Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Don't shut down message

Answer Man

Every so often my computer displays a message that I shouldn't shut down the computer. It's installing updates or configuring updates. Is that normal?

Yes it is. The computer will complete the operations and shut down by itself. Some times it takes many minutes to complete, but that is perfectly normal.

Monday, December 30, 2013

32 or 64 bit?

Answer Man

I know some software is designed to work on 32 bit computers and some on 64 bit. How do I determine which I have?

If you have Windows XP, Vista, or 7, click Start. Right click on Computer. The screen will state that you have a 32 or 64 bit computer. If you have Windows 8, click on the file explorer icon (it looks like a file folder) and then right click on 'This PC' to see the answer.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

No more XP

Answer Man

I know that Microsoft will stop supporting Windows XP in April of 2014. I understand that without support, the operating system is open to all kinds of viruses. My computer only has 128 MB of memory. Can I put in some other operating system?

Since your computer has so little memory, you will have to use an older operating system. I suggest that you download and install Ubuntu 9.04. It will work well with 128 MB of RAM. The program is in ISO format. After you download the program, you must burn it to a DVD or flash drive.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Keep computer compartment open

Answer Man

My computer is inside a compartment in my computer armoire. I have used it in there for years with the door closed, and my computer works fine. A friend said that I must keep the door open. Is he correct?

Yes he is. You have been very lucky. Keeping the door closed prevents air from circulating, and heat is the biggest enemy of computers. What's more, the back of the compartment should have a big cut-out to improve the circulation.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Contact List creation

Answer Man

I use Yahoo mail and had my contact list on my computer. I had a problem with the computer and will have to re-install Windows. Will I lose all of my contacts?

No, you will not lose any contacts. Yahoo is a web-based e-mail program, and all of your mail and your contacts is kept on Yahoo's servers (computers). You can access Yahoo from any computer almost anywhere in the world.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Cleaning CD ROM drive

Answer Man

My CD/DVD drive doesn't seem to work well. Is there a way to clean the drive?

The easiest way to clean the laser in the drive is to use a disk made for the purpose. The disks generally have fine whiskers that brush debris from the lens. You can also try a can of compressed air, but be certain that you hold the can vertically to avoid blowing any moisture into the drive.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

How much RAM will my computer accept?

Answer Man

I know that you have said that the amount of RAM (memory) in a computer helps determine the speed of a computer. How can I determine if my computer will accept more RAM?

Go to crucial.com and type in the make and model of your computer. The website will tell you how much RAM you currently have, how many slots are open, the type of memory needed, the maximum amount you can insert and the price for the memory. If you give Crucial permission, you don't have to enter any information. The site will connect to your computer and give you the results of their analysis.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Computer clock shows wrong time

Answer Man

My computer clock never shows the correct time. I have re-set it several times, but that doesn't help. Do you have any suggestions on how I might correct the problem?

There are 2 possible reasons for a time error. It is possible that the CMOS battery in the computer needs replacement. It is a small, watch battery on the motherboard. The other possibility is that you have the computer set for the wrong time zone. Since Windows comes from Redmond, Washington, the default time zone is Pacific Standard Time. If you haven't changed the zone, your clock will be off by 3 hours. 11 am Eastern, is 10 am Central, 9 am Mountain and 8 am Pacific time.

Monday, December 23, 2013

No Media Player

Answer Man

I bought a new Windows 8 computer and tried to play a music CD. It wouldn't play. Do you know why?

For some unknown reason, Microsoft did not include Windows Media Player in Windows 8. You'll have to purchase it or use some other player to hear your music.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Using a flash drive

Answer Man

Can you briefly explain how a flash drive is used?

When you plug a flash drive into a USB port, the drive and a drive letter will appear after you click Start and then Computer when using most Windows operating systems. If you click on the icon of the drive you will see that there are no files present. You can drag files to the icon of the drive or can cut and paste files to the drive.. Then, the flash drive will be just like a miniature hard drive. You will be able to view the files, move them or delete them.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Recycle old computers

Answer Man

Most of the Ocala recycle centers are open on odd dates. Is there someplace I can take old computers and monitors that will accept my stuff on a more frequent basis?

Staples will accept computers and monitors whenever their stores are open. They will not accept parts or small components.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Loan your computer's resources

Answer Man

Some time ago you mentioned that you donate your surplus computer resources to help research projects find cures for cancer, malaria, etc. How can I do the same?

Since 2008, I have let World Community Grid worldcommunitgygrid.org use my home computer together with millions of other home computer to work on solving monumental problems. The pooled resources have become the world's largest non-profit grid of computers. The project sponsor is IBM.

I suggest that you go to the grid website and read about all of the good work being done. You will find out how you can participate. Please join. You will be glad that you did.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Alternative Operating Systems

Answer Man

During yesterday's club meeting you talked about alternative operating systems. Can you give a quick recap here?

I mentioned two Linux based operating systems: Ubuntu and Linux. If you plan on replacing Windows on a machine with less than 512 MB of RAM (memory), I suggest that you install Ubuntu 9.04. If you have a machine with 1 GB of RAM or more, you might want to try a version of Linux Mint. Earlier versions require less memory. You can view the programs without harming your current operating system. You can install the programs together with your current operating system (dual boot) or you can replace the current operating system with the Linux version of your choice.

If you have difficulty with the installation or the disks I sold at the club, contact me and I will replace the disks at no charge. I can also create a disk for other versions. You can reach me at 861-6977.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Dedicated E-Reader

Answer Man

Many people use their tablets to read books. Are they missing anything by not having dedicated e-readers?

Yes they are. E-readers are customized for ease of use. The fonts are size adjustable. The e-ink display is specifically formulated to give very high contrast displays. The controls for advancing pages are more convenient, some are back-lit. However, just as with tablets, it is wise to pay a little more for a good e-reader.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Laptop on lap

Answer Man

I was told that I shouldn't run my laptop while it is sitting on my lap. Is that true?

Yes it is. The fans on most laptops are on the bottom. If the laptop is sitting on a soft surface, such as your lap or a blanket, the fan circulation is stopped or greatly impeded. The computer could overheat very quickly. Buy a laptop desk and use it. Laptop desks consist of a soft surface for your lap but present a hard surface for the computer.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Executive Board Minutes - December 13, 2013

Alan Marcus, President, called the meeting to order at 9:00 AM. Members in attendance: Bill Balch, Richard Bambridge, Elliott Bogart, Nick Burke, Frazer Crane, Bob Leiner, Bob Norton, Linda Tingley, and Carol Norton.

Secretary’s report read by Carol Norton. No corrections or additions necessary.

Bob Norton gave the treasurer's report. The current balance is $1,767.99.

December 18 will be the Holiday Party consisting of donuts, bagels and cream cheese.

Motion made by Frazer Crane, seconded by Linda Tingley, carried, to donate $65 to ORHA for coffee replenishment.

The club has four Ubuntu 9.04 disks and four Linux Mint 12 disks at $3 each for sale at the December 18 general meeting. Q & A to follow.

Programs for 2014: January 15 – Gene Barlow of User Group Relations and Representative for Acronis Software, will be back to give a presentation on “Selecting the Best Back-up Approach”; February 19 – Comparison of Tablets.

The meeting adjourned at 9:40 AM.

Respectfully submitted,

Carol H. Norton

Buying a new computer

Answer Man

I'm planning on buying a new computer. Does it pay to buy an expensive, state of the art computer?

Much depends upon what you plan to use the computer for. Most people do little more than send e-mails, use Skype and search the Internet. Almost any computer will work well for those purposes. If you are heavy into graphic use, video-editing or gaming, you may want a little better computer. Just remember, any computer is obsolete the day you purchase it.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Computer speed

Answer Man

What are some of the factors that determine computer speed?

