Ask Rick Maybury 2013



Ask Rick 276 28/09/13


Downloading YouTube

I am preparing a talk for a small club that I belong to, and it would be greatly enhanced if I could get suitable video clips to add to my still picture slideshow. Is there a way that I can download video clips from YouTube for such a purpose?

Wal Jarvis, by email


You can, though as far as YouTube is concerned it is currently something of a legal grey area. Plans are afoot for later this year to allow off-line viewing of downloaded videos on mobile devices when not connected to the Internet, but they would only be available for up to 48 hours. As it stands downloading videos to a PC is an infringement of YouTube’s terms and conditions. It is almost certainly illegal as well, if you do not own the copyright or have permission from the copyright holder or distribute and benefit financially from the download. That said there are numerous unrestricted sources of streamed video on the web and a lot of websites and utilities that can download this type of media onto your PC or media device. One of the quickest, and simplest to use is Savefrom ( All you have to do is copy and paste the web address of the video clip, click the Download button, select the required format and resolution and the file download will begin.



Boy’s Noise Annoys

Our 18-year old son is learning disabled and enjoys listening to music and films on YouTube and iPlayer - at full volume. He listens to the same few seconds over and again so consequently we have given him headphones for the sake of the rest of our family. An hour's worth of the middle 8 of a Wiggles song can be pretty wearing! However we are worried that his hearing will be damaged and constantly have to tell him to turn the volume down. He also can become quite agitated following prolonged listening at high volume. We have tried removing the volume control from the taskbar of his Windows 7 PC, but as soon as he gets onto YouTube he can override our setting with the onscreen control. Is there any way we could lock the volume level, and somehow protect it so that he cannot change the level?

Peter Phillips, by email


You are right to be concerned and prolonged exposure to very high volume levels can result in permanent hearing problems. You can hide or freeze the volume controls from within Windows, though it involves a fair amount of faffing around, but there is no need as everything you want to do can be handled by a small program called VolumeLock. This includes password protection, as well as other potentially useful features like per-application volume control, and a built-in scheduler. This is a commercial program, costing $15, but you can try it for free for 14 days; the download for the fully functional trial is at: Freeware options are rather thin on the ground but there is a very simple little program called LockVolume, available from It does precisely what it says, and locks the master and wave volume controls, and prevents changes in volume via controls in other applications. It places a new icon in the System Tray (next to the clock), so you might want to delete this if your son gets suspicious.



Tick Trick

My computer operates with Windows 7. I use Excel to record electrical test results but I cannot find any way to put a tick in the boxes where required. I presently have to spell out the full word when a tick would be more satisfactory. Any ideas?

Anthony Harrison, by email


The square root symbol makes a useful tick or check mark and usually all you have to do is enable the numeric keypad on your keyboard by pressing NumLock then hold down the Alt key and tap in the character code 251 on the numeric keypad. This should also work on any text entry field in most word processors, email programs, web browsers and so on, though things can go awry when using a combination of MS Office 2007 or later and Windows 8. If so change the font to Wingdings and use the character code Alt + 0252 or use the built-in Symbol function. Note also that it doesn’t work if you use the numeral keys above the letters, and on laptops you need to use the ‘nested’ numeric keypad. This is usually on or around the letters UIO and JKLM, and enabled by pressing the Function Key (Fn) + NumLock, though the exact procedure varies from one make to another so if in doubt consult your manual. 



Pumped Up Playlist

I keep all my music on iTunes and have burned different playlists to CD. But I'm told that a DVD will hold about 1200 songs rather than the 22 or so that can be fitted onto a CD. This would be better for me because I drive a coach and would rather not mess about changing CDs whilst I'm on the move. All of the coaches have DVD players though. Is there any way to burn an iTunes playlist onto DVD?

John Pennington, Lancashire


Yes there is but there are a few things that you need to know first. When you use iTunes to create an audio CD from a playlist, it is burned using industry standard CD-A formatting so will be playable on any CD and most DVD players. However, due to fundamental differences in the way DVDs are structured, and the way disc burning software and DVD players work, you cannot put CD-A recordings on to a blank DVD. If you want to put your playlist, or lot of music files onto a blank DVD it has to be in the form of a data disc, and if the music files are in mp3 format, then they may be playable on some, though by no means all DVD players. The procedure is basically the same as for creating an audio CD; just select the Data Disc/DVD option when you create the disc.



© R. Maybury 2013 0909

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