BOOT CAMP ARCHIVE 2003

  

 

BOOT CAMP 303 (02/12/04)

 

TOP TEN TRAUMAS, Part 2

 

Here’s the final batch of common PC maladies

 

5. DELETING GOOGLE’S SEARCH HISTORY

 

We’ve had a lot of Google users writing in asking how to delete details of previous searches, which appear when a new term or keyword is types into the Search window.  It’s actually nothing to do with Google (or any other search engine for that matter), but an Internet Explorer feature called AutoComplete. You can selectively remove entries by right-clicking and selecting Delete, or switch off AutoComplete by going to Tools > Internet Options, select the Content tab, click AutoComplete, uncheck the option and click Clear Forms. If you have installed the Google Toolbar you should click on the Google logo then select Clear Search History form the drop-down menu. 

 

6. INEXPLICABLE ERROR MESSAGES

 

‘A fatal kernel exception has occurred in module 2X39 88FTG 2000000DLFJ and Windows will now self destruct’.  Mystifying and worrying error messages like that might as well be in Sanskrit for all the help they give the average user; even experts have a hard time deciphering some of them.

 

The next time you’re faced with a ‘BSOD’ or stream of gibberish rest assured that you’re not alone. It is bound to have happened to others and hopefully there’s a solution on the net. Get to a working PC and type two or three keywords or phrases from the error message into Google’s search window. Don’t type the whole message or long strings of characters, as these are usually only relevant to your PC. With luck you’ll get scores of hits, linking to the Microsoft Knowledgebase, hardware or software manufacturer’s support pages and user forums. The answer is out there, usually, if not email F!F!F!…

 

 

7. DISOBEDIENT DISCS

 

These days many new PCs and laptops are fitted with CD-RW drives and the technology has proved to be surprisingly robust but we get a lot of letters and emails complaining about incompatibility and lost data. Either discs won’t work on other PC or they become unreadable after just a few months. In most cases the problem is cheap or unbranded discs. The solution is simple; your data is valuable so buy only good quality branded products from reputable sources and don’t skip pre-recording checks.

 

 

8. RESIZING INTERNET EXPLORER WINDOWS

 

Internet Explorer’s habit of opening reduced size browser windows irritates many readers. Microsoft reckons it’s a design feature but there’s plenty of fixes, including ditching IE. Try Avant Browser, it’s based on IE, so it is very flexible, plus it has a built-in pop-up stopper and ‘tabbed’ windows. It’s freeware and you’ll find it at: http://www.avantbrowser.com/

 

If you want to stick with IE here’s a selection of re-sizing tricks that you might like to try.

 

Drag the sides of a newly opened browser window to the edges of the screen then go the File menu, click Close and press F5. Click the link again and the new window should open maximised.

 

Resize the window using the mouse then hold down the Ctrl button and click the Close Window X.

 

Hold down the Ctrl + Shift + Alt whilst using the mouse to drag the sides of the window to fill the screen, keep the keys pressed then click the close window ‘X’ icon.

 

See Tip of the Week

 

 

9. MS WORD PROBLEMS

 

Many Microsoft Word glitches can be traced to a file called ‘normal.dot’. It contains user preferences, document templates, macros and much more besides. It is constantly being re-written so sooner or later errors creep in and Word throws a wobbly. Find your normal.dot, (use Search or Find on the Start menu), and rename it ‘normal.old’. Word creates a new normal.dot the next time it opens and it reverts to its default condition. When Word is behaving normally make a copy of your normal.dot and store it in a safe location for the next time... You can also use normal.dot to transfer your Word preferences to another copy of Word on another PC.

 

 

10. DEFRAG HANGS

 

Who amongst us hasn’t watched in despair as the defrag progress bar creeps up to a few percent then resets as unseen programs like a screensaver or virus checker kick in. Disable your screensaver, then shut everything down; exit the programs in the System Tray by right clicking on the icons. Press Ctrl + Alt + Delete and End Task everything except Systray and Explorer and try again. Persistent defrag problems in Windows 9x (95/98/ME/SE) can sometimes be cured by moving or deleting the ‘Applog’ sub folder in the Windows folder or running defrag in Windows ‘Safe’ mode (press F8 at boot up).

 

 

Next week – Windows Accessibility

 

JARGON FILTER

 

BSOD

Blue Screen Of Death – appears when Windows crashes and needs to be rebooted

 

MACRO

Programming function in Word (and many other programs) for automating frequently used commands and functions

 

SYSTEM TRAY

The area next to the desktop clock displaying icons of running programs that are usually loaded when Windows boots up

 

 

TIP OF THE WEEK

 

If Internet Explorer’s new browser windows still refuse to open full size then try a freeware utility called IE Maximizer. It also closes pop-ups, hide/show windows using a ‘hotkey’ and it works on email message windows in Outlook Express. It’s compatible with all versions of Windows (from 98 onwards), the download is only 424kb and you’ll find it at: http://www.jiisoft.com/iemaximizer/index.htm

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