Ask Rick 2009 & Houston We Have a Problem 09



Ask Rick 043, 17/04/09, Houston 125 25/04/09


Word Print Error

I have an HP laptop running Windows Vista and have recently encountered a problem when I try to print a document. If I right click on the document icon and select Print an error message comes up, headed Microsoft Visual Basic, and ‘Ambiguous name detected TmpDDE’. If I click on OK the message disappears but nothing further happens and the document does not print. However, if I open the document by a double click I am able to go through the print process using the Office button. Clearly I must have done something to upset the system. Can you please help to put it right?

B. Laurence, by email


This sounds like a known bug in some versions of MS Word. When you use the so-called ‘shortcut’ method to print a document, i.e. print a document without opening it, Word creates a temporary Macro to carry out the task. Normally this will be deleted when the job is done but if it isn’t, for some reason, then the next time you try to print using this method Word throws a wobbly because a macro with the same name already exists. You should be able to fix it by deleting the left over Macro, which you will find by going to Tools > Macro > Macros. If TmpDDE is on the list delete it, restart Word of Office and normal service should be resumed. If it’s not displayed on the list click the ‘Macros In’ drop-down menu, select and delete any instances of TmpDDE you find there.



Site Search Tips

It's hard to imagine life without the marvellous Google, but after performing a particular search, how do I find the actual text string on the website? Sometimes, it is difficult to find the text t one is looking for, and which might be buried deep beyond the home page?

Hugh Sawyer, by email


Locating a particular word or text string on the displayed web page is very straightforward. Internet Explorer, Firefox and most popular browsers have a ‘Find’ or ‘Find on this page’ search box option on the Edit menu. You can search an entire site for a word using Google, all you have to do is put the word or string you are looking for in front of the word ‘site’, followed by a colon and site’s web address. For example, if you wanted to find the word ‘houston’ on the Daily Telegraph website you would type ‘houston’ (without the quotes) into a Google search box. There are more searching tips and techniques on the Google website at:


If you are using the Firefox browser you can incorporate a Site Search facility into the Address box using a rather nifty free add-on called Urlbar.ext (, which also adds buttons for Copy URL to Clipboard, Create TinyURL, Up/Down one Directory Level, Tags and Anonymous Surfing.



iTunes Irritation

I have downloaded iTunes on to my Acer Aspire 5920 laptop, which runs Vista Home Premium. Everything works, except when I try to burn CDs when I get an ‘error code 2131’ message. I have tried both the Acer and Microsoft websites but cannot find a solution.

Mike Denman, by email


This problem is well known to Dell and Toshiba laptop users and now it’s bedevilling Acer owners. What links them together is the TS-L632H CD/DVD writer drive, which is made by Samsung. The problem concerns the drive’s internal control program or ‘firmware’, and the solution is to ‘flash’ or replace it. For Dell HP and Tosh owners that is easy and there are patches to download in the support sections of their websites ( for Toshiba and for Dell). However, in spite of the problem being fairly well-known there’s no sign of a fix yet on the Acer site. Several people claim to have solved the problem by ‘cross-flashing’ the firmware from the Dell or Toshiba sites but I definitely wouldn’t recommend this as there are minor variants of this drive and bespoke additions to the firmware and you could end up with a dead drive. All you can do is pester Acer and hopefully the patch will appear soon


Current Affairs

Do you know if there is any way that, in Word, one can change the default Print command to printing just the current page, rather than 'all'. I can speed things up with keyboard shortcuts Alt + F, P then Alt + E but many times I have forgotten to use it and inadvertently printed out a whole file.

John Rew, by email


Unfortunately you can’t change the default for this particular setting, it is hard coded into Word but you can use a Macro to carry out the operation, and you can do it with a single click if you assign the Macro a toolbar icon. I had a brief stab at writing one but gave up after discovering that it had already been done, and much more elegantly than I would have managed, so head over to: You’ll also find details of how to create that one-click toolbar icon. I also came across another article, in pdf format, that shows you how to manually record a Macro for printing the current page in Word 2000:


Blank Emails

I don't know if you have a solution to this but when I go to reply to an email the computer often sends a blank reply before giving me the chance to fill in my message. I notice that emails I get from other people often have the same problem.

Margaret Cameron, by email


I am not aware of any faults or mechanisms in Outlook Express or Windows Mail that would do this. You can create ‘Rules’ in both programs to automatically respond to incoming messages but this isn’t something that could happen on its own. I am inclined to think that maybe you are accidentally clicking on the Send button, or inadvertently used the keyboard shortcut command for Send, which is Ctrl + Enter.





© R. Maybury 2009 1603

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