Ask Rick 2009 & Houston We Have a Problem 09



Ask Rick 048, 04/05/09 & Houston 130, 30/05/09


On the Right Tracks

I have completed the laborious task of digitising all my vinyl LP’s into mp3 files. Windows Media Player doesn’t automatically capture the track names, music category, etc., as it would when ripping a CD and so I have carried this out manually. Is there any way of backing up this categorisation to avoid losing it all if the system fails? I have the mp3 files themselves backed up.

Roger Cliffe, by email


The album, artist and track info that you entered when you created the recording should be embedded in the mp3 file and it stays with it when you copy the file to another location. You can easily verify this by playing it on an mp3 player or another media player on your computer and the stored data will show up on the player's display.


Vanishing Networks

I have an HP Pavilion DV9657 and when I switch it on there is a red cross through the monitor screen icon. When I click on it, it says wireless networks are available. If I double click I get the message ‘Windows cannot connect to Netgear’. If I then click on ‘Connect to a different network’ the same message appears. Click again and same thing happens but if I repeat this process 5-8 times, it suddenly decides to connect. Connection is then perfect until next time the laptop is switched on. My wife's laptop connects perfectly every time so it is all rather frustrating.

John Phaff, by email


This is a known issue with Windows Vista and some older, pre-Vista, routers. It’s due to something called a Broadcast Flag, which is how Windows tells the router it’s ready and waiting to communicate. Of course, you could just get a newer router but there is a fix. It involves a simple change to a Registry setting and it’s not at all difficult but if you are a wary novice I would leave it to someone with a bit more experience. You’ll find a step by step guide to the procedure, which should only take a couple of minutes, on the Microsoft website in Knowledgebase article 928233


Wasting Ink with Picasa

I have downloaded and installed Picasa 3 and find that the program is excellent. However, try as I may I cannot print 6x4 (15x10cm) photos. I select the photo, crop it to what I want and click on the 10x15 icon on

the Print Layout page. I am presented with the photo but with an enormous white background, which I am thinking is the 6x4 photo on an A4 paper. If I click on Full Page I do get the photo covering the full sheet. When I load 6x4 photo paper into the printer I get an error message telling me that the paper loaded isn't the correct size. I have been on Picasas' web site but cannot find the answer. It's costing me a fortune in ink and paper trying to solve the problem. Where am I going wrong?

John Harris.


Unless you tell it otherwise when you select the 10 x 15cm option Picasa naturally assumes that you want to make best use of an A4 sheet of paper and print two images, side by side, which explains the large white border when you only print one image. If you want to print on 10 x 15cm photo papers then you have to tell both Picasa, and your printer. You’ll find that option on the print Preview page, click Printer Setup (on the left side) and this opens your printer’s Properties page where you’ll be able to set the correct paper size. Once that’s done select the Full Page option on the Preview page.



Scanner Lacks Class

I recently purchased a filmstrip scanner but when I tried to install it onto my XP system, I got the message ‘Class installer has denied the request to install or upgrade this device’ and the scanner failed to install. Have you any advice on how to get over this problem?

Colin Hughes, by email


It is important that you are logged in as an Administrator when installing devices like scanners, printers and scanners. If you were, then it may be due to a known glitch in XP SP2. There is a simple workaround, which often works, and that’s to first install a couple of XP’s standard scanner and camera drivers, which seems to grease the wheels, as it were.


Open Control Panel on the Start menu and go to Scanners and Cameras. Click Add Device then go through the procedure of adding a camera; I suggest the Agfa ePhoto 1280 because it’s at the top of the list. Leave everything on its default settings and just keep clicking Next and OK. When that’s done Add the Xerox Network Scanner, which is at the bottom of the list. Afterwards reboot the PC and try to install your scanner. If it’s successful you can go back to Control Panel and Scanners and Cameras and delete the Agfa and Xerox entries by right-clicking on the drop down device list that appears.



Hard Disk Worries

I have become concerned about the consequences of a possible hard disc failure.  While we have our personal files backed-up onto flash memory sticks, I cannot find our DVDs for Windows XP and Microsoft Office Professional.  I may have thrown them out by mistake and kept my old Windows 95 CDs during a domestic clear out.  Is it possible to copy our hard drive to an external hard drive, or do we have to pay out for new software if the worst happens?

M. Lander, by email


First off, don’t trust your backups to flash memory, USB sticks and memory cards are fine for moving files from one place to another but they are nowhere near reliable enough for long-term storage. 


Unfortunately you cannot copy the contents of your hard drive to another, at least not easily, or while Windows is running, but you can, ‘clone’ your hard drive. This copies essential system and boot files that are normally hidden from view or inaccessible, but you will need some specialist software, such as Acronis True Image, Paragon Drive Backup and Norton Ghost. They are all safe and easy to use; shop around and you can find them selling online for under £30.




© R. Maybury 2009 1404


Search PCTopTips 



Digital Life Index

Houston 2006

Houston 2007

Houston 2008

Houston 2009


Top Tips Index

Windows XP

Windows Vista

Internet & Email

Microsoft Word

Folders & Files

Desktop Mouse & Keyboard

Crash Bang Wallop!

Privacy & Security

Imaging Scanning & Printing

Power, Safety & Comfort

Tools & Utilities

Sound Advice

Display & screen

Fun & Games

Windows 95/98/SE/ME








 Copyright 2006-2009 PCTOPTIPS UK.

All information on this web site is provided as-is without warranty of any kind. Neither PCTOPTIPS nor its employees nor contributors are responsible for any loss, injury, or damage, direct or consequential, resulting from your choosing to use any of the information contained herein.