FAQS! FACTS! FAX!

 BootLog.co.uk

 

2005

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OCTOBER 2005

29/10/05

Harry Jones is has just upgraded from Windows ME to XP, and Word 97 doesn’t like it…

 

AWKWARD ADOBE

Every time I open Word 97 I get the warning "The Create Adobe PDF monitor cannot be found. Please reinstall Create Adobe PDF" and I have to click OK to get rid of it. This never happened with Windows ME. Why should it happen with XP SP2?

 

A. My guess is your new PC came with Adobe Acrobat ready installed, or you installed it yourself and then installed Word. The chances are it happened the other way around on your previous PC and Adobe Acrobat was installed after Word. The solution is simple, all you have to do is uninstall then re-install Adobe Acrobat, the missing files will be loaded in the correct location and the two programs will start talking to one another. If you fancy a tinker you can manually shift the files and the full procedure is explained in Adobe Support Knowledgebase Document 323749

 

28/10/05

For reasons best known to Bill Martin he wants to take greater control over his PC’s boot up, and why not?

 

BOSS OF THE BOOT

Good to see you back in the DT as well as on your own excellent website - we're spoilt with the best of both worlds.  Programs on my PC (using Windows ME) launch from Registry (Machine Run), Registry (Machine Services). the Startup Group and God knows where else.  I can't find anywhere that tells me the order in which they all launch, and wonder if you could advise.  Is it the same as listed in Msconfig/Start?

 

By the way, many thanks for your own website tip yesterday about colour-coding incoming email messages.  Very, very useful.  It's all there, isn't it, but we just don't bother to investigate!

 

A

Thanks for that Bill and glad you like the site. Now for your question, as far as I am aware there is no particular rationale to the order in which programs are loaded after Windows, I suspect it’s simply a case of first in first out though there is a way to trick programs listed in the Startup folder into launching in a specified order. All you have to do is right-click and open their shortcut properties and rename the shortcut, putting a number ahead of the application name, e.g. 1Word 2Outlook Express 3Firefox and so on. However, controlling programs that launch from the Registry (and which appear in the msconfig Start list) obey different rules and to change the sequence would involve editing the Registry. I have found a freeware application that purports to be able to do just that; it’s called Emsa Win Startup Manager. I must stress I haven’t tried it so you use it at your own risk and you should set a System Restore point beforehand, just in case. Let us know how you get on.

 

27/10/05

Ken Cheesley has managed to get his Wi-Fi network up and running but he’s having a bit of a problem with Outlook Express

 

OUTLOOK PROMISING

This is probably a simple problem but is defeating us so far! We have a desktop computer and laptop linked by a Linksys Wireless-G Gateway. The desktop is the server linked by cable to the telephone socket. We have no problem using the laptop for Internet purposes and to access files on the desktop.

 

What we cannot do is access Outlook Express emails from the laptop. Is it possible to replicate the Outlook Express Account onto the laptop and send and receive emails from the laptop? We have looked at several computer magazines and web sites but have not found the answer to this.

 

A. Hopefully you need look no further, Ken so let’s have a go at sorting it out. It would have been useful to know a little more about the PCs in your network but I’ll work on the assumption that you are using Windows XP and take it from there. The good news is the problem should be simple to resolve. Most networking glitches are caused by the actual connection, or rather the lack of it but since you say Internet and file sharing are all working we can rule that out. That leaves two possibilities and the first and most likely one is your Firewall or anti-virus program is blocking Outlook Express’s attempts to access the Internet. The way to find out is to temporarily disable one or both programs, and if that turns out to be the cause you will have to have a poke around their configuration and ‘blocked application’ menus to free up Outlook Express, Incidentally OE probably won’t be listed as such so look for its process file, which is ‘msimn.exe’. The second possibility is Outlook Express configuration. Since OE shares its settings with Internet Explorer it’s worth re-running the Setup and connection Wizard again and you can do that by going to OE’s Tools menu, select Options than the Connections tab. Click the Change button then on the Internet Properties box that appears click Setup and follow the prompts. If that doesn’t resolve the problem and the Internet is still live) then the OE Port settings may be incorrect, to check them go to Tools > Accounts, highlight your default email account then click Properties and select the Advanced tab. The normal settings should be Port 25 for SMTP (outgoing mail) and Port 110 for incoming (POP3 mail) and check these are correct.

