Houston We Have a Problem… 019 20/01/07


A Tiny Problem

You often refer readers to, for example,  ‘tinyurl.com/x3tr’, which you gave recently as a link to the DVD FAQ website. I’ve tried these addresses as web searches, without success. Can you please advise me how to find these sites?

Ken Wilson, by email


Tinyurls are a very convenient way for us to avoid the problems of printing (and you typing in) very long web site addresses in the newspaper. The abbreviated addresses are created by going to http://tinyurl.com/; it’s a free service and anyone can use it, just enter or copy and paste the full web address that you want to simplify into the box and click the ‘Make Tinyurl’ button. However, we should have made it clear that unlike a normal web address you drop the ‘www.’ prefix so the address you enter in your browser should be: http://tinyurl.com/x3tr



Upper Case Alert

I have always used my keyboard in such a manner that I do not observe the indicator lights that operate when in upper case mode. Is there any device that can be fitted to my keyboard that will show upper case operation in my line of sight? My problem is caused by the rim and side bracket of my spectacles obscuring the keyboard lights to the right of my line of sight.

Tom Rhoden, by email


Windows has a built-in facility that sounds a bleep when you press the Caps Lock key. To enable it go to Start > Control Panel > Accessibility Options, select the Keyboard tab and check the item ‘Use Togglekeys’. If you find that unsatisfactory then try a little freeware program called DKOSD (http://tinyurl.com/y5cxyh), which displays the words ‘Caps Lock is On/Off’ in bold green letters for a second or so after the Caps Lock key has been pressed.



Password Protect Documents

I wish to protect single files with a password without covering everything with a blanket password.  Although I have Word, Excel, etc., I use Works 2000 for simple word processing and there are one or two files I wish to secure, which contain private information, such as bank and building society details, access codes, PION numbers, etc.  I am not the most computer literate of your readers so the IT equivalent of words of one syllable would be appreciated!

(Dr) Brian Langdon, by email     


Single syllable words are a bit of a tall order but I think I can keep it reasonably straightforward. Firstly, if you switch from the Works word processor to Word then you can take advantage of a built-in password protection facility (also available in Excel). Open your document in Word then go to SaveAs on the File menu, click ‘Tools’ (top right hand corner) and select General Options and you will see a box to create passwords to Open or Modify the document.


Windows XP has its own folder protection facility but only if you have set up a logon password. If so open Windows Explorer, right-click on the folder containing the files you want to protect and select Properties then the Sharing tab and under Local Sharing and Security check the item ‘Make this folder Private’. Click Apply and you will be asked to create a password.


These measures will keep out casual snoopers but for greater security you should scramble or ‘encrypt’ your folders and files, making them unreadable by any conventional means. XP Pro has a facility called Encrypting File System (EFS). To use it open Windows Explorer and right click on the folder you want to secure. Select Properties then on the General tab click the Advanced button, check the item ‘Encrypt Contents to Secure Data’ click OK and follow the prompts. If you are using XP Home then you can use a third-party encryption program. Winguard Pro (www.winguardpro.com), is ideal for novices and it utilises powerful RC4 encryption (far too many syllables needed to explain that…) moreover it is free for home



Reviving System Restore

For some unknown reason System Restore on my XP computer has suddenly stopped working. I have tried to go back to several dates but it just comes back with  'No changes have been made to your computer'. Does this mean I have lost the System Restore facility on this computer? How do I get it back please?

Lee Hartman, by email


I am afraid that all of your Restore Points (RPs) have been lost so you cannot now reset your PC and you will have to fix the problem by some other means. For the record there are several reasons why this might have happened. Switching System Restore off erases all Restore Points; to turn it back on again open System Properties (Winkey + Break) select the System Restore tab and uncheck ‘Turn off System Restore…’.


RPs will also be erased if you run low on hard disc space -- System Restore needs a minimum of 50Mb to work. If you run the Disk Cleanup utility all but the most recent RP can be deleted and they are automatically zapped when they are more than 90 days old. For good measure there are also reports of glitches with some Norton Products, Real Player One and Zone Alarm, which have both been blamed for deleting RPs without warning, though the circumstances under which this happens are apparently quite rare.





© R. Maybury 2007 0101


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