F!F!F! regular Elizabeth Brown is having trouble with
a program running in the background that just won’t go away…
SHELLICONHIDDENWINDOW, and all that...
I have a small query. After going on the net, when I
try to close down a program is always running and needs to be ended. It is
'shelliconhiddenwindow' which I understand is a Windows component. How do I
stop this happening? It doesn't occur when I am using the PC without the net.
Hope you can help.
That’s quite a mouthful and being so distinctive makes
it fairly easy to track down. It turns out this program has nothing to do with
Windows, rather it belongs to MusicMatch Jukebox., which I presume you have
installed on your PC. It’s an automatic update component, which explains the
association with the Internet because it is activated as soon as you go online.
Its reluctance to go away is a known bug and you have several options.
Personally I would uninstall the program if you are not using it. Otherwise you
can keep it and just disable this
component. In my opinion far too
many programs take liberties with Internet connections; if you want to update a
program you can always do it manually. To switch it off go to Run on the Start
menu and type ‘msconfig’ without the quotes, select the Startup tab and uncheck
any items with MusicMatch in the file name (there will probably be at least two
of them). If you want to stick with the program and its automatic updates then
there is some helpful advice and a link to a patch that should fix the problem
Joe Busuttil has been having problems with Word and it
sounds like this is could be an old chestnut
Perhaps you can help a 67 year-old still struggling to
master computer navigation? The Problem; I erase text typed in Word
but when I do some other work on my computer, not connected with the Word program,
the moment I go back to Word to start a fresh document I find that the text
previously deleted now pops up again!
I think I understand, Joe, and my guess is that you’ve
accidentally entered some text into your blank ‘Normal’ document template,
which opens every time you launch Word. If so then it’s very easy to fix.
Go to Open on Word’s File menu and work your way to the Template folder, which on
most PCs should be:
Open the file
normal.dot, delete the rogue text and then Save it as you would any other
document. If you’ve followed all the steps you will see a blank document the
next time you open Word. You might also want to have a look at our Word tutorial (Boot Camps 014 and 015) which touches upon how to organise and manage your files, to prevent this kind of thing happening again.
Paul Dingley is busy with a spot of heavy-duty
maintenance on his PC and wonders if Bill Gates is going to object?
I need to change the motherboard on a home built
computer running Windows XP and wonder if you have any tips concerning the
activation, especially if I have to reinstall the operating system as I believe
Windows objects to modifications of this sort.
What you say is basically true and Windows XP is
designed to request reactivation if there’s any significant change to a PC’s
hardware makeup. It is supposed to stem piracy and stop individuals and
unscrupulous manufacturers installing single copies of Windows on multiple PCs.
In your case reactivation will almost certainly be necessary, even if you are
spared a Windows re-install, but it should only take a few seconds if you elect
to do it automatically. I have heard (unofficially) that MS doesn’t query
reactivations on systems that have been installed for longer than six months,
but even if the online activation fails simply call the phone number displayed
and 99 times out of 100 you'll be able to manually reactivate your copy of
Windows by tapping in a code. Unless there was a problem with Windows you may
not need to re-install it, though you will probably spend just as long loading
drivers for the new motherboard (unless it is an identical model) and sorting
out the inevitable glitches. Personally I would take the opportunity for a
fresh re-install of XP and it will be like having a new PC.
John Hall gets off to a splendid start and then goes
on to raise an interesting point about connecting PCs and peripherals using USB
DAISY CHAINING USB?
The new site is great, now I can throw away all the
paper versions of Boot Camp that I kept! Regarding a recent answer to a query
('Slave to Technology', F!F!F! 24/09/05) there seems to be little info about
connecting PCs by USB for data transfer. It seems the obvious way but what is
needed in the way of cables and software? Also, was it not the case that USB
devices could be daisy-chained? I have yet to see a device with two sockets to
Thanks for the support John and keep clicking those Google ad links -- they help pay for the coffees…. Anyway, back to connecting PCs together
using USB. The first thing to say is DON’T DO IT! Sorry for shouting but if you try hooking two computers together
using a standard USB cable there is an excellent chance you will blow the ports
on one or both PCs. It can be done but you need a specially designed cable and
software, like the eXpansys USB Data Transfer Cable (around £16 from www.expansys.com).
