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Help File: iTunes Lockups; Wireless Router Maintenance

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By Rob Pegoraro
Sunday, March 8, 2009

Q My Windows XP machine will run fine for days until I start up iTunes to serve up music for my Apple TV. Then it's only a matter of time before the whole system locks up.

A This reader managed to figure out a solution to this problem before I could; several weeks after his first e-mail, he wrote back later to report the fix he'd found.

In this case, iTunes' habit of automatically looking for new Apple TVs on a home network was at fault. Once he'd set up a wireless media receiver in his living room, his copy of iTunes no longer needed to look for other Apple TV units -- but when it did, it sometimes locked up his entire XP system, for reasons still unclear.

To stop iTunes from doing that, he opened its Preferences window (accessible via the Edit menu in iTunes' Windows version), clicked on its "Apple TV" heading and clicked the checkbox next to "Look for Apple TVs" to clear it.

The idea for that fix, incidentally, came from a post on one of Apple's tech-support forums (http://discussions.apple.com). Those message boards don't always yield useful answers, but when enough users participate, they can be an effective troubleshooting resource.

Do I need to do any special maintenance for my wireless router?

Once you've set it up -- you've named the network, set a password (using WPA, not the weaker WEP encryption) and connected your computers -- you should be able to leave the router alone as long as its signal stays up.

The major exception is when your router's manufacturer releases a firmware update (your router's software may notify you of one, or you may need to check the vendor's Web site). In those cases, you should wait a few days to install the patches, in case other users encounter problems.

Rob Pegoraro attempts to untangle computing conundrums and errant electronics each week. Send questions to The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071 or robp@washpost.com. Turn to Thursday's Business section or visit washingtonpost.com anytime for his Fast Forward column.


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