Mywebs Mwsbar Error
Hi Rick, when I boot-up my Windows 98 I get the
following error message on my desktop screen:
‘C:\progam~1\mywebs~1\bar\1.bin\mwsbar.ddl. The system cannot find the path
I have tried putting it in Find and Google but since
the program names are abbreviated they cannot help, can you?
A. The clue is in the *.dll (dynamic link library
file) Mwsbar, which belongs to a browser helper object or BHO called ‘My Web
Search’, which I assume you have downloaded or clicked on a box to
install. BHOs can be a real pain,
especially when they go wrong, as in this case.
You may be lucky and find it in Add/Remove Programs
in Control Panel, in which case just highlight the entry and click Remove.
Otherwise you’ll have to try and uninstall it from Internet Explorer. Got to
Manage Add-Ons on the Tools menu. My Web Search may show up in he Name column
but it’s more likely that you will have to hunt down Mwsbar.dll in the File
column, and you may find several instances. Highlight each one you find and
check Disable in the Settings box.
If all else fails
download a tool called BHODemon,
which will definitely seek it out and let you zap it. Incidentally, several
readers have written in to say that BHODemon is no longer available. In fact it
is still there -- just click on any of the download links -- however the author
has suffered a house fire and is no longer updating the program. Here’s hoping
he manages to get things back to normal asap, and I am sure he won’t be averse
to a modest donation if you find the program useful.
OS Upgrade, XP
Rick, I currently use Windows ME, now nearly seven years old, and as you know
is no longer supported by Microsoft. I’ve recently purchased a new 19-inch
flat-screen monitor and a fancy keyboard and optical Mouse. I’m now thinking of
replacing the operating system in February with either a version of Windows XP
or Vista; the computer is only used for domestic purposes.
I’ve followed your columns and editorials for some
years now and your understanding of the average layman’s problems have always
re-assured me. Bearing in mind the above info, which system would you feel
appropriate for me?
A. I have a horrible feeling that the answer is
going to be neither… If your PC is more than 4 or 5 years old it is probably
just about capable of running XP but it won’t be a happy experience, and it is
very unlikely that it will be Vista-capable.
The minimum specs (which should be
treated with a very large pinch of salt) calls for a 1GHz processor and at
least 512Mb of RAM, and unless you have video adaptor with 128Mb or more of
memory you will miss out on all of the fancy graphics. In practice I wouldn't run Vista on a PC with less than 2GHz CPU speed and 1Gb of RAM. It might be possible to
upgrade but it’s going to cost you more than a new PC.
Head down to the sales, there are some real bargains to had for £300 - £400. It will probably come with a flat screen monitor but you can switch
to your new one, or use it in a dual monitor setup. Most new PCs come with XP
but if it comes from one of the big name manufacturers you’ll probably get a
Vista Upgrade voucher entitling you to a copy of the new OS free, or at a
Digital Photo Data
when I take a photograph using my digital camera I can see, on the LCD, the
settings used by the camera (ISO, shutter speed and aperture). When I transfer the pictures to the computer
and clear the memory card, this information is lost. Is there any way that I
can transfer the settings with the picture so I have a permanent record?
A. I suspect you are
referring to EXIF (Exchangeable Image File Format) data, which is generated by
most digital cameras and includes such things as the time and date the image
was taken, the make and model of the camera that took it, and as you point out
various technical details, such as the resolution, shutter speed and so on.
This information is embedded in the image data and not normally visible but it
and should travel with the image file wherever it goes, from the camera to the
memory card, and the memory card to the PC, until the image is edited. Older
photo editing programs, and some recent ones corrupt or discard the EXIF data
but others retain it and will let you see it for as long as it is available.
One such is one of my all-time favourite picture editing tools, which also
happens to be absolutely free, and that is PhotoFiltre.
If present EXIF data can be viewed by opening the image and going to File >
Image Properties and select the EXIF tab.
old PC Monitor with a Playstation
wonder if you could sort out a problem that has probably been causing many
parents problems for years at Christmas time. We are giving our son a
Playstation 2 but only have one television. However, we have three computer
monitors. I don't want to buy another television just for the Playstation. To stop arguments from the rest of the
family is there any way that we can run the games machine on one of the
A. A lot of us now have small collections of old CRT monitors that still work and
quite possibly cost a small fortune to buy, so it seems a shame to throw them
away if they can still be put to good use.
