31/12/05 - 01/01/06
PLAYSTATION PORTABLE AND
Hi Rick, Santa Claus has been
very generous this year and so my son has acquired a shiny new PSP for
Christmas. I got my present earlier this year in the shape of a new Windows XP
PC after many years of enduring a PC running W98SE. As a result the old machine
has now been passed down to same son, as I like him to keep all his music
files, etc away from my hard drive. The problem is that to connect his PSP to
the W98SE machine using a mini USB cable means that a suitable driver is
required and W98SE does not seem to be able to come up with the goods and so,
unlike WXP, will not recognise it as a drive. A Google search surprisingly
seems to give very little joy on the matter. Is a suitable driver available
A. I can’t say I am surprised. It’s the hardware manufacturer’s
responsibility -- i.e. Sony -- to develop drivers for Windows and I can’t
really see them expending much too effort creating one for an obsolete operating
system. Yes, I know zillions of people still use Windows 9x (me included) but
this system is now over 8 years old and well past its sell by date. Of course
it’s always possible that someone will come up with a third-party driver or a
fix, I wasn’t able to find anything, or any suggestion that’s there’s even much
of a demand so I wouldn’t hold your breath… (Nevertheless, If anyone has a solution then please let me know so I can pass it on to Mark).
All is not lost, however, and if
you connect the two PC’s together using a network then it should be possible to
route the music tracks through your XP PC on to your son’s PSP.
TAKING THE MIKE
Hi Rick. I would like to
record a voice commentary to a DVD, and have the necessary software to do this.
My trouble is that I would like two people to provide commentary, but it is
difficult to share one microphone, as you need to position your mouth very
close to the mic for the sound to pick up. I purchased a two-into-one audio
jack, and have therefore been able to plug two microphones into the one mic
slot. The trouble is that when I have both mics connected, the PC does not pick
up any sound from either. As soon as I
unplug one of them, the remaining one works fine. Do you have any ideas about
what I might be doing wrong, or is there a better way of achieving the end
A. Well, it was worth a try… Connecting two mikes together is not a good
idea, and as you have discovered it will cause all sorts of problems. My guess
is the mikes are not the same type and there’s a serious impedance mis-match
with your soundcard’s micophone input. The correct way to do it is to use a
microphone mixer. This is a simple device that lets you combine and control the
sound from two or more microphones. A few years ago there used to be loads of
them but they seem to be a bit thin on the ground these days, nevertheless, I
managed to track down a couple on the Maplin
website and one (part no L71AK), has 3 channels, no less, and it’s all
yours for the princely sum of £6.99.
SPEEDY STANDBY SHORTCUT?
Hi Rick, thank you for the previous tip on creating quick
closedown shortcut. Is there a rapid way of putting a desktop shortcut (I use
Windows XP) on standby? I have used Fn+F12 on my laptop for years but there is
no Fn key on my new desktop.
A. The Function Key shortcut for quick Standby on your laptop was
probably a built-in or bundled utility and would have only worked on that
machine but there are various ways to get Windows XP into Standby from the
keyboard. The simplest is to press Winkey then U, then S, which takes you to
the normal shutdown dialogue and then puts the machine in Standby. If you want
to create a desktop shortcut then right-click on the desktop, select New >
Shortcut and in the ‘Type the Location…’ box enter or copy and paste the
Click Next, give it a name
like ‘Standby’ then OK and try it out.
WHERE’S THE WELCOME GONE?
