Saturday, April 30, 2011

Answer Man - Can't Edit Scanned Image

Answer Man

I scanned a document into computer. I want to make some changes to the document, but the computer won't let me make any changes. Am I doing something wrong?

There are two types of scans. You can make an image scan which you can't change, or you can make an OCR (Optical Character Recognition) image which can be edited. Most scanners have an option to Scan Picture or Scan Document. If you choose the latter, you can edit.

If your scanner software does not have a scan document option, you can download a free OCR program called freeocr. You can find it at

Friday, April 29, 2011

Answer Man - Too Many Passwords

Answer Man

I know it's wise to have many passwords. With many passwords, if a password is stolen, the thief won't have access to all my sites. I use many passwords, but I have difficulty remembering them all. Do you have a solution?

Download Password Dragon at It will store as many passwords as you like. You need to only know one password to get into the program to see all the rest of your passwords.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Answer Man - Help others remotely

Answer Man

A friend of mine, in a distant city, is always having trouble with her computer. She often asks for my help, but I find that it is very difficult to diagnose the problems over the phone. I know there are several programs such as Go To My Pc and Pc Anywhere that would let me control her computer remotely. But they cost more than my budget permits. Do you know of any free alternatives.

Try Teamviewer6. Download it from The program is free as long as you use it for personal, non commercial use. It is easy to use and should fit the bill.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Answer Man - Icons Change Position

Answer Man

I didn't like the arrangement of the icons on the desktop of my computer and therefore dragged them to other positions. Sometimes, for no apparent reason, they change positions by themselves.
Is there a way to make them stay wherever I place them?

I had the same problem but found a nifty solution. Enter into your browsers address line. Download the program Desktop ok. It will place a new icon on the desktop. Arrange the icons the way you like and click Run. That configuration will be saved and can be restored whenever you wish.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Answer Man -Bytes, Kilobytes, etc.

Answer Man

I'm confused. Can you explain Bytes, Kilobytes, Megabytes, etc?

Well, it all begins with a bit. A bit is a 0 or a 1. A Nibble is 4 bits. A Byte is 8 bits. A kilobyte is 1024 bytes. A Megabyte is 1024 Kilobytes. A Gigabyte is 1024 Megabytes. A Terabyte is 1024 Gigabytes. A Petabyte is 1024 Terabytes. An Exabyte is 1024 Petabytes. A Zettabyte is 1024 Exabytes. A Yottabyte is 1024 Zettabytes. And, just to add to the confusion, a Google (beside being a search engine company) is the number 1 followed by 100 zeros.

Aren't you glad you asked?

Monday, April 25, 2011

April Treasurer's Report - 2

Jim Dillman,
Acting Treas.

Answer Man - Checking for Disk Errors

Answer Man

My computer is behaving oddly. Is there some simple way for me to see if anything is wrong, and is there a simple way to fix any errors?

I suggest you use Chkdsk.

Click Start, All Programs, Accessories and CMD (Command). Type Chkdsk /f . Then press Enter on the keyboard. The f parameter means that any error should be fixed. The program will take a few minutes to run or may not run until your computer is restarted.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

When You Really Want To Talk To A Live Person

Before you dial that call check out and/or to help you get through the automated maze. With DialAHuman you can search alphabetically or by category. Be sure to check out their Tips at the bottom of the page. With GetHuman you can enter the company name in a search box or search alphabetically. These sites may save you the time and aggravation of endlessly pressing numbers in a lengthy automated menu system.

Answer Man - Personalize the Screensaver

Answer Man

Yesterday, you gave directions for changing the Wallpaper or background of a computer. Is there a method to personalize the screen saver with my own photos?

There sure is. Click Start, Control Panel, Appearance and Personalization and Change Screen Saver. Click on the little arrow in the drop down box and select photos. You can enter the time before the screen saver starts. I usually use 5 minutes.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Answer Man - Change Background

Answer Man

I don't like the background (wallpaper) choices within Windows. I have seen computers that have family photos for wallpaper. How can I use my own photos for that purpose.

Click Start, Control Panel, Appearance and Personalization on Vista and Windows 7 machines, or
Appearance and themes on XP machines. Click change desktop background. Use Browse to locate your photos or picture you want for a background and click OK. The next time your machine is started, the new background should appear.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Ubuntu 11.04 to Be Released

Canonical Corporation announced the coming release of Ubuntu 11.04

Next week, Canonical will release the newest version of Ubuntu. The company believes that many Windows users may make the switch to the their operating system.

