COMPUTER NEWS Inside This Issue

COMPUTER NEWS Inside This Issue
Napa Valley
Personal Computer
Users Group
http://www.
nvpcug.org
P.O. Box 2866
Napa, California 94558
COMPUTER
NEWS
Volume 25, No. 1
January 2008
Inside This Issue
2
2
2
3
4
NVPCUG SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS
NVPCUG CALENDAR
PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE
OFFICERS LIST
THE QWERTY KEYBOARD AND
MICROSOFT OFFICE 2007
5 WEIRD WINDOWS BEHAVIOR
6 THE NEW, THE BEST, AND THE WORST
8 WINDOWS XP POWER MANAGEMENT
9 USING IMAGING SOFTWARE FOR BACKUP
11 DVD INSIDER – DRM
15 USING A RESTORE POINT
Happy
New
Year
At the January Meeting,
Calvin Ross is the Presentor
The Napa Valley Personal Computer Users
Group will meet Wednesday,
January 16, 7:00-9:00 P.M.,
at the Napa Senior Activity Center,
1500 Jefferson Street, Napa, California
The meeting begins with Random Access, an open-floor question-andanswer period during which attendees can ask questions about computers
and computer-related problems and receive helpful information from
other meeting attendees. Questions may be submitted before the
meeting by emailing them to Random Access moderator Jerry Brown
at [email protected]
During the Computer Tutor session which
will follow, Jeff Solomon, our Computer Tutor,
will be discussing various FREE software
programs offered by GOOGLE at the January
meeting. Any additional questions or comments
should be sent to the Computer Tutor, Jeff
Solomon at [email protected]
The first speaker of 2008 year will be Calvin Ross. He will talk about
the assault on privacy in the maturing - or degrading - Information Age
and what we can do about it.
The Napa Valley Personal Computer
Users Group has served novice and
experienced computer users since 1983.
Through its monthly meetings,
newsletters, online forum, special
interest groups, mentor program and
community involvement, it has helped
educate people of all ages. The
NVPCUG provides opportunities for
people to find friends who share
common interests and experiences.
From January 2003 to October 2007
the NVPCUG provided 752 computers
and 139 printers to local schools.
Additional equipment has been given
to charitable nonprofit organizations
and to disadvantaged individuals.
Members, Cal asks us bring our own ideas to the January meeting.
MEMBER OF THE YEAR 2007,
Ron Dack was presented a
gift basket and certificate by
the 2007 Membership
Director, Dianne Prior.
Photo taken at the
Holiday Party at Peterson’s
Christmas Tree Farm.
Could you use some practical information that would help you
make better use of your computer? Come to this meeting! Guests
are always welcome. Admission is always free.
Intersted in becoming a member?
See page 14 for application information.
NVPCUG Computer News, January 2008
President’s Message
NVPCUG
Special
Interest
Groups
In SIG meetings you can learn about
a subject in greater detail than is
feasible at NVPCUG general
meetings. SIG meetings are open to
everyone. M e e t i n g t i m e s a n d
locations occasionally change, so
for current meeting information, see
our Web site, www.nvpcug.org, or
contact the SIG leaders.
Investors SIG
Meets: Monthly, second Monday
5:30 to 7:30 p.m
Jerry Brown’s home,
23 Skipping Rock Way, Napa
Leader: Jerry Brown
(707) 254-9607
[email protected]
Digital Photography SIG
Meets: Monthly, second Wednesday
7:00 to 8:30 p.m
Piner’s Nursing Home,
Conference Room
1800 Pueblo Ave., Napa
Leader: Susy Ball
(707) 337-3998
[email protected]
Macintosh SIG
Meets: Monthly, second Thursday
6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Napa Senior Activity Center
1500 Jefferson St., Napa
Leader: Jim Gillespie
(707) 252-1665
[email protected]
By Ron Dack, president, http://www.nvpcug.org/,
[email protected]
I hope each of you had a very merry Christmas and will have a happy 2008. As
I look back over the year that has just past I realize that even with all the work
and controversy it was a good year. I renewed many friendships and made new
ones. I survived a heart attack. I had the opportunity to work with some
exceptional people as we guided the NVPCUG through some interesting events
and changes. I certainly want to thank all those who put in so much time
discussing and resolving issues. I know that most of you would have rather been
home or someplace with a little less stress. I want to point out some of those who
put in overtime on some if not all the issues that the 2007 Board of Directors faced
last year. Thanks Roy Wagner for the challenging job you did filing our tax
forms and helping me with the filing requirements we needed to get our IRC
501(c)(3) Final Ruling. Thanks Ken Manfree for your research into recycling
and e-waste. I also want to thank each and every one of the board members for
all the effort they put in this last year but I know that I don’t have room in the
newsletter to cover the contribution that each made to the group. I will just name
them in this article and tell them, “Thank you for your dedication and hard work”.
The 2007 Board of Directors were: Susy Ball, Jerry Brown, Ron Dack, Jim
Gillespie, Bernhard Krevet, Ken Manfree, Dick Peterson, Dianne Prior,
Bob Simmerman, Kathy Slavens, Jeff Solomon, Dean Unruh, Marcia
Waddell, Roy Wagner, and for part of the year Jim Stirling.
Some of these fine people are continuing to work with me on the 2008 Board
of Directors and some who decided not to serve on the board this year are
continuing in the positions they held last year. I look forward to continuing to
work with all of them. A list of the 2008 Board of Directors and Officers can be
found later in this newsletter.
I am expecting a much quieter year for 2008 and there are only a few issues
that we know we will need to resolve in the near future. One of those issues is
our cost to provide the members with a meaningful experience. Those expenses
include but are not limited to the cost of printing and mailing the newsletter
(NVPCUG’s largest expense), renting the Senior Center, maintaining the
projector, providing speaker gifts for our guest speakers, office supplies, owning
our domain name, CA State fees, P.O. Box rental, required insurance, picnic, and
holiday party expenses. We have in the past several years been able to fall back
on our small surplus to cover the amount expenses that exceed our income but
President’s Message cont. on page 4
NVPCUG General Meetings
Held the third Wednesday of each month, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Napa Senior Activity Center, 1500 Jefferson Street, Napa
NVPCUG Calendar
Jan 16
Feb 6
Feb 11
Feb 13
Feb 14
Feb 29
Mar 5
Mar 10
Mar 12
Mar 13
Mar 19
7:00-9:00 p.m.
7:00-9:00 p.m.
5:30-7:30 p.m.
7:00-8:30 p.m.
6:30-8:30 p.m.
7:00-9:00 p.m.
7:00-9:00 p.m.
5:30-7:30 p.m.
7:00-8:30 p.m.
6:30-8:30 p.m.
7:00-9:00 p.m.
