Ask Rick Maybury 2012



Ask Rick 220 01/09/12


Memory Matters

I am planning buy an Apple iPad. I will not be downloading films or games and very little music. I plan to use it mainly for web browsing, emails, storing pictures and some documents. It appears the 16Gb version would be more than adequate for my needs, on the assumption that all 16 gigabytes are accessible and not taken up by gubbins used by the device; perhaps you can clarify this? Although I am prepared to pay extra for a 32Gb model, do you think it worthwhile and would the additional expenditure be better spent on accessories?

Colin Marshall, by email


It’s an age-old question and the simple answer with iPads, and life in general, is that you can never have enough storage space. Virtually all of the 16Gb on-board memory will be available to you when new, but even with the sort of modest usage you that you envisage it will quickly fill up as you add to your photo library, discover new applications and succumb to its many multimedia facilities (and you will…). On a lot of  digital devices that rely on solid-state storage it’s not a huge problem as the internal memory can usually be expanded with plug-in cards but this is not possible on the iPad, and most other tablet PCs for that matter . Once it’s full or close to capacity you will have to resort to drastic and inconvenient measures, such as removing apps and data, using (expensive) external memory devices or Cloud storage. The cost difference of around £80.00 between the 16Gb and 32gb models is fairly significant and not reflective of memory prices in general, but if you want to avoid problems in the coming months and years it could be money well spent. Fortunately things like a decent carry case and Camera Connector kit are not too expensive and sell for between £10.00 and £20.00, so there’s no need to compromise on the must-have accessories.



Office Politics

We use MS Office 2010 Student & Home Edition in our house. We will be pensioning off one of the laptops in the near future and replacing it.  I'm fairly sure that if I uninstall the program in Control Panel it won't delete the licence file, thus preventing me reloading and activating it on a new laptop.  Is it possible to totally uninstall the program and licence details and reinstall them on a new laptop, or do I have to buy MS Office again?

W.F. Shipman, by email


It shouldn’t be a problem. You are allowed to install this edition of Office on up to three PCs. If you have reached the limit, providing you uninstall one copy from the old PC it should install as normal on the new computer. If, for any reason the automatic, on-line activation fails simply call the telephone number that will appear during installation. Explain the situation to the Microsoft representative and they should be able to talk you through the activation process.



Projected Costs

For many years I have been giving slide presentations to voluntary organisations. I now have sufficient digital material to replace my old talks, however I am put off by the prospect of having to acquire a digital projector, laptop and the various connecting leads. Is there an affordable alternative?

John Hoare, by email


Many recent video projectors have USB ports for memory sticks and SD memory card slots, and they have built-in software for displaying stored images as a slideshow. It’s a quick and convenient way of putting together simple pesentations, though you may find that you have to rename or renumber the image files to force the projector to display them in the required order. However, a laptop or even a cheap netbook, in conjunction with a budget video projector, is a much more flexible solution. You will be able to edit your pictures and change the order more easily, include music or a commentary and add video sequences. You will also be able to dispense with the projector at venues that have their own display equipment. As for the cables, you’ll only need a VGA lead and audio cable, if required, so it’s not complicated; you may even be able to use a single lead if both laptop and projector have HDMI connectors. As for affordability, this largely depends light output, resolution and contrast ratio, so you will have to do some homework to determine which features you actually need. One last point; check the price of replacement bulbs on your shortlisted models as some of them cost a couple of hundred pounds, or more.   



Memory Lapse

I have an old file that was saved using Word (Office 2000) that I password protected. As it has been some time since I used the file I have forgotten the password. Is there anyway I can find the password or open the file some other way?

Colin Moore, by email


You will find plenty of password recovery programs for protected Office documents on the web. However, I would be careful downloading freeware utilities, as some of them are undoubtedly fakes and either do not work or are spiked with malware and spyware. Commercial programs like Accent Word Password Recovery ( have fully working trial versions that will crack the code, but only display the first two characters, and this may be enough to jog your memory, otherwise you will have to pay for the full version.



Stick Figures

My Sony TRV17E digital camcorder came with a 4Mb Memory Stick. This was insufficient so I bought a Sony 4Gb Memory Stick PRO Duo but I get an error message displayed on the camera. I have been told that this may be too much memory for the camera to cope with. Is this correct and what is the way forward?

Peter Hughes, by email


I am not surprised it won’t recognise your 4Gb Memory Stick. When it first appeared around 10 years ago the TRV17E was one of the most advanced camcorders on the market but things have moved on. The maximum amount of memory it can handle is just 132Mb; your Memory Stick is more than 30 times that upper limit. Unfortunately there’s nothing you can do to overcome this restriction. Small capacity Sticks are still available, though they tend to be old stock and can be quite expensive.




© R. Maybury 2012 1307

Search PCTopTips 



Digital Life Index

Houston 2006

Houston 2007

Houston 2008

Houston 2009

Houston 2010

Houston 2011


Top Tips Index

Windows XP

Windows Vista

Internet & Email

Microsoft Word

Folders & Files

Desktop Mouse & Keyboard

Crash Bang Wallop!

Privacy & Security

Imaging Scanning & Printing

Power, Safety & Comfort

Tools & Utilities

Sound Advice

Display & screen

Fun & Games

Windows 95/98/SE/ME








 Copyright 2006-2012 PCTOPTIPS UK.

All information on this web site is provided as-is without warranty of any kind. Neither PCTOPTIPS nor its employees nor contributors are responsible for any loss, injury, or damage, direct or consequential, resulting from your choosing to use any of the information contained herein.