Houston 057, 13/06/09
Re-Using Windows Discs
Can I install the Vista system recently supplied with my Dell
desktop PC on my Hewlett Packard laptop? Dell says in the manual that it only
works on Dell machines.
Mark Fisher, by email
They are essentially
right and the branded OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) Windows
installation disks supplied by the large PC manufacturers are 'keyed' to
the machines they came with and will not install on other makes of PC, or
even other models from the same manufacturer’s range. Needless to say there are
nefarious ways and means of overcoming this restriction but it's horribly
complicated and you will still be faced with problems if you try to activate a
copy of Windows that is running on another computer.
Recovering Deleted Messages
I had a lot of emails in the Deleted Items folder in Outlook
Express. I am usually very careful to remove only specific mail items, however,
in a rush I deleted the whole lot! I have contacted BT to see if the lost
messages can be recovered but they tell me that that they do not keep records.
Is there any way in which the deleted mail can be recovered?
John R D Morse, by email
Normally when you
delete an email it goes into the Deleted Items folder and it can be restored at
any time simply by dragging and dropping the message back into the Inbox or the
folder it came from. If the Deleted items folder has been emptied or you have
recently 'compacted' the message store folders then they may well be lost, as
the space they used to occupy is marked as free and will eventually be
overwritten. However, there are a number of third-party applications that claim
to be able to recover deleted emails (Advanced Outlook Express Recovery,
E-Recovery, Email Recovery, Recover My Files, to name just a few). Providing
you haven’t left it too long it may be possible to get some or all of them
back. I can't make specific recommendations but there are free demo or trial
versions for most of these programs that will tell you if there is any
recoverable data so you can decide if it is worth stumping up for the fully
Jazzing up MP3 Tracks
I have a Samsung MP3
player and my music library includes numerous albums that are indexed
as ‘Unknown Artist’. This wouldn’t matter too much but it is
frustrating on some of my old jazz recordings that I copied from vinyl disc to
CD, then via the computer, to the MP3 format. Is there any way of
giving these untitled tacks an identity?
Bill Webb, Chester.
All MP3 files contain
hidden information or 'metadata', also known as an ID3 Tag, that’s readable by
most media players. This includes such things as the album title, track name
and number, artist name, duration and so on. You can edit an MP3 track's ID3
tag directly in many media players and to some extent in Windows XP and Vista
by right-clicking on the filename in Windows Explorer and selecting
Properties then the Summary tab. A more elegant solution is to use a
dedicated ID3 Tag editor. One of the easiest to use is AudioShell, it’s free
and you’ll find a link to the download at: http://tinyurl.com/6j5cy.
This type of program is known as a shell extension, which basically means that
you don't have to run it every time you want to use it, instead the various
options appear on the file's Properties menu when you right-click on them
in Windows Explorer
Track of the Addicts
I have a
house full of computer addicts and I am interested to know if there is there a
program that will record when my computer is switched on/off, and track
Sawyer, by email
If you are a concerned parent then you definitely should be
keeping tabs on what your computer is being used for. The first thing to do is
set up separate password protected user accounts for everyone that uses it.
This is vitally important as it helps to maintain your own privacy and can
limit the damage if, for example, one of the user accounts is infected with
spyware or malware.
Once that is done you can easily find out who has been using your
computer, and when, by consulting the System logs. Windows records switch on
and off and log on/off times by all users for diagnostic and faultfinding
purposes. In both XP and Vista you’ll find it by going to Start > Control
Panel > Administrative Tools > Event Viewer. For a more detailed summary
of what your computer has been used for and to restrict access to undesirable
websites and so on, then you need to install some third-party parental control
software, like K9 (free from http://tinyurl.com/23fvnf).
If you are using Windows Vista have a look at the built-in parental controls.
There’s an explanation of how to set them up at: http://tinyurl.com/4fn2z3
Old Time Protection
AVG antivirus no longer supports older versions of Windows. What
alternative free antivirus software do you recommend for Windows 98SE?
Anthony Curnow, by email
There is a school of thought that says you probably don’t need
anti-virus protection on older versions of Windows for the simple reason that
it’s no longer being targeted and no new viruses have been written for these
operating systems for many years. That may be true and my feeling is that you should
be reasonably safe provided you take the usual precautions (do not open
unexpected attachments, stay away from porn sites and pirate downloads) but
there’s still a lot of old viruses circulating on the web, and some of the
newer infections can still affect older machines, so you shouldn’t take
chances. Obviously anti virus programs that still run on Windows 98 are getting
a bit thin on the ground but there’s a couple left so have a look at Avast! (http://tinyurl.com/56jes) and ClamWin (http://tinyurl.com/47gqw.
© R. Maybury 2009 0806