Router problems common

I keep losing the wireless connection to my home router (a Linksys) every few days.

Q: I keep losing the wireless connection to my home router (a Linksys) every few days. My Windows laptop won’t connect to it until I unplug it and plug it back in.

Then it works for another few days. This is annoying, but I do not lose my settings so it is not terrible.

What can I do about it?

A: Live with it. I have three or four routers in my home and all of them do this, some more than others.

You can invest in a new one and hope for the best, but this is a common ailment. Yours happens more often than it should, so if you have $50 to $100, you can move up to a higher-end router and give it a try.

If yours is more than two or three years old, I would give it a try, especially if you purchase from a place that allows returns in 30 days.

Q: The bottom of my laptop gets very, very hot now. I know you have recommended those cooling pads before, but do they really work?

A: I have a laptop with a 7200 RPM hard drive and I have started using a piece of aluminum between it and my often-burned thighs.

I think it was Apple that quit calling their computers “laptops” because of the heat issue.

So, the first step is to try a piece of hard plastic like Lexan or aluminum. If that does not float your boat, then you can try a cooling device, but these are really kind of extreme for use on your actual lap.

Make sure you have also invested $4 in a can of compressed computer air and have blown out the fans and vents of your laptop (with it turned off!) to remove the pet hair and dust.

It is especially true if your laptop is hotter now than it once was.

James Derk is owner of CyberDads, a computer-repair firm and a tech columnist for Scripps Howard News Service. His e-mail address is