Houston We Have a Problem… 009 04/11/06


Video with a Twist

I have a short video clip (.AVI) of my grandson recorded on my digital camera but it was shot in portrait rather landscape mode. Aside from turning the monitor through 90 degrees is there an easier way to rotate the clip?

John Broadbent


A. Windows Movie Maker, included with Windows XP, has a rotate facility (90, 180 and 270 degrees). On the opening screen, under Capture Video click Import Video then drag your clip onto the Timeline. Next, go to Tools > Video Effects, scroll down the list to Rotate then drag and drop the Rotate icon onto your clip. All you have to do now is go to Save As on the File menu and save the modified video under a new name and Bob’s your uncle...




X-Ray Suspect

When I play back recordings on my ‘mini DV’ camcorder the picture intermittently breaks up into blocks and lines and freezes momentarily. Could interference from nearby electronic equipment, or the camera having been put through airport X-Ray machines cause it?

David Owen.


A. Modern X-Ray security scanners have no effect on magnetic tape, DVDs, memory cards or electronic gadgets and camcorders are well protected against most forms of interference. Picture freezing and pixellation are normally symptoms of noise, which is caused by a damaged recording, worn tape or faulty signal processing. On analogue video tapes noise shows up as white flecks or streaks in the picture but digital technology tries to repair the damage and what you are seeing is the effects of digital error correction being stretched to its limits. In your case I suspect it is due to dirty recording/replay heads and it usually goes away after using a cleaning tape. It can also be due to poor quality or faulty tape so if cleaning the machine and trying a different brand of tape doesn’t fix the problem then it almost certainly requires expert attention.




Sharing Broadband Connection

My main PC running on Windows XP Home Edition is connected to a second PC running on Windows 2000 Professional using a cross-wired Ethernet cable. I did not find it at all straightforward but I managed to create a 'Network Setup Disk' with XP Networking and I can now share files and printers. I have tried to set up an Internet connection sharing using the Connection Wizard but it doesn’t work, can you help? 

Alan Blackburn


A. I am impressed that you managed to get it to work at all using just a crossover cable. There probably is an obscure procedure that will get Internet connection sharing working but I suspect it is complicated and messy. Why not just buy a simple 4-port router? They only cost around £20, your two PCs connect to it using ordinary ‘patch’ cables and the Networking Wizard in Windows XP will configure file, printer and Internet sharing for you in about 30 seconds flat.



MP3 Forces Upgrade?

I have recently become interested in buying an MP3 player but after having done some research it has become clear that the software that is provided with these machines sometimes only runs on Windows 2000 or XP. Some lower capacity players support older versions of Windows but I am interested mainly in either a 20 or 30Gb models and both my computers run Windows 98. Is there any way to avoid this problem short of updating my PC to XP?

Tom Sheppard


A. There’s plenty of software for converting (‘ripping’) tracks from CDs into MP3 files that will work on Windows 98 but your problem is how to transfer the files from your PC to the player. Windows XP works with most USB devices but Windows 98 requires specially written drivers and unfortunately for you many MP3 player manufacturers do not feel obliged to support what is essentially an obsolete operating system. However, pressure from fellow Windows 98 users sometimes persuades manufacturers to create drivers third party drivers are available for many popular models, including some Apple iPods, so it’s worth doing a little homework. Once you’ve identified a model you like check the web to see if a driver is available and you may be pleasantly surprised.



Turned off by Logging On

I’m a silver surfer and starting to find my way around but since installing a new printer my desktop no longer appears when I boot up. Instead, I get a blue screen with my name on which I have to click on to start the desktop loading, I’m using XP Home, and I am the sole user, can you help?

Joyce Green


A. The logon screen may be due to a recent Microsoft update but the easiest way to avoid it is install a small utility called Tweak UI for XP, which you can download free from Microsoft at:





Once installed open Tweak UI (Start > Programs > PowerToys) click Logon > Autologon then check the item ‘Log on automatically’ and click OK.





© R. Maybury 2006 2310


Search PCTopTips 



Digital Life Index

Houston 2006

Houston 2007

Houston 2008


Top Tips Index

Windows XP

Windows Vista

Internet & Email

Microsoft Word

Folders & Files

Desktop Mouse & Keyboard

Crash Bang Wallop!

Privacy & Security

Imaging Scanning & Printing

Power, Safety & Comfort

Tools & Utilities

Sound Advice

Display & screen

Fun & Games

Windows 95/98/SE/ME







 Copyright 2006-2008 PCTOPTIPS UK.

All information on this web site is provided as-is without warranty of any kind. Neither PCTOPTIPS nor its employees nor contributors are responsible for any loss, injury, or damage, direct or consequential, resulting from your choosing to use any of the information contained herein.