Houston We Have a Problem… 012 25/11/06


Lost in the USA

Towards the end of our American holiday we lost all of the photos from our Olympus digital camera.  We immediately removed the chip, is there any chance of recovering them or are they lost in the digital wilderness?

Fred M, by email


It depends. If you have tried another memory card in your camera and it works properly then there is a very fair chance that only the card’s filing system has been corrupted and the image files it contains are still intact and can be recovered. I suggest checking the card with a freeware program called Smart Recovery. It works with all types of memory card and virtually all memory card readers. If any of your photographs are still on the card and readable they will be repaired and extracted to a folder on your PC. Another recovery tool that I have found works with very seriously corrupted cards and image files is Datarescue. This is a shareware program costing $29 but there’s a free demo version that scans the card and shows you what the full version can recover. 



Seek and Hide

The list of subjects I have searched for on Google has now grown too large and I cannot find a way of deleting them either singly or all at once. Can you help?

Euan Campbell by email


An Internet Explorer feature called AutoComplete stores your search keywords typed into Google. You cannot remove individual items but you can switch AutoComplete off and clear the list by going to Tools  > Internet Options and select the Content tab. Click the AutoComplete button and deselect Forms, and if you are concerned about privacy you might also want to uncheck Web Addresses and User Names and Passwords as well. Finally, click the ‘Clear Forms’ button to delete the list. Previously visited websites are stored separately and you can control how long they are kept and delete the list on the Internet Options General tab (click the Settings button in IE7). Set ‘Days to keep…’ to 0 if you don’t want it to store addresses in the future. To delete individual items in IE6 click the History icon on the toolbar and right-click on the item you want to delete; in IE7 go to Tools > Delete Browsing History. Finally if you have the Google Toolbar installed on your browser you should know that this also stores search keywords To delete them click on the Google icon and select Clear Search History on the drop-down menu.



A Sight for Sore Eyes

After nine years have replaced my trusty but slow Sony Vaio PCG 737 notebook with a new laptop, which cost me less than £500. Windows XP is great as is broadband etc., but after only a few hours of use, my eyes have become so sore that I am sending this to you via my old laptop. I had the same problem when I bought a cheap flat screen television. After only 2 hours my eyes were hurting and I suffered headaches. Luckily I was able to swap it for a standard CRT model.

I fear that I will have to buy another laptop and I am prepared to pay a fair bit more for it (I should have considered this first, but it never crossed my mind) and I would really appreciate your views on the problem. Hugh Suter, by email


Cost is a factor but the quality of laptop displays can be subjective so it is vitally important to try before you buy. The often harsh overhead lighting in a computer showroom is a good test for a screen’s anti-glare properties. Reflections from lights and windows can be very annoying and can contribute to user fatigue. In your case it may be worth experimenting with an add-on anti-glare screen or your seating position.


Viewing comfort also depends on the way the display has been set up, in particular screen resolution -- check that it has been correctly set -- and of course contrast and brightness levels. Manufacturers have been known to forget to enable Windows ‘Clear Type Fonts’. These are optimised for LCD displays, making text clearer and easier on the eye by smoothing out the jagged edges. Details of how to set up and configure Clear Type fonts can be found at: http://www.pctoptips.co.uk/toptips/tt12display.html#SHARPER



Follow Up -- Tweak Comes Unstuck

I followed your recent suggestion (Houston… 4/11/06) to install the Microsoft utility Tweak UI to skip the Windows XP logon screen. Afterwards the system booted up directly with no logon screen but the next time the screen was back and on checking Tweak UI the ‘Log on automatically’ box was unchecked. I tried again and the same thing happened. Is this a fault or have I done something wrong?

Clive Harrow, by email


It’s not a fault and several readers have reported similar problems with this tip. The trick is to click the ‘Apply’ button before you click OK, and if you have never set a password in XP you should still click the Password button, leave the boxes blank, then click OK. 



© R. Maybury 2006 1311

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