NVPCUG General Meeting, Napa Senior Activity Center, 1500 Jefferson Street, Napa
Board of Directors meeting, Piner’s Nursing Home, 1800 Pueblo Ave., Napa
Investors SIG meeting, Jerry Brown’s home, 23 Skipping Rock Way, Napa
Digital Photography SIG meeting, Piner’s Nursing Home, 1800 Pueblo Ave., Napa
Macintosh SIG meeting, Napa Senior Activity Center, 1500 Jefferson St., Napa
NVPCUG General Meeting, Napa Senior Activity Center, 1500 Jefferson Street, Napa
Board of Directors meeting, Piner’s Nursing Home, 1800 Pueblo Ave., Napa
Investors SIG meeting, Jerry Brown’s home, 23 Skipping Rock Way, Napa
Digital Photography SIG meeting, Piner’s Nursing Home, 1800 Pueblo Ave., Napa
Macintosh SIG meeting, Napa Senior Activity Center, 1500 Jefferson St., Napa
NVPCUG General Meeting, Napa Senior Activity Center, 1500 Jefferson Street, Napa
NVPCUG Computer News, January 2008, Page 2
Napa Valley Personal Computer
Users Group Contact Information
(Please note the changes. Many names and position titles have
changed for the 2008 listings.)
Officers for 2007
Board of Directors
President
Ron Dack
unlisted
[email protected]
Vice President
Dick Peterson
738-1812
[email protected]
Secretary
Marcia Waddell
252-2060
[email protected]
Treasurer
Roy Wagner
253-2721
[email protected]
Other Directors: Susy Ball, Ron Dack, Jim Gray, Dick Peterson, Bob Simmerman,
Kathy Slavens, Dean Unruh, Marcia Waddell, and Roy Wagner.
Director
Jim Gray
255-6789
[email protected]
Appointed Officers
Computer Tutor Coordinator
Jeff Solomon
553-2114
[email protected]
Facility Arrangements Coordinator
Dianne Prior
252-1506
[email protected]
Greeter Coordinator
Kathy Slavens
251-9193
[email protected]
Greeter Coordinator
Bob Simmerman 259-6113
[email protected]
Librarian
Dean Unruh
226-9164
[email protected]
Membership Director
Bob Simmerman 259-6113
[email protected]
Mentor Program Coordinator
Dick Peterson
738-1812
[email protected]
Newsletter Circulator
Jim Hearn
224-2540
[email protected]
Newsletter Editor
Susy Ball
337-3998
[email protected]
Product Review CoCoordinator
Susy Ball
337-3998
[email protected]
Product Review CoCoordinator
Marcia Waddell 252-2060
[email protected]
Programs Director
Susy Ball
337-3998
[email protected]
Publicity Director
Ron Dack
unlisted
[email protected]
Random Access Moderator
Jerry Brown
254-9607
[email protected]
Special Projects Director
Jeff Solomon
553-2114
[email protected]
Webmaster
Ron Dack
unlisted
[email protected]
Sales Coordinator
VOLUNTEER NEEDED
N/A
[email protected]
Special Projects Director
VOLUNTEER NEEDED
N/A
[email protected]
• All telephone numbers are in Area Code 707.
NVPCUG Computer News, January 2008, Page 3
NVPCUG
Computer News
Computer News (ISS
0897-5744) is
published monthly by
the Napa Valley
Personal Computer
Users Group, Inc.
(NVPCUG), P.O. Box
2866, Napa, CA
94558-0286.
Subscriptions: $30 for
one year (12 issues).
Editor: Susy Ball,
[email protected]
The material in
Computer News is
intended for
noncommercial
purposes and may not
be reproduced without
prior written permission,
except that permission
for reproducing articles,
with authors properly
credited, is granted to
other computer user
groups for their internal,
nonprofit use only. The
information in this
newsletter is believed
to be correct. However,
the NVPCUG can
assume neither
responsibility for errors
or omissions nor liability
for any damages
resulting from the use
or misuse of any
information.
The NVPCUG is an IRC
501(c)(3) tax-exempt
nonprofit educational
organization (EIN 680069663) and is a
member of the
Association of Personal
Computer User Groups
(APCUG), an
international
organization. Donations
to the NVPCUG are
tax-deductible as
charitable contributions
to the extent allowed by
law. Copyright © 2007
by NVPCUG.
The QWERTY Keyboard and Microsoft
Office 2007
By Bob Schneider, Editor, The PC Keyboard, Spring Hill Teaching Computer Club, FL,
www.shtcc.net, [email protected]
Obtained from APCUG with the author’s permission for publication
by APCUG member groups.
Back in the mid 1800’s, when the first practical typewriter
was built, inventor C.L. Sholes arranged the keys in the
QWERTY layout for a practical reason. He had to separate
the most common letters to prevent the hammers from
jamming. So many people knew that layout that although it
was no longer necessary, it was maintained with the advent
of electric typewriters. A much better (in terms of ease-oflearning and speed-of-typing) is the
Dvorak keyboard layout developed in
the 1920’s. It puts the most commonly
used keys under your eight “home”
fingers. Once millions of people started
with computers using the old QWERTY
layout, better alternatives were doomed. Changing to a new
keyboard layout involves the most difficult of human learning
tasks. The technical term from memory researchers is
“proactive interference.” That means an old memory (such as
an old cell phone number you used before) interferes with
your ability to learn a new memory (your new cell number).
In layman’s terms the most difficult task is to unlearn something
you know well in order to learn something new. That is why
we standardize some procedures, such as operating a standard
transmission in a car. You will never find a car with the brake
on the left pedal and the clutch on the right pedal, and you
already know the gear-shift sequence and location. Airplane
pilots will always find the altimeter in the middle of their
visual field.
I’ve been a fan of and using Microsoft Windows for
some time, starting with Windows 2.0 in 1989. There
are surely many people who have been using it longer
than I have, although I have not yet met one. For most
of those years, Microsoft advertised the strength and
beauty of following the Windows format. Using its
standard Graphical User Interface (GUI), all programs
would have the same look and feel. Learn one program
and you could quickly learn to navigate around in any
similar software. Microsoft required that look and feel,
with common menu items, before it allowed a program
to have the Windows logo. That was a giant advance
from the haphazard layout and menu systems of early
DOS programs. As a college professor and software
teacher, the advantages for student learning and
computer novices were quite obvious.
Now we have Office 2007. I suspect that if Corel
(Word Perfect) had released that office suite, Microsoft
would have denied them the right to use the Windows
logo. The common Windows GUI was thrown out in
Word and Excel. Traditional menu items were removed,
unfamiliar icons and menus appeared, and familiar
processes were moved to obscure places. The better you
were at using earlier versions, the more you will have to
first unlearn to use Office 2007. The brake pedal is on
the left, first gear is on the right, and the altimeter is
hidden behind the co-pilot. I am a power user of
Microsoft Office. Actually, I used to be a power user.
