Houston We Have a Problem… 034 15/05/07
View of Laptops
My daughter has a
laptop, which is about 4 years old. When it is booted up the screen hardly
lights up. It is only just possible to make out the icons on a very sunny
day, holding the screen to the light. We have tried pressing the
brightness buttons but this has not improved things. Can you help please?
Jill and Sarah Johnson,
LCD screens and monitors
rely on a ‘backlight’ to illuminate the screen and until recently most models
use one or more cold cathode fluorescent (ccf) lamps. These are miniature
fluorescent tubes and they do have a finite life, typically 5 – 7 years with
normal use but normally they fail gradually and when they are about to expire
you will notice dark areas at the side of the screen. This leads me to suspect
that the circuit that powers the lamp, called an inverter, has died.
Replacements are available, however, the cost of fitting one could easily come
to more than £100, which may be more than the laptop is worth.
If there’s valuable data on
the laptop’s hard drive you can retrieve it by plugging a normal computer
monitor into the ‘VGA’ socket on the rear of the machine, then you will be able
save your files on recordable CD or a pen drive.
Taken to Task
The other day, whilst
moving the cursor across the screen, the Windows taskbar across the bottom of
the screen suddenly turned vertical, and now sits upwards along the right hand
side of the screen, getting in the way of all kinds of things. I have been into
Control panel and Appearances, but nothing appears to remotely say 'put the
taskbar back across the bottom'. Help please!
Alan Hadfield, Urmston,
I prefer it there as it makes more room for web pages and documents. If you
want to get it back to the bottom (or the maybe ring in the changes and move it
to the top or left side) move the mouse arrow until it is just inside the
taskbar box, click and hold the left mouse button then move the pointer to the
bottom (or top or left side) of the screen and the taskbar will follow and you
can release the mouse button. You can also make it wider or narrower by moving
the pointer over the taskbar border, when it turns into a double-headed arrow
click and hold the left button and drag the border. To stop it happening again
right-click into an empty area of the taskbar and check the item 'Lock the
Right Form for Emails
I want to send by email
an A4 sized application form, the object being the recipient being able to
print off the form. However! When I try, it either arrives seemingly over six
times the size or it arrives undersize and is still useless. The only way I can
get anywhere near is to treat it as a picture; even so, it arrives smaller than
the original. I have racked my brains, and asked about, though nobody has come
up with any suggestions.
J D Knight, by email
Why not create the form as
a ‘locked’ Word document and send it as an email attachment? (To lock a
document go to Tools > Options > Save and create a ‘Password to modify’).
The only slight disadvantage with this method is that some recipients may not
have Word on their PC, in which case you could send it as a portable document
file (pdf). PDFs are about as close as it gets to a universal standard for
sending documents over the Internet and they can be read on almost any PC (Mac,
Windows Linux etc.) that has a copy of the free Adobe Reader program installed.
Until recently the only
easy way to create pdfs was to use Adobe Acrobat, however, there are now a
number of freeware alternatives available, including a utility called doPDF
(more details at: http://tinyurl.com/2rgjln).
The excellent Writer program, part of the free OpenOffice suite (www.openoffice.org/) also has a built-in
export to PDF option.
Address Book Out of
computer seems to automatically add senders' details to my Outlook Express
Address Book especially in the case of Round Robin' emails. I have been
astounded to find masses of names in my Address Book relating to people I do
not know. I find that it takes considerable time to delete them before another
load of unknowns arrive! Is there a way I can stop
J Taylor, West Overton, Wiltshire
There most certainly is,
however, this rather annoying feature works by adding the names of the people
you send email messages to, to the Address Book, rather than the other way
around. To switch it off go to Tools > Options, select the Send tab then
uncheck the item ‘Automatically put people I reply to in my Address Book’,
click OK or Apply and it’s done.
© R. Maybury 2007