If you click on one of the adverts (or any link) and wish to return to this
site, just press the back arrow on the top row of your keyboard
ReadyBoost. For a simple solution get an 8Gb memory stick from Amazon
(under £4) and stuff it in your USB slot. Gives your PC a
! Sorry, not XP.
Screen savers are a left-over solution from a previous technology. In spite
of their name, screen savers no longer save anything In
fact they waste electricity. Screen savers are not necessary on modern,
flat-panel LCD displays. Having your computer automatically turn off its
display is the new screen saver it saves energy, reduces
your electricity bill, and increases your battery life. Do you realise that
just closing your laptop lid puts it into sleep mode, saving both battery
or mains power and allowing you to boot up quickly when you open it ?
They can't leave satisfactory things alone, can they? I wondered why I couldn't
see the small pictures in a folder when I wanted to attach on (although Picasa
is still OK).
If you have the same difficulty, you can change it back to normal. (applies
Open any picture folder and click Organise, Layout. Untick Preview Pane (that
is the display on the right)
In Folder and Search Options (just below), View tab untick the top item "Always
show icons, never thumbnails" and click Apply.
Now go up to View (above organise) and tick show large thumbnails or Tiles
if you want to see small thumbnails with file sizes
In Vista it seems one cannot apply to all folders but each folder that is
changed to thumbnails stays that way.
Outlook, Outlook Express and Outlook.com? A clear description of the
Microsoft muddle of similar names is described by
If you would like to copy a Youtube video to your computer there are numerous
ways. But see
for instruction from my old friend Mr Goh. However, you may find this only
downloads in FLV format and it may need Java enabled. A good alternative
can be found at
This can download in the poplar MP4 mode, which does not require Java.
DEFAULT Programs Do you get programs suggesting that you use
Outlook or Outlook Express to send something... and you have never used either
and they wont work. So, how to set your own email program as the 'default'
(usual) one. In XP click Start and then, from the list that appears
click "Set program access and defaults". In the next screen click
Non Microsoft, then click the Custom option hidden down
at the bottom left. Agree to use you usual programs or choose one.
Make sure to untick items you don't want and OK what you have done.
It is similar in Vista and V7 but it is found in the Control Panel
This week my tips are not to how to get into social networking but how to
cut back on the sprawling and often unedifying number of Tweets, Facebook
entries, Skype wanabies and Linkedin extras that make life frustrating for
the reader (even if it gives the idle or lonely something to do). In Facebook
you can cut down on the entries by 'Unfriending' a few.. In Twitter
you can 'Unfollow' even more. In Skype do not automatically accept
those who want to join you and the same with Linkedin. If you don't
watch out, especially in Linkedin, it you will suddenly find that you have
invited everyone in your address book to join what really amounts to a business
person's networking club, where they boast about their skills and employability.
Oh dear! Have I said enough?.
Can't boot, won't boot and think you have a virus.Get
Defender Offline tool (not just Windows Defender, which is already
installed on most machines)You need to make a CD of this on a clean machine.This
can then boot a non booting PC BEFORE viruses are loaded and will then clean
the machine or give you the chance to use RESTORE.
Google Translate : This went missing for a while but I have found it
only on my Vista machine, not the later Windows 7 laptop. If you have
a connected microphone and click on the mic icon it asks you to speak now.
Then immediately translates it into a French or Spanish. It can
then speak the translation. Amazing ! It does not offer a French-English
microphone. Just a French keyboard.
Add ons like Babylon get loaded into your browser with other programs like
Flash and The CNET Downloader program. If you object to being railroaded
into such things there is a good page on the removal of Babylon at
As for CNET, try to avoid the Babylon toolbar installer. Other programs
get downloaded with the ones you want. In Internet Explorer go to Internet
Options via the gear wheel. Go to Programs, Manage add-ons. Right click any
you don't want and click disable. Restart the PC. If that does not do it
go back and Click Advanced, Click Reset, Accept the defaults offered to restore
it. Amend the home page to what you want e.g. http://www.google.co.uk/ In
Chrome go to the wrench, Tools, Extensions. Delete and bin ones you dont
want & restart it. You may also wish to run
Malwarebytes, which may find other
Laptop Batteries. They eventually 'wear out'. Almost all second user laptops
have a battery like this. Some say that you should let a battery run down
completely on occasion. No problem, most people do this often.
Should you leave them plugged in ? Guru Leo says HE does. The other
causes of reduced battery life are hot laptops (using them on your lap!)
and a lesser known cause is an incompatible charger. A charger that has a
slightly higher voltage output can reduce the life by many
times. So make sure that any charger you connect has the same VOLTAGE
rating. The AMPERAGE is less important but it is advisable to have
one that is AT LEAST as high as the specified one. Or it may get warm
Gmail/Googlemail users probably know that they can reply to emails by click
the arrow top right of the received mail but may not realise that to print
the email without all the rubbish on the right an left they should click
"New Page" to the right of this arrow.
I use an HP Printer. I have always found HP printers print rather 'wet',
even in standard mode. They print perfectly adequately in Draft or
Fast Draft and use less ink. To set your printer to print this way
'by default' you need to go to Start. Printers, right click on the printer
icon and click ' Printing Preference'. Select the Draft preference
and click Apply. If you want to print at a higher quality e.g. for
a photo, you will get the opportunity to change that preference for that
one print job.
Lost an email password ? The best selection of programs to help you
can be found at www.nirsoft.net
February 2012 If you use Chrome and the Google
browser you may have experienced the problem whereby part of the right hand
page fails to print. If you are printing emails make sure you find
the 'Print All' printer icon at the top, rather than go through the
'Spanner' icon on the right.
If you have ever had a problem getting e-mails and suspect the hold
up is that someone sent you a very large attachment it is possible to remove
the offending item by going to
www.mail2web.com and entering your
details Useful for picking up mail anywhere in the world, too.
Email inbox full ? If folks tell you that their emails to you bounced back
it may be your Inbox is full of old mail (and spam). Try to go on line to
the 'server', sign in to your email there and clear out all the rubbish.
