Ask Rick 2009 & Houston We Have a Problem 09



Ask Rick 024, 09/02/09, Houston 117, 21/02/09


Shrink Fit Browser Printing

I followed your advice, published some time ago, on how to enlarge a web page using the Ctrl key and mouse scroll wheel. However, when I print a page the text is still extremely small, despite appearing large on the screen.  How can this problem be solved?

Frances Lawrence, by email


It sounds as though you are using Internet Explorer 7. Earlier versions of IE try to print the whole page as-is, which slices chunks off the sides of wide web pages. IE7 is a lot smarter, but it needs to be configured otherwise you end up with the default shrunken page. To adjust the size right click the tiny down arrow next to the printer icon on the toolbar and select Print Preview. On the page that appears you can change the page orientation, to accommodate very wide pages, or use the sizing options on the ‘Shrink to fit’ drop down menu to alter the size of the printed page.


Notes for Presenters

Is it possible on Windows XP, to create a PowerPoint presentation complete with notes below each slide, where the notes are only visible to the presenter, and not projected on the screen?

Andrew Cripps, by email


Yes, but as far as I’m aware it only works in XP Office and PowerPoint 2003 or later, and you’ll need a laptop. The trick is set the laptop to use its LCD screen and the external monitor output as separate displays, however, not all laptops can do this. To see if it’s possible open Display Properties on the PC (right-click desktop > Properties > Settings). Click on the number 2 monitor icon and check the item ‘Extend my Windows desktop onto this monitor’. In PowerPoint go to SlideShow > Setup Show and under Multiple Monitors check the ‘Show Presenter View’ box. The main screen shows the slideshow as normal (drag the monitor screens to switch the order) and the second screen shows the slideshow (on an inset screen) plus navigation controls and your notes.



Help, Where’s Help?

I'm running Windows XP Home Edition Service Pack 3, but have recently been unable to access Help and Support. Whenever I try I receive a somewhat confusing error message that says: 'Windows cannot open Help and Support because a system service is not running… start the service named Help and Support.’ If only I could!

Derek Chevaux, by email


Help and Support is a background Service that starts automatically with Windows so it looks as though the Service has been disabled or deleted. This can happen when you use a poorly designed Registry cleaner or Windows ‘optimisation’ program.


You should be able to start the Help Service by going to Run on the Start menu. Type ‘services.msc’ (without the quotes) and scroll down the list to Help and Support. Right click the entry, on the menu that appears select Properties and on the Startup Type drop-down menu select Automatic and reboot.


If Help and Support is missing from the list then more drastic action is called for; only attempt this if you are reasonably confident of your abilities. Go to Run on the Start menu and type ‘cmd’ to open a DOS-like command window. At the flashing prompt type: ‘cd \windows\pchealth\helpctr\binaries’ (no quotes, and watch for spaces) and press Enter. Now type: ‘start /w helpsvc /svchost netsvcs /regserver /install net start helpsvc’ and press Enter. Close the window and as before open Services from Run on the Start menu. Help and Support should now be on the list, right-click on it and select Start and Help should be available once again.



Title Deeds

I am currently scanning several hundred old family photos onto my Windows Vista PC. I plan to put the jpeg images on to a DVD and send it to my extended family in Australia. Windows Photo Gallery has a facility to ‘Add caption’ in the Info Pane, which I thought would be useful. Unfortunately this caption does not seem to be viewable using any other picture viewing software, especially Windows XP Picture and Fax Viewer.


I believe the caption is stored within the jpeg file, so I am wondering if it is only used by Vista? Do you know if there is a way of displaying the caption in Windows XP Picture and Fax Viewer? The only other way I can think of is to edit each photo in Paint and add the caption, but this will result in part of the photo being obscured, as I have found no way of adding a blank section to the bottom of a jpeg image.

Steve Coulter, by email


The Vista’s Photo Gallery tag and title facility comes under the general heading of embedded ‘metadata’ (data within data). Unfortunately there are several different (and incompatible) standards, including EXIF (Exchangeable Image File format), XMP (Extensible Metadata Platform) and IPTC (International Press Telecommunications Council). The latter is an older standard and nowadays mostly used by media organisations. EXIF is used by most digital cameras to record the time and date a picture was taken, camera settings and so on, however, it’s not very flexible and has trouble with some foreign language character sets (notably Japanese). XMP is the new kid on the block, developed by Adobe. It is rapidly gaining ground and it’s the system used by Vista. Needless to say XP Picture and Fax Viewer cannot read XMP data but it is supported by a growing number of third party editing and viewing applications, including free ones like ACDSee. In short it’s all a bit of a mess…


Clearly re-editing hundreds of images would be a massive job so my solution is use our old friend Picasa (, the free picture editing and managing program from Google. Use it to write your captions and when you’ve finished, burn a picture disc with the Gift CD feature and send that to the folks down under. A blank CD will store hundreds of images, and you can include a copy of Picasa on the disc so your pictures (and captions) can be effortlessly viewed on any PC.   





© R. Maybury 2009 1901


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