Houston We Have a Problem 10



Houston We Have A Problem 105, 22/05/10


Child Protection

We would like to stop our 10-year old son viewing anything unsuitable on the Internet. Could you advise us on how to set up some parental controls? We have Windows XP

Martin Wardell, by email


XP has no built-in parental controls as such and the few Content options available in browsers like Internet Explorer are next to useless. Vista and Windows 7 are a little better but if an upgrade of new PC isn’t an option there’s plenty of software available. Have a look at K9, it’s highly regarded and it’s free from http://tinyurl.com/23fvnf. Some ISPs also have filters and parental controls, check the company homepage or support section.


However, the best advice is to keep an eye on what you son is up to for as long as possible; don’t put a PC in your son’s bedroom or allow him to surf the web alone. Ten year olds can be a lot smarter than you think and the playground grapevine is awash with advice on how overcome parental restrictions.



History of Deception

We recently took our laptop in for repair. When we got it back we found four sites in History that we could not delete. These are not the sort of sites my partner or myself would visit, and they were definitely not on the laptop when it went in for repair.  The repair shop denies it was them even though they admit using the Internet whilst they had it. We have tried to delete these sites from Internet Options but they will not go away.

Lin Washington, by email


Internet Explorer History logs the time and date web pages were visited so it should be a simple matter to prove whether or not it happened when the laptop was with the repairer. All you have to do is press Ctrl + H to display History, use the View drop-down menu to select the date, right-click on the web page entry and select Properties to display the time it was viewed.


You should be able to remove individual entries from this panel; right-click on it and select Delete. If it won’t go, or magically reappears after it has been deleted your PC may be infected by malware or a virus.


If the IE History log confirms that it occurred whilst the repairers had your machine you might want to take this matter up with them. At the very least owe you an explanation and they should clear up their mess. Otherwise run a full scan with one or more malware cleaners. I suggest AdAware, Malwarebytes and Spybot. They are all free and safe to use, you’ll find links to the downloads at: http://tinyurl.com/2woy5u



Screen Secrets

I have recently bought a new PC with Windows 7 Home Premium installed. I use my digital photo album as a screensaver slideshow and under XP each photo showed its source folder. As I store my photos by date and event, each screensaver display is a nostalgic trip down memory lane. W7 does not have the facility to show source folders.  Do you know of any third party software that might do it?

Tony Pettifer, by email


Better yet, I have a really simple solution and it won’t cost you a penny. All you have to do is copy the old screensaver program from your Windows XP computer to your new machine. The file you are looking for is called ssmypics.scr. You’ll find it in C:\windows\system32. Just copy it to the same location in Windows 7. My Pictures Screensaver, with the ‘Show file names’ option will then show up on the list when you right-click the Windows 7 desktop, select Personalize and click the Screensaver icon.



Easy Index?  

I am trying to compile an Index for a book and whilst I can sort names alphabetically using a spreadsheet, is there any way of linking this list to pages in the book?

Gordon Went, by email


Creating an index is a horrible job and there’s no quick or easy way but Microsoft Word has a couple of tools that may help. The first is a manual system, where you go through the text, marking each word, name or phrase that you want to include and Word will use them to create a table. The second method is semi automatic and it may be possible to use your alphabetic list of names. This is called a Concordance File you paste your list into the first column of a two-column table, with the text you want to appear alongside each entry in the second column. Mark each item on the list as an index entry and Word searches through the book referencing each instance. The trouble with this method is that you’ll probably end up spending more time weeding out the irrelevant entries, as you would using the manual mark method. For more information type ‘create index’ or ‘concordance; in Word Help.



Driving in the US

I am considering moving to the USA. How can I take everything on my hard disk with me? I would then buy a local laptop and download it once there.

Mike Eve, by email


Take the drive with you. All you have to do is remove it from your PC (or get a PC savvy friend to help) and pop it into a portable USB hard drive enclosure or caddy; prices start at around £15.


Once installed just plug it into a USB socket on your new laptop and it shows up as an external drive, displaying all of your files and folders. The only point to watch out for is there are two types of hard drive. PCs more than 4 or 5 years old usually have ATA/IDE drives, newer machines are normally fitted with SATA drives, so make sure you get the correct type of case or caddy. By the way, they come with plug-in mains adaptors but they’re mostly universal types, designed to operate on a 100 – 240VAC, 50/60Hz supply, but do check, and don’t forget to take a UK to US plug adaptor with you.






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