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 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. Color) or (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. Color) or (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


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 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 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

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,, and 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. 

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