Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Greeting cards

Answer Man

I would like to create my own greeting cards. Do you have a favorite card program?

I have used Print Shop for many years, and think it is the best thing since sliced bread. You can use their pre-made cards, alter their cards, or start from scratch. The only difficulty you may have at first is in determining how to print the outside and inside of the cards so they come out in the correct orientation. When I do half-fold cards in portrait mode, I have to print the outside and then turn the paper around so the picture is nearest me, and then print the inside of the card. Your printer may behave differently.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Printer output streaky

Answer Man

The output from my inkjet printer is streaky. How do I improve the quality of the print?

The cartridges are probably low on ink, and new cartridges should solve the problem. Other causes for streakiness include clogged print heads and defective gearing. Try cleaning the print heads first using the printer's head cleaning menu. If that doesn't work, install new ink. If the problem persists, try dropping an ink or two into the screen below the cartridge. If you still encounter a problem, it may be time for a new printer.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Phone as MP3 player

Answer Man

I have an old cell phone I am not using and it is not active with any provider. Can I use it as an MP3 player?

Probably. Most phone contain mini SD cards that are used to store photos and music. Remove the card, put it in the SD holder it came in and insert the card into your computer. Copy music from your computer and paste it in the SD card. Re-insert the mini card in your phone, and, by selecting the correct phone icon, you should be able to play the music that is on the card.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Vacation planning

Answer Man

I have never been on a cruise. Can you mention a good cruise planning site?

Vacations to Go is a great place to start. The prices may not always be the best you can find, but the site is beautifully laid out and it is very easy to find exactly what you are looking for.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Remote control

Answer Man

My daughter lives in San Francisco. She knows very little about computers and I would like to be able to help her with some computer problems. Is there a free program that will let me control her computer?

Yes. Team Viewer is an excellent program, and it's free.

Computer background

Answer Man

I would like to make one of my favorite pictures appear as wallpaper (background picture). How do I accomplish my goal?

Locate the picture. Right click on it. Click on "Set as desktop background".

Friday, December 26, 2014

Enlarge print

Answer Man

You once mentioned a way to enlarge the print on a computer screen. Please repeat how it's done.

Here are two ways: You can hold down the CTRL key on the keyboard as you move the scroll wheel forward (move the wheel backward to make print smaller) or you can hold down the CTRL key and tap either the plus or minus key to achieve the same objective.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Update pop-ups

Answer Man

My computer frequently displays pop-ups about updating various programs. I don't know if the updates are legitimate or not. How can I tell?

There are so many scams with false pop-ups that I suggest you don't click on any of them. Either go to the source for the programs or you might try a great program that will install and or update many of your favorite apps. The program is Ninite, and it's free. You simply put a check before all of the apps you want to get or update and Ninite does the rest.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Purchasing online

Answer Man

I have never purchased anything online. I have always been afraid that someone will rip me off, and I wonder if there are any real bargains out there. Are there any bargains?

I have been purchasing items online for many years and have never had a problem with being ripped off. There are many good bargains. For example, I just bought some computer memory on Ebay for $11 that would cost $35 at most brick and mortar stores.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

One cartridge out and printer won't print

Answer Man

I don't understand what is going on with my printer. One of the color cartridges is out of ink and the printer won't print in black and white. Can that possibly be happening?

Unfortunately, there are many printers on the market that work that way. I suggest you read lots of online printing reviews before buying a printer to see if the printer you are thinking of purchasing works in that manner.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Free Microsoft books

Answer Man

I understand that Microsoft has dozens of books about their products that can be downloaded free. Do you know how I can get them.

Note: Most of these books are for professional IT people, but not all. You can even download some of them in Kindle format. Most are in PDF.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Keyboard shortcuts

Answer Man

I know you are an advocate of keyboard shortcuts. Which ones do you think are most useful?

I like CTRL + ALT + DEL to start Task Manager and stop programs that freeze. CTRL C and CTRL V to copy and paste, CTRL Z to undo the last move and to undo up to 26 times, CTRL P to print, CTRL A to select all, CTRL S to save and CTRL D to bookmark.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Printer eating ink

Answer Man

I don't know if it is my imagination or not, but it seems that whenever I use my printer's head cleaning utility the ink is drained right out of the cartridges.

It's not your imagination. Many printers are known to do that while others don't. If you plan to buy a new printer, check the reviews to see if your complaint is common to the printer. You might also check the Consumer's Report article on printers.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Windows activation

Answer Man

The hard drive in my desktop quit. I installed a new drive and Windows 7, but I keep getting a nag from Microsoft that the computer is not activated. A window appears that says I should contact Microsoft and a phone number is listed. There is also a list of nine groups of numbers. Is the process of activating difficult?

It is not difficult, but you have to read all of those numbers to Microsoft. When you get done, a series of blanks will appear. Microsoft will give you new numbers to enter into the blank squares. The whole process seems idiotic, but it works.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Rubber ball mouse

Answer Man

I have an old style mouse that has a rubber ball inside. Is the mouse totally useless with today's computers?

The old ps2 connector on the end makes it almost useless unless you have a matching jack in your computer, and the computer's that have those jacks are 8 or more years old.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Windows 8 Refresh

Answer Man

I'm using Windows 8, but it appears to be corrupted. I have heard that I can refresh the computer without affecting my files. Is that true?

Yes and no. How's that for a definite answer? You're documents and photos are preserved, but programs you have added will not be saved. Windows 8 will list items that were removed, but that doesn't do much good. You will have to re-install all of the programs that were removed, and that can be a real pain.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Delete multiple emails

Answer Man

I use Gmail. Sometimes I have hundreds of emails in my inbox, but I don't see any way to delete more than 20 messages at a time. Is there a way to get rid of hundreds at one time?

Look above the emails at the Google search box. At the right of the box you will find a tiny down pointing arrow. Click on it. Where you see Size, type in 1 MB. Where you see Date Within, make it 1 year from today's date. Then click Create Filter.

Monday, December 15, 2014

December Board Minutes

Oak Run Computer Club – Executive Board Minutes
December 12, 2014

Alan Marcus, President, called the meeting to order at 9:00 AM. Members in attendance: Billy Balch, Elliott Bogart, Frazer Crane, Ron Kenyon, Bob Leiner, Alan Marcus, 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 $2,175.59

The December 17 general meeting will be the club’s annual holiday party. Coffee/tea will be served along with donuts and bagels. A short demonstration will be given on Windows 10 by Alan Marcus.

Board members discussed for possible purchase of one sending unit and two hand-held microphones for the club. Alan Marcus will check into the pricing and report his findings at next month’s board meeting.

The Oak Run Computer Club will conduct a Q & A session, meant for novice computer users on Friday, February 13, in the Orchid Club, between 3 and 5 PM. The session is open to all Oak Run residents.

Several program recommendations were presented to the Board for the coming months. Future programs will be announced when finalized.

The meeting adjourned at 10:05 AM.

Respectfully submitted,

Carol H. Norton


Answer Man

I get very poor cell phone reception in my home. I don't want to have to step outside every time I want to make a phone call. Are there any other options?

Cell providers can't put towers everywhere, so many will sell users a device called a femtocell (AT&T uses the term microcell). The device uses VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) to act like a cell tower in your home. Femtocells can greatly improve the signal, so you won't have to step outside whenever you want to make a call.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Keyboard types different letters

Answer Man

My computer types gibberish. I carefully type the correct letters, but different letters or symbols come up. What could be wrong?

Check to see if English is selected as the language default. Click Start, Control Panel, Clock Language and Region and Change Input Method. There, you can select the language of choice.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Unwanted programs

Answer Man

I don't visit any suspicious web sites but still managed to get toolbars, anti-virus programs and search engines I didn't request. How did this happen?