In theory USB products can be daisy-chained --
up to 127 devices can be connected together -- the trouble is in practice
getting just two devices to work in that manner can be difficult. Part of the
problem is that some USB devices (digital cameras, personal stereos, etc) are
self-powered and have their own internal batteries or use an external mains
power supply (printers etc), whilst others draw power from the USB cable, and
they just don’t mix. Things are further complicated by powered and unpowered
‘hubs’ or adaptors, used to increase the number of connections on a PC. In a
nutshell daisy-chaining is best avoided, which is why few manufacturers bother
to fit more than one socket. If you are running out of USB sockets then
considering fitting a hub. An internal PCI card adaptor is usually the best bet
on a recent PC as this will be powered, and directly linked to the PC’s
internals enabling it to use the faster USB 2.0 protocol. There’s more on the
ins and outs of USB in Boot Camp 247.
Those of us lucky enough
to be able-bodied sometimes forget how difficult PCs can be to use for those
suffering from physical impairments. Peter Varley provides a timely reminder
My wife has arthritis and has great difficulty using the
mouse. Can you suggest another method please? She has
no difficulty using the keyboard and I believe I have read somewhere (probably
in one of your Boot Camp articles) that a system of keystrokes may be set up as
an alternative to the mouse.
Windows has a number of built-in ‘Accessibility’ options,
designed to assist those with mobility, vision or hearing problems and we last
looked at them in Boot Camps 304 and 305. The feature you are referring to is
MouseKeys and in Windows XP it is controlled from Accessibility in Control
Panel. It is very easy to set up and use, just select the Mouse tab and click
the Settings button. From here you can enable the keyboard shortcut that
switches MouseKeys on and off (by default Alt + Left Shift + NumLock), and set
pointer speed and acceleration. MouseKeys works well, using designated keys on
the numeric keypad but there is an alternative. Some arthritis sufferers find
that a trackball type mouse provides similar functionality, speed and accuracy
as a conventional mouse. They cost a little more than normal mice -- prices
start at around £25.00 but you may find that you prefer it, which will make it
easier to share your PC.
Changing PCs can be a
tricky business, as J.C.has been finding out:
SLAVE TO TECHNOLOGY
I have recently bought a new PC to replace a very creaky Gateway Pentium
III, which was purchased in 2000. The CD-R drive on the Gateway machine blew up
some time ago. Please can you recommend
a method of transferring the data on the hard drive of the Gateway machine to
my new machine?
I have tried installing the old drive as a slave into the new machine but
unfortunately on start up there is a delay in activating my TFT monitor (also
purchased in 2000) which prevents me from accessing the operating system menus
at start-up. (Actually, I would like to
sort that out as well). Do you have a solution?
Two for the price of one eh Joseph? Let’s start with
the data transfer question and you have a number of options. First, you could
always replace the CD-RW drive; they are absurdly cheap these days, less than
£25 from the likes of online sellers such as Aria (www.aria.co.uk).
However, I still think slaving the old drive to your
new PC is the best solution and the sluggish monitor needn’t be a problem. If the motherboard or Windows doesn’t
recognise the slave drive all you need to know is the key combination for accessing
your PC’s BIOS setup program. This will be in the manual or motherboard manual.
Simply press the keys as soon as the PC is switched on, it doesn’t matter if
the monitor remains blank, it will eventually display the BIOS menu and you can
use the HDD menu to identify and configure the drive.
A network or simple Direct Cable Connection between
the two PCs is another possibility though you may need to install some new
hardware and software on one or both PCs if they do not have LAN sockets. To
learn how to set up a simple network and DCC type ‘file transfer’ in Help and
Support on your new Windows XP computer. If both PCs are using Windows 98, SE
or ME then look at Boot Camp 67 and 68 for a guide to DCC and networking.
If the monitor is behaving oddly on both PCs then it
sounds like a fault, though there may be some sort of delay setting in the
monitor’s setup menu, so have a look through the instructions.