Rick, I have windows XP and now for some reason when I switch on
the computer the usual " Welcome" window does not show. I now get a
black background with a password window and until I click enter the computer
goes no further. I have tried System Restore but this has not helped. I have
tried to change this in User accounts but keep getting the message Uninstall
Client Services for Net Ware. I have looked every where to find where I can do
this but to no avail, can you help
A. I wonder if you’ve
inadvertently enabled one of my Top Tips and turned off the Windows ‘Splash
Screen’? If so all you have to do is go to Run on the Start menu and type
‘msconfig’ (without the quotes), then select the Boot.Ini tab. If it has been
switched off there will be a check mark next to the item ‘/NOGUIBOOT’
Hello Rick, can
you point me in the right direction please? I have CCleaner on screen >
click Analyse - after a few seconds - " Analysis Complete - 147.0MB to be
Long list of files, starting with IE Temporary Internet
Files (9401 files) 23.6 MB > Click Run Cleaner " This
process will permanently delete files from your computer" If I delete all
these files, will there be anything left?
A. Once you click the Run button CCleaner will delete
all of the files that have been selected. The default selection is a list of
files that one way or another records your Internet activites. These include
Cookies, which are small text files left behind by the web sites that you
visit. Cookies are generally innocuous but they may contain personal details
and preferences, however, far more worrying is the contents of the index.dat
file. This is a hidden and protected Windows log file that records every web
site you have ever visited, potentially since day one. The contents of the
Index.dat file cannot be deleted by normal means and depending on your point of
view it could represent a serious threat to your privacy. Why, you may ask
would such a facility exist? Conspiracy theorists maintain it was put there at
the behest of the FBI. I’ve yet to hear a convincing technical explanation for
its inclusion, there’s certainly no need for it for normal web surfing and
deleting it certainly does no harm, but you’ll have to make up your own mind.
HIJACKED BROWSER, NEW REMOVAL TOOL ON TRIAL
Dear Rick, I have just been reading one of the BootLogs and note
that you are an enthusiastic user of Microsoft Antispyware. I have installed
Microsoft Antispyware, which I have now run 8 times since installation. On each
occasion a sever threat has been identified. I have either removed or
quarantined the threat after identification. When the software is run again the
same threat is identified. The details of the threat show up as follows:
‘AutoSearch Browser Modifier
more information. Details: AutoSearch is an Internet Explorer browser
helper object that redirects address bar searches to a specific We site.
Status: Removed Severe threat - Severe-risk items have an extreme potential for
harm, such as a security exploit, and should be removed. Infected registry
The only symptom that I have noticed that could be related to this
threat is that occasionally when I enter an incorrect web address I am
redirected to a pornographic portal. I have never entered the site. I have not
yet tried to delete these registry keys as I am a little concerned of any knock
on effect. Your help and assistance would be appreciated.
A. The long and the short of
it is that your PC has been infected by a nasty little piece of Malware and
although MS AntiSpyware can detect it, it can’t or won’t remove it for you
possibly because it mimics the behavoir of a legitimate Browser Helper Object (BHO). I wouldn’t recommend delving into the
Registry unless you know precisely what you are doing and have made a backup
and set a System Restore point first. In any case there is an easier way and
I’ve been trialling a neat little freeware utility called ToolBar Cop, that
precisely targets BHOs and can remove them. The current version is very easy to
use and so far seems to do a very thorough job. You’ll find a link to the
download in the BootLog
Hello Rick, during boot up I receive the following dialogue box:
[/help] [/quiet] [/passive] [/uninstall] [/norestart]
[/forcerestart] [/l] [/n] [/o] [/f]…’
Clicking OK gets rid of it but I would prefer it not to appear. I
have checked Q828026 on the MS Knowledge base and it is associated with Windows
Media Player. I have Media Player 10 installed. Am a daily visitor to BootLog and Propellerhead, which to a
silver surfer like myself are very helpful.
A. Thanks for the support Pat, it's much appreciated! The snappily named Q828026 is a Microsoft ‘Hotfix’ security
update for older versions (v6 to 9) of Windows Media Player. It appears that
you have downloaded but not finished installing the patch on your PC. You could
try to manually complete the installation but I suspect you will end up chasing
your tail so I suggest that you just uninstall it and to avoid ever having to
grapple with it again upgrade to the latest version of Windows Media Player
(v10). The Q828026 upgrade should show up in Add/Remove Programs in Control
Panel as ‘Windows Media Player Hotfix 828026’, click Remove and when it has finished reboot then pop along to the Windows Media Player 10 download web page.
