We Have A Problem 091, 13/02/10
heard about something called an ‘anonymizer’, which hides a computer's
identity. They claim to be able to stop phishers, keystroke logger and other
viruses. On the face of it, this seems sensible in which case why is this type
of software not incorporated into the operating system so everyone gets these
Chevin, by email
anonymizers are actually websites or networks that act as a relay, surfing the
web on your behalf, hiding or masking your computer’s IP address. Not
surprisingly they are popular with human rights activists living and working
under harsh or repressive or oppressive regimes but their value in protecting
your PC against web-borne nasties is questionable.
are also widely used by criminals, paedophiles and the sort of anti-social
characters who create malware, viruses and carry out phishing attacks. To make
matters worse some anonymizer services are run by scammers and identity thieves
who intercept the data flowing through their site, harvesting PINs, passwords,
bank and credit card details.
little value for most users and providing you keep your PC’s operating system
updated, use decent security software and take the usual precautions you’ll be
reasonably well protected. Hiding your identity online is another matter. Even
assuming that you find a totally reliable anonymizer service – and I would
avoid the free ones like the plague – your identity and the sites you access
will still be known to your ISP and the anonymizer, in fact almost everything
you do online is logged somewhere, even by your own computer, and remaining
completely anonymous on a fixed-line computer, in the UK at least, is
just bought the Windows 7 (Home Premium) Upgrade but, before I try to install
it, I would like to know if I will lose Firefox, AVG Free Antivirus, Microsoft
Word and other items, such as documents, etc. that are on my computer. Are
there any precautions that I should take?
Silverblatt, by email
the W7 Upgrade should leave all of your programs and data files intact. In most
cases it proceeds without incident, though you may need to be patient. There
have been reports of it taking 15 hours or more. Fortunately such extreme cases
are very rare but even on a reasonably fast but well used PC with a half full
250Gb drive you can expect it to be out of action for at least 2 – 3 hours.
Personally I’m not a big fan of Windows upgrades but the Vista to W7 does seem
to be less troublesome than usual. Even so things can and do go wrong so make
sure that all of your irreplaceable data is securely backed up before you
begin. Most programs that run on Vista should be okay with W7 but it’s a still
good idea to check the program’s support websites to see if there’s any patches
or updates. You should do the same for your peripherals, especially if they are
pre-Vista, in which case drivers may be unavailable.
I have a
wireless camera in a bird box. The camera’s receiver is linked to a USB capture
device plugged into my computer. The picture on the monitor suffers continuous
interference from a horizontal rolling band, which stops when my modem router
is switched off. I have been told that the router should automatically correct
for this, what is going wrong?
Soutar, by email
and camera are probably using the same or adjacent wireless channels, or the
camera’s receiver module is not very good at rejecting interference. Most
wireless routers try to avoid channel clashes but in order for this to work you
may have to reboot it by switching it off then back and on, whilst the camera
is operating. It may be possible to change the channel the wireless camera is
using; look for tiny switches on the transmitter and receiver modules.
Otherwise you should be able to manually switch channels on the router though
the setup menu; details of how to do this should be in the instruction manual.
I find myself being committed to printing tickets for several local amateur
shows. I have no problem designing, copying or printing the required
quantities. However I have been unable to discover any technique using Windows
XP, or a simple free program, which would allow each ticket to be automatically
sequentially numbered. Currently I have to do all the numbering by hand!
Mrs. P A
Hedges, by email
You can do
this in Word using a macro or the AutoNum or SEQ Field Codes; these methods are
a little involved and not for absolute novices but if you fancy a go there’s
some reasonably easy to follow instructions for using Field Codes at: http://tinyurl.com/y9jf4dh. The
alternative is to use a ready-made Template, where all you have to do is modify
or replace the example text. There are several ticket designs on the Microsoft
Office website at: http://tinyurl.com/yc3rhvj,
though not all of them have an automatic numbering facility. There’s a fairly
basic ticket template at: http://tinyurl.com/kt2vlq,
but it does have sequential numbering and the simple design should make it
easier to customise or embellish.
Mail in Windows 7
looking at buying new computer with Windows 7 but understand that Outlook
Express is not included. I only want a simple email system, if I am correct
what are the alternatives?
Rushton, by email
of a native email program in Windows 7 surprises a lot of users but it’s easily
rectified, however, you can’t use Outlook Express, which won’t work under Vista
and W7. Windows Live Mail – free from Microsoft at http://tinyurl.com/5gnfxo -- is the most
popular choice. It’s well featured and once you get used to it, very easy to
use. Otherwise try Mozilla Thunderbird (http://tinyurl.com/ycz3fxt),
which looks and works a lot like Outlook Express. See also ‘Top 12 Free Email
Programs’ on the Ask.com website at: http://tinyurl.com/hrt54
Maybury 2010 1801