The most important factor is the amount of RAM (memory). Older, 32 bit computers can use up to 4 GB of RAM. Newer computers can use much more, and the more the better. Other factors that determine speed include the speed of the processor. Of course you must pay more for faster processors. Having too many programs in the Start menu will slow down your computer. You can improve speed by eliminating temporary files, by defragmenting the drive and by removing clutter from your hard drive.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Enlarge page

Answer Man

Is there a simple way to increase the size of print?

Hold down the CTRL key on the keyboard and tap the plus key. CTRL and the minus key will make the print smaller.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Opening Libreoffice documents in Word

Answer Man

I didn't feel like shelling out big bucks for Microsoft Office and installed LibreOffice. Now my friends who have Word can't open my documents.

They will be able to open LibreOffice documents if they are saved as Word files. When you are given a chance to save LibreOffice documents, click the drop down arrow by Save As. Then select one of the Microsoft Word formats.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Computer shuts off

Answer Man

Every once and awhile my computer shuts off by itself. Is there something wrong with the machine?

I'll bet that the computer is set up to shut off the display after a few minutes. Navigate to Start, Control Panel, Hardware and Sound, Power Settings. Change all settings to read Never shut off. Do not select Sleep or Hibernate.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Can't view entire screen

Answer Man

Even though I have scrolled all the way to the right side of my monitor screen, I can't see the entire thing. Some words have gone into cyberspace.  How do I get them back?

Press the CTRL key on the keyboard and tap the minus key on the keyboard.  That will shrink the view and you will be able to see all of the words.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Monitor power switch

Answer Man

I just bought a new monitor but can't find the on/off switch. Help?

The switches are becoming harder and harder to find. ;Many new monitors have the switch under the front bezel of the screen. Some manufacturers don't bother with labels, so you might need a flashlight to examine the edges of the screen very carefully. Unfortunately, directions are diminishing in size and may be of no help. If worst comes to worst, go on the manufacturer's website and examine the PDF file for the switch location.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Command Prompt

Answer Man

I'm using Windows 8.1 and want to get to a command prompt to run CHKDSK to check the condition of my hard drive. How do I do it?

Right click on the Windows icon on the bottom left of the start screen. Click command prompt (admin). Type chkdsk /f. If you have Windows 8, Click the Windows key on the keyboard and the letter X to bring up the menu with CMD on it.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Monitor connections

Answer Man

I just purchased a new monitor. It came with two different cables. Do I need both?

The cable that has blue ends and thumbscrews is known as a VGA cable and that cable has been the standard for years. Newer monitors may take a different cable known as DVI. You only need one of those cables. If your computer has a DVI output, use the DVI cable. If it doesn't, use the VGA.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Touchpad unresponsive

Answer Man

The touch pad on my laptop doesn't work well. There seems to be a lag in responsiveness. Is there a way to improve the situation?

Click Start, Control Panel, Hardware and Sound, Touch pad, Settings. Then drag the sliders to increase the speed and scrolling settings until the touch pad responds the way you want it to.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Lost Windows Disk

Answer Man

I lost my Windows installation disk. Is it possible to use a friends, or will that show that I have an invalid copy?

As long as your computer originally had a valid copy of the same version of Windows, you can install from any same version Windows disk. However, you must enter the 25 character product code from the sticker on the computer housing.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Old mouse and keyboard

Answer Man

I am junking my 10 year old computer. Is there any reason to save the mouse and keyboard for another computer?

New computers come with keyboards and mouses, meece or mices. All new keyboards and mice have USB connectors. Old ones have what are called PS2 connectors. Although you can buy adapters to make the old devices fit in the new computers, why bother?

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Printing costs

Answer Man

The cost of print cartridges may drive me into bankruptcy. I know I can use re-manufactured cartridges or fill my own, but I'd rather not do that. Is there anything else I can do?

If you are like most people, about 95% of your printing will be in black and white. If that is the case with you, buy an inexpensive laser printer and use it for most of your printing. Some laser printers sell for the same price as one ink cartridge. If you do a lot of photo printing, I suggest that you print at a photo store kiosk. You'll find it cheaper than doing your own printing.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Magic Jack Stutter

Answer Man

I have had Magic Jack for some time and it has been fine, but recently all calls seemed like the talker was stuttering. I miss many words. What could be wrong?

That's usually a sign of a bad connection. I had the same problem and ended up replacing one of the Ethernet cables. That completely solved the problem. After replacing cables, try calling your own phone number. The Magic Jack message will not stutter if the cable replacement solved the problem.

Monday, December 2, 2013


Answer Man

I've gotten very used to the undo feature in many programs, but sometimes programs do not list undo. Is there a trick to getting it to show up?

The keyboard shortcut CTRL + Z will take you to undo. What many people don't know is that you can keep stepping backwards undoing commands up to 26 times using that shortcut.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

File extensions

Answer Man

What is a file extension?

Files generally are followed by a period and three letters which define what type of file is represented. A jpg extension stands for joint photographic experts group and is a compressed photo file. DOC is a document file. EXE is an executable file.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

CPU speed

Answer Man

I know that Intel makes I-3, I-5 and I-7 series CPUs. Are I-5 and I-7 chips faster than I-3 chips?

They may be. It all depends upon whether they are 2nd, 3rd or 4th generation chips. A 2nd generation I-7 is not as fast as a 4th generation I-3. Unscrupulous retailers like to sell the older I-5 and I- 7 chips while trying to convince you what a good deal they are. When you are thinking of buying a new computer, go to Intel's website to compare versions and their speeds.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Fake You Tube Videos

Answer Man

There are some very convincing videos on You Tube. One, I recently saw, says you can double your Internet speed simply by taping a second Ethernet cable to the first one. It's very convincing. They even support their point with some math formulas.

I have seen that video. It is a complete hoax although very well done. There is no way to increase Internet speed other than by paying more to your Internet provider for faster speeds.

There is another You Tube video that says you can triple Internet speed by taping some AA batteries to the Ethernet cable. What will these jokesters come up with next?

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Recovery without disks

Answer Man

I have been told that my computer is so corrupted that I need to do a complete recovery. No disks came with my computer and I didn't create any. Is there anything I can do with the computer?

When you first boot the computer, the splash screen should display some information about recovery. HP machines typically show info such as Press F11 for System Recovery. Other manufacturers may show other keys. It is critical that the keys be pressed before Windows begins the boot sequence. Once the key is pressed, follow the on-screen directions to recover your computer.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Access the Internet using a smart TV

Answer Man

I just bought a smart TV but can't figure out how I can access the Internet.

Each TV is different, but there will be a button on the remote that will let you click on a browser (such as Internet Explorer) When you do, a virtual screen will pop up on which you can type a web address.

I find, however, that virtual screens are difficult to use and that it is much easier to plug in a laptop computer into your TV. Then, you can use the computer's keyboard to achieve the same results.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


Answer Man

How can I get rid of a ransomware virus such as the fake FBI warning?

Power down the computer and re-start in Safe mode by pressing F8 as the computer boots. Under advanced options, select safe mode with networking. Scan computer with anti malware program such as Malware Bytes, AVG or Microsoft Security Essentials (make sure they are up-to - date). Re-start the computer.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Create a restore point

Answer Man

I have often used System Restore to restore my computer to an earlier point. How do I do it in Windows 8?

When you are at the start screen, type: "Create a restore point". Then click on those same words that appear in the list that displays. The screen that shows up will allow you to create a restore point or to restore your computer to an earlier point in time.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Recovery Drive, Windows 8

Answer Man

I've been told that I should create some kind of Windows 8 recovery drive. How do I do that?

When you are on the start screen, type: "Create a recovery drive". Then, click on Create a recovery drive. Click Next. Insert a blank flash drive and follow directions. In just a few minutes the drive will be created. If you ever have trouble booting Windows 8, insert the flash drive and start the computer.