Unfortunately, even legitimate websites have resorted to the inclusion of stuff you may not want. Adobe reader will include McAfee anti-virus software unless you un-check a box on the Adobe update site. CCleaner, which is an excellent program, includes Google toolbar, unless you un-check the inclusion box. Whenever you download or update from any site, read the fine print and take the appropriate action.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Use for old hard drive

Answer Man

I have a spare hard drive, taken from an old computer, but have a new computer. Can you think of any good use for the old drive?

You can purchase an external hard drive case, mount the drive in the case, and use the set-up as an external drive for back-up purposes. Just be certain you buy the right kind of case. Older drives, known as IDE drives have lots of pins on the connection end. Newer SATA (serial ATA drives) have one long connector and one short connector. Purchase the appropriate case and you'll be good to go.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Dirty computer

Answer Man

I know dirt is harmful to my desktop computer. What's the easiest way to remove it?

Purchase canned compressed air from a computer store. Remove the cover from the side of the computer. Take the machine outside, and direct the air spray at the fan, power supply and everywhere you see dust. Put the computer cover back on and you should be good to go.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Computer turns on intermittently

Answer Man

My desktop computer starts some times but not others until I press the switch several times. What could be wrong?

Possibilities include a bad switch, bad power supply, bad mother board, bad hard drive and poor connections, but I'd check the BIOS or UEFI settings first.

Open the case and look for a watch sized battery in some type of holder. Remove the battery, wait a few minutes and insert a replacement battery (the batteries can be purchased at Wal-mart's jewelry counter). Close the case. Reconnect the cables and start the computer. Hopefully, this will solve the starting problem.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Administrative Rights

Answer Man

Some programs and services require administrative rights.  How do I start those programs and services?

Here's Microsoft's suggestion on the topic:

To run an application one time with a full administrator access token
  • Locate the program icon or a shortcut in Windows Explorer.
  • Right-click the program icon or shortcut, and then click Run as administrator.
  • When the UAC message is displayed, do one of the following:
  • If you are logged on as a standard user, or if UAC is configured to always require credentials, enter the appropriate administrative credentials, and then click OK.
  • If you are logged on as an administrator and UAC is not configured to always require credentials, click Yes to start the application.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Command prompt

Answer Man

Many computer solutions suggest typing a command at a command prompt. How do I get to a command prompt?

Type CMD in the search box of any version of Windows. A black and white screen will appear where you can type your command. After typing the info, press the Enter key on the keyboard to execute the command.

Sunday, December 7, 2014


Answer Man

I have been reading about the huge number of recalls related to defective auto airbags. Where can I find out if my car is in the recall?

You can check to see if your car is part of the recall by going to the federal government recall site

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Low cost cables

Answer Man

A recent Club speaker mentioned an Internet site that has low cost cabling.  Do you recall what site that was?

I think you are referring to Monoprice:

Friday, December 5, 2014

Switching cell carriers

Answer Man

I used to have an Apple 5S cell phone, but on the advice of a friend, I got rid of the Apple and got a Samsung that has more bells and whistles. I like the Apple better, but I'm in the middle of a 2 year contract with Samsung. Is there any way to get out of the contract?

You will find that many cell phone vendors will buy out your existing contract to get you to switch to their service. Call Apple and see if they'll make such an offer.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Hard drive size

Answer Man

I am going to buy a new computer. How do I know how big a hard drive I should purchase?

Most people have much more hard drive capacity than they need. A typical user, who uses the computer for email, Internet searching and storing some family photos and some music can get by very nicely with a 320GB hard drive. If you do video editing, store thousands of photos or play complex video games, you will want a larger drive. Mechanical drives are dropping in price as solid state drives have begun to take over, so you might just let your pocketbook be your main guide.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Virtual keyboard

Answer Man

What is a virtual keyboard?

It is a keyboard in appearance such as those that appear on the screen of a tablet computer or smart phone. A user can type on the screen and can achieve the same results as though acquired by typing on a physical keyboard.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Windows 7

Answer Man

My computer just died. I want to buy a new one, but I'd like to have one with Windows 7. Can I still get one containing 7?

Microsoft has stopped supplying 7 to original equipment manufacturers, however, Dell still has a supply of the machines containing the OS. I don't expect the supply to last long.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Windows 10

Answer Man

When will Windows 10 be available?

Microsoft hasn't released a date yet, but the best guestimate is mid-April 2015. The preview edition is available now for anyone to try, but it is in Beta, and could blow-up (not literally) your computer. If you have another computer you can use for testing, you might want to download the preview edition.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Streaming video

Answer Man

I have been thinking about buying a streaming device from Roku, Apple, or Google, however, even regular You Tube videos play poorly on my computer. The movies are constantly buffering, and I'm sick of the starting and stopping. Will I be making a costly mistake by buying a streaming gadget?

You generally need an Internet speed of 7 MBS or greater to effectively stream. If your speed is lower than that (Both Decca and Century Link basic services are lower) than you will probably experience lots of buffering and will be unhappy with whatever service you purchase. Your only effective solution is to pay for improved service from your Internet provider.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Watch out for return shipping costs

Answer Man

I purchased a 3TB hard drive from China on eBay. The drive was very cheaply priced at $55, and was warranted to be be good. The seller will refund the total amount for defective drives, but the buyer has to pay the cost of return shipping. Imagine my surprise when I found that the cost to ship the drive back was $29.70. How can Chinese vendors make any profit if postage costs are so high?

The cost to ship from China to the U.S. is very low because the Chinese government subsidizes the shipping costs. The U.S. does not. Many buyers find out the hard way that the shipping costs from the U.S. are out of sight, and it just does not make sense to return an item because of those high costs.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Hotspot not working

Answer Man

A friend of mine, in neighborhood 1, uses a Verizon Wi-Fi hotspot, and it works very well. I borrowed it, and tried it in my home in Bay Tree Greens, and it didn't work at all. What gives?

Wi-fi hotspot devices are essentially cell phones. They connect to the nearby cell towers, but some cell towers are closer to the user than others. I'm willing to bet that your friend, in neighborhood 1, lives much closer to a cell tower than you do. If the tower is by the front gate, then, you may be trying to connect from a point approximately three miles away in Bay Tree Greens. Signals fall off rapidly with distance. You may have to purchase a micro cell (repeater, booster, amplifier) to be able to receive the signal in your home.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Boot from flash drive

Answer Man

Someone gave me a flash drive containing Windows 7. I want to boot from the flash drive, but every time I start the computer, Windows Vista boots. How do I get 7 to come up?

You have to enter the computer Bios to change boot sequence settings. When your computer starts, look on the screen for the key to use to get into boot sequence or start up. If you press the key in time, the computer will show the sequence. Follow the on-screen directions to have the computer boot from the USB port first. Then save and exit. If Windows 7 starts to boot, you have followed the sequence directions correctly.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Recovery Disks

Answer Man

I have been told that all computer users have a means to create disks that can be used when the computer experiences catastrophic failure. How can I create the disks?

Insert a blank DVD in the CD/DVD drive. Click Start, and in the search box type Recovery. Click on the word Recovery that appears above the search box. Follow the directions that appear on the screen. Note: You must have burner software installed on your computer. Common burners include Roxio, Nero, CDburnerXP and Burnaware.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Simple backup

Answer Man

I would like to create a backup using a flash drive. How do I accomplish the task?

Insert the flash drive in a USB port. Click on the folder you want to backup (we'll assume that you want to backup Documents). Click Organize, Select All, Copy. Click Start, Computer and the letter of the flash drive. Click Organize and Paste.

Monday, November 24, 2014

iPod Shuffle

Answer Man

I have an iPod Shuffle MP3 player. It shuffles OK, but how do I get it to stop shuffling? I want it to play all the songs in sequence.