But then check that when you delete something from you email program
it is also deleted of the server. How? In your email program click
Accounts at the top, then Properties, then under General click Servers, Security,
then Advanced. Make sure the box at the bottom is set to delete mail from
the server when you delete it from your PC. This does not apply to
Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo email
Hotmail and Windows Live Mail offer a vast amount of free on line space (25gb!)
called Skydrive. Click on your profile (top right in WLM), sign in and 'View
Not exactly spam but an equal nuisance, my web browser home page(s) suddenly
changed to iMesh, which I didn't like. I found it in my startup and
unticked it and also took it off Programs (Add/Remove) I still had
to return my browsers to Google as the main search engine. I suspect
that iMesh also introduced a dating site at the top of the page and I started
getting messages from that. These sites are desperate to take over.
Get rid of them as soon as they happen.
Want to wipe a drive before recycling ? See Wikipedia on DBAN
Internet Explorer 9 seems to have lost its toolbar (File, Edit, View, Favourites,
Tools & Help) Toggle it by pressing the Alt key
Internet Explorer and Firefox allow you a print preview of web pages and
an option to print at 50, 60, 70, 80%. No more cut off pages.
Martins Money tips suggest how to stop junk calls on post
Installing the Microsoft Office suite and it insists that you type in a password.
Never had a password? Press enter to accept the default, which is "Password"
If you have Word 2007 and would prefer to save documents in the more world
friendly Doc format, click the Office icon (top left of a new document) click
Options, then Save and change the Save format to 97-2003
Microsoft now has a Fixit program which will look at problem areas of your
computer and attempt to fix them. It certainly brought my sound back with
one click ! A fairly big download and installation but worth doing. Free
to all Windows 7, Vista and XP (Service Pack 3) users. Get it
also have a System Sweeper on trial, which will start a PC from disk and
Windows Task Manager is very useful (especially if you have a crash). The
quick way to it is Ctl+Shift+Esc
Get rid of your junk and find bargains. Join your local Freecycle. See
Picasa 3.6 is new; click to download from the
Google Pack page. It is simple and has an excellent
on-line photo album. It now includes some excellent new features. No photographer
should be without Picasa !
AgeUk have 26 vans around the country for those small jobs. Phone 0845
026 1055 or email
email@example.com. For more
detail see www.ageuk.org/handyvan
Cleaning up emails before forwarding. I receive many
forwarded emails which not only contain all the previous accumulated emails
and their antivirus messages but, worst of all, all the private emails of
other people who have been sent the same thing. Spammers circulate emails
with 'pass it on' messages for the purpose of collecting genuine email addresses.
These can be used to spam you or they are sold to other spammers for a few
dollars a thousand. It is a simple matter to clean up emails. Forwarded emails
can be amended before sending on: Click a place just before the offending
list (or message); hold down the shift key and press the down arrow key.
When the area has been selected (white on a blue background) just press the
space bar. The text should disappear. If it doesn't, you can try clicking
at the END of the text and selecting it by holding shift and pressing the
To send out a mass email, send it to yourself and put all other addresses
in BCC (Blind Copy) so that people don't see everyone else's address - and
you get a copy of who it went to. Can't find a BCC line ? Ask me.
For ever hitting caPS LOCK BY MISTAKE ? It is possible to make it sound when
you do this. Typically, this useful function is buried deep. Better to go
to Help in the Start Menu and search for Toggle Keys. If you are hard
of hearing you can even turn on the Sound Sentry to make it flash. Failing
that there is always this more radical method !
Booting in Safe Mode. On one occasion I was asked to clear a virus
but the scheming hacker has made the PC impossible to boot up in Safe Mode
(with the usual F8 key) - often essential to clear such things. The
tip here shows you how to do it from Msconfig
Blocking Cookies. Chrome : Click the wrench icon, Options, Under the
Hood, Content Setting, Cookies. Check 'Block sites from setting any data;
BUT uncheck the box which says Clear Cookies when I close my browser. Now
click the Exceptions button and type any site where you want the cookie to
remain e.g. your banhk ? OK Save and exit
If, like me, you find it difficult to find shortcuts on a crowded desktop
try the Fences program from
Google Calendar has a Quick Entry feature where you can just type "Meet ?
at 9.30". In that case it enters it as 9.30 a.m. But if you enter
"Meet ? at 6.30" it assumes it will be 6.30 p.m. In laid back California
no-one arranges to see someone at 6.30 a.m. it seems
Microsoft now has a Fixit program which will look at problem areas of your
computer and attempt to fix them. It certainly brought my sound back with
one click ! A fairly big download and installation but worth doing.
Free to all Windows 7, Vista and XP (Service Pack 3) users. Get it
Recuva. A recovery program from
Piriform, the authors of
Ccleaner, will even enable you to get back files deleted from a USB
Found another great site (similar to this one) at ColyComputerHelp at
(updated link Jan 12)
Windows Task Manager is very useful (especially if you have a crash). The
quick way to it is Ctl+Shift+Esc
F-secure suggests a way to keep passwords safe and easy to remember. They
recommend that you write down and keep safe a HALF of the password e.g. a
number and then add a memorised second part. This could relate to the site.
e.g. your Facebook password could be FAC1234 or 1234FAC or even FA1234C.
That should keep the hackers guessing
Get rid of your junk and find bargains. Join your local Freecycle. See
To read PDF files you need a PDF file reader. Acrobat 8 is now a 22Mb
download and even bigger when installed. The
(3.1) is a good alternative at just 5Mb download and under 10Mb when installed.
To create PDF files from a word processor you can install
a program called PDF995 or use the Open Office word processor
Internet Explorer allows you a print preview of web pages and an option to
print at 50, 60, 70, 80%. No more cut off pages
Picasa 3 is new; (click to download from the
Google Pack) is so simple and has an excellent on-line
photo album. It now includes some excellent new features.
No photographer should be without Picasa !
Did you know..'Cos I didn't.... that the surface of a CD that is 'burned'
is not the UNDER side of the disk but the underside of the silver material
that covers the upper surface. So you can be tough on the underside
(cleaning it) but be sure not to damage the TOP surface with anything sharp
or by scraping a label off etc. DVDs are made as a sandwich,
so are more durable
To enable inserted pictures to be moved anywhere in a Word (2003) document
use Tools, Options, Edit and tick the picture option "In front of Text".
This will be the norm in future.