1940 Census

Answer Man

I understand that the 1940 census is available on line. Where can I find it?

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Is an XP machine worth keeping?

Answer Man

I have an 8 year old Windows XP computer. I know that Microsoft is no longer supporting XP and that the machine is more susceptible to viruses. Is it worth keeping the computer?

The answer depends upon many factors. The most important factor is the amount of memory. If the computer won't hold more than 256 MB of RAM, I would get rid of the machine. If it will hold 1 GB or more, and the hard drive is big enough for your needs, it might be worth keeping. If it were my machine, I would download the Linux Mint Operating System, burn it to a disk and would install it on the machine.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Tablet keyboard

Answer Man

Can I purchase an external keyboard for my tablet?

It all depends upon the type of tablet you have. Some, such as the Microsoft Surface tablet come with a keyboard. Some take a clip on keyboard and there are others where the only keyboard is a virtual keyboard that appears on the screen. If you require a keyboard, check in advance to see if a keyboard is available for the tablet you intend to purchase.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Computer slow down

Answer Man

Do all computers slow down as they age?

They slow down if users fail to perform proper maintenance. If a computer is not maintained, temporary files build up, the disk becomes fragmented, programs build up in the start menu and the CMOS (clock battery) fails. With proper maintenance, a 10 year old computer can perform as well as it did when it was new.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Program list Windows 8.1

Answer Man

I can't find the list of programs installed on my computer in Windows 8.1. Where is it hidden?

Click on the desktop tile in the Start Menu. Right click on the window icon at the bottom left of the screen. Navigate to the top of the list that appears and click on programs and features. The familiar program list will appear.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Keeping track of stocks

Answer Man

Can you suggest a free stock portfolio program?

Try Morningstar's portfolio program at morningstar.com. The program will keep track of your stocks and bonds and will update the amounts automatically.

Monday, November 18, 2013

ISO files

Answer Man

I lost my Windows Vista program. I saw where I could get a copy on the Internet, but it said it was an ISO file. How do I use that?

You can download the Vista ISO file, but to use it, you will have to burn it to a CD or DVD. Free programs like CDburnerXP will let you burn an ISO file to disk. Once the burning is complete, the disk can then be used to re-install Vista or whatever file you burned.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Delete icon

Answer Man

I have some icons on the desktop that I'd like to remove. How can I get rid of them?

Right click on the icon and left click on delete. That will remove the icon, but the file that it is a shortcut for will still remain in the computer. If you uninstall a program, the process will normally remove both the program and the icon.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Add picture to advertisement

Answer Man

I want to sell a computer on Ocala4sale.com. They will let you add a picture. How do you do that?

After you compose the wording for the ad there is a button at the bottom of the form that encourages you to add a photo. Click on that button. You will then see the word browse. Click on browse and then find the file on your computer that contains the picture you want to use. It will probably be in the file entitled My Pictures. The picture will be added, and you will be able to see how it will appear in the ad. Add additional pictures in the same manner.

Friday, November 15, 2013


Answer Man

What do I need to have Wi-Fi in my home? I want to buy a new iPad and be able to operate from my easy chair.

First, you need to have broadband Internet access. In Oak Run, that is provided either by DECCA Cable or Century Link. Then, you need to purchase a router. Routers run from approximately $30 to a couple of hundred dollars. The cheapest will do for your purposes. The router broadcasts a wireless signal that you will be able to access anywhere in your home.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Genealogy Programs

Answer Man

I was using PAF (Personal Ancestral File) software for Genealogy. I see that the Mormon Church is no longer supporting the software. Have you a good alternative that will import the PAF files?

Try http://chronoplexsoftware.com/myfamilytree/. The software is free and is easy to use. It will import the Gedcom files that PAF and most other genealogy programs use.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Executive Board Minutes - November 8, 2013

Bob Leiner, Vice President, called the meeting to order at 9:00AM. Members in attendance: Richard Bambridge, Laurence Bauer, Elliott Bogart, Frazer Crane, Ron Kenyon, Bob Norton, Linda Tingley, and Carol Norton.

Secretary’s report read by Carol Norton. No corrections or additions necessary.

Bob Norton gave the treasurer's report. The current balance is $1,533.80.

A slate of officers has been compiled for Year 2014:

President – Alan Marcus

Vice President – Richard Bambridge

Secretary – Carol Norton

Treasurer – Robert Norton

Program Chairman - Richard Bambridge

Publicity – Linda Tingley

Set-up Committee – Frazer Crane, Bob Leiner

The November 20th general meeting will feature Emilio Gonzalez, of Decca Cable, who will give a presentation on "Analog to Digital Transition."

December 18 will be the Holiday Party consisting of donuts, bagels and cream cheese.

January 15 – Gene Barlow of User Group Relations and Representative for Acronis Software, will be back to give a presentation on “Selecting the Best Back-up Approach”.

February 19 – Comparison of Tablets

The meeting adjourned at 9:45AM.

Respectfully submitted,

Carol H. Norton

Windows 8.1

Answer Man

What is your opinion of Windows 8.1?

Despite what many critic said, I liked Windows 8, and I think 8.1 is an improvement over 8.0. Most items are easier to find in 8.1 and the system starts, operates and ends quickly. The cost of the software is rather high now, so, if you already have Windows 7, I suggest staying with it until you can justify purchasing a new computer. The new one will come with 8.1 installed.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Move music from computer to iPad

Answer Man

I put music from CD's on my desktop computer. I'd like to move that music to my iPad. How do I do it?

Connect the cable from the bottom of the iPad to a USB port on the desktop. It should sync automatically. If it doesn't, you will see a screen with many options. One tab will be labeled "music". Click on that tab and select "Sync Music" or "Sync entire library". You can also sync playlists.

Sunday, November 10, 2013


Answer Man

I keep seeing the word default in reference to my computer. What does it mean?

Default means preferred setting. Your default font setting is probably 10 or 12 point. If you have two printers, one is set as default, but you can change the default setting to the one you use the most.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

SATA drives

Answer Man

I bought a second hard drive for my desktop computer. I know that I'm supposed to identify the drive as a master or a slave, but I don't see any way to do that.

You are thinking of older IDE drives in which those settings had to be made by moving tiny jumpers on the rear of the drives. Newer SATA drives automatically make those changes so you don't have to.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Add e-books to Kindle

Answer Man

I see that NASA.gov has free e-books that can be downloaded. I downloaded them to my computer in the correct format (mobi) but don't know how to get them to my e-reader.

Send and e-mail, with attachments (the books from NASA) to your account at kindle.com. Click on synchronize on the Kindle. In a few minutes, the books will transfer.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Boot from external drive

Answer Man

I have an external hard drive that contains an operating system different from the one on my computer. Can I boot from the external drive?

Plug the external drive into a USB port. When the computer begins to boot, you must press a key to enter the boot sequence screen. That key varies depending upon the computer manufacturer. Common keys are ESC, F2 and F10. The screen normally displays which key will boot to the BIOS. When you are in the BIOS, change the boot sequence by clicking on hard drives and then on the name of the external drive. Save and exit the bios and the computer will boot the operating system that is on the external drive.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

No sound from Internet

Answer Man

I'm puzzled. My computer makes sounds when I play CD's, shut down the computer, etc., but it will not play the sounds accompanying Youtube videos or from other Internet sources.

Many Internet sources have their own volume controls which appear at the bottom of the video. Bring up a video and look for a picture of a speaker. Click on the speaker and drag the slider that appears to the right.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Adobe Flash updates

Answer Man

A pop-up appears on my screen telling me to update Adobe Flash. Is this spam? Will I get in trouble by downloading the update?

Adobe Flash is a legitimate program required to see some graphics. The update should not cause any problems.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Wireless adapter

Answer Man

I have an old laptop that doesn't have a wireless card. The operating system is Linux Mint. I put a wireless adapter in the USB slot, but I can't get it to work. Any suggestions?

