Ask Rick Maybury 2013

  

 

Ask Rick 266 20/07/13

 

Old Games, New PC

I currently have a computer running Windows XP, but I am planning to purchase a new one, with Windows 8 installed. Is there a way of transferring the XP games like FreeCell and Solitaire, etc., from my old computer to the new one?

Vince Rimmer, by email

 

Yes and all you have to do is pop a USB drive into your XP computer, open Windows Explorer, navigate to C:\Windows\system32 and copy the following three files to the drive: cards.dll, Freecell.exe and Sol.exe. Next, open Windows Explorer on your W8 PC, create a new folder on the C: drive called Xpgames, for example, and copy the three files to it. You can put shortcuts to the programs on the desktop by right-clicking on the icons and select Send To > Desktop (create shortcut). The same trick works with most other XP games, including Hearts (hearts.exe), Minesweeper (winmine.exe) and Pinball, though the latter is contained in a folder in C:\ Program files\Windows NT; simply copy the Pinball folder to your Xpgames folder on the new computer.

 

 

Staying In The Loop

I am deaf and have a hearing aid loop system for my lounge TV. This uses a cable, going around the room underneath the carpet.  It works fine, but we have a second TV in the kitchen and unfortunately no loop so I cannot listen to the TV. My laptop PC has a wireless mouse with a little device plugged into the USB port. If a mouse can be wirelessly connected to a PC then surely there must be something similar available to plug into the USB socket on my new TV, to wirelessly transmit audio on my hearing aid frequency?

Neil Bingham, by email

 

Hearing aid loops have a very short range and use magnetic induction, rather than wireless transmission. The two technologies are incompatible and I am not aware of any loop devices with USB connectivity. In any event it wouldn’t work using TV USB port. Normally they can only read media files (pictures, music, movies and so on), stored on USB drives, and there is no provision for carrying the TV’s audio output.

 

Because of the way most loop systems work it is difficult to extend coverage, or install a secondary loop in another room. You do have a number of options, though, and depending on the extent of your hearing loss, simple cordless headphones, connected to the TV’s SCART or external audio output socket may work for you, allowing you to hear the TV sound at high volume whilst TV speaker remains at a normal listening levels. Portable and personal loop systems are available that pick up sounds using a built in microphone and resend them to your hearing aid’s T-Coil through a loop worn around your neck. A second system for the kitchen TV would probably be the best solution, though, and there is some useful advice and product links on the Action On Hearing Loss website (the new name for the RNID) at: http://goo.gl/JwirH.

 

 

Lofty Ambitions

I have a pile of music on tape cassettes in the loft, recorded on good quality tape in the 1980’s. Listening to them in the car I realise many sound better than CDs and MP3s so I want to transfer them to computer files on my laptop. I came across a USB Cassette Tape Converter on Ebay. The quality is not good enough, not surprising really given the price was just £10.99, but I couldn’t find anything else. The Audacity software it came with I have installed on my Dell Windows 7 laptop. A friend tried to help by connecting a tape deck to his USB turntable, to transfer the music to his Apple Laptop. It worked but we couldn’t get it working on my Dell PC. Could you suggest a way forward?

Simon Smedley, by email

 

The root of the problem is the cheapie cassette deck, which simply cannot do justice to your recordings. If you still have the cassette deck on which the recordings were originally made you can use that, otherwise I suggest that you shop around for the same, or a near equivalent model – in terms of performance, specification and tape type compatibility. Be choosy and bear in mind that an older or well-used machine may be in need of cleaning or alignment. USB connectivity is not an issue, just connect the tape deck’s line audio output to the aux or line input socket on your PC, using a readily available phono to jack plug adaptor lead. There is no need for any more software either; Audacity is perfectly capable of making high quality digital recordings from your analogue tapes though you will have to experiment with input levels and compression settings to get the best results. 

 

 

Goodbye Google

I would like to change from Google to another search engine. Since the recent news of their involvement in Prism and UK tax arrangements I no longer feel comfortable with them. However, I am not inclined to move to another company, which might be no better and possibly worse.  Also I am a stick-in-the-mud and detest changes, which impact on my settled routine as a writer. I recently left my bank of many years standing and am still recovering from the effort.  Can you recommend an alternative to Google and highlight any possible problems in changing?

Jim Green, Newark on Trent, Notts. 

 

Try DuckDuckGo.com. It promises not to track your web searches, it doesn’t store data about the sites that visit and you won’t see any adverts. Best of all it is almost as effective as Google at finding what you are looking for and it is improving all the time, moreover, as far as I am aware, there are no ethical or tax issues. 

 

 

Remember Not To Forget

After reading your recent item on ‘Safer Surfing’ I changed my iPad passcode. I now have no recollection of what I changed it to (very senior moment) Is there any way I can get regain access. I am afraid to keep trying because of the 10 attempt limitation.

Don Jackson, by email

 

Advice on the Apple website at: http://goo.gl/wka9r can help if you have recently synced your iPad with iTunes or you use iCloud for backups. Passcodes are not included in backups so after restoration you will have to set a new one. As a last resort you can use iTunes to reset your iPad to its factory condition though this will erase everything on it, including personal data, settings and downloaded apps

 

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© R. Maybury 2013 0107

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