Saturday, May 31, 2014

Upgrade Now In Place On The Blog

You may have noticed that the blog looks a little different today. Well relax, you don't need to adjust your medication. I've removed the right sidebar and placed those two items, the Labels Index and Blog Archive at the bottom of the blog.

This allowed me to reduce the width of the blog, which provides a better viewing experience for mobile devices like Smartphones and Tablets. The narrower width permits the font size to be slightly larger on these handheld devices, making it easier to read the blog. The narrow width also reduces the amount of horizontal scrolling required on smaller, low resolution PC monitors.

I've tried to make the blog render or display correctly across all web browsers, even Internet Explorer, the world's most cantankerous browser. If you experience any problems, please email me with the details at orcchelp(at)gmail(dot)com.

Alternative Operating Systems

Answer Man

You have often talked about alternative operating systems. Do you have a new favorite in that category?

I do. Linux Mint has just released a new version. It's Linux Mint 17. You can find it at If you download it, it is saved to your computer as an ISO file which must be burned to a disk for you to be able to use it. I use Burnaware Free to burn the ISO image to a DVD. Unfortunately, Mint doesn't install on all computers. Your computer should have at least 1 GB of RAM. Some computers, even with that amount of RAM accept the program and some don't, but you have nothing to lose by trying this great operating system.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Better Browser

Answer Man

I have been using Internet Explorer to browse the web, but it crashes frequently, and I have been reading about the security problems they've been having. Can you suggest a better browser?

Popular alternatives are Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Opera. I have recently been using Opera and really like it. It uses speed dials, which are like favorites, but they are right in the screen in front of you. Remember, you can use more than one browser. I have 5 on my desktop, and I set each one to a different start page.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Selling your computer stuff

Answer Man

I have heard there are a couple of good local sites where it is free to place a classified ad. I want to sell my old computer. Do you know the sites?

Try and You can also place an ad within Oak Run on the Classified Ads page of the ORHA website.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Product Code

Answer Man

Something went wrong with my computer, and I had to borrow a Windows installation disk from a friend. Now the computer displays a message that the computer must be activated within 30 days.

If the computer originally contained the same version you are trying to install, you should be able to click on Activate Now. If you receive a message that the wrong code is entered, you can attempt to change the product code by clicking where it says to change and typing in the code from the sticker on the computer. If that still doesn't work, click activation and then click where it says to activate by phone. Call the number listed and follow the voice prompts which have you enter a long series of numbers using the keypad on your phone. If all is legitimate, you will receive a notice that the computer is activated.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Set default font in Libreoffice

Answer Man

Libreoffice has some awful font set as the default. How can I change it to what I want?

Open Libreoffice writer. Click Tools, Options, Libreoffice Writer, Basic Fonts. Change each category to a font you would like (Alor, for example). Click OK.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Fax not working

Answer Man

I bought a new Windows 8 desktop. Now, my HP Fax/printer will not fax. Any suggestions?

If you purchase a new computer or a new printer, you must install printer drivers. Many old drivers will not work with new operating systems, so you have to download new drivers. To do so, go to the manufacturer's website (Let's say it is HP). Click on support. Click on drivers. You will have to insert your model number to locate the drivers. Click on download. When the drivers are finished downloading, click on the downloaded file and the driver will install, and your fax should work.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Computer freezes

Answer Man

I have a Windows desktop. The computer starts to boot and then locks up. I tried to re-install Windows from a Vista disk, but got a message that Windows couldn't be repaired. I tried to restore to an earlier point, but I couldn't do that either. Do you know any solution?

I had a similar problem. I was able to boot the computer by installing Ubuntu. Once Ubuntu was in the computer, I was able to install Windows. The only problem with this solution is that you will lose the recovery partition.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Monitor repair

Answer Man

My desktop monitor quit working. Is there an easy way to fix it, or do I just toss the darn thing?

Well, it isn't exactly easy, but you can fix most bad monitors by replacing the power supply capacitors.

I purchased 125 electrolytic capacitors on e-bay for $8.95, and that included shipping. The power supply capacitors are un-soldered, and new ones are soldered in. Disassembly and assembly of the monitor is more difficult than the soldering, but if you take your time, you will be able to accomplish the job. To find out how to assemble, disassemble, locate the power supply capacitors and replace them, look on YouTube. There are many videos on the subject. I suggest looking at several of them before you attempt the repair.

Friday, May 23, 2014

What you can learn on the Internet

Answer Man

Normally, I post answers to questions here, but I find that users can find some amazing tips on all kinds of subjects by searching for answers on the Internet.

I searched for a solution to correct a noisy, out of balance, ceiling fan and found a solution that was hard to believe, but I tried it, and it worked perfectly.