It can be
done and all you need is a little gadget called a Video (or
Composite/S-Video/SCART) to VGA Converter. They are not horrifically expensive;
Maplinsells one for around £60 and you can find them on ebay for £40 or so, but bear
in mind that there will be some loss of quality, unless you shell out for a
high-end design costing the thick end of £150. If your monitor is the silent
type -- i.e. no internal speakers -- you will have to rig up some sort of audio
system as well.
thing I would add is that cheapo CRT TVs with 15-inch screens are now selling
for £40 or less, and LCD TV prices are tumbling, with 15-inch screens costing
under £100, so maybe it is time to give those old monitors a decent burial, at
the local amenity tip of course, where they can be properly recycled.
cat has a habit of sitting on the keyboard of my notebook, and today, this
resulted in the screen display being rotated through 90 degrees. Whilst on this
occasion I could sort out the problem by using System Restore - what did
we do without it? - I couldn't find any reference in the XP Help files about
how I might return the screen to its usual landscape orientation using the
machine's settings. Any ideas?
You won’t find anything in Windows Help because ‘Screen Rotate’ is a function
of your laptop’s video adaptor or display software. It’s meant for designers
and graphic artists, to allow them to rotate the display to view the screen in
The keyboard shortcut that your moggy found was
probably Ctrl + Alt + Left Cursor arrow and to get it back again you need to
press Ctrl + Alt + Right/Up/Down arrow, though there are other variations and
these should be in your owner’s manual or the machine’s own Help files There should
also be a set of controls for the screen rotate function in Display Properties
(right-click the desktop, select Properties then Setting and look for a Special
or Screen Rotate tab).
am having problems setting up my new broadband connection kit. It has a
SpeedTouch modem connected by a USB plug. The ISP’s Technical Help told me to
download some software from SpeedTouch, I did this but it has not solved the
problem. Technical help then said it was a problem with my machine and was
outside their remit, or words to that effect. As I sit watching it now there is a red 'USB' indicator light flashing
(It should be steady green), and hovering the pointer over the SpeedTouch ADSL
Modem icon next to the clock in the RH bottom corner of the screen gives the
message 'Modem not plugged in'.
think that they are right about the problem being at your end, though I am
surprised they didn’t offer any further assistance. The blinking light is a
good sign and suggests that the modem and USB port are probably okay, though I
would double-check the latter, If you haven’t been using it, by plugging in a
USB device, like a Pen Drive, Digital Camera and so on, and make sure they are
If the USB port checks out,
as I suspect it will, then the PC is not communicating with the modem and that
is almost always due to a driver problem. I suggest that you go back to the
SpeedTouch website and make sure that you have downloaded the correct driver
for your modem and PC operating system. However, before you try re-installing
it again completely uninstall any previously installed software as it not
unknown for older versions of software to conflict with later releases. Try
again and make sure that you follow the ISP’s installation instructions to the
Alarm Blocking Net Access
Hi Rick is there a problem with
Zone Alarms blocking Internet connections? When the computer first boots up it
connects okay but after the screensaver has been activated the connection is
lost, unless ZA is shut down, or the computer rebooted. The same problem occurs if the computer is
started from standby or hibernation. I
cannot find any reference to this in the help or FAQs, most relate to inability
to connect after installation
feature is by design. The idea is if you leave your PC unattended for any
length of time -- i.e. the screensaver kicks in -- Zone Alarm automatically
protects your PC’s Internet connection from unauthorized access. Obviously this
is inconvenient if you are the only one using your PC but in an office
environment it could be very useful.
switch it off double-click the ZA icon in the System Tray, select Program Control,
under Automatic Lock click the Custom button, uncheck ‘Lock when Screensaver
activates’ click OK and exit the dialogue box.
Rotating Screens and Disobedient Icons
Hi Rick, I have a question regarding my desktop icon layout
and screen rotation. I have an LCD
monitor and Windows XP Home. I often rotate my screen 90 deg. left and then
back to standard landscape. After
rotating back, my icon layout changes.
I wish to avoid this behaviour and preserve my icon layout for the
standard landscape orientation. Any solutions, and I would consider upgrading
graphics card if it helps?
A. You shouldn’t need to
make any hardware changes. There are a number of applications and utilities
that promise to freeze or store your icon layout. I haven’t had a chance to try
them all but one I have used in the past is Desktop Restore. It’s freeware,
really small (the download is only 78kb) and it works as a Shell Extension,
which basically means it is integrated into the desktop right-click menu.
