Houston We Have a Problem 10



Houston We Have A Problem 097, 27/03/10


Enjoying Joanna

I use AOL for e-mail and for the last 10 years any new message was announced with ‘You've got Post’ but since having Windows 7 I no longer receive this advice. How can I correct this?

Bernhardt Gadow, by email


On the UK versions of AOL software that announcement was recorded by Joanna Lumley and stored on a sound file called gotpost.wav; there was also an optional American voice saying ‘You’ve got mail’. Both sound files along with several other classic email notifications are available in an online archive at: http://tinyurl.com/yc9g8fg.


To put Ms Lumley’s dulcet tones on your new computer right-click on the file link (you’ve-got-post.wav), select Save Target As (or Save Link As). In the dialogue box that appears select the Media sub folder in the main Windows folder (i.e. C:\windows\media) as the place to save the file. Now go to Start > Control Panel > Sound and select the Sounds tab. Under Program Events scroll down the list to New Mail Notification and click Browse. Your newly downloaded gotpost file should be on the list, select it, click Open and if you want to try it, click the Test button, or OK to exit the setup dialogue box.



Tap Tip

I recently installed Window 7 on my Acer laptop. Previously I was able to disable the touchpad tapping function but I am no longer able to do so. I find that however careful I am I execute unwanted actions and have resorted to using a USB mouse whenever it is practicable. This rather defeats the laptop concept but Microsoft made no mention of this limitation when extolling the benefits of upgrading to Windows 7 nor have they subsequently offered a solution.

Hugh MacDonald, by email


As far as I am aware there never has been an option in Windows to disable the double-tap function but it’s not unusual to have it on the touchpad’s own configuration utility, which I suspect was deleted or disabled when you upgraded to Windows 7. You should be able to re-install it, check the support section for your model on the manufacturer’s website. Otherwise you can try de-sensitising the double-tap. Go to Control Panel > Mouse and select the Buttons tab. Set the double-click slider to Fast and click OK. Once set it should only be activated if the touchpad is tapped twice really quickly, which is much less likely to happen by accident.



Floppy Copy

I need to transfer the information stored on dozens of 3.5-inch floppy discs created on an old HP computer to my new PC, which only has a DVD-RW drive. Can you help?

Mike Carol


You need an external 3.5-inch floppy drive, which plugs into a USB socket on your new PC. They are widely available from online suppliers and on ebay where new ‘Buy it now’ drives, with free post and packing sell for less than £10.00. Once the drive is connected you can copy and paste the files on the floppies to a folder on your new PC’s hard drive.



Printing Without Wires

My XP laptop uses wireless broadband and a short and awkward cable connects it to my printer, which will need replacing before long. Advertisements refer to wireless printers but I am confused as to their method of operation and connection. Does the printer receive its orders via the router, and, if so, do the router and printer communicate by wireless?  Can any modern router be so connected and is the broadband supplier involved at all in setting it up?

Robert Woodward,


If you weren’t about to replace your existing printer I may have suggested that you buy a widget called a Wi-Fi print server. This connects to the printer, linking it to the router and turning it into a network printer that other PCs on the network can all share.


Wireless printers simply have the print server gizmo built in. Setup is generally fairly straightforward – similar to adding a new PC to a wireless network -- so make sure that you have your network’s WEP/WPA passwords to hand. (Some wireless printers use a Bluetooth connection but this tends to be short range and depends on the PC having a Bluetooth adaptor). Since a wireless printing facility is confined to your home network it has nothing to do with your broadband connection.


By the way, several routers have a network printing feature – check the back panel to see if there’s a USB socket marked printer. Just to confuse matters some printers have a built-in networking capability, if so it will be fitted with a LAN socket.



Wonky Windows Installer

Last year I bought a Toshiba Satellite Pro running Windows Vista Business. Since it was new I have been unable to install some software, getting a 'Windows Installer' error message. Can you suggest a solution?

Cara C, by email


Installer is a Windows component responsible for installing and removing programs. Most of the time you’re unaware of it’s existence, until it stops, or something goes wrong.


Luckily it’s usually fairly easy to fix and there are a couple of things you can try. The first is to download and install the latest version of Installer from the Microsoft website; everything you need is at: http://tinyurl.com/58d2vf.


If that doesn’t work find a USB pen drive and a trusting friend with Vista PC (any version will do). Insert the pen drive in their machine then go to Start > Search and type ‘regedit’ (without the quotes.


This will open the Registry Editor, navigate your way to


HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Servic es\msiserver


Right-click on the key, select Export and save it to the pen drive as a .reg file. Now all you have to do is pop the pen drive into your machine. Open the pen drive in Windows Explore, double-click on the saved .reg file and it will automatically update the Registry on your machine and hopefully get Windows Installer working once again.




© R. Maybury 0103 2010


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