Ask Rick & Houston We Have a Problem 2008



Ask Rick 012, 26/12/08 & Houston 111 03/01/09


Trial By Office 

I have a new laptop and it came with a trial version of Microsoft Office. I bought a copy of Office Home & Student edition and installed it on the laptop. Three quarters of the way through a message appeared on the screen stating ‘source file not found. D:\SKU011.CAD. verify that file exists’. How can I correct this situation? 

Harry Hignett, by email


This error message is basically saying that a file needed to install Office on your PC cannot be located on the installation disc, which is in your CD/DVD drive (drive D:). Assuming that the disc is a new legal copy then it may be faulty, or there could be a problem with the drive. Since the laptop is fairly new and the drive was able to read most of the disc I don’t think it’s a hardware problem so examine the surface of the disc for dust, marks or scratches; if necessary give it a wipe with a cleaning cloth and try again.


If it stumbles at exactly the same point then the disc may be damaged and you should obtain a replacement. However, before you do, there’s one last thing you can try and that’s to copy the entire CD into a new folder on your hard drive, and run the installation form there. This simple trick sometimes overcome the data bottlenecks that can occur when the PC is trying to suck data off the CD faster than the drive can read it.



Thunderbird On the Go

I am about to reinstall XP onto a new larger disc on my laptop. My problem is how to transfer a rather large Inbox and Address Book from Thunderbird on my current system to the new drive. Thunderbird doesn't seem to have any obvious export function, and Help isn’t very helpful. I have a small network so can transfer files quite easily via another PC or using USB memory sticks if that is easier.

Jon Greenwood, by email


Whilst there is no Export function in Thunderbird it’s a fairly simple job and that involves copying the contents of the ‘Profile’ folder from the old PC to the same location on your new laptop. However, before you begin it’s a good idea to empty the Junk and Trash folders and delete any old messages that you no longer need as this will help to reduce the size of the files and speed up the transfer.


When that’s done close Thunderbird and go to C:\Documents and Settings\<yourname>\Application Data\Thunderbird\Profiles\. Open Profiles then copy the ‘default’ folder to a USB memory stick. Open the Default folder on the new drive or PC (by the way, in Vista the location for the default folder is: C:\users\<yourname>\AppData\Roaming\Thunderbird\Profiles\. The new Default folder will have a different name, but don’t let that worry you, just copy all of the files from the old Default folder on the USB drive into the new one. When you launch Thunderbird on the new machine the new settings and email messages should be present as before.



Moving MiniDisc

I have a lot of music on MiniDisc I would like to convert some of this to play on my iPod. Nobody seems to know how to do it, including the manufacturer of the MD player. Have you any solutions?

Renwick McDermid, by email


Unfortunately there’s no easy way to directly extract data files from a MiniDisc player (or disc) and convert them into MP3 tracks, but there are two indirect methods. The first is to connect the analogue output from your MD player to the line input on your PC’s soundcard and use a recording utility like Audacity or MP3 MY MP3 (links to downloads at:, to record the tracks and then save them as MP3 files, for download to your iPod. The second method, which should give slightly better results, depends on your MiniDisc player and the PC having optical digital (SPDIF) outputs and inputs. If you have this facility then once again record the tracks and using the previously mentioned applications to save them as MP3 files.



Drive Safely

Some time ago you drew attention to a free uninstaller program called Revo Uninstaller. It works really well and clears all parts of the system.  On the subject of free software, is there something that will check and update the drivers on an XP computer and also make back-ups?  There seems to be a number of quite expensive commercial programs available, some with free trials but as ever I suspect there is a catch and they will of course, list a number of faults and you have to buy the program to correct them.   

Peter Hargreaves, by email 


I am not aware of any software that automatically checks and updates all drivers, but I know of a couple of programs that come pretty close to what you are looking for. Core XP drivers are updated as necessary by Microsoft, but the rest are supplied by third parties, like the manufacturer of your motherboard and hardware components such as the video adaptor, sound card, printer, and so on, and some of them will come with automatic updater programs that operate in the background, but it’s a bit hit and miss, and personally I don’t like programs on my PCs logging on to the Internet without my say-so.


You can easily backup all of your drivers manually, though, and this is well worth doing if you ever need to carry out a full re-installation, or if one of them becomes corrupted and needs to be replaced. Now for those suggestions, for a simple freeware driver backup program try My Drivers ( The other one is DriveMax (, this is freeware as well, and in addition to creating a local driver backup on your PC it also checks and downloads updates on demand, though you will need to create an account and log on to do so.




© R. Maybury 2008 2811


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