Ask Rick 148 09/04/11
Do you know of any way to recover a battery
pack that will not hold a charge?
Laurie Garatt, by email
The nickel cadmium, nickel metal hydride and
lithium ion rechargeable batteries used in portable electronic gadgets have a
surprisingly short life expectancy. Depending on the type and pattern of use
the cells in battery packs typically last from 3 to 5 years before they lose
the ability to hold a useful charge. It’s due to an irreversible change in the
cell’s chemistry and the only solution is to replace the pack. When that is not
possible, though age, lack of spares and so on, you may be able to get the
cells in a battery pack replaced with new ones (Google ‘recelling battery packs’).
However, you should get several quotes as it can be quite expensive and can
easily end up costing more than the device is worth.
Can you tell me how to include a Word file’s
Title (as opposed to its name) when opening a document? It was possible with Word 2003 but I can’t
see how to do it on Word 2007! It’s so
frustrating when useful functions seem to disappear with new software releases!
Gareth Cade, by email
Hmm, I think I see what mean, but although
Microsoft shifted the furniture around when it designed Word 2007, basic
facilities like displaying title and filename in the body of a document are
still there. Word automatically generates the Title of a document from the
first word or sentence, and unless you decide otherwise, when you come to save
it, the title will also be used for the filename. In all versions of Word you
can display the Title and Filename using the Field Command. Step one is to
place the cursor where you want it to appear. In Word 2006 and earlier go to
Insert > Field. Under Categories select either All or Document Information
and in the Field Name box select FileName or Title and click OK. In Word 2007
onwards select the Insert tab, click the Quick Parts button then Field. Select
All or Document Information on the Categories drop-down menu and File Name or
Title in the Field Names box. The only other difference is that the extra
options, to add the path to the FileName, or change the Title are more
I have a laptop running Windows XP. At home I
have a wireless hub for broadband access. From time to time and at irregular
and unpredictable intervals the wireless facility on the laptop seems to switch
itself off. The Wi-Fi light on the keyboard goes out, and my web session is
David Thomson, by email
It may be due to low signal strength, or
interference from another nearby wireless devices. Check the signal bars on the
connection icon in the System Tray (next to the clock) and see what happens
when the laptop and router are moved to within a few metres of one another and
other wireless widgets are switched off. If the signal strength increases and
the link is maintained there are a few things you can try. If it’s not possible
to reduce the distance between the laptop and router try mounting the router as
high as possible. The antennas on many routers can be swapped for more
efficient types, and change the default wireless channel on the router’s
configuration menu – see the manual for details.
Vaulting the (Trojan) Horse
I use AVG Free virus protection and I have a
daily scan scheduled. This normally comes up with zero on all counts. However,
the other day the scan found a Trojan Horse, which it moved into the Virus
Vault. What should I do now?
Chris Nichols, by email
When AVG detects a virus or suspect file it
first tries to ‘heal’ the infected program. If it can’t fix the problem it’s
moved to the Virus Vault, which puts it into quarantine so that it cannot harm
your computer. The protected environment of the Vault allows an expert to
manually disinfect a program or extract data that would otherwise be lost if
the files were deleted. If it is a new infection you can email the details to
AVG so that it can be added to its database and included in future updates.
Otherwise you can delete infected files in the Vault straight away, or leave
AVG to do it automatically after 90 days.
I have just upgraded to Word 2010 from 2003 and
enabled the Insert/Overwrite facility using the insert key below the number
pad. In 2003 ‘OVR’ appeared on the bottom of the screen when editing but I have
not been able to find a similar indication on 2010 to see whether I am insert
or overwriting mode.
Michael Wardle, by email
I can’t recall anyone actually wanting the Word
Overtype mode, and I have spent a good deal of time telling puzzled users how
to switch it off after it has been accidentally engaged, causing letters to
vanish as they type (the trick is to go to Tools > Options > Edit Tab
> Overtype Mode). Maybe someone at Microsoft has been listening and from
W2007 onwards this horrible feature cannot be inadvertently turned on. It’s
still there if you really want it, though, just go to Office Button > Word
Options > Advanced and select ‘Use the Insert key to control overtype mode’
or ‘Use overtype mode’ (permanently on). Microsoft has removed the ‘OVR’
warning that used to appear in the Status bar at the bottom of the screen,
which seems like an oversight but I suspect it’s because you won’t need
reminding you are in Overtype mode, because you will have deliberately selected
My friend, age 81, suffers from wet macular
degeneration resulting in reduced peripheral vision. Her particular problem is
the inability to always see, follow and locate the cursor arrow. Can the white
of the arrow be change to a brighter colour?
Pat Sinden, by email
In Windows Vista and W7 the visibility of the
mouse pointer and display can be significantly improved from the Ease of Access
Centre in Control Panel on the Start menu. Select ‘Make the Mouse easier to
use’ for a range of pointer size and colour options.
© R. Maybury 2011 1403