The Shuffle has a 3 position switch. If you turn the device on by pushing the on-off switch all of the way to the right, the music is shuffled. If you carefully slide the switch to a middle position, all of the music will play in sequence.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Monitor cables

Answer Man

My new monitor came with three cables. Which one should I use?

The oldest style cable is known as VGA. It is D shaped and the housing is usually blue or black. The next newest is DVI. It is usually white inside the connector and has pins in 2 sections. The newest cable is HDMI. It has the advantage of having sound and video in one cable. If your computer has an HDMI connector, use the corresponding cable. If the computer doesn't have HDMI, use DVI if available. If not, use the VGA. You can save or give away the remaining two cables.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Replace the operating system

Answer Man

I just purchased a new hard drive for my computer because the old drive went bad. I don't have restore disks for the computer. If I use a friend's Windows 7 disk, can I put 7 on my computer?

Yes, you can, but be aware of the following: You must have a valid product code sticker on your computer because you will have to enter the code when installing Windows 7. The installation will not be the same as the OEM's, so the installation will not include a back-up partition or many of the original drivers. You may have to download network drivers from the manufacturer's website. You will also have to install tons of updates to bring your computer up to date.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Solid State Drives

Answer Man

The hard drive in my laptop failed. What are the advantages and disadvantages of replacing the mechanical drive with a solid state drive (SSD)?

Solid state drives are faster and more reliable, but they are considerably more expensive than their mechanical brothers. I just purchased a 120 GB SSD for $56. I could have purchased a 1 terabyte mechanical drive for the same price.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Emergency shut down

Answer Man
My computer sometimes freezes. It won't leave the screen it was on. Do I just pull the plug?

The first thing to try is what is known as a soft boot. You accomplish it by pressing the CTRL, ALT and DEL keys on the keyboard at the same time. If the Task Manager appears on the screen, click to end the running task. If that doesn't work, you will have to hold in the computer's start button for approximately 8 seconds until the computer shuts down.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Bad computer switch

Answer Man

The switch which turns on my computer is intermittent. Sometimes I can turn on the computer. Sometimes I can't. Is my computer toast?

It is doubtful that any repair shop can replace the switch. I doubt that even the manufacturer stores switches for old machines. I have replaced the switches in two desktop computers.

Open the computer. Locate the wires going to the switch and cut them off near the switch, and strip the ends about 1/2" from the end. Extend the wire 8" or so by soldering more wire to the existing wires. Insulate the splice with tape or heat shrink tubing.

Purchase switches at Radio Shack. You want miniature normally off momentary switches. They come 4 to a package for $3.99. Solder the wires to the switch terminals. Find an open space in the front cover of the computer and drill a 1/4" hole for the switch. Mount the switch, and you will have a fully functioning computer.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Backup media

Answer Man

I need to backup my documents and photos. There are all kinds of backup systems on the market. Do they have any advantage over simply using a flash drive?

If you just want to backup a few files and photos, a flash drive will work well. If you have loads of material to save, you will need a larger drive (perhaps 500 GB or a terabyte). Many drives can be left plugged in and can be set to automatically backup, and even make incremental backups. I'm a firm believer in having more than one backup source. I know of a college that relied on a back-up system that failed. Now they have multiple backups.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Medical Advice

Answer Man

I see all kinds of medical advice on the Internet. Some of it seems unscientific or downright dangerous. How can I tell what sites to trust?

If you doubt a web site, you might check out the facts from sites such as
or well known hospital sites.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Executive Board Minutes - November 14, 2014

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

Secretary’s report read by Carol Norton. Correction necessary to last month’s treasury balance to reflect balance as $2,000.52, rather than $2,052.00.

Bob Norton gave the treasurer's report. The current balance is $2,025.29

Don Zenn, General Manager of Staples, Ocala, will conduct a tuning workshop at the November 29 general meeting by offering a free computer health scan, scanning for harmful viruses as well as any spy ware that will cause problems with the operation of the computer. Anyone with laptops, tablets, etc. who want to bring them in can do so and have them checked out.

The December 17 general meeting will be the club’s annual holiday party. Coffee/tea will be served along with donuts and bagels.

Board members agreed the club should purchase six dozen donuts and four dozen bagels. The club will pay ORHA for coffee and let ORHA know coffee should be provided for a planned attendance of 70 people.

Four $25 gift cards and two $100 gift cards are to be given as door prizes.

Alan Marcus will give a short demonstration of Windows 10 at the holiday party.

The meeting adjourned at 9:50AM.

Respectfully submitted,

Carol H. Norton


New operating system

Answer Man

I have a 6 year old computer. The operating system is Windows Vista. Can I put a newer operating system on my computer?

Newer operating systems generally take a minimum of 1 to 2 Gigabytes of memory. Check the specifications of your computer, and look up the minimum requirements of the operating system you'd like to install. The computer I'm using was a Vista machine and is now running Windows 8.1. However, the computer has a dual core processor and 4 GB of RAM.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Hard Drive Failures

Answer Man

How do I know when the computer hard drive is about to fail?

The most obvious sign is noise that wasn't there previously. A clicking sound is often heard. Other signs include the inability to save, programs that won't start, drive not recognized, slow access times and computers that won't boot to the hard drive.

You might try using a free hard drive assessment tool called "DiskCheckup" from

Friday, November 14, 2014

Updates stopped

Answer Man

I tried to get my computer to install updates, and although it said it was installing updates, the progress bar showed 0 updates. What could be wrong?

My best guess is that previous updates are in the queue but weren't installed. Shut down the computer (not re-start) and start it up again. I think you will see a message that says "Install updates 1 of 10" or something of that nature. Let the previous updates install. Then try the new updates.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Replace laptop hard drive

Answer Man

How difficult is it to replace the hard drive in a laptop?

You don't need any technical know-how to replace a laptop drive. Use a small Phillips screwdriver to remove the screws (usually two) from the cover plate on the back of the laptop. You may find that two more screws hold down the drive. Some drives have a pull tab to aid in lifting the drives out of the bay. Some drives slide one way or the other to disengage the drive from the SATA connector. Reverse the procedure to install the new drive.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Printer not working

Answer Man

I put new ink in my printer and all worked well last week, but today I went to print and the paper came out blank. Any suggestions?

The first thing to try is to clean the print heads. This can easily be done by using the printers built in head-cleaning utility. Look in the printer menus under settings or tools until you find something about head cleaning. If the printer doesn't print after using the utility, try it a second time. But don't use the utility more than 2 times as it runs through lots of ink. If the printer still won't print, check out the other posts on this blog that tell you how to mechanically clean print heads.

Monday, November 10, 2014


Answer Man

The hard drive quit in my laptop computer. I have heard that solid state drives (SSDs) are faster and more reliable. Is there any reason why I can't put an SSD in my laptop?

You can certainly replace the hard drive with an SSD. I recently replaced two laptop drives with SSDs made by Kingston. Each has worked flawlessly. I found that Newegg is a good source of reasonably priced drives. The drives I purchased were $7.00 less expensive than comparable drives at Amazon.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Slow computer

Answer Man

I have a 4 year old Compaq CQ62 computer. It seems to run very slowly compared to my neighbor's 6 year old HP Slimline S3400. Can you tell me why it is so slow?

Your Compaq was sold by Walmart at a bargain price. The computer has just 2 GB of RAM (memory) and a slow Celeron single core processor. The Slimline has 4 GB of RAM and a dual core processor.

Your computer will hold up to 8 GB of RAM, so you could improve its speed by adding more memory, but you won't be able to change the processor. Computer buyers should realize that faster computers almost always cost more than entry level models.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Computer keeps updating

Answer Man

I took my Windows 7 machine in for repair. They had to do a complete recovery. Now the computer keeps running. A recent message said that it was installing 170 updates. Is that normal?