People who would like to download videos from YouTube can do so with a number
of programs. See
You can set FireFox to delete your cookies each time you
close it. Open Firefox and click Tools/Options/Privacy and set Cookies to
'Keep until I close Firefox'.
If you have Vista PC but wish you had XP too, you can make
you Vista machine dual boot. You must have an unregistered XP disk
(and quite a lot of computer savvy) See
If you click on one of the adverts (or any link) and wish to return to this
site, just click the back arrow on the top row of your keyboard
Cookies are small files which are held on your computer unless deleted. They
help to remember information you have entered. If you do not allow cookies
or clear them, information such as the items in an on-line shopping basket
may disappear before you have managed to go to the checkout
If Internet Explorer starts behaving badly you can return it to its original
state by going to Tools, Options, Advanced and clicking Reset. But
if that doesn't help, I recommend Firefox or Chrome as better alternatives,
especially for Vista. To download them see Page
9 (Search Engines)
Map programs are very sophisticated these days. From street level upwards.
One way to manage spam, providing your ISP indicates which emails are spam,
is to write RULE in your e-mail program. My ISP (NTL/Virgin) marks spam with
the word [SPAM?] in the subject line. So I went to Tools, Message Filters,
New, Match the following, If Subject contains [SPAM?], Move the message to
Deleted folder. Later one can go to File, Folders, Empty Deleted Folder.
In the case of Outlook Express Click Tools, Message Rules, Mail. Tick "Where
the subject line contains specific words". Then click "Move to specific folder"
in section 2. In section 3 I click on the blue words
"Contains specific words" and enter [SPAM?].
Lastly click on the blue wording "Specific folder"
and choose the Deleted one.
To check whether your software is up to date and secure try Software Inspector
If you have a serious problem with XP and wish to repair it see
which may enable you to repair the XP files without losing all your other
programs and data. As a precaution he recommends that you download a free
program called autostreamer.exe from a link on his site. Do it now.
Put it on a CD, floppy or memory key. You never know. You
will need a full XP disk to do this repair
If you get an e-mail promising M & S vouchers please see
HERE then delete
Windows Vista has a facility called Readyboost. When enabled in conjunction
with a USB memory key (memory stick) it can use the additional memory to
boost the speed of your computer. With the price of memory sticks falling
rapidly this is well worth considering.
If you moved to Internet Explorer 7 and found that using the internet was
a very slow process it is no doubt due to the anti-phishing filter. You
can either turn it off (permanently or temporarily) or get a Microsoft patch
from the knowledge Base article KB928089
To turn it off you need to go to the Tools button, clicking
Phishing filter and Phishing Filter settings. To leave
it available but inactive click Turn off automatic website checking.
An excellent site to find out what is going on on your area is
The most common form of robbery on the streets today is for mobile phones.
And yet you can block the use of a phone almost immediately by getting in
touch with the service provider and telling them to block it. You will need
to tell them the Serial Number. To get this you should press *#06#
on the phone and keep a note of it in a safe place
The Financial Services Authority has a useful comparative site at
(was MoneyMadeClear) dealing with many different financial
offerings. Just fill in what you want to do and it will show an up-to-date
list of what is available.
http://www.eac.org.uk/ The Elderly Advice Counsel 020 780 1343 Is a general
site of advice for older people, including housing
If you would like to send a complete web page to someone, including pictures
etc, when in Internet explorer go File, Save As and save it as an MHT file
(rather than an HTM) Tell people you send one to that they can only be
opened with Internet Explorer
To speed your computer, if you use Windows XP, right click My Computer on
your desktop. Click Properties at the bottom of the menu that appears,
click the Advanced tab, then Performance/Settings. Lastly, click 'Adjust
for best performance'
Wireless connections ? Don't ask me, please ! But there
are experts around who will supply the necessary equipment and advise you.
For instance www.allwireless.co.uk
of Leicester specialize in Wireless Technology & Home Automation and
if you get stuck you can phone them on 0845 058 0504 and will get personal
Fed up with having to put in a password (or hit Esc) when XP starts. This
only works if you haven't got several users on that machine. To delete other
users go to Control Panel, User Accounts and delete all other users except
your (Administrator) account and Guest. See if that does the trick.
If not, try this : go Start, Run and type Control userpasswords2
and click OK. Just untick "Users must enter a username and password to
use this computer". If you have a password you will need to enter
The Preview Pane which can display the content of your emails in Outlook
Express and Outlook can be dangerous as it displays the content before you
have a chance to delete it. In Outlook Express you can get rid of this option
by clicking View, Layout and unticking Preview Pane. In Outlook click
View and then on the "Preview Pane" menu item. This is a toggle setting.
Clicking this to turn the Preview Pane off.
In windows XP, you can control the horizontal as well as vertical spacing
or shortcuts on the desktop by Right clicking on it then clicking on Properties
option, then the Appearance tab then Advanced button .You will find many
options , for example choose icon spacing in both ways and the size putting
number (minimum or maximum) under size. When you finished all setting then
click ok button.
To send an compressed version of a picture via email (without altering the
original) right click the picture, click Send to and then click on Mail Recipient
from the list that appears. Your e-mail program should show with the graphic
greatly reduced in size (kb)
PC suddenly slowed up ? There may be two culprits. Uninstall Internet
Explorer 7.0 anti phishing and Google desktop, They both take such
a lot of computing power that everything else slows to a crawl
You can use the Google search box to do things like calculate 275*4.5 or
even 60 british pounds in us dollars. Press Enter, rather than clicking
on Search. Try anything e.g. 10 feet four inches in meters.
Alert call is a useful facility to ensure that vulnerable people are 'Up
Another way to uninstall Internet Explorer 7 is to use the brilliant program
Ccleaner. It is free but so good. Get it from
Click the tools item
Remember when Printscreen used to do that ? Download Printscreen 2000
I really do recommend that everyone uses Mcafee free Site Advisor for security.
Applicants who were 16 years old or older at the end of World War 2 (that
is, applicants born on or before 2 September 1929) are eligible for free
standard 32-page ten year passports. See
To create strong passwords see the article by Microsoft
Thanks to Beryl in Las Vegas
If you want to copy the contents of a web page into Word without the pictures
and stuff, select the page (you can use Edit, Select All), Copy. Then
open Word and use Edit Paste Special. There is a variety to
choose from, the simplest being Unformatted Text. Voila!