Hi Rick, can you help me please? I have Quikshield installed on my
PC and it is driving me crazy I want to remove it but I am unable to trace the
file on my system I have looked on the web but unable to trace any info apart
the web site asking me to subscribe.
A. Some programs can bury
themselves away, making them difficult to uninstall but as far as I am aware
this one should be quite simple to remove. According to the FAQ on the
Quikshield web site all you have to do is right-click on the QS icon in the
System Tray (next to the clock) and select Options, this screen should include
an uninstall utility. If the icon isn’t shown right-click onto an empty part of
the Taskbar, select Properties and the Taskbar tab and make sure ‘Hide inactive
icons’ isn’t checked. As a further precaution I suggest running RegSeeker, a
freeware utility that removed redundant Registry entries. Use the Clean the
Registry tool but before you do make sure the Backup option is checked, just in
case something goes awry.
SLOW STARTUP AND BELIGERENT BLOOTHOOTH
Dear Rick I have a fairly powerful PC with lots of programs and
gadgets connected to it. Digital photography is my thing so there are 2
printers plus film and flatbed scanners etc. as well as a wireless router to
network an old laptop my wife uses for her work. Despite all your tuning tips XP takes almost 3 minutes to finish
starting from cold. Any ideas? Also, the pc has a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse.
I thought using 'standby' instead of shutting down every time would save time
but the machine won't 'wake up' with the mouse or keyboard despite checking
these options in the 8IOS power settings and Windows device manager?
A. It’s very difficult to say but a slow startup is almost always
due to lots of background Services and Processes loading at the same time
as Windows and judging by the number of peripherals you have connected to your
machine it may be that some of these are slowing things down. The first thing I
would do is disconnect and uninstall all of them, including the Bluetooth and
network gubbins then go back to the XP Tuning Tips articles (in particular Boot Camp 357)
and work through the section on thinning out unwanted Services. When that is
done reinstall the devices one at a time and see if one or more of them are
slowing things down. If that doesn’t help and your XP installation is more than
a couple of years old I would bite the bullet, back up all of your data and carry
out a fresh install and monitor the change to the startup each time you
load a new application or peripheral to see what’s causing the problem.
The problem with your Bluetooth mouse and keyboard is almost
certainly a BIOS issue. My guess is the port they are using is not being power
up when the PC comes out of Standby. Check the Support and FAQs on the
manufacturer’s websites and it maybe worth seeing if there’s a BIOS update for
DVD DISC DILEMMA
Dear Rick, thanks for all your help in the past, and hope you can
help now. My Compaq laptop crashed when trying to install XP (previously ME)
and had to be repaired. Lost everything
including programs. Everything sorted
now (using XP) apart from not being able to play DVDs when I previously could
before crash. A message comes up saying, "cannot play DVD because a
compatible DVD decoder is not installed".
Is this something I have to buy, and if so how do I know which one is
A. On its own Windows Media
Player (WMP) cannot play DVDs, it requires a separate ‘codec’, or it can
utilise the DVD codec included with a third-party DVD player. Presumably you
had such a program (or codec) on your PC before the crash, so hunt through the
discs that came with the PC and see if one is included. They often come with
DVD drives, or it may be part of the software bundle provided by the
manufacturer. If you can’t find one then try Media
Player Classic V6, it’s freeware, the download is small (2.2Mb), it’s easy
to use and it works really well.
My Norton anti-virus software throws up a non-viral threat
and locates it in Temporary Internet
Files\Content.IE5\E93GDORU\Spamblockerutility(1).exe. I cannot find this file
to delete it in Temporary Internet Files and running AdAware and Spybot fails
to remove it. Any suggestions?
