Techno Buddy: Buying a DVD drive?

Question: My DVD-RW drive needs replacing. Which brand do you suggest as a replacement, and where can I buy it? I need something with ease of installation, and reliability. — Clyde Pate

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Answer: Most of the brand name DVD drives work just fine — the main differences between the good drives would be their speed and the type of software that comes bundled with them. Let me direct you to a Web page that offers good reviews of these drives:

As far as installation, it’s literally a snap. Open the case, remove the old drive and connect two snap-on cables - one for power, the other for data. As far as where to buy it? Once you have selected the model you want, just compare prices and get the best deal.

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Question: My computer has become infected with two viruses and, I can’t get to Add/Remove programs, however I am still able to use the e-mail program, Google, my bank account, etc. I spent most of the day with two or three of the ‘free’ removal sites, and none worked. Suggestion? — Bob Turner

Answer: Many of those “free” removal sites are \scams that eventually ask you to pay for a commercial product or service. There’s no substitute for a good anti-virus program that is installed and kept updated. Among the commercial programs I recommend Norton 360. Of the free programs, I like the free version of AVG:

I’d suggest installing one of those programs to get rid of your virus problem.

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Question: My son recently sent me new photos of his children, but I had to join Facebook to see them. Was that a good decision? Is there any identity theft concern? — Dale Leonard

Answer: Facebook is, of course, enormously popular. There have been cases of identity theft there. You can read about one of those cases here:

There are ways to lessen the chances of ID theft for Facebook users. Here’s an article that offers some tips:

I can’t tell you whether or not to use the site. Obviously it has many satisfied users. But don’t feel as if you must. I assume that your son would also be willing to e-mail the photos of your grandchildren directly to you.

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Question: We recently purchased a Dell computer that has Vista. Our digital camera is not compatible with Vista. How can we transfer the photos? — Sandy Fernung

Answer: Your camera stores the photos you take on a small removable memory card. There are various types of cards. My suggestion is this. Take that card into a computer store and ask to see a card reader that works with the card you own.

That reader will connect to your computer using a USB cable. Once you have the reader, simply plug it into the computer and insert the card. It will transfer your photos seamlessly.

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Bill Husted, a former Atlanta Journal-Constitution technology writer, writes on computers and consumer technology subjects. He cannot answer every question, but may choose those of general interest for publication.E-mail:

© 2009 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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