 

27/10/05

Ken Cheesley has managed to get his Wi-Fi network up and running but he’s having a bit of a problem with Outlook Express

 

OUTLOOK PROMISING

This is probably a simple problem but is defeating us so far! We have a desktop computer and laptop linked by a Linksys Wireless-G Gateway. The desktop is the server linked by cable to the telephone socket. We have no problem using the laptop for Internet purposes and to access files on the desktop.

 

What we cannot do is access Outlook Express emails from the laptop. Is it possible to replicate the Outlook Express Account onto the laptop and send and receive emails from the laptop? We have looked at several computer magazines and web sites but have not found the answer to this.

 

A. Hopefully you need look no further, Ken so let’s have a go at sorting it out. It would have been useful to know a little more about the PCs in your network but I’ll work on the assumption that you are using Windows XP and take it from there. The good news is the problem should be simple to resolve. Most networking glitches are caused by the actual connection, or rather the lack of it but since you say Internet and file sharing are all working we can rule that out. That leaves two possibilities and the first and most likely one is your Firewall or anti-virus program is blocking Outlook Express’s attempts to access the Internet. The way to find out is to temporarily disable one or both programs, and if that turns out to be the cause you will have to have a poke around their configuration and ‘blocked application’ menus to free up Outlook Express, Incidentally OE probably won’t be listed as such so look for its process file, which is ‘msimn.exe’. The second possibility is Outlook Express configuration. Since OE shares its settings with Internet Explorer it’s worth re-running the Setup and connection Wizard again and you can do that by going to OE’s Tools menu, select Options than the Connections tab. Click the Change button then on the Internet Properties box that appears click Setup and follow the prompts. If that doesn’t resolve the problem and the Internet is still live) then the OE Port settings may be incorrect, to check them go to Tools > Accounts, highlight your default email account then click Properties and select the Advanced tab. The normal settings should be Port 25 for SMTP (outgoing mail) and Port 110 for incoming (POP3 mail) and check these are correct.

 

26/10/05

Bob Buchan is one of the many readers who has followed my advice and switched to Mozilla’s Thunderbird email program and he likes it so much he now wants to move it to another PC

 

THUNDERBIRD TO GO

As you have advised the use of Mozilla and informed how to build one's own computer, would you consider an article how to transfer all the Thunderbird data from one computer to a new one?

 

A. Absolutely no problem Bob and thanks for a nice easy one (it is midweek after all…). One of Thunderbird’s many virtues is that it uses a plain text format to store email messages so they can be easily moved from one PC to another simply by copying and pasting the store folder into the same location on the second PC. We covered this a short while ago but since you’re still finding your way around the site clicking HERE will take you straight to the relevant item.

 

25/10/05

Dial up Internet still suits a lot of people, like Chris Bocock, but his connection is proving difficult and won’t hang up when it is supposed to.

 

STICKY DIAL-UP

Hi and thanks for a super site. My problem is my dial-up connection seems to have a mind of its own. Sometimes the Disconnect box appears and sometimes it doesn't, although it always works after I've re-booted. The search facility in XP has failed to find it for me too. Can you help please as I would like it to appear every time that I come out of OE or Internet Explorer?

 

A

Glad you like BootLog and stay tuned because it’s getting bigger and better all the time. Now to your problem, a sticky dial-up connection can be a real pain as you can easily rack up a hefty phone bill if you stay connected after you’ve closed down your browser and email program. A box should appear asking you if you want to stay connected but as Chris has found it’s not reliable. The trick is to make sure the Auto Disconnect facility is enabled. To do that Go to Start > Control Panel and double-click Internet Options. Highlight your ISP entry and click the Settings button. Next click the Advanced button and the  ‘Advanced Dial-Up’ dialogue box appears. Check the last item ‘Disconnect when connection may no longer be needed’ and click OK. To make the setting stick you need to close all open browser windows, Outlook Express and anything else that may be accessing the Internet (automatic virus program automatic updates and so on) then re-boot the PC and the next time you access the Internet it should be activated.

 

24/10/05

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, one of the most useful PC accessories you can have is a shoebox, if Geoff Reeves had one he might have avoided this little predicament…

 

LOST CAUSE?

My elderly Time PC has become increasing erratic of late - error messages, lock-ups, boot-up and closedown failures, programs not responding etc.  I would like to clear everything and start again from scratch, but the instruction booklet, which came with the PC, refers to a re-load CD that I have mislaid and I can't remember where it is. Is what I want to do possible without it? If so, how? I've found a web site offering a free program, which claims to fix everything. Is it safe to download and does it work?