Temporary Internet Files are more trouble than they are worth! They drag
up older (and often out-of-date) pages from your hard disk. In Internet Explorer
hit View Refresh to make sure you are not missing my latest words of wisdom.
Better still, stop TIFs from clogging up your machine. Right click
IE, Properties, Advanced, and tick 'Empty TIF folder when browser closes'
(under the Security heading).
Before starting out on a journey, take a look at
new Dept. of Transport site
If you keep getting 'phishing' e-mails, from what appears to be banks, you
are not alone. I just delete them like Spam. But these are serious
attempts to drain your bank accounts and if you feel you would like to do
something about them the Metropolitan Police Fraudalert Dept. suggest that
you forward them unopened to the bank which they purport to come from - if
you can find their e-mail address amongst their advertising dross.
To avoid clicking on links to scammers' websites always check the address
that appears on your browser's bottom line when you hover the mouse over
the link. They may not be what they appear to be.
To Find a specific word on a web page (including these) press Ctl + F and
type in the word.
If your anti virus program reports something infected called Pav.sig, ignore
it. It turns out to be the Panda virus signature file which, seems
to be downloaded if you use Trendmicro Housecall AV program. Another 'false
positive' is Smitrem.
If, when you print web pages, (including your bank statement) the printing
falls off the edge of the paper you can either (a) print in Landscape or
(2) Go to File, Page Setup (in Internet Explorer) and reduce all the margins
I needed a more efficient way to deal with Spam. NTL indicates it by
adding the word [SPAM?] in the subject line. So I created a Message
Rule. In Outlook Express click File, New then Folder and create one called
Spam. Then create a Rule: Tools, Message Rules, Mail. Tick "Where the subject
line contains specific words". Then click "Move to specific folder" in section
2. In section 3 I click on the blue words
"Contains specific words" and enter [SPAM?].
Lastly click on the blue wording "Specific folder"
and choose the Spam one. (If you haven't created a new folder you can do
it then). OK this and from then on the Spam mail will be redirected to that
folder. There it can be checked and deleted very quickly.
If Internet Explorer 7 creates problems for you here is how to revert to
the previous one. In Windows XP Click Start, Control Panel, Add or Remove
Programs. Check Show Updates at the top of the dialog box. Scroll
down the list to Windows XP Software Updates, select
Internet Explorer 7, and then click "Change/Remove." If you are
really fed up with IE 7 I recommend that you use the reputable alternative
called Firefox, which you can download by click on the icon at the top of
If you use then Firefox instead of Internet Explorer
to explore the Internet, don't delete Internet Explorer or you won't get
the important Windows Updates.
Gmail, now called Googlemail, is a very useful free additional e-mail facility.
Because you get it via the Internet you can pick it up anywhere in
the world. You can see all your address book as well. Strangely you have
to be invited to get a Gmail address. But I can do that
for you if you so request.
If you get unsolicited premium messages on your mobile phone (up to £1.50)
the sender is breaking the law. Complain to the regulator
and demand a refund from the sender. Get the SHORT CODE from the Phonepayplus
number checking facility and send the single word STOP to the shortcode number.
Did you know that, if you pay for caller display service
from BT you can get it free ? But (quite ridiculously) you have to cancel
you current payment system and apply for BT Privacy. In addition this
will stop most marketing calls to your phone.
Recycling stuff ? See
w, Oxfam or Action Aid (mobile phones)
and www.icer.org.uk (electrical and
'white goods') or join a Freecycle group. Freecycle is worldwide.
Recommit is now part of http://eu.simsrecycling.com/ and is concerned
with the safe wholesale disposal of electrical goods of all kinds.
Want to log in to your computer from anywhere in the world ? Try LogMeIn
To vary the size of web page text with a scroll mouse,
hold down the Ctl key.
If you tend to lose the mouse pointer (e.g. on a laptop)
you can make it show. Go to Control Panel, Mouse, Pointer options and tick
Mouse Trailers and/or 'Show location when I press Ctl'.
Shortcuts in Windows Ctrl + A Select all ; Shift +
arrows selects text ; Ctrl + C Copies a selection ; Ctrl + X Cuts selection;
Ctrl + V Pastes clipboard contents to cursor position ; Home/End Moves cursor
to beginning/end of line ; Ctrl + Home/End Moves cursor to beginning/end
of document ; Ctrl + Up/Down arrow Moves cursor up/down one paragraph ; Ctrl
+ Left/Right arrow moves cursor one word to left/right ; Ctrl + Z Undo
the last action.; Tab takes you to the next field (in email or form filling)
;Try Alt + any underlined menu letter e.g. Alt + F for FileFor easier
viewing make sure the screen resolution is set no higher than 800 x 600.
Right click a space on the desktop, Properties, Settings and move the slider
to the left.
If, when you INSERT a picture with an Outlook Express e-mail (instead of
attach), people are just receiving a red cross placemark (not the picture)
you must change a setting in OE. Go : Tools, Options, Send, HTML Settings
and tick Send Pictures with Message.
www.adobe.com produce the useful Acrobat Reader for opening PDF files. The
latest version is 7 but it unfortunately makes you download a massive photo
album program as well. If you don't need it you then have to uninstall
Sony batteries in all laptops from 2004 should be checked for overheating.
Information on the HP models affected and how to exchange the battery
is available on HP's website
If you have ever had a problem getting e-mails and suspect the hold up is
that someone sent you a very large attachment it is possible to remove the
offending item by going to
www.mail2web.com and entering your
Microsoft and Yahoo announced on 12th October that the companies will connect
their IM (Messaging) networks so users on each can communicate with one another
using text and voice chat free of charge.
Arthur asked me how to turn Caps Lock off so he wOULDN'T KEEP TYPING IN CAPITALS.
I am sure this problem accounts for many hours of unproductive work around
the world. I suggested he could make it flash and sound but he found
a better way !
Caps Lock Off ! Sorted. Arthur deserves a 'prise' - geddit?