A. Spamblocker is a fairly
low-level adware parasite, I’m not sure why AdAware and Spybot are missing it but
it’s worth another go if you have updated their signature files recently. If it
still won’t shift then it’s time to call in the big guns and use out old friend
Hijack This. Download and install HTJ then run a Scan. I suspect Spamblocker
will show up on the scan list several times, so check each instance and click
the Fix button, reboot and hopefully that’s the last you’ll see of it.
FIREWALLS, HARD OR SOFT?
Hi Rick, you responded recently (07/12/05) to a question
over Broadband and firewalls, could I ask a further question to get your views
on router firewalls? I have a Netgear DG834GT, which has its own built-in
firewall. With that left on its default settings do you think it is
satisfactory on its own? Many thanks again for an excellent site
A. There are basically two
types of firewall, your Netgear router features a so-called ‘hardware’
firewall, then there are ‘software’ firewalls, like the one built into Windows
XP and third-party programs like Zone Alarm and those marketed by the likes of
Norton, McAfee, Sygate and so on. Hardware firewalls are generally very good at
blocking inbound traffic from the Internet, like hackers trying to access PCs on your network, and they usually
require little or no configuration. However, they are less good at intercepting
attempts by programs on your networked PCs to access your Internet connection, which
includes nasties like Spyware, Trojans and Keyloggers, which could pass on
private and personal information stored on your PC. The XP firewall does a
similar job, i.e. it can stop hack attacks but it can’t do anything about Malware
infections on your PC.
The main advantage of a commercial software firewall
is that they are configurable so that every time something on your PC tries to
connect to the Internet you will be alerted and asked if you want to allow it
or not. The downside of a software firewall is that it only protects the
PC it’s installed on, so if you have several PCs sharing a network connection
through your router each of them needs its own firewall.
I have used RealPlayer to burn CD’s that I want to play on
a home CD player, which works fine. But how do I know the format that the CD
stores the music? Clicking on ‘properties’ simply says that it is a ‘music’
A. Sorry about the teccy jargon but it helps to know that
the tracks on a pre-recorded audio CD conform to the standard CD Audio (CD-A,
file extension *.cda) or ‘Red Book format. CD-A files contain raw
digitised16-bit data with a sampling rate of 44,100Hz and this is very similar
to the standard Windows *.wav audio format. The main difference is that CDA
parameters are fixed whereas the sample rate and number of bits are variable in
the *wav format. CDA and wav files are identified in blocks of data called the
Since CD-A and wav files are so similar that Windows
doesn’t always discriminate between them and just calls them ‘music files’. In
most cases it doesn’t matter as Windows Media Player and just about every other
media player plays both types of file. However, I have noticed that Windows
will identify cda files after installing Winamp, so give that a try if it
bothers you, otherwise I suspect the only way to make Windows recognise CDA
files is to set up a file association in Windows Explorer (Tools > Folder
Options. File Types).
Hi Rick, I have an annoying problem and can't work out
whom to speak to, to fix it. When ordering online or by phone the software that
automatically pulls up my address from the postcode but prefixes the house name
with the previous owners business name. Do you know where this software comes
from and gets its info from so I can contact them and get it changed?
Also, here's a Tip of the Day for you; Remind people how useful
clicking the "images" button on Google can be prior to searching. It
often pulls up some interesting sites that the usual search misses. Keep up the
A. Thanks for the Tip Peter,
Google Images is an amazing resource and it has rarely let me down, even when
looking for something really obscure. As for your postcode problem, the
principle sources of data for web sites and call centres that use this type of
software are the Royal
Mail, BT Phone Book and 192.com. Royal Mail distribute a database called
the PAF (Postcode Address File) which is updated quarterly. Try giving RM’s
Data Products department a call on 0845 6039038 or
Service for a problem report form. The BT Phone Book has created a similar
database of UK addresses and businesses, click here for its Support
Department and here for 192.com’s Contact page.
