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Issue #457: April 24–30, 2016

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Q: I bought a new second 4 TB hard drive and when I went to install it, I found that there were no spare cables to make connection. One cable is used for the current hard drive and the other is for the CD drive. Is there an expansion slot or cables that can be used to install another drive?

– Jim R.
Fort Walton Beach, Florida

A: PCs aren’t made quite the way they used to be. As interfaces have become more sophisticated and device speeds and capacities have increased, modern manufacturing methods have steered PC vendors away from providing extras. Expansion cables that are likely to never get connected to anything during a computer’s expected lifespan are a tempting target for cost cutting. When you open a late-model desktop PC, as often as not, the only cables you’re likely to see are ones that are plugged-in and operating peripheral devices for you. That doesn’t mean you can’t expand – it simply means that if you do expand, the onus may fall to you, rather than the PC’s manufacturer, to provide an interface cable for your new hardware.

I’m so glad that you provided your PC’s model number along with your question, Jim. It made it quite easy to look-up the specifications for your PC’s motherboard. Your PC uses a very common type of device connection called Serial AT Attachment, or SATA (pronounced SAY-tuh). The data connector for SATA attaches one motherboard socket to one drive. According to the manufacturer’s documentation, your PC has four SATA sockets, so, assuming your new hard drive is also SATA, you should have no problem hooking it up once you pick up another cable. To ease you in locating the connectors, you’ll find the information I used at tinyurl.com/IGTM-0457. The SATA sockets are the blue, white, and yellow connectors in the lower-left corner of the picture.

• • •

 Q: I use Windows 7 Ultimate on my home desktop PC. My question concerns the “Start” button. I have the button configured so that “Log Off” is the default option and it’s been that way since I installed Windows 7. For a bit over a week now, I’m seeing “Shut Down” when I click on the Start button and I did not make the change.

 At first, I suspected that Microsoft had pushed out more Windows 7 updates and didn’t think anything of the change since shutdowns are sometimes required after updates. However, those always were a “one time deal” and the button always returned to the “Log Off” setting. Now, when I first start the computer for the day, the button shows “Log Off” but after a few minutes “Shut Down” is back. I’ve tried to reset the default (which still shows “Log Off”) but that doesn’t help. What caused this and how can I fix it? I’m worried that I have a virus or other malware.

– Edward R.
Fort Walton Beach, Florida

A: I know of no reason why the default option should not remain “Log Off”, Edward. If this is malware or a system issue, it’s one that I’ve never heard of. One thing I did notice is that you said that you “tried to reset the default” but you didn’t say how you made the attempt. Try this: right-click on the Start button and select “Properties”. The entry that is labeled “Power button action:” also happens to be the default shutdown selection (yes, without bothering to tell us. Thanks, Bill!). Make sure the drop-down is set to “Log off” then click “OK” on the dialog. If that doesn’t help, double and triple-check your Windows updates. In researching your issue, I read about a user with a problem similar to yours who said he found one lone, lingering update that hadn’t been installed, and once done, the button returned to his desired default. Unfortunately, he neglected to say which update.

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