 

A

The shoebox, in case you were wondering is to keep all of your discs in, but it’s obviously too late for Geoff and it sounds as though as full re-install might be the best option. As for downloading programs from the Internet to fix your PC problems, if you run out of options, you’ve backed up all of your data and it is free then it’s worth a try since you’ve nothing to loose, but don’t get your hopes up

 

I’m not optimistic, though because there are simply too many things that can go wrong on an old and well used PC, particularly on Windows 95, 98, SE & ME systems, which are notorious for slowly grinding to a halt under the weight of the crud left behind by uninstalled programs. Your best option is to buy a Windows installation CD; there are plenty of unregistered copies to be found on ebay selling for less than £20. For a step-by-step guide to re-installing Windows have a look at Boot Camp 099.  

 

21/10/05

No one likes it but some Internet Service Providers persist in annoying their customers by ‘Branding’ or putting their names in the Internet Explorer and Outlook Express title bars, and Peter L wants to get rid of it.

 

BRAND DISLOYALTY

I seem to remember you mentioning before about how to remove the broadband supplier’s name from the Internet Explorer and Outlook Express but I can't find the article.  What I mean is when I open either IE or OE the top part it says "Microsoft Internet Explorer provided by XXX".  have just changed to a new broadband supplier that does not stick their advertising all over the place so how can I remove it? I have uninstalled all the previous ISP software but it’s still there.   

 

A. Over the years we’ve looked at several ways of removing branding, including editing the Registry (definitely not for novices) to running visual basic scripts, however. The most painless one I’ve come across to date is a small utility called ISPunbrand. It’s basically a Registry fix but it has been safely packaged so you don’t have to do any tinkering, just download and run. It’s very small  (only 8kb) and you will find it here.

 

 

If you are feeling bold you can try one of the manual removal procedures we’ve recommended in the past. All you have to do is type the following in Run on the Start menu:

rundll32 iedkcs32.dll,Clear

though to make sure there are no mistakes I suggest that you copy and paste it from the page:

 

21/10/05

In these uncertain times it’s difficult to know who to trust. Brigid Owen is concerned about an unfamiliar program she has found on her new computer

 

A LOAD OF BULL?

Do you know anything about an anti virus and firewall called Bullguard? It came with a new computer, which I purchased recently. It is on a 3-month trial that ends in a few weeks. It seems easy enough to use and claims to have an online backup facility.   have never heard of it before.  I believe you recently published details of a website where one could check if anti virus and firewall programs were safe?

 

A. As far as I’m aware Bullguard is a perfectly respectable anti-virus program, though the firewall element has come in for some criticism. A couple of reviews I have read claim that it contain an embedded adware component that generates a pop-up advertisement.

 

The only thing I would say is that there are at least two excellent freeware anti virus programs, Avast and AVG, which I and many others have used for several years - -on many different PCs -- and to date neither has failed me despite being subject to constant attack. I’m also happy to recommend the freeware firewall Zone Alarm, which provides the same level of protection as many commercial offerings.

 

The web site you refer to is Sypwarewarrior and it exposes rogue Spyware and Malware cleaners so it’s definitely worth a visit before you buy or download anything.

 

20/10/05

It takes time to find your way around a new Windows PC; Alistair Scott is having trouble with the sound on his one…  

TWINKLE GOES

I have a simple question, and there's probably a ridiculously simple answer, but I can't find it. I really don't want Bill Gate’s 'twinkly' music every time I start up or close down Windows. I find it intensely irritating. Of course, I could always switch my speakers off or turn the volume down but often I forget and, anyway, why should I? Is there any way I can switch these musical phrases off ... permanently?

 

A

It’s okay, you’ll quickly learn where everything is and the first place to look for anything to do with basic setup and configuration is the Windows Control Panel. You will find it on the Start menu, and for future reference if you ever loose it, just type ‘control’ (sans quotes) in Run on the Start menu.

 

Anyway, once Control Panel has opened double-click the ‘Sounds and audio devices’ icon, select the Sounds tab and scroll down the ‘Program Events’ list to Windows Start. In the Sounds box underneath select None then OK if you never want to hear a startup tune again.

However, before you do why not have a quick poke around and see if there are any other sounds or jingles that you do like. Simply highlight a selection and click the triangular Play icon to hear what it sounds like. You can also create your own Windows Start sound, or sounds for any other Windows ‘event’. You can use snippets of music 'sampled' from a CD or even the sound of your own voice. There’s some simple to follow instructions in the Top Tips Archive here.  