Alternatively you could download a program called CapsWiz from
AVG anti Virus always attaches a reaasuring note at the bottom of e-mails
to say that they have been checked. AVAST anti virus is a great alternative
but you have to set this feature on :
1.. Right click in the Avast icon in the 'system tray' (a blue rotating ball)
2.. Click on "On-Access Protection Control"
3.. Click the details option at the bottom right hand side (next to the OK
4.. Click on 'Internet mail' on the left hand side of page (Installed providers)
5.. On the right will appear all the details, click on customize ( to the
right of the sensitivity meter)
6.. Click on "pop" page file and tick the box 'insert note into clean message'
This covers incoming mail.
7.. Now move to the SMTP tab and do the same for outgoing mail
Acrobat 7 is proving difficult. Either revert to version 6, or reinstall
7 after uninstalling all previous versions. Better still download the much
smaller (and less vulnerable) Foxit program that does the same job. THEN
uninstall the 60+ meg that Acrobat takes.
Until recently it has been difficult to export an AOL address book to
Outlook or Outlook Express. But AOL has produced a program that does
it very well.
From time to time you should delete old emails, then compact the email folder.
In Outlook Express go File Folder, Compact All Folders. To delete emails
en-masse click the top one, hold shift, click the bottom one and click Delete.
Did you know that with Windows XP you can e-mail compressed and resized versions
of photographs ? In the My Pictures folder click on a photo and then 'File
and Folder Tasks' on the left. Click e-mail this file and choose 'Make my
pictures smaller', OK.
BT now offers some software that will warn you if your PC is dialling
a premium number. Get it from
users need not worry about Diallers. BT is also offerering free landline
calls for people who sign up to their free PC to PC call system. See
Many mobile phone companies offer e-mail access from your mobile. Orange
give an initial 4Mb or £12 of free access. See
Make sure that your anti-virus software is up to date, that you have an
active firewall in place and that your Microsoft Critical updates are downloaded.
Microsoft has a new and very thorough, anti Spyware program for you to download
Increasingly Broadband is being offered with download limits. These
will not affect the basic surfer but, if you are concerned, download a small
free program called Down2Home.
In Word you can get rid spare blank lines by Finding and Replacing the
^p chaacter. Go Edit, Find (or Ctl + F) click Special and choose Paragraph,
then click Replace, enter nothing and hit Replace. Repeat as often as
If you wish to send people several documents or pictures it is best to compress
them into a Zip file. You need to have installed a program such as
Winzip. Go to the folder and select all the files you want to send. Right
click with the mouse and click 'Zip and e-mail' Not only will your files
be compressed into one file, it will be attached to an e-mail ready to send.
Neat! Zip files are usually accepted by anti virus and firewall software,
whereas many other types of file are blocked.
CD pens are expensive but dry up quickly. Put a drop of methylated spirit
in a cap and stand the pen with the tip in it.
Google has developed a program that enables you to search your hard disk
very quickly. Initially it indexes everything on yor hard disk. It
does this in the background. Then if you click on the icon on the taskbar
you can search for any file very rapidly. Download the program from
Copernic have done the same trick.
If you have XP and haven't tried the slide show or printing facility of
Windows Fax and Picture viewer you are missing a treat
Some files come with an SWF ending. These can only be seen if you have
a program called Macromedia Shockwave Player on your machine. You can
get it, free, from
AVG anti virus offers a chance to make a Rescue disk which can get you
out of trouble evfen if your PC has become infected. Click on Make a Rescue
Disk. But, be warned, you may need as many as four disks, so make sure you
have four empty ones before you start. You cannot save the files to a CD.
Microsoft Windows Messenger (4.6) is what I term a 'crippled' alternative
to MSN Messenger (6.2 and 7) It comes with XP and isn't easy to block.
Click its Help and look at 'Stop the Windows Messenger program from
If you use MSN Messenger and you do not wish the MSN Today window to pop
up click (in your Messenger window) Tools, Options. In the left pane click
General and clear the tick in Display MSN Today... and click OK
It is possible to use MSN Messenger to send and receive messages to a mobile
phone. Go to www.Mobile.MSN.com
and become a member of MSN Mobile, then go to Tools in the MSN Messenger
window and Edit My Mobile Settings, entering you number and selecting 'Allow
people on my contacts list to send messages'. I understand the mobile phone
If you want to talk to your relatives in far away places for NOTHING,
you should (both) download SKYPE from
www.skype.com. The quality is excellent
even on dialup. Even I can hear it. Min.spec. Win ME, 2000 or
XP. See Here And from
www.ebuyer.co.uk a 'Headset' to go
with your Skype. £1.29 !
This year, Silver Surfers Day will be on 27th May. Nominations for
SilverSurfer of the Year to be in by 11th March. See
If you use Word you can increase or decrease the size of a font by selecting
some text then using the > or < signs along with Ctl + Shift
You can keep a record of what is said whilst you are using MsnMessenger.
. Go to Options, Tools, Messges and tick "Automatically keep History...."
Want to put your Favourites (or your Programs) in alphabetical order ?
Go Start, Favorites (OR Programs) right click the list and click Sort
If you have put something vital on a CD (or even a floppy disk) and it seems
to have disappeared (perhaps you overwrote it somehow) there is a program
called Badcopy Pro from
which is an excellent recovery program.
Instead of using Msconfig to see what is in your Startup, try running
Services.msc. It gives you far more information about what your PC
is running when it starts
Fed up ? Click on
If you are about to move your PC and have a digital camera, why not take
a snap of the back of the PC. It will help when you putting all those
My most frequent question is how to get 'Defrag' (See Windows Help) to
complete the job. The answer is to reduce other computer activity to a minimum.
Set your screen saver to 'None' and start your machine in Safe Mode
by pressing either the Ctl key or F8 when you machine says 'Starting
Windows' at boot up.
OR to start you machine WITHOUT any Startup programs hold down
Shift whilst you boot up.
OR if your machine still refuses to defrag more than 10% get a
copy of Defragler from www.piriform.com. Make sure you download the one for
your version of Windows. Another useful defragger is Diskeeper
Both require payment after a certain period of usage.
XP Defrag Right click on the C: drive in My Computer;
click Properties, Tools and choose Defrag Now. It may say it is not
necessary but do it. It takes a while.
To print a part of a website just select the area, using the mouse, click
Print but before you click OK click Selection
To find a word on any website page (including these) Press F whilst holding
down the Alt key. Enter the word and click to search.