Now I must constantly go to the
help menu (sorry, it is not a menu
any more) to find the location of
even the most basic procedures. I
know how to do them; I just don’t
know where they are. It is time
consuming and frustrating. There are some really nice
features in Office 2007. One of them, unfortunately, is
not “make it like the earlier versions.”
„
This article has been provided to APCUG by the author solely for
publication by APCUG member groups. All other uses require the
permission of the author (see e-mail address above).
President’s Message cont. from page 2
we cannot continue this and keep the group financially
sound. The 2008 Budgeted items for these expenses is
considerably more than we are collecting in dues/
donations. It is highly unlikely that we will find any
outside source of income so the 2008 Board of Directors
will have to cut some expenses if we want to continue as
a group.
Most computer users groups have discontinued printed
newsletters and only have an online version. This is
something we are considering. We can do this in several
ways. We can send each paid-up member an e-mailed
PDF copy of the newsletter. We can, as we have done the
last couple months, post it in a members only folder on
the website and send the link to members so they can
view, read, copy, or print it. Discontinuing a printed
newsletter would stave off the need for any dues increase
for the foreseeable future. We will all have to wait to see
how this situation is resolved but I know it has to be and
will be.
I believe I have more than used my allotted space so
I will see you at the meeting on January 16.
„
Take care and have a Happy New Year,
NVPCUG Computer News, January 2008, Page 4
Ron
Weird Windows Behavior
By Sandy Berger of compukiss.com, [email protected], www.compukiss.com
Obtained from APCUG with the author’s permission for
publication by APCUG member groups
the Start button. Then hold the mouse button down and
drag the toolbar back where it belongs.
Have you ever been completely dismayed by your
computer? Does it seem to do unusual things that you
can’t trace back to any of your actions? Well, you are
not alone. This happens to all computer users. In the
computer world, unusual things sometimes happen.
Here is a list of some weird computer behavior and how
to combat it.
Dramatic slowdown
Icons disappear
Right-click on any open area of the computer desktop,
then chose Arrange Icons By. If your icons have
accidently become hidden there will be no checkmark
in front of Show Desktop Icons. Just click that option
and your icons will reappear.
Unusual windows appear
Windows has a lot of keyboard shortcuts that can be
accidently accessed. For instance, when I started this
column, I wanted to hit the Shift key and the letter “h”
for the word Have. However, my finger slipped and I hit
the Ctrl key and the letter “h” instead. A window
popped up asking what I wanted to Find and Replace,
which is not at all what I intended. If this ever happens
you to you can usually just close the pop up window, but
occasionally you have to look a little further into what
happened. For instance, when working in Microsoft
Word, it you accidently hit Ctrl+N, a new window will
appear making it look like you just lost your entire
document. If you look closely you will be able to figure
out that all you have to do is close the new window and
the document you were working on will reappear.
If you can’t figure out what happened or you get
caught in a loop, restarting your computer will usually
bring you back to normal.
Lost toolbars
As noted before, an errant key press can cause a problem.
This time the culprit is one of the F keys. Accidently
pressing the F11 key can make the toolbars disappear.
This is often used as a feature when you want to show
something in what they call “full screen mode”. If this
happens to you, just press F11 again to make the
toolbars return.
The toolbar moves
Have you ever had the toolbar that usually appears on
the bottom of the screen show up on the side or top of
the screen? There is an easy way to get it back where it
belongs. Just place your cursor right next to, but not on,
A dramatic slowdown can mean that your hard disk is
filling up. The computer uses the hard disk as sort of a
scratch pad when it computes, so when your hard drive
starts to fill up, it can slow the computer down
significantly. Click on My Computer and highlight the
drive called Local Disk (C:). Look at the Details area to
see how much space is free. You should have at least
10% of your hard drive free. If you don’t, a hard drive
cleanup is in order. Delete unnecessary programs and
backup old files and photos to an external drive or CD
so you can delete them from the hard disk. You can use
the Disk Cleanup utility to empty the recycle bin and
delete unnecessary temporary files. To access it, click
on Start, choose All Programs, then click on System
Tools where you will find Disk Cleanup listed. It will
walk you through the cleanup. Once your hard disk has
more free space, you computer will perk up considerably.
You might also consider defragging your computer to
speed it up. The Disk Defragmenter utility is in the
System Tools area. Remember there are other things
like viruses and spyware that can also slow down your
computer.
No sound
Sometimes the sound gets muted by mistake. Look at
the taskbar at bottom of the screen. In the right hand
side you will see a small icon that looks like a speaker.
If it has a red X on it, the sound has been muted. Click
on the icon, then click to remove the checkmark in front
of the word Mute. If you don’t see this icon, go to the
Control Panel and choose Sounds or Sounds and Audio
Devices where you will find a place to uncheck the
Mute option. Many laptops and some desktops also
have a volume button on the keyboard which you can
use to mute and unmute the speaker.
Mouse shutters
If your mouse is hard to control or acting erratic, it may
need a cleaning. An optical mouse with a flat bottom
just needs a cleaning with a damp cloth. If your mouse
has a roller ball on the bottom, remove the ball and clean
the rollers inside the mouse with a Q-tip soaked with
isopropyl alcohol.
Hope this gets you through some of those weird
Windows moments in your life.
„
This article has been provided to APCUG by the author solely
for publication by APCUG member groups. All other uses
require the permission of the author (see e-mail address above).
NVPCUG Computer News, January 2008, Page 5
The New, the Best, and the Worst
First Appeared in the October 2007 Issue of the P-SEE Urgent Newsletter for the
Southwestern Indiana Personal Computer User Group
Collected by Pim Borman, Webmaster, SW Indiana PC Users Group, Inc., http://
swipcug.apcug.org/, [email protected]
Obtained from APCUG with the author’s permission for
publication by APCUG member groups.
Mobile Supercomputers
Ever since Compaq
designed a “portable”
version of the old IBM
PC there has been a trend
to make computers easier
to carry around. Soon
there were laptops, then notebooks, and by now some are
cellphone add-ins. But what if you need more computer
power than a desktop can provide?
Large enterprises depend on computerized data centers
that support the various administrative aspects of the
business and support a network of desktop computers.
Those data centers are typical arranged in bulky stacks of
servers and memory banks, located in air conditioned
rooms to keep them from overheating. Such expensive
data centers are typically custom-built, take months to
construct, occupy expensive real estate in office buildings,
and are as immobile as the Empire State Building.
