Ask Rick Maybury 2012



Ask Rick 197 24/03/12


The Power of Radio

I have just bought a combined DAB/FM radio. I usually have it in DAB mode, tuned to Radio 2 all day, but a neighbour tells me it would be cheaper to leave it on FM. Is she correct?

Lee Hartman, by email


It is true that many DAB radios consume more power than similarly specified FM radios but the differences are relatively small and switching to FM, on a ‘combo model is unlikely to have any effect on your electricity bill. As a matter of interest the annual running costs of a typical mains-powered DAB radio works out at between £1.00 and £2.00 a year, maybe a little less if you unplug it when not in use. A comparable FM radio costs between half and two thirds as much to run. If you can decode your electricity tariff and know the power rating of your radio you can get a more accurate costing using the Electricity Running Cost Calculator on the UK Power website at See also some example annual costs of popular DAB radios, and many other household appliances, on the Sust-it site at:



Sticky Folder

I have a folder on a USB memory stick, which I cannot delete. When I try to remove it I get the message: ‘Cannot delete file:  Cannot read from the source file or disk’. I originally downloaded some music files from the Internet for use on my Yamaha keyboard, which also refuses to delete this file. Is there another method? 

Brian Kinson, by email


The file or the memory stick’s filing system may be corrupt, in which case the simplest solution is to copy any files that you want to keep to your PC then re-format the memory stick by right-clicking on it’s icon in Windows Explorer and select the Format option.



Cleaning Solution

I am trying to wipe clean the hard-drives on a desktop PC before disposing of the machine. I have tried two freeware programs, but neither of them seems to work because the machine apparently lacks the capacity to open them. The programs download onto a memory stick as ISO files, which the PC does not recognise.

Peter Browning, by email


You are almost there. An ISO file is a container for a set of files. These are used to create a bootable disc (or memory stick) that starts the computer, instead of Windows, and in your case, runs the disc wiper program. There is one more step and you need a handy freeware program called ImgBurn (download link at: It is very easy to use, simply pop in a blank disc or memory stick, select the ISO file from your downloads folder and click the Create Image File from Disc icon. Once it has finished restart the PC and it should boot from the disc or drive. If not you need to run your PC’s BIOS or Start Up program (see manual for instructions) and change the boot order, so that first boot device is your CD/DVD drive or USB drive.



Breaking the Export Embargo

I want to export some email folders, currently stored in Outlook Express, to a USB device to pass on to my successor as secretary to a Friends' Charity committee.

Anita Parsley, by email


Exporting or moving an entire Outlook Express message store from one PC to another is fairly straightforward but moving a single folder, or folders, is a little more involved. There are a number of third-party programs that claim to be able to do this but I haven’t had much luck with any of them. The method I suggest can be laborious, especially if there are a lot of messages involved, but it does work. Open the folder and highlight all of the messages that you want to export by pressing Ctrl + A. You might want to do this in several batches if there are more than few hundred of them. Now right click on the highlighted messages and select Forward and they will be attached to a single email. You can now use SaveAs on the message box File menu to save it on your USB drive as a .eml email message file; repeat as necessary for the rest of the messages or other folders. With the USB drive in the recipient’s PC double-click the first .eml file and it opens in their email program. They can now highlight all of the attached messages (Ctrl + A) and drag them en-masse them into a newly created message folder and once again repeat the steps for any other .eml files on the USB drive.



Taming the Mouse

My wife has Parkinson's Disease and she is now finding it very difficult to control the mouse.

Bob Fisher, by email


Research funded by the Norwegian Research council ( suggests that a significant number of Parkinson’s sufferer’s find trackball pointing devices easier to use than a mouse. You might also be interested in a device, developed by IBM and manufactured in the UK by Montrose Secam Ltd, called an Assistive Mouse Adaptor ( This connects between an ordinary mouse and the PC and uses adjustable filters to cancel out unintentional movements and multiple clicks caused by a tremor.



Booting Vintage Windows

I have three hard drives taken from redundant computers, that I have converted into external storage using hard drive enclosures. Each drive also contains the operating system I used at the time, e.g. Windows 95, 98 and XP. Is it possible to boot my new PC from these drives?

John Thorpe, by email


The basic problem is that the Windows OS’s on these drives are configured for your old PC’s hardware. Very few modern motherboards are capable of running Windows 9x (95, 98, SE). The XP drive may boot your new PC but I suspect that you will still have problems finding suitable drivers for the motherboard, audio and video adaptors etc.



© R. Maybury 2012 0503


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