APN Settings For Mobile Data Connection

I had two identical queries this week from a cousin and my brother-in-law about having no data connection on their Android phones – a HTC Desire S and Samsung Galaxy S3.

All they needed were the right APN settings for their network operators (T-Mobile and Three) which were easy enough to find on the Web. This inspired me to write this post here with links to the APN settings for some of the major UK network operators for future reference. I thought it might come in handy sometime.

Everything Everywhere (EE)
Vodafone
O2
Three (3)
Virgin
T-Mobile
Orange
Tesco Mobile
GiffGaff

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Faulty Graphics Card and HP Printer

Today’s job at hand was my cousin’s Dell Inspiron 530S which had no display on the monitor and his printer, a HP PhotoSmart C4480, which was not printing anything.

The screen was completely blank after turning on the PC, not even the BIOS screen came up. To cut the story short the culprit was the faulty graphics card with the fan not spinning. A good clean and even oiling the fans couldn’t revive it.

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I gave the inside a pretty thorough clean as i always do every time I open up any PC, especially the CPU fan.

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Once reverted to the on-board video the PC kept rebooting in an endless loop at the Vista boot screen which was easily fixed by restoring Vista to an earlier restore point. I had to use my SARDU multiboot repair DVD for that as I wasn’t given the Vista install DVD with the PC. (I mentioned SARDU in a post very briefly a long time back).

Once booted into Vista I tested the printer and sure enough it was feeding the paper through but wasn’t actually printing anything. I headed over to the HP support website and installed an updated firmware as well as a number of critical updates which solved the problem. (I have no idea if it was the firmware or which one of these updates it was that fixed the issue tbh)

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So there you have it. Another happy cousin :)

Upgrading Dell Optiplex GX260

A quick post about upgrading my brother’s (ancient) Dell machine. A quick rundown of what I done:

  • Backed up all the drivers using DoubleDriver
  • Used nLite to slipstream the drivers and build a cut down version of an Unattended Windows XP installation CD
  • Upgraded the CD-ROM with a DVD-RW drive
  • Also swapped the 40GB hard disk with a spare 80GB
  • Installed windows XP using the Unattended XP install CD
  • Registered the Dell with my FOG server and uploaded an image of the hard drive (for future disaster recovery purposes)

 

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I forgot about taking pictures until after the job was done so this is the only one i took.

My tryst with IT Support (for friends and family)

Don’t ask me how, but somehow I’ve ended up with the responsibility of maintaining Windows PC’s/laptops for many a friends and family – I guess it comes with working in IT. I don’t complain (most of the time) but instead I try and make the most of this as a learning opportunity.

To rundown some of the problems and challenges I’ve faced over the years in my attempts to make life easier for myself: Continue reading

Why I never throw things out

I have a habit of holding on to old hardware and spare computer parts with the belief they’ll come handy one of these days. This habit has given birth to my “Techie Box”, which has grown over the years to include a bunch of cables and extension leads and various adapters, couplers and gender changers as well as HDD’s, RAMs, a spare mouse and keyboard and much more.

I will admit the box is a bit untidy, but junk it is definitely not. These are much valued items, even more so lately since I revived two computers using contents from this box – my cousin’s Packard Bell with faulty onboard video and my Aunt’s HP with a dead PSU.

With a spare nVidia GForce graphics card from an old PC, my cousin’s Packard Bell was easy enough to fix. My cousin, I should add, has kindly let me have it since it’s been sitting in his loft for some time.

With no multimeter or PSU tester to hand however, my tech buddy Google came up with the following YouTube video to work out if my Aunt’s PSU was indeed dead.

You basically bend a paper clip into a ‘U’ shape, find the green wire on the P1 connector and insert one end of the paper clip into the green pin and the other end into the black pin next to it. You then plug the PSU to a power socket and connect something up to one of the molex connectors – I connected a spare hard drive. If it powers up you got a working PSU. If not, its a dead one . Simple!

I found my spare PSU to be a live one using this same little trick, but it had a 20-pin ATX connector as compared to 24-pin on my Aunt’s PSU. Fortunately I had a spare 20-pin to 24-pin PSU adapter, along with an IDE to SATA adapter to power up the Sata hard drive.

I gave the PSU a thorough clean, opening it up to get to all the dust that had settled on it for years.

Cleaning PSU

Often referred to as junk by others, this post is a reminder why I should never throw these out – they really do come handy!

Installing BartPE on a Partition

I took some time away from working on the prayer gadget to install BartPE on a partition last weekend.

This came about when I couldn’t find my Bart PE-based recovery CD which I use for Macrium Reflect (my preferred choice of backup & imaging software). I realised I gave it to a friend a while ago (I had recommended Macrium Reflect to him) and hadn’t got round to creating a new one to replace it.

My PC is now triple booted with BartPE, Windows 7 and XP on separate partitions each. Continue reading