Quick Shut Down of your Win 98 PC. Create a new Desktop Icon as follows:
Right Click your desktop. Select New, Create Shortcut. In the Command Line
space, type the following path: C:\windows\rundll.exe user.exe,exitwindows
(Space only between rundll.exe and user) Click on Next, and then rename the
Icon Shutdown. Click on Finish. Now double click on your new Icon on the
desktop and the computer will go directly to shutdown. Thanks go to
If you use Internet Explorer you can enlarge the type size on web pages
by clicking (whilst in IE) View, Text Size and choosing a larger one. It
will stay the same until you change it back
Outlook Express is normally set to prevent downloads of any attachments which
might contain viruses. Unfortunately this includes Word (Doc)
and Excel (XLS) files. To receive these you need to open OE, Tools, Options,
Security and untick that item.
The Zone-Alarm crib EZFirewall Lite, which came with the Microsoft Secuity
Update disks makes it difficult to install if you run Norton Anti virus.
It asks you to take off Norton and then tries to install a different
AV program first. If you install it you will need to set its security level
at Medium. High settings can prevent you from accessing ANY websites
Even if you are not into digital photography you can get your prints onto
CD (and so, into your PC). Bonusprint will put up to five films onto CD for
£3.99. The CD also includes a great Picture Viewer/Editor program,
which for Win 98 users is a great boon
People are having trouble with 'Dialers'. These are a sort of virus
or trojan that gets onto your computer and dials a premium rate number and
costs people a great deal. One way to be sure this doesn't happen is to get
in touch with your telephone provider and BLOCK all premium rate number access
(usually 090 numbers) and also ask them to block access to overseas numbers
unless you use these a lot
To check your computer over go to
even has an anti virus program connection and a link to a site which will
check your Internet connection. Great stuff and all free. Give
yourself an hour to do the main checks
Where did Scandisk go in XP? Surprisingly the venerable Chkdsk can still
be run (Start, Run, Chkdsk) but the proper way to do it is to right click
the C: drive (in Explorer), click Properties, Tools, Check now. For a surface
check of the hard disk tick the second option. Chkdsk is still used from
the 'Recovery Console' in XP. Intrigued? Type it in Help for
For a free checkup program for all Windows see
If you want to backup your Outlook Express try
Make sure you Ad-aware (spyware remover) is up to date. Otherwise it
wont remove the latest spyware
Don't Have Too Many Fonts. Windows loads every font you have in the Fonts
folder when it starts up. Search for *.TTF and delete ones you never use,
especially the very large ones.
If you don't want your screensaver to cut in when you are doing something
just click on the Start button and keep its menu open
To change the text size of Web Pages such as this click View, Text size.
n.b. AOL does not provide this facility
Use Print Preview (under File) before printing a web page. If it
is too wide choose landscape in Print Setup (again under File). You can also
limit the number of pages to be printed at this stage.
If you use MSN Messenger you have probably got a Hotmail address. To
prevent this being flooded with mail click on Options, Junk Email Filter
and tick Exclusive. This will mean that only messages for MSN get through.
You need this to keep the address current.
If you have a scroll mouse and use an Office or a graphics program (e.g.
Word) try holding down Control while you move the wheel. Amazing ! Try
tapping the button, too.
You can use a digital camera or MP3 player to transfer any files from
one computer to another
If you are over 60 you qualify for 50% off bus fares. No coach card
From April this will be FREE
Windows XP has a full Glossary of computer terms. Go Start, Help and
search for Glossary. Or for easy access just search for Glossary.chm
and put a shortcut on your desktop
If you get a message which suggests you report an error to Microsoft you
may as well ignore it. You can turn this feature off in XP by right clicking
on My Computer, Properties, Advanced, Error Reporting and Tick the Disable
Error Reporting button.
With Windows XP you can right click on a photo and add details under the
For a thorough free analysis of your PC and its software download Advisor.exe
For a tour of Windows in XP go Start, Run, Tourstart (Win XP)
In Windows Explorer you can open out the subfolders by using the + key
on the right. Close them using the minus key
With Wordpro, to create an envelope, click on the address in your letter
and click (guess what ?) Create - an envelope ! With Word, click Tools, Envelope
and enter the address(es)
If you want to stop your printer in full flood click the printer icon,
bottom right; click the name of the file being printed and click Cancel.
Then let the printer finish what it is doing rather that trying to switch
it off. It may take a short while but it has to be done.
To start your computer faster, skip the memory check by pressing
the Esc key
I use them all the time.. Select text or a file, Ctl +
X to delete it or Ctl + C to copy it, then Ctl + V to Paste it somewhere
else. Grab bits of a website (text), an e-mail address, move files
around; endlesss uses.
In Outlook Express, to email a picture (or document) to someone, right
click the file, click Send To, then Mail Recipient, complete the email form
in the usual way. You get the chance to make the file smaller. This reduces
them to at least a third of the original file size. They go quicker and it
makes them easier to view, too.
Do you wonder if your Anti Virus software works? Just click on the
following (from F-secure.com) and attempt to download Eicar.com. I
can assure you it is harmless but if you AV software works it will say it
is a virus and might quarantine it. Click
But Val said it made her anti virus software go crazy. Well, at least
it proves it is working !
If you have a scanner but no photocopy facility with it you can get a nice
free program from www.nicocuppen.com
called (surprise) Copier
A great place for top notch free utilities (Anti virus, anti popups, anti
spyware, anti spam, firewall etc) is
Checking old word processed documents can be a bore. Why not open a
whole bunch together ? In the word processor go to File, Open. Click
on the first, hold Shift then click on another, say 10th down the list. Click
Open. Now you can inspect them rapidly by closing them one at a
To increase the width of slim scroll bars at the side and top of any program
right click a space on the Desktop, Properties, Appearance, Scrollbar and
adjust the size. In XP click Advanced to find this item.
If you are spending the earth on glossy paper and original cartridges to
get good photographic results you might as well take a disk or memory card
to Boots and get 28 enprints for £4.99. Or send any film to Bonusprint
and get them on CD for an extra £2.50. Plus get a great Viewer program.
