Houston We Have a Problem 10



Houston We Have A Problem 103, 08/05/10


Uncertain Upgrade

I have a TVonics Digital TV Recorder, which I am told needs to be upgraded. The instructions are to download the upgrade from the web site and then transfer the file to the root directory of a USB Flash drive. I am not sure what this means; on my Vista PC, when I select the update all I get is the option to Save or Open. Can you explain in simple terms?

Terry Poole, by email


These days a lot of digital products seem to be a work in progress, or are released too quickly and require the user to fix problems by downloading updates, often without adequately explaining the procedure.


Fortunately in this case it’s fairly straightforward. Click the Download button on the website, when prompted select the Save option and the update file is stored in your Downloads folder. Insert your USB drive into the PC, open Windows Explorer, click on your username in the left pane then double-click the Downloads folder in the right hand pane. Click and hold on the upgrade file, drag it onto the USB drive icon, release the mouse button and it will copy the file to the USB drive. Plug the USB drive into your recorder and on the remote handset press Menu > Service menu > USB upgrade. When asked select Yes and the upgrade will install automatically. After a few minutes the recorder reboots and normal service should be resumed.



How Not to Save Face

Could you tell me how to permanently delete myself from Facebook? I cannot find any way of doing this on the web site.

Geoff Oxborrow, by email


You can deactivate your account easily enough from Account Settings but this doesn’t remove all of your details. Facebook says this is in case you change your mind and want to reactivate your account. The option to completely delete an account does now exist but it’s not easy to find; to save you the trouble go to: http://tinyurl.com/mvem3t, log in, read the disclaimer and if you agree click the Submit button. Otherwise there are a couple of manual methods, which you will find at http://tinyurl.com/2pkf9u.



Size Matters

I recently set up a new laptop for my son with Windows 7, and was generally very impressed how easy it was. However, early in the setup process I was asked how I wanted to allocate the partitions on the hard drive. I thought it would be a good idea to have C: as the System drive – W7 recommended a size of 50Gb – and use the D: drive for data. Having done that I later found Windows assumes everything is on the C: drive, which is now looking rather too small for all of my files. It seems to be very complicated to move my user folders to the D drive. Can I remove the D drive thereby increasing the size of the C: drive?

Ian Mitchell, by email


I wouldn't do away with the D partition altogether as it’s handy for backups and so on. You can re-size your partitions, either by expanding C: or shrinking D: using Windows 7’s built-in partition tools. Go to the Start menu, right-click the Computer icon and select Manage. This opens Computer Management; select Disk Management in the left hand pane. Your disc partitions appear in the right hand pane, right click on the partition you want to change and make your selection from the drop-down menu that appears (Extend or Shrink volume). It’s a reasonably safe procedure but I strongly suggest that you backup any irreplaceable data first, just in case…



Old Time Movies

Three years ago I embarked upon a project of converting 50 years of 8mm film, analogue and digital video, and old photographs, into digital form and creating documentary movies. To date I have satisfactorily used Windows Movie Maker, it’s adequate for my needs and the end product looks excellent. However, after upgrading from Vista to Windows 7 without my prompting -- I think -- I have installed Windows Live Movie Maker and Photo Gallery. Live Photo Gallery is fine but the new Movie Maker is both dumbed down and difficult to accurately manipulate, between film, music and commentary.  Can I revert to the old version of Movie Maker and will it work in Windows 7?

George Noon, Preston


Yes you can; first uninstall Live Movie Maker then install Windows Movie Maker version 2.6, which works in both Vista and Windows 7. You’ll find it on the Microsoft website at: http://tinyurl.com/2ul8mx



Five-Day Fault

When I go on to the BBC's weather forecast, it won't display the 5-day forecast. Is there a setting I've inadvertently changed on my laptop, as it works okay on other computers I've tried?

Rosie Bell, by email


The BBC’s 5-day weather forecast is a Flash animation and it sounds to me as though Flash Player either hasn’t been installed, it is corrupt or it has been disabled on your PC. If it is the former there will be a link to the Flash Player download just above the 5-day forecast image. If Flash is disabled you can switch it back on in Internet Explorer 8 by going to Tools > Internet Options > Programs and click the Manage Add-Ons button. On the Show drop-down menu select ‘Run without Permission’ scroll down the list and click on Shockwave Flash Object, click the Enable button then close and re-open Internet Explorer and it should now work. In older versions of IE it’s even easier. Go to tools > Internet Options > Manage Add-Ons, highlight Shockwave Flash Object and under Settings click Enable. In Firefox go to Tools > Add-Ons > Plugins, locate Shockwave and click the enable button.



Buying a new PC -- Laptop or Desktop?

Unless you regularly need to move your computer from one place to another a desktop PC appears to be the obvious choice but things are never quite as simple as they seem.


Over the years laptops have become faster, cheaper with larger screens and better ergonomics. There’s even a class of class of laptop called a desktop replacement, designed for those without a permanent workspace or an occasional requirement for portability but in the end the key differences between the two types of PC really haven’t changed that much.


Space tends not to be an issue with a desktop computer; there’s normally room inside the case for a second hard drive, higher capacity memory modules and expansion cards for more advanced graphics and audio or extra ports and connections. Upgrading to a larger display, adding a second monitor, or switching to a better keyboard or mouse is not a problem either, and unlike a laptop you can position them on your desk for maximum comfort. Desktops also fare better in the price vs. performance equation, though the gap is narrowing all of the time.


Laptops will always be more expensive due to the cost of manufacturing smaller components. They are also easily damaged, upgrades and repairs are dearer and they are vulnerable to theft. But in the end it all comes down to being more productive and able to use your computer and access the Internet almost anywhere so for many a laptop is most flexible solution, and the drawbacks are a price worth paying.




© R. Maybury 1204 2010

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