All wireless adapters are not created equal. Some do not have Linux drivers and will only work with Windows. You'll have to go on the adapters web site to see if they supply Linux drivers.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Old computer usage

Answer Man

I have an old computer with just 128 MB of RAM. What operating systems will run on the machine?

You need an old operating system to run on any machine with so little RAM. Windows XP requires a minimum of 64 MB and will run well on 128 MB. Older Linux based programs such as Ubuntu 4.10 and 9.04 will also run with that amount of memory.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Re-size images

Answer Man

I know that I'm supposed to reduce image size when sending e-mail attachments, but I don't know how to do that. Can you tell me an easy way?

Download Freesizer at www.freesizer.com. Left click on the image you'd like to reduce in size, hold down the left mouse button and drag the image to the blank space in Freesizer. Then pick re-size. The original will be left alone and a reduced copy will appear which you can attach to the e-mail.

Friday, November 1, 2013


Answer Man

I see that Windows 8 has a Refresh command. What does it do, and why do I need it?

I'll give you a quick personal story to illustrate my answer. I was unable to download Apps from the Windows Store. A notice popped up suggesting I refresh the computer. I was warned that although my documents and personal info would be saved, any programs that I added to the computer would probably have to be re-installed.

I performed the refresh and found that a list of the programs removed was created, and I could click on those items and re-install the programs from the associated web sites. The entire process took less than an hour.

Thursday, October 31, 2013


Answer Man

What is the purpose of hard drive partitioning?

Partitioning is a way of dividing the hard drive into segments or partitions to accomplish some purpose. Manufacturers generally partition hard drives into two partitions which they normally label C: and D:.

The C partition holds the operating system. The D partition holds operating system restore information.

Users often partition a drive so items are kept separate. You might, for example, create partitions for photos, music, or particular files you'd like to keep separate from other information.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Answer Man

Why aren't floppy disks used anymore?

The last 3 1/2" floppy disks produced held 1.44 MB of information. One new 16 GB flash drive will hold the equivalent of 22,400 of those floppies.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

TV as monitor

Answer Man

Is there any reason why I can't use a TV as a monitor?

Many new computers have HDMI connections which enable easy connections to newer TV's. And, if you plan on watching videos, from a distance, they will work well. However, the resolution is generally much less than that which monitors can display. If you plan on doing much reading and close work, you are much better off buying a monitor for the purpose.

Monday, October 28, 2013

More than one monitor

Answer Man

Is it possible to have more than one monitor attached to a computer?

It's not only possible, it's fairly common. During our club meetings we have the club computer connected to a projector (which is just like a 2nd monitor), and can view both the computer screen and the projected image. If you connect a 2nd screen but don't see both images, you will have to press a combination of keys on the keyboard to view both. That combination is often FN and F4 but may differ on your computer.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Start computer without password

Answer Man

I live alone and am not concerned about someone else in my house getting into my computer. Isn't there a way to avoid having to enter a password every time the computer starts?

Hold down the Windows key on the keyboard and the letter R. Type netplwiz and OK. Click in the box that reads "Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer? Click Apply and OK. You will be prompted to put in your password twice, Click OK. When your computer re-starts, a password will no longer be required.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

How much RAM do I need?

Answer Man

I would like to update my old computer. How much memory should it have?

Although it has generally been said that you should get as much memory as possible, if your old computer is a 32 bit machine, it can't access more than 4 GB. New machines are almost always 64 bit machines. They can access as much memory as you can put in. I suggest that you navigate to www.crucial.com. Enter your computer make and model number. The site will let you know how much memory your computer will take and what the cost of the chips will be.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Clean computer with vacuum cleaner

Answer Man

Is it okay to use a vacuum cleaner to clean my computer?

The only problem I see with using a vacuum cleaner is that you may cause the fan blades to spin backward so that they act as a generator, create a back emf (electromotive force) and could damage the CPU. If you are going to use a vacuum, stick a pencil between the fan blades while you vacuum. A better alternative is to use compressed air cans made for the purpose. They are not as powerful and blow rather than suck. That of course means that the dust may blow all over the place.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Computer generated DVD's working in DVD players

Can you recommend DVD burn software that creates discs that will work in DVD players as well as computers?

My Sharp BD-AMS20U player manual states "Only finalized discs will play back in this and other players". I used CyberLink Power2Go8 burn program without success and communicated this to them, asking for help, stressing that the disc needs to be "finalized" to work in a DVD player. After many go a rounds it became clear that they did not want to understand the question!

I have a new system with Win 8.1 and I am otherwise delighted with it.

Recovery Drive

Answer Man

I just got a computer with Windows 8 installed. I understand that I am supposed to create a recovery drive through a USB connection. How do I do that?

You must have a flash drive (sometimes called a thumb drive) of 2 GB or greater capacity. Insert the flash drive in a USB port. On the Windows 8 start screen, type the word recovery. Click on "Create a recovery drive" and follow directions. In the future, if you run into trouble, you can insert the flash drive and recover Windows.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Windows system corrupt

Answer Man

My computer is acting wildly. I suspect that Windows is corrupt, but I don't want to have to re-install the operating system. Is there some way to do a check to see if Windows is corrupt?

You need to get to a command prompt. Hold down the Windows key on the keyboard and press R. Type cmd and press enter. Type in "sfc /scannow" without the quotes. Press the enter key. the surface file checker program will run and look for errors.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Enlarge a scanned image

Answer Man

I scanned a joke to send to my daughter. The size was so small that she couldn't read the joke. How can I enlarge the scan?

When you scan with most scanners, you are given the option to scan a picture or a document (via optical character recognition). If you choose document, you can also choose to send the output to Wordpad. Such documents can easily be enlarged or edited. Then you can copy the image and paste it in an e-mail.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Background printing

Answer Man

What does background printing mean?

It simply means that you can do other things with the computer while the printer is printing.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Windows 8.1 System Image

Answer Man

Is there some way that I can copy all of my programs, documents, files and the operating system in Windows 8.1 so that I could restore all if my hard drive should fail and I have to buy another one?

There sure is. It's called System Image. Type the words File History anywhere on the start screen. Find the words File History on the right (don't select file history settings). At the lower left of the screen, find the words System Image. Click on them. Connect a back-up drive and follow directions.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

How To Clear A Clogged Ink Jet Cartridge

The following procedure was by submitted by Elliott Bogart.

All HP 901 cartridges have the head built into the cartridge. When these cartridges become empty the ink trapped in the micro jets is exposed to air from the inside and the outside. The ink begins to dry both ways and when dry, forms a slug of solid material in the micro jet. When clogged, the ink will not flow out the jet. What you see on the paper is skipping, banding or no print at all. If you fill a clogged cartridge, the new ink will not unclog the head. OK, how do you unclog them?

1) Hold the printhead under a stream of hot water for about 10 seconds - dry with a soft cloth - reinstall in printer and print this page a few times.
http://www.refillinstructions.com/color.htm(for Color) or
http://www.refillinstructions.com/black.htm (for Black)

2) If that doesn't dissolve the clog. Fill a saucer with half hot water and half ammonia - place the cartridge in the solution for about 2 hours - dry with a soft cloth - reinstall in printer and print this page a few times.
http://www.refillinstructions.com/color.htm(for Color) or
http://www.refillinstructions.com/black.htm (for Black)

Here is what the professionals do. They use a temperature controlled pan (like a fry pan) and set the temperature to 180 degrees F. A small amount of the ammonia and water solution is put in the pan to cover the bottom. When it has reached 180, the cartridge is put in so that only the head is under the water. The cartridges are cooked for about 30 minutes. After the 30 minutes, a puff of compressed air is applied to the vent hole (you can use a syringe or squeeze bottle). Then while the cartridge is still warm, it is installed into the printer and the cleaning cycle is run several times.

