Camera to PC to TV
Hi Rick, having
somehow (still learning!) managed to transfer a set of photos from a newly
acquired digital camera to computer and then on to CD, s it possible to show
the results on TV or is some extra software required?
maybe…Sorry about the uncertainty but it all depends on what hardware you have.
If you own a laptop and a flat screen TV then you can almost certainly connect
the two together using the VGA output on the PC and the PC input on the TV. Some
laptops have a TV or Video output, in which case they can be connected directly
to older TVs with video inputs. You may be able to pop the disc straight into a
DVD player, many recent models – especially at the budget end of the market -- have a JPEG replay facility, otherwise
you have two options, create a Video CD of still images, which all DVD players
can replay, or a DVD slideshow disc, and you will need some extra software to
create both types of disc. Rather than run through the options here I will
direct you to a Boot
Camp article I wrote for the Daily Telegraph a few years ago, it’s a bit
out of date and in need of revising, (something I’m planning to do in the next
few weeks), but it should give you an idea of what’s involved.
Help With Help
Hi Rick, I desperately need to access the Remote Assistance
help files so that I can get access to a friends PC – but when I try to open
Help and Support I get an error message saying ‘Windows cannot find
helpctr.exe’, and if I try to start
Remote Assistance from the Start menu, I get the second which says Windows
cannot open Help and Support. To fix this problem start the service named Help
I’ve checked the msconfig Services to see if I had unchecked
Help and Support, but can’t see anything like this in the list – can you help?
I’m a fairly experienced PC user so don’t worry if you need to get technical!
A. Windows Remote Assistance needs the Help and Support
Service to be running in order to work and there’s a couple of reasons why this
might be switched off, or missing, but it’s easy enough to put right.
Open Windows Services by going to Run on the Start menu and
typing ‘services.msc’ (the Services menu in msconfig is per-user, rather than
global), scroll down the list and hopefully you will see the Help and Services
entry. If so right-click on it, select Properties and set the Startup type to
Automatic; in the Status column it should show that it has Started.
If you can’t see Help and support on the list then it may
have been removed by an over-enthusiastic Registry cleaner or optimisation
program, but you should be able to put it back with a simple Registry tweak,
which you can download from the excellent Kelly’s Korner
website. Scroll down the list to item 235 ‘Restore Help and Support Service’,
right click on it and in Internet Explorer select ‘Save Target As’ or in
Firefox, right click and choose ‘Save Link As. Save it to your hard drive then
double-click on it and answer OK to import it into the Registry and after a
reboot Help and Support should reappear on the Services list.
No Disc, No Worries, Maybe…
when I bought my computer Microsoft Windows XP was already loaded.
You sometimes mention reloading the disc for certain reasons. What do I do if I
don't have one?
A. You shouldn’t need one; at least that’s the theory… In
most cases the XP installation files are stored on a separate and usually
protected partition on your hard disc drive so if the worst happens all you
have to do is pop in the Recovery CD or press a few keys and your drive will be reformatted and Windows
re-installed. This suits manufacturers because it it’s a quick and easy way of
installing Windows on lots of machines, and saves them a bundle on costs, and
discs. It suits Microsoft because it means they can supply Windows in bulk, it
makes it difficult to make illicit copies and if you study the small print, it
absolves them from having to supply technical support. You benefit from cheaper
hardware and hopefully an easy fix for major problems with the operating
However, it all hinges on premise that the hard drive
doesn’t go wrong, and it has to be said Lady Luck is on your side because they
are incredibly reliable, but if it does fail you will have to return the
machine for a factory fix, rather than being able to put it right yourself. The
other downside is that occasionally you may need to install files or divers
that normally only reside on the disc, admittedly the occasions when this will
be necessary are few and far between, and the files can usually be found on the
net, but it does happen. In short it shouldn’t be a problem, but I do mourn the
passing of installation discs which gave me a feeling of comfort and security,
not to mention the option of reinstalling the OS on another machine when
original PC popped its clogs.
Signatures in Thunderbird
Hello Rick, Is there a way I can add my name and title to
the end of any emails I Send? I have tried
to find out through 'Help' etc, but no luck. I thought there may be something
like Autotext that I use in Word, but somehow I can't find anything. By the way I use Thunderbird for emails.
Jill Judge, Penzance
A. Luckily I spotted the ‘by the way….’ at the
end of your message in time because I was just about to launch into a
'How-To' on email ‘Signatures’ in Outlook Expressr. However, since you are using Thunderbird the technique is
slightly different. Incidentally, for anyone looking for a way to add a
Signature in OE see Boot Camp 373.
Anyway, back to Thunderbird and the first job is
to use your word processor or Windows Notepad to create a text file of your
signature, normally your name, email address, phone number etc., or anything that you want to tag on to the end of your messages. Give
the file a name and save it. Now open Thunderbird and go to Tools > Account
Settings and double-click on the Account name. Check the item ‘Attach this
signature’ and use the Choose button to locate your signature .txt file then
click OK and it’s done.
Hi Rick, what exactly is the meaning of 'burning a CD/DVD'?
Does the term/action have any special significance? When I store or copy or
record information on a CD/DVD is that not as good as burning? Should I use
another action to 'burn' information onto a CD/DVD?
