Wednesday, July 29, 2015

How to find the IP address of a Ricoh copier or printer

Almost every connected device on a TCP/IP network has its own IP address, which other devices and computers use to locate that device and communicate with it.  If you have a Ricoh multifunctional copier or printer set up on your network and you need to find its IP address, this article will show you how to do that.

There are many different models of copiers and printers in the Ricoh product family.  Generally, the easiest way to find a Ricoh machine's IP address is to print out a configuration page, which lists relevant network settings, including the IP address.  On most Ricoh copiers, you can print a configuration page by pressing the User Tools button on the operation panel, selecting Printer Features or Printer Settings, and looking for an option such as "Print Config Page" or "Print Config List."

Copier IP addresses can also be displayed on screen.  On many current models, such as the C5000, go into User Tools and navigate to System Settings > Interface Settings > Machine IPv4 Address.  Older copiers will display the address as well, but the path to find it might be slightly different.  It will always be located somewhere under System Settings.

Many of the newer copier models also have a tab at the bottom of the main Copy screen labeled "System Status."  If you touch this tab, you'll be shown many details about the copier's current status, including the amount of toner remaining, the hard drive space available, and of course, the IP address.

On a Ricoh printer (either black and white or color) you don't have the same size operation panel that you do with a copier, so it can be harder to navigate through the menus.   Like with the copiers, however, the IP address will be printed on the config page, so you can just print that out -- press the Menu button, and go to "List/Test Print" and then "Config Page."  The IP address can also be displayed on screen by pressing the Menu button and then following the path of Host Interface, Network, Machine IPv4 Address, and finally IP Address.  If you view the IP address this way, be sure to exit out of the network settings without making any accidental changes.

If for some reason you can't get the IP address from the machine itself, you might be able to find it from a computer connected to the same network.  If you are running Windows Vista, you can use the Network Map to try to look up the copier's IP address.  All connected devices should be shown on the Network Map -- if you can locate the copier, hover over it with the mouse and you might be rewarded with its IP address.  (For instructions on how to access the network map in Windows Vista, click here.  For instructions on how to access the network map in Windows 7, click here.)

On a computer that's set up to print to the Ricoh printer, you can often find the printer's IP address in the print driver properties.  Right click on the printer icon under Devices & Printers (or Printers and Faxes, in Windows XP) and select Printer Properties (or in XP, just Properties).  Under the Ports tab, if the printer is set up to print using its IP address, you may see the IP address listed as the port name, or part of the port name.

(Originally published on Helium.com, April 2010)

Saturday, July 25, 2015

How to ping an IP address from a Ricoh Aficio MP C4500 multifunction copier

If you have a Ricoh Aficio MP C4500 (or C3500) multifunction copier and it's connected to your local area network, you can use it to ping computers and other devices, just like you would from a Windows command prompt.  Pinging from the copier can be useful if you are trying to troubleshoot a connection issue, or if you want to see which computers or other devices are currently on.

To get to the ping command, press the User Tools/Counter button, to the upper left of the copier's touch screen.  On the menu that appears, touch System Settings, then touch the Interface Settings tab.  Use the arrow in the lower right corner to scroll down to the next page (2/2), and you'll see the Ping Command button on the left side of the screen.  Press it to bring up the Ping utility.

Unlike when you ping from your computer, with the C4500 you can only ping an IP address.  You can't ping a host name or domain name, but if you know the target's IP address, you can ping it that way.  The IP address is defaulted to 0.0.0.0 -- press Change to be able to input the destination IP address.  When you are done typing in the address, press the pound key (#) on the number pad, or the pound symbol on the touch screen to lock in the address.  Then touch Ping.

The ping attempt should only take a second or two.  When you use the ping command in Windows, it sends four ping requests by default, but the C4500 only pings once.  You'll see either "Ping connection was successful" or "Ping connection has failed," depending on the result.

There is also a dedicated ping command you can use to specifically ping your DNS servers.  To use this command, scroll up to the first Interface Settings page and touch DNS Configuration.  If you've already input IP addresses for at least one of your DNS servers (up to three) you can use the Connection Test button to the right of that entry to ping the DNS server.  If the copier can reach that server, you'll see the "Connection to the server was successful" message.  It's a good idea to run the connection test any time you switch DNS servers or after you first set up the copier for network printing or scanning.

