Ask Rick Maybury 2013



Ask Rick 256 11/05/13


Wedding Crasher

My son recently filmed a wedding and during a long sequence the camera battery ran out. This has left him with a corrupt file, which he cannot access. After changing the battery the remaining video files are fine.

Is there a way of recovering the lost material from the corrupt file?

John H Jones, by email


One of the few disadvantages of solid-state storage devices, like SD/SDHC memory cards, is that they do not take kindly to sudden power interruptions whilst data is being written. In theory it shouldn’t happen and most digital cameras and camcorder should warn the user that the battery is about to expire and it is time to stop recording. However, as batteries age some device’s charge sensors can become inaccurate; it can also occur with cheap ‘compatible’ battery packs that mis-report the battery’s charge state. There is hope, though, and a free Open Source utility called Photorec (, can fix many common memory card file corruption problems. This program currently works with almost 400 file formats, so check that yours is included on the list on the PhotoRec website before you try it. There are also plenty of commercial recovery programs but you will have to do some homework first, to identify the ones that can handle the camcorder’s file format. Most of them offer free trial versions, which let you know if there are any recoverable files on the card, before paying out for the full version. The last resort is to pay for the services of a specialist data recovery company but be warned that if successful, it could prove expensive; it may be cheaper to restage the wedding!   



Router Security Loophole?

I have read that wireless broadband routers have a common password set at the factory and are therefore very easy to break into. The manufacturers assume customers will change these. As a simple computer user, I had no idea that my router was a potential open door to my files. How do I change the password on my Virgin Superhub router?

Brian Scott, by email


It is true that the setup menus on most wireless routers are set to default usernames and passwords but it is not quite as bad as it sounds. Wireless connections to routers are encrypted and without your Wi-Fi logon passcode it would be virtually impossible for a casual hacker with a laptop to tap into your broadband or view files on your PC. Of course encryption systems can be broken, but it requires a fair amount of determination, technical expertise and some rather exotic software. The only other way to access your network is to physically connect a PC to the router using a LAN cable, but it seems unlikely that this could happen without you noticing. Even so, it is still good practice to change a router’s logon password and to do that open a browser on a computer connected to the router and in the address box enter ‘’ (without the quotes). You will then be asked for the username and password, which on a Virgin Superhub is ‘admin’ and ‘changeme’ (it is printed on a label on the side of the case, along with your unique passcode). Click Superhub settings and under Super Hub Access enter, and confirm your new password then click Save. Make sure you keep a record of it; you may need it one day.



Free and Easy Android Email

At present I use Outlook Express on my laptop, which I like very much. I am thinking of buying a Nexus 7 tablet PC; will I be able to have Outlook Express on this for my emails? If so, how is it done?

G. Travers, by email


Outlook Express only works on versions of Windows up to and including XP. There is no direct equivalent for Android devices, however, the email program supplied with the Nexus 7 is very easy to set up and use, but not very sophisticated. There are plenty of alternatives, though, and my personal favourite is K-9. This is also very simple to use, it has many more features than the Nexus program, it works with a wider range of protocols and it won’t cost you a bean; you will find it in Google Play app store.



Lengthy Explanation

I have Freesat with a Humax HD box. This has an optical digital output. Can I use this to feed an amplifier about 12-metres away, which has a suitable input? Are there any other options?

Douglas Battersby, by email


The maximum length for optical SPDIF/TOSLink cables is usually quoted as being 10-metres but it is definitely worth trying a single 15-metre cable or a combination of standard cables using a coupler or ‘joiner’ to link them together. If that proves unsatisfactory then you can use a little widget called a TOSLink repeater, widely available online for around £30 to £35, which lets you to use longer cables without loss of quality. 



Dialogue Coach

Can you tell me what a dialog box is and how to get rid of one? My Toshiba laptop has Microsoft Office Outlook and often when I try to send an email I receive a message saying that a dialog box is open and to close it.  This happens even when I haven’t used the computer for hours. I have looked on Google to try to find out a bit more but was blinded by science! The only way I can get rid of the dialog box is to shut my computer down and start again.

Pauline Robertson, by email


A dialogue box is just a message from a running program, asking you to complete or cancel an operation but if you have other programs open it may be hidden by another open Window. The solution is to use the Windows Shortcut Alt + Tab, which toggles through open Windows and dialogue boxes, so you should eventually find and close the one that is causing the problem. If you are using Windows 7 or later you can see a thumbnail of all open windows and boxes associated with that program by hovering the mouse pointer over its icon on the Taskbar.



© R. Maybury 2013 2204

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