The Digital Life, Houston We Have a Problem, 059 03/10/07
Putting a Spell on Windows Mail
Windows Mail does not appear to include a spell checker. Can you
Alan Seymour, by email
Vista’s email program still has a few wrinkles that need ironing
out and one of them is the fact that the spell checker isn’t enabled by
default. To switch it on go to Tools > Options, select the Spelling tab and
tick the box at the top ‘Always check spelling before sending’.
Some users have found that they cannot select English as the
spellchecker language. If that happens choose any another language in the
drop-down box, click OK, exit Windows Mail, reboot the PC, open Windows Mail
and this time you should be able to select English.
I bought a 2Gb memory stick for my Vista Notebook. When I put it
in it asked me if I would like to put in ReadyBoost to speed up the program. I
agreed because I thought it was recommended. After I started putting my photos
in it said the memory stick was full. When I checked what was on I found out
that the ReadyBoost had used up most of the memory only leaving me a few
megabytes for my photos. Do you have any idea what I can do?
Maureen Sherwood, by email
ReadyBoost is a clever, but poorly explained feature in Vista that
uses an external memory device as a temporary data store. Normally Windows uses
free space on the hard disc drive as a ‘virtual memory’ but memory sticks and
cards are up to 100 times faster than a hard drive, so there can be a
noticeable improvement in the performance of Windows and some applications.
Unfortunately for it to do any good it uses most of the memory device’s
capacity, though you can adjust this when you say ‘yes’ to the option.
If you want to use your USB drive for transferring files simply
delete the ReadyBoost folder, or reformat the drive and ignore the offer the
next time it appears. Otherwise get another drive and keep this one for
ReadyBoost, but only if you notice a worthwhile difference.
Sound Advice for DVD Soundtracks
Is there a way I can save the audio from a DVD as an MP3 file so I
can listen to it on my personal player?
Yvonne Blake, by email
No problem and the excellent freeware audio recorder and editing
program Audacity can record anything you can hear through your PC’s speakers.
Simply play the DVD and set Audacity to record, afterwards ‘export’ the
recording as an MP3 file. (You will need to install the MP3 encoder plug-in at
the same time that you download and install Audacity). Alternatively try a
simpler audio recorder with built-in MP3 encoding called EXPStudio Audio Editor
Free. Links to both programs can be found on the Software page of the PCTopTips
We installed Skype with on our PC and ever since it has taken over
all sounds and they can only be heard through the Skype phone’s earpiece.
We tried to alter the settings in the PC’s audio Properties menu
but the Skype program is shown in both slots. When we disable it we are left
with nothing. We seem to have lost our
original sound settings and uninstalling Skype makes no difference.
Norman Aldrich, by email
Older versions of Skype, the voice over Internet protocol (VOIP)
service that lets you make free phone calls to other Skype users (and to
landlines and mobiles, for a small extra fee), can occasionally take over your
PC’s audio resources but it’s easy enough to put right. Either upgrade to the
current version or if you want to stick with your current installation Open
Skype and go to File > Options. Select Hand/Headsets > USB Audio Device
(Do not use Windows Default Device). Next, go to Start > Control Panel >
Sound and Audio Devices and on the Audio tab set the Default Device to your
PC’s soundcard. Also, at the bottom of this dialogue uncheck ‘Use only default
Please can you
tell me how to convert an image in My Pictures into a screensaver?
I imagined this would be a simple task but I'm having difficulty.
Assuming that you really do mean
a screensaver, rather than a desktop background, then right click an empty area
of the desktop, select Properties then the Screensaver tab and from the
drop-down menu click on My Pictures Slideshow. As it stands it shows all of the
images in the My Pictures folder in sequence but if you want to take control of
what’s displayed create a new folder in My Pictures, copy the images you want
to use into it then click the Settings button on the Screensaver setup
dialogue box and use the Browse button to locate your new folder. Just in case
you meant to ask about using an image as a background on your desktop then as
before open Display Properties, select the Desktop tab and use the Browse
button to locate your image file.
© R. Maybury 2007 2210