I know, who wants to waste a $50 fry pan to unclog a $20 cartridge. The inks will wash off with hot soap and water and a little bleach. If you want a simpler approach, use the saucer with some hot water and ammonia as I mentioned before. This may not be as effective due to the lack of temperature control and cook time, but it is worth a try.

3) Here is what one customer wrote back and said, "But what really worked was the suggestion from my dad when he saw me doing this. He suggested steam. So I heated up the teapot. When it began boiling I slowed it down to a steady steam. I put the head near the pouring spout (with a stainless steel bowl underneath). The head began to weep ink. Now the cartridge prints fine!"

4) Here is what another customer wrote back and said, "Here's an easy way I found to clear my HP ink cartridge. After I had re-filled it, when I put it back in the printer nothing came out -- it was completely blocked -- I guess because I exposed the ink head to air for too long as I re-filled it. Well, from your hints, I started by putting the cartridge, ink head down, in a metal cup into which I had put small amount of 1/2 boiling water and 1/2 ammonia. Nothing happened.

So, I replaced the tin cup (in which the water cooled very quickly) with a ceramic cup, put 1/2 boiling water and 1/2 ammonia again (still topping just above the ink head), adjusted the cartridge so it was back against the wall of the cup, so it would stay level, and placed the ceramic cup in a small, 4 cup, metal cooking pot into which I surrounded the cup with boiling water. This way I was able to keep the water surrounding the cartridge always hot, by frequently pouring out the water in the pot with fresh boiling water from my tea kettle, which I kept re-heating.

Not long after that I noticed that the water around the cartridge started turning black -- the blockage on the cartridge ink head was cleared -- the ink was coming out freely and fast. I quickly took out the cartridge, placed a folded paper towel over the ink head and as quickly as I could replaced the cartridge in my HP printer and printed the pattern you have for black ink at

And, guess what: the solid black rectangles in your pattern came out solid black, and a page of .doc text printed perfectly. It is such a simple solution to an apparently complex problem, and saves you from buying a new HP ink cartridge (which aren't cheap!)."

5) Another customer wrote; I had a stubborn dried out cartridge and nothing worked to get the yellow flowing until I took my Sonicare ultrasonic tooth brush and gently cleaned the print head while holding it under hot water from the sink. The ultrasonic action must have done the trick ! Works perfect now.

This is about all that can be done. HP cartridges are the worst ones, because their ink dries very fast. All of this can be avoided if you do not let them go completely empty and if you store them in a sealed zip lock bag with a damp paper towel or wrap the cartridge in Saran Wrap (plastic sandwich wrap) this will put a piece of plastic next to the printhead and prevents air from getting to it. Old empty cartridges that have been in a desk drawer or in a hot storage place for days are NOT candidates for refilling.

Get in the habit of topping off your cartridges and try to never let them go empty.

Ink cartridges dry out

Answer Man

I've hear that inkjet cartridges dry out. Is that true?

They certainly do. Even if you have never used them, they may become unusable. They generally have a shelf life of approximately two years.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Change resolution

Answer Man

Can you tell me an easy way to change the screen resolution?

Right click on the desktop. Click screen resolution. Click on the down arrow at the right of the word resolution and drag the slider to choose the resolution you desire.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Upgrading Windows 8

If your computer currently runs Windows 8, you can upgrade to Windows 8.1 for free. Check out the tab at the top of this blog and follow directions. You'll find the upgrade is easy and requires little in the way of technical abilities.

Sending a link

Answer Man

I saw a neat web site and I need to know how I can send a link to that website to a friend.

Bring up the website. Click on the URL (address line). It should turn blue. Hold down the CTRL and C keys on the keyboard momentarily to copy the address. Begin composing your e-mail by inserting the address and the subject. Click in the body of the e-mail. Then hold down the CTRL and V to paste the address in the e-mail. Send. The person receiving the e-mail can just click on the URL you inserted and the video or what ever you sent will open.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Nominations For Officers

For all of our members, please dig out the e-mail I sent you all on 9th October titled 'Oak Run Computer Club - Nominations For Officers'.
Both Alan Marcus and Bob Leiner would dearly like to take a break, they have served admirably, and deserve to be able to step back and have somebody else take the reigns of President & Vice President.
I accepted the task of co-ordinating the nominations, but up to now it has been far from time consuming, as I have only received one email reply from all the 145 members on our current roster.
We have a great club, one of the best in Oak Run in my opinion, and we need to keep it that way. Please take time to review the roles and responsibilities of these two officers, and also the newly proposed post of Program Chairman, and let me know by email if you would like to step up to the plate yourself or nominate someone else.
Voting for your Board will take place at the next meeting on 20th November, so you have just over a month to help us fill these positions.
We will welcome your support.
Email me at richandaddie@gmail.com.


E-mail attachments

Answer Man

Can you tell me how to attach a file or photo to an e-mail?

Most e-mail programs show a picture of a paper clip. When you click on the picture, the program asks what file or photo you want to attach. Navigate to that file or photo and click OK or Save. Wait for the attachment to load and then send the e-mail.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Reduce photo size

Answer Man

I know that you are supposed to reduce the image size of a photo you want to send as an attachment. Can you suggest a program that is free and easy to use that will accomplish that task?

I like irfanview www.ifranview.com. Download the program and select image resize. Choose the size you want and save. That's it.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Executive Board Minutes - October 11, 2013

Alan Marcus, President, called the meeting to order at 9:00 AM. Members in attendance: Elliott Bogart, Frazer Crane, Jim Dillman, Ron Kenyon, Bob Leiner, Bob Norton, and Carol Norton.

Secretary’s report read by Carol Norton. No corrections or additions necessary.

Bob Norton gave the treasurer's report. The current balance is $1,440.62.

Richard Bambridge, Chairman of the Nominating Committee, is in the process of compiling a 2014 slate of officers to be presented at the November general meeting.

Frazer Crane accepted responsibility for the purchase and pickup of assorted donuts/bagels/cream cheese for the December meeting.

Upcoming Programs: October 16 - Paul Higgbenbottom, President of Reora, will return with his topic of discussion, “Viruses, Malware, and Spam”; November 18 – Alan Marcus will discuss “Maintenance of Computers”; December 18 – Holiday Party; January 15 – Gene Barlow of User Group Relations and Representative for Acronis Software, will give presentation on “Selecting the Best Back-up Approach.”

The meeting adjourned at 9:45 AM.

Respectfully submitted,
Carol H. Norton Secretary

Laptop Batteries

Answer Man

Do laptop batteries degrade over time?

They sure do. I have an old laptop that will only hold a charge for 15 minutes of use. Eventually, it will die completely. The only thing you can do is to buy a new battery made for that computer.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Wireless adapters

Answer Man

My computer does not have a wireless card built in. Do you know of a source for an inexpensive adapter?

Try overstock.com. I have seen adapters there for $7.50.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

What to do with an old computer

Answer Man

Since Microsoft is going to stop support for XP, do you have any suggestions regarding old computers using that operating system?

I like the Linux Mint operating system. It is free and is easy to install and use. It does not seem to encounter many of the problems that pop up with Windows. You can find various editions of Mint at linuxmint.com.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Cable prices

Answer Man

The local stores seem to want a lot of money for HDMI cables, Ethernet Cables and the like. Can you suggest some cheaper places to buy the cables?

Try monoprice.com, overstock.com, and meritline.com. Cheap cables are normally just as good as expensive ones.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Extended Warranties

Answer Man

I am planning to buy a new computer. The store will sell an extended warranty for $75. What do you think of the idea?

Extended warranties are big money makers for the stores, not great deals for the customers. Generally, if a product lasts through the initial warranty period, it will keep on working.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Change music player

Answer Man

By default, my music in Windows 8 opens with the Xbox music player. It is impossible to work with. It's difficult to start and stop the music. Any suggestions?