A recovery re-installs the original software and the computer is returned to the way it was when you bought it. Most Windows 7 machines are 4 years old. All of the updates from 4 years ago to the present date have to be installed. So, let the machine run and don't shut it down until all updates are installed.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Copying files

Answer Man

I would like to copy some pictures from a friend's computer and put them on my computer. What's the easiest way to do that?

I suggest that you use a flash drive to accomplish the purpose. Insert the drive into the USB port of your friend's computer. Navigate to the location of the pictures. Left click on the first picture file until it is hi-lighted. Hold down the CTRL key on the keyboard and left click on each additional picture you would like to copy. When all the pictures have been hi-lighted, hold down the CTRL key and press the letter "C" to copy the pictures to the clipboard.

Click Start, Computer and then the letter of the flash drive to view the contents of the flash drive. Hold down the CTRL and the letter "V" to paste the photos into the flash drive. Plug the drive into your computer's USB port. Click on View Files. Copy and paste the photos as described above, and the pictures will be saved to your computer.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Ream of paper

Answer Man

Is it my imagination or are packages of print paper becoming smaller?

No, it is not your imagination. A ream of paper has been historically defined as being comprised of 500 sheets. Lately, some stores have been selling packages they call reams, but the packages contain just 400 sheets. I don't know what others call it. I call it out and out deception. The next thing you know a pound will contain 6 ounces.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Calls from Microsoft

Answer Man

Someone with a strong foreign accent called me and said he was with Microsoft. He said that they were monitoring my computer and detected all kinds of problems. I didn't know what to do , so I said I'd talk to him later. How can he tell what's on my computer?

He can't! The only way people can access your computer is if you let them or if they are very good hackers. This is a classic scam. Microsoft does not make calls to individuals. The callers try to trick you into installing software such as Team Viewer that will let them control your computer from their end. Then they install malware and want you to pay them to clean up what they just installed.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

No operating system DVD

Answer Man

My computer does not have a CD/DVD drive. Can I install a new operating system from a flash drive?

Yes you can. Download the Windows 7/USB download tool. (It works with other operating systems) It will let you write the OS to the flash drive. Insert the drive and re-start the computer to boot from the flash drive.

Monday, November 3, 2014

What OS can you use?

Answer Man

I have an old computer that uses Windows XP? Can I put a newer operating system on the computer?

It all depends upon whether the computer has the minimum operating specifications required by the operating system. Windows 10, for example, requires a minimum of a 1 GHz processor and 1 GB of memory. You must also have paid for the system if it is a Windows or Apple OS, and you must have the product code so you can activate the computer.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Email always in draft folder

Answer Man

I keep trying to send an email to a friend. The program puts the email in the draft folder but doesn't send the email. What am I doing wrong?

I'm willing to bet that there is something wrong with the recipient's email address. Many computer users become preoccupied and type in an address with .com rather than @,, etc. When you are sure the email address is correct, try sending the email again.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Ink problem

Answer Man

I have an HP Officejet 4620. The Cyan color isn't printing. The cartridge is brand new. Any suggestions?

Often, printer print heads can be cleaned by soaking them in hot water. The 4620, however, does not have a removable print head. Remove the cartridges and try cleaning the little inlet screens in the print head with cotton swaps and alcohol. Keep swabbing the screens until no more color comes off on the swabs. Then run a test print. If the cyan still doesn't print, repeat the cleaning process.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Wireless adapter

Answer Man

I won a Linux computer at the Club drawing, but it won't connect to the Internet. Should I get rid of it for one that will?

In order to connect to the Internet you need one of three devices: a built in NIC (network interface card), a device called a power line adapter or a wireless adapter. The wireless adapter is by far the cheapest of these options. If you do a search on-line, you will find many adapters selling between $4 and $10. The adapter plugs into a USB port and lets your computer connect wirelessly.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Windows 10

Answer Man

I would like to try the Windows 10 Technical Preview. What are the minimum computer requirements to run the program?

The processor should be at least 1 GHz. 1 GB RAM is required for a 32 bit system and 2 GB for a 64 bit system. Apps won't run if the resolution is low.

If you are going to try 10, do it on an old machine as the product will be in Beta for many months.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Saving pictures to computer

Answer Man

I am able to take pictures with my digital camera and can view the picture in the camera. How do I get the pictures to move from the camera to the computer?

There are three possible ways to copy the pictures to the computer. You may transfer the pictures via cable between the computer and the USB port. You can insert the camera picture card into the appropriate slot in the computer or, you can use a camera dock (if your camera came with one).

After the camera is connected to the computer, a screen will pop up that includes a method of viewing the files. If you see the letters DCIM (digital camera images), click on it. The pictures, or numbers identifying the images will appear. Press the CTRL key and the letter A to select all of the pictures. Then press CTRL and C to copy the pictures to the clipboard. Navigate to your Pictures folder and press CTRL and V to paste the pictures into the pictures folder.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Windows 10 Preview

Answer Man

I heard that you have downloaded and tried Windows 10 Technical Preview. Have you formed any preliminary opinions about the operating system?

Windows 10 Preview is a work in progress. Microsoft is trying to avoid the problems encountered with Windows 8 by soliciting feedback from people willing to use the system while it is in Beta test format. Hopefully, by the time of the final release, in April 2015, Microsoft will have received many worthwhile suggestions. and made the necessary improvements.

Windows 10 appears to be a blend of Windows 7 and Windows 8. The blend appeases those who do not have touch screens, and the operating system now has a simplified start and stop button. The search function works well. The speed is improved. Files are easier to find. I like it.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Email Providers

Answer Man

I have DECCA Cable. Must I use the DECCA email?

Email is generally provided free of charge, and anyone can set up an account. If you would like to have another account, you simply go to the provider site and create an account. It is possible to have several e-mail accounts. Some people have accounts at Yahoo, Gmail, AOL, Outlook, etc.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Create a folder

Answer Man

How can I create a folder on the desktop to store miscellaneous items?

Right click in an empty space on the desktop. Click 'New' and then 'Folder'. Type Miscellaneous, and press Enter. Your new folder will appear.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Change background image

Answer Man

How can I use a photograph as the computer background?

Right click on the photo and click Select as Desktop Background.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Lost e-mail

Answer Man

My computer hard drive quit. Does that mean I have lost my e-mail and all of my contacts?

I doubt that you have lost any e-mail or your contacts. Most e-mail is web based. That means that your e-mail and contacts are kept on the provider's servers rather than on your computer, and will be available from virtually any computer. Some of the more popular web based e-mail is provided by Yahoo Mail, Google Mail, Decca Mail (Google) and AOL.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Print Paper

Answer Man

Does the choice of paper make much difference in the appearance when I print using an ink-jet printer?

Yes it does. The factors you should consider when choosing paper are: Weight, brightness and finish.

Most papers are in the 24 to 71 lb weight range. Photo papers usually are in the 62 lb range. The heavier, the better (if your printer will accept the heavier papers). Brightness ranges from 1 to 100 with 100 being the brightest. Photo papers are usually in the 90s. The brighter the paper the better. Gloss finishes are better for most purposes than matte.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Editing PDF files

Answer Man

I often receive PDF forms that need to be filled out. My Adobe Reader opens the files, but I'm unable to type on the forms. I would like to be able to complete the forms and simply email them back to the sender rather than having to print and send the documents by snail mail. Is there a way to accomplish what I want?

You need a PDF reader that lets you edit. I suggest you download the Foxit reader to accomplish your goal.


Answer Man

I have been told there can be a difference between front and rear USB ports in a desktop computer. Is there any difference?

There can be. Most newer desktops have a couple of USB 3 ports in the rear. The front ports are generally USB 2. There is a big difference in speed between the two types.

Monday, October 20, 2014


Answer Man

What is a trackball?

