The Digital Life, Houston We Have a Problem, 093 26/07/08


Lost and Found, Possibly...

I have Windows XP. Recently I deleted some photos using File > Delete in My Pictures folder. Regrettably I now realise I want some of these photos back into my folders again. Is this possible, and if so how can I go about retrieving them?

Geoff Atkinson, by email


First check the Recycle Bin, if you haven't emptied it recently and the pictures are still there just highlight the files and select Restore this item. If the Bin has been emptied then there is still a chance the photos can be recovered. As you may know, when you delete a file in Windows all you are actually doing is removing the reference to it from the filing system's index. However, the space the 'deleted' files occupy on the hard drive is marked as free and available for use, so eventually the data will be overwritten. If it wasn't too long ago then you might be lucky. Try a small freeware utility called Restoration (http://tinyurl.com/5mjbzn). This scans your PC for recently deleted files and any that can be recovered will be restored to a nominated folder on your computer. 



RAW Deal for XP

When I download RAW image files into Windows XP Explorer from my Nikon digital camera, the thumbnails appear as white squares with a NEF logo in the centre. Jpeg and Tiff files appear as expected. Can you suggest a fix?

Peter Johnson, by email


Support for the high quality RAW file format (Nikon call it NEF or Nikon Electronic Format) is included in Windows Vista but in order to get XP to display RAW images you will have to download a add-on from Microsoft called, appropriately enough, the RAW Image Thumbnailer and Viewer for XP (http://tinyurl.com/2gxkla) and your photos will appear as thumbnails in Windows Explorer. 




Disappearing Documents

When typing work into Word recently, it all disappeared and I failed to retrieve it. What did I do wrong and how could I have retrieved it?

John Bowley, by email


I can't say for sure why your document disappeared but if it became highlighted and you pressed a key then Word assumes you want to replace everything, and it vanishes. When anything like this happens the first thing to do is click the Undo icon on the toolbar (backwards curved arrow) or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Z.


Microsoft Word doesn't have an automatic backup facility as such; there is a feature called Save Auto Recovery (Tools > Options > Save tab) but all this does is save the open document as a temporary file, which you can retrieve if Word or Windows crashes. However, the temp file is deleted when Word or the document is closed. 


You should save your work every few minutes, but if you have trouble remembering try a freeware utility called SaveReminder (http://tinyurl.com/28hx9k), which creates a Word Macro that can be set to remind you to Save at preset intervals, or it will do it for you automatically




Foil the Felons

I recently had two computers stolen from my office. Can you please recommend an encryption program for future use, preferably free if there is one available?

Brian Whale, by email


You may already have the necessary software on your computers if you are using Windows XP Pro (http://tinyurl.com/6s9udc) or Vista Business, Enterprise or Ultimate (http://tinyurl.com/4wldbn). Otherwise I suggest a program called Cryptainer LE (http://tinyurl.com/qp9t), which creates encrypted folders or 'vaults' into which you move the files that you want to protect. It uses a strong 128-bit key, so your files are well protected, and it also works well on USB drives, so you can safely carry your sensitive files around with your. Also have a look at EasyCrypto, (http://tinyurl.com/6pyza6), which uses the highly regarded 128-bit Blowfish algorithm.


If you need industrial-strength protection then you will have to pay for it, PGP (Pretty Good Privacy - www.pgp.com, is about as good as it gets, though bear in mind that no system is unbeatable, for anyone determined enough, and with sufficient resources. In the end security begins at home, so make sure your office and the computers therein are locked down tightly, so they can't be easily stolen. You can protect data on laptops with systems that automatically delete files, either remotely or when an unauthorised attempt is made to open them, see www.absolute.com..



One is Enough

I have thee anti-virus programs. At start-up they all show that I have been attacked by various viruses. I request for them to be removed, the system closes down and on restart shows that there are more viruses to be removed. Can you please recommend a program that will remove the virus on a permanent basis?

Len Seale, by email


It may seem like a good way to enhance your PC's security but you should only install one anti-virus program on your PC. That's because all AV scanners use 'Signature Libraries' to identify potential infections. Basically these are inert samples of virus code, but to another AV program they can appear to be live viruses, creating a never-ending series of alerts.






(c) R. Maybury 2008 0707


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