Other networked Ricoh copiers can also ping, but the command may be located under a different heading in the menu.  With a little searching, you should be able to find it grouped somewhere with the network configuration settings.

(Originally published on Helium.com, August 2010)

Friday, July 24, 2015

How to find the IP address of a BlackBerry Bold 9650

Any device connected to a TCP/IP network (such as the Internet or many smaller local networks) receives an IP address.  Your BlackBerry Bold is no different.  If you are only connected to your BlackBerry's 3G network, the device will not have an active IP address, but as soon as you use the BlackBerry's Wi-Fi connection capability, it will be assigned an IP address (except in rare instances where the network does not use DHCP).

If you need to know your BlackBerry's IP address, there are many different ways that you can discover it.  One way would be through your network's router or DHCP server.  But the easiest way to find the IP address is right from your BlackBerry.

From your Bold's main screen, scroll up so that the top bar of the screen (with the clock, signal strength, and battery icon) is highlighted.  Press the trackpad button; a brief menu will appear.  Scroll down through the choices until Options is highlighted, and press the trackpad to select it.

From the Options menu, scroll down to Device and press the trackpad button.  Then scroll down to Device and Status Information (it should be the second option) and press the trackpad again.

On the Device and Status Information screen, you can find the IP address by scrolling down.  (It should be displayed just below WLAN MAC.)  Note that if the IP address displayed is "0.0.0.0" then your BlackBerry is not currently connected to a Wi-Fi network.

(Originally published on Helium.com, March 2012)

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

How to find the IP address of a BlackBerry Tour smart phone

Like most devices that connect to a network or to the Internet, your BlackBerry Tour has its own IP address (when connected to a Wi-Fi network). Follow the steps below to discover your Tour's IP address. (The process may vary for other BlackBerry models, but it should be similar.)


A. From the main screen, press the BlackBerry button (the one with seven dots) to go to your Home folder.

B. Find the Options folder (with the wrench icon) and select it.

C. In the list of options, scroll down to Mobile Network and click the trackball.

D. Press the BlackBerry button.

E. Click on Tools on the menu.

F. Click on Ping.

When the Ping test utility opens, you'll see your IP address displayed at the top of the screen, labeled "Device IP." You don't have to use the Ping utility; you can click the back arrow to exit out after noting your IP address.


Alternatively, you can run the Diagnostics Test, which will also display your IP address. To run the Diagnostics Test, follow the steps above, but after step D, substitute the following procedure:

E. Select Diagnostics Test from the menu.

F. Press the BlackBerry button.

G. Select Run.

The Diagnostics Test can take a few minutes to complete, and it will display various settings for your BlackBerry, including the IP address (Device IP). The report generated by the Diagnostics Test will be saved so you can view it later for reference or use it to compare current settings.

(Originally published on FixYa.com, August 2010)

Thursday, July 16, 2015

How to find the IP address of an iPad

Any time your iPad is connected to a TCP/IP network, be it a work network, a public network, or your home network, it uses an IP address to identify itself.  If you want to know what your iPad's current IP address is, you can find it by following the steps below.

- From the home screen, tap the Settings icon (with the gear on it).

- Select Wi-Fi from the list on the left side of the screen.

- A list of networks will appear on the right side of the screen (or it may only be one network).  Next to the network you are currently connected to will be a greater-than sign (>) in a blue circle.  Tap this icon.

Your iPad's IP address will be displayed, along with other information about your network.  Note that these steps won't work if you are not currently connected to a Wi-Fi network.

(Originally published on Helium.com, January 2013)

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

How to replace RAM in a Dell Latitude D610 laptop

Whereas with some laptops you have to take the whole keyboard off in order to replace the RAM, the process is much simpler on a Dell Latitude D610.  Whether you're replacing a bad memory stick or upgrading to more RAM, this article will walk you through the steps required to replace the RAM on a D610 laptop.

First, you need to power down your computer.  In Windows, click the Start button, go to shut down options, and choose Shut Down.  Once the laptop has completely powered off, close the screen and turn the laptop over.  If it is plugged into an external power source, unplug it now.

The battery should also be removed so that absolutely no power is flowing through the computer.  If you're looking at your keyboard, the battery would be located under the bottom right corner.  To remove it, take out the one Phillips head screw -- don't lose it -- and then push in the tab on the side.  The battery should come out once the tab is pushed in.  Set the battery to the side.