Sun Microsystems has come up with a (more) mobile
version of the typical database center by putting all the
hardware in a standard 20-foot shipping container. It has
up to 250 servers with seven terabytes of active memory
(what we usually call RAM I guess) and up to 2 petabytes
(2 million gigabytes) of storage. It can support 10,000
desktop users. The individual servers use Sun’s proprietary
8-core Niagara chips that are not only fast but also at 70 W
per chip use a lot less power than common server chips.
Because of the standard construction, such a center can
be much more quickly built and delivered at a fraction of
the cost of a custom data center. It can be parked in a
parking lot or basement of an office building or moved to
a disaster zone, battlefield or third world aid center.
Rumors have it that Google is interested for their everexpanding data storage needs.
Of course, there are still some minor problems. Air
blown across the electronics boxes has to be cooled with
heat exchangers requiring 60 gallons of water per minute
that may have to be recycled through external coolers. It
will take a sizable, dedicated fiber optics cable for data
input and output, and a big wall outlet with a super
extension cord to power it all. And don’t forget the nerdy
teenager to program it all.
The Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) will be
the first end-user to get a Project Blackbox portable data
center from Sun Microsystems. The 20-foot shipping
container (which will be painted white, not black) will sit on
a concrete pad behind the computer building with hookups
to power, a 10-gigabit network connection and a chiller
located on an adjacent pad. It will allow the SLAC to expand
its computing capacity even though its existing data center
has maxed out its power and cooling.” (From Scientific
American, with additional details from the Internet)
Super Jigsaws
If you like jigsaw puzzles as well as computers you may
have tried some computer versions of jigsaw puzzles. In
my limited experience they were primitive and
unsatisfactory, but I may not have looked long enough.
Bertram Nicolay of the Fraunhofer Institute for
Production Systems and Design Technology and his
colleagues have greatly improved the state of the art.
When the Berlin Wall came down and East Germany was
to be reunited with the West, the East’s State Security
Service was in a panic to destroy mounds of secret,
incriminating documents in a hurry. Available shredding
machines weren’t up to the task, so they tore up some 45
million documents by hand. The resulting 600 million
pieces of paper are stored in 16,250 bags. To piece the
fragments back together would take 30 persons an estimated
600-800 years. Computers to the rescue!
First all the pieces have to be scanned, on both sides, a
gigantic task, made possible by technology developed by
a daughter company of Bertelsmann, AG. Then the pieces
are presorted, based on color and texture of the paper and
ink. The scientists have developed algorithms to speed up
the matching of edges, and the original documents are
reconstituted one piece at a time.
Subsequent work now makes it also possible to
reconstitute documents that have been shredded by
machine. That task is much more difficult, since all the
edges are identical. But already, for Germany’s Tax
Authority, a bag full of shredded documents has been
successfully reconstructed. (From The Economist, 9/
8/07, with thanks to Louis Ritz. See also
http://www.ipk.fraunhofer.de/pr/
pressekonferenz)
NVPCUG Computer News, January 2008, Page 6
Amazon
Recently I was called upon
to edit this newsletter, a seemingly simple task since it only
consists of 8 Xeroxed pages, mostly text in a 2-column
format. Using OpenOffice Writer, but with no experience
in page layout, I found the task harder than expected. The
formatting clearly had a mind of its own, the help files did
not help, and it is a wonder that I finally cobbled something
together that looked OK.
In order to be prepared for the next time this might
happen, I visited Amazon to look for a helpful book.
Surprisingly, there was not a great deal to choose from, but
one book stood out as the best-looking choice. The
OpenOffice.org 2 Guidebook by Solveig Haugland
received rave reviews from 9 reviewers. It was also pricey,
at $5999, but at the bottom of the listing Amazon provided
a link to “2 used & new available from $3600.” Clicking on
that link led to an offer of the book, in new condition, for
$3600. The choice was easy and I ordered the “used” book.
Amazon sent me the usual confirmation, but the following
morning I received another note, from the author, Solveig
Haugland, thanking me for my order and she was shipping
the book the same day. Because the book is self-published,
the author is free to sell her books directly at lower cost
than the advertised store price. Anyway, a great way to
save $24! More about the merits of the book in a
forthcoming newsletter.
Burj Dubai Babel Babble
Reading about the tallest tower at 2625
feet now under construction, the Burj
Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, makes
me think of that earlier venture, the Tower
of Babel, also in the Middle East, but a
few thousand years ago. As you may
remember, that project came to grief
because the contractors spoke different
languages. Now we have computers, of
course, who keep in touch wirelessly.
Let’s hope they all use the same operating
system, regularly updated and
patched, with protection against
viruses and rootkits!
Google
Google generates personal profiles of its users, based on
the many ways they use its services. It uses the profiles to
target ads based on individual preferences and interests.
The ads are unobtrusive so you may hardly notice them.
But if you are reading a message in Google mail it is
interesting to pay attention to the ads shown on the side,
clearly related to keywords in the message that Google is
reading over your shoulder.
After Google-mailing the comment about the Dubai
tower (above) to myself, including BCC to some
correspondents, the message came back with the following
“sponsored links” in the margin (hypertext links omitted):
• Ocean Front Condos $118k, 2 - bedrooms or 3bedrooms Ocean Front, 55 mins fm Panama City
• Charlotte NC new condos. The place to live in
Charlotte... All the amenities. Reserve today.
• San Jose Luxury Living. Downtown Residential
Tower Dramatic Views. Historic City Park
• Macintosh Computers $199. Refurbished G4 G5
Macs from $199 Powermacs iMacs eMacs at Low
Prices Teksale.com
• Trump Tower Chicago. View all available Trump
Tower Chicago condos with full details.
Makes you wonder about privacy, doesn’t it? I often use
Google to find answers to crossword puzzle clues. I
wonder what conclusions Google draws about me, based
on those off-the-wall questions?
© 2007 Willem F.H. Borman. This article may be
reproduced in its entirety only, including this statement,
by non-profit organizations in their member
publications, with mention of the author’s name and
the Southwestern Indiana PC Users Group, Inc.
This article has been provided to APCUG by the author solely
for publication by APCUG member groups. All other uses
require the permission of the author (see e-mail address above).
Clean A Keyboard
The only possible fix to a keyboard full of spilled
coffee or pop takes some time and work. If you act
quickly, you might be able to rescue the keyboard.
Power down the PC, detach the keyboard cable, and
flip the keyboard upside down to let the liquid drain
out. Dismantle the keyboard. Drain any residual fluid
and wipe the plastic pieces with ordinary dish soap
and water. Wash off the electronics by flushing the
keys and printed circuit board with a mix of
demineralized water and isopropyl alcohol. Allow
everything to dry; then, reassemble the keyboard,
reattach it to the PC, and see if it works. If trouble
develops with your keys, simply replace the keyboard.
Of course, if you don’t want to tinker with your
keyboard, new keyboards cost less than $30.
