Sunday, August 31, 2014

Keyboard is erratic

Answer Man

Something has gone wrong with my laptop. When I type a B on the keyboard, a 6 appears on the screen. When I type a Y, I get an A. You get the idea. Whatever I type comes up differently. What's wrong?

One of our club members experienced the same problem, so he bought a new keyboard. He was rather surprised to find that the replacement did not solve the problem. After a bit of research he found that pressing the Numlock key solved the problem (on some keyboards you may also have to press the Function key in addition to the Numlock key. After pressing Numlock he found that all keys worked correctly.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Record Every Click And Keystroke To Aid Troubleshooting

Anyone who has ever provided tech support for a clueless relative knows how painful it can be walking them through the steps they took to mess everything up. Windows now includes a tool called the Problem Steps Recorder. You’ll find it under “Record steps to reproduce a problem” in the Win 7 Start menu or just “Steps Recorder” in Win 8.


Launching this tool opens a very simple dialog box with only one real option: Start Record. Press this, and Windows will record everything you do — mouse movements, clicks, keyboard commands, and typing. When finished, the file is saved as an HTML document within a ZIP file, including screenshots of every single step that was taken and a description of each, helping you pinpoint exactly what went wrong and where.

Credit: pcworld.com

Cheap hard drives

Answer Man

I have seen new hard drives on e-bay that seem awfully cheap. How can the dealers sell them at those prices?

Many on-line dealers buy OEM surplus stock. The drives may be slightly older (such as SATA II vs SATA III). However, the drives are new and the warranty is issued by the dealer, not the manufacturer of the drive.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Kindle help

Answer Man

I am struggling with my new Kindle Fire HDX. Where can I find answers to my questions about the device?

Amazon has a fantastic help facility. Simply click on the question mark on the Kindle or click on the word "Mayday" to be taken to a live operator. You will see the image of the person on the other end of the line and will be able to talk into the e-reader for live interaction.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Laser printer

Answer Man

You have often said that you prefer laser printers. Why is that?

I purchased a new Brother laser printer for $50 from Office Depot. Rebuilt hi-capacity toner cartridges are available for that printer for as little as $15 including shipping. The cartridges contain enough toner for 2600 copies. Rarely do I need a color print, and if I do, I can use my inkjet printer on those rare occasions. By my calculations, the cost of printing is .6 of a cent per copy plus the cost of the paper. Let's assume the paper cost a penny a sheet. So, for a little more than a cent and a half a page, a high quality black and white image is produced. A comparable inkjet print will cost approximately 8 cents.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Kindle reader sensitivity

Answer Man

I bought a new Kindle Fire HDX reader, and it's driving me crazy. I have to touch each item several times to make it work. Do you know of a solution?

The sensitivity will be down if the device does not have sufficient charge. It takes a minimum of 3 hours to reach full charge. If, after charging, the sensitivity is not to your liking, purchase a stylus. You might try someone else's stylus before you purchase one. I have found big differences in sensitivity in different brand styluses.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Battery recycling

Answer Man

I have several old 18 volt rechargeable batteries that should be recycled. I know there's a center near Target that will take them.  Do you know of a closer place?

Lowes will take re-chargeable batteries under 11 pounds. The store will provide bags. Each battery must be placed in its own bag. The bags must be tied, and then the bags are inserted into the container in the customer service area.

Monday, August 25, 2014

User profile service failure

Answer Man

My laptop is displaying a message "User Profile Service Failed". I don't know what it means, but it locked up my computer, and even after a restart, the same message appears.

The message means that there is a conflict with the user account. The problem normally occurs when a process is interrupted in the middle of its activity. A simple solution is to start the computer in safe mode by pressing F8 when the computer first starts to boot. Then restore the computer to an earlier point.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

AVG preventing Internet Access

Answer Man

I'm using Windows 8.1 with the AVG anti-virus program. AVG seemed erratic, so I decided to uninstall the program. Then my real problems began. I couldn't access the Internet at all. Evidently, not all files were removed by the uninstall and the AVG firewall began blocking everything. I have tried everything I can think of, but can't rectify the problem. Can you help?