You are correct. The Xbox music player is infuriating. Right click on the music piece and select open with Windows Media Player. It's much better.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Keyboard Errors

Answer Man

Something is wrong with my keyboard. I type an m and get an n. I type a p and get an *. What's wrong?

I'm betting that you plugged in an external keyboard at one time, and that the computer set the drivers for the external keyboard. Plug in the external and try typing on that keyboard. I think you'll find that the letters will come out right.

Monday, October 7, 2013

What is a SMART hard drive?

Answer Man

What does the word SMART mean when applied to the hard drive? I keep getting a SMART warning about the hard drive failing.

SMART stands for Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology. It is software built into many hard drives. If there are many problems such as bad sectors, a warning will pop up to say that the hard drive is in the process of failing.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Software in CD Drive won't boot

Answer Man

I want to install a greeting card program from the DVD drive, but the computer always brings up Windows Vista. What am I doing wrong?

You must go into the BIOS to change the boot order so that the DVD drive boots before the hard drive. When your computer first starts, it will show the key to push to get into the BIOS. It may be ESC or F2 or F10 or something else. When in the Bios, find boot sequence and follow directions to make the DVD boot first. Save and exit. The computer will re-start and the program in the DVD drive will run.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Windows Store

Answer Man

Windows 8 has something called the Store. Can you tell me what it is and how it works?

The Store is the location for available applications. When you click on an App, a description pops up. If you like, you can click Install to add the App to the Start Menu.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Email Folders

Answer Man

Is there an easy way for me to sort my email so I can put all the emails from one person together?

You need to create email folders. The process differs between different email programs. In Yahoo mail, look for the word Folders. There is a plus sign at one side. Click on the plus and give a name to the new folder. When you receive an email, click on the Move To button. It will ask you to name the folder and will move the email according to your directions.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Wireless Connection

Answer Man

Can any laptop be connected wirelessly?

The laptop must have some type of wireless card or an external wireless adapter to run wirelessly. However, you can the laptop with an Ethernet cable to your router and run wired if the computer has an Ethernet port.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Answer Man

Answer Man

I need a new monitor. What sizes are commonly available?

19", 20", 21", 23", and 27". Sometimes you will also see 1/2 size increments between those I have listed. You can expect to pay a minimum of $89 for a 19". 23" displays are sometimes available for approximately $149, and 27" displays are over $200 at this time.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Music downloads

Answer Man

How can I listen and download music to my computer?

Before you begin to download music, let me give you a couple of caveats.  Viruses can easily be transferred to your computer from music sharing sites.  Sharing popular music can get you in really hot water.

There are, however, many sites where you can listen to current music from stations playing the tunes.  You can also download music in the common domain (such as most classical music).  You can download some free music from Amazon and from the Marion County Library. 

Monday, September 30, 2013


Answer Man

Please name some common browsers and let me know if they are free?

Common browsers include: Microsoft Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera and Safari. All are free, and you can have several on your desktop and have them all open to different starting pages if you like.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Old XP machine

Answer Man

I hear that as of April 8 that Microsoft will no longer support Windows XP. What should I do with my XP machine?

You can continue to use it, but there will be no updates available for the operating system. That means that the computer is much more open to viruses and malware. I would download Linux Mint and install that on the machine. linuxmint.com

Saturday, September 28, 2013


Answer Man

I have been reading about ransomware and know that it may completely lock up a computer. Is there anything I can do to prepare for the day when my computer will be locked up?

Before your computer gets the ransomware, navigate to the following site:

Download the correct version for your computer (32 bit or 64 bit). Insert a blank CD and follow the on-screen directions. If you do get the ransomware, insert the CD in the CD drive and re-start your computer. Follow the directions given.

Friday, September 27, 2013

The end of Windows XP?

Answer Man

I understand that as of April 8th, 2014 that Microsoft will no longer support Windows XP. Does that mean my computer will stop working then?

Your computer will continue to work, but no updates to the program will be provided. Security updates are of the most concern. If you plan to continue to use XP, make certain that you have a non-microsoft security program in place. AVG and Avast are two free anti-virus programs that should work for you. Links to those programs are provided in this blog.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Web based email

Answer Man

I use Yahoo mail. and my computer just quit. I will have to buy a new computer. Have I lost all of my emails?

Yahoo mail, like most other email programs are web-based. That means that your email resides on Yahoo's computers (servers). You can access your mail from almost anywhere in the world from any computer. So, buy your new computer, search for Yahoo. Enter your name and your password, and you will have access to all of your email.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Boot sequence

Answer Man

My new printer instructions tell me to boot the computer with the driver disk in the DVD drive. I tried that, but the computer just starts normally. How do I get the computer to see the driver disk?

You need to change the boot sequence of the computer so that the DVD drive boots before the hard drive. To do that, you need to press the correct key at start up to bring up the boot menu. The key used to bring up the bios menu varies from computer to computer but is usually one of the following: ESC, DEL, F2, or F10. When the bios menu appears, navigate to Boot Menu and follow the directions on the screen to have the DVD drive boot first.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Function key lock

Answer Man

I pressed the F8 key on the keyboard to put the computer into safe mode, but nothing happened. Am I doing something wrong?

Some keyboards have a key labeled "Function Lock". It is used so you don't have to hold down the FN key when you want a special function. If you press the key once, it will take the computer out of the lock position and the regular function keys, such as the F8 for safe mode, should work.

Monday, September 23, 2013

My pictures vanish

Answer Man

I just purchased a digital camera. I took the pictures and inserted the camera card into the computer and could see the pictures, but when I removed the card, all of the pictures disappeared. What am I doing wrong?

What you are doing is correct so far, but if you want the pictures to be in the computer, you have to save them to the computer. One easy way to do that is to press CTRL and A on the keyboard at the same time. That will select all of the photos. Then open the pictures folder and press CTRL and V on the keyboard to save the pictures. Then you can remove the camera card and you will have a copy of the pictures in the computer.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Virus warning

Answer Man

I receive many e-mails from friends. When I click on the attachments, they don't open. A pop-up says that a virus is suspected, and the attachment will not open. Is something wrong with my e-mail program?

What you are seeing is a sign that your anti-virus programs are working and are protecting your computer. Get back to your friends and tell them that they are sending out malicious stuff. Suggest that they stop forwarding messages with multiple addresses and that they do virus scans of their computers. You should also do a scan with your anti-virus program.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Only a cursor appears on the screen

Answer Man

I turned on my computer and all that appears on the screen is the cursor arrow. I can move it around, but Windows never starts. I can do a soft boot (CTRL, ALT and DEL) but the same cursor appears when the computer boots again. What can I do to rectify the situation?

Try starting the computer from your Windows restore disk. You will be given the option to repair the installation. Try that. If that doesn't work, you may have to re-install the operating system.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Flash drives for backups

Answer Man

How can I backup everything on my computer with a flash drive?

You can use a flash drive to back-up documents, pictures, music, downloaded items and videos, but you can't backup programs. If you could, they could be copied from computer to computer and that would inhibit sales. There are two ways to back-up. You can drag the files from one drive to another, or you can cut and paste those files.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Can You Do This With Your iPad?

During the Sept. 18 Computer Club meeting Alan Marcus displayed an amazing 3min and 24sec video.

You'll want to move to Stockholm after you see this ingenious presentation. Two magicians use iPads and illusions to plug the Swedish capital.

some text and video link - Kim Kamando

How do I know if a virus is present?

Answer Man

What are some signs that a virus is present in my computer?

You may see pop-ups when the browser hasn't been started.  Messages may be sent from your e-mail address that you didn't originate.  You may be locked out of performing any action on your computer.  You may receive a warning notice that your computer is infected by a virus and you must pay to have it removed. Files may begin to disappear.  