Reprinted with permission from Smart Computing.
Visit www.SmartComputing.com/Groups to
learn what Smart Computing can do for you and
your user group!
NVPCUG Computer News, January 2008, Page 7
Windows XP Power Management
By Lynn Page, Editor, Crystal River Users Group, Florida, www.crug.com,
[email protected]
Obtained from APCUG with the author’s permission for appear in the Turn off monitor and Turn off hard disks lists
publication by APCUG member groups.
on the Power Schemes tab. Change these settings by clicking
the arrow and clicking the
If you use a laptop you know
desired time.
the problem of running down
the battery before you finish
After tailoring a power
up. But configuring power
scheme click Save As and
management can also reduce
type a name to save your
electrical usage on your
personal scheme.
desktop computer.
Standby
Power Options
To automatically put the
By using Power Options, you
computer on standby set the
can reduce the power
time settings displayed in
consumption of your
System standby. To turn off
computer devices or the entire
your monitor before your
system. Choose a Windows
computer goes on standby,
power scheme or create your
select a time in Turn off
own. You can even adjust the
monitor. To turn off your hard
individual settings in a power
disk before your computer
scheme.
goes on standby, select a time
Control Panel Graphic - Performance and Maintenace Graphics
in Turn off hard disks.
Turn off your monitor and
hard disks automatically to save power.
If you’re using a laptop computer, you can specify one
Put the computer on standby when idle. While on standby, setting for battery power and a different one for AC power.
the system switches to a low-power state where devices,
On the Advanced tab, you can adjust how the power
like the monitor and hard disks, turn off and the computer buttons function. With a laptop/notebook computer, you
uses less power. When you use the computer again, it comes have settings for closing the lid of the computer and
out of standby quickly, and your desktop is restored exactly pressing the sleep button. To manually put your computer
as you left it. Standby doesn’t save to disk, so a power failure on standby on the Advanced tab, under When I press the
while on Standby can cause lose of unsaved data.
power button on my computer, click Standby. If you are
Put your computer in hibernation. The hibernate feature using a portable computer, click Standby under When I
saves everything in memory on disk, turns off the monitor close the lid of my portable computer.
and hard disk, and then turns off the computer. When
restarted the computer restores the desktop as you left it. It Hibernation
takes longer for the computer to come out of hibernation Hibernation is a state in which the computer shuts down to
save power but first saves everything in memory on the hard
than out of standby.
disk. When restarted computer, the desktop is restored.
Configure Power Management
To automatically put your computer into hibernation
To configure power management log on as an administrator, select the Hibernate tab, select the Enable hibernate support
open Control Panel from the Start menu and click check box, and click Apply. Then on the Power Schemes tab
Performance and Maintenance. Then click Power Options select a time period in System hibernates.
in the Performance and Maintenance box.
To manually put your computer into hibernation on the
In the Power Options Properties dialog box, select the Hibernate tab select the Enable hibernate support check
Power Schemes tab. A power Power Options Properties box. Click Start, and then Turn Off Computer. In the Turn
Graphic scheme is a predefined collection of power options. Off Computer dialog box, click Hibernate.
Select the power scheme that most closely matches how you
use your computer in the Power schemes drop down menu. Laptop Low Battery Warning
The power settings change depending on the power scheme Set Power Options to for a warning alarm when the level of
chosen.
battery reserve power falls below the levels defined as low
The power options available depend on the specific
hardware in your computer system. Preset time settings
Windows XP Power Management cont. on page 11
NVPCUG Computer News, January 2008, Page 8
Using Imaging Software For Backup
By Brian K. Lewis, Ph.D., Member of the Sarasota Personal Computer Users Group, Inc., FL,
www.spcug.org, [email protected]
Obtained from APCUG with the author’s permission for important point, especially if you want to clone your
publication by APCUG member groups.
drive to a new computer. More about that later.
There are many hard drive backup programs on the market
Since an image file contains a complete copy of your
that tell you that they can make an “image” of your hard hard drive it can be very useful in restoring individual
drive. This allows you to restore your programs and data in files. It can also be used to restore an entire hard drive in
case of a hard drive crash. They also will transfer everything case of a drive failure. There are several methods available
on your hard drive to a new drive. Among these backup for this process. Some image file programs allow you to
programs are well-known names such as Symantec Ghost, create a bootable disk (floppy or CD-ROM). When the
Acronis True Image, R-Drive Image, Image for Windows, computer is booted from this disk, it will install the image
Paragon Drive Backup and a host of free imaging file program and can then be used to restore all the files on
applications. In terms of making a complete backup of your the backup. This includes the operating system files. In
hard drive (operating system, applications and data), they other cases you have to first install the operating system
are very successful. However, what happens when your and then the image file program before you can restore the
hard drive crashes or you decide you want a new computer? rest of the files. In both cases, it is not necessary to
Will these applications solve the problem of restoring your reactivate Windows as changing the hard drive is not
applications and data quickly and easily? Let’s look at the enough of a change to cause Windows to demand that you
generic methods they use for these situations.
go through reactivation.
Basically each of these programs makes a “bit-map”
Microsoft instituted a copy protection process called
copy of your hard drive that is usually compressed and
“activation” with the release of Windows XP. This has
may be encrypted. This, I’m sure, is a statement that
been continued with Vista. The activation of Windows
needs some explanation. First, the words “bit-map.”
plays a very important role in any situation where
Everything stored on your hard drive is encoded in the
hardware changes are made to your computer.
binary computer language. This language is composed
of 1’s and 0’s only. This limitation is imposed by the
If you have a brand name system that you did not have to
electromagnetic character of hard drives as well as the
activate it only means that the manufacturer pre-activated
“pits and hills” of optical media. So a “bit” is one
it for you. In the activation process, a small file is placed
character, a one or a zero. A computer word is a “byte”
on your hard drive, and sent to Microsoft, that contains the
which is composed of eight “bits.” The imaging
information related to these ten items:
software is examining every bit on your hard drive and
• Display Adapter
copying it to the backup media. In order to save space,
• SCSI Adapter
the bit-map is compressed before it is written to the
• IDE Adapter (effectively the motherboard)
backup site. The method of compression varies with the
• Network Adapter (NIC) and its MAC Address
software used. Sometimes, the compressed file may be
written in a proprietary format that can be read only by
• RAM Amount Range (i.e., 0-64mb, 64-128mb, etc.)
the specific application that originated the backup. In
• Processor Type
other words, Ghost’s image file can’t be read by any
• Processor Serial Number
program other than Ghost.