A trackball looks like a mouse with a big marble on top.

The marble serves as a pointing device, and is used in place of a mouse. Although trackballs are still around, they seem to have lost popularity. Some users, however, prefer the action to that of a traditional mouse.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Small Form Factor

Answer Man

I have often seen the term "Small Form Factor". What does it mean?

It refers to very small computers. Some of the computers will even clip on the back of monitors. The term varies in meaning, however. Some users consider the HP slimline and Dell Optiplex small form, and others say that they are way too big to fit in the category. Some of the smallest will fit in the palm of your hand.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Computer camera

Answer Man

Do computers come with built-in cameras?

Some do. Most higher end laptops have cameras built-in to the lid. If you look carefully, you will see a very small lens on camera equipped laptops. If you would like a camera, and your computer doesn't have one, there are many available. They generally cost about $30 or more. Logitech is one of the most well known manufacturers of cameras. You can buy them at Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Office Depot, Staples and from many other stores. Most cameras clip on top of the monitors.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Copy photos to computer

Answer Man

I am new to digital photography. I followed the camera manual, and I was able to take the photos, see them on the camera, and connect the camera to the computer. However, when I disconnect the camera, all of the pictures disappear. How do I get them to stay in the computer?

When you connect the camera to the computer, you see the pictures that are in the camera. Once you see them on the computer screen, click Edit and Select All. All of the pictures should be highlighted. Click Edit and Copy. Go to the folder where your pictures are stored (usually labeled Pictures) and click Edit and then Paste. The pictures will then be in both the camera and the computer.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Recovery partition corrupted

Answer Man

I ran into a series of problems with my computer. I tried to do a complete recovery, but it didn't work. I have been told that I will have to re-install Windows 7, but I don't have the disks. Can I use someone else's Windows 7 to put the operating system back on my computer?

You can do that, but the process will over-write the manufacturer's information on the disk. The result is that you will no longer have a recovery partition and your computer will be missing all of the drivers that the manufacturer installed. You will probably have to download a driver for the network card, and the computer will run through a process of installing hundreds of updates. If you lack the experience or nerve to complete the process, I suggest you contact someone with more computer experience.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

New Location: Ocala Macintosh User Group (OMUG)

For all you Apple users, as of 14th October, OMUG have moved their meeting location to a new venue at Marion Senior Services Center, 1101 SW 20th Ct, Ocala(click for map). This is a far more convenient location for all those living in the communities along the SR-200 corridor. It's approx 20 minutes from Oak Run.

Meetings are held on the 2nd Tuesday of each month at 6:45PM. You can find all the details of the Club at If you're an existing Apple user, or intending to buy one of their new products, I would recommend you give the club a try.

E-Reader differences

Answer Man

A few years ago, I received one of the first Kindle readers as a gift. It works well, and I have enjoyed using it, but I'm wondering if I am missing anything that the new readers provide?

The original Kindles did not use touch screen technology. They had a keyboard, and pages were changed with forward and back buttons. The screens were dimmer and were of much lower resolution. Many new e-readers are back-lit or use technology that makes the screens much easier to read in dim light. The new Kindle Voyage combines touch screen and simulated buttons to change pages, but expect to pay more for the better technology.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Skype video

Answer Man

I'm new to Skype. I have been able to test the audio using the Skype testing service, but I can't tell if my camera works. Is there a way to test the camera?

Open Skype. Click Tools, Options, Video Settings. Your camera will turn on if it is working.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Online banking

Answer Man

Is online banking safe?

There have been so many credit card breaches and security hacks lately that I'm hard pressed to say that anything is safe. You can have problems when you pay for anything using a credit card, but I wouldn't stop using them because of that risk.

There's a risk in driving, flying and crossing the street, but I wouldn't give up those activities. Online banking has risks, but I think that they are minimal. If you are thinking of banking that way, check out to see a list of online banks and their ratings.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Wipe the hard drive

Answer Man

I want to replace my computer, but I don't want the info on the old computer to fall into bad hands. How do I destroy the information so no one can access my data?

You can remove the hard drive and smash it, or you can use software that will write over the information with a series of 1's and 0's. There are several free software programs that will wipe your hard drive. Here's a list of many of them -

Saturday, October 11, 2014


Answer Man

My new laptop has a port labeled HDMI. What function does the port serve?

HDMI or High Definition Multi-media Interface is a port that combines audio and video in one cable. It is most often used to connect a computer to a TV and is sometimes used to connect a computer to a projector. Our club uses an HDMI port to project images from the club's laptop computer on to the large projection screen.

PayPal password

Answer Man

I was going to purchase a product online. They asked for my PayPal account login and password. How do I know whether the company is legitimate and not just a scam location? I don't want to let someone have access to my PayPal account.

If you click where it asks to submit PayPal information, you will see that the PayPal address is preceded by https. The S is the important part. It tells you that you are submitting the info to a secure site. However, if the address is anything other than, be suspicious.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Board Minutes - October, 2014

Oak Run Computer Club - Executive Board Minutes
October 10, 2014

Alan Marcus, President, called the meeting to order at 9:00 am. Members in attendance were: Elliott Bogart, Ron Kenyon, Lawrence Bauer, Bob Norton and Alan Marcus.

The minutes of the last meeting were read and approved. The Treasurer's report showed a balance of $2052.

Board members voted unanimously against participation in the Oak Run Club Information Day.

Lawrence Bauer moved that we reimburse Bob Leiner $12.10 for batteries that were purchased for the sound system and Elliott Bogart, $9.53, for badge paper. The motion was seconded by Ron Kenyon. Motion carried.

The group suggested that knowledgeable members should give a presentation on Windows 10 at the holiday party.

Elliott Bogart suggested that the site be used as a potential source of year round gifts to be given away at club meetings.

Alan Marcus gave a short demonstration of Windows 10 Technical Preview.

The meeting adjourned at 9:41 AM.

Respectfully submitted,

Alan Marcus, Acting Secretary

Paid Reviews

Answer Man

Many of the reviews on Amazon and other sites seem to be too complimentary. Do you suppose that some are planted by the companies themselves?

Your suspicions are correct. Many companies pay reviewers to post excellent reviews. Craig's List often carries ads by companies looking to hire reviewers. Companies ask reviewers to write a review and send the review to them before posting. If the company likes the review, they will tell the reviewer to post the review. The reviewer is typically paid $25 for an excellent review. So, if you want to believe a review, look for ones that are less than perfect; 4 star or 3 star rather than 5 star.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Can't type in form

Answer Man

I was trying to type in an on-line application form, but no type appeared. My word processing program is LibreOffice. Am I doing something wrong?

I suspect that you are using an old version of LibreOffice that doesn't support the application form. Download the latest version at, and try completing the application again.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Printer not working

Answer Man

I just installed new printer ink cartridges but one of the colors doesn't work. Any suggestions?

Most printers have a tool that cleans the print heads. Run the tool, and if the printer still doesn't print that color, run the cleaner again. If after three cleanings you are still encountering problems, you'll need a new cartridge, a new print heat or a new printer.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Send documents to Kindle

Answer Man

I have an old Kindle e-reader that doesn't have a USB port. I understand that I can send documents to the reader. How do I do it?

You send the document as an e-mail attachment to your account at The file must be in one of the following formats:

  • Microsoft Word (.DOC, .DOCX), HTML (.HTML, .HTM), RTF (.RTF) , Text (.TXT), JPEG (.JPEG, .JPG)
  • Kindle Format (.MOBI, .AZW), GIF (.GIF), PNG (.PNG), BMP (.BMP), PDF (.PDF)

Monday, October 6, 2014

Component failure rate

Answer Man

I'm curious.  What computer components fail most often?

