The Digital Life, Houston We Have a Problem, 096 16/08/08


Twin Peeks

I am looking into running two monitors from my Dell desktop computer.  I have asked a couple of computer shops about this and am given conflicting ways of how to go about it. My computer runs the present original flat screen monitor from (I believe) the motherboard. Would it be possible to buy a graphics card to install into the computer and buy a new monitor, if so, what type?

Marcus Pugh, by email


Once your dual monitor display is up and running you will wonder how you ever managed with just one screen. It makes life so much easier and on my setup I have Word on the left and my web browser and email programs on the right screen. Multi-monitor support is built into Windows and it’s easy to set up but you must have a separate video adaptor card for each screen, a single specialised card with two minotor outputs or you can use a fancy USB device that lets you drive a second screen, or multiple monitors


Normally you can’t use the motherboard’s integrated graphics adaptor as one of the cards (though it may be possible on some Dell machines) so in most cases you need to buy two video cards (or one dual output card). and ideally they should have the same basic specification but you might have to mix the connector types if you haven’t got two spare PCI, PCI-E or AGP slots. Don’t worry, Windows will figure it out. The second monitor should be the same size as the original one. If funds allow they should be the same model, it’s easier to match the images and makes the ‘join’ between the two screens appear less obvious. If you are going to splash out on two new monitors shortlist models with very narrow screen surrounds, so they can be put closer together. There’s more detailed instructions in Daily Telegraph Boot Camp articles 412 & 413 at: http://tinyurl.com/6zazsq



Delete Those Duplicates

Is it possible to tell the music library in iTunes to delete duplicate tracks? It lists them OK but I just cannot see how to remove them without deleting each one individually.

Dave Craddock, by email


If there are only few dozen copies showing when you go to Show Duplicates on the View menu then you might as well delete them manually. The quickest way to do that is to hold down the Ctrl key whilst you select the files, then delete them en-masse. Be careful what you remove, though, some copies may be different version of the same song, or tracks on different albums.


If you have a very large number of duplicates then try this. In iTunes highlight the entire contents of your Library and drag it to a new folder on your drive and it should only copy the originals. Check to see that it has worked, if so you can delete the original Library then copy the files back to the Library folder. Alternatively, run a freeware utility called Double Killer (http://tinyurl.com/6o8e8e, which seeks out duplicate files, of all types and then offers to delete the copies. 



Parallel Lines

I have a couple of old peripherals (HP printer and a Mustek scanner), which connected to my desktop through parallel ports. I’ve now upgraded to a laptop running Windows Vista, which only has USB ports. My question is: can I get an adaptor lead to continue to use the old equipment with the new laptop, and would they work anyway, considering the age gap in the software?

Steve Green, by email


USB to parallel port adaptors are certainly available from the likes of Amazon and Maplin for around £20 to £25 but in my experience they can be a bit hit and miss. However, ultimately it all depends on whether or not there are any Vista drivers for your printer and scanner and this tends to be unlikely on devices that are more than three or four years old. Check the peripheral manufacturers support web sites first, before you shell out on an adaptor, which in this crazy mixed-up world costs only marginally less than some quite decent combination printer/scanner/copiers…



Firefox Favourites

I have recently changed my web browser from Internet Explorer to Mozilla Firefox. When I used Internet Explorer I found a way to backup to a separate hard disc drive the Favourites listing. Is it possible to do the same for the Mozilla Firefox Bookmarks', because I cannot find a record of them anywhere?

Tony Delve, by email


They are quite well hidden and in Windows XP all of your Firefox Bookmarks and Links are contained in a file called Bookmarks.html. You will find it in: C:\Documents and Settings\<yourname>\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\xxxxx.default (where xxxx.default is a unique id code to your PC). Simply copy the file to the same location on your new PC. If it is running Windows Vista, this will be:

C:\Documents and Settings\<yourname>\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox\




Lost Without Explorer?

I have Internet Explorer on all my PCs, but never use it as I much prefer Firefox. Is there any good reason for not uninstalling IE? Several folk have hinted at dangers, but no one says specifically what they might be?

Chris Gibson, by email


There are no dangers as such but some web pages do not display properly in Firefox and you’ll have trouble downloading Windows updates, so why bother?  At the risk of repeating myself, the golden rule of owning a PC (and most things in this world…) is if it ain broke, don’t fix it!




© R. Maybury 2008 2807


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