Houston We Have a Problem… 027 24/03/07


Word Template, The Root of all Evil… 

If I create a document in Microsoft Word and then go to 'file' then 'print' a window pops up stating that:  'Word has encountered a problem and needs to close’. There is an option to tick a box for 'Recover my work and restart Microsoft Word'. However, even after saving the document and recalling it the same error message returns.

David Hawke, by email


It’s probably a corrupt printer driver or ‘Normal’ document template. My money would be on the latter but it’s easier and quicker to eliminate the printer driver as a possibility. Go to Printers and Faxes on the Start menu (or in Control Panel), right-click on your printer icon, select Delete then under Tasks select Add a printer and re-install it (you might need the setup disk that came with your printer, so keep it handy).


If that doesn’t work then there may be a problem with the Normal.dot template. In fact many Word ills can be traced back to this file. It contains most of Word’s configuration settings and it is being constantly re-written so soon or later errors creep in. The trick is to delete or rename the file and this forces Word to create a new one, effectively resetting it to its factory fresh condition. First make a copy of your Normal.dot file, (just in case it's not corrupt) and save it in another folder. In Windows XP you’ll find it in: C:\Documents and Settings\<yourname>\Application Data\Microsoft\Templates In older versions of Word it's in: C:\Windows\Application Data\Microsoft\Templates. Delete or rename the original Normal.dot and re-boot.



Horrible Hyphens
I crave your help to customize my XP to never ever hyphenate a word, as simple as possible please so that I can also pass it on to my granddaughter.
Ruth Bartlett, by email


Hyphenation is a touchy subject so I won’t get into the debate about when they should and should not be used. I presume you just dislike the way Word uses them, which can be a little idiosyncratic at times, so here is how to take back control. If you are using justified text layouts then they will be inserted at the end of lines to ensure even line length. To switch this off go Tools > Language > Hyphenation and uncheck everything. Otherwise they are inserted, or suggested by Word’s Spelling and Grammar checker. To disable it go to Tools > Options, select the Spelling & Grammar tab then under Grammar click the Settings button, uncheck 'Hyphenated and compound words’, click OK and exit the dialogue boxes.



Static Danger

Last year, couple of weeks before going on holiday to Cyprus I lost all power to my Panasonic NV-GS400 camcorder while it was connected via the FireWire port during an editing session.

The repairs involved replacing the main board, which came to £300! A few days ago the DV in/out function failed again. I was informed by an engineer that both problems were probably as a result of static electricity
feeding back from the PC to the camcorder. Could you tell me any more about this phenomenon?

Richard W. Brown, Malvern

I have been handling – often carelessly -- static-sensitive devices for more than 30 years and in all that time I cannot recall zapping a single chip. I’ve only come across a tiny handful of cases where static might be to blame, though I have heard of countless lazy service engineers using it as excuse for not fixing a fault properly…

Modern Complimentary Metal Oxide Silicon (CMOS) chips are very well protected against static discharge. That’s not to say they can’t be damaged but it takes a lot to do so, a nearby lightning strike on a power or telephone line, for example. The only way I could see it happening in your case would be if there were a very serious electrical fault on the FireWire socket, though even that is extremely unlikely as nowhere in the PC, apart from the power supply, is there any more than 12 volts. If there were any mains leakage the PC just wouldn’t work and any static charge that might build up on the camcorder or the PC is instantly discharged to Earth.



Two into One Doesn’t Go

I recently bought a new PC, which has AVG Free Edition installed with lifetime updates.  On my old PC I had Norton Internet Security 2007, which, because of regular updates still has 470 days of support left. Is it possible or wise to attempt to run both applications on the same PC?

Stephen Clark, by email


You cannot have two anti-virus programs on a PC at the same time. Every antivirus program has a  'signature library', which contains inert samples of virus code, used to help identify a virus. If you install a second virus checker the chances are the first program will mistakenly identify the new program’s Signature Library as a potential infection.


For what it is worth the free versions of AVG (and Avast!) have been protecting my home and office PCs for many years (links to free antivirus software http://tinyurl.com/27txx2). I get sent quite a lot of infected email and a fair number of ‘dodgy’ programs but to date not a single infection has got through.




© R. Maybury 2007 1802


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