The Digital Life, Houston We Have a Problem, 086 07/06/08


Single Click Switch Off

Some years ago you suggested a simple way of shutting down Windows XP with one click of the mouse.  Windows Vista seems to require no less than four keystrokes plus some work with the mouse to shut it down. Can you provide a similar short program to switch off Vista with one click?

Jim Devine, by email


Indeed I can and it is basically the same procedure, which involves creating a desktop shortcut to an automatic shutdown program built into Vista (this trick also works with Windows 7). All you have to do is right click onto an empty area of the desktop, select New then Shortcut and in the ‘Type the location…’ box, key in the following command:


shutdown –s


Click Next and give your new One-click shutdown shortcut a name, or use the default and click Finish. As it stands it’s not particularly quick and when you click on it you will see a message about Windows shutting down in less than a minute, so here’s a way to speed it up by adding a time delay ‘switch’. Right-click on your Shutdown shortcut, select Properties and in the Command or Target box add the following: ‘–t xx’, where xx is time in seconds. For example, if you want your PC to shut down 3 seconds after clicking the shortcut icon it would look like this:


shutdown -s -t 03

(Note that there are spaces before –s, –t and 03).



AVG Free No Longer?

I have for a long time used the free version of AVG anti virus after your recommendation but for the last week or two I've been sent 'pop up' messages offering version 8, with more features of course, mostly already covered by Vista I imagine. It'll cost circa £39 pa. and may I suspect slow things down! Recently another 'pop up' suggested that the free version would no longer be supported. Any suggestions please?

Don Cartwright, by email


Don’t worry, AVG 8 is free and the pop-ups are simply trying to persuade you to upgrade to the paid-for version; well, you can’ blame them for trying… The new version, which you can download directly from http://free.grisoft.com/ provides the same high level of protection as v7.5 and generally speaking most users seem reasonably happy with it.




Is there any way of reversing a block of text one has inadvertently written with caps lock on? For example, can I correct  'dEAR hOUSTON' to 'Dear Houston' by pressing Crtl and another key? It is so frustrating to write a large block of text only to find caps lock was on, and having to write it all again from the start!

Mrs J Butler, by email


I presume you are using Microsoft Word, in which case all you have to do is highlight the block of text and press Shift plus F3. Pressing this shortcut once converts all highlighted text to lower case, pressing it again changes it to all uppercase and a third press capitalises the first letter of each word.


By the way, a couple of freeware utilities, DKOSD and First Cap, will alert you with on-screen and audible warnings if you leave the Caps Lock switched on. Links to both programs can be found at: http://tinyurl.com/22otrh



Use It or Lose It…

I have been using XP Professional on the same computer for about 6 years. Up until recently the speaker icon has been a permanent fixture on the taskbar. Now, for some reason, this icon randomly disappears and if I go to Control Panel > Sounds and Audio Devices Properties it is ticked as "Place volume icon in taskbar". If I un-tick it then re-tick it and press apply it re-appears only to disappear who knows when.

Michael Stephenson, by email


The System Tray or Notification area as it is also known sometimes seems to have a mind of its own when it comes to displaying icons. It’s possible that XP has decided that you are not using the volume control often enough and has downgraded it to inactive status. If so you can force Windows to display it all of the time and to do that right click onto an empty part of the taskbar and select Properties. On the Taskbar tab, under Notification Area, click the Customize button. If it is greyed out check the ‘Hide inactive icons’ box. On the list that appears highlight Volume and on the drop-down menu select Always Show, click OK then OK to get back to the desktop 



Scamware Alert

Somehow, and despite having a well-known and fully updated security program on my PC it has been infected with an extremely annoying program called Antispyware Master. It appears as a pop up that you can't get rid of every time I open Internet Explorer and it tells me that I have to run its antivirus program. How can I get rid of it, and why didn’t my anti virus software pick it up?

Gary Rayner, by email


Strictly speaking it is not a virus but some clever ‘malware’ that gets into your PC via code hidden inside web pages. This one is a tricky customer but between them, two free utilities, called Rogue Remover and SuperAntiSpyware, should get rid of it. Links to both programs can be found at: http://tinyurl.com/2woy5u




© R. Maybury 2008 1905


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