Ask Rick 044, 20/04/09
Memory Card Games
I have a couple of SD memory cards (1 and 2Gb capacity) that I use
to save Word documents and pictures. I have been trying to transfer some
photos, originally from a camera phone, from the 1GB card onto the 2 GB card.
Having transferred only 75 pictures I now cannot transfer any more as if the
card were full. If I right-click and go to properties I find that I have used
33.5MB and that there is 1.87 GB free. Is the 2GB card really full or is it
something I am doing?
Memory card capacities have outpaced the abilities of older filing
systems to handle the vast amounts of data they are now expected to contain.
One very common problem is a limit on the number of files imposed by the FAT
filing system. For example, the FAT/FAT16 formatting, which some devices use
and is available as an option in Windows, permits a maximum of 512 entries in
the ‘root’ of the drive. These can be files or folders. You can easily overcome
this, however, and the trick is to create folders and use those to store the
files. The capacity of FAT16-formatted cards can also be reduced by file names
longer than the ‘8.3’ standard (i.e. a name with a maximum of 8 characters,
followed by a 3-character extension). It’s possible that your problems are
caused by a combination of these factors, especially if data on the card has
been repeatedly written and erased, in which case the easiest thing to do
re-format the card using Windows but make sure that FAT32 is selected on the
File System drop-down menu. Alternatively, use the more thorough SD Formatter utility, which is available free from
Two or three times a day my mouse pointer makes an unexpected and
disconcerting leap across the screen. It has been suggested to me that some
malware could be to blame but none of my defences report any problems. Does
this sound like malware? If so where does it lurk and how can I rid myself of
it? If it’s not malware do you have any
Don Kelley, by email
It sounds like a dodgy mouse to me, or it could be interference,
especially if it's a wireless type, but the first thing to do is see what
happens when you plug in a known-good, hard-wired mouse. A few years ago I came
across a similar problem that was eventually traced to a powerful desk lamp.
Older ‘ball’ type mice can be affected by strong light as they use optical
sensors to detect movement. When the mouse moves into a shadow or into the pool
of light, created by the lamp, it can suddenly veer off course.
If it’s just that one mouse, and you are attached to it then try
updating or reinstalling the driver, especially if it’s a fancy one with
specialised functions. It’s unlikely to be a malware infection though, this
isn’t the sort of thing that it does, though again, going back a few years I
recall several prank programs that made the mouse pointer do unexpected things
but the effects tended to be much more dramatic.
I use a Samsung notebook running XP home which now has a problem
(in all probability of my own making) - the keys M J K L U I and O also have the
numbers 0 to 6 (in blue) on them and when typing the above keys I get the
number instead of the letter. In other words if I type the word MILK and I get
0532, is there a solution to this problem?
Ivor Davis, by email
This can be a bit disconcerting but what you have done is switched
on the machine’s numeric keypad facility. For obvious reasons notebooks and
laptops don’t have separate number keypads, so they are integrated into the
body of the keyboard (the blue numbers on the keycaps). To enable and disable
them you usually need to press the Fn key plus NumLock, which is usually on the
top row of function keys. You’ll find a more detailed explanation in your user
manual, which is always worth reading as there may be other features that you
don't know about and are worth getting to know.
I received a list of email addresses in a document as an
attachment to an email. When I open the document I cannot transfer these
addresses to the Outlook Express Address Book unless I painstakingly retype or
copy and paste them one by one. Is there an easier way of getting them into
Geoff N., by email
Not that I know of, but I do have a quick-and-dirty workaround
that will help to speed things up. Highlight and copy the addresses in the
document and paste them into a blank New Message window. Now send the email
yourself. Open it, right-click on the addresses and on the drop-down menu
select ‘Add to Address Book’.
I have recently rebuilt my PC and partitioned the new 500GB hard
disk three equal ways. I now realise
the partition containing Windows and my program files is much bigger than
necessary as is the 'spare' partition (should I ever need to reload the operating system). I would like to move the spare capacity to
the third partition where I keep all my data.
I am running Windows XP Home edition SP3. Having searched the Internet I am left confused!
Can you recommend a step-by-step instruction for resizing partitions,
without having to reload software and data?
If software is needed free or cheap would be preferred!
Rod Bunyan, by email
Unfortunately there are no free or cheap partitioning tools that I
would be happy to recommend to a novice. The only free and relatively safe
alternative is to Install a Linux distribution like Mandriva or Ubuntu, and
these have partition management programs built-in. If you fancy having a go see
Boot Camp 446 (http://tinyurl.com/cguygj).
Otherwise commercial programs like Partition Manager or Partition Magic are
your best bet, the former can be picked up on line for around £20.
© R. Maybury 2009 1603