Upgrading to Windows 7

January 5th, 2010 Paul Wallbank Posted in Uncategorized No Comments »

We have (Yuk) Windows Vista on our PC and Laptops and none of us like it. Our own computer technician advised to wait awhile before looking at Windows 7 but we seem to hear more praise for this version and would like to know your views on whether it is better and worth while upgrading to Windows 7 now.

Windows 7 is a far more stable and faster operating system than Windows Vista and the benefits of upgrading make it worth the cost of the upgrade.

One thing to watch is that Microsoft have again confused the market by releasing five different versions of Windows 7 each with their own range of features. Fortunately only three; Home Premium, Professional and Ultimate are available in shops as the Home Basic version only comes with new systems and Enterprise is for large volume corporate customers.

We’d recommend getting the Ultimate edition as it covers all the features most computer users want to use. Shop around for it though as prices vary dramatically between outlets.

Also remember to backup all your important data before starting the upgrade.

I cannot open ppt files

December 30th, 2009 Paul Wallbank Posted in email, Office, Uncategorized No Comments »

I keep receiving PPT files from friends, but I cannot open them. What are they and are they dangerous?

PPT files are PowerPoint presentations and normally they are perfectly harmless although it is a good idea not to open any email attachment from people you don’t know.

Powerpoint is the Microsoft presentation program which comes with some versions of Microsoft Office. Just because you have Microsoft Office, it doesn’t mean you have Powerpoint.

If you want to open ppt files, then you can download the free Powerpoint Viewer from Microsoft. This allows you to read and print ppt files but not edit them.

Should you want to change them, the free Open Office program can deal with most Powerpoint presentations.

How do I found out if I am running 64 or 32 bit Windows

December 21st, 2009 Paul Wallbank Posted in Uncategorized, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP No Comments »

I’ve been told some of my software won’t run on my new computer because it is running 64 bit Windows. How do I find out which version of Windows I am running?

To find out if your computer is running a 32-bit or 64-bit version of Windows in Windows 7 or Windows Vista, click the Start button , right-click Computer, and then click Properties.

Under the System tab, you’ll see which version you are running.

If your computer is running Windows XP, click Start, right-click My Computer, and click Properties. If “x64 Edition” is listed under System, you’re running the 64-bit version of Windows XP, if there is no mention of “x64″ then you’re running 32 bit Windows XP.

New, slow computer

March 30th, 2009 Paul Wallbank Posted in Uncategorized No Comments »

I recently bought a dell inspiron 530s. I am not very computer literate. My old computer (compaq) was old and slow thats why I updated.

On the old computer I was connected to the internet via dial up. I had not connected to the internet with the new computer as I was looking around for a reasonable deal. My son came home one weekend and connected the computer to the internet via wireless dodo prepaid and google is now the home page.

I find the new computer is slower than I expected on the internet and sometimes stops working (similar to when I used dial up on the old computer and the connection would drop out). I occassionally get a McAfee pop up telling me my computer is not protected.

How do I make sure I have good virus software or if there is virus software at all?  

First, the McAfee telling you the computer is not infected is a typical message from this software. It’s one reason why we don’t recommend it and prefer Avast! and AVG.

Another reason we aren’t keen on McAfee and it’s main competitor Norton is they have a tendency to slow computers down. So removing the software is the first good point.

You’re experience with Wireless Broadband is pretty typical and it’s the reason we tend to steer people towards Cable or ADSL connections. Wireless simply isn’t as fast or as reliable compared to the alternatives.

So uninstall McAfee and try one of the alternatives. This may resolve the problems.

If not, try an alternative to the Wireless Broadband.

Postcard virus warning. Is it true?

March 8th, 2009 Paul Wallbank Posted in Uncategorized 2 Comments »

I received this email from a friend.

Hi All,
I checked with Norton Anti-Virus, and they are gearing up for this virus!
I checked Snopes (URL above:), and it is for real!!
Get this E-mail message sent around to your contacts ASAP.
You should be alert during the next few days. Do not=2 0open any message with an attachment entitled ‘POSTCARD FROM HALLMARK,’ regardless of who sent it to you. It is a virus which opens A POSTCARD IMAGE, which ‘burns’ the whole hard disc C of your computer.
This virus will be received from someone who has your e-mail address in his/her contact list. This is the reason why you need to send this e-mail to all your contacts It is better to receive
this message 25 times than to receive the virus and open it.

If you receive a mail called’ POSTCARD,’ even though sent to you by a friend, do not open it! Shut down your computer immediately.

This is the worst virus announced by CNN. It has been classified by Microsoft as the most destructive virus ever. T his virus was discovered by McAfee yesterday, and there is no repair yet for this kind of virus. This virus simply destroys the Zero Sector of the Hard Disc, where the vital information is kept.


 Is it true or should I just ignore it?

Like all good myths, there’s some truth to this one. A few years ago we had a plague of fake e-mail postcards that used various tricks to infect people’s computers. 

