Ask Rick 2008



Ask Rick 002 21/11/08


Transfer Made Easy

We're about to buy a replacement PC tower system. Is there an easy way to transfer all of our data without creating lots of back up discs, especially since the new one will be using Windows Vista while the current PC runs XP?

Nigel & Carol Newman, by email


Vista, like XP before it has a built-in utility for transferring files and settings, even if the PCs in question are using different versions of Windows. In Vista it’s called Easy Transfer and basically it gives you three options. You can use a special transfer cable to connect the two machines together, transfer the data over a network, or copy files and data to CDs, DVDs or other removable media, such as an external hard drive or memory sticks. All you have to do to start the process is go to Search on the Vista Start menu and type ‘Easy Transfer’ to launch the ‘wizard’, which will guide you through the choices and procedure.



Shortcut to Nowhere

I have both Firefox and Internet Explorer on my XP Home computer. However I seem to have lost the shortcut to IE7 as it no longer appears on the desktop or the Start or Programs menus. The only way I can access it is via Add or Remove Programs in Control Panel. This means I have to have IE as my default browser, which I would prefer not to do. Is there any way of restoring these shortcuts?

John Wainwright, by email


This shouldn’t be a problem and I suggest doing it the old fashioned way. Open Windows Explorer and navigate your way to C:/Program Files/ Internet Explorer. Right-click on the iexplore.exe icon, select Send To > Desktop (create shortcut), and it’s done. You can now drag and drop a copy of this icon on the Quick Launch toolbar. If you also want an icon on the Start menu right-click the taskbar and select Properties then the Start menu tab. Click the Customize button and on the General tab, go to the Shorn on the Start menu box and in the drop-down menu next to Internet, select Internet Explorer and click OK. To set Firefox as the default browser go to Tools > Options, select the Advanced tab and under System Defaults, click the Check Now button.



Wilful Wi-Fi

I use Windows XP on my Toshiba Satellite laptop, with a wireless broadband connection to the Internet. I put the laptop into Standby when not in use. When I switch back on, it automatically reconnects to the Internet and is a lot faster than rebooting. This has worked perfectly for many years. However for apparently no reason it stopped automatically reconnecting and the only way I can get it to do so is by rebooting. None of the ‘repair connection’ facilities have any effect. 

David Burton, by email


This could be due to a change in the wireless adaptor’s power management settings, though why it has happened I cannot say, unless you or someone with access to your PC has been having a fiddle... To see if this is the case you need to open Device Manager and the quickest way to do that is to press Winkey + Break then Hardware > Device Manager. Scroll down the list until you get to Network adaptors and click the plus sign to expand the tree. Right-click on the entry for your WI-Fi adaptor. On some setups there will be a Power Management tab, in which case deselect the entry ‘Allow the PC to switch this device off to save power’. Otherwise select the Advanced tab, then the Power Save ‘Property’ and in the Value drop-down select Off or Normal, click OK and reboot.



Lack of Status

I have purchased a new Dell Inspiron to replace my 7-year old PC and the new machine came with Windows Vista. I have been using an Epson Stylus D88 for some time in Windows XP but now I find that with Vista the 'Status Monitor' feature is not available. I have loaded the latest driver from the Epson website but this did not cure the problem. The Status Monitor is pretty vital because otherwise you don't know when the ink(s) will run out until it is too late.  It also leads me to wonder what will I do when I need to change them; will the software support this action?

Harry Lowe, by email


As far as I’m aware the Status Monitor for this model should work under Vista, so you could try removing it then uninstalling it. If it still won’t play I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it. You should be able to access a default ink level monitor by going to Printers and Faxes on the Start menu, right click your printer’s entry and select Properties or Preferences. Another solution is to download a small program called SSC, which works exclusively with Epson printers, and your model is one of them. In addition to an accurate ink monitor it has some useful extras, including an improved print head checking and cleaning tools and on some models, the facility to reset the cartridge ‘chip’, so you can refill the ink tanks, or use third-party ‘compatible’ cartridges.



New AntiVirus Scam

Help, I am being driven mad by a program called XP Antivirus, which has somehow got on my PC and is now demanding money to remove the infections it has found. Please help me to get rid of it.

Jess Harper, by email


I had hoped this particular nasty had gone away but I’ve now heard of a new variant, called VirusResponse Lab. It’s a real menace because it looks genuine and apart from the nuisance value, it can also slow your PC down. Needless to say it’s a complete scam, designed to extract money by scaring you into thinking that your PC is infected, which it is, with this rubbish! There are several free utilities that can zap the program; for advanced users I suggest SmitFraudFix; for near effortless automatic removal try the free version of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware.





© R. Maybury 2008 2710


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