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November 2007

 

29/11/07

CD Burning, the Final Word

Rick, I have recorded/copied/burnt various items (jokes, photos. etc.) such as JPEG, WMV, Power Point, XL and text docs onto a CD for a colleague's home PC but it will not run on his computer. All is OK on mine that is running XP. Have I not done something during copying/burning that I should have or is there something radically wrong? I understand his works OK with other CDs and both of us, being not the best with PCs, are mystified.

David Braisher.

 

A. A pound to a penny says that the files haven’t been written to the CD or the disc hasn’t been ‘finalised’. If you are using the CD burning facility in Windows XP then although it appears you have compiled a disc, the data isn’t actually recorded until you right-click the drive icon and select ‘Write these files to CD’.

 

If you are using a third-party burning program (Nero, Roxio etc) then you probably didn’t complete the last stage of the burning process, where a permanent table of contents (TOC) is created. Until that point you can still add and delete files, and the disc will be readable on your PC, but it can’t be read on another PC, unless the same burning software has been installed. The finalising procedure varies depending on the software you are using, so have a look through the Help files or instruction manual.

 

26/11/07

Dear Rick, my HP DeskJet 960c prints its colour test page perfectly, yet when I try to print a colour photograph from file, the colour balance is wildly out, so that the picture is unusable. What am I doing wrong?

M.E. Kostka

 

A. Nothing, there will always be differences between what you see on your monitor and what comes out of your printer, unless you take steps to match the colour reproduction properties of the two devices.

 

Unfortunately that’s easier said than done. There are no colour adjustments on most printers and although you can tweak the colour balance on your monitor, it will be a global setting and probably make the display look ‘wrong’ when using applications that do not involve image editing. The only solution is to use the colour matching utilities in a photo editing application, like PaintShop Pro, or PhotoShop, or try and ‘jiggle’ the colours by eye, if you are using other types of image editing software.

 

22/11/07

Kaspersky vs Zone Alarm

I have had Kaspersky Anti-Virus 6 installed on my computer together with ZoneAlarm Free for some time but somehow lost Kaspersky about 6 weeks ago. I have been in repeated e-mail contact with Kaspersky who have now enabled me to install Kaspersky 7 but I seem to be having a lot of problems, which I suspect is because this is not compatible with ZoneAlarm. Are you aware of any problems and should I uninstall ZoneAlarm as Kaspersky have sent me an e-mail which I don't understand which says that ZoneAlarm incorporates a plug in Kaspersky 7. What does all this mean to someone like me who has no technical knowledge at all about computers?

Geoffrey Wells

 

A. It’s a bit of a tangle but I think I see what has happened. Kaspersky 6 and Zone Alarm would have worked happily together, however, when you upgraded to Kaspersky 7 things started to go wrong and that’s because Zone Labs and Kaspersky joined forces last year, and the paid for Zone Alarm Security suite incorporates the Kaspersky anti-virus program, and Kaspersky 7 incorporates a Firewall. What this boils down to is you don’t need Zone Alarm any more as you already have a firewall in Kaspersky 7. There is a work around (switch off the Firewall in K7) but it’s a bit long-winded, and ultimately pointless so you would be better off uninstalling ZA.

 

19/11/07

Problem Opening Word 2007 docx files

Hi Rick, I use Windows XP with Microsoft Word 2003. I am getting e-mail attachments with the suffix .docx, which I cannot open. I know the sender uses Vista with Word 2007. When I requested the document to be sent in the .doc type, I was sent the attachment with the suffix .odt which seems to be from something called 'OpenOffice', which I cannot open either. Is there any way the sender can send me a Word document, which I can open easily with Word 2003?

 

Are documents that are written in Word 2007 no longer compatible with earlier versions of Word?  Surely if Word 2007 documents are not compatible with any previous versions of Word, then the business world would be tearing their hair out by now?

Jennifer Lockwood

 

A. We’ll I did warn this would happen earlier this year in BootLog News and it is starting to cause problems for users of older versions of Word and Office. The .docx format or ‘OpenXML’ is a new open standard that basically makes life easier for developers, it’s more flexible and it should be easier to mix and match data between different applications. Although we all dislike change it is actually a step forward and given Microsoft’s clout it’s probably the beginning of the end for the old rigid ‘doc’ format. Fortunately there is a free update for older versions of Office and Word, allowing you to open, edit and save docx files in Word 2000 – 2003 called the Microsoft Compatibility Pack. I’m not aware of any fixes for older version of Word, so I would take this as a sign that it’s time to upgrade…

 

15/11/07

Booting from a USB Drive

Hi Rick, I have cloned my PC (with XP software) onto a Seagate 320Gb USB connected hard drive, I have tried to set up the BIOS to include it in the Boot Up sequence, but it doesn`t appear in the order of bootup list, so my question is it possible  to  set a PC to boot from an External USB hard drive?

