Ask Rick Maybury 2015



Ask Rick 346 31/01/15


Heating Pad

While watching a programme on my iPad on BBC iPlayer I removed the cover to get better sound and was surprised how warm it was. Is the cover doing any harm by acting like a blanket and trapping heat?

Richard Freeman, by email


It is normal for iPads to get warm when doing demanding, processor intensive tasks, but providing your cover was bought from Apple or a reputable supplier it should be okay. In fact most covers are perfectly okay but you should avoid thick or heavily insulated covers that could prevent heat from dissipating. There is also very good argument for removing the cover when charging the battery, as it can get quite hot. This can shorten the battery’s life and result in premature aging of some components. In extreme cases, such as when using an unapproved charger, iPad batteries have been known to overheat, and this can cause permanent damage. There have been several reports of iPads actually bursting into flames, though it has to be said that this is extremely rare.



Finding The Data Black Hole

I have BT Infinity broadband with a 40GB monthly limit, which should and has been more than adequate. However for the last two months this limit has been breached and the BT daily record shows consistently high usage. We do not download movies or songs and our online behaviour has not changed from when our usage averaged 27GB a month. I use a Dropbox for documents and we download a couple of daily newspapers. I have activated the BT Hot Spot option but there is no evidence of others logging into my router. Our family has two W7 laptops, a W7 desktop, four iPads, two iPhones and a Blackberry bold, all connecting via Wi-Fi. With so many devices, how can we find out what is consuming the data?

Jeff Hume, by email


A sudden or unexpected jump in data traffic can be due to a number of perfectly legitimate or easily overlooked things, such as a new smart TV or subscribing to a video streaming service. Have you changed the way you use Dropbox or recently installed software that makes use of cloud-based resources? Are other members of your family playing games or downloading or streaming media without telling you? It can also be caused by malware, or even a hacked connection, and it is relatively easy to isolate the cause when just one or two or two devices are connected to a router but it becomes increasingly difficult to keep tabs on the data consumption of multiple devices. One solution is to install data usage monitor programs or apps on each one of them but this can be difficult or awkward if they belong to family members. Another solution is to install a network-monitoring program on one of your Windows PCs and leave it running for a day or two, to gather information. This is an intrusive measure, though, so use your judgement about informing everyone who uses the network. The free version of NetworkMiner (, identifies everything connected to your network, both local and remote, how many data packets each of them are downloading and uploading and the IP addresses of the websites being accessed. It is a very sophisticated tool but everything you want to know can be found on the Hosts tab; the devices in your home will have local network IP addresses (typically and if you expand the tree next to each one it shows device name or identity, operating system, if known and data packets and bytes sent and received.



Screen In A Spin

My 91 year-old uncle is fairly adept on his laptop but sometimes has a few finger problems. His screen output keeps changing to a portrait layout instead of the usual landscape view. As I live 60 miles away I have to pass  instructions by telephone and my advice is to go to System Restore to reset the computer to a couple of days previously. It works but can you think what he is doing to get this strange effect?

Allan Marsh, by email


Some versions of Windows and some video adaptors and drivers have a hidden facility to change screen orientation. This is intended for applications such as desktop publishing, which can be easier to use in portrait view. Fortunately it is easily undone without resorting to System Restore. Many laptops use an Intel chipset and the first thing to try is the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Alt + Arrow Up key (down, left and right rotate and flip the screen in different directions). If that does not work tell your uncle to right click on the desktop and select Screen Resolution. There should be a drop-down menu marked Orientation; select Landscape and click OK. Otherwise go to Start > Control Panel and look for a utility that corresponds with the laptop’s brand of video adaptor and driver (typically ATI/AMD, Catalyst or Nvidia), which should have a screen rotation or orientation option on one of the menus or tabs.



Paint Shop Pro No Go

I have recently upgraded from a PC running Windows XP, with Paint Shop Pro 8 pre-installed, to a Dell laptop running Windows 8.1 onto which my son has downloaded as a replacement for PSP 8. I tried the free trial of Paint Shop Pro X7 and didn't like it.   Is there any way I can download PSP 8 safely (i.e. no malware, etc.)?

Elizabeth Brown, by email


Unless you require a feature that is specific to PSP I suggest that you persevere with ( It is a powerful and extremely capable digital image editor and it is free, Open Source software, but I accept that it can take a while to get to know it properly. If you really do not get on with it then yes, PSP 8, along with many other recent versions of the program, are available from the website. However, this is not freeware and it will be necessary to register the program and pay the licence fee, which for the download version is $99. Boxed, retail versions of the program can usually be found selling on ebay for considerably less.



© R. Maybury 2015 1201

Search PCTopTips 



Digital Life Index














Top Tips Index

Smartphones Tablets & ebooks

Windows 8

Windows 7

Windows Vista

Windows XP

Internet, Email & Network

Word Processing & Office

Folders, Files & Backup

Desktop Mouse & Keyboard

Crash Bang Wallop!

Privacy Security & Environment

Imaging, Scanning & Printing

Power, Safety & Comfort

Tools & Utilities


Display & screen

Fun & Games








 Copyright 2006-2015 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.