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.

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