Houston We Have a Problem… 003 23/09/06


Windows XP CD Writing Problems

My problem appears simple, but is baffling. I have Windows XP and I want to copy documents from the My Documents folder on to CD. I right click on the file then select Send To and the CD Drive. After following the instructions I get a message saying that the recording cannot be completed as the CD may be damaged and unusable!

Norman Allen, by email


A. If your PC’s CD writing facility has only recently stopped working try switching to another brand of blank CD and give the drive a run through with a good quality CD Cleaning Kit. If it has never worked (but the drive can read discs) make sure that Windows XP Service Pack 2 is installed on your computer, as this fixed several CD writing bugs. If SP2 is present then right-click on your CD writer drive icon in My Computer or Windows Explorer, select Properties then the Recording Tab. Make sure that ‘Enable CD Recording on this drive’ is checked, select a slower recording speed from the drop-down menu and try again.




Smaller Screens and High Definition

I'm looking to buy a new widescreen flat-panel Digital TV.  I want all of the latest bells and whistles including full 1080i resolution and twin Freeview tuners. It sounds easy doesn't it - except that I want all that in a set that doesn't take over the whole room, with a picture size no greater than 26-inches?


However, all I get offered are 30, 40, 50 or even 60-inch monsters, or smaller sets with compromised performance. Is there any manufacturer who's not totally in thrall to the 'biggest is best' mentality?

John Wainwright, Wakefield


A. Patience please! The technology and the market are still in their infancy. Smaller 1080i screens will eventually become available -- probably within a year or so -- but whilst the picture will look noticeably sharper and clearer there’s not the ‘wow’ factor of a larger display, which is one reason why manufacturers are not rushing to get them into the shops. Besides, there’s comparatively little to watch at the moment and the hardware needed to receive and replay HDTV transmission and recordings is still in a state of flux so there’s a fair chance you could get stuck with obsolete equipment.




Copying Video Tapes to DVD

I'd like to transfer a number of old videotapes onto either CD or DVD. Is this possible using my home computer, which runs Windows XP? If so, what hardware and software would I need?

Alastair Duff, Newbury


A. Hopefully your PC has a 2GHz or faster processor, at least 512Mb of RAM (1Gb is better), 100Gb or more free hard disc space and a DVD writer drive. If so then the only other thing you’ll need is a video and audio capture device, which plugs into your PC’s USB port and connects to your VCR or camcorder’s AV outputs. Have a look at the Belkin DVD Creator, or Terratec Grabster; they sell for around £50 and come with basic recording, editing and DVD authoring software.




Trouble Starting PC Following Upgrade

I have had consistent trouble starting my Windows XP Pro computer since it was upgraded with a second hard disc, a DVD Writer and additional RAM. Every attempt to start it after that resulted in either a freeze up, or a black screen telling me it had not started properly. I would welcome any thoughts, as the firm who carried out the upgrade, are baffled.

Andrew Griffin, by email


A. I am equally baffled why this company hasn’t been more helpful. It would be an easy matter for them to selectively remove the components they’ve fitted, to see if any of them are responsible for the fault; an iffy memory module would be high on my list of suspects. Otherwise it could be due to some recently installed software, in which case try uninstalling it, or use XP’s System Restore facility (Start > Programs. Accessories > System Tools), to reset the PC to a date prior to when the problem started.





© R. Maybury 2006 1109


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