According to one study I've seen, the results are as follows:

Motherboards - 8%
Graphics Card - 0%
Memory- 24%
Hard Drive - 24%
Power Supply - 35%
Disk Drive - 6%

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Hard drive selection

Answer Man

I need to buy a new computer, and I see that the bigger the hard drive the more the computers generally cost. How big should the hard drive be for personal use?

The hard drive is often the most expensive component in a computer. New computers generally come with 320 GB or larger hard drives. Some are coming with 2 and 3 Terabyte drives. My guess is that you probably can get by with a 320 GB drive very easily. My main computer has a 500 GB drive, and although I have 6000 photos and dozens of computer programs, I have only used 109 GB or about 1/5th of the drive capacity. You would need the larger drives if you do a great deal of video editing, are an avid gamer or store an enormous number of photos.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Greeting card program

Answer Man

I would like to create my own greeting cards using my computer. Do you know of a good greeting card program?

There are many good ones, but I have been using The Print Shop by Broderbund for many years, and have been very happy with the results. You can purchase a new version (#23), but it sells for nearly $40. Many older versions are available on-line from Amazon and elsewhere for as little as $10. I am using version 20. The programs will work well with plain card stock and off the shelf envelopes.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Wireless printers

Answer Man

I need to buy a new printer. I noticed that some printers are wired and some are wireless. Why might I need a wireless printer?

If you have one computer and one printer, you probably want to wire the printer directly to your computer, and wouldn't need a wireless printer. If you have a tablet that you'd like to operate from your easy chair and need to print, a wireless printer would serve your purpose. Some users have two or more computers and one printer. That would be the typical situation in a small office, and a wireless printer would be good to have in that scenario.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Coupon printing

Answer Man

My printer works most of the time, but I'm having a terrible time trying to print a coupon from the Internet. Any suggestions?

Drag the mouse across the coupon so that it is highlighted. Hold down the CTRL key on the keyboard and press the letter C to copy the coupon to the clipboard. Open up Microsoft Word or Libreoffice Writer. Click in the main area where you would normally type a letter. Hold down the CTRL key and press the letter V to paste the coupon in the blank space. Click on File and Print.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Favorite Free Programs

Answer Man

You have often said that you are a great believer in free programs. Would you please list some of your favorites?

Here are a few of them:

Spybot Search and Destroy,

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

New computer

Answer Man

I need a new computer, but I don't know whether to buy a desktop, laptop, tablet or a hybrid. Any suggestions?

I suggest that you think about all the uses that you think you will have for the computer. If you travel, you may want something portable. If you do nothing but search the Internet and send and receive emails, a desktop might be fine. Think about size. Will you be happy looking at a very small screen. If not, you probably don't want a tablet or small notebook. Try typing on several computer keyboards to see if you are happy with the key action. Remember, whatever you choose will be a compromise.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Laser printers

Answer Man

You once said that you use a laser printer. What does it cost to operate one?

I use an inexpensive Brother laser printer (often available at Office Depot for $50). I purchase refilled toner cartridges online. The last cartridge cost $15, including shipping, and is good for 2500 copies. If you do the math, you'll see that the toner costs just .006 cents per copy. Paper, on sale, can be purchased for approximately .007 cents per sheet. Thus, the total cost is .013 cents per copy. Most ink jet printers produce copies for approximately 8 cents per copy.

Sunday, September 28, 2014


Answer Man

I'm an avid reader and am thinking about buying an electronic-reader (e-reader). Some e-readers are dedicated to reading only, and many can be used as a tablet. What do you suggest I buy?

If you just need the device for reading, I suggest buying a dedicated e-reader such as the Kindle Paperwhite. It has a back-lit display which helps the user read in dim light. If you need to check your email or want the device to search the Internet, buy something like the Kindle Fire HD. I think I'd stay away from tablets that are not designed as e-readers.

My experience with several recent e-readers and tablets has led me to generally dislike touch screens. Often, the user has to touch the screens several times before the screen responds. A stylus will improve the situation, but still isn't perfect. The older, non touch, e-readers have an advantage in that regard.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

GPS can't find address

Answer Man

I have a brand new GPS. Yesterday I wanted to go to an address, but the GPS didn't recognize the street. Do I have an inferior GPS with an outdated map?

You might have a GPS with outdated maps, but unfortunately, your experience is not that unusual. I suggest, that you use Google Maps to search for the location. Then use the map coordinates that Google Maps has found. It's a little bit of a pain, but it almost always works to get you where you're going.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Windows 9?

Answer Man

I need a new computer, but I don't want Windows 8 because of all the problems they have. What do you suggest? Should I wait for Windows 9 to come out?

I honestly don't understand all of the fuss regarding Windows 8 and for that matter about Windows Vista. I have used Windows 3.1, Millenium, XP, Vista, 7, 8 and 8.1, and never had difficulty with any of them. I also use Linux operating systems.

All operating systems have advantages and disadvantages and features which you may or may not like. I suggest that you forget all of the hype you have been reading and try using someone's computer for awhile. After you use it, you will find some things you don't like and many that you do.

Many reviewers praise Windows 7 while dinging Windows 8. However, they fail to mention that 8 is 14 times faster than 7.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Wireless adapters

Answer Man

I bought a wireless adapter for my computer. The adapter works, but every time I re-start the computer, I have to re-configure the darn thing. Any suggestions?

This may sound flip, but I'd try a different wireless adapter. I have found that some work well without re-configuration, and some don't. Some work with Linux computers and some don't. The adapters can be purchased for as little as $10 including shipping, so I wouldn't fuss around with an adapter that is giving you headaches.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Solid state drive costs

Answer Man

I understand that solid state drives are faster and more reliable than mechanical drives. Do you think the SSDs are good investments?

You may know that there is a great difference in the price of SSDs and conventional hard drives. I recently checked the price of a 1 Terabyte drive in both configurations. The lowest prices I could find were $55 for the mechanical drive and $469 for the SSD. That's roughly 8 times as much for the SSD. However, you might consider a small SSD if it will fit your needs. I recently purchased a 120 GB SSD for $57 (including shipping).

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Can't get into Skype

Answer Man

I have had Skype for a long time, but haven't been using the program lately. I went to sign in and they asked for my Microsoft account. What's going on?

Microsoft bought Skype and decided to change a few things. One of the changes involves how you sign in. If you already have a Microsoft account (Outlook, Hot Mail, Messenger, etc.) you can sign in to Skype using the Microsoft usernames and passwords from those accounts. You may encounter difficulty as Microsoft tries to merge the Skype and Microsoft account info. If so, the easiest way around the difficulty is to create a new Skype account.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Why use a scanner

Answer Man

My multi-function printer is also a scanner, but I have no idea why anyone needs a scanner. Can you tell me why they are used?

Let us suppose that you have a printed 8" x 10" picture that you would like to send to your sister in California. You could mail the picture, but that is time consuming and costly. Instead, place the picture, face down, on the scanner glass, press the scan button and have the computer save the picture to a folder on your computer. Then you can send the picture file as an attachment to your email. Your sister will receive the picture in seconds, and the only cost will be for some electricity.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Image the hard drive

Answer Man

I know that there are many programs that will let you make an exact image of the hard drive, so that all programs and the operating system are saved, but they all involve making an image and then copying that image back to the new hard drive. Do you know a better method?

You can buy a combination hard drive dock/duplicator for as little as $30. The old drive is placed in one compartment, and the new drive is placed in another. To start the cloning process, you simply press a button. I recently cloned a 500 GB drive to a 1 TB drive. The process took 1-1/2 hours. The replacement drive worked perfectly.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Laptop very hot

Answer Man

When I took my laptop out of the carry-on case, the computer was so hot that I thought it would catch fire. What do you suppose happened?

I suspect that the last user forgot to shut down the computer, and put the running laptop in the case. Since the computer was in a closed space, the fan was blocked and the computer had no way to cool.

