Houston We Have a Problem... 044 21/07/07


Word Fraction Generator

I use Word and when I wish to type, say, ¼, I key in Alt + 0188 and instead of continually going to the Character Map, I have made a list for the different fractions and any French accents that I require.  However, I recently required some other fractions, which are not available on the Character Map, can you help?

C. R. Thompson, by email


There’s no need to mess around with the Character Map, Word has a little known feature that lets you create any fraction you want. Click the cursor where you want it to appear then press Ctrl + F9 and a pair of shaded ‘braces’ with a flashing cursor appears. Now type: ‘EQ \f(a,b)’ (without the quotes), where a is the numerator and b the denominator. For example, to create the fraction 7/15 you type {EQ \f(7,15)}. To convert this into text press Shift + F9; you can change the font and size like any other text object. Incidentally, you can also use this trick to create text fractions:  



On the Wrong Footing

Until recently whenever I printed a web page it automatically printed the website address at the bottom of the page - a handy reference when I need to revisit the site. Now, however, I get no such information when printing, is it something I've done?

Brian Seabrook, by email



Possibly… If you go to Page Setup on Internet Explorer’s File menu you will see two boxes marked Header and Footer. Normally they contain printer codes but I suspect yours are empty or need correcting.


By default the code in the Footer box should be: &u&b&d, which translates as print the website address or URL (&u) on the left then in the centre of the page (&b) print the date in short format (&d). In the Header box you should see: &w&bPage &p of &p, which prints the page or window title (&w) on the left followed by the word ‘Page’ then the current page number (&p), the word ‘of’ then the total number of pages (&P). Other codes you might see, or want to use are: long form date (&D), PC time (&t) and 24-hour format time (&T); also &b commands can be combined (e.g. &b&b) to left and right justify the text.




Replying To Spam

I wonder if you can help.  For the last few weeks I have been receiving unsolicited e-mails with a variety of originator's addresses but all of a lewd nature about sex. I have tried sending a curt reply saying ‘stop sending me the rubbish’ but still they come. What do you think I can do to stop them?

Edward Rigg, by email


The absolute worst thing you can do is reply to these messages. They are sent out in their millions, usually by infected computers, to random email addresses. If you respond you are simply confirming that your address is active and there is a very good chance it will be sold on to other spammers and you will get even more junk email. Until the ISPs take a more proactive role in controlling this menace all you can do is install a Spam Filter and I suggest MailWasher (www.mailwasher.net), which is free and effective. 



Daily Defrag

My Windows XP computer is 12 months old. I defrag almost daily but on occasions I get programs, which hang and won't close. On shutting down by ‘Ending Task’ an option to send in an error report usually appears. Recently it was suggested to download a Registry ‘Booster’ program and run a scan. This I did and it came up with 461 invalid Registry entries. To get rid of them it requires me to purchase the program. Although it is not much of a problem at the moment I wouldn't want it to build up; I would be pleased to receive advice on the way forward.

John Wellwood, by email


Firstly there is absolutely no point in defragging your drive every day; every three or four months is more than sufficient, and then only if Windows say’s it is necessary. Your occasional shutdown problem is probably nothing to worry about but if it gets any worse, and it’s always the same program, then it may need investigating.


You should uninstall that Registry program, it’s almost certainly a scam, or ‘scareware’ as it’s known in the trade, designed to frighten you into buying probably useless software by reporting ‘false positives’. In fact novices should give the Windows Registry a very wide berth; it’s an important System file and small changes can have big repercussions. There are programs that can safely remove old and redundant entries, but they should only be used to fix a specific fault, rather than for routine maintenance. I suggest RegSeeker (http://tinyurl.com/3ygg8u), which is free and reasonably safe because it has a backup facility. Nevertheless, before using it I strongly suggest setting a new System Restore Point. 






© R. Maybury 2007 0207


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