Houston We Have a Problem… 017 06/01/07



I am an amateur historian and over the years I have recorded a number of television programmes covering my area of interest. I now want to transfer these to DVD using my computer. A local engineer will be changing the DVD-ROM drive to a DVD writer but I also need to know how much material I can get onto a DVD, as some of my tapes are 4 hours long? Is it possible to cut out the adverts and would the recorded discs be watchable on any living-room DVD player? Can you also advise on suitable software? I am no expert so I need something fairly basic.

David R Allthorpe, North Baddesley


As well as the DVD writer drive your PC will need a video input adaptor card or USB module so you can connect your VCR to it. The Dazzle DVD Recorder, which plugs into a USB socket, is one of the simplest solutions and it comes with basic DVD editing and authoring software.


Ideally your PC should have at least 1Gb of RAM and it’s a good idea to install a second ‘slave’ drive for storing video as it takes up a lot of space. A second drive also takes the strain off your main drive, which will be busy running Windows and your applications, and it helps to eliminate the data bottlenecks that cause glitches and jerks in the finished video.


Single-layer DVDs hold up to 4.7Gb of data; newer dual-layer discs have twice the capacity but I would stick to single layer types as drives and blank discs are a lot more expensive and there are still some compatibility and reliability issues. The amount of video you can get on a DVD depends on the original recording and the quality settings you use to record a disc but as a rule of thumb you can expect to get around 2 hours on a single layer disc.


There are several easy to use DVD authoring and editing packages available including Pinnacle Studio, Roxio Easy Media Creator 9 and Ulead Video Studio 10. All of them let you remove adverts and much more besides and the finished DVDs will be playable on any home DVD player.



Internet Explorer 7 Problem

I have installed IE7 but every time I turn on my machine and boot up I get the message ‘The procedure entry point Get Process Image File Name could not locate the dynamic Link Library PSAPI.DLL’. Have you any idea what this means and how can I stop it?

Rob Williams, by email


I have had many similar queries in the past few weeks and these error messages often contain baffling references to ‘Motive SmartBridge’ and ‘Procedure Entry Points ‘. Don’t worry, it’s not serious and it is caused by a conflict between a Windows System file -- updated by IE7 -- and a program called Motive Smartbridge, which is installed by a number of broadband setup programs and used for error reporting. You can safely disable Motive SmartBridge by renaming the errant PSAPI.dll file.


It’s very straightforward, go to Search on the Start menu, type ‘psapi.dll’ (without the quotes) in the File Name box and click OK. It may find more than one instance but the one you want is in the Smartbridge folder; right-click on the file, select Rename, call it ‘psapold.dll’, click OK and reboot.




Running DOS Programs in Windows XP

My wife has a program, which runs under DOS, for which we have retained an old computer but is there a way that this software can be run on our new Windows XP computer?

Tom Smith, by email


XP has a DOS-like utility called Command Prompt but it’s not much use for running programs. You can, however, boot your PC into DOS mode with a Windows 98/SE/ME Startup floppy disc, which you can make on your old PC. Go to Start > Settings > Control Panel > Add/Remove Programs; select the Startup Disc tab and follow the prompts. Alternatively in Windows XP right-click the floppy drive icon in My Computer or Windows Explorer select Format then click ‘Create an MS-DOS startup disc’.


Your PC should boot from the floppy disc when you switch it on. If it doesn’t you need to change the ‘Boot Order Sequence’ in the BIOS program; details of how to do this should be in the user manual. Be warned that due to the faster processors in XP computers some DOS programs may not work properly, or run too quickly but that’s progress for you and sadly there’s nothing you can do about it.




Copying Images from a Memory Card

I am having difficulty transferring pictures from a memory module in a card reader to 'My Pictures'. Can you advise on the procedure please?

R. Wild, by email


Image files on a digital camera memory card can be ‘Copied’ and ‘Pasted’ to a new location like any other file on your computer. All you have to do is open My Computer or Windows Explorer, double-click the memory card icon to display its contents then right click on the file icon and select Copy from the menu that appears. If you want to copy several files at once hold down the Ctrl key whilst selecting files right click on one of them and as before click Copy. Now go to your My Pictures folder right-click into an empty area select Paste from the menu, and that’s all there is to it.








© R. Maybury 2006 1512


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