Hi Rick, sounds and music
on my PC is fine, except when the PC does some computing and the sound becomes
distorted. I have XP SP2 with a Pentium (4) 3.GHz CPU with 1GB of RAM. What's
wrong? Great site, it's one of my home pages, hate to miss anything.
A. These days PC sound
problems are quite rare, I can remember struggling for hours, if not days, with
disobedient sound cards, rogue Interrupts, messy IRQs and flaky drivers, and if
you’ve not come across them before, consider yourself very lucky...
It would have been helpful
to know a little more about the audio side of your system, such as is the audio
adaptor integrated with the motherboard or is it a separate plug-in card, and
if so what make or type, but I think we can make a start on fixing it.
Nine times out of ten it’s
a driver problem, so start by visiting the motherboard or sound card
manufacturer’s website and download the latest audio driver. Next go to Device
Manager (Winkey + Break > Hardware > Device Manager), double-click on
‘Sound, Video & Game Controllers’ then double-click on your sound
adaptor. Select the Driver tab, click
the Update button and when prompted locate and install your newly downloaded
If that doesn’t work it
then there are two possibilities. Either the audio adaptor is faulty, or some
other piece of software is interfering with it. Is there a pattern to the
distortion and does it only happen when a particular program is running? If so check the manufacturer’s support site
for any known glitches. Otherwise, if you have an old PC with a soundcard try
swapping it for the old one.
What are those Keys For?
Hi Rick, I’m enjoying your current Boot Camp series on
getting LPs and cassettes etc. on to PC. Now for my problem. On the bottom row
on my keyboard on my first class Acer Aspire there’s the Ctrl and Alt keys, the
Microsoft flag, Alt Gr and the washboard-with-arrow head thingy. Is there a definitive list anywhere of all
the combinations or at least some sort of clue for any of these mystery keys?
John R Suttle
A. As you know the functions of the Alt, Ctrt and ‘F’ keys
change according to the application but there are some constants, like Ctrl +
C, Ctrl + V, Ctrl + P and Ctrl + Z for Copy, Paste, Print and Undo, for
example, and F1 is almost always Help. Normally you will find a list of
keyboard shortcuts in the program’s Help menu. As for those others, the ‘washboard’
as you call it is actually a duplicate right-click mousekey but you might like
to have a look at this Top
Tip for the others and to finish off, here’s a more or less complete list
of Windows key (Winkey) shortcuts
Winkey + B = Set focus on Taskbar
Winkey + Pause/Break = System
Winkey + E = Windows Explorer
Winkey + D = minimize all
Winkey + F = Find
Winkey + F1 = Windows Help
Winkey + F + Ctrl = Find Computer
Winkey + L = Lock Desktop
Winkey + M = Minimize all windows
Winkey + R = Run dialog box
Winkey + Shift + M = undo minimize
Winkey + Tab = cycle Taskbar
Winkey + U + Utility Manager.
Out Dell Laptops
love your Boot Camps. In BC 450 you say
‘Virtually all PCs and laptops have a 3.5mm minijack stereo line input socket’.
Unfortunately my Dell Inspiron laptop, bought this year, only has a microphone
socket! Is there something that I can get to connect the line out from my Hi-Fi
to my laptop so that I can preserve the music on my LPs?
A. Thanks for the encouragement and my commiserations
for the Dell glitch. If it’s any consolation you are not alone and the audio
facilities on some Dell laptops has been a bone of contention amongst owners
for some time. There is a solution and this should work with any similarly
handicapped PC and that is to use a USB audio adaptor. There’s quite a few of
them to choose from, the best-known being the Griffin iMic, which gives you
both stereo microphone and stereo line inputs; it has some internal processing
and by all accounts the quality is very good. It’s widely available; try Amazon.co.uk,
which has them for around £21.
In A Name?
Rick, can you please tell me the difference between a laptop and a notebook?
not aware of any formal 'industry-standard' definitions and these days the two
words are generally interchangeable. Originally notebooks were small laptops
but there are no clear dividing lines. Nevertheless I did some digging around
and came up with a couple of fascinating facts.
use of the word 'Laptop', to describe a portable computer goes back to the very
early days, 1983 in fact and it was first used by the Gavlian Corporation when
it introduced the Gavlian SC 'Laptop'.
The earliest occurrence of 'Notebook' dates back to 1989 and the NEC
Ultralite, which broke new ground with a footprint around the same size as a
sheet A4 paper.