Ask Rick 314 21/06/14
I Hate 8!
I recently purchased a new Windows 8 laptop. Am
I alone in finding it the most confusing, irritating and illogical operating
system ever? It is driving me nuts! Is there any conversion to Windows XP I can
Steve Chapman, by email.
XP has been officially retired and going back
to it is not a sensible option but many computer users buying a new PC have
found the transition to Windows 8 difficult and frustrating. It is not helped
by the fact that the Metro user interface is optimised for touch screen
displays, but it can be fixed. Under the skin W8 is not that different to XP or
Windows 7, on which it is based, but if you absolutely cannot abide W8 then you
will find W7 more palatable and it is worth asking the vendor if they, or the
manufacturer has a replacement option or program. However, don’t give up on W8
just yet as there are a couple of ways to get it to look and behave like
previous versions of Windows and open with the familiar desktop and Start menu.
You can achieve a semblance of normality by tinkering with display settings and
making changes to the Registry but the easiest method it to install a utility
that does all the hard work for you. The two most popular ones are Classic
Shell, free from http://goo.gl/aBvGc, and
Stardock’ Start8 from: http://goo.gl/e5Rqi.
Classic Shell does a good job but it only goes part of the way to taming W8.
Start8 goes much further and it is easy to set up and use. It costs $4.99
(around £3.00), though you can try it free for 30 days. For most W8 users that
will be money well spent, and a lot less disruptive than reinstalling an older
version of Windows.
I was interested in your recent reply to a
question regarding BT Wi-Fi free hotspots, which use spare capacity on home
wireless routers. I have often wondered where these hotspots are, as I have
never seen a list. I have Sky Broadband and again they talk of free hotspots
but with no details. Do Sky operate the same system as BT?
No, the Sky system is different, but first, BT
Wi-Fi users, can find their nearest hotspot by going to http://maps.fon.com/ and either zoom in on the
map or type a location or postcode into the Search box. Sky Broadband customers
have free access to The Cloud network of hotspots, which are less numerous and
generally located at commercial premises, cafes, shops and so on. Again you can
easily find your nearest one, or plan ahead if you are going to be on the move
using an online hotspot finder, this time at: http://www.hotspotfinder.thecloud.net/.
I have recently bought a NOWTV connection box,
which I think is an incredibly clever device. My Internet provider has now
advised me that they are increasing my monthly charge by £5 as I have exceeded
my broadband usage allowance of 20GB. They have added a further 5GB for the
month and an additional £5 to the next subscription charge. I presume that this
may have something to do with the NOWTV box and its usage but I would
appreciate it if you could explain what is happening?
Michael Hogan, by email
It has everything to do with your NOWTV box,
which streams TV programmes and movies through your broadband connection. As
rule of thumb it will use between 1 and 2GB of data per hour, so it is easy to
exceed your monthly allowance. Unless you are going limit your viewing and
closely monitor your data consumption you would be better off switching to an
I have Windows 7 and for some reason all of the
pictures in my Library folder have acquired a blue lozenge
with two white arrows. How did this happen?
What is their purpose and how do I get rid of them? I have asked numerous
people but with no answer so far.
Stan O'Connor, by email
Norton 360 put them there and they are backup
status indicators, showing which files have not been backed up. Backed up files
have a similarly sized green tick icon. To remove the icons in Norton go to
Settings > Quick Controls and untick the Backup Status Indicator check box.
I have recently changed my old computer, which
ran Windows XP to a new Windows 8.1 machine. One program that I used regularly,
called Clipboard Viewer doesn’t seem to be available in Windows 8.1.Does it
exist? If so how do I access it?
The Clipboard Viewer utility, withdrawn after
Windows XP, works happily in Vista, Windows 7 and 8. All you have to do is copy
the clipbrd.exe file from your XP computer, which is in C:\windows\system32, to
a USB memory stick and paste it into the same location on your new PC. While
you are there, right-click on the clipbrd.exe icon then select Send To >
Desktop (create shortcut).
I have had a Galaxy smartphone and have kept
the Wi-Fi switched on at home where it connects to my desktop router and also
when out and about. Recently when away from home, infuriating pop-ups telling
me what networks were available kept appearing.
An Internet forum suggested that I switch off the Wi-Fi when away from home, as
I didn't need it. I have done this for
some weeks and it works and I can surf the web without interference. The shop
where I bought my phone said that my Wi-Fi connection should always be switched
on. Does that make sense?
David Miller, by email
That was poor advice. When you are away from
home keep the Wi-Fi switched off, until you actually need to use it, at a known
secure wireless hotspot, or in conjunction with GPS for more accurate location,
for example. Smartphone and tablet Wi-Fi adaptors use a fair amount of power,
reducing battery running time, and the open connection is a potential security risk.
© R. Maybury 2014 2605