Type AVG on the 8.1 Start Menu. Click on AVG. A menu should pop-up giving you the option to stop the firewall. Once that is gone, you should be able to access the Internet. &nbsn the future, use REVO Uninstaller to remove all parts of the file you choose to uninstall.


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Windows Mobility Center

Few Windows users take advantage of this unsung, universal shortcut, available via the key combo Windows (logo) + X. It launches the Windows Mobility Center, a control panel that appears in Windows 7, but not the Starter Edition, and Vista.

The Mobility Center is kind of a one-stop shop for everything related to mobile PCs. Through this centralized control panel you can control your battery profile, wireless on/off status, display brightness, and speaker volume. If you use an external display or the Windows Sync Center, controls for these tools are also available through Mobility Center.


It may not add anything new to Windows, but it does let you do in a single keystroke what you’d normally have to juggle through a half-dozen different control panels. Note: Win + X unfortunately does something entirely different on Windows 8, bringing up a list of shortcuts to a variety of other Windows subcomponents.

Credit: pcworld.com

Read PDF on Kindle

Answer Man

I have an Amazon Kindle. When I view PDF files, I have to scroll right on each page to see the end of the line. I don't have that problem with books. Is there any way to make the PDF documents behave like a book?

You need a program that converts PDF files to the MOBI format that Kindle uses. One such program is Calibre calibre-ebook.com/. Download the program, Add the book you want to convert. Click on Convert and select MOBI format. Then click OK. Drag the converted book into the book folder of your Kindle. You will be able to adjust the fonts, number of words on a line, point size, etc. It will make reading the document much easier, and no scrolling will be needed.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Router failure

Answer Man

I'm experiencing Internet connectivity failures more frequently than in the past. How can I tell if my router is at fault?

Routers usually fail from heat related issues. If you have tried resetting your router and the problem persists, you can try bypassing the router to see if you still experience connectivity problems.

Remove the router and run the Ethernet cable from the computer directly to the modem. If that solves your problem, it's time to buy a new router.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Recovery partition

Answer Man

All the computers I have seen have recovery partitions that can be used to restore the computer operating system if the software experiences some sort of corruption, and that partition is installed by the computer manufacturer. However, if my hard drive quits, and I reinstall the operating system, I'm assuming that there will be no recovery partition. Am I correct?

Yes you are correct. If you install the operating system on a new drive, you will have to use another computer to go to the manufacturer's website to download drivers for your specific computer. You can usually get by by downloading and installing the network driver. Then, you can have the computer install all of the Windows updates, and they will normally include audio and video drivers for your computer.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

When the hard drive fails

Answer Man

My computer runs on Windows 8. I upgraded the computer from Windows Vista. I received warnings that my hard drive may fail at any time. I made recovery disks as instructed, but I understand that they work by using a recovery partition on the hard drive. If the drive quits, I would assume that the disks will become useless. Am I correct?

Yes, you are correct. The recovery disks are fine if your computer has a software problem, but they will be useless if the drive quits. What you should do before your drive quits is to make an image of the entire drive. There are many programs that will let you make an image and will copy that image to an external drive. One of the favored free image programs is Macrium Reflect www.macrium.com/reflectfree.aspx. The program will let you restore everything, including the operating system to a replacement drive.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Hard Drive Failure

Answer Man

How can I tell if my computer's hard drive is failing?

Often hard drive failures are proceeded by noises emanating from the drive. You may hear a faint ticking. If the computer is equipped with "S.M.A.R.T." tools, you may receive a warning such as "Hard drive failure is imminent".

False warnings are possible, so I would run a program such as "Sea Tools for Dos" www.seagate.com/support/.../seatools-dos-master/ for a definitive answer.

Download the program and burn it to disk. Insert the disk and re-boot the computer. Select basic tests. Run the quick test. If a problem is indicated, run the extended test.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Solid state drives

Answer Man

The hard drive in my laptop quit, and I'd like to replace it. I know many people are buying solid state drives now. Would it be to my advantage to buy one?

Solid state drives have no moving parts, are about 10 times faster than an equivalent mechanical drive, and have a greater life expectancy. They are still, however, relatively expensive. You can buy a 500 GB mechanical drive for $50. For that same price, you would only be able to buy a 120 GB SSD.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Print without ads

Answer Man

Most web pages have ads all around the main story. Is there a way to print without having the ads show up on the printed page?