Here’s a question about Microsoft Word from Alan Wright:
I have been used to seeing on my Word
document pages a dotted line around the area in which I type. However following a general clean up using
CCleaner, as recommended some time ago in Boot Camp, I have now lost this
useful facility. No end of searching
Help has helped! Please can you tell me how to reinstate the dots?
P.S. Mozilla Firefox is brilliant.
Thanks for the tip.
You are very welcome re Firefox, and why not have a look at
some more Microsoft alternatives in Boot Camp 346. Anyway. Back to your little
problem and as with so many difficulties in Word the answer is actually quite
simple, but only if you know what you are looking for, and where to look for
it. In this case the disappearing ‘dots’ are called a ‘Text Boundary’ and it
only appears in Print and Web Layout views. I am absolutely certain that
CCleaner had nothing to do with its disappearance, it was either just a
coincidence and Word threw a wobbly or you accidentally switched it off. Either
way you can switch it back on again by going to Options on the Tools menu,
select the View tab and under Print and Web Layout options make sure ‘Text
Boundaries’ is checked.
Jim Matthew’s sister has
been seeing some rather unusual error messages on her Windows 2000 PC:
My sister gets a message saying that the registry is too small. She asked
me about it but not being very technically minded I could only comment that I recall seeing some advice
in F!F!F! saying "be very careful" before tampering with the
registry. I did look in the System Help file and it seemed to say that each
user application would handle Registry issues for the duration that application
was running. Can you help please?
You are right about not messing with the Registry, as
you may know this is a large System file that controls just about every aspect
of Windows and careless tinkering can easily kill your PC stone dead!
Fortunately this is a relatively simple little problem and you won’t have to go
anywhere near the Registry to fix it. Open Control Panel, click on the System
icon and select the Advanced tab. Next click Performance Options then the
Change button. On the next dialogue box that appears, at the bottom under
Registry Size, increase the setting shown in ‘Maximum Registry Size (MB)’ box.
The usual advice is to double the current value. Exit the dialogue boxes and
F!F!F! regular Mike Dexter
is having a little problem with his emails and recalls seeing the solution a
A year or two ago you told us in Boot Camp how to forward emails without
the quote arrow >>> signs and
to be able to delete these signs on emails sent to us. Please would you tell me
No problem, happy to oblige and this is a good
excuse for me to plug the site’s increasingly useful Search facility, which is steadily cataloguing
the archive. I thought the arrow problem had gone away and I couldn’t remember
the exact query either, so I typed ‘arrows’ in the Search box (above) and it
came up trumps, with F!F!F! 419. The gist of it is there’s a small freeware
utility called ecleaner that can strip out the arrows, and there’s also a way
of stopping the arrows appearing on emails that you forward to others.
One of last week’s questions caught Keith Carpenter’s eye. He writes:
FLUMMOXED BY FIREFOX, part 2
I was delighted to see your advice to Tom Sinclair about being able to
use Firefox as the default browser and to be able to read email links in Firefox
rather than Avant browser. I have exactly the same problem, having retained
both Internet Explorer and Avant, with email links always opening in Avant.
Unfortunately, I checked all my settings in accordance with your advice
but am still unable to read OLD email links through Firefox. I followed your
instructions but the right boxes were already ticked; is there any further
advice you can give me please?
That should have
done the trick, Keith, but occasionally it may be necessary to give things a helping
hand, in which case open Windows Explorer and go to Tools > Folder Options and select the File Types tab. Scroll
down the list to URL: Hypertext
Transfer Protocol and highlight the entry. Click the Advanced button and check
that there’s an entry for Firefox in the box. It should be set as the default,
if not make it so, and if there are any other entries, for Avant etc, you can
delete them. If Firefox isn’t showing you will have to create a new link, so click the Edit
button then in the Action field type 'open' (without the quotes) and in the box: 'Application used to perform action’ you should enter
the path for Firefox, which on my machine is "C:\Program Files\Mozilla
Firefox\firefox.exe", though yours may be different, so check it first.
FINDING THE HP SOURCE
Janice Newton and
computers go way back but a keyboard utility on her new HP notebook has her
Thank you so much for this web site. I have been an avid reader of your
columns for about 6 years, and have found it extremely interesting and useful.