A. It’s computer jargon for recording on an optical disc and
I suppose it refers to the way data is recorded, using a low powered laser,
though no actual burning is involved. The laser simply changes the optical
characteristics of an organic compound layered inside the disc. On record-once
CD-R discs it’s a one-way process but on rewritable CD-RW discs it can be
reversed, and all data on the disc erased, by applying a lower power laser
beam, which ‘melts’ the photosensitive layer making it transparent and ready to
record new data.
Confusingly the term ‘burn’ is also used to
refer to a CD writer drive’s ability to cope with an erratic flow of data. In
the old days even a brief interruption whilst recording, or burning, would
result in a ruined disc. An interruption or ‘buffer underrun’ is solved by
fitting memory chips inside the drive – now a standard feature – to ensure a
smooth flow of data. Drives so-equipped would often be referred to as
buffer-underrun or ‘burn free’.
Vista Burning Questions
Hi Rick, I have a notebook PC running Vista Home Basic. When
I put in a blank CD-R in to copy a document a box comes up asking me if I would
like to burn my file to CD. It worked perfectly but when I put the disc back in
to burn another file - no box appeared, it just told me what was on the
CD! When I put a new CD in the box
comes up again. Surely I don't have to put in a new disc for every file I need
to copy? Am I doing some wrong?
A. Windows Vista has two CD/DVD burning modes, called ‘Live’
(the default) and ‘Mastered’. In Live mode, as long as the disc remains in the
drive you can add (and erase) files, until it is full up. If you eject the disk
Windows closes the session but you can pop it back in and add more files at a
later date and it will be readable on other Vista and most XP PCs. In Mastered
mode you record selected files to the disc straight away and the disc is
automatically finalized, so no more files can be added and the disc, when it is
ejected, will be readable on any PC.
Normally you get the option to prepare or Format
a blank disc in Live or Mastered mode when it is loaded. You should chose Live
and you’ll be able to keep adding files. If for some reason you are not being
asked open Computer, right-click on the CD/DVD drive icon and click the Burn
button on the Toolbar, then the ‘Show formatting Options’, and make sure ‘Live’
Cyclic Redundancy Error
Hi Rick, I backed up my old laptop 4 years ago onto good
quality branded CDs. Now I am trying to read the data and the newer laptop
keeps showing “Data error (cyclic redundancy check). Is there any way I can get
at the old data?
A. It's not as scary as it sounds and Cyclic Redundancy Check (CRC) errors relate to problems
reading and writing data from disc drives. There’s all sorts of reasons it
might appear but if you are lucky it will be something simple like dirt or dust
on the laser pickup, so the first thing to do is clean the drive with a good
quality CD/DVD cleaner.
If you are very unlucky it means the discs are corrupt or
damaged, though I think the chances of all of your backups suffering from the
same problem is slight, so a dirty drive is the most likely. Of course it could
be the actual drive that is faulty, or a problem with the connecting cables but
there’s an easy way to find out and that’s to see if the discs can be read by
Unmountable Boot Volume Error
Dear Rick, my father has a problem with his Dell Inspiron
laptop running Windows XP Home Edition.
After the Dell flash screen, a blue screen appears with the following
message: A problem has been detected and windows has been shut down to prevent
damage to your computer. Unmountable Boot Volume….. Stop: 0XOOOOOOED
He has not been able to start the computer even in Safe
Mode. Is this a sign of a failed hard
drive, or is there a solution?
A. It’s not good, I’m afraid… There are a number
of possibilities, including a loose or detached data cable, an incorrect or
corrupt BIOS setting, however, the most likely cause is a damaged file system.
No don’t despair just yet, it may be repairable, Windows XP has a ‘Recovery Console’ and if you can start the
PC in this mode you should be able to run the Checkdisk (chkdsk) utility, which
can fix straightforward glitches. There’s more about this error message and a
simple to follow guide to using chkdsk in Microsoft Knowledgebase article
Sticky Windows Mail in Vista
I have just bought a laptop with Vista Home Premium and
loaded all of the updates. When I open Windows Mail it sends and receives just
like my old system (It is set to do this). When working, it checks for messages
every 5 minutes, and receives but will not send either when I click Send on the
message or when I click Send/Receive. It will only respond to Send/Receive if
my Outbox is empty. To send messages from the Outbox I need to close Mail and
re-open it, and away they go! I have no problems getting onto the Internet. The
vendor’s Helpline say it is a known issue, which Microsoft will be sorting. Any
A. I have come across a few references to a
similar problem in Windows Mail, which basically involves a ‘phantom’ email
becoming stuck in the Outbox. It doesn’t show up in the folder but WM thinks
there’s one there and it gums up the works. Various remedies have been suggested
but I favour using a small freeware utility called WMUtil,
which amongst other things, ha a Clear Outbox function. It can also fix
problems with the WM database, and there’s a Compacting option, which should
keep it running smoothly when the mailbox folders start to fill up.
Mixed Connection KVM Switch
Hi Rick, I have two computers one with PS2 and one with USB
only for mouse and keyboard connections. Is there a switch that will accommodate
A. There may well be
but I haven't come across one yet, however, you could try a combination of PS2
to USB (or USB to PS2) adaptors, to convert the mice or keyboards to the
correct terminations. They're widely available from PC suppliers for a couple
can't promise it will work on all devices, and faced with a similar problem
recently I discovered that a fancy USB keyboard wouldn't work through a USB to
PS2 adaptor, though standard models were okay. Also, be aware that on some PCs
a USB keyboard will only become active after Windows has loaded, which
might be a problem if you are dual/multi-booting and need to choose an
operating system from a bootloader immediately after switch on.