Ask Rick 2008



Ask Rick 007, 08/12/08


Driven to Distraction

I recently had problems installing a scanner and I was advised to re-format my hard drive. I had everything backed up so I went ahead. Since doing this I have several faults. I have lost all sound, the option to hibernate or standby is greyed out and I cannot use System Restore. I have tried re-loading the Windows XP disc but to no avail.


I have downloaded trial versions of two diagnostic programs and they report two missing drivers and various other faults.  However, you have to pay for the programs in order to fix the problems so can you tell me whether or not it would it be worthwhile or can you suggest another solution?

Sheila Ambrose


Anyone who suggests that you reformat the hard drive to fix a relatively trivial fault on an otherwise functional PC is either lazy or incompetent or both since the vast majority of computer maladies can be solved without recourse to such drastic action.


All of your problems stem from the fact that your PC is missing a set of drivers. These are the small programs and data files that tell Windows how to communicate with your PC’s hardware components. They should be on a driver or utility disc, which is supplied with every PC, though sometimes they’re included on a ‘rescue’ or ‘Installation’ disc. The idea is that once Windows has finished installing you pop in this disc and the drivers are automatically installed. If you haven’t got the disc you will have to download the driver files from the PC or motherboard manufacturer's website, however, you need to know the exact make and model and this will be in the manual that came with the machine, or printed on the actual motherboard.



Sticky Norton

I am using Windows XP and get an odd message as I turn off at the end of the session. There is the End Program box, and a message: ‘ccAP this program is not responding’ and two Options, to Cancel or End Now.  End Now says that latest files will not be saved. If I ignore this there is a pause and the same message appears. Continuing to ignore this the PC eventually closes down

John Bax, by email


CCAp or Common Client Application is a component is several Norton/Symantec products and for no good reason it sometimes freezes and stops Windows from shutting down. You can safely click the End Now button but I’m not aware of any fix that will stop it from happening. All I can suggest is to check the Symantec website for any updates for your product, otherwise try uninstalling then reloading the whole program, or switch to another application.



A Date with Outlook

I use Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 in Windows XP and following a recent hard drive problem I lost my Calendar appointments. I now have an external hard drive permanently connected to a USB port and I wish to back-up my Calendar data on a daily basis. What is the simplest method?

Bruce Awford, by email


Everything you need is built into Windows but first you have to locate your personal storage table or .pst file, which is where Outlook stores, amongst other things, your Calendar, Inbox, Tasks, Sent Items, Outbox, Deleted Items, and other user-created folders. Over the years it has moved around but in Windows XP you can usually find it in C:\Documents and Settings\<yourname>\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook. If it’s not there use Search on the Start menu to find it. There may be more than one .pst file but you can find the one you want to backup by making a calendar entry and checking the date and time the file was modified.


Once you’ve found it you can proceed to the next step, which is to run the Windows XP Backup utility. This is pre-installed in XP Pro but if you are using XP Home you’ll have to load it from the installation disc. Details of how to do that, along with a simple to follow guide to using the utility can be found in Boot Camp 376 (


Basically all you have to do is select the source file or folders (and you may want to include your other data files in the backup), select the destination drive, give the backup a name then set a scheduled time for the backup to take place.



Photo Opportunity

I have a few nice family photographs that were taken before I had a digital camera so I never had them on my computer. Is it possible for me to transfer 7 x 5 inch colour prints to my PC? If I can do this will there be any reduction in quality? Would I need to set up a new file or could they be put into My Pictures with my digital photos.

P D Ford, via email


Yes to everything but you will need is a gizmo called a flatbed scanner. Prices start at around £40 and they plug into one of your PC’s USB sockets. Even budget models can do fair job of digitising prints, though you may have to experiment with the settings, in particular the resolution, which determines how much detail is captured. However, don’t be tempted to use the highest settings, apart from taking longer to process the software that comes with the scanner usually ‘interpolates’ – basically makes up – the fine detail it cannot actually see.


Once the image has been scanned you will be asked where you want to store it on your computer and by default most models choose the My Pictures folder. Most scanners can also be used as simple photocopiers and they usually come with OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software that converts printed documents into text files that can be read on your word processor.




© R. Maybury 2008 1811


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