FAX! 429 (24/08/04)
In earlier versions of MS Word I seem to recall being able
to produce a full page width solid line by typing several, maybe 4 or 5,
hyphens followed by Return. I found this very useful to top and tail footers
and headers. This doesn't seem to work in later versions of Word and I can't
find any reference to it in Help etc. Was I imagining this feature?
Bill Pilgrim, via email
I agree it’s not very well
documented but this feature is present in all recent versions of Word. It is
usually enabled by default but you may have accidentally turned it off. To
switch it back on go to Insert > AutoText >
AutoText, select the 'Autoformat as you type' tab then under 'Apply as you
type' select Borders.
I've been trying to help a friend with Windows 2000, to
switch off items that start with Windows using the configuration utility
‘msconfig’ but when I type the command in Run on the Start menu I get the
message ‘Cannot find the file msconfig (or one of its components)’. Can you get
at the Start Up list in W2000? I notice that your recent article on XP said
that msconfig is also used in earlier versions of Windows, but I think you
left W2000 off the list.
Ray Glover, via email
For some reason Microsoft didn’t see fit to include
msconfig in Windows 2000 (or NT), however, there’s nothing to stop you using
the one in Windows 98, SE and ME or the newer version supplied with Windows XP.
Simply find a Windows 98 or XP computer and copy the file ‘msconfig.exe’ onto a
floppy (it’s usually in c:\windows\system or locate it using Search/Find on the
Start menu). You can run it directly from the floppy or copy it into a folder
-- c:\winnt\system32 is a good place to keep it -- so you can launch it in the
usual way from Run on the Start menu.
Incidentally many programs
that start with Windows 2000 are referred to as ‘services’ and ‘processes’ and
these can be selectively disabled by going to Start > Programs >
Administrative Tools > Services. Right click the program or service you want
to stop, select Properties and under Startup box select either ‘Disabled’ or
‘Manual’. Be very careful though, as unlike msconfig you can switch off
critical components that could stop Windows working or compromise your PC’s security.
I recently added an additional 512Mb RAM memory module to my
Windows 98 computer but although recognised by my PC it has not improved the
performance or percentage of system resources free etc. Can you suggest any
David Snook, via email
When Windows 98 was introduced memory chips were very
expensive and 64Mb was considered more than enough for most applications. The
operating system and early motherboards were not built to use large amounts of
memory efficiently, even though the OS will recognise up to 2Gb of RAM. However
there is a bug, which can crop up if you install more than 512Mb. It’s to do
with the way Windows handles very large files and if you give it too much
memory to play with it will gobble it all up and actually slow your system
down. To add insult to injury you may get error massages like: ‘There is not
enough memory to run this program’… There is a workaround, which tells Windows
that you have more than 512Mb of memory installed but don’t expect any significant
improvements in performance. Details can be found in MS Knowledgebase articles
253912 and 108079 (just type the numbers in Google).
I am currently living in France
and I have a brand new HP computer running Windows XP PRO. I have just set up
the PC and it connected without problem for half a day and then for no apparent
reason every time I dial up I get a message screen saying "Generic Host
Process for WIN32 services has encountered a problem…". I am then invited
to send an error report but as soon as I try the PC crashes. The only way out
is to pull the mains cable out of the PC and then restart.
Hervey Raymond, via email
tut! My guess is you haven’t installed or updated your anti virus software...
Your PC is almost certainly infected by the ‘Sasser’ worm or one of its
many variants. Fortunately it is fairly easy to get rid of and you can find a
free removal tool at: http://securityresponse.symantec.com/
Could you advise please if a photo
inkjet printer handles text printing as well as an ordinary one, and whether it
is better economically for a moderate user to buy one with 6 colour cartridges
or one with a single colour cartridge or should I continue to get pictures
Mr W Ryan, Coventry
As you probably know manufacturers make little or no
money from the sale of printers but rely on ‘consumables’ for their profits,
with the ink in some printer cartridges variously calculated as being worth
more than its weight in gold or the most expensive perfumes. The economics of
using a colour inkjet printer vary considerably with the make and model, what
you are using it for and whether or not cartridges are refillable or cheaper
‘compatible’ ones are available. Photo printers add another layer of complexity
and in general ones with separate ink tanks for each colour can be cheaper to
run than those that use all-in-one cartridges as the printer’s utility program
will declare the cartridge empty as soon as one colour has run out, even though
there might be plenty of ink left in the other reservoirs left. However most
printers have a separate cartridge for black ink so if you are going to be
using it mainly for printing text base your calculations on the cost of those.
In short it’s a
minefield; comparative costings for various printers frequently appear in PC
magazines and consumer titles like Which? however they rapidly go out of date
as new printers come on to the market. I’m afraid you are going to have to do a
little homework. Shortlist two or three models in your price range with the
features that you want, check the brochures or specs for the life expectancy of
the cartridges then do some shopping around for cartridge prices.