You are very lucky that the computer did not start a fire.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Printer software not working

Answer Man

I purchased a new HP printer. I tried to install the software by placing the disk into the drive, but a message popped up that said that the install failed and that I had a 64 bit computer and this was 32 bit software. What do I do now?

I have encountered that same problem. The only solution is to download a driver (software) from the HP support site. Go to Click on Support. Click on driver download. Type in the model of the printer (such as Officejet 4620). Select 64 bit. Click Download. When the software is finished downloading, click on the downloaded file. The software should install, and your printer should work.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Fax won't work

Answer Man

I'm using DECCA phone service and have a printer that is supposed to be able to fax. The printer won't send a fax. Am I doing something wrong?

You can not send a fax because DECCA is a VOIP (voice over Internet protocol) service. The same is true of Vonnage, Magicjack, and OOma. To send a fax, you must have a wired phone line. In Oak Run, your only option is to have Centurylink service. Instead of using the fax, just send the document as an attachment to your email.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Wireless adapter turns off

Answer Man

I bought a new wireless adapter to connect to the Internet. The adapter works well, but whenever I restart the computer, the adapter loses the connection. How can I make it stay on?

Click Start, Control Panel, Network and Sharing, Change Adapter Settings, Properties, Configure Adapter, Power Management. Remove the check that reads "Allow computer to turn off this device".

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Connection options

Answer Man

My DECCA modem is in my bedroom and is connected to cable, but I moved the computer to a porch and there's no cable connection in the porch. What are my connection options now?

You can have DECCA run a cable directly from the cable box (home run). You could use a wireless adapter which you can purchase for as little as $10 or you can buy a powerline adapter which transfers the signals through the electrical outlet.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Locate a specific post

Answer Man

I enjoy reading the information on this blog, but frequently I'd like to refer back to a previous post. Is there a simple way to find what I want to find?

Open the blog and scroll down the page until you encounter the "Index of Post Labels". Then look for what you want. The posts are listed in alphabetical order. Let's assume you are looking for "Can't connect to the Internet". When you find the item in the index, click on the title and all posts with that label will open.

Blogmaster's note: To save you from having to scroll, just click on the page tab titled 'Index of Post Labels' (near the top of the page under the blog header). This goes directly to the list of Labels.

You can also find posts using the Blog Archive located near the bottom of the left sidebar. The small triangles let you expand the list, so click on the 2014 triangle to expand that year then click on any month to expand it's list of post titles. Click on the triangle again to collapse any list.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Wired vs Wi-Fi

Answer Man

I was rather surprised to hear the speaker at our last meeting say that a wired connection to the computer is preferable. Was he correct?

Yes he was. A wired connection is not only faster, it is also more reliable. Although I have a wireless router in my home, I only use the Wi-Fi for a small netbook computer that I sometimes use while sitting in my easy chair. My other computers are wired directly from the router so I can get the best possible results. If you don't have any devices that need Wi-Fi, such as tablets, notebooks, phones, etc., directly wire everything and forget the wireless aspect.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Streamline Screenshots

The venerable Print Screen system has always been a bit too convoluted for regular use. The Windows 7 Snipping Tool (learn more HERE) went a long way toward improving the way you snap images of your desktop, letting you crop and annotate images and then choose where to save them.

In addition to the Snipping Tool, Windows 8 offers an extra Print Screen upgrade. Instead of just pressing the PrtSc button, use Win(logo) + PrtSc. This takes a full-screen shot, then automatically saves it to your Pictures library, a real timesaver.

Credit: adapted from

How to buy a router

Answer Man

I want to buy a router, but I don't know what to get. Can you give me some hints?

Routers adhere to what are called 802.11 standards. There is 802.11 b, 802.11 g, 802.l1 n and 802.11 ac versions. The latest versions are ac, but they are fairly pricey and not needed at this time for most home users. Therefore, I would purchase an n router. Routers run at 2.4 or 5 GHz, and some are dual band and run on both frequencies. The 5 GHz models encounter less interference. All ac routers run at 5 GHz. Generally, the more expensive the router, the faster, but for most home users even the low end routers will usually be sufficient.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Board Meeting Minutes - September

Oak Run Computer Club - Executive Board Minutes
September 12, 2014

Alan Marcus, President, called the meeting to order at 9:00 am. Members in attendance were: Elliott Bogart, Richard Bambridge, Frazer Crane, Ron Kenyon, Linda Tingley, Bob Leiner and Alan Marcus

The minutes of the last meeting were read and approved. The Treasurer's report showed a balance of $1927.35.

Frazer Crane moved that the ORCC pay ORHA for coffee for the holiday party and that we let ORHA know that coffee should be provided for a planned attendance of 80 people. Motion seconded by Linda Tingley and approved.

The Board members agreed that the Club should purchase 6 dozen doughnuts and 4 dozen bagels for the holiday party.

Bob Leiner moved for the purchase of a Kindle HD for a door prize for the holiday party. Ron Kenyon seconded the motion. The motion was approved. Four gift cards are also to be given as door prizes at the holiday party.

Board members declined a request to contribute to hospice. Elliott Bogart reminded members that we have declined similar requests in the past so as to avoid favoritism to some groups.

Alan Marcus will make an announcement at the next Club meeting regarding the fact that the photography club has folded and other Oak Run Clubs are in the process of folding due to the inability to get people to assume Club officer responsibility. Alan suggested that we try to find members willing to run for office. Bob Lieiner suggested that we invite prospective officers to attend Board meetings.

The meeting adjourned at 9:45 am.

Respectfully submitted,

Alan Marcus, Acting Secretary

GPS update

Answer Man

I bought a new Garmin GPS that has free lifetime updates, but I don't understand how to get those updates. Can you tell me what to do?

Most GPS systems come with USB cables that you use to connect to your computer. Garmin uses Garmin Express software. When you connect the unit to the computer, the GPS will turn on and will install and open the update software. If the GPS maps are up-to-date, you will see a message that shows no update is needed. If an update is needed, it will be downloaded automatically.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Computer Locks Up

Answer Man

My computer works fine for a time and then locks up so I can't do anything. Then sometimes I can re-start the computer and it will work a little longer. What do you suppose is wrong?

It sounds to me as though there are some bad sectors on the hard drive, and as long as the operating system doesn't encounter those sectors, everything works. Once the sectors are encountered, however, everything comes to a screeching halt. Before you replace the drive, try to restore the computer to an earlier point, or do a complete recovery. If neither of those work, replace the drive.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Apple Unveils Apple Watch

Apple’s Most Personal Device Ever

Apple® yesterday unveiled Apple Watch™ - its most personal device ever - featuring revolutionary new technologies and a pioneering user interface with a beautiful design that honors the rich tradition of precision watchmaking. Apple Watch introduces a specially designed and engineered Digital Crown that provides an innovative way to scroll, zoom and navigate. The Digital Crown is Apple’s most revolutionary navigation tool since the iPod® Click Wheel and iPhone® Multi-Touch™. Apple Watch will enable you to communicate in new ways right from your wrist by sending and receiving messages, answering calls to your iPhone, and with Digital Touch, sending something as personal as your own heartbeat. Apple Watch also introduces comprehensive health and fitness apps that can help people lead healthier lives. Apple Watch is available in three distinct collections - Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport and Apple Watch Edition.

“Apple introduced the world to several category-defining products, the Mac, iPod, iPhone and iPad,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “And once again Apple is poised to captivate the world with a revolutionary product that can enrich people’s lives. It’s the most personal product we’ve ever made.”

“With Apple Watch, we’ve developed multiple technologies and an entirely new user interface specifically for a device that’s designed to be worn. It blurs the boundary between physical object and user interface,” said Jony Ive, Apple’s senior vice president of Design. “We’ve created an entire range of products that enable unparalleled personalization.”

