Houston We Have a Problem 10



Houston We Have A Problem 090, 06/02/10


Laptop Link-Up

How do I connect up my laptop’s VGA connector to my HD-Ready LCD TV, which has an HDMI connector?

John Wilkinson, by email


I am a little surprised that your TV doesn’t have a VGA input; it is a very common feature on flat screen TVs, so double check the manual and the back panel. If it doesn’t have one all is not lost and some laptops have a composite video or S-Video output, in which case you should also be able use that to connect the PC to the TV’s AV input, though the quality probably won’t be very good. If neither type of connection is available and you can’t make a direct connection your best bet is to use a VGA to HDMI converter box. This changes the analogue VGA signal coming out of your laptop to a digital signal for the HDMI input socket. Basic models cost from around £50.00 upwards (see http://tinyurl.com/yeu5kxw and http://tinyurl.com/ycx7pj6).



Where is my Wallpaper?

I've managed to lose the contents of a photograph folder on my XP laptop during an unsuccessful attempt to transfer that folder to my new Windows 7 desktop. However, one of those photos is my favourite desktop wallpaper and it still comes up on my laptop. I have searched the computer and cannot find the picture. Is it possible to retrieve?

Ken Mulberry, Hereford


It’s actually quite difficult to completely lose data on a PC, there’s usually a copy of it somewhere, possibly in the Recycle Bin, or even as a recoverable deleted file. It’s worth trying a freeware utility called Restoration (download link at: http://tinyurl.com/mxzzyo), which often finds files and folders that have been accidentally zapped. 


But back to your original question, and the reason you can still see your desktop image is because Windows automatically creates a bitmap copy. You will find it in C:\Documents and Settings\<yourname>\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft. The file is called wallpaper1.bmp. However, it is normally marked as ‘hidden’ so if you can’t see in Windows Explorer, go to Tools > Options > View and under Hidden Folders, make sure that ‘Show hidden files and folders’ is checked.  



Office Not Routine

When I bought my Dell Inspiron 1501 I was unaware that Windows Vista Home did not have Microsoft Office. I was used to opening e-mail attachments in Word. As Word was not an option I chose WordPad as the most familiar alternative. It does work to a degree but is accompanied by reams of gobbledegook. I cannot find a way to un-install it. Can you please tell me how to do this and what to put in its place?

Derek Clayton, by email


Microsoft Office is not and has never been a part of the Windows operating system. It’s a common misconception and it arose because some manufacturers and suppliers chose to include full or trial versions of Office, or its less sophisticated stable mate MS Works as 'bundled' software with new machines. WordPad is essentially a fancy text editor and although it looks a bit like Word it has only very basic word processor functions. WordPad is part of Windows and although it can be removed, I wouldn’t, it occupies very little space and it might come in useful one day.


If you don’t fancy buying a copy of Office or Works try one of the freeware alternatives? Several are compatible with MS Word. I suggest AbiWord, which is a straightforward word processor, or OpenOffice.Org, which is a full-blown office suite, comparable with Microsoft Office. Links to downloads for both programs can be found at: http://tinyurl.com/28hx9k



Interfering Neighbours

One of our semi-detached neighbour's kitchen appliances interferes with our radio. Would we get the same interference with a digital radio?

Mike Heaton, by email


In general DAB radios are less prone to the sort of RFI (radio frequency interference) produced by poorly designed domestic appliances. Even so RFI can be quite troublesome as it often covers a wide band of frequencies. This means that although it should be filtered and rejected by a DAB radio’s tuning and digital processing circuitry, if the interference is strong enough, and close enough, it can still be picked up by the radio’s audio amplifier. 



Manual Dexterity

I was given a second-hand laptop some two years ago, a Compaq Presario 700 but it didn’t come with the owner’s handbook. Do you know where I can obtain an English language copy of the manual?

Alan Gaunt, by email


This shouldn’t be a problem and most of the larger manufacturers maintain well-stocked archives of documentation for all of their products, some going back 5 years or more. Normally all you have to do is pop along to the support section of the web site, tap in the model number or select it from a list and download a pdf file, which you can view or print from your PC. In your case, however, you need to be a little more specific, Presario 700 is the product series, the actual model number, which you should find on a label on the underside is probably CM2130, and you’ll find everything you need at: http://tinyurl.com/ycmmd5r



Card Tricks

Do you know of a device or technique to enable transfer of photo data from one SD memory card to another?

Malcolm Mee, by email


Here’s a three easy methods. If your PC or laptop has an SD memory card slot then all you have to do is copy the files from the card to a folder on your hard drive. Once that’s done swap the cards over and copy the files from the hard drive to the second card. If your PC hasn’t got a card reader, use a USB SD Card adaptor. These are widely available online and from PC dealers but my advice is to pop down to your local Poundland or 99p Stores – I’ll leave it to you to work out the price. Insert the card from the camera in the adaptor and as before copy the files to the PC and back again to the second card. If you buy two adaptors (and your PC has two free USB ports) you can make a direct card-to-card copy. You can also do an ‘in-camera’ copy. Use the supplied USB lead to copy the files from the camera to your PC, switch the cards in the camera, and copy the files back to the second card.



© R. Maybury 2010 1101


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