Here's a great program that will let you do just what you are trying to accomplish.


Simply type in the URL (address of the page you would like to print), and click Preview. Then click Print.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Enlarge an image

Answer Man

I saw a great zip code map on the Internet. I would like to copy it and print it on a full sheet of paper. How do I do that?

Right click on the map and select "Copy Image". Open up Word or Libre Office Writer, click in the big blank area and select "Paste". Click on the pasted image and drag the corners of the image until the page is as big as you like. Then print the image.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Reading PDF on Kindle

Answer Man

I have a Kindle e-reader. It works fine except when I want to view a PDF document. Then, the print is too small, and if I try to enlarge the page, I have to scroll sideways continually to read the document. Is there a better way to view PDF files on my Kindle?

The secret is to convert those PDF files to Kindle's Mobi format. The easiest way I know of to accomplish the conversion is to use a program like Calibre, calibre-ebook.com/. Calibre is free, and it will let you convert documents into many formats. Once you have converted the file to Mobi format, mail the document, as an attachment, to your username@kindle.com.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

New operating system

Answer Man

I have an old computer. Can I put a newer operating system in the computer?

Whether or not a computer will accept another operating system depends upon several factors. The most important of those factors is the amount of memory in the computer. Generally, if a computer has 2 GB of RAM or more, a new operating system can be added. This post has been created on a 6 year old Vista machine that has had Windows 8.1 installed in place of Vista. The machine, however, has 4 GB of RAM.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Site won't take my ad

Answer Man

I have used Ocala4sale.com many times to place free ads for stuff that I was trying to sell. Recently I placed an ad to sell some expensive cigars and a humidor. The ad shows up as pending and then disappears. They never publish the ad. Am I doing something wrong?

You must read the fine print on many web sites. Ocala4sale does not publish ads for tobacco and tobacco related products, drugs, and ads for any illicit activities. Many web sites have the same prohibitions.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Inexpensive computer availability

Answer Man

I want to spend as little as possible for a new computer. Where can I get a good computer cheap?

I understand that Wal-Mart sells refurbished computers on-line at really low prices, and the amazing fact about the sale is that they will sell the computers with the same warranty that they give with new computers. The orders can be picked up at a local Wal-Mart store.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Printer problem

Answer Man

I just installed new printer cartridges and now my printer won't work. How come?

The most likely cause would be that you didn't remove the protective tape or cover from the cartridges. If you did remove the tape, and you installed the cartridges correctly, you might have a defective cartridge. If that is not the case, the printer may be defective and it is just a coincidence that the failure happened after the cartridge installation.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Lost e-mail messages

Answer Man

My hard drive quit. Have I lost all my e-mail messages?

Not necessarily. Almost all e-mail providers store e-mail messages and contacts on servers (huge computers) at the provider's location. If you access your mail by using a browser such as Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, etc. the e-mail is stored on the provider's servers. If you use Outlook, Thunderbird and some other programs, your e-mail is probably stored on your computer. Most browsers let you store e-mails both on-line and on the local computers.

Blogmaster's note: Using an email client like Thunderbird is a great way to work with many email accounts at one time. To insure that those accounts are always available, even if your hard drive crashes, be sure to set up each account as IMAP and not POP. IMAP keeps everything on the provider's server whereas POP usually keeps everything local, on your computer.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Run vs. save

Answer Man

When I download a file, I am given the option to Run or to Save. What's the difference?

When you choose Run, the program is saved in a temporary file, and then the program is installed. If you want to keep the install file, perhaps for re-install purposes or to copy to a flash drive, then Save is a better option.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Executive Board Minutes, August 8, 2014

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

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

Bob Norton gave the treasurer's report. The current balance is $1,953.07.

Bob Norton suggested adding a video of the general meeting to the ORCC blog. Will be presented to our webmaster for thought.