 

 

19/10/05

It’s said that you are either disabled or temporarily able-bodied… Ian Pizer in Switzerland has a friend in the former category and he would like to help him to use a PC

 

VOCAL SUPPORT

My friend suffers from Parkinson's disease so his hand (and body) is very unsteady. He would like to learn to use a PC but unless there are tricks, gadgets, gimmicks, programs he will surely fail. Any ideas?

 

A

There are several possibilities Ian, depending on the severity of your friend’s condition, but if he has a reasonable amount of control over his hands then I would suggest a trackball type mouse, with the acceleration and sensitivity reduced to compensate for involuntary movements and possibly a large button keyboard such as Big Keys. Failing that the best alternative would be voice control and the best-known package is Dragon Naturally Speaking. It’s primarily designed as a text to speech input device but it can also be trained to control just about any other function on a PC, from opening applications to sending emails without going anywhere near a mouse or keyboard. You might also want to have a look at Realize Voice, which is more of a PC voice control program, and there’s a shareware program called e-speaking, which you can try before you buy, to see if voice control is a practical solution.

 

18/10/05

Julie E. writes in with a postscript to a recent query on the subject of Windows XP recovery discs.

 

CONSOLE YOURSELF

I was interested to see your advice about repairing the master boot record on a Windows XP computer, but a lot of us now don't get XP CDs or even recovery disks when we buy a new PC. Do you have any advice, should a similar event occur?

 

A

The Windows XP Recovery Console is similar to the old Windows 95/98 Emergency Startup Disc and it can be used to carry out repairs -- like fixing the Master Boot Record -- extract files and all sorts of other things so for that reason I recommend that Windows XP users install the Recovery Console on their PCs so that it appears briefly as an option every time you boot up.

 

In the event of Windows XP refusing to boot the Recovery Console will be instantly available without having to dig out your Windows installation CD -- assuming that you have one. The procedure is outlined in Boot Camp 337, along with one or two simple Recovery Console tips but you may have spotted the fatal flaw in this idea. You need a Windows XP installation disc in order to install the Recovery Console, or do you?

 

In fact the Recovery Console installation files are often loaded with Windows and hidden deep inside an XP system folders. The way to find out is to go to Run on the Start menu and type  ‘%windir%\i386\winnt32.exe /cmdcons’ (without the quotes).

 

This should start the installation process, if not then things start to get a little complicated and you will need to create a set of XP Startup discs, which will let you install the Recovery Console from DOS mode. There’s full details on how to make a set of disc on the Microsoft web site.

Microsoft Windows XP Home SP1  

Microsoft Windows XP Home

Microsoft Windows XP Pro SP1

Microsoft Windows XP Pro

 

If all else fails then I suggest that you get in touch with your PC supplier and pester them for a set of installation discs. Although not obliged to do so you may find they will help out, if only to shut you up… As a last and final resort I recommend cloning your hard drive, so in the event of a catastrophic failure you can be up and running again using your backup drive -- see Boot Camp 352 ad 353 for details.

 

17/10/05

When your Windows 98 PC runs out of puff what do you do? Tom Fletcher’s solution is to upgrade, but how straightforward is it going to be?

 

BOARD GAMES

I wish to upgrade my motherboard from Pentium II (Celeron) running Windows 98 - to a Pentium III model. Can I just change boards and not upgrade any other components, such as the hard drive?

 

A

There shouldn’t be any problems with the hard drive Tom, though you might want to check your new motherboard uses the same type of memory modules as your current one. But it’s not the hardware components you need to worry about, but Windows 98, which may object strongly to the change and you will probably end up doing something close to a full re-installation, by the time you’ve responded to all of the error messages and re-loaded all of the drivers and other stuff you will be asked for. I’m not trying to put you off, but be warned that it can be a long and tedious business.

 

Whilst upgrading the motherboard and processor can be a good way of pepping up a sluggish Windows 98 PC I wonder if you have investigated some cheaper and often more effective options, such as increasing your RAM memory to the maximum your system will support, (Boot Camps 22 & 23)  and clearing the clutter from your hard drive (Boot Camp 164), or even re-installing Windows (Boot Camp 099) -- well worth doing at least once a year.

 

However, in the end unless you are absolutely wedded or stuck to Windows 98 I would question the wisdom of upgrading a PC to use what is technically an obsolete operating system. Why not make the transition to XP? Very few Win 98 programs wont work on XP and by the time you add up the cost of the new motherboard, processor and quite possibly some new memory then you are probably between a third and a half of the way towards the cost of a new budget XP computer.