The maximum volume on my laptop is so feeble as to make CD
playback almost inaudible. I've tried the Control Panel route, setting every
slider in sight to maximum - is there maybe something I could do in the (gulp)
registry? I'm sure the best practical solution would be external amplified
speakers, but I'm curious.
Derek Wildman (Olsztyn, Poland)
A. I assume that you have
set the correct speaker type your machine -- it’s on the Sound icon in Control
Panel, select the Volume tab then click the Advanced button and choose Laptop
from the drop down menu. However, I fear that it’s probably as loud as it is
going to get. You only have to look where the sound comes from on most laptops
to understand why. How loud can a speaker be that’s only an inch or two across?
That’s not to say you cannot get very decent sound quality and volume from a
laptop without external speakers, try plugging in a decent pair of headphones,
but if you want to fill even a modest sized room them I’m afraid you are going
to have to stump up for a set of amplified speakers.
There are a number of software products on the market,
which claim to remove all traces of past Internet activity from one's computer.
This seems to be a good idea, but I am wary of buying them in case they contain
malware of some sort. Do you have any experience of their use? One in particular claims to be the best, but
their website is so "hard sell" that I am suspicious.
A. You are right to be cautious and a worryingly large
number of so-called ‘cleaners’ try to frighten you into buying them, or carry
their own malware payloads. For the record I only recommend CCleaner (Crap
Cleaner), which is free and works brilliantly on all versions of Windows,
including XP. This empties out the most pernicious of the hidden Windows log
files (index.dat) as well as a number of other History files and to date it has
On the wider topic of Malware cleaners again I have found
the freeware offerings to be more than adequate and I use AdAware, Spybot and
Microsoft AntiSpyware (XP Only). I run all three at least once a week and so
far they haven’t let me down, though my PC is virtually immune to this kind of
infection since I use Firefox for 99.9 percent of my web browsing. Before
downloading or installing any Malware cleaner I strongly suggest that you check
the list of ‘rogue’ products listed on the Spywarewarrior
HUB SNUBS MOUSE ON STANDBY
I read your recent advice in BootLog concerning USB hubs.
I installed one (a powered type) on my laptop which has only two USB ports, to
which were connected an external modem and the mouse. Before attaching the hub I didn't uninstall the modem and mouse
and XP recognised them both once the hub was connected. However on occasion,
when I wake the laptop from standby, the mouse is "dead" and I have
to use the touch pad, or reboot.
Obviously something doesn't load after waking up from Standby, but I can't think what to change to get rid of
the glitch. Any ideas gratefully received. The site continues to be a gem.
A. Thanks for the encouragement and hopefully we can sort out your little problem. There is a known glitch with some Toshiba laptops
Portege 4000, DynaBook SS M3/M4 and DynaBook SS 4000, but even if your machine
isn’t on the list I suspect something may be happening as it’s due to
mis-configured power-management, which mistakenly switches off the port
replicator, which behaves in a similar manner to an external USB hub. The solution
is plug in the hub and make sure everything is working then go to Start >
Control Panel and double-click the System icon. Click the Hardware button then
Device Manager and scroll down the lost to Universal Serial Bus Controllers and
double-click the icon. There you will see one or more entries called USB Root
Hub, right-click on each one in turn and select Properties then the Power
Management tab and uncheck ‘Allow the computer to turn off this device to save
power’. Repeat for each entry, exit the dialogue boxes and reboot. If you do
have one of the Tosh laptops lists you should also have a look at MS
Knowledgebase article 839042, which has some additional steps that you might
need to take.
IN SEARCH OF THE LOST WORD
Hi there, I've just got my computer back after repairs to
replace the hard drive, I seem to have most of what I had before but not Word.
Is it possible it has been lost, or not re installed or something? By the way I
am not an expert so is there anything I can do without taking I back to the
repairers, as they had it so long I am reluctant to return it again.