If you have a ceiling fan that wobbles, vibrates or just makes noise, try the following. Use duct tape to tape a nickel at the end of one blade (on the top side). The amazing thing about this is that it doesn't matter which blade you pick. If one nickel doesn't completely fix the problem, place another nickel under the first, and if that still isn't perfect, put a penny under the 2nd nickel. Make certain that you tape the coins down well. You don't want money flying around. I used just one nickel, and it solved the problem I had with a greatly out of balance fan.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Change eBay Passwords

Answer Man

Is it true that there has been a huge data breach at eBay? I have been told that everyone needs to change their eBay passwords immediately?

Unfortunately, what you heard is true. You do need to change your password. You may find, however, that it is very difficult to get into eBay to change the password because 180 million other eBay users are trying to change theirs also. eBay says your account is secure until you can make the change. Nonetheless, you want to make the change as soon as you can.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Get new driver

Answer Man

I had to switch monitors, and now my video looks terrible. I have been told I need a driver. How do I get one?

The quickest way is to right click on Computer, left click on Properties, double left click on Device Manager, double left click on Display Adapters and right on the name of the adapter and left click on Update Driver Software. Another way is to go to the computer manufacturer's website and look for support and drivers.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Clock shows wrong time

Answer Man

My computer clock shows the wrong time. I've re-set it several times, but it keeps losing time.

Computers have tiny watch batteries inside, which keep the time and many internal settings. The batteries are inexpensive ($3-$6 or so) and are easy to replace in a desktop computer, but can be very difficult to replace in a laptop. The batteries normally last many years, but on occasion they can fail prematurely.

Monday, May 19, 2014

HDMI cable

Answer Man

I got one of those DTA boxes to hook up my spare TV. I connected it with the coaxial cable provided and didn't need the HDMI (black) cable included in the box. Is it useful for anything?

If you have a laptop computer that has an HDMI port, you can connect your laptop to your regular computer that has such ports. Then you can see the computer display on the larger TV screen.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Dirty keyboards

Answer Man

I saw on the news that a computer keyboard and mouse are dirtier than toilet seats. If that is so, what can I do about it?

Unfortunately, it is a fact. I suggest you use something like Chlorox wipes to periodically wipe down the keyboard keys and the mouse.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Computer in armoire

Answer Man

I have been told that I shouldn't keep a computer in a closed compartment in an armoire because the computer could overheat. Should I take it out of the compartment?

You can leave it there, but you need to take two steps to prevent overheating. Make certain that the back of the compartment is cut out (compartment backs are often perforated so you can easily remove them), and leave the compartment door open whenever you are using the computer.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Solid state hard drives

Answer Man

I see that solid state hard drives are much more expensive than their mechanical counterparts. Are they any better?

They are faster and more durable.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Organize Windows 8 Start Menu

Answer Man

I understand that the Windows 8 start menu tiles can be organized in groups and each group can be labeled. Can you tell me how that is accomplished?

Drag a tile to the right until it passes a vertical line. Drag additional tiles that belong in the same group to the same place. When all the tiles that belong to that group are in that location, right click in a blank space above those tiles. You will see a blank labeled, "Name Group". Click in the blank and type a name you'd like to give to the group. Repeat the process with each group you'd like to name. Then, if you click on the little minus sign at the bottom right corner of the screen, you will zoom out and will be able to drag the groups in alphabetical order or however else you please.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Print from a tablet computer

Answer Man

Can I print from my tablet?

Yes you can. Read about Google Cloud Print below and then click on the 'Try it now' link.

Google Cloud Print is a new technology that connects your printers to the web. Using Google Cloud Print, you can make your home and work printers available to you and anyone you choose, from the applications you use every day. Google Cloud Print works on your phone, tablet, Chromebook, PC, and any other web-connected device you want to print from.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Can't Connect to Internet

Answer Man

What's wrong with my computer? When I click on Internet Explorer, I get a message that it cannot connect to the Internet.

Your computer is probably fine. There are two possible causes for the message. Either your Internet Provider (Centurylink or DECCA Cable, in Oak Run) is down, or there's been some power interruption and your modem and router have to be re-set.

In most cases, you will have two devices, a modem and a router (sometimes they are combined in one unit). To re-set them, pull out the little black power plug out of each device. Wait 20 seconds. Plug in the modem and wait for all of the lights to come on. Plug in the router, and wait for its lights. Try to connect again. If you can't, call your provider to see if they are having a problem.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Executive Board Minutes - May 9, 2014

Alan Marcus, President, called the meeting to order at 9:00 AM. Members in attendance: Laurence Bauer, Elliott Bogart, Ron Kenyon, 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 $1,997.83.