Rex Hinton

 

A. The short answer is yes, but there are several ifs and buts and it mostly depends on the design of the motherboard and BIOS. It’s a fairly common feature on motherboards made within the past couple of years, prior to that it becomes progressively rarer and it is almost unheard of on mobos more than five years old.

 

It may be possible this feature can be enabled on your machine by upgrading the BIOS, but this is a very slightly dangerous procedure. If it goes wrong you could be left with a dead PC, and no way back, but the first thing to do is visit the motherboard manufacturer’s website to see if an update is available. If so follow the instructions to the letter and it should be okay. If not there’s little you can do, apart from changing the motherboard.

 

12/11/07

Putting a Stop on IE7

Greetings Rick, I normally use Firefox as a browser, but for one website (on which I do freelance photography work) Internet Explorer 6 works better (unfortunately). However, every time I open IE6 I get taken to a Microsoft page urging me to download IE7. I don't particularly want version 7, I'm quite happy with the existing one, I only use it for this single application and I don't want any extra unnecessary bells and whistles. Furthermore, I don't fully trust Bill Gates. His 'Windows Genuine Advantage' is an advantage to whom? And what's on IE7 that we mere users don't know about?

 

Unfortunately, try as I might, I cannot change the home page. I've tried altering the settings in the control panel - setting it to a blank page, and then setting the site I'm interested as the home page but to no avail. Any idea how I can switch this off?

Alistair Scott

 

A. Microsoft decided IE7 was an urgent and necessary security upgrade, which is why it is being ‘pushed’ onto user’s machines, rather than the more usual route of making it an option. Nevertheless, you can stop it happening with a simple Registry tweak. If you know what you are doing open the Registry Editor by typing ‘regedit’ in Run on the Start menu then make you way to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Setup\7.0. You should find a key called DoNotAllowIE70, if so set the Value Data to 1 by right-clicking on it. If the key doesn’t exist you can create it, or if you don’t fancy the idea of tinkering, you can download this simply Registry Script from Here. Simply download and open the file and when asked if you want to enter it into the Registry, click Yes.

 

08/11/07

Doing the Memory Card Shuffle

Dear Rick, I would be very grateful if you can help me with the following problem. I have taken the photos for the wedding of my next-door neighbour on an Olympus SP 550UZ, which uses and XD picture card.  My friend has a Canon iP6700D high quality printer and wishes to download from my card.  He uses a Canon digital SLR and down loads direct to the printer from his picture card, which is different to the XD.  Do you know of an adaptor or how we may set about letting him have the images off my camera, so that I can free up my picture card?

Barrie Wilson 

 

A. No problem, all you need is an external card reader. This is a small device, costing around £10 to £15 from online sellers and high-street vendors like Maplin, which plugs into a USB socket on your PC. You should get a multi-format type (most are) that reads all of the most popular types (MMC, SD XD, CF etc.). Once it is plugged in you can use Windows Explorer to copy the pix from your XD card into a folder on your PC’s hard drive. Your images are now saved so you can format or wipe the card and re-use it. To get those images into your friend’s printer just pop one of his memory cards into the reader and copy the image files to the card. 

 

05/11/07

Annoying Arrows in Word

Dear Rick, whenever I work in Word the page is covered with little direction arrows. They do not print but they annoy me. Is there a way to remove them?

Eric Castle

 

A. I suspect they are Tab marks, in which case if you are using Word 2000 – 2003 go to Tools > Options select the View tab and under Formatting Marks uncheck Tab Characters. In Word 2007 go to the Home tab and in the Paragraph group click Show/Hide.

 

01/11/07

Waiting for Vista

Dear Rick, I have been thinking of buying a laptop. It would be used for word-processing, Emails and the Internet; nothing complicated.  However I have been advised to wait as ‘...all laptops use Vista, which is unreliable. So wait for Series 2 until the bugs are ironed out’.  Do you hold a similar view?

Ron Barrack

 

A. No I do not. I quite like Vista and have been using it for a couple of years, in various incarnations since the pre beta release, with relatively few problems. Needless to say it has its shortcomings, and there are some annoyances and a few problems using it with older peripherals and software, but one thing it is not, and that’s unreliable. In fact I would go so far as to say it’s the most stable release of Windows to date.

 

Vista Service Pack 1, which is currently in beta test phase and due out later this year should address some of the more irritating bugs and sort out a few inconsistencies but these are mostly behind the scenes.

 

Generally speaking Vista is good to go and because it is so easy to use it is ideal for newcomers to computing. I do advise against upgrading an older XP PC to Vista, this almost always causes problems, and if you are happy with XP and it does everything you want then there’s little or no point rushing out to buy a Vista PC. I would also advise those who depend on programs or hardware that won’t run on Vista to think twice but everyone else, I say go ahead, there are some real bargains to be had, especially on laptops. 

 

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