 

15/10/05

John Clark has an interesting query about installation discs, which raises the question, do you really need them?

 

THE ROAD TO RECOVERY

Congratulations on the web site and I hope that it goes from strength to strength. In common with the majority of PC users my Windows XP Home edition was pre-installed. Can I purchase a CD of Windows XP Home and install it over the OEM version? Would I encounter any problems regarding registering it with Microsoft. I want to do this as so often computing hints and tips start off with "load the Windows CD”!! In the event of problems it also provides me with options less drastic than the "recovery" disc, which would revert my set up to the factory condition. Any advice on potential pitfalls would be most welcome.

               

A.

Thanks for that and please keep clicking those ad-links to keep the coffee flowing. Buying a copy of XP is certainly an interesting solution and although I haven’t actually tried it, I can’t see any reason why Windows wouldn’t let you install it over the top of the existing system. If anyone has actually done it please let me know. However, it seems a bit drastic and although your recovery discs may well wipe the drive if you ever need to use them, it shouldn’t be a problem if

you’ve been following my advice all these years and backed up all of your irreplaceable data. I cannot stress how important that is so do it today!

 

You should find that XP won’t be asking you to insert an installation disc anything like as often as previous versions of Windows. In fact most if not all of the files it will ever need to access should already be stored on your hard drive, any others should be on the recovery disc or downloadable from the Internet.

 

14/10/05

Firefox is gaining ground fast and Howard Galloway wants to know how to make better use of one of its best features, tabbed browser windows

 

KEEPING TABS ON FIREFOX

I might be wrong about this but I seem to remember, a few months ago seeing something about an extension for Firefox, which, when downloaded and installed, automatically opened another tab when an icon was clicked - thereby preserving the original page instead of over-writing it. Have you have encountered such an add-on?

 

A

My guess is you picked this tweak up from Boot Camp 341 and it doesn’t involve any add-ons or downloads, it’s all built in. The idea is to add a New Tab button to the toolbar so if you click on it a new browser window opens with the existing window remaining. All you have to do is right click in to an empty area of the toolbar, select Customise then drag and drop the New Tab icon on to the toolbar, it’s also worth adding the New Window icon as well -- this open a completely new instance of Firefox and comes in handy if you need to be able to access a lot of web pages. While you are there you might also want to add the Printer and Bookmark icons to the Toolbar.

 

Incidentally, there's also a feature in Firefox Tools > Options > Advanced (under Tabbed Browsing) that lets you specify what happens when you click a link on a page and the choices are to replace the current window (default), open a new window or open a new tab.

 

13/10/05

Ron Barrack likes to keep things neat and tidy and his query highlights a common problem for newcomers to the wonderful world of Windows

 

ALPHABET SOUPED

Is there any way of arranging my Outlook Express address book in alphabetical order?  New addresses are recorded chronologically and it is tiresome to have to run down the page to find the person you want.  The MailWasher "Friends" list does this automatically, why can't Outlook Express?

 

A

Outlook Express, in common with virtually all Windows applications lets you view and arrange items in file lists and Explorer windows in a variety of different ways, alphabetically, chronologically, file name, type, etc. etc. The trouble is Microsoft and most software companies simply assume that everyone who uses their products knows this, or somehow picks it up as they go along. That’s all very well but it’s just not that obvious, so here’s the low-down on file viewing and sorting.

 

Windows Explorer and all standard dialogue boxes (Open, Save, Save As and the OE Address Book etc.) show files in a number of different ‘Views’, the three most common ones are List, Details and Icons, additionally some dialogue boxes also show picture files as ‘thumbnails’ and there may be other options but these are the important ones. To change the View click the View icon and this either displays a drop-down menu, or steps through the different views.

 

The view that lets you change the order files are displayed is Details, when this is selected at the top of each column there is a label or heading. The wording changes according to the application but in most applications it is usually (from left to right)  Name, Size, Type, Date Modified, or something similar. Now this is the bit nobody tells you, if you click on the column label the items in that column will be sorted in one of several different ways. If you click the ‘Name’ label the items are sorted alphabetically, click once and the order is A-Z, click again and the list is sorted in reverse order, Z - A, click again and it’s back to A - Z. Similar things happen when you click the other column labels. The Type label groups items according to file type and Date Modified arranges the items on the list in chronological order; click once and it’s the most recent first, click again and the oldest files are at the top of the list. This trick works on pretty well all Windows dialogue boxes and your chosen View and list sort criteria will normally be remembered each time you open that box.