I am an 80 year old who has been using computers since Sinclair brought out his
ZX ranges, working my way through the BBC, Amstrad, 486, Windows 98 and now XP
on an HP Pavilion ZE4900 and this is beating me! I bought it from an airline
steward who had bought it in the US and only used it for a couple of weeks.
There are 5 buttons right at the top which light up on opening and the first
opens Outlook Express, the second Windows Media Player, the third Internet
Explorer, the fourth logs off and the fifth opens the Help and Support Page. He
told me these can be altered to different tasks, but I have tried everywhere I
can think of, including going on line to HP, but entirely without success.
Please can you help?
No problem Janice, and I reckon you must have come
quite close to solving this particular problem. I found the solution after some
digging around on the HP Support site, it was in one of the manuals, which I
presume you didn’t get, in which case you can download them here: http://welcome.hp.com/country/us/en/welcome.html.
Just click the link to Support & Troubleshooting, enter your model number
then select manuals and you’ll find it in section 2-7 in the first Reference
Guide. To save you looking the keys are called ‘One Touch’ buttons and to
change their functions go to Start > Programs > Utilities > One Touch,
select the button you want to re-program, give it a name and select the
application or function you want to use it with.
Read far and wide BootLog is here to help you solve your PC problems, as
Suzy Turner in Brussels has discovered.
I've read all the latest Boot Camps about networking and I have a query.
I have a Dell Dimension running Windows XP and a new laptop, also running
XP. I'd like to buy a new router, which
will allow me to keep the wired connection to the PC but connect to the laptop
wirelessly. I know I need the Wi-Fi card for the laptop, but the PC doesn’t have
an Ethernet socket, which is needed to connect to the router. Any ideas?
This shouldn’t be a problem and there are at least two
possibilities. The simplest solution would be to use a plug-in USB to Ethernet
adaptor. They are widely available from online suppliers like ebuyer (www.ebuyer.co.uk), which sells the Belkin
F5D5050 for £13.54. The alternative is to install an Ethernet adaptor or
Network Interface Card (NIC) in the PC. These are even cheaper, usually costing
less than £10. Ethernet cards fit into a spare PCI socket on your PC’s
motherboard, so it will be necessary to whip the lid off but make sure you
switch the PC off and disconnect it from the mains first. (See Boot Camp 193 on
electrical safety) first). It’s not a difficult job and should only take you a
few minutes. In both cases once the card or USB adaptor has been fitted Windows
will either recognise it straight away or request that you load the
installation disc that comes with the adaptor, once that’s done you will be
ready to connect
FLUMMOXED BY FIREFOX
Tim Sinclair has followed F!F!F and Boot Camp from print to screen -- a
wise and insightful man -- and he’s got a quick question about Firefox…
thank you for providing such a fantastic service, and now for my question: You
have often extolled the benefits of the Mozilla Firefox browser. I've followed
your advice and am now using it on security grounds, although I do find the
Avant Browser more user-friendly. But, how now can I get links in email
messages to open in Firefox? I've looked in every nook and cranny I know in XP
to try to stop the links opening my old browser.
Tim Sinclair, Exeter
lies in Firefox rather than XP, go to Options on the Tools menu. Select the
General tab and make sure that the item ‘Default Browser’ is ticked. To make
sure this setting sticks close Firefox then open Avant or IE and go to Internet
Option on the Tools menu, select the Programs tab and this time make sure that
‘Internet Explorer should check to see if it is the default browser’ is unchecked.
As you may know I was also a big Avant fan, I still like it a lot and use it in
preference to IE on the small number of web sites that don’t get on with
Firefox, but it has one major flaw. It uses the Internet Explorer ‘engine’ and
is therefore prone to the same infections, maladies and security flaws. There’s
some more Firefox tips and tweaks in Boot Camp 358.
Iain B’s day got off to a bad start, and there’s an outside chance it
won’t get better anytime soon…he writes:
I came into work
this morning to find that my PC monitor was blank. I re-booted and got all the
right noises but screen has stayed blank & cannot get it to work. The monitor light indicates power source is OK - shows blue
indicating it should be working, as opposed to an amber light when on standby.