For those who are unsure whether 11.04 will be an ideal upgrade, Canonical will offer a free test-drive when the OS launches next week, accessible within a web browser. "Visitors to will be able to access a complete version of the latest product without having to download anything. All that is required is an Internet connection and an open mind," the company said.

Answer Man - Wi-Fi, Old Laptop

Answer Man

I have an old laptop computer that did not come with Wi-Fi. Is there a simple way to upgrade the computer?

The simplest way is to purchase a Wi-Fi adapter that plugs into the USB port. You install the software from the CD that accompanies the adapter. I have seen the adapters for as little as nine dollars, but I would spend more to get an adapter with an antenna. That will greatly improve the signal and you'll be able to access more distant wi-fi locations.

I recently purchased such an adapter from for $15 including shipping.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Answer Man - Computer Turns Off

Answer Man

When I push the button on my computer to turn on the machine, it doesn't start, or it starts to turn on and immediately shuts down. Why?

I suspect that you are holding in the button too long. Sometimes, when a computer locks up, you can hold in the button for about 8 seconds, and the computer will shut off. It is not the recommended method to shut down a computer, but it works in emergencies.

When you start the computer, do not hold in the button more than 2 seconds.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Earth Day - World Community Grid

This Earth Day, on April 22, you're invited to participate in a live webcast to hear an overview and update on World Community Grid's The Clean Energy Project. The event will be hosted by Professor Alan Aspuru-Guzik from the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University.

Since December 2008, World Community Grid has had the privilege of supporting the innovative research underway at Harvard University to advance the discovery of new materials for the next generation of solar cells and later, energy storage devices.

This is "The Clean Energy Project - Phase 2" that many of you run every day on your laptops and PCs for World Community Grid, helping us make progress towards developing affordable solar energy technology.

Earth Day was created in 1970 to draw attention to the Earth's natural environment. What better way to mark the occasion than by learning more about the ways scientists and volunteers like you are seeking to harness clean energy more efficiently?

The webcast will take place on April 22, 2011, starting promptly at 11:00AM Eastern Daylight Time (USA), which is 15:00 Coordinated Universal Time. Please join a few minutes early so that you're sure not to miss anything.

Participants can listen to Dr. Aspuru-Guzik while viewing an on-screen presentation. Time permitting, you will be able to ask questions via a text chat interface and Dr. Aspuru-Guzik will try to answer them.

Access to the webcast is via this link:

You can check if your computer is ready for the webcast at this link:

And whether or not you can join the webcast, make sure your laptop, PC or Mac is running World Community Grid, and let your friends know this easy way to participate in Earth Day!

Thank you,

The World Community Grid Team

P.S. After the webcast we will post the video of the webcast on YouTube, in the World Community Grid News & Update section, and we'll send you a link to the video.

Commenting For All

Now anyone can comment on Blog posts. You don't have to be an Author, any 
Club member can comment. This will allow more participation within the Club. 
To comment just click on the word comments at the lower left of any post. 
Be sure to click on the Post Comment button when you're done writing.

Answer Man - Get Rid of old computer

Answer Man

I bought a new computer and want to either give my old one to a friend or take the machine to a re-cycling area. I am concerned about sensitive data that may still reside on the hard drive even after I deleted the files.

You have a right to be concerned. The information can be found even when the hard drive has been formatted. The correct way to wipe info from the drive is to continually write 1's and 0's to the drive. The U.S. Govt. does that 3 times. You can get a free program that will accomplish the same task.

Type into the address line of your browser. Type Killdisk in the search block that appears on the page. Download the program and save it to a CD. Use the program to render your hard drive impossible to read.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Answer Man - Copying the Operating System

Answer Man

If my computer crashes I would lose my operating system, a bunch of programs and important documents. Is there a way to clone the drive and copy it to another drive?

Yes, you can clone the drive (make a drive image) and copy all to a new drive. However, to deter illegal copying, the new drive must be put back in the same computer. Programs that will let you make clones include XXClone (free), Acronis, Casper, Ghost, Clonezilla (free), Easeus, HD Clone (free). Note that some programs will not let you clone to a smaller drive.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Answer Man - Printer Drivers

Answer Man

I have an old printer that won't print from my computer. I lost the software that came with the printer. Can I get a free copy?