 

12/10/05

This query from Sean Toner takes us into geek territory so please excuse us as we tackle a Windows XP boot problem

 

MASTER OF THE BOOTIVERSE

Congratulations on your new site, and keep up the good work. Could you help me with a problem? Several months ago my PC (Packard Bell) stopped working. The screen froze and despite several attempts to reboot, Windows would not start. Different things happen when I switch the PC on. Sometimes I get an error message: along the lines of 'Grub disk error' (the PC was previously a dual-booting machine with Linux and Windows installed). Other times I just get a flashing cursor and occasionally I get a Packard Bell splash screen giving the option to press F2 for BIOS (sometimes the F2 key takes me to the BIOS, sometimes not), but usually, I get nothing

 

I have run the Packard Bell recovery disks, but even after resetting to factory settings, the problem is still there. I have tried booting the machine with a Linux live-CD and did once

manage to get Linux to run from the CD, enabling me to browse files on my hard drive so it appears the hard drive is functioning. Any suggestions?

 

A

Everything appears to stem from the time you installed Linux and the Grub bootloader program. Bootloaders can be tricky customers and can cause all sorts of problems when they go wrong. I wouldn’t recommend trying to fix it as I suspect it is probably too far gone by now. The simplest thing to do is to create a new Master Boot Record (MBR) on the hard drive. The current Windows installation and the files on your PC should all be unaffected and this procedure is normally quite safe but you try it entirely at your own risk -- consider yourself duly warned!

 

Load a Windows XP installation disc (this may also work with a recovery disc) and at the prompt press R, to start the Recovery Console.  Select the XP Installation from the list and if necessary enter your Administrator password. At the DOS like prompt type ‘fixmbr’ (without the quotes, click Y and the PC will reboot and hopefully Windows will load as normal. There's more on the incredibly useful XP Recovery Console in Boot Camp 337.

 

11/10/05

Assuming that Derek Fudge is not an absent-minded Time Lord we need to look elsewhere to explain a problem with random time shifts on his PC

 

TEMPORAL DISPLACEMENT

My 6 month-old computer occasionally, at random, jumps forward a day. I have, as suggested by the manufacturers, changed the clock battery but it has still happened since the change. There appears to be no regular time period between 'skips' and I am completely puzzled. All forums I have searched refer to clocks losing but I have not found any referring to calendar gain. Any ideas?

 

A

It helps to know that there are two clocks on a Windows PC. The most important one is the hardware or Real Time Clock (RTC), which lives on the motherboard. It’s basically a digital clock, powered by a small battery that runs all the time, even when the PC is switched off or disconnected from the mains. The other clock is Windows itself. When you boot up the time and date display is taken from the RTC and from then on Windows calculates time independently. The clock on older PCs using Windows 3.1 and 95, could slow down depending on the PC’s workload but this problems disappeared as PCs got faster. Windows XP has a further enhancement in that it can be set to automatically check the time on the Internet from one of a number of web ‘time servers’. 

 

The first thing I would do is disable this facility by double-clicking the clock display in the System Tray, click the Internet Time tab and deselect ‘Automatically Synchronise…’ and see what that does. I can’t see how a low RTC battery would cause the date to jump forward but since you’ve eliminated that possibility it is possible there is a fault with the RTC. If so there’s nothing you can do, it’s not repairable or replaceable. Could software running on the PC be interfering with the date setting? Offhand I can only think of two type of program that might do such a thing and that’s a component installed with ‘Gator’ or GAIN advertising software called ‘Precision Time’, the uninstall instructions are here. I have also come across automated bidding or ‘Sniping’ tools, which use international web time-servers to make timed bids, or display information and these can tinker with the Windows clock. If you have any sort of software that relies on external timing cues -- stock or share monitors for example -- uninstall or disable it and see what happens. 

 

10/10/05

Microsoft’s AntiSpyware ‘malware’ has been generally very well received but as Derek Greenaway proves, there are exceptions…

 

STICKY CLEANER

I'm having problems with MS Anti Spyware. During installation, it gave an error message regarding 'gcasInstallHelper.exe'. MS are particularly unhelpful. I have downloaded another version but it recognises that a copy is half installed and then gives me the error message again. I've typed the message into Google and it seems I'm not the only one with a problem.

 

A

In Microsoft’s defence AntiSpyware is still in its Beta testing phase and it makes it very clear that you download and use it at your own risk and it provides only very limited technical support. That said the program has turned out to be reasonably reliable and quite good at tracking down and eliminating malware that other cleaners haven't caught, though it misses some types of infections so it’s not a complete solution and is best used in conjunction with other cleaners like SpyBot and AdAware.