Want a scrap ? Drag a selection of a document onto the desktop. It stays
there as a 'scrap' until you want to use it. You can do the same with anything
you have cut or copied to your 'clipboard' Right click a desktop space
and click Paste
If the weather is thundery disconnect your modem when not in use - or risk
having a 'fried' modem. Applies to TV's too !
I recommend that you get and run Ad-aware from
and check your machine for SPYWARE
Stripmail is a great utility for cleaning up e-mails that come through
with short lines, tabs and << signs. Get it free from Dsoft
HERE I use
When looking at files using Windows Explorer you can see more detail by clicking
View, Details. The lists of files (and folders) have headings, such
as Name, Type, Size and Date Modified. If you click a heading the column
will be put in order. Click it again to put in reverse order. Useful
when looking for recently amended files.
If your computer keeps dialling your ISP, even when you don't ask it to,
right click Internet Explorer, Properties, Connection and tick 'Never Dial
a Connection'. Then it will only dial when you want it to.
If you are a Wordpro user it is easy to run through the fonts. Type
a word in a new document and put the cursor in the middle. Now use
the font changing tools to cycle through the typefaces (and sizes and styles),
keeping an eye on the font name, bottom left. This doesn't apply to Word.
If you are concerned that someone might contact a premium rate number
via your PC and land you with a large bill it is possible to ask BT to bar
such calls. Some (usually dubious) sites are legitimately able to do this,
though the rules say the charge should be no more than £20.
If you get a problem in XP after installing something new do a Restore
immediately. If you wait three weeks you may lose new things
you have installed and might not get back to the original situation. You
never lose what you have in your My Documents folder and sub folders.
Andrew says : PC Booster from www.mcafee.com (around £20) fixed his
Millennium Edition Problems. He bought it from Inkline Global
Mike says : My Lexmark printer uses black and colour cartridges alternately.
To keep the spare fresh I keep it in a sealable sandwich bag with a piece
of wetted kitchen roll inside. This keeps the cartridge ready for use up
to weeks later without drying out
You can reduce the clicking speed of your mouse if you find double-clicking
difficult. Or you can just click once and press Enter.
At one time Twigger allowed you to collect e-mails from anywhere, free. Now
they are charging, so
Lost a recent document ? In a Windows Explorer folder right click on a
space and arrange icons by date (or name) You can see the dates if you click
In Windows 98 /ME/XP you can run the program Msconfig and check what is under
the Startup tab with a view to reducing the strain on memory but leave the
items such as ScanRegistry, System Tray, Taskmonitor and any Broadband
and Anti Virus Program.
BT has an answerphone service. You have to ask them to set it up.
You dial 1571 to get your message. However, if there is a message
waiting for you it can interfere with your dialup access to the
If you haven't got any anti-virus software yet you should have ! The
best free one is AVG from
www.grisoft.com. It will take
about 20 mins to download and set up but is well worth it
The fastest way to your folders is the Windows key plus E. You will
get into Windows Explorer. Applies to all versions
To get the Euro sign press AltGr (if you have one) and 4. If you haven't
got an AltGr key try Ctl+Alt+4
Clicking on View, Refresh in Windows Explorer will display newly added
folders or files (and put them in alphabetical order)
To close Windows quickly press Alt + F4.
If you have Windows 98 /ME/XP you can test how your graphics and sound
system uses Directx, the program that is used to run audio/visual programs.
Just go Start, Run and type Dxdiag and click OK. It will
tell you if you have Microsoft's Directx and a lot more about your system.
Run each test in turn
To send a translation of an email to someone in, say, France all you have
to do is add the words English-French @T-Mail.Com in the CC line. They
will get your English version, then the French one. Try sending one to yourself
to test it out.
If you find that a program doesn't open in full screen you can right click
on its icon (if you have put one on the desktop) and click Properties.
Change Run to the Maximized option
Did you know that the Windows Calculator (Start, Run, Calc) is capable
of Scientific Calculations ? Just click on View, Scientific. If you need
a calculator regularly put a shortcut on your desktop. You can even
copy results into your word processor (Edit, Copy then Ctl+V in your document)
Rather than print a whole web page (or even an email) just select the
text part you want and copy it (Control + C) and paste it into your
word processor for printing (Ctl + V). You needn't even save the document.
Same with emails. Or just select it and go to Print, then Print
A bit technical this one : If your machine takes a long time to 'boot
up' - just beeps then seems to take ages to get to Windows - you
could try changing the jumper on the back of the hard drive from Master to
CSEL (which means Cable Select). If it doesn't help you can always
change it back pronto before you put the case back on !
.If your desktop icons keep getting out of order just right click
anywhere in a free space and click Arrange Icons - by Name. Then
(if you want) put a tick by Auto Arrange.
Don't confuse Memory (RAM), which comes fixed on chips on your machine, with
Hard Disk space, which is contained on a spinning disk of magnetic material.
I know they can both 'memorise' things and are measured in Megabytes
but they are very different from each other.
EVER FOUND THAT YOU HAVE TYPED two sentences in capitals ? I don't any
more. Go to Start, Settings, Control Panel, Accessibility and click
Use Toggle Keys. Under the Sound tab click Sound Sentry. When
you hit the Caps Lock you will hear a sound and the screen will flash.
You shouldn't be able to miss that lot.
If you don't have a Fix-it type program to fix problems in your Register
you can no longer download RegClean from Microsoft. Another program, which
lets you see and choose what is being cleared out is Regcleaner, free from
www.jv16.org but make sure it is suitable
for your version of windows.
Do you want free downloads of useful software ? Go to
and type in what you are looking for.
Want to get to grips with CD-Writers? See
Cdwriters.htm << Click on this
If you would like to keep backups safe from fire and burglars (or are
just filling up your hard disk) you can get 300Mb of space on the web at
www.myspace.com. Thinks : It would be one way to transfer data from one
connected PC to another e.g. when upgrading to a new PC.
Using too much expensive ink ? Have a look at Economy or Draft mode in your
printer's Properties. It's a lot faster, too. If it is good enough
for most purposes set that as you default in Start, Settings, Printers (right
click) Properties. You can always change back to quality print for
individual letters/graphics - by File, Print, Properties. I find that HP
printers do well on this.