In many cases, you can find the driver (software) at the manufacturer's website. Let's assume you have an HP Deskjet 4100. Do a search for Hewlett Packard's website. It happens to be Click on Support and Drivers. Enter your model number and click Download. When you connect your printer, Windows will ask for the location of the driver. Browse to the location of the file in your computer and click O.K. The computer should recognize the printer, and you should be able to print.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Answer Man - Two Operating Systems

Answer Man

Can I put more than one operating system on my computer?

You certainly can. It's called a dual boot system. You might, for example, have Windows 7 and Ubuntu Linux on the same machine. When the computer boots, you are presented with a menu. you select the OS you want, and the computer boots accordingly.

I have had several dual boot machines, and I find the menu annoying, and generally want to use one program exclusively. However, If you would like to see what dual boot is like, you can boot Ubuntu within Windows through a CD. After you experiment, you remove the CD and re-boot, and the computer is exclusively Windows.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Answer Man -Task-bar moved to the top

Answer Man

The bar at the bottom of the screen that contains the start button, the clock, and a bunch of other items, suddenly moved from the bottom of the screen to the top. How can I move it back?

The bar, called a taskbar, can be dragged to the bottom, top or either side, by holding down the left mouse button as you pull the bar where you like. Sometimes, it is moved by accident. After you have it where you like, right click on the bar and click Lock Toolbar. It won't move any more.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Answer Man - Boot Sequence

Answer Man

My computer has some corrupted files. I have restore disks that are supposed to return the computer back to the way it was arranged when it was new. The directions say that I should put the disks in the CD drive and re-boot. When I do that, the computer doesn't seem to recognize the disks. What do I do now?

It appears that the boot sequence has changed. Normally a computer is set up to boot first from a floppy (if you have one), then a CD, and then the hard drive. Some computers also have a USB option. The sequence is easily changed. When the computer first starts, a message on the screen lists a key to push to get into the setup. That key is usually F2 or DEL. If you press the respective key at the correct time, a set-up screen will appear. Follow directions for your computer to get to the boot sequence, and change the order to fit your needs. In this case, you want the CD drive to be the first item in the list. Save the changes, exit and re-boot. The computer will search the CD drive before it goes to the hard drive, and your restore disks should run.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Beware of ShoppyBag

You may be getting an email or two from someone you know saying that this person has posted a photo
just for you on ShoppyBag. Be very careful clicking on this link and then signing up. They will harvest your
email address book and other personal information. Then they'll spam your friends. Read more at this link:

Answer Man - Print part of a page

Answer Man

I often would like to print just part of a page. I have used Print Selection, in the print menu, but it is difficult to use, and printing something in the middle of a page is impossible. Print Screen on the keyboard prints the entire page. Is there a better program out there?

There are several free print utility programs on the Internet. I particularly like Gadwin's program. It can be used to print anything you select. The program is easy to use, and you can save the selection to the clipboard or print directly to the printer.

Magic Jack

I just finished installing Magic Jack for an Oak Run resident and thought readers might be interested in my experience with the device.

I plugged a cordless phone base into the back of the Magic Jack and then plugged the Magic Jack into a USB port on the computer. In a couple of minutes the software to register the device appeared on the computer screen. I completed the form with his e-mail address and a password of his choice. In a couple of minutes a dial box appeared. Users are able to click on the numbers or use the dial pad on the telephone. I made a test call to his cell phone. I noticed a slight hesitation, but other than that the call quality was good.

Later, after re-starting the computer, I found that I could not get back in to make a Magic Jack call. It seems that I had made a slight mistake in entering the e-mail address and problem resolutions are all routed through that address. I had to get on Magic Jack's chat line to resolve the problem. One advisor was terrible, but a 2nd one corrected the address, and now all works well. After using the device I feel that it is a good supplement, but that I'm not sure that I want to dump my land line quite yet.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Answer Man - Create Desktop Icon

Answer Man

I would like to know how I can create icons on the desktop for some of my favorite sites.

Follow these simple steps: Right click the mouse on a vacant spot on the desktop. Click New, and then Shortcut. Type in the web address (URL) of the site.

To create an icon for the Club's blog, type in Type in a name for the shortcut (You might just type ORCC Blog). Click Finish and your finished.

If you want to delete a shortcut, simply right click on the shortcut and click delete.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Answer Man - Clock Slowing Down

Answer Man

The clock on my computer keeps losing time, and my machine has trouble booting. What could be wrong?

Many computer users do not realize that computers have batteries (yes, I know, laptops have big batteries, but I'm talking little lithium batteries that look like they should be used for watch batteries).