Upcoming Programs: August 20 – Bill Sobel, Stone Creek Computer Club, “Alternatives to Costly Cable and Satellite TV Systems”; September 17 – Dr. John Rogaki, Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, “Inventing the Future At IHMC” (Institute for Human & Machine Cognition); October 15 – Bill Sobel, Stone Creek Computer Club, “Home Automation & Security Systems”; November 19 – Don Zenn, General Manager of Staples, Ocala, “Open Workshop”; December 17 – Holiday Party.

A discussion ensued regarding the December holiday party.

The meeting adjourned at 9:50 AM.

Respectfully submitted,

Carol H. Norton
Secretary

Router password

Answer Man

I forgot my router password and can't get into the Internet. What can I do to get the password back?

Your best bet is to reset the router and to establish a new password. Look on the router for a reset button. It may be very tiny and have to be activated by using a ball point pen or similarly pointed object. Some routers require that you hold in the reset for as long as a minute. Each router has a default password and or login. Many routers use Admin and Password. Once you are logged in, you will be given an opportunity to put in your own login and password.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Integrated Graphics

Answer Man

I am thinking about purchasing a new computer, and I keep encountering the term "integrated graphics". What does that mean?

It means that the graphics card, which is a separate board in high end computers, is incorporated into the mother board. If integrated graphics fail, you either have to replace the mother board or purchase a separate graphics card that will plug into the mother board. Graphics cards can be very expensive, but good ones are needed in gaming computers and when the user is doing intensive design work.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Undo

Answer Man

I often use the undo feature when I have made a mistake, however, the command does not appear in some programs. Is there a secret way to get to undo?

Hold down the CTRL key on the keyboard and tap the letter Z. Each time you tap, the computer will revert to an earlier step. You can use the feature to step back up to 26 times.

Blogmaster's note: If you should go back too far, use the "Ctrl" + "Y" keys to redo, a step at a time. All posts showing keyboard shortcuts can be found > HERE.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

LibreOffice default font

Answer Man

LibreOffice writer has a default font that I don't like. How do I change the program to make a different font the default font?

Click on Tools, Options, LibreOffice Writer, Basic Fonts-Western. Then select the new font and point size you'd like. Then click OK.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Virus lock-up

Answer Man

If a virus locks up my computer so that nothing works, what options have I got?

It depends upon the degree of lock-up. If the computer can't be restored to an earlier date and won't go into safe mode, the only option may be to do a complete recovery of the operating system. If the lock-up is partial, the computer can probably be restored to an earlier date or just purged of its malware.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Tabbed Browsing

Answer Man

I have been using the Opera browser, and every time it starts up with what I have been looking at last. Is there a way to stop that from happening?

Most new browsers use a feature called tabbed browsing. Each time you do a search, a tab appears at the top for that search. The object of tabbed browsing is to make it easy to switch from one search to another very quickly by clicking on the appropriate tab. If you don't want a tab to appear, simply click the tiny x that appears in the tab. You can close all of the tabs in that manner, or just some of them.

Blogmaster's note: Opera will allow you to change what opens on startup. Use the "Alt" + "P" keys to open a settings tab. The top item is 'On startup'. By default it's set to 'Continue where I left off'. You have 2 other choices for how Opera will start. Use the one that best suits your needs.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

No Internet

Answer Man

My computer displays a message saying that there is no Internet connection. How can I tell whether the problem lies in a defective modem/router or if my Internet provider is having a problem?

I would first try a re-set of the modem and router. Unplug each. Wait about 20 seconds. Plug in the modem and wait for the lights to come on. Plug in the router and wait for the lights and then try to get on the Internet. If you still can't access the Internet, call the provider and ask if the system is down. If they say that the system is not down, ask them to remotely check your system. They should be able to tell you if the equipment is defective.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Product Codes

Answer Man

Someone wiped the drive on an old computer computer that was given to me, and there is no Windows sticker product code on the machine, but I have a product code from another machine. Can I use the code on the old machine?

Microsoft wants to be certain that their product isn't replicated. Therefore, you may use a Windows product code on a machine if the code isn't being used on another machine. When you enter an activation code, Microsoft will check to see if the code is a valid number and whether that code is currently in use. If the code is in use, activation will be denied. If the code is not in use, you will receive a message that the computer code is valid and that activation was successful.

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