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

FBI Virus

Answer Man

My computer is completely locked up. A message on the screen says something about an FBI warning and that I have to send a $300 money order to the address listed to free up my computer. I have tried everything to get out of the screen but have been unable to. Any suggestions?

The warning you received is an example of a Trojan that installs ransom ware. If you can't restore the computer to an earlier point, you will probably have to re-install the operating system to rid the computer of that insidious program.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Wireless Adapters

Answer Man

What does it cost to make a computer able to receive wireless?

Wireless adapters that plug into USB ports are available on line for as little as $1.50 including shipping.

Monday, September 16, 2013


Answer Man

Are Skype calls free?

If both the caller and recipient have Skype and are active at the same time, the calls can be made for free. However, if a call is made by dialing a number rather than clicking on a video or audio call icon, there is a charge.

Sunday, September 15, 2013


Answer Man

I see that many new computers come with an HDMI port. What's it for?

HDMI cables combine audio and sound so that you can connect both with just one cable. Many people like to connect their laptops via HDMI to their HDMI enabled TV's so computer programs can be seen and heard on a larger screen.

Saturday, September 14, 2013


Answer Man

My computer keeps getting toolbars that I didn't ask for.  How do I get them?

In most cases they come bundled with legitimate programs.  For example, the Ask Toolbar comes with downloads of Adobe Reader.  If you read carefully, you will find that in most cases you can opt out of toolbars.  You can stop downloads from making Bing your default browser, and you can  stop programs from being put in the Start Menu.  Read carefully whenever you download anything.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Printing costs

Answer Man

Printing costs are about to eat me alive. What can I do about the prices?

I suggest that you purchase two printers. Frequently, local stores advertise a Brother laser printer for $59, and all-in-one inkjet printers for $30. Use the laser for most of your printing. Costs are approximately 1 cent per page vs. 8 cents for inkjets. Only use the inkjet when you must have color prints.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Buying on-line

Answer Man

I have never bought anything on line. Is it safe to use a credit card?

It's the safest way to go. If the product isn't delivered, is defective or if you are scammed in some manner, the credit card company will normally make good. Do not, under any circumstances, forward money with a money order.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Should I buy an outboard DVD?

Answer Man

The DVD in my laptop quit working. Do you think I should get a replacement or get an outboard DVD drive?

I suggest that you don't do either. Many new laptops are being sold without DVD drives because flash drives hold so much more information. It used to be that you had to have a DVD to install all hardware, but that is rapidly changing. I just installed a new router that came without any external installation software. It was built in to the device.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Update stops

Answer Man

My computer often says that it is in the middle of an update or configuration and shouldn't be shutdown, but on occasion it just freezes and stays that way for hours. What should I do?

Unfortunately, you have no choice other than turning off the machine. You can do that by holding in the on-off button for approximately 8 seconds. The computer may balk and re-start in safe mode, but you can always start it again in normal mode.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Eliminate Pop-up ads in Google Chrome

Answer Man

Is there any way to stop pop-up ads in Google Chrome?

Click on the the three horizontal bar icon at the top right in Google Chrome. It is labeled Customize and control Google Chrome. Click Settings. Click Show Advanced Settings. Click Privacy. Click the box labeled Content Settings. Click Cookies. Place a check in the box labeled Block third party cookies and settings.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Trouble Downloading

I tried downloading "should I remove it" and when I open the file I get a message asking to search the internet for software that can open your file.

Why am I getting this message, and what can I do to correct this problem. Thanks

Windows 8.1

Answer Man

I've heard that Microsoft will supply Windows 8.1 free to users of Windows 8. Is that true?

Yes it is true. The scheduled release date is next month on October 18th. However, you may wish to wait a few days after that as thousands of users will be trying to download the new version on the 18th.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Removing Programs

Answer Man

There are dozens of programs in my computer. I don't know whether they are useful or not. Is there some way to determine whether they're worth keeping?

I suggest that you download and install the program "Should I Remove It" at http://www.shouldiremoveit.com. The program lists all programs installed on your computer and shows what percentage of the program users think the program is worthwhile. You can uninstall any that you wish to remove.

Friday, September 6, 2013


Answer Man

My computer is running very hot. I vacuumed out the fan and the inside of the machine, but that didn't seem to solve the problem. Any suggestions.

I have found that vacuuming doesn't get all of the dirt. Use a compressed air can behind the heat sink and in the fan cavity. I think you will be surprised at how much dirt will come out.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Backup to flash drive

Answer Man

Is there an easy way to backup files to a flash drive?

Insert the flash drive into a USB port.. A window will open showing the drive letter and there will be a list of files present on the drive. Open the folder containing the items you want copied. Let's assume that it is a photo in the folder my pictures. Find the photo you want to copy and drag it over to the blank space on the flash drive.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Essential Programs

Answer Man

Are there any computer programs that you consider essential to use to keep a computer running well?

First, and most important is a good anti-virus program. All of the following are good free choices: AVG, Avast, Microsoft Security Essentials (contains Bid Defender). Other essential programs are Malwarebytes, Spybot Search and Destroy and CCleaner. I recently ran Malwarebytes on a club member's computer. The program discovered 870 items of malware on his computer and then cleaned the machine until there were no incidents of malware.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Homemade greeting cards

Answer Man

I know that some people make greeting cards at home, however, the greeting card sets, which consist of card stock and envelopes, seem awfully expensive. Have you any suggestions for a cheaper alternative?

You can purchase blank inexpensive cardstock and envelopes separately. I recently saw a package of 250 pieces of cardstock at Sam's Club for under $8. Look for 65 lb stock, not the 110 lb that is often sold. Purchase envelopes from Staples or Office Depot. I use The Printshop program to design the cards and then print them on an inkjet printer.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Photo Editor

Answer Man

I'm looking for an inexpensive photo editor to do simple things like cropping. Have you any suggestions?

Try http://www.fotor.com/windows/index.html. It's free and easy to use. Just drag your photo on to the editing service and crop away.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Can't access the Internet

Answer Man

My computer was working fine, but now I can't get on the Internet. Is something wrong with my computer?

Your computer is probably fine. Failure to access the Internet may have several causes. Your modem or router may need to be re-set (unplugged and, after a few minutes, plugged back in). The Internet Provider's server may be down. The site you are attempting to access may not be working. Try the modem re-set first. If that doesn't work, contact the Internet provider to see if their service is down.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Boot Sequence

Answer Man

I would like to install a new operating system. I now have XP. I have been told that I must put the Windows 7 disk in the DVD drive and re-boot the computer. When I do, the DVD is skipped and the computer boots to XP. What am I doing wrong?

You must tell the BIOS the boot sequence you want. When you start the computer in XP, the screen should have a notation regarding which key you must push to get into the BIOS. The key varies from computer to computer. It might be DEL, or F2 or F10 or something else. The BIOS screen will have a section called boot sequence. You need to follow the on-screen directions to make the DVD drive boot first. Save the settings and re-boot your computer. Windows 7 will start the installation process.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Video Streaming

Answer Man

I have been thinking about subscribing to one of the video services like Netflix, but I'm not certain that I would like the service. I don't want to give them my credit card number, because it may be difficult to get out of the service if I don't like it. Any suggestions?

Vudu, a pay per view site, will let you view 10 free videos if you give them just your name and e-mail address. That might give you some indication as to the quality of on-line streaming services.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

HDMI source

Answer Man

HDMI cables at local stores seem to be priced out of sight. Do you know of an inexpensive source?

Monoprice.com is a good source for inexpensive cables.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

USB port shortage

Answer Man

My old laptop only has 2 USB ports. I need 4 for all of my devices. What can I do?