A. There’s an easy way to find if Word is still on your PC
and that’s to go to Run on the Start menu and type ‘winword’ (without the
quotes), if it is there it will open and you can go to Windows Explorer and
work your way to C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office, right click on the
Winword.exe icon and select Send To > Desktop create shortcut. If not I’m
afraid Word is either damaged or not there and you will have to reinstall it.
This also serves as a useful reminder to all PC users to make sure their
backups are always up to date so if your PC has to go away for repair and the
hard drive has to be replaced you won’t loose irreplaceable data. Don’t forget
to remove any personal or private information as well, it’s not unheard of for
old drives to be resold or installed in new PCs.
I put ‘fox urine deterrent ‘ into Google.com and came up
with your website talking about using human urine as a deterrent for getting rid of foxes.
What I am looking for is powdered fox urine and wonder if it is sold in this
country. It is available in the USA but they do not ship it overseas. I am
trying to get rid of squirrels and apparently this is a most effective method.
I just want to get them out of my attic without the bother of trapping or
poisoning them. If I can get them out I can make the attic secure again. Can you
A. Thanks for demonstrating
so convincingly what a fantastic resource BootLog can be. Google is referring
to a question and some very helpful answers published in the Over 2 You section of the Archive
-- O2Y152 to be specific. I’m afraid I cannot help you on this matter but BootLog is read far
and wide so if anyone out there can assist Angela in her quest for a source of powdered fox pee I would be happy to pass it on.
Incidentally I’ve had several requests to revive Over 2 You on BootLog, it’s
certainly something I’m considering, so stay tuned.
XP NOT SO QUICK FOR MEDIA FILES
Hi Rick, pleased though I am with the speed of my new XP
computer I cannot understand why Windows Media refuses to play .mov files as
did its predecessor despite being upgraded to version 10. No problem with audio
files. Can you suggest what might be
wrong or missing?
Don from Brentwood
A. It helps to know that .mov files are more correctly
known as the Apple QuickTime multimedia files, and that there’s a certain
amount of commercial rivalry between Apple and Microsoft when it comes to
multimedia technologies. Windows Media Player (WMP to its friends) can be
persuaded to play older QuickTime (version 2.0 or earlier) files, but this
requires a Codec to be installed in WMP and my guess is that’s what you had on
your previous PC, either that of you had Apple QuickTime installed and they
played through that. QuickTime files later than version 2 will not play in WMP,
at least I’m not aware of any updated codecs, and the only way you can watch
them is by installing a QuickTime player, which you can download for free from
Hi Rick, perhaps you can help me with a long-standing
problem? I use Windows ME with a Thomson Speedtouch Internet modem. Of late,
every time I try to connect to the Internet I receive a message Error 0633 the
port is already in use. I then switch off the computer totally; re-start it and
the Internet is successfully connected; your help would be greatly appreciated.
A. The Error 0633 message indicates there could be a
problem with the modem driver so the first thing I would do is whilst the
connection is working is go to the Alcatel Speedtouch support
page and download and install the latest Windows ME driver.
There is another (slim) possibility and that concerns a known
glitch in Windows ME, which may try to initiate a dial-up connection at the
same time as a broadband connection. To stop it happening go to Start >
Settings Dial-Up Networking, right click on the default connection icon, select
Properties and uncheck ‘Dial whenever a connection is not present’, click OK,
exit all the dialogue boxes and reboot.
Hi Rick, I have just signed up for BT Broadband and I am
wondering about the best firewall to install. They want an extra £3.50 a month
for theirs (a bit naughty that as there was no warning beforehand that is
wasn't included in the basic option). It seems a bit steep to me. I see that
AVG have one - with a price quoted in dollars (just under $50). That seems to
include updates for two years - after which one presumably has to pay again. Any
By the way, what exactly does a firewall do that my
Spydoctor, AdAware, Spybot, AVG and the Yahoo Anti-spy don't?