Using too much ink printing net pages? Don't print the coloured
background : right click Internet Explorer, Properties, Advanced and uncheck
Print background colours and images (it's a long way down in the list)
Also set the oprinter to Draft.
In Win 98 you can save searches you do with Find. (Start, Find, Files
and Folders) Go File, Save when you have done a search. To repeat and
refresh the search later click on the icon which appears on your Desktop
Occasionally do a full Scandisk (with surface check). A slightly damaged
hard disk can be the cause of numerous problems. A full Scandisk 'repairs'
damaged sectors. Start, Run, Scandiskw (Windows) or Scandisk from DOS
If you get a Virus or scam warning and it says to pass it on to friends
it is 99% likely to be a hoax. Before passing it on it is a good idea
to check the site www.f-secure.com/
Look at their recent hoax list. Another interesting hoax checking site
is www.snopes.com. Think what will
happen if everyone passes them on to their address list ! It slows the whole
system down and wastes their time.
The Consumers Association says that, under the Sale of Goods Act,
retailers/suppliers are responsible for goods being 'of satisfactory
quality' for up to six years after the date of purchase
- regardless of what your guarantee says. Get leaflet Unsatisfactory
Goods : your Rights as a Consumer from the Department of Trade on
0870 150 2500
I know YOU know, but not everyone does. To 'select' a file or a word or
a paragraph you swipe it with the mouse pointer. Then you can drag
it elsewhere and drop it or cut/copy and paste it, whether it be text to
another paragraph or a file to another folder. Other ways include Edit, Select
All ; or use the shift and arrow keys.
If you wish to see what files there are in a specific folder e.g.
c:\windows\favorites you can open the folder by going Start, Run and typing
c:\windows\favorites. Click OK. You can drag a Favorite onto your Desktop,
too (not AOL).
If you would prefer not to be asked whether you want to send something
to the Recycle Bin just right click it the bin on the desktop, click Properties
and 'uncheck' the 'Display delete confirmation dialogue box'
If you want to copy a file onto floppy disk just go to File, Save
As and put a: (A, colon) in front of the file name. So, to save this page
to floppy I could go File, Save As a:help12.htm. Works
in most programs.
To associate a file type (e.g. a jpg graphic) with a program, so that file
type is always opened by that program, select a file in Explorer (left
click it) then hold down the right mouse button + the Shift key.(In
Windows ME/XP you do not have to hold down Shift). Click 'Open
with' and select the additional program from the list shown. Then
click the 'Always use this program.....' box.
Outlook Express uses the spellchecker from Word or one of its associated
programs. No Word, no spellcheck . If you want a free spellchecker
It works with any Windows program, even WordPad.
There is a useful, printable list of shortcuts for Outlook Express. See its
Help, Shortcut Keys. Print is under Options.
To scroll DOWN any web page hit the Space Bar. To scroll UP hold
down shift while you hit it.
Whilst Browsing you can change from Window to Full-screen by pressing F11.
You may also find you can start programs full screen by right clicking their
icon, clicking Properties and the change the Run item to Full Screen.
To send a SMS to a mobile phone many ISP's provide an SMS service but
some charge With Windows Messenger you can pay a small fee.
Check your printer setup to make sure that the Page Size is set to A4.
Some printer drivers will set it to 'Letter', which is the 11" American
size. This reduces your page length by 7/16". With laser printers this
may result in the page not being ejected. With ink jet printers it
means you are not able to print on the full length of the paper.
Sorting Internet Explorer Favourites alphabetically. Do this from
Start, Favourites, right click and Sort by Name. If you really want one at
the top you can drag it there afterwards. Want to move your Favourites
list from one ISP (or PC) to another? Internet Explorer (File)
allows you to export and import your list. AOL has a similar facility.
Heard of Numeric or Decimal Tabs ? If you are typing a column of figures
in a Word Processor you will usually want them to line up round the decimal
point. You need to look at your WP help to see how to create a Decimal
(or Numeric) tab, so that when you press the tab key it will take you
straight to it and any figures you type with decimal points will then line
up over each other correctly. Save a lot of frustration.
Haven't got a software suite ? You could pay £400 + for Microsoft
Office (or £5 if you are a parent teacher or ANY sort of a
student - worth joining that art class) But, amazingly, there are some
completely free ones. And pretty powerful they are. Thinkfree
Office can be downloaded from
Office is sometimes included in 'cover disks'. Keep an eye on my
Having problems with Win 98 ? Have you tried Win 98's System File
Checker ? Have a look at it - Start, Help, Index, System File
Checker. (or just run SFC.exe). It often finds missing and corrupted
System Files and will ask you for your Win 98 disk to get them back in order.
If it does, you must tick Browse and select the Win 98 sub folder on
your Win 98 disk.
Media Player (Mplayer.exe/ Wmplayer.exe in XP) enables you to play sound
and video files,'rip' music from your CDs and 'burn' the music onto
blank CDs. Windows Media Player 10 is a more advanced version. It is free
from Microsoft. It enables streaming video and access to Internet radio
stations It can downloaded from
But beware, it is over 7 Mb and would take at least half an hour to
download on a 56k modem. Wmplayer is included in Windows Millennium
Edition (ME), Windows XP and Vista.
To get a copy of the whole screen press PrintScreen, open your Word
Processor or Graphics application and Paste it in with Ctl + V. If
you want to copy just the window you are using hold down Alt when
you are pressing Printscreen, then paste it as before. Better than this,
get a program such as Mwsnap, so you can select the bit your want.
Many people take the power lead out of their PC during thunderstorms but
did you know that Modems can get 'fried' if you don't also detach your phone
line, too ?
The Password on boot up is not really for security. After all, you
can get round it by pressing Esc. It is more to do with setting up
various desktop settings for different people who use the machine. Do you
hate having to put in a password each time you start the machine?
Providing you know what password was put in originally....... In Win
98 go Start, Settings, Control Panel, Passwords. Enter your password
but leave the new password entries blank. Next time you boot up you
wont have to type it in. If you have a network setup you cannot get rid of
the password. In Windows XP passwords are dealt with under User Accounts
and you can proceed from these in the same way. See XP Help.
If your Internet sign on password wont save (older Outlook Express/Internet
Explorer) it may not be your fault. You may have to doctor your register.
Take a look at