The RAM compartment on a Dell D610 is located more or less in the center of the laptop, and it has a cover that is held down by one screw.  (The RAM cover may have a message printed on it about patents.)  Remove the screw with your small Phillips head screwdriver and put it somewhere safe.  The cover will come right off and now you should be looking at your RAM stick.

Before touching the RAM, ground yourself either by using an ESD wrist strap or by touching something metal that is grounded.  A small static discharge can easily damage the RAM and other components, and you may not even feel it.

The D610 only has one RAM slot.  There is a tab on either side of the chip; to remove it, push both tabs outward (away from the RAM) and the chip should pop up at an angle.  Grasp it by the corners and gently but firmly slide it out of the slot.  Even if you are replacing the RAM, it is a good idea to store the old RAM somewhere safe, preferably in an anti-static bag, in case it is needed later.

To install the new RAM, slide it in at a 45 degree angle until it is firmly in place.  Slowly push it down until it is horizontal, and the tabs should snap into place and lock it in.  Reattach the cover and the battery and then boot up the computer.  Go into system properties (right click My Computer or Computer and select Properties) and make sure that the system recognizes the new RAM.

If the amount of RAM shown isn't right -- or if the computer doesn't boot up at all -- the RAM stick is probably not seated correctly.  Follow the same procedure to remove the RAM and try installing it again, making sure that it locks firmly in place.

(Originally published on Helium.com, May 2010)

Friday, July 10, 2015

What is DNS and what does it do?

DNS (Domain Name System) is a service that translates domain names into IP addresses.  With DNS, you're able to type "www.yahoo.com" into a web browser and have the browser actually load the Yahoo! web page.  If you didn't have a DNS server to rely on, that action would be impossible.

We use domain names (such as "yahoo.com" or "google.com") to label websites because the words make sense to us and we can remember them.  But to a computer, domain names are completely arbitrary and meaningless.  Computers use IP addresses to identify other computers.  So the computer that hosts Google.com has an IP address, and it's this IP address that your computer looks up when you go to Google.com.

DNS is what enables your computer to translate the words "google.com" that you type into your web browser into Google's IP address.  Your computer doesn't know where on the Internet Google.com is, or what it represents, if it can't attach an IP address to it.  All computers (and other devices) on the Internet have an IP address, and these IP addresses are how they identify themselves.

When you log on to a network, or when you connect to the Internet through an Internet service provider, your computer is probably assigned an IP address.  But at the same time that it receives its IP address, it also receives the location of that network's DNS server or servers.  This information is vital to performing many functions, including sending email, loading web pages, and downloading content.

Without a DNS server, your computer wouldn't be able to load any websites that you type into your browser (unless they were looked up earlier and remain in the DNS cache).  You could be connected to your network, and everything is good, but if your computer doesn't know where the network's DNS server can be found (or if that DNS server is down) then you can't do anything based on domain names.  Without a DNS server, you would have to know the IP address of any website you wanted to visit.

As stated earlier, most networks and Internet service providers automatically provide client computers with the location of at least one DNS server.  If your ISP doesn't have a DNS server, or if that server isn't working, there are free DNS servers online that you can point your computer to.  Your computer would use these DNS servers in the same manner, looking up any domain names that you feed it and attempting to resolve them into IP addresses.

A DNS server is a lot like a bilingual human translator.  If you are having a conversation with someone who only speaks Spanish, the translator knows what you say, and what the other person says, and it can communicate this information between the two of you.  If you say, for example, "Can I please have a napkin?" to someone who only speaks Spanish, that sentence is meaningless to them without someone to translate it.  The napkin in question could be sitting two inches from that person's hand, but until someone can translate your request into the other language, you can't get your napkin.  DNS works in much the same way.

(Originally published on Helium.com, March 2012)

Sunday, July 5, 2015

How to personalize the Windows command line

Computer support techs and other IT professionals that use the command line to run programs and perform tasks can easily get bored with the plain black background and off-white text.  Fortunately, there are several ways you can customize the command prompt -- at least a little bit -- and take away some of the monotony.

- Title

When you run the command prompt in a window (rather than full screen) the title bar of the window is usually something like "C:\WINDOWS\system32\cmd.exe" or maybe "Command Prompt."  With the TITLE command, you can change that title to anything you want.  If you want to change the header to "Is it 5:00 yet?" just type "TITLE Is it 5:00 yet?"  The title you choose will also appear on the taskbar with your other open programs, so make sure it's not something that shouldn't be seen by anyone else.

