FACTS! FAX! 485 (01/11/05)
Is it possible in any
way to connect two keyboards, mice and monitors to one computer so that two
operators can communicate over the Internet simultaneously?
Peter Marchese, via
quite but with a widget called a ‘Reverse’ or ‘sharing’ KVM Switch. A normal KVM
switch allows you to control two PCs through one keyboard, video monitor and
mouse, a reverse switch does the opposite, letting you connect multiple
keyboards, monitors and mice to one PC, though only one person can be connected
to the PC at a time. They are quite a bit dearer than conventional KVMs and
cheapest one I’ve been able to find is the Belkin Omniview Reverse KVM, which
costs just over £45 from Amazon
UK. Simultaneous control of one PC from two keyboards and mice is possible
using a second PC, a network connection and some specialised software, but that
rather defeats the object of the exercise…
Over the years of
downloading test software and installing and uninstalling programs I am sure my
computer is full of left over bits of instructions and files which are no
longer relevant to my present set-up or usage. Apart from reformatting the
drives and then re-installing everything is there any way I can clean-up my
computer to gain space?
Malcolm Brown, Ludlow
of the clutter left behind by uninstalled programs ends up in the Windows Registry. Apart from
increasing the size of this already massive set of system files -- which slows
down boot up -- the remnants can cause all sorts of problems and unexpected
interactions so it is a good idea to periodically muck it out. There is a huge
number of Registry cleaning tools on the market but the one I use, and so it
far hasn’t let me down, is a freeware utility called RegSeeker, which has a
tool called Clean The Registry. It is very effective but the one thing I would
add is that making any changes to the Registry is potentially dangerous, so it
is a good idea to set a System Restore point before you use it, or if you know
your way around the Registry, make a backup. Full details for both procedures
can be found here.
You should also enable the ‘Backup’ option in RegSeeker, as a boots and braces
measure, just in case something goes awry.
I desperately need help.
I run windows XP Professional and I find that I cannot remove the Read Only
attributes of some files in Windows Explorer, I have tried everything but
David Joyce, via email
is a known issue in Windows XP and 2000 and there is a reasonably
straightforward workaround that will remove the Read Only attribute from all of
the files in a folder. It is carried out from a Command Prompt (a DOS type
window), so knowledgeable users only please apply. The full procedure is
outlined in Microsoft Knowledgebase article 326549
Further to your recent reply
to a reader’s query regarding Windows recovery discs I have a related question.
I can't get my head around having to "Restore the System" when
Windows goes wrong. I have a Sony Vaio Notebook, with Window XP SP2, which came
with no back-up disks at all.
The manual (also loaded on
the Notebook), gives instructions on how to make copies of system in case of
problems. Although I bought the requisite number and type of DVDs to perform
this task, I now find the idea daunting. Is it necessary to do it? Am I being anxious about something that may
that will help you get a sick PC back up and working has to be worthwhile but
first I think we should first make a distinction between Windows XP System
Restore, and re-installing the Windows XP operating system.
Restore is a built-in utility (also in Windows ME) that automatically makes a
backup copy of vital system files, usually once a day and whenever you install
any software or hardware that makes changes to the PC’s configuration. If something
goes wrong System Restore lets you backtrack to a point before the problem
occurred and hopefully get the PC working again. We looked at how to setup and
use System Restore in Boot
Windows XP should be a last resort, when everything else has failed, but XP
does make it easy to do what’s called a Repair Install (Boot Camp 336). It is
definitely worth trying first, as you don’t have to format the disc so all of
your programs and data should (in theory) be protected. However, sometimes the
only way to get a terminally ill PC working again is a full re-install of the
operating system, in which case the drive has to be wiped clean so you can
start from scratch.
out a Repair Install or Full Install you will need either an original Windows
XP installation disc or a manufacturer’s Recovery Disc. In some circumstances a
Repair Install can also be carried out from files stored on the hard disc -- as
in Patricia’s case -- and that is fine providing the hard drive isn’t faulty,
though it has to be said HDD failure is thankfully quite rare these days.
is re-installing Windows XP shouldn’t be necessary except in extreme
circumstances. Most problems can be sorted out using System Restore, Recovery
Console and other simple procedures (Boot Camp 337). It is well
worth brushing up on basic recovery techniques, which will get you out of
trouble 99 times out of a 100. Catastrophic failures do happen so I suggest
that when you get a few spare minutes you should make those recovery discs, and
learn how to use them, but as I keep on saying it is much more important to
regularly back up all of your irreplaceable data.
Maybury 2005, 2510