The purpose of the little batteries is to retain settings when you turn off the computer power. The settings include which drive boots first and keeping the correct time. You can purchase a battery for approximately $3.50 at Wal-Mart. Some batteries are easily accessible, some are not, but most lift out with finger pressure and snap back in place.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Answer Man - Free Microsoft Word Alternative

Answer Man

My new computer didn't come with Microsoft Word or any other word processor. I am trying to write a book. Should I buy Word?

Of course if you like Word you can purchase the Microsoft Office program which includes Word, Powerpoint, Excel and One Note. At the time of this writing it sold for $149.95. Unless you specifically need Word, I suggest a free alternative. It's call libreoffice. It includes a word processor like Word, a presentation program like Powerpoint, a spreadsheet program, like Excel, plus a drawing program and a math program. You can download it from the following site:

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Answer Man - Burning a CD

Answer Man

I have a bunch of photos on my computer and I'd like to back them up on to a CD. I have no idea how to "burn" a CD. Can you help?

You can use a CD burning program that you may have in your computer, or you can download a free one from the Internet.

I suggest you download the CD burning program Inscripto to your computer. Here's how you do it. Enter into the address line of your browser and click the enter key on the keyboard. When the Inscripto site appears, click download. Then click on the big word Download. Follow directions to install the program.

Two panes will appear, one above the other. Drag the photos or file from the top pane to the bottom pane. Place a blank CD in your DVD/CD writer drive, and click on the burn symbol above the panes. The computer will let you know when the process is complete.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Answer Man - E-Mail Undeliverable

Answer Man

My e-mail sometime says:, or something similar. What does that mean?

That message means that the e-mail address you entered when you sent the e-mail is not a good address and the e-mail can't be delivered.

Before you send the message again, make certain that the address is correct.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Free Stuff

I just saw this article (with video) this morning.  The link below talks about Libre Office, Avast, Kindle
and other FREE downloads for your computer.  It has links directly to the site so you don't have to do
any more searching.  You may have to copy and paste it into your address bar if it doesn't automatically
take you there...

Try it, at least you'll see that there are other exerts recommending some of the same things we talk about
in the club.

Answer Man - Uninstalling a Program

Answer Man

I want to install a new version of a software program. The directions tell me to uninstall previous versions. How do I uninstall a program.

The answer to this question differs slightly depending upon what operating system you are using (XP, Vista or Windows7). In XP, Click Start, Control Panel, Add Remove Programs, click on the program you want to uninstall and click Uninstall. In Vista and Windows &, click Start, Control Panel, Uninstall a Program. Select the program and click Uninstall.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Answer Man - No CD Drive

Answer Man

I got a real good deal on a netbook computer. Unfortunately, netbooks don't have CD drives. My new printer software is on a CD. What do I do now?

You have a couple of options. The simplest is probably to get a friend, who has a CD drive, copy the software from the printer disk on to a flash drive which you can insert into the netbook.

You can also purchase what is known as an outboard CD drive. It's a CD drive that plugs into the usb port and behaves exactly like a built in drive.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Why does the printer run slowly

Answer Man - Hard Drive privacy

Answer Man

I have an old computer that I want to give to someone. I am concerned that If I give away the computer, others will have access to my private information. What should I do?

If the computer is still working, the hard drive can be over-written with special programs that prevent others from seeing any of your private information. If you enter words such as "Erase Disk" in a search engine such as Google, you will find many free programs that can be used for the purpose. Download the program. Install it on the computer and follow the program directions.

The only other alternative is to remove the hard drive from the computer and physically damage it (Hit it with a big hammer, or crush it in a vise).

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Unable to read Thumb Drive

Hope this is not a duplicate. Typed the question, then checked 'preview' to see what it looked liked, and the whole thing disappeared... Copied documents and pictures to a thumb drive off old computer (WinXP). Bought new computer (Win7) Can't read the thumb drive info on the new PC. I am able to read it on the laptop (WinXP) though. Any suggestions?

Answer Man - Address Book

Answer Man

I'm looking for a simple free address book. Any suggestions?

Try E-Z Contacts. It's an easy to use program but has lots of great features.

Answer Man - Flash Drives

Answer Man

I have heard the term "Thumb Drive". What is a thumb drive, and do I need one?

A thumb drive is also called memory key, data stick , data key, flash drive, flash disk, USB drive, and a jump drive. Most thumb drives are small devices about the size of small pocket knives. They are solid state devices that plug into USB ports on a computer. They are used to store documents, photographs, music, etc. just as the hard drive on your computer can.