Over time, these stopped working as the software companies fixed the holes in their software. Today the main targets, Microsoft Internet Explorer and Outlook Express, are a lot less susceptable to this method of getting malware onto your computer.

That’s not to say there’s no risk today. As the economic downturn bites we’re seeing a lot of scams appearing in our inboxes and these sort of tricks are among them. The people who make these things are smarter and more cunning as well.

So it’s best to be on the safe side. If you receive any email you think is suspicious, then don’t open it. If it’s from someone you know, contact them to confirm they did send something legitimate.

Given the number of scams around, it’s not a bad idea to run a Windows computer in Limited User mode. This restricts the opportunities for viruses and Trojan horses to get on your computer.

We have instructions on setting up Limited User profiles and we’d recommend this for general computer use to prevent the possiblity of things like fake postcards taking advantage of your computer.

Moved Outlook Express messages

March 5th, 2009 Paul Wallbank Posted in Uncategorized No Comments »

A friend has the following problem with lost emails (about 300)

He changed the stored folder location from the default OE one to his desktop. So all his .dbx files were on his desktop.

He then created a folder called “emails” on his desktop and dragged and dropped all his .dbx files into this folder.

He then re-opened OE and changed the location of the stored folder from his desktop to the new folder “emails”. He closed OE and when he re-opened it all his old emails had disappeared.

I think because he moved the files himself OE thought there were no old emails to move and replaced the old files in emails folder with new empty .dbx files. I recreated this scenerio on my PC and the same thing happened.

The question is where are the old emails that were replaced. I ve run file recovery software on his PC and nothing shows up. Any help is greatly appreciated as there are some really important emails missing.

This shows the danger of messing with computers when you don’t understand the consequences.

Luckily, the fix is quite easy and we’ve explained this in our Recovering Outlook Express Messages and Address Book post.

Your friend just has to point the import location to the emails folder on his desktop and all the messages will be imported.

What is Dr Watson?

February 10th, 2009 Paul Wallbank Posted in Uncategorized No Comments »

On my PC I have a DR Watson program instaled. Is this one of Microsoft programmes??. Just got concerned when I saw it.

Dr Watson (Drwtsn32.exe)  is Microsoft’s built in error detecting tool. It has been around in almost every version of Windows and it attempts to analyse problems with your computer. Microsoft have a description of Dr Watson on their website

It’s a harmless program that unfortunately isn’t as useful as it could be, but it won’t hurt your system.

Remove Antivirus 360

December 23rd, 2008 Paul Wallbank Posted in Spyware, Uncategorized 1 Comment »

I recently had Antivirus360 on my computer somehow. I had it removed, but everytime I try to access a website it says it is blocked and I get this message on a blank page: https error. I have nothing in my restricted/ blocked zone. I have no idea how to fix this. I appreciate any help

Antivirus 360 is one of these irritating rip off programs that worms its way onto a computer then nags you to buy it so you can remove, usually false, malware infections.

The really frustrating part with these programs is you almost certainly have an underlying malware infection that has come in with this program.

The problem sounds like the thing hasn’t been fully removed so it would be best to follow our instructions in our Removing a Trojan post.

One common way these programs get on your system is through Internet Explorer bugs. We’d also suggest using an alternative browser to reduce your chances of accidentally downloading the thing.

Recovering lost cat photos

December 14th, 2008 Paul Wallbank Posted in Uncategorized No Comments »

I downloaded some photo’s from my camera the other day and selected (ticked) some photo’s to put on my memory stick (usb) and seem to have lost all the photo’s I didn’t select. I am very upset about this as I had quite a number of our cat on there. We lost him last Friday morn. He was hit by a car. Is there any possible way that these photo’s might be on the hard drive somewhere, as I didn\’t save them. Please help.

Distressed and very upset.

Sorry to hear about the cat.

Luckily there’s a good chance you’ll get those photos back if you haven’t used the camera’s memory card since deleting the photos.

To do this, you can use programs like the free Restoration program or commercial products like Recover my Photos.

Keep in mind that recovering data can be a delicate task and it’s best done by experienced computer techs. So you may want to call for help.

Reading Word documents in Open Office

November 26th, 2008 Paul Wallbank Posted in Uncategorized No Comments »

Have a new computer that runs XP Home SP3. Used to use MS Office 2000 Pro, but its causing problems on new PC.  If I download Open Office can I convert my old files created with the above Office 2000 Pro to be usable or even just readable with Open Office?  There are also downloaded accounts off internet that use Excel.
Look forward to your advice.

There’s normally no problem reading Office 2000 documents in Open Office, the only time you may hit problems is where the documents uses advanced features like pagination and footnotes but most files are fine.

The same applies to Excel, Open Office’s Calc spreadsheet can handle *.xls files quite well.

For more advanced files you may need to use the various Office Viewers to read them, but these will be few and far between.

It’s best to give Open Office a go and see how well it works for you.