Ask Rick 028, 23/02/09 & Houston 119 07/03/09
Do you know of any method
of selecting different warning tones for PCs? For example: the pathetic little
tinkle just before my notebook’s battery dies would be much more effective, and
noticeable, if I could replace it with a Klaxon. Also, why isn’t there an alarm
clock facility built in to Vista, or for that matter XP?
Peter Vick, by email
You can easily
change all of the Windows pings and dings by going to Start > Control
Panel > Sounds. Select the Sounds tab, on the list select the 'event' that
you want to modify and click the 'Sounds’ drop-down menu and take your pick
from what’s on offer. Click the little 'Play' arrow to hear the chosen sound
and when you’re happy with it click OK.
Sadly there’s no
klaxon sound on the list but you can easily make your own, here’s how. Open
Windows Sound Recorder (Start > Programs > Accessories; in XP it’s in the
Entertainment folder); now find a freeware klaxon sound on the web (try the one
Click the Record button on Sound Recorder, play the Klaxon Sound on the web
page, stop the Recorder and using the slider bar and the Edit menu trim off the
silence before and after the Klaxon sound. Finally save the edited clip as a
*.wav file in the Media sub-folder in the main Windows folder. Your klaxon clip
should now appear on the Sounds drop down menu. You can do this with any sound
that you can hear through your PC speakers, a clip from a CD or DVD for
example, or even a home made sound effect, using a microphone.
For reasons best
known to Microsoft they've never included an alarm clock with Windows but
both XP and Vista have a built in-utility called Task Scheduler and this can be
programmed to make a sound, launch a program or carry out a set of
instructions at preset times or dates. You will find it on the Start menu under
All Programs > Accessories > System Tools. There are also countless
freeware clocks and calendars on the web, so it's really not a problem. Try
Alarm, there's a link to it on the PCTopTips website at: http://tinyurl.com/dl648g
I'm a cost-conscious pensioner and have just bought a domain
name to facilitate easy future switching between broadband suppliers, without
having to change email addresses each time. I was all ready to take up the new
ISP’s January discount offer when my wife pointed out a problem. She runs a
B&B and is concerned that she'll lose potential bookings because our
existing email address is featured in the 2009 printed guides already in
bookshops. Is it possible to arrange for future enquiries to that existing
address to be re-routed to a new address once I switch? Otherwise, she'll
insist I wait until October before switching.
Mike Sanders, North Yorkshire
You will have to wait,
I’m afraid. Unlike mobile phone numbers, which you can take with you when you
switch providers, an email address is tied to the ISP’s domain and there is no
mechanism, or indeed any incentive for an ISP to let keep your address when you
My desktop PC runs
Windows XP and has an intermittent problem whereby the screen occasionally
freezes both when in use and when standing idle. Sometimes it will be OK for a
couple of days, other times it will happen several times in one day. There is
no link between the problem and any particular application, nor was the problem
triggered by installation of any new hardware or software. There is no shortage
of memory and in all other respects the PC is running OK. A local PC repair
shop has had a look and can’t see any problem. Any advice would be much
appreciated as it is driving me mad!
Alan Muggridge, by
If the ‘freeze’ is
temporary and the hard disc activity light is constantly on then it may be due
to a program hogging resources and normal operation usually resumes after a
short delay. There’s any number of possibilities but a shortage of RAM memory
is a common cause (not free disc space). Check the processes tab in Task
Manager (press Ctrl + Alt + Delete) and look at the numbers in the CPU column.
Most of the processes should be at or around zero when the PC is idling, even
with a couple of programs running, anything else is suspicious, with the
exception of ‘System Idle Processes’ which should be high (it’s badly named, it
actually means free resources).
If the freeze is
permanent and can only be resolved by switching the PC off then you might find
a clue in the System logs, which records Windows and program faults. Go to
Start > Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Event Viewer and look
through the Application and System logs to see if there's any reported errors
at the times when the freeze occurs. Right click the entry and select
Properties and you’ll get an explanation, of sorts, and a link to Windows Help
and Support. If it’s a common problem you may find a solution there.
How Did I Do That?
Some time ago, I managed to send an email to a friend in
which I referred to a web site that she would be interested in. I managed to somehow ‘pin’ the web address
to the name of the site, so that when she clicked on it, she was connected
straight way with that site. The trouble is I have forgotten how I managed to do it.
George Gilder, by email
Well done for doing it the first time round, and I bet
you’ll kick yourself when I remind you. In Outlook Express and Windows Mail all
you have to do is highlight the name of the website in the message window then
go to the Insert menu. Select Hyperlink, in the box that appears type or paste
the web address and click OK.
© R. Maybury 2009 0202