The big advantage of a thumb drive is that is portable. You can unplug the drive from one computer and plug it into another computer. Then, the information on the drive can be copied to the new computer. Such drives are great for backing-up information, storing copies of your photos, etc.

The most popular sized drives, as of March, 2011, were the 4 Gigabyte and 8 Gigabyte sizes. Recently, Wal-Mart advertised them at $8 and $13 respectively.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Answer Man - E-Mail accounts

Answer Man

If I subscribe to high speed internet (Century Link or Decca Cable in Oak Run), can I keep my old e-mail account?

You can keep your old e-mail account, get a new account or keep old and new accounts. Popular e-mail providers include: Yahoo mail, Gmail (Google) and Windows Live Hot Mail. Address books can normally be imported between e-mail systems.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Answer Man - High speed Internet

Answer Man

If I subscribe to High Speed Internet Service (Century Link or Decca within OakRun) will it make my computer run faster?

No, your computer will not run faster. You will be able to download large files from the Internet into your computer much faster. For example, if you want to download Avast anti-virus into your computer, high speed will let you do it in minutes. With dial-up service it might take hours.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

April Meeting??

The April Oak Run Newsletter has our Computer Club Meeting on April 16th..... a Saturday.
 I believe this is a misprint and the Meeting is for Wednesday, April 20th.
A helpful post here and on the message board may stop a hoard of phone calls.

World Community Grid - Re-visited

Back in February, I posted information on this blog about the World Community Grid, but the information is so important that I am repeating it here:

The Grid's mission is to create the world's largest public computing grid to tackle projects that benefit humanity. It is sponsored by IBM. To read about the grid and to see how it will benefit all of us, click on the following link: The grid uses unused capacity on thousands of computers to help solve world-wide problems such as Cancer, Clean Water, Muscular Dystrophy, etc. I have been a part of the grid for several years. The project uses so little of my hard drive capacity that I am not even aware that I am doing my part to contribute.

I want to encourage all of you to contribute. It costs you nothing, will not effect your computer in any way that you can notice, and will help solve some of the world's most pressing problems.

Answer Man - Computer specifications

Answer Man

What specifications are important when purchasing a new computer?

Most computer users use their computers for e-mail, searching the Internet, storage of photos and applications such as greeting card creation. The specifications shown below are intended for such users. Gamers, video editors and other intensive users will need much more robust computers than those described below:

I suggest that purchasers not buy the cheapest nor the most expensive computers on the market. Computers are obsolete the day you buy them, and in very few years you'll want a new computer.

With that in mind, here's what I recommend.

Brand – Any well known brand such as HP, Dell, Acer, Gateway, Toshiba, Sony, Lenovo

Processor – dual core; brand and speed are relatively unimportant

Hard Drive – 320 Gigabyte is more than adequate for most users

RAM – 4 Gigabyte

Operating System – Windows Home Premium

Optional – You may want wireless capability if the computer is a laptop or netbook

Friday, April 1, 2011

Answer Man - Buying a new computer

Answer Man

I'm thinking of buying a new computer, but there are many types, many brands and a confusing raft of specifications. Help?

Will first look at the types of computers and their advantages and disadvantages. Desktop computers give you the most for the price. They normally have room for additional internal components. However, they are big and bulky and are difficult to deal with if you have to take them to a repair shop.

Laptop computers are slightly more expensive than equivalent desktops. They tend to be more fragile, have higher priced components and are more difficult to service. They have the advantage of portability. Batteries don't last forever, and they can be expensive to replace.

Netbook computers are tiny (10” screens), are the least expensive, and are very easy to transport. They use slower processors. The screens are very small, and you may have to hold the computer close to your eyes to read the fine print. If you are a touch typist, you may be frustrated by the tiny keyboard.

Tablet computers are the newest rage. They are small, portable, can be used as e-readers and to wirelessly access the internet. They are not for the touch typist, and would not be good if intended to be your primary computer.

Computer brands and specifications will be covered in another post.

For Your Information

Posts are presented in a stack with the most recent post at the top. Clicking Older Posts will show the next # older posts and so forth. Clicking Newer Posts will show the previous # newer posts. Clicking Home will display the top # most recent posts. When viewing a single post, clicking Older Post or Newer Post shows a single post each time, but, clicking Home displays the top # most recent posts. There are 2,754 posts in the stack as of 4-27-18.