Blu-ray ray drive (assigned drive F by Windows).

Now to the problem: drive E. Sometimes it runs, sometimes it doesn’t, and there is no rhyme or reason to it. Sometimes it starts fine, recognizing DVDs or CDs and burning DVDs and CDs as necessary, and runs well all day. Sometimes it starts and won’t even recognize any CD or DVD (to read or to burn) I put in it—and won’t all day.

Originally, I had installed an LG SATA DVD drive. When it acted up as described above, I replaced it with a BenQ DW 1640 from my old computer. It’s an IDE drive. Same thing happened. No problem with the Blu-ray drive.

So, there you have it. Two different drives, using different controllers on the motherboard but malfunctioning the same way. Any ideas? Does Win7 think people shouldn’t have more than one, or more than one type of, burner? Is there some jumper I should be moving or software setting I’m missing? Did I just find a Win7 bug?

—Rick Thompson

Read the Doctor's reply after the jump.


RAM Preventing Wakeup?

Ask the Doctor LogoDoc, I have a 2-year-old Dell XPS 720. It has a 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600, a GeForce 8800 GT, and runs on Windows XP. It shipped with two 1GB DIMMs. A few months ago, I decided to upgrade to four 1GB DIMMs. I bought the RAM from Crucial. The machine boots and shows the correct amount of RAM and runs great. My problem is coming back from a sleep or hibernate state. The PC’s hard drive just spins and nothing happens. If I take out one DIMM, it will boot right up. I can shut it off, replace the fourth stick of RAM and it comes right up. It doesn’t matter which stick I remove or what slots they are in. I’ve updated the video drivers and BIOS but it didn’t make any difference. Any ideas?

—Jim Leiferman

Read the Doctor's answer for Jim after the jump.


Yet Another RAM Timing Question

Ask the Doctor LogoCan you please explain to me this idea of the front-side bus and memory timings being the same speed? This doesn’t make any sense to me. I have an EVGA 750i FTW board, a 2.4GHz Core 2 Quad Q6600 running at 333MHz FSB, or 1,333MHz effective, for 3GHz, two EVGA GeForce GTX 260 cards, and 8GB of OCZ Gold 1,066MHz. I had the memory set (all “unlinked”) to 1,066MHz at 5-7-7-18 28, 2T @ 2.15 V. Several forums on OC’ing the Q6600 recommended an 800MHz speed, so now I have the memory set to 800, 5-6-6-16 26, 2T @ 2.1 V. I don’t see any real difference in performance. Should 1066 not be faster than 800? What is the story, Doc?

—Spencer Taylor

Read the Doctor's answer for Spencer after the jump.