Purchase a USB hub. Hubs are available that will provide varying number of ports. You should purchase a 4 port hub. After you plug it in, 5 ports will be available for your use.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Coffee spill

Answer Man

I spilled coffee on my laptop keyboard. Now, nothing works. Is my computer shot?

If the coffee got under the keyboard and shorted some components, the computer may be seriously damaged. Most often, however, a replacement keyboard will solve the problem. Many laptop keyboards are available for as little as $15. There are many YouTube videos that can show you how to replace the keyboard.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Tablet keys hard to push

Answer Man

I have a new tablet computer. The virtual keyboard is too small, or my fingers are too big. Whenever I try to type, I tend to hit the wrong key or several keys at once. Do you have any suggestions?

I have the same problem. The answer is to purchase a stylus. It's a pencil-like device that makes it easy to select just one key. The devices vary greatly in cost, but I think you can buy a suitable one for $15 to $20.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Computer running hot

Answer Man

My laptop computer seems to be running very hot. Is there anything I can do short of taking it in for repairs?

Check to see if the fan is running. If it is not running, shut down the computer immediately. A new fan may solve the problem. If the fan is making a lot of noise, it's a strong indication that the fan will soon fail and your computer will overheat. A desktop computer may have several fans. If you feel competent, open the case and look at all of the fans. Replacement fans are inexpensive, but may be difficult to install.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Libreoffice file save extensions

Answer Man

I use LibreOffice Writer, and it works well, but I want to send a LibreOffice document to several friends. I notice that when I click Save, there's a drop down menu with about 10 extensions. Which should I choose?

If you are choosing a format and extension just for yourself, choose the default .odt. If you are saving for others, who may not have LibreOffice, choose either the .doc (which word users can open), or click on file and save the document as a pdf. Even Apple users can open pdf files.

Friday, August 23, 2013

sleep vs. hibernate

Answer Man

Please explain what sleep and hibernate mean.

Many computer users feel that computers take too long to start up and therefore could be left on all of the time. However, leaving a computer on all of the time uses more electricity than shutting the computer off. The sleep mode is a compromise. Much less power is used, and data is kept in the memory, so the machine can re-start quickly. If the power should go off, all data is lost.

In hibernate mode, data is stored on the slower hard drive, no power is used, but the machine takes longer to boot. If the power goes off, nothing is lost.

There is a new hybrid mode that stores info in memory and on the hard drive. The machine normally starts quickly from sleep, and if power is lost, the machine switches over to the hard drive, boots slowly, but retains the data.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Can't access my e-mail

Answer Man

I let my good friend, Michael, use my computer to access his Yahoo email. Now, whenever I go to get my mail, I see his. How do I get to my account?

If another person is logged in to your account, his mail will continue to show up until you log him out and log yourself in. In Yahoo mail, click on his name at the top right of the email screen. You'll see log out. Then log in with your login name and password.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Copying a web page

Answer Man

I want to copy a web page that has both text and several small images and paste the copy into a PowerPoint presentation. I've tried everything I can, but nothing works.

The secret is to hold down the ALT key as you press the Print Screen button. The entire web page will be copied to the clipboard. You won't see it, but it will be there.  You can then do an edit, copy command or just press CTRL and V at the same time to paste the image into your presentation slide.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Mouse with Surface RT

Answer Man

I just bought a Microsoft Surface RT tablet. I'm finding the touch screen difficult to use. Can I use a mouse with RT instead or in conjunction with the touch feature?

You certainly can. If you are like me, you'll find that some touch screen features are great and some leave much to be desired. I think the pinch or stretch feature is great for enlarging text and pictures. The tap feature often opens something I don't want open. I rarely make a mistake using a mouse. I suggest you use a very small wireless mouse so that you maintain the portable aspects of the Surface.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Slow Computer

Answer Man

My 5 year old XP computer is very slow. Can you tell me why?

A computer will slow down for a variety of reasons. Here are some of them: Too many items in the start menu, an accumulation of temporary files, viruses, the computer has never been defragmented, the hard drive is close to full and some of the memory has failed.

Sunday, August 18, 2013


Answer Man

You once mentioned a desktop shortcut that could be used to instantly shutdown a computer. Would you repeat how to create such a shortcut?

Right click on the desktop. Select New and Shortcut. In the blank space, type shutdown.exe -s -t 00. Click Next. Give your new shortcut a name such as Shutdown. Click Finish. If you wish, you can then right click on the shortcut, select Properties, and click Change Icon. I use the icon that looks like a red light switch.

When you click on your new icon, the computer will shutdown. You will not be given the choice of re-starting.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Windows Transfer

Answer Man

When using windows easy transfer, will things like one's e mail account and home page come over on the flash drive or just things like files?

Most e-mail accounts like yahoo mail and g-mail are web based.  That means that they are not on your computer. Therefore, they will still be available even if you erase everything on your machine.

You set the home page in your browser, and that can easily be re-set.

Friday, August 16, 2013


Answer Man

I have heard you talk about the clipboard. What is it and what is it good for?

The clipboard is a temporary holding place within the computer. Whenever you copy an item, that item is held in the clipboard until it is replace by something else. For example, if you copied a sentence from this paragraph, that sentence is held in the clipboard. You could paste that sentence somewhere else. Each time you clicked Edit Paste the sentence would be repeated. If you then copy a different sentence, the new sentence would be held in the clipboard.

Thursday, August 15, 2013


Answer Man

I frequently hear the term spreadsheets. Can you list some uses for them?

Spreadsheets are often used by accountants to keep track of various accounts, but the sheets have many good home uses. You could create your own address book, keep track of player scores in a golf tournament, maintain a list of your medications, create a stock portfolio or maintain your home inventory.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Document Cameras

Answer Man

You demonstrated a document camera that you purchased for the club. I'd like to get one for another club that I'm in. Where did you purchase yours, and how much did it cost?

You can purchase the camera from Ipevo. The cost was $94. I chose that site because they cater to educators. Thus the cameras see much use in the classroom, and that's similar to the way we'll use the camera at club meetings.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Wireless Printer

Answer Man

Everyone seems to be selling wireless printers. What's the advantage of such printers?

Most people purchase wireless printers so they can operate small portable computers at some distance from the printer. Business owners like the printers because many users can access the same printer, thus saving greatly on printer costs. If neither of these reasons are important to you, just purchase a wired printer.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Slow Computer

Answer Man

My computer seems to be getting slower and slower. Is there anything I can do to speed it up?

Computers slow down over time for a variety of reasons. There may be too many programs in the start menu that are all trying to start at the same time. The drive may be fragmented. The machine may have a virus. The remaining hard drive space may be limited. Some of the memory may have failed. You need to investigate all of these problems so you can make the appropriate corrections.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Executive Board Minutes - August 9, 2013

Alan Marcus, President, called the meeting to order at 9:00 AM.  Members in attendance:  Bill Balch, Laurence Bauer, Elliott Bogart, Frazer Crane, Ron Kenyon, Bob Leiner, Bob Norton, Laura Stein, Linda Tingley, and Carol Norton.

Secretary’s report read by Carol Norton.  No corrections or additions necessary.

Bob Norton gave the Treasurer's report. The current balance is $1,371.79.

An additional body pack and headset has been purchased for use at the general meetings.

Bob Leiner continued to request that club members submit their email address to oakruncomputerclub@outlook.com, an email account created for this purpose. Type one’s name in the subject line and click “send”. This will update the club email list and eliminate any error in getting information out to club members in the future. At the December meeting a $25 gift card drawing will be held and presented to one of the registered members on the email list.

Upcoming Programs: August 21 - Paul Higgbenbottom, President of Reora, will return with his topic of discussion, “Viruses, Malware, and Spam”; September 18 – Mary Butler and Paula McCahon, from Marion County Public Library, will discuss Ebooks, Emagazines, etc.

The meeting adjourned at 9:50 AM.

Respectfully submitted,

Carol H. Norton

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