 

I suspect the file that’s being flagged up by the error message is corrupt so try once again to uninstall the program from Add/Remove programs in Control Panel then check in C:\Programs and make sure that the Microsoft AntiSpyware folder and its contents have been deleted, If the program's uninstaller isn't working then you can delete the AntiSpyware folder, but only after you've backed up all of your essential data (just in case...). Afterwards you should run a Registry cleaner (RegSeeker does a good job and it’s free but read the instructions!), and when that has finished reboot and if you feel so inclined then you can try a fresh installation.

 

08/10/05

D. L. Jeffries has been seeing one of those infuriatingly unintelligible error messages. This one’s a doozy, inviting users to ‘debug’ their PCs…

 

I keep getting a message saying ‘A runtime error has occurred. Do you wish to debug. Line 298 error’ I would welcome some help as I do not know how to stop it. I have opened up the debug page but I am at a loss about what to do…

 

A

I am not surprised and I doubt many experts know what to do with this one, let alone the average PC users who’s closest brush with debugging procedures is the occasional use of a tin of fly spray. Fortunately this message is not serious and you’ll be pleased to know that it doesn’t indicate any sort of fault on your PC. In fact the blame lies with clumsy or careless web site designers and the message you are seeing is usually the result of a glitch in a security patch that has changed a setting in Internet Explorer. To banish the message once and for all go to IE’s Tools menu, select Internet Options and the Advanced tab then scroll down the list to ‘Disable Script Debugging’, uncheck the item and while you are there uncheck ‘Display a notification about every script error’.

 

07/10/05

Do you find yourself typing the same piece of text -- your email or postal address for example -- over and over again? Clive Moody does, and he wants to know if there’s an easier way.

 

REPEAT PERFORMANCE

I run Windows XP home/SP2 and having just changed ISP I'm forever having to type in my new email address. Do you know if I can make a single key shortcut to insert my email address, if so how can I do it? By the way I love the new site, a fantastic resource - well done 10 out of 10!!

 

A

Thanks for those high marks Clive, we aim to please, and I hope provide you with a satisfactory answer to your question. I suggest a little freeware utility, which we’ve mentioned once or twice before, called ShortKeys. There’s a new ‘lite’ version, which works with all versions of Windows and you can download it from: www.shortkeys.com/lite.htm. It’s really simple to use, just type in a memorable key sequence and then the text that you want to appear and it’s done. It works in any open application, word processor, email, web browsers etc, and all you have to do it tap in your key sequence and the pre-programmed text will magically appear.

 

06/10/05

We all get a bit forgetful now and again and mislay things -- I know I do -- so have some sympathy for A. Moore

 

NOT SO GLOOMY OUTLOOK

I have lost Microsoft Outlook (not Outlook Express). I believe the driver is the problem. Can I get it back or can you suggest a free shareware that will give me a calendar and contacts etc?

 

A

I remember many years ago, when learning to fly, being told by my instructor that you should never admit to being lost, you are just temporarily unsure of your position. I feel sure that your copy of Outlook hasn’t been lost. Unless you deliberately uninstalled the application -- which I doubt -- it is still on your computer and you are just temporarily unsure of its location. I suspect that you have accidentally deleted the desktop or Start menu shortcut, but rest assured this doesn’t affect the actual program. You can easily make a new shortcut by opening Windows Explorer or My Computer and work your way to C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office. Scroll down the list of files shown in the right hand window until you get to the Outlook icon, it should be marked ‘Outlook.exe’. Right click on the icon, select Send To, click ‘Desktop (Create Shortcut)’, a shiny new desktop shortcut will be created.

05/10/05

This query, from Nick Stubbs, highlights the fact that sending email attachments is not always as straightforward as it seems

 

ATTACHED CASE

I love the website and I have managed to resolve many little problems with the very helpful tips. However, I have been searching for some information on one particular niggle and so far I have not been able to find anything - can you point me in the direction?

 

My query concerns sending a digital photo as an email attachment in Outlook Express. Unlike Word or Excel attachments, OE embeds the picture in the email as well as sending the attachment file. This means the picture appears in the body of the message, which increases the download time and is just annoying! How can I send a digital photo as just an attachment without it also appearing in the email?

