FACTS! FAX! 347 (21/01/03)
I have been given some old WordStar files and I would like
to convert them into MS Word. Is there a simple method?
Dr Mark Carroll
Conversion ‘filters’ are available for all recent
versions of MS Word that can read most other types of word processor files,
including many versions of WordStar, they can then be saved as plain
text or Word documents. The filters can be downloaded from the Microsoft web
site but you should read the short tutorial first at: http://support.microsoft.com/
default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;Q212265, which also has links to the free
The icons on my PC desktop seem to
have gone mad. On occasions they change randomly; for example My Briefcase
has appeared as a hand of cards, a superior posh briefcase and as a deck of
dominoes. When I log on again they are normal but then sometimes change again.
Have I picked up a virus?
more likely that you are the victim of a ‘prankware’ program, installed
surreptitiously by someone with access to your machine. This sounds like the
work of Crazy Icons, you can find details of how to uninstall it at: www.lizardworks.com/pranks.html
refurbish old PCs and supply them to elderly people. I have several old
hard disc drives that I have been given which will not reformat in the
usual way. Are there any other methods?
There is an undocumented procedure that deletes
all partitions and applies a low-level format to the drive, effectively
returning it to it’s factory fresh state but I have to warn you that it is
risky. It doesn’t work on all makes and models of drive and there is a chance
that it could render the drive useless, so only try it as an absolute last
Proceed as follows; boot the PC with the
defunct drive installed using your Windows 9x start-up disc. At the A: prompt
type ‘debug’ (without the quotes), then the following commands: (nb. at the end
of each line press Enter and the expected response to each command is shown in
F 220 L1000 0
A CS: 100 (xxxx:0100)
MOV AX,301 (xxxx:0103)
MOV BX,200 (xxxx:0106)
MOV CX,1 (xxxx:0109)
MOV DX,80 (xxxx:010C)
INT 13 (xxxx:010E)
INT 20 (xxxx:0110)
-- enter a blank line –
G (Program terminated normally)
Press Ctrl + Alt + Delete to reboot then
use F-Disk and Format and reinstall Windows as normal.
it acceptable practise to have more than one firewall/virus checker etc.
running on my machine at the same time?
no, whilst some permutations are possible most of these programs will refuse to
coexist or crash. Anti virus programs contain ‘signature files’, which help
them to identify viruses and because these files may contain small benign
sections of virus code other may wrongly identify them anti virus software as a
potential threat. Firewall programs are a little more sociable but you may find
that two programs running side by side will slow down your Internet connection
or generate a higher than normal number of alerts and error messages, without
necessarily providing you with any increase in protection.
I have a Toshiba laptop running Windows 98 and a Xircom
RealPort2 Integrated ISDN PC Card. After starting the PC I work
on and offline as required. Sometimes the connection fails with the
message "no dial tone. Make sure your modem is connected to the phone
line properly". If I then reboot, the connection is always
successful. The box "wait for dial tone before dialling" in
Call preferences is unchecked.
Before I murder the damn thing, can you suggest a cure?
you do anything drastic check that the driver for your adaptor is up to date,
and even if it is, it’s still worth updating it, just in case it has become
corrupted; you’ll find a full list at: http://appsr.intel.com/scripts-df/support_intel.asp#
A while back you
gave the very handy tip of where to find that helpful utility System File
Checker in Windows 9x. Is there a comparable utility lurking in the innards of
Windows XP Home and if so how is it reached?
Windows XP has something similar called the Automated System
File Checker, which monitors and if necessary replaces any missing or damaged
system files. As the name suggests it is fully automatic and you need to have
your XP installation disc to hand. When you are ready go to Run on the Start
menu and type ‘sfc /scannow’ (without the quotes of course) and follow the
I have a PC with only 1Gb HD capacity and recently made the
effort to copy a complete list of files (including hidden ones) into a
spreadsheet to add up the total size. I found that this adds up to only about
60% of my 1Gb total capacity but I have only about 70Mb available. Does the
rest of the capacity is taken up by administering folders? What can I do to
free some of this capacity?
Needless to say you should consider adding or upgrading to a
much larger hard disc drive as soon as possible, deleting files is not the
answer and this problem is not going to go away! Anyway, the missing space is
almost certainly taken up by behind the scenes operations like the Swapfile,
which is a large and constantly changing chunk of hard disc space, used to
temporarily store data used by Windows and running applications to help speed
up operation. Your spreadsheet idea is certainly ingenious but as you have
discovered, examining the contents of the Windows filing system is not easy.
The simpler alternative is to use a third-party disc space monitor program.
There are several to choose from but I prefer the ones that present the contents
of your drive in a graphical format, so you can see at a glance, which files
and folders are taking up all the room. Have a look at SpaceMonger, it’s
freeware and can be downloaded from: http://www.werkema.com/
A long time ago you
gave details of how to insert the date in a document by installing a toolbar
button. I did this to great advantage but when my computer crashed I lost this
wonderful little technique. Can you help, please?
Mgr. H. Turner
Assuming of course
that you are using a recent version of Microsoft Word (97 onwards), the
simplest way to do this is to right click into an empty area of the toolbar and
click on Customize from the drop-down menu. Select the Commands tab and
in the Categories window double click Insert, in the right hand Commands
windows look for the Date button then click drag and drop it onto one of the
toolbars. Click Close and it's done.