Well Iain, the good news
is that the sounds your PC is making suggests that it is probably working and
the problem lies in the video adaptor, the video cable or the actual monitor.
The cable is the most likely candidate, particularly if your office has been
cleaned, in which case someone may have disturbed the cable, but you shouldn’t
mess around with it whilst the PC is running, so switch the computer and
monitor off and check both ends of the cable. I would remove the plug(s), blow
or brush away any dust then reseat the plug and tighten the screws. Power up the
PC again and watch closely for any signs of life. If that doesn’t do the trick
the next step is to determine whether the fault lies with the monitor or the
PC, and the easiest way t do that is to swap the monitor for one that you know
is working. If the screen remains blank then it’s the PC, and a lid-off job. It
could be something as simple as an unseated video card, but if the video
adaptor is integrated with the motherboard then it will need to be replaced,
either way it’s a job for an engineer.
A CLEARER VIEW
I have a small business reseating and restoring chairs and
furniture. I am amassing a collection of CDs with before and after pics of
all my commissions and restoration projects and it is very difficult to keep
tabs on what is on which disc.
Is there a way of printing out the contents as it appears on the screen?
There used to be a facility on a PC to "Print Screen" but the latest
PCs do not seem to have this button! (My HP notebook laptop has a button
labelled PrtScn, which doesn’t seem to be active). Help!
Firstly the Print Screen (PrtScn)
key does work, it’s just that it doesn’t print what appears on the screen
directly; that function disappeared many years ago and belongs to the
pre-Windows DOS operating system. Instead a bitmap image of the screen image is
captured and sent to the Windows clipboard (Alt + PrtScn captures just the
active window). In order to view and print the image you need to ‘paste’ the
image in a picture-editing program, or at a pinch, a blank Word document.
Incidentally, I wrote a
semi serious article on redundant and infrequently used keys some years ago,
I’ve filed it in the Boot Camp Archive for 1999 or simply click here
to your problem, and the Print Screen function is not the best way to view or
manage your image files. If you have a reasonably up to date PC you probably
have a ‘thumbnail’ view option in Windows Explorer, you’ll find it on the View
drop-down menu or icon. Better still, use an image viewer program like Picasa
(it’s free and there’s a link in Software),
and this will automatically find, catalogue and display every image stored on
your PC and any removable discs. Picasa also has a ‘Contact Sheet’ print
function so you can make a printed copy of the images -- as thumbnails --
stored on your discs.
I have tried in vain to find the combination of the Alt plus numeric
pad keys to produce the lower case diphthong œ. The upper case and lower
case diphthong Æ and æ are respectively Alt plus 146 and 145.
there is a trick to diphthongs in Word, press Ctrl + Shift + & then the
first letter of the diphthong you want to appear on the page. For example, to
produce a lower case œ the key sequence is Ctrl + Shift + & release the
keys then press o. For the upper case version press shift o, for Æ it’s
Ctrl + Shift + & then shift a.
I run Windows XP Pro. Hyperthreading seems to function fine but I have
heard that this is less so with XP Home (I want to advise someone who has a XP
Home PC), which begs the question why resellers hype-up the benefits of HT but
sell systems running Home. Is it true
that HT does not function with XP Home, and if so, why?
Greatly appreciate Bootlog.co.uk!!
Thanks for the kind words Chris, and congratulations on being the first
victim of the all-new Facts! Faqs! Fax! section of the website. You are opening
a can of worms with your Hyperthreading question so first let’s explain what it
is and what it does.
Hyperthreading processors have a second ‘virtual’ CPU, so they can
effectively do two jobs at once -- many hands make light work and all that --
and this feature is fully supported by Windows XP Home. The reason for the
confusion is that XP Home supports only one physical CPU whereas XP Pro works
with multiple processors, which scoot along even faster, compared with virtual
processors and therefore benefit more from Hyperthreading technology. To check
if Hyperthreading is enabled look in Device Manager (right-click My Computer
> Properties > Hardware) and under Computer the CPU will be described as
a ‘Multiprocessor PC’