A. A firewall is basically a gatekeeper for the Internet,
protecting your PC against hackers and putting you in control of the
applications on your PC that seek to use your connection. These include
‘malware’ programs, like Trojans and Spyware that can pass on information
stored on your PC to crooks. Spydoctor, AdAware and SpyBot are malware cleaners
that detect and remove infections once they’ve been installed on your computer,
usually by clicking on pop-ups and message boxes on web pages. AVG, of course,
is a virus scanner, that protects your PC against nasties hiding inside email
attachments and programs.
Before you splash out on a commercial Firewall see how you
get on with ZoneAlarm, it’s free and it works (though the most recent version
has had a few hiccups but Zone Labs seem to have sorted most of them now).
Incidentally, unlike virus scanners and malware cleaners which have to cope with constantly changing threats Firewalls shouldn’t
need updating as often as they have one simple job to do -- controlling
NO DISK ERROR MESSAGE
Firstly Rick, thanks for some
excellent sites. I originally encountered you via Telegraph
"Connected" and now also enjoy BootLog and Propellerhead.
Now for my question. I run an
up to date PC with the XP Home SP2 operating system. DVD R/W drive and a DVD
ROM drive. Recently at start up I get this annoying message: Title Bar: "Windows No
Disk", followed be the message, "There is no disk in he drive. Please
insert a disk into the drive", followed by "Cancel", "Try
Again", "Continue" buttons. If I hit cancel, the message
may, or may not repeat for an random number of times before all is OK. I do not
always want to leave a disc in the drives. Can you suggest a solution, other
than the obvious?
A. Thanks for the support and I’m pleased you like the sites. Now for
your problem; I doubt very much that your PC is looking for the Windows
installation CD, but there’s no end of other things it could be. Think back,
did it start after you installed a program, if so try uninstalling and
reinstalling it? I’ve heard of this problem being caused by Norton Anti Virus,
QuickTime and even our old friend Spybot so try disabling or uninstalling them
to see if that makes a difference. It can also be due to a removable disc
drive, like a pen drive or Zip drive wrongly assigned to a drive letter that’s
in use but it’s far more likely to be a rogue system process. So, if none of
the above apply leave the message on the screen and open Task Manager by
pressing Ctrl + Alt + Delete. Right-click on the ‘No Disk’ entry and select Go
To Process and this should tell you what is generating the message. You can
then Google the name of the service or process to find out what it is and
whether or not it is safe to terminate, remove or reinstall.
Dear Rick, having had a visit
by a BT engineer, I am told that we live too far from our local exchange to
support ADSL and so cannot get broadband. This is very infuriating with so much
hype everywhere on high-speed connections and ever more complex, slow-loading
websites becoming commonplace.
Are there alternatives? I've
tried Onspeed but have not been impressed. Satellite seems too pricey, as you
also need to retain a dialup account for uploading. What has happened to WiMax?
A. Back in 2003 the BT’s stated
intention was to achieve 100 percent UK broadband coverage by 2005. Clearly
that hasn’t happened but it’s getting close with an estimated 99.6 percent of
the population now, or about to in reach of a connection, but that’s not what
you want to hear.
You and your local community
can certainly help things along by lobbying
BT and the Department
for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (defra), there’s nothing like a
healthy demand for getting things moving. Even if it’s just you who wants it (or you
live in a remote location) there’s still a lot you can do and I recommend that
you have a word with the Rural
Broadband Access Project (RBAP) who are coordinating efforts to reach the
few remaining areas. WiMax isn’t dead and this long-range Wi-Fi technology,
also known as Radio Broadband is being implemented in areas that cannot be
reached by cable; several systems are up and running, like Skylink in Kent with more in the pipeline
and again it’s in your interests to make your voice heard and give the people
who can make a difference a good hard prod.
Dear Rick, I have been following the steps outlined in Boot
Camp 376. I would like to locate my emails file and I have gone through the
steps to Application Data\Identities\<GUID>. There I find the long string
of characters but the file is empty and I cannot proceed to Microsoft\Outlook
Express. Is there any way to get around this problem?
