FAQS! FACTS! FAX! 503
Q. I have had problems writing files to CDs and several people
have mentioned that one has to "burn" a CD. What does this mean
and how do I do it - and what does it do to the CD? Your help would be
Eve Morris, via email
A. When you say it like that it sounds quite
dangerous but the term ‘burn’ simply refers to the fact data on a recordable CD
is recorded by a small laser that changes the optical properties of an organic
dye sandwiched between the layers of the disc. The laser heats up the dye to
250 degrees Centigrade, causing it to melt or change chemically, but it this
happens very quickly and only affects a microscopic area so the disc gets
barely warm to the touch.
I suggest that you have a look at Boot Camp 251,
making your own CDs and DVDs but the gist of it is there are two types of
recordable CD; CD-Rs,
which can be recorded just once, and re-writable CD-RW discs, that can be
recorded and erased many times. There’s a similar variance in recordable DVDs,
which work on a similar principle but store many times more data.
Blank recordable CDs are an ideal medium for
backing up important and irreplaceable files on your PC and to make use of them
you need two things: a CD (or DVD) writer drive and some software or a program
to controls the recording process.
If you have a Windows XP computer or laptop
with a CD-RW drive you have everything you need. XP has a rudimentary CD
burning utility built in, however, it can be tricky to use. It looks fairly
straightforward; you drag and drop files onto the disc icon, or right-click on
a file and select ‘Send To’ and your
CD-RW drive appears to work. In fact the job is ‘queued’ and the files won’t be
recorded on the disc until you right-click on the drive icon and select ‘Write
files to CD’ or open the drive and select Write files to CD from the Folder
Action list. In other words it is not very intuitive and you’ll find programs
like Roxio Easy Disc Creator or Nero Burning are much easier to use, and a lot
more flexible when it comes to creating different types of disc (i.e. audio CD,
picture discs and so on).
Q. I have Windows XP Home Edition. I downloaded the PowerPoint
Viewer 2003, as per your article of January 31st. However, I am still getting
the error message "This file does not have a program associated with it
for performing this action’. Microsoft Support will not help
me. Can you?
Liz Wright, via email
A. Unless PowerPoint is installed on your PC
Windows doesn’t know what to do with PowerPoint files, so you have to give it a
helping hand by manually ‘associating’ them with the viewer program. Open
Windows Explorer and go to Tools > Folder Options and select the File Types
tab. Scroll down the list of ‘Extensions’ and look for PPS (PowerPoint
Slideshow), select and click Change > Select program from list > OK then
use the Browse button to locate your PowerPoint Viewer. Click OK and exit the
dialogue boxes. When you next click on a PowerPoint *.pps file the viewer
should open automatically.
Q. I decided to reformat my old Windows 98 system because it was
cluttered causing it to be extremely slow and do strange and annoying
things when using Word. I re-installed Windows 98 but the screen
resolution is fixed at 640 x 400 and Display Properties does not allow me
to change the setting. I have followed some other instructions such as
reduce the Hardware Acceleration but this has not allowed me to be able to
alter the resolution. Can you advise please?
Bob Leech, via email
A. Your PC’s video display has reverted to the default VGA setting because the
driver software for your video adaptor has not been installed. The correct
driver should be on the Drivers or Utilities disc that came with your PC or
motherboard (if the video adaptor is built in). To load it go to Add New
Hardware in Control panel, select the video adaptor from the list, follow the
prompts and be ready to load the disc when asked.
I have a problem with my Windows XP PC in that when I want to shut
down, even though I select the Turn Off option, it acts as though I selected
Restart. The monitor goes blank but the processor duly restarts again
along with the monitor. The only way I can shut down is to power down on
the mains supply when the monitor goes blank.
D. Rees, via email
A. This is quite a common problem but the cause can be quite difficult
to track down because Windows XP is set by default to automatically reboot in
the event of a system failure. Start by switching this off, press Winkey +
Break to display System Properties then go to the Advanced tab, under Startup
& Recovery click the Settings button and in the System Failure section
uncheck ‘Automatically Restart’.
Now you can try to isolate the fault. Unplug any USB devices and try a
shutdown, if it hangs or crashes you found the culprit. If that doesn’t work
open your PC’s BIOS
program and try disabling Automatic Power Management, also make sure that ‘wake
on ring’, ‘wake on LAN’ and any other
‘wakeup’ setting you come across are disabled. Some mice and keyboards --
particularly Logitech models -- have been known to cause this type of problem,
so swap one or both. Older unpatched versions of Roxio CD Creator (V5 or lower)
have been implicated; updates are available from the manufacturer’s web
Q. Do you know of a program like Spider that works on Windows XP?
Phil Wilce, via email
A. I do indeed and it’s called CCleaner, it free and you’ll find a link
to the download in the Software
archive at www.rickmaybury.com
© R. Maybury 2006, 2802