- Prompt

Staring at the same prompt all the time can get old quickly.  Some people may choose to hide it completely by using the "ECHO off" command, but you can change the prompt to say anything by typing "PROMPT <whatever you want the prompt to be>".  There are certain special symbols and tricks you can use with PROMPT, which you can see by typing "PROMPT /?".  For instance, if you want the prompt to show the current time, you could use "PROMPT $T".  (You could also make it more user friendly by doing something like "PROMPT Hello, it's$T: ".)

If you later decide you want to change the prompt back to the current drive and path, just type "PROMPT $P$G".

- Color

The COLOR command allows you to change the DOS environment foreground and background colors.  Play around with the different numbers to find a color combination you like, or search online for a chart that breaks each color down.  Typing "COLOR 18" will make your command prompt window look like an old Commodore 64 screen.

To return to the default color scheme, type "COLOR 7".

These commands can help make the command prompt more palatable for people that use it extensively, but they can easily become repetitive to type every time you open up a new window.  To simplify the process, you can make a batch file designed to create a command prompt environment that works well for you.  Maybe you want the window to display the current date and time when you first open it.  Or maybe you always go to a specific directory and view its contents (or read a log file) every time you open a command prompt window.  Batch files can easily do both of those things for you.

You could either make a batch file and run it every time you start a command line window, or you could have the batch file itself open up the command prompt, and just run that batch file from the Run bar.  (Use the CMD and then EXIT commands in the batch file to open a command prompt that won't close right back up again.)

(Originally published on Helium.com, May 2010)

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Windows XP troubleshooting: No sound from the speakers

If your Windows XP computer suddenly stopped playing any sounds or music, there could be a number of different reasons.  This article will guide you through troubleshooting and fixing the problem.

First, check the Windows volume settings.  Windows XP has a master volume control that allows you to mute all sounds.  The volume may have gotten muted by accident, or maybe someone else muted it if you are using a shared computer.

If the volume icon is showing in the system tray on the right hand side of the taskbar (it looks like a round gray megaphone) you can tell right away if the volume is muted; there will be a small red circle with a line through it on the megaphone.  If you see this red circle, then your volume has been muted.  To restore sound, right click on this icon, select "Open Volume Control," and uncheck all of the boxes marked "Mute all" or "Mute."

If you don't see the volume icon in the system tray, you can get to the volume properties through the Control Panel.  Click on the Start button and then select Control Panel from the Start menu.  (If the Control Panel option isn't there, type "control" into the Run bar.)  In the Control Panel, double click on Sounds and Audio Devices, then in the window that appears uncheck the box marked "Mute" and click OK.

After ruling out the volume control, check the speakers.  Make sure your speakers are turned on and plugged in correctly -- check the audio wire that leads from the speakers to the audio out port on your computer, the wire that connects both speakers, and the power cable for the speakers (if applicable).  If your speakers have a light that comes on when they are turned on, make sure this light comes on.  Also check the speaker volume to make sure it's not turned down or muted.  If you have another computer (or another device) that you can plug the speakers into, try that to see if the speakers work with that device.  If so, you can rule out the speakers as the source of the problem.  If they don't work on the other device either, then you'll likely need a new set of speakers.

On many computers, there is a different port for the speakers and for headphones.  Plug in a pair of headphones and see if they play any sound.  If they do, it may be the audio out port that is bad.

If you are using a sound card in your computer that is not part of the motherboard, plug the speakers into the motherboard's audio out port.  If you get sound now, the sound card itself may be bad.  (You can check it in the Device Manager to see if it shows any problems, or if it somehow got disabled.)

If your computer is a desktop that has audio ports on both the front and the back, try plugging the speakers into the other port.  If they work from the back but not from the front, there may be a bad connection from the front port to the motherboard.

Once you've done all of these steps, if you still have no sound you can reasonably suspect the motherboard as the source of the problem.  Replacing a motherboard is expensive (and time-intensive, if you do it yourself) so rather than purchasing a whole new motherboard, you may want to consider buying a cheap sound card and installing that in your computer to handle speaker output.  It will likely be much cheaper and easier than replacing the motherboard.

(Originally published on Helium.com, March 2012)