Upcoming Programs: May 21 – Capt. James Pogue, Public Information Officer of the Marion County Sherriff’s Office, will give a presentation on Today’s Use of Computers and Social Media To Investigate, Solve and Prevent Crime; June 18 - Don Zenn, Manager of Ocala Staples, will be available to discuss Comfort with Windows 8.

Further discussion ensued regarding future programs and other business.

The meeting adjourned at 9:30 AM.

Respectfully submitted,

Carol H. Norton

xlsx files

Answer Man

Somebody sent an attachment that I can't open. It is an xlsx file. What do I need to open the file?

You need Microsoft Office version 2007 or later. If you don't have those versions, you can download a file from Microsoft that will enable those files. Download the following file and click on it to install the Excel viewer:

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Laptop drive in desktop

Answer Man

I was thinking of buying a solid state hard drive, but it appears that they all come in 2.5" size rather than 3.5". Can I put the smaller drive in my desktop?

Yes you can. The easiest way is to purchase a caddy (small metal holder) that will hold the small drive but let you mount it in the regular hard drive slot. Amazon sells the caddies for $7-$8.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Do I have to rent Microsoft Office

Answer Man

I want to buy Microsoft Office, but it appears that they rent the program by the month. Can't I buy it for my computer?

The program is available both ways. Here's a link with the prices: click HERE

Friday, May 9, 2014

Re-flow a motherboard

Answer Man

A few days ago, you mentioned that people put faulty motherboards in ovens to bake them and re-flow the solder joints that aren't making good contact. Does that actually work?

It does, and I can speak from personal experience. I used a laptop motherboard, removed the CPU and all removable parts, covered all but the graphics adapter with aluminum foil, baked the board at 385 degrees for 8 minutes. I allowed the board to cool for 45 minutes. My formerly non working computer is now working.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Laptop damage

Answer Man

I've been told that I can damage my laptop by carrying it around while it is on. Is that true?

It is true unless your laptop has a solid state hard drive. When you move a laptop when a mechanical hard drive is running, you stand the chance of jarring the drive, which will probably cause the head to crash, and your hard drive will become toast.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Remove Windows Live

Answer Man

I have Windows Live mail on my computer, but I don't like it. I went to uninstall it, but it doesn't appear on the uninstall list. How do I get rid of the darn thing?

Windows Live mail is part of Windows Essentials. Go to the control panel and uninstall and select Windows Essentials. A menu will pop up letting you choose what parts of Windows Essentials you would like to uninstall. Click on the mail option.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

New Linux Mint version

Answer Man

I see that there is a new Linux Mint version named LMDE 201403. Have you tried the program?

LMDE stands for Linux Mint Debian Edition. I downloaded two versions of the program and found them both to be buggy. The program locked my screen and I had to re-boot. I removed LMDE and re-installed Linux Mint 16 which works perfectly.

Monday, May 5, 2014

What is bit torrent

Answer Man

When I want to download a file, I often see an option to download a Bit Torrent file? What is it, and do I want to choose that option?

Bit Torrent is a protocol supporting the practice of peer-to-peer file sharing that is used to distribute large amounts of data over the Internet. It is much faster than normal download procedures. To use it, you download the Bit Torrent client After it installs, just follow instructions to download any Bit Torrent file.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

DVD burner in Windows 8

Answer Man

I have a new computer that runs Windows 8.  I need a DVD burner. Can you suggest one?

Save your money. A burner is built in to Windows 8. Let's suppose that you downloaded a program such as Linux Mint 16 from the Internet and that it is in ISO format. You want to burn that image to disk. In Windows 8, right click on the ISO file and select burn image from the drop down menu. Insert a DVD in the drive and follow directions. It's that easy!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Reflowing a mother board

Answer Man

In yesterday's post you mentioned that holding a laptop in the wrong manner could cause a motherboard to develop fissures, loss of image, etc. If that happens, how do they fix the problem?

Believe it or not, the motherboard is removed from the computer and is baked in an oven to re-flow the solder joints. It is a tricky procedure, but it can be done in a home oven. Look on line for various videos about the process.

Friday, May 2, 2014

How to hold a laptop computer

Answer Man

I have heard that holding a laptop computer in one hand is bad for the laptop. Can that possibly be true?

It certainly is true. Holding a laptop in one hand may cause the motherboard to flex ever so slightly. If the board flexes, there's a good chance that some of the solder connections on the board could develop fissures. This often happens to the GPU (graphics processing unit), and when it does, there may be no screen display or a distorted display.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Test your hard drive

Answer Man

I think my computer's hard drive is failing. Do you know of a good test to use to determine if the drive is bad?

Try the Hitachi hard drive fitness test. You can download it from the following site. Make certain that you only download the fitness test. There are lots of other download sites at the link that you don't want.

After you download the file, you will have to burn it to disk using a DVD burner that burns images (iso) files.

For Your Information

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