Apple Watch introduces a revolutionary design and iOS-based user interface created specifically for a smaller device. Apple Watch features the Digital Crown, an innovative way to scroll, zoom and navigate fluidly, without obstructing the display. The Digital Crown also serves as the Home button and a convenient way to access Siri®. The Retina® display on Apple Watch features Force Touch, a technology that senses the difference between a tap and a press, providing a new way to quickly and easily access controls within apps. Apple Watch introduces the Taptic Engine and a built-in speaker that together discreetly enable an entirely new vocabulary of alerts and notifications you can both hear and feel. Apple custom-designed its own S1 SiP (System in Package) to miniaturize an entire computer architecture onto a single chip. Apple Watch also features Wi-Fi 802.11b/g and Bluetooth 4.0 to pair seamlessly with your iPhone.

Apple Watch comes in three distinct collections - Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport and Apple Watch Edition - available in two .... read the rest of the story HERE.

Fast chip, slow computer

Answer Man

I know that Intel makes I-3,-I-5 and I-7 processors, and the I-7 is supposed to be the fastest of the three, but I bought a new computer with an I-7, and the machine is as slow as molasses. What"s up?

Unfortunately, the poor consumer is easily duped. There are many variations of each of the processors you named, and unscrupulous retailers often advertise an I-7 early version chip that is, in reality, slower than many newer I-3s. The only way to know the difference is to consult a processor chart that shows the speed of each sub-group. Even knowing the speed may not help as it is difficult to ascertain from the computer carton exactly which chip is in the computer. You may, however, be able to tell whether the chip is a dual core or quad core.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Apple Announces iPhone 6 & iPhone 6 Plus

The Biggest Advancements in iPhone History!

​Apple® today announced iPhone® 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, the biggest advancements in iPhone history, featuring two new models with stunning 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch Retina HD displays, and packed with innovative technologies in an all-new dramatically thin and seamless design. The new iPhones feature a precision unibody enclosure of anodized aluminum that conforms seamlessly with the shaped glass of the display, resulting in a completely smooth and continuous surface. iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are engineered to be the thinnest ever, delivering a bigger display in a design that is still comfortable to hold and easy to use.

Packed with innovative new technologies, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus include: the Apple-designed A8 chip with second generation 64-bit desktop-class architecture for blazing fast performance and power efficiency; advanced iSight® and FaceTime® HD cameras; ultrafast wireless technologies; and Apple Pay™, an easier way to simply and securely make payments with just the touch of a finger.¹ Both models include iOS 8, the latest version of the world’s most advanced mobile operating system, featuring a simpler, faster and more intuitive user experience with new Messages and Photos features, QuickType™ keyboard, a new Health app, Family Sharing and iCloud Drive℠.

“iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are the biggest advancements in iPhone history,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “The iPhone is the most loved smartphone in the world with the highest customer satisfaction in the industry and we are making it much better in every way. Only Apple can combine the best hardware, software and services at this unprecedented level and we think customers are going to love it.”

For the first time iPhone is available in two new sizes: iPhone 6 features a stunning 4.7-inch Retina® HD display with 1334 x 750 resolution, providing 38 percent more viewing area than iPhone 5s, while iPhone 6 Plus features an even bigger 5.5-inch Retina HD display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, providing 88 percent more viewing area and nearly three times the pixels than iPhone 5s. The Retina HD displays offer advanced technologies including higher contrast for deeper blacks and dual-domain pixels for more accurate colors at wider viewing angles.

With second generation 64-bit desktop-class architecture, the all-new A8 chip offers ...... read the rest of the story > HERE.

ATT Home Base

Answer Man

You mentioned an alternative phone system at a recent meeting. Can you tell me again what the system was and how it works?

I believe you are referring to the ATT Home Base system. It consists of a device that dials a cell phone tower and enables you to connect both corded and cordless phones. The cost is approximately $25 per month (including taxes). It provides unlimited calling in the USA. The device should be placed near a window so that a strong signal is acquired. The internal home phone wiring is not used. A similar device is available through Verizon.

Monday, September 8, 2014

SATA 1, 2 And 3

Answer Man

I know newer hard drives are called SATA or serial ATA, versus PATA, but what's the difference between SATA I, 2 and 3?

The difference is in their transfer speeds. SATA 1 runs at 1.5 Gbps, SATA 2 at up to 3 Gbps and SATA 3 up to 6 Gbps. Changing your hard drive to SATA 3 will greatly speed up your computer.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Insert Mode

Answer Man

I was editing a note I had written using Word, but every time I typed a letter, the program would erase what was there. It is driving me crazy. Is there a simple fix?

There sure is. The Insert key on the computer keyboard is a toggle. In one position it is in overstrike mode (which is what you're experiencing). When you push the key again, the computer goes into insert mode (when you press a key on the keyboard, the existing letters in the line move to the right). The default setting is Insert Mode.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Shortcut To Open Another Copy Of An Application

Need to open a second copy of Explorer or whatever program you're working in? Easy! Hold down Shift and click on the taskbar icon, and a second instance of the application will pop up. 

You can do the same by right-clicking an icon and selecting the application’s name (usually the third option from the bottom of the list). This works the same way in Windows 7 and 8.

Note: Not all applications will allow a second instance to open.


Initialize hard drive

Answer Man

I bought a new hard drive, and when I went to use it I received a notice that the drive has to be initialized.  What does that mean, and how do I do it?

A new disk must be partitioned and formatted before use. To do so, take the following steps:

Open the Start menu , type diskpart and press Enter.
Type list disk, and press Enter.
Type select disk X (where X is the number your drive shows up as). Press Enter.
Type Clean and press Enter.
Type Create partition primary and press Enter.
Type format quick fs=ntfs and press Enter.
Type Assign and press Enter.
Type Exit and press Enter.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Desktop gone

Answer Man

I have been using Windows 8. I normally click on the tile labelled "Desktop" to get to all my documents, etc. Suddenly, the desktop tile has vanished. How do I get my desktop tile back again?

Type the word desktop when you are at the Start Menu (the one with all the tiles). Right click on the word "Desktop" that appears first in the list that appears. Select "Pin to Start". A new tile will appear at the right of the start tiles. You can drag that tile to the left to position it where you wish.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Clean out the dust

Answer Man

I know that dust should be cleaned out of computers, but I'm technically challenged. Can you tell me an easy, non-technical way, to clean my computer?

First, buy a can of compressed air at any computer store. Then, make a diagram of the position of each cable going into the computer. Unplug the cables. Remove the removable side of the computer. It may be held on by a couple of screws. Move the computer to a garage or outside. Spray the compressed air at the computer fans and anywhere you see dust. Re-assemble the computer.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

VGA extension

Answer Man

I just installed a new computer desk that has an opening in the top for the monitor cable. Now the cable won't reach the computer. Will installing an extension cable degrade the signal to the monitor?

It could. There is a big difference in the quality of extension cables. The better ones have ferrite beads molded into the cable. The beads stop outside interference. Many bargain cables do not have the beads.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Computer locks up

Answer Man

I'm baffled. My computer works fine for a few days and then suddenly locks up. The only way I can proceed is to hold down the start button. Then it may start or lock up again.

It sound to me as though your computer's hard drive has too many bad sectors. If you can get the computer started again, back up your data ASAP. Then replace the hard drive.

Ham radio via computer

Answer Man

I understand that a person can use their computer and make it behave just like a ham radio. How can I use my computer to do that?

Yes, it is possible to talk to people all over the world with your computer, however, you must be a licensed ham radio operator to do so. If you would like to read how the service works, go to Echolink.

Becoming a ham is not difficult. If you have an interest in becoming one look at the following site,, for information about becoming ham.

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