• Hard Drive Device
So now we have a bit-map image of our hard drive on
• Hard Drive Volume Serial Number (VSN)
whatever we chose for the backup media. In my case I
• CD-ROM / CD-RW / DVD-ROM
use external hard drives. If I were to store the backup
on a partition of my original drive and that drive failed - This file contains a number based on the identification of
I would lose the backup. So store it somewhere else if
the first item in every category. The file also contains the
you ever expect to need it.
complete product key for your Windows installation.
Every time your computer boots, this hardware is checked
What does this image file contain? It has the entire
contents of your hard drive. That means operating system to determine if any changes have occurred. You can make
changes to your hardware. However, “substantial” changes
files, including the Windows Registry, all of your
will result in a notice that you have to reactivate Windows.
software applications and all of your data. It also has all
of the hardware driver information that Windows needs
The XPinfo software, whose name is shown at the top of
that relates to your hardware. That includes drivers for
Figure 1, can read your activation file and compare it to
your motherboard and processor, network card, USB
ports, printers, scanners, video cams, etc. This is a very
Imaging Software for Backups cont. on page 10
NVPCUG Computer News, January 2008, Page 9
Imaging Software for Backups cont. from page 9
the reported hardware. The report for my computer shows
that none of the hardware has changed since the last
activation. Also, in the figure you will notice that there are
eight checked items out of ten. Should the figure drop
below seven unchanged or never installed items, Windows
would have to be reactivated. The interesting point is that
the NIC or internet card carries three votes. Changing this
card to a motherboard with a built-in NIC might put you
on the way to reactivating Windows.
Suppose that you decide to move your hard drive to a
new computer or you want to “clone” your old drive to
a new drive in a new computer. Your hardware will
have made a substantial change and it will be necessary
for you reactivate Windows. But that is not the only
catch in this situation. If you restore the entire image
file to the new computer or simply clone the hard drive,
the Windows Registry from your old computer will not
have the correct hardware information. It may or may
not boot. If it does boot you will receive warning after
warning that files are missing. There will also be
requests for driver disks for the new hardware. So when
you move to a new computer, the only files in your
image backup that can be used without difficulty are the
data files. Even the applications that were running
successfully on your old computer will really have to be
reinstalled on the new computer. This is because the
Registry not only stores hardware information, it also
has all the information on the location of all files
required to run your applications. Although you might
think that the .exe file is all that is needed to run an
application, you would be surprised at the number of
subsidiary files that are required. Sometime, do a search
of your computer for files with a .dll suffix. These are
the library files that are required by applications
running under Windows. These files are also shared by
many different applications at the same time. There are
hundreds of library files on any Windows computer.
They make up a large part of the more than 2 GB of
files in the Windows folder.
As long as you use the image file backup to restore files
or hard drives in your original computer, it will work
beautifully. The problems arise when you want to upgrade
to a new system. Then, the image file is less useful.
„
•Dr. Lewis is a former university &
medical school professor. He has
been working with personal
computers for more than thirty
years.
This article has been provided to
APCUG by the author solely for
publication by APCUG member groups.
All other uses require the permission of
the author (see e-mail address above).
Windows XP Power Management cont. from page 8
or critical. You can easily change the battery level at which
the alarm or message is activated.
To set a warning alarm select the Alarms tab in Power
Options. Specify the settings in Low battery alarm and
Critical battery alarm by dragging the sliders. Then click
Alarm Action to select the type of alarm notification. „
This article has been provided to APCUG by the author solely
for publication by APCUG member groups. All other uses
require the permission of the author (see e-mail address above).
Power Options Graphics
Practice Your Burning With
Rewriteable Discs
No question, CD- and DVD-rewriteables are more
expensive than the write-once variety. But a package
of three or five can help you avoid making unusable
CDs (known as coasters). Write the data or music files
from the CD or DVD to the rewriteable disc, test it,
and then write it to the write-once disc.
Reprinted with permission from Smart Computing. Visit
www.SmartComputing.com/Groups to learn what
Smart Computing can do for you and your user group!
NVPCUG Computer News, January 2008, Page 10
DVD Insider – DRM
Sometimes the Bad Guys Win for All the Wrong Reasons
By Andy Marken, Marken Communications, www.markencom.com, [email protected]
Great…another riot on the Web !
We need to note that creative people need to be paid for
“On the one hand information wants to be expensive,
their work…writers, artists, animators, actors, makeup
because it’s valuable. The right information in the
artists, best boys, post production folks, underwriters and
right place just changes your life. On the other hand,
yes even studio execs.
information wants to be free, because the cost of
No pay…no play !
getting it out is getting lower and lower all the time.
The problem is the world doesn’t want content protection.
So you have these two fighting each other.”
Consumers don’t want content protection.
— Steward Brand, 1st Hackers’ Conference, 1984
Hell…they aren’t too happy people are buying each
other off to keep two blue
Hollywood loves sequels.
formats alive!
They love proving they
All they want to do is watch
know what the consumer/
the content when they
viewer wants.
want…where
they
But they really had to reach
want…how they want.
when they heard some
AACS had a better idea.
Doom9er yahoos had not only
You want a copy to watch
hacked their precious AACS
on your TV…buy it.
DRM (Digital Rights
Want a copy to take to your
Management) code.
cabin…buy it.
The audacity!
Want a copy to shut the
Nothing to do but reach into
kids while you drive to visit
the archives and take a page Figure 1 - Calling All Cops – The minute the AACS lawyers
gramma…buy it.
from
one
of
the got the word that their DRM had been not only cracked but
Want a copy in the family
posted, they sprang into efficient action…they sued
immortals…Mack Sennett.
room and bedroom…buy it.
Yep…nothing to do but call everyone! Source – Keystone Studios Archives
Tellywood knew a gentler,
in the Keystone Cops…that’ll
kinder security solution wasn’t the answer.
teach them.
Tried that with CSS (Content Scrambling System).
Had they hacked it, passed it around amongst themselves
Sucker was busted before the ink was dry!
the industry wouldn’t
Slow Acceptance of
consider a change.
New
But what good is it to hack
something that is hack-proof
So what if DVD took off like
if no one knows about it?
a rocket!
They had to share their
The technology shot past
every PC/CE technology in
bragging rights.
consumer sales…ever.
And they did with postings
Even with multiple
at Diggs, on t-shirts and
formats, people snapped up
everywhere they could find
players and burners.
the opportunity to expose
Discs flew onto the shelves
themselves.
and
out the doors like crazy.
You know that wasn’t going
And
a huge underground
to sit well with Tellywood’s
pirate
industry
grew…trust
guardians !
us, these guys know pirates!
Obtained from APCUG with the author’s permission for
publication by APCUG member groups.
Take It Down Dude
They sent in their best armed
with cease & desist letters to
anyone, everyone who posted
the elegant 32 digit code.
