Houston We Have a Problem… 004 30/09/06


Internet Explorer Storing My Details

I am sure this is a stupid question, but on my new laptop, whenever I type into a search engine it offers me a suggested word based on previous entries. I now find this extremely irritating, but more importantly, it has stored my credit card details and code numbers as well, and produces them as soon as I type the first number. How can I turn this off?

Dave Armstrong


A. Microsoft calls this feature AutoComplete and it can be quite handy but with little or nothing in the way of explanation, many users are understandably concerned that it poses a threat to their security and privacy. However, it is very easy to disable or configure, once you know where to look… In Internet Explorer go to Tools > Internet Options, select the Content tab then click the AutoComplete button. To switch off AutoComplete just uncheck all of the boxes and click the Clear Forms and Passwords buttons to erase any saved data, otherwise select the features that you want to use.



Buying Laptop Batteries Abroad

After four years of use the battery in my Sony laptop now lasts just 10 minutes. Replacement batteries are half the price in the USA, are there likely to be any problems using one?

John Rowe


A. Batteries for a particular make and model of laptop are normally the same wherever they are sold, just make sure that you have the correct part number when ordering a replacement. However, if you are thinking of buying a battery over the Internet then be aware that shipping charges and UK import duty could wipe out any savings. Buying one whilst visiting the US could also be a problem; several airlines, including Korean Air and Virgin Atlantic have recently introduced special restrictions on Apple and Dell laptops. This follows recent concerns over laptop batteries, made by Sony, overheating and catching fire. Check with your airline before flying, the ban could be extended and other carriers may join in.




No Phone Socket, No Broadband?

I would like a broadband connection but there’s no telephone point in the room where my computer is located and it is not possible to install one. At the moment I use a portable telephone lead to connect to my dial-up provider but this is not workable on a permanent basis.

Bernard Victor


A. A wireless system would be the simplest solution but the modems supplied with many broadband packages are unsuitable, as they require a direct connection to your PC. It’s worth asking your chosen provider if they can help, otherwise you will need to buy a combined ADSL modem and wireless router, which connects directly to your phone point (and a nearby mains socket). Models like the 3Com OfficeConnect and Netgear DG834 are suitable and typically cost between £45 and £70 and you will also need a Wi-Fi adaptor for your PC, which plugs into a USB socket and these sell for around £25.




Large Font When Printing Emails

Sometimes I need to print hard copies of my sent e-mails to send to others. I compose my emails in 12 point Arial and until recently that would be faithfully printed. Now, for some reason I cannot fathom, the printouts are twice the usual size, which uses up lots of A4 paper. Not that I would know how but I have never interfered with the printer’s settings.

Roland Rench


A. Don’t ask me why but for reasons best known to Uncle Bill, Internet Explorer controls printing in Outlook Express. Maybe you changed the settings by accident otherwise it’s those gremlins again… Here’s how to set things right, open Internet Explorer then go to View > Text Size. The default setting is Medium but by all means experiment. Changes will be implemented after you close and re-open Internet Explorer and Outlook Express.




© R. Maybury 2006 1809


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