Ask Rick 2009 & Houston We Have a Problem 09



Ask Rick 042, 13/04/09


Opening a Window on Macs

After decades of PCs I have bought an iMac. After living with it for a few weeks I may be, reluctantly, forced to put Windows on it, which rather defeats the object but I can't live without a couple of programs that are not available for the Mac.


I still have an HP Laptop with Windows Vista Home Premium pre-installed, with the product key on a sticker underneath. Does this allow me to put a copy of Vista on to my Mac and how would I do that when I don't have installation discs?

David Wake, by email


It is technically possible to persuade a Mac to run Windows XP and Vista but it has to be an Intel-based model. There are two methods, the first involves modifying Windows system files, it’s quite tricky and not really suitable for novices but you can read all about it at: The alternative is to install a free utility from Apple, called Boot Camp (, or one of a number of third-party Windows ‘emulators’ and ‘virtualisation’ programs that either let you install Windows in a separate partition on the hard drive and dual boot Windows, or launch Windows in a ‘window’, while the Mac OS is running. The latter is the least satisfactory option and many Windows applications will not run in this sort of setup.


In your case the big problem is the lack of a Windows installation disc. Without it you are stuck, but there may be a solution. It is possible to create one from the files on some PCs with Windows XP ‘pre-installed’ (, but I have not, as yet, come across a procedure that works with Vista. I suspect it can be done but I have a feeling that it’s going to be quite a job. Incidentally, I should mention that that Windows End User Licence Agreements (EULA) specifically prohibits its use with virtualisation software, so consider yourself duly warned.


Missing Pictures in Word

I run Word 2003 and need to print a logo on notepaper.  When I first set this up the logo printed perfectly.

Now, however, although it appears on Print Preview it fails to print. What am I doing wrong?

Tom Doyle, by email


I am not aware of any faults in Word that can make this happen, which suggests that a setting has been changed but how it happened is anyone’s guess, unless you have been tinkering... Go to Options on the Tools menu and select the Print tab. Under ‘Printing Options’ Draft Output should be unchecked and in the ‘Include with Documents’ section the Drawing Objects box should be ticked.



Mail Disorder

When sending an email using Windows Mail in Vista it remains in the Outbox until I close the program and re-open it. Pressing Send/Receive prior to this has no effect. However, if I press Send/Receive without an email in the Outbox it goes through the process of trying to send. Once I re-open Windows Mail, it then sends the email held in the Outbox, and moves it to the Sent folder.

Keith Sheffield, by email


I suspect this is another case of an altered setting and once again the place to go is the program’s Tools menu and click Options but this time you need to select the Send tab. Under Sending check the item ‘Send Immediately’. My guess is that you unchecked it by accident but the odd thing is that afterwards, the first time you try to send a message a warning box appears that basically says your message will be placed in the Outbox and not sent until you restart Windows Mail. This window pops up every time so you must also have ticked the box that say’s ‘Don’t show this message again’…



Command Performance

My Operating System is Windows XP Home Edition and my PC appears to work as normal except when I click on My Computer. If I click on Local Hard Drive (C:) I get a dialogue box that says:  ‘Windows cannot find ‘Recycler\’. If I search for this Windows advises that it is not a proper folder or file. I can still open Local Hard Drive through Windows Explorer.

Roy Galloway, by email


That rather long-winded message basically says Windows is attempting to launch a .com file when the drive is accessed. This is a ‘Command’ or instruction that tells your computer to open a file or run a program. Virus, worm and malware writers often use this trick as the .com suffix is easily mistaken for a web address and is usually overlooked by anti-virus programs. Of course it could be innocent but I doubt it and I suggest that you download and install a little freeware utility called Autorun Eater ( This will identify any suspicious .com files and if necessary remove them. However, it doesn’t remove the malware program the .com file launches, so you should also run cleaner programs like AdAware, A-Squared and Spybot (all free and safe to use, links to download at:



Sound Asleep

I recently purchased a Toshiba Satellite laptop running Windows Vista Home Premium. Trying to operate either the Sleep or Hibernate function invariably causes a malfunction and eventually an error message ''cmdpst.dll cannot be initialised'' appears.

Bruce McAndrew, by email


The file in the error message belongs to a bundled Toshiba utility called the Acoustic Silencer. Its job is to slow down the CD/DVD drive, making it quieter so that it doesn’t become intrusive when replaying music CDs or watching a DVD. It is set to run at startup and my guess is the computer is unable to enter Sleep or Hibernate modes because Acoustic Silencer is ‘hanging’. I suggest that you reinstall the utility from Toshiba Support ( 




©  R. Maybury 2009 1603

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