Figure 2 - The Fine Art of Pirate Tracking – Hollywood has
spared no time or expense in tracking their loss of
content. They know precisely how quickly ripped off
copies will be in the hands of the buying public. True most
of it comes from India and China but still there are those
pesky hackers who have to learn a lesson…the hard way!
Source – Walt Disney
NVPCUG Computer News, January 2008, Page 11
DVD Insider-DRM cont.on
page 12
DVD Insider-DRM cont. from page 11
Figure 3 - Yeah But – The music and motion picture
industries speak in whispers about the fact that DRM
isn’t working. Problem is they haven’t figured out a way
to simplify the process, procedure and still ensure they
are properly compensated. That’s still a work in progress.
Source – JupiterResearch, BBC
HighDef was their opportunity to get back in control.
The new DRM was impressive…
Ok so maybe industry officials – music, theater – knew
it was a bad idea but still…
Ok so the real pirates weren’t worried after all they go
to the source to get their content…keep their mouths
shut…keep a low profile…make money.
Doom 9ers?
They have no lives.
They want bragging rights.
The fact that the 32-character sequence is useless is of no
consequence.
After all you need to write a complete program around
it to start copying HD movie discs. The key only unlocks
movies made before April.
So who benefits?
Aaahhh… AACS lawyers.
Oh yeah and the bragging rights folks.
Download Practicality
They could also post the movies on the Web instead of
making us rip our own copies but...
A 2-hour HD DVD download over DSL takes about 3 days.
Cable 18-19 hours.
Fiber about 2.5 hours.
Maybe that’s why video downloads are still “a work in
progress”
Will it happen?
Sure.
But most consumers don’t want the hassle.
All folks want to do is watch their real world escape
movies...or their educational shows…or their documentaries.
They don’t want to jump around these beautiful new
discs to watch all the outtakes…director’s comments…interactive
games…online updates!
They want to … watch the movie !!!
Figure 4 - Consumer Preference – While digital downloads
of movies gets a lot of attention as the solution for
entertainment of tomorrow, consumers just haven’t bought
into the idea yet…even early adopters. It will probably be
one of the viable options in a couple of years but until then
people still want their discs. Source – CEA
People don’t really want to be technology troubleshooters
on top of their regular job…even if their regular job is IT.
So what was so great about the Doom9ers efforts and the
AACS Keystone Cops response?
The kids showed the industry – content creators,
hardware/software folks – that the money-making AACS
DRM was little better than CSS.
Fortunately the blue technology hasn’t taken off like the
proverbial rocket ship so the industry can make a course
correction without ticking off millions of folks who laid
out big bucks for their players and movie libraries.
Won’t as long as there are super-cheap DVD players and
a gazillion of decent quality movies on DVD to
buy…rent…rip !
Better Solutions
Figure 5 - Entertain Me – The entertainment options are
out there but regardless of age more than 50% of
consumers will either go to the theater or pick up a disc
to watch at home. Downloads? All in due time. Source –
Parks Associates
One of the best – and most expensive – solutions is
watermarking (see Wikipedia).
When you buy or rent the content it is coded to you.
If it finds it’s way “into the channels”…busted!
NVPCUG Computer News, January 2008, Page 12
Need a copy to take with you in the car to shut the kids
up or to take with you on your business flight…done.
There is even a formula for secure copy electronic distribution
when the pipes beef up or you become a lot more patient.
Gee…it works for the consumer…and the content folks !
Consumers Aren’t Evil
Figure 6 - Thanks Doom9ers – While hackers show their
prowess by cracking the new AACS DRM, consumers are
still content to watch their movies on current DVDs. Despite
the hype and noise, it will take years for HD DVD and BD to
become the viewing solution of choice. Source – CEA
There are a lot of technical and cost issues involved so
it will probably never emerge from the lab.
Shades of Valenti
Since the DVD CCA (Copy Control Assn) lost in court
they figured what the H*** they’ll do what governments’
do…legislate !
Cute little amendment for “their” license would say
your stuff – movie or game – wouldn’t work unless there
was a disc in the system…sheess !!!
We were so certain Jack Valenti had been put to rest. We
now believe in unholy spirits…exorcism anyone?
The best solution and the one Sennett and his people should
ultimately agree is good is Mandatory Managed Copy.
Don’t get your undies in a bunch…it only sounds restrictive.
With Managed Copy you buy the disc and watch it.
Want to play it on your TV top player…done.
Send it around the house to watch everywhere…done.
Of course the AACS will say that all of those devious
consumers are going to knock-off copies and give them to
their friends…neighbors…family members…
Some might.
But my gawd most folks never made a copy of their VHS
tapes or DVDs.
You may like them but take the time, trouble, expense to
rip 2-3 copies?
Nope!
Oh sure Doom9ers and a few acne-infected kids might to
make a few bucks.
But have you looked at the cost of the burners?
The media?
Expensive at least for another year!
Doom9ers will still say it’s restrictive.
Remember…consumer content wants to be free!
But they don’t care a monkey’s armpit about the consumer.
Or the content owner.
All they want to do is brag about something…anything!
Consumers?
All they want to do is buy, rent their movies and watch
them where they want…how they want…when they want.
Doom9 Benefit
By muddying the waters with their hacking expertise
before a gazillion HighDef players and discs were in the
market, Doom9ers made Tellywood and the PC/CE
industry rethink their solution.
Managed Copy suddenly looks very appealing.
A helluva lot more appealing than having to carry your
one disc with you everywhere!
If and when the gentler, kinder solution is implemented,
will the AACS lawyers still have a job?
They can turn on the pirates who quietly follow content
producers who make the big bucks selling bootleg discs on
the sidewalks, street corners and thru the mail.
They can tighten up their internal security and make it
more difficult to get to the content.
This article has been provided to APCUG by the author solely
for publication by APCUG member groups. All other uses
require the permission of the author (see e-mail address above).
Remove A Startup Program In Vista
Figure 7 - Protecting The Flight – By developing an efficient,
effective and consumer-friendly DRM solution, Hollywood
will be able to turn their attention to more important things
like keeping pirates from boarding early.
If a program starts when Windows boots and you can’t
figure out how to stop it, open Control Panel and
double-click Windows Defender. Next, open the Tools
menu, select Software Explorer, click the name of the
rogue program, and click Remove to remove the
program from the startup queue.
Reprinted with permission from Smart Computing. Visit
www.SmartComputing.com/Groups to learn what Smart
Computing can do for you and your user group!
NVPCUG Computer News, January 2008, Page 13
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NVPCUG Computer News, January 2008, Page 14
Using a Restore Point
By Larry Bothe, an honorary member of the Fox Valley PC Association, IL and an associate
member of CAEUG, IL, www.fvpca.org, www.caeug.net, [email protected]
Obtained from APCUG with the
author’s permission for publication
by APCUG member groups.