A. That’s odd, I wonder if you’ve tried an earlier tip and
moved your Outlook Express Store file to another location? But first, in
Windows Explorer go to Tools > Folder Options > View and make sure that
‘Show hidden files and folders’ has been checked, if not do so and try again.
If it is still empty (and OE is working normally) then your Store folder has
been moved and you can find out where to by opening OE and going to Tools >
Options, select the Maintenance tab and click the Store Folder button and its
present location will be revealed.
LEAK PLUGGED BY XP
Hi Rick, on my earlier PC's I had a favourite screensaver
called Leak.scr which imitated the sight of water dripping down the inside of
the monitor screen. I can't get it to
run on XP. Can you help?
A. Leak.scr, or to give it its full name, Leaking Roof was written in the mid 1990’s, originally for Windows 3.1 and it ran happily on Windows 95 through to 98ME but it is a 16-bit application and 32-bit Windows XP doesn't like it, but iyou should be able to get it to work if you save the file in C:\windows\system 32. On the Screensaver Control Panel select None then click the Settings button and Leak should be listed and you can configure the number of droplets.
I wonder if you could comment on a problem I have
encountered when burning a dozen downloaded iTunes tracks onto a CD. The CD in
question was one of a pack of ten bought from a well-known PC store; they were
cheap at something like £4 for 10. The immediate result when played back was
good. However, after playing about ten times one track became repetitive like a
needle fault on an LP. I tried a commercially recorded CD on the player and it
was perfect. Am I correct in assuming that the quality of the cheap CD was the
reason for the malfunction and whether I should purchase a better quality CD?
If that is the case can you recommend a brand? Does this also apply when
transferring photos onto a CD?
A. The first thing to say is that even after all these years
recording or ‘burning’ CDs and DVDs is still not an exact science. Some say
it’s a black art and I tend to agree with them, when you know a little about
the technology involved it’s a wonder it works at all. But back to your problem, yes, it’s quite
possible the disc was faulty, though it is a little unusual for a problem to
develop after a few plays as there’s no physical contact between the drive and
At least that’s the theory, it could be that the player is damaging
the disc, check the surface carefully for any circular scratches that might
indicate that laser head, or some trapped dirt or debris is coming into contact
with the spinning disc. In any case I would run a cleaner disc through the
drive, just to make sure. As for recommending a brand all I can say is stick to
the well-known makes and you can’t go wrong but that said I have been using
ultra-cheap unbranded discs for years and have experienced very few failures.
Some drives are more tolerant than others, so try a few different ones.
Finally, from a practical point of view there is no
difference between a disc containing audio and one with pictures; it’s all
digital data. The integrity, or otherwise, of a recording is down to the quality
of the media, the recording and playback device and the processing software.
GHOST IN THE MACHINE?
Hi Rick, my e-machine (Windows XP
Home Edition) mysteriously switches itself on, usually during the night or if
I've been out for a long period during the day. Whilst sorting out another
problem recently, the PC World engineer went into the blue stuff and
enabled/disabled something, which seemed to solve the problem. The PC has just
come back from a successful health check but I cannot get a response from the
PCW automated help site and am loathe to take the machine back to the store as
it is in daily use. Any ideas?
A. I would lay money on it being a
BIOS feature called ‘Wake on Ring’ or ‘Wake on LAN’. In other words the PC is
set to switch itself on if it detects any activity on the modem phone line or
network connection. My guess is the BIOS was reset to its defaults when it was
being checked out.
You need to go into the PC’s BIOS usually by
pressing a key (or combination of keys) immediately after switch on and before
Windows starts loading. You may see an on-screen message flash up to this
effect (‘To enter setup press…) otherwise it should be mentioned in the
motherboard or owner’s manuals that came with your PC. When in the BIOS program
look in the Integrated Peripherals or Advanced Features menu and disable the ‘Wake
on…’ options, touch nothing else, save the settings Exit and reboot.