Houston We Have a Problem 11



Ask Rick 148 09/04/11


Hard Cell

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.



Title Deeds

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 accessible.



Missing Links

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 interrupted.

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.



Exclude Insert

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 it.


Sharper Pointer

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



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