Ask Rick 046, 27/04/09 & Houston 127,09/05/09
Some two or three years ago I recorded all my home video tapes
onto DVD-RAM discs, using a PVR. Now I would like to copy these discs for my
daughters, but find that although they play readily on the PVR, neither my PC
nor another one I have tried will read them; they all say the discs are blank!
Is there any software that will convert their contents into a readable format?
David Colman, by email
At the very least you should be able to re-record the discs on a
PC, using the PVR’s analogue AV output and a USB video recording module. Most
of them come with DVD recording programs and I’ve seen them selling online for
as little as £25. There will be some loss of quality but this method should be
able to capture all of the detail from the original recordings, which were made
on relatively low definition videotape.
When it comes to reading DVD-RAM discs on a PC the bottom line is
that some can, and some can’t… This is due to the tangle of standards and
formats. Windows Vista, for example can have problems reading DVD-RAM discs
with FAT32 formatting. PC DVD drive
firmware (the built-in software that controls it), is another fairly common
troublemaker, though it’s worth checking the PC or drive manufacturer’s website
to see if there’s an update or patch. Just to confuse matters there are two
versions of the DVD-RAM specification, and discs made using the newer DVD-RAM2
standard may not be readable on some older drives. There’s no easy answer but
it’s worth checking friends and colleagues PCs and MACs to see if the disc can
be read on their machines, and if so, ask them to run off some copies.
DVD to MP3
Do you know if it is possible to convert, for example, soundtracks
from a DVD to MP3 so you can them play in on a non-video-playing iPod? I have a number of music DVDs that I'd like
to be able to listen to on the move. My PC uses Vista.
Gareth Jones, by email
There are a couple of possibilities, you can either play the DVD
on your PC and at the same time use a recording program, like Audacity or Free
Audio Editor (http://tinyurl.com/2m8jcr),
to record the soundtrack, edit the file and export it as an MP3 file.
Alternatively, there’s an all-in-one freeware utility called DVD MP3 Ripper (http://tinyurl.com/r8xgp. This simplifies
the whole process and even makes it easy to pick out single tracks, however, as
I am sure you know, you are not supposed to make recordings of copyright
material, so consider yourself duly warned!
I have a Vista laptop and I have never been able to click on
emails in website addresses. I get a box that says: '…could not perform this
operation because the default mail client is not properly installed'. My support man says I am not the only person
with this problem and he is trying to find a solution.
Jennifer Margrave, by email
He really doesn’t have to look very far… Click the Start button
then ‘Default Programs’ (you can also
get to it through Control Panel, which is also on the Start Menu). Click on ‘
Set your default programs’ then on the list that appears select your email
program (Windows Mail) and click ‘Choose defaults for this program’. Check all three boxes, click Save and it’s
My old computer with Windows XP recently failed so I bought a new
machine with Windows Vista Home Premium. I have installed my copy of Office Pro
2003 onto the new computer and updated it from the Internet. However whenever I
need to use one of the programs each and every time I have to accept the End
Users License Agreement. How do I stop this message appearing once and for all?
Phil Tait, by email
This happens if you use Office in a User Account that isn’t
allowed to modify the Windows Registry, which it needs to do in order to record
the fact that you’ve accepted the End User Licence Agreement (EULA). To fix it
all you have to do is log on to the computer using an Administrator account,
open Word, say, and wait for the EULA to appear. Now go to Start > All
Programs > Microsoft Office, right click on the Word icon and on the menu
that appears select ‘Run as Administrator’ then ‘Continue’ and ‘I Accept’. You
may have to repeat this for every Office program that throws up the EULA but
that should be the last you’ll see of it.
When closing Word documents a window often appears asking whether
I want to save the changes. This is
odd since I have made no changes, just looked at the document. Why
does this happen and what is the effect of clicking No?
Brian Perriss, by email
Although you haven’t made any changes they can still happen behind
the scenes. For example, embedded Field Codes can automatically record when a
document was last opened or printed, it also happens if you do a word count.
I’m not aware of any way to switch it of, and who knows, one day it might prove
useful, so just ignore it and click Yes.
Shift of Opinion
I and probably millions of other Microsoft Word users would love
to know if there is a way of making the Shift Key NOT function when Caps Lock
Paul Donatantonio, by email
As far as I can remember you are the first to ask though a great
many Word users have issues with the Caps Lock function. I am not aware of any
way to change the behaviour of the Shift key, at least not from within Word but
there is a way to disable it – or any key for that matter -- or change or
‘remap’ their functions, using a small freeware utility called Key Tweak (http://tinyurl.com/22otrh). The change is
global and affects all programs but it may be worth experimenting with.
© R. Maybury 2009 0604