 

A

Thanks Nick, both for the kind words about the website and for the question, which has flummoxed a lot of people. The first thing to say is that when you send an email with a picture, both as an attachment and included in the body of the email, the image file (or files) are only included once -- as the attachment(s) -- so it doesn’t take any longer to send or receive. There are two ways to stop the picture appearing in the body of the email. The first is to send the message as plain text. This does exactly what it says and the picture remains separate as an attachment. You’ll find the Plain Text setting on the Format menu on a New Message window. The alternative is Rich Text (HTML) and this is the setting where a picture can be included in the Message body. If you want to send a Rich Text (HTML) email, so you can specify the font, size layout, backgrounds and so on, but you don’t want any embedded images then you need to go back to the Format drop-down menu in a New Message window and deselect ‘Send Pictures with Message’ at the bottom.

 

04/10/05

There’s nothing like an odd error message on your PC first thing in the morning to set you up for the day, as Wilson Young has been finding out…

 

 

A MESSAGE FROM THE PAST

Great site - having followed you for years in the newspaper I can now settle down to the crossword straight away on a Tuesday! When I switched on this morning, I got a BIOS setting error message, as it seemed to think it was January 2003. I corrected that, but I now get a 'New Hardware Found' message for which Windows (98SE) claims it can't find drivers.

 

Everything to do with audio/media seems to work OK: sounds, CD player, Windows Media Player, Webcam etc., as does everything else, including (of course, or else I couldn't write to you) broadband via an external router.

 

I have ticked the 'Disable in this hardware profile' box, which stops the found new hardware' message from appearing when I re-start, but I find things like this infuriating. Any suggestions, or do I just ignore it?

 

A

The clue to this one lies in the sudden date change. This usually indicates that the small battery that powers the hardware clock on the motherboard is at or near the end of its life (3 to 5 years is normal). The battery is also responsible for powering the CMOS memory that stores the PC’s BIOS settings, which usually includes aspects of the computer’s hardware configuration so this would also explain the error symbols in Device Manager. In other words when you switch your PC off it looses track of time and forgets all about the devices are plugged into the motherboard’s expansion slots. The solution is simple replace the backup battery. It’s a lid-off job and the battery may be in an awkward position, buried under cables or behind the power supply or disc drives so if you are not confident about poking around inside your PC you should have it seen to by an expert.

 

03/10/05

Yet another Word query and Frank Millington from South London is grappling with an unruly Scroll function

 

SCROLL ON A ROLL

Is there a way of controlling the speed of scrolling down a lengthy document when wishing to select just a portion only of it, for say printing? While selecting just part of the open page displayed, that is fine but the instant the curser goes off the bottom of the screen it tears away to the end of the document before you can say, 'Oh bugger’ I’ve tried using the Ctrl or shift buttons to no avail.

 

A

You are not alone with this one Frank, and this has been a constant gripe in Word for years. The short answer, I’m afraid,’ is that there are no controls that will let you slow down the runaway Scroll function but you can tame the beast. You mention the keyboard shortcuts, and the ones you mention are obviously not for you but there may be one or two others you haven’t tried so for the benefit of other BootLog readers here’s how.

 

You can select one line at a time by holding down the Shift key and pressing the up/down arrow keys, and a page at a time using Shift + Page Up/Down. The easiest way to precisely highlight a block is to place the cursor at the beginning and press the F8 key then move to the end of the section you want to highlight and left click the mouse. Pressing F9 clears this ‘extend’ mode function. However, the fastest method is to use a mouse with a scroll wheel, though this can take a little practice to master.

 

01-02/10/05

Jack Pickles is another regular from the old days and recalls a tip that used to make his mouse pointer a bit more interesting

 

SPIN DOCTOR

Delighted to see things seem to be going well for you. One of the excellent tips in your book 'Boot Up Rescue' caused the hourglass icon to spin.  Since upgrading to XP we've returned to the mundane stationary version.  How can I introduce the spinner into XP?

 

A

So far so good with BootLog, Jack, and keep clicking those sponsored links so we can keep on improving the site. The spinning Hourglass is still there in XP but in a slightly different place. Open Control Panel and click on the Mouse icon then select the Pointers tab. Under ‘Schemes’ click the drop-down menu and select either ‘3D Bronze’ or ‘3D White’  (the latter being closest to the old Windows 9x design) or for something a little snazzier, with a multi-coloured pointer try  ‘Windows Animated (system scheme)’. Click OK or Apply to set your selection. But why stick with the same boring old pointers and icons? Try a few of the other selections, some of them are a bit silly but it’s always good to try something new, and you can easily change back if you don’t like it.

 

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