Houston We Have a Problem... 045


Recording iPlayer to DVD

The forthcoming BBC iPlayer service sounds very useful. It will be handy if one can transfer iPlayer programmes from the computer to a DVD so that the whole family can see it at a time convenient to themselves. How can one do this? 

Jack Yates, by email


In theory you can’t. BBC iPlayer downloads contain Digital Rights Management (DRM) data that prevents digital recording, moreover you only have 30 days to watch downloaded programmes, after which they will be automatically deleted. However, if your PC or laptop is fitted with an analogue video output there is nothing to stop you connecting it to a VCR or DVD recorder, though obviously there will be a drop in picture quality. These kinds of restrictions are unlikely to be effective for very long, though, and I have little doubt that DRM ‘hacks’ and third-party DVD recorder programs will appear fairly soon after the launch.  



Mind Your Language

I am an expat and I have purchased a new computer, which has a pre installed OEM version of Microsoft XP in Portuguese. Is there a simple way that I can change the operating language to English?

Paul Howarth, by email


Sadly no, you will either have to learn Portuguese or install an English language version of XP. Your timing is unfortunate as Windows Vista can be easily switched using Language Interface Packs or LIPs (all versions) or Multilingual User Interface Packs – MUIs --  (Ultimate and Enterprise editions). In fact an MUI covering 33 languages was developed for Windows XP Professional but as far as I’m aware it was only ever available to system builders as part of the Microsoft Volume Licensing Programme.  



Transferring Data to a New PC

I am thinking of buying a new PC, but have been unable to find a straightforward way of transferring the data from the old PC, which is at least eight years old, and does not have a USB port. It has been suggested that I detach the existing Hard Drive and attach it as a 'slave' to the new machine, but I'm reluctant to attempt something where I have no technical expertise. Presumably I could have a Floppy drive fitted to the new PC, and copy files across, but surely there's a better way?

Mike Snatt, by email


Forget trying to copy data using floppies, at only 1.4Mb a pop it will take you forever. It may be possible to install a USB port adaptor card if the PC has a spare PCI slot on the motherboard; if so you can use a flash drive to copy data. Alternatively you could install a CD writer in the old PC and copy the files to disc.


Slaving the old drive is by far the quickest and simplest method, though, and it's really not that difficult (see this Daily Telegraph Boot Camp article: http://tinyurl.com/263gs3) or ask a technically savvy friend to help. Otherwise you could use the old Windows Direct Cable Connection (DCC) facility, which uses a serial or parallel cable connection between two PCs. There’s more information in Boot Camp 068 (http://tinyurl.com/yugxpz).



Skype and Vista

My friend in Japan has just bought a Windows Vista PC only to find he cannot contact me via webcam because he cannot get Skype to work. Any ideas?

Godfrey Rydon, by email


Officially Skype isn’t compatible with Vista but a new version is in the pipeline. The main problem concerns older audio and video drivers but provided the new PC has the latest updated versions there is a fair chance Skype can be made to work. However, in some cases only outgoing calls are possible, incoming calls are rejected, with a message saying that only calls from people on the contact list are accepted, even if the caller is on the list or Skype is configured to accept calls from all callers. This is the work of the Windows Firewall, which lets Skype make outbound connections but blocks incoming calls. The workaround is to go to Start > Control Panel > Security Centre, click the Windows Firewall link then Change Settings, select the Exceptions tab and use the Add Program button to include Skype on the Exceptions list.



Dual Booting Vista and Windows 98

I have bespoke engineering software that runs on 98SE but it will not run on XP nor, I assume, Windows Vista either. I have just bought a new Vista PC and wonder if it possible to run both operating systems.

David Gamberini, by email


Partitioning or splitting the hard drive into two ‘virtual’ drives would be the best solution, however, for this to work you really need to start from scratch with a blank drive. After creating the partitions you must install the oldest operating system first (i.e. Windows 98), before loading Vista.


The only safe(ish) way to do this retrospectively is to install a copy of the Linux operating system, which will partition the drive and create a ‘boot menu’ for all three operating systems. There is a DIY guide in Boot Camp 446 (http://tinyurl.com/3628at)





© R. Maybury 2007 0907


Search PCTopTips 



Digital Life Index

Houston 2006

Houston 2007

Houston 2008


Top Tips Index

Windows XP

Windows Vista

Internet & Email

Microsoft Word

Folders & Files

Desktop Mouse & Keyboard

Crash Bang Wallop!

Privacy & Security

Imaging Scanning & Printing

Power, Safety & Comfort

Tools & Utilities

Sound Advice

Display & screen

Fun & Games

Windows 95/98/SE/ME








 Copyright 2006-2008 PCTOPTIPS UK.

All information on this web site is provided as-is without warranty of any kind. Neither PCTOPTIPS nor its employees nor contributors are responsible for any loss, injury, or damage, direct or consequential, resulting from your choosing to use any of the information contained herein.