Recently, while in a big hurry to
get a lot of work done before
leaving on vacation, my
computer started up with a blank
screen. No mouse, no images, no
text, no error message, no
nothing. I had no choice but to
just shut it down using the on/off
switch. I then tried to start it
again, this time watching very
carefully to see what happened
(I was getting coffee the first
time). It went through the BIOS
start (black & white screens with
text) OK; then gave a brief color
flash of the Windows XP logo,
then nothing. The hard drive
activity light was flashing so I
knew the machine was trying. I
was encouraged by the Windows startup sounds, but never
got an image.
I recalled that the evening before I had received a
warning from my computer security software that some
program was trying to make a change to something it
thought was a danger. I was in a hurry and I OK’d it
without reading it thoroughly. Thinking back I decided
that perhaps I had OK’d a bad thing that resulted in
changing some setting in the operating system
(Windows XP Home). I then crossed my fingers and
tried starting the machine in Safe Mode. You do that by
turning on the machine and then repeatedly pushing the
F8 key until you get the black & white screen that lets
you select the startup mode. Using the arrow keys I
selected Safe Mode and pressed Enter. I lucked out and
it started in Safe Mode.
Once in Safe Mode I decided to restore the system
settings to an earlier point in time when everything
worked correctly. In Windows XP every time you shut
down your computer it takes a snapshot of your
operating system settings and saves them into what is
called a restore point. If you later install a program or
get attacked by a virus that alters your system settings
such that the machine no longer runs right you can in
theory go back to some prior point in time when the
machine ran correctly and restore the settings to what
they were then. That’s called a restore point. Note that
you have to uninstall the offending program or get rid
of the virus
before you attempt a restore. Otherwise the program or
virus will just alter your settings once again. Also note
that going back to some prior restore point will not
delete any files you created and saved after the restore
point you select. You won’t lose any data. However, I
had never tried this before so didn’t quite know what to
expect.
In order to get into the routine you do Start,
Programs, Accessories, System Tools, System Restore.
After clicking System Restore you select Restore my
computer to an earlier time, and then follow the prompts.
The routine lets you choose a date you want to restore to.
I had to think about that. It ran well the previous day, but
that was the day the settings were changed. I chose to go
back 2 days to be sure I was well before the bad thing
occurred. I finished the restore procedure and the
machine restarted perfectly. It turned out to be a really
good use of the restore point feature in XP.
I mentioned above that you must first get rid of
whatever changed your settings in the first place before
you do the restore. If you don’t then you risk that it will
simply alter your settings once again and you’ll be right
back where you were with a sick machine. In my haste
to fix my computer I didn’t take that corrective action,
so when it restarted the malware once again tried to
NVPCUG Computer News, January 2008, Page 15
Restore Point cont. on page 16
Restore Point cont. from page 15
alter my settings. And once again my security software
caught it and presented a warning. Being a bit smarter
this time I clicked on Deny instead of Allow (OK). After
the machine came up running properly I used my
security software (Zone Alarm Security Suite) to do a
full system scan for any malicious software. It did indeed
find one bad thing (in addition to several spyware items),
which I told it to remove. I guess that was it because I
have had no more trouble. No, I can’t tell you exactly
what the offending malicious software was because I
didn’t write it down, and I have slept since then.
I learned several lessons from this little episode. A
good suite of computer security orograms is worth
every penny you pay for it. Even cautious computer
users like me can get caught up in a virus problem.
When your security software presents a warning you
need to pay attention; I won’t be so quick to click on
Allow in the future. Finally, the System Restore feature
in Windows XP is worth its weight in owl feathers. It is
easy to use and very effective under the right
circumstances.
„
Larry Bothe is an associate member of CAEUG and an
honorary member of FVPCA. He was President of
CAEUG for a time back in the 90’s when he lived in the
Chicago area. Larry presently resides in southern
Indiana where he is retired from the plastics industry
and currently teaches people to fly airplanes. He also
performs pilot examinations for the FAA.
This article has been provided to APCUG by the author solely
for publication by APCUG member groups. All other uses
require the permission of the author (see e-mail address above).
Discover Your Driver Status
When you encounter difficulty with a device, one of the first
things you should do is confirm that you have the most recent
driver installed. You can do this by comparing the driver
version on your system with the most recent driver version
available from the manufacturer’s Web site. The most recent
drivers are usually available for download under the Support,
Drivers, or Downloads section of a company’s site. Most
companies will list the version number with the download so
you can easily see which version the company offers. You
may also want to check the company’s News and Support
pages for any notices about bugs in the company’s drivers.
Occasionally, a driver may conflict with certain computer
components or installed software. When this happens, a
manufacturer usually provides a workaround on its Web site
or offers an earlier driver for download so you can revert to
an earlier driver that works with your system. The company
should provide installation instructions for such anomalies.
Windows 9x/Me. To check a driver in Win9x/Me, you’ll use
the Device Manager. Click the Start menu, Settings, and
Control Panel. In the Control Panel window, double-click
the System icon. This will open the System Properties dialog
box. Click the Device Manager tab. Make sure the View
Devices By Type radio button is selected and then browse the
list of device types for the type of device you want to check.
Click the plus sign (+) next to the device type and then
double-click the device you want to check. For example, if
you want to check the installed driver for your mouse, click
the plus sign next to Mouse to expand the view. Then double-
Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group
P.O. Box 2866
Napa, California 94558-0286
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click your mouse from the list under Mouse. This will open
a Properties window for the device. Click the Driver tab. You
can check the version and the issue date for the driver by
looking for the Driver Date and Driver Version. Windows
2000/XP. It is fairly straightforward to identify a driver in
Win2000/XP. Click the Start menu, Settings, and Control
Panel. WinXP offers two views of the Control Panel. The
default is Category View, and Classic View is also available.
If you use Win2000 or WinXP in Classic View, double-click
System. If you use WinXP in Category View, click Printers
And Other Hardware and then click System under the See
Also section on the left side of the screen. In the System
Properties dialog box, click the Hardware tab and the Device
Manager button. You’ll notice that there is one extra step
compared to opening the Device Manager in Win9x/Me. In
Win2000/XP, the Device Manager doesn’t have its own tab
but is instead accessible through a button on the Hardware
tab. In the resulting Device Manager window, click the View
menu and make sure that Devices By Type is selected. If not,
click Devices By Type to switch to the proper view. Click the
plus sign next to one of the listed device types to view an
expanded list of devices. Then double-click the device for
which you’d like to check the driver. In the resulting Properties
dialog box for the device, click the Driver tab. You’ll see the
Driver Date and Driver Version listed.
Reprinted with permission from Smart Computing. Visit
www.SmartComputing.com/Groups to learn what Smart
Computing can do for you and your user group!
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