Houston We Have a Problem... 041 30/06/07
Sharing A Broadband Connection
office PC has a broadband connection and I would like to be able to share it
with the computer in our sonís room, on the floor above. If this were possible
would we have to pay for it? How do we link his computer to ours and will we
have to run cables from our office up the stairs to his room?
Lamiri, by email
can share your broadband connection using a simple home network. No you wonít
have to pay for it, though you may need to buy some extra kit, and no you wonít
need any cables.
get a wireless or ĎWi-Fií modem/router, and prices start at around £50. Your
existing office PC connects to the Internet as normal through the device and
your sonís PC links to it through a wireless connection. Most recent laptops
have built-in Wi-Fi adaptors, otherwise you will need to buy one for each PC or
laptop (they plug into a USB socket) and these cost around £20. With this sort
of arrangement you can switch your office PC off when it is not in use and your
son will still be able to access the Internet.
potentially tricky part is configuration and for this you will need the
ĎUsernameí and password assigned to you by your ISP, however, most recent
wireless router packages are designed for novices and providing all of the PCs
in your home network use Windows XP setup is usually fairly painless. One last
word of caution, itís important to switch on the routerís encryption system to
protect your network
Protecting Word Documents
in three locations and have two desktops and a laptop. All contain numerous
Word documents, many of which I have password-protected due to sensitivity. I
back up all my files into three separate folders on a USB stick. However, I
cannot find a way to protect either the entire folders or the USB stick via a
password in case of loss. Any thoughts?
encrypt your documents. This facility is built into Office XP and Office 2002
onwards (see http://tinyurl.com/2bu44v). Windows XP Pro also has a file
encryption utility but this isnít compatible with XP Home. However, for the
simplest all-round solution I suggest a freeware program called Cryptainer
Mobile, which is included with Cryptainer LE (http://tinyurl.com/qp9t). This creates a Ďcontainerí folder
on your PCís hard drive, or memory stick and any file you put inside the folder
is protected by powerful 128-bit encryption. If you do lose it then only the
most well-resourced spooks and villains will be able to read your files.
To Upgrade or Not, That is the Question
this year I purchased an Acer laptop with Windows XP Media Centre, I was also
given a Windows Vista Home Premium Express Upgrade Disk. I have not installed
this disk yet as I have been told there have been some problems with Vista.
Would you consider it safe to install this disk now?
Kenny, by email
launch actually went quite smoothly through there have been a few glitches with
programs and peripherals not being updated in time (or at all). Nevertheless,
in general I do not recommend upgrading operating systems.
It is far
better to start with a clean slate and a freshly formatted drive otherwise
corrupt system files, viruses and so on can be carried across to the new
installation. Some programs may not work without updates and there is a small
chance it could all go horribly wrong if, for example, there was a power cut
during a critical stage of the lengthy upgrade process, so why risk it?
you also have to ask if the machine was designed for the new operating system,
or is merely Vista compatible? If itís the latter then you may be disappointed
by the performance. Vista is very demanding, particularly when it comes to CPU
speed, memory and graphics capabilities and in my view at this early stage it
is better to have it pre-installed and fully road-tested on proven hardware,
rather than gamble with an upgrade.
Knit And Scratch
I am a
knitwear designer and like to store images of my work on CDs for future
reference and publicity. As luck would have it, I managed to scratch one of the
CD's. Is there a way to fix this?
There are a number
of CD/DVD 'Repair' kits on the market, which use mildly abrasive polishing gels
and creams to remove light scratches and scuff marks. Deeper scratches are
more difficult, though, and if you have no luck with a kit then I have a
do-or-die remedy that you try entirely at your own risk.
I have managed to
restore numerous badly scratched PC and video game discs using Brasso metal
polish, a soft cloth and a lot of elbow grease. Concentrate on the area of the
scratch with a firm circular motion, be patient, it may take several sessions
to remove it sufficiently for it to play. Only try this as a last resort, and
itís vitally important that you remove all traces of the polish and buff the
disc before you load it in your PC. If it works then copy the data to another
your hard drive or another disc ASAP!
© R. Maybury 2007 1106