Question Do a laptop and a desktop in proximity affect each other?

Feb 25, 2019
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The setting: Small room in small apartment..
Permanent residents of this room, 1) A Dell XPS 8930 desktop, 64 bit, Intel Core i7-8700 CPU, 6 core, solid state drive, running fully updated Windows 10. 2) A Dell Inspiron 5737, i5-4200U CPU, dual core, regular hard drive, running fully updated Windows 10.

Background: These machines have never been set up to communicate with each other -- but they seem to be learning that behavior, ie: When I change the desktop background on one, the other will switch to the same desktop background, although not immediately. Sometimes a few days will go by before one mimics the other.

Oh, and the second resident of this apartment isn't computer-friendly. In other words, he's not sneaking in and changing the desktop backgrounds.

A few days ago, both computers got wonky. I don't know if they affected each other, though; I suspect they both reacted badly to a recent MS update.

After disagreeing with tech support, I did a clean install on both, and everything is fine. The latest update is back again, but causing no problems this time. I'm tempted to think the computers, themselves, got the update under control.

Onward: Since the events of a few days ago, though, I have to do certain things, for optimal results, ie: If I boot the desktop first, and then boot the laptop, the latter boots, but takes forever to show me the desktop background. If I boot the laptop first, all is well. When I boot the desktop, I have to wait a few seconds before turning on the monitor. Without those few seconds, I will get the message "no mdp signal from your device", and the monitor will go into sleep mode. By waiting a few seconds, I get the message "mdp signal," and the desktop will boot normally.

I'm just dying to know: Is it possible for the laptop and the desktop to somehow influence each other?

One more question, completely crazy: The laptop is wireless, but the router is wired in through the desktop. Given that setup, can a homemade aluminum foil range extender (that touches the router) have an adverse effect on one or both of the computers?

I've searched the web, but can't find a hint about this or a similar situation. I appreciate any help you can offer. Thank you in advance.
 
The homemade extender isn't the wisest idea, but it wouldn't cause the issues you are having.

It sounds a lot like they have been networked and changes to one have been set to change on the other.

Check the network settings on both devices. To make sure they aren't connecting, then make sure both have it set to not allow the other device, or any networked device, to connect on its own to either computer. That should resolve your issue.

Now if it continues after that, then someone may well be messing with the computers. Either physically (could be someone other than roommate, say someone visits the roommate) or someone who got remote access to the device. However, this is all less likely that than a network connection being the cause.
 
Feb 25, 2019
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The homemade extender isn't the wisest idea, but it wouldn't cause the issues you are having.

It sounds a lot like they have been networked and changes to one have been set to change on the other.

Check the network settings on both devices. To make sure they aren't connecting, then make sure both have it set to not allow the other device, or any networked device, to connect on its own to either computer. That should resolve your issue.

Now if it continues after that, then someone may well be messing with the computers. Either physically (could be someone other than roommate, say someone visits the roommate) or someone who got remote access to the device. However, this is all less likely that than a network connection being the cause.
Thanks so much for your response. I'll check the settings as you've advised.
 

daustin792

Great
Feb 4, 2019
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One thing to keep in mind is that if you have made accounts of your own on each computer they are possibly linked with a microsoft account. User accounts that are linked will pull backgrounds and user settings that are saved to the microsoft account.

If you don't have your account on both computers then it could be more complicated. One of the computers could be set up to run a home domain or something similar. This could cause some settings to be applied from one device to another.
 
Feb 25, 2019
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Thanks so much for your response. Now, I'm going to sound (and feel) rather stupid: When I did the clean installs, I didn't even think of the MS account(s). At the very end of the installs, I was asked to create a PIN. I entered a different PIN for each computer , and, until I read your post, I didn't even think of this next part: I have no memory of ever setting up a Microsoft account on the desktop.

There is more than one possibility here: When we got the new desktop, I had a professional do the physical setup. It's possible, I suppose, that he also set up the MS account, complete with password, and I simply don't remember it. The other possibility is that I did set up the MS account on the desktop, and then forgot I'd ever done it. (At the age of 70, these gaps in memory are becoming more frequent!)

I'm not sure if this next possibility is even a real possibility, but, here it comes: Well prior to the desktop purchase, I had eradicated the need to enter either a password or a PIN on the laptop. I don't remember ever having to use a PIN or a password on the desktop -- and I don't remember eradicating the need for it, either. If the computers were getting certain info from each other, maybe the desktop never had an account set up, and it was using the desktop account. (??)

After the installs, and after using a different PIN for the desktop and the laptop, would that mean the accounts are separated?

Honestly, I do much admire what forum members do to help others. Now I'm thinking of the many different types of people you have to deal with -- including senior citizens who regularly lose chunks of memory somewhere on the back forties of their frontal lobes. Thanks again so much.
 
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