Tips

Here are some helpful tips:

 

WHEN I AM BROWSING THE INTERNET I AM NOT GETTING ANY PICTURES TO SHOW UP, WHAT DO I DO?

There are many reasons why pictures may not load correctly but let’s see if we can narrow it down a bit. First, web browsers can let you opt not to display images. In Internet Explorer you would click Tools, Internet Options, once there open the Advanced Tab and find the Multimedia section. Make sure that Show Pictures is selected and click OK. If you use Firefox, click Tools, Options, go to Content and make sure Load Images is selected and then click OK. If everything checks out there it may be an ad-blocking or content filtering software issue. If you have any of this type of software installed try adjusting the settings or disabling the software to see if your pictures come back. If that doesn’t work, it may be due to the fact that the image file is large and may just take awhile to download. If you see a red X that means that the picture is not available. If all of that checks out it may be due to the fact that the computer storing the image is busy. If the site is experiencing heavy traffic, you will have problems accessing pictures. Try back at a later time to see if the pictures come back.

MY COMPUTER IS RUNNING SLOW, DO I HAVE ENOUGH MEMORY IN MY COMPUTER?

Memory is a pretty common area to upgrade during the lifespan of your computer. Windows XP needs a minimum of 256MB to run decently. It is a memory hog! Most people run more than one program at a time. So having at least 512MB would be recommended to allow you to run several programs at once. Make sure you get the right type of RAM for your system. There is not just one certain type that will work for all computers. Consult your motherboard manual, the manufacturer’s website, or bring your computer by the store and we can check for you.

HOW CAN MY FAVORITES IN INTERNET EXPLORER BE ALPHABETIZED?

I have got many lumps of folders scattered among many individual links. I want to have all the folders alphabetized in one section and links in another. Internet Explorer simply adds new Favorites to the end of the list. Over time, you can easily end up with a mess. However, the mess is easy to clean up in Internet Explorer 5 and 6. To start, open Internet Explorer. Click Favorites in the main menu. Right click any Favorite in the list and select Sort by Name. Internet Explorer will automatically alphabetize the Favorites listing folders first. Internet Explorer does not automatically sort Favorites inside folders. To alphabetize a list within a folder, first click Favorites from the main menu. Point to a folder until it shows its contents. Then right-click anything in the folders list. Select Sort by Name. You will have to alphabetize the contents of each folder individually. This method only works from Internet Explorer’s main menu. The Favorites button, which shows your list in a sidebar does not offer the Sort by Name option. The same trick works on the All Programs list in Windows Start Menu. It is handy if your program list takes up most of the screen as mine does.

MY FLASH DRIVE IS NO LONGER RECOGNIZED BY WINDOWS, WHAT DO I DO?

There may be several reasons why a flash drive goes unrecognized by Windows. It is difficult to get to the root of the problem without knowing what else is plugged into your computer. Of course there is always the possibility that software may be to blame as well. You can force Windows to try to recognize your flash drive. Start by connecting the flash drive to the computer, click start, control panel, double click on system, select the Hardware tab and them click on the Device Manager Tab. In the list of devices look for an entry labeled Other Devices. If your flash drive is unrecognizable it should be listed there. If so, right click on it and then select scan for hardware changes. Windows XP has built in drivers for USB 2.0. While that covers nearly all USB devices, it is not perfect. If Windows still does not recognize your flash drive check the manufacturer’s website for drivers or updates for your model and make sure they work with the version of Windows you are running. Sometimes Windows may give your flash drive a drive letter that is already been used. To find and solve this problem click Start and then click on Run. In the box type diskmgmt.msc and then click OK. You will see a list of drives including your hard drive and CD or DVD drive. Your flash drive will also show in the list when it is plugged in. Right click on the flash drive and select change drive letter and paths and then click the Change button. You will see a small drop down menu that allows you to pick a new letter for the flash drive. You can select from nearly every letter of the alphabet. After you have chosen a drive letter click OK. Then click OK on the next window as well. If this also fails then you may want to try to use the drive on a different computer. This will tell you if you have a problem with your USB port on your computer or if the flash drive is bad.

WHAT IS THE SAFEST WAY TO SET UP AN EMAIL ADDRESS FOR MY KIDS?

Children learn technology early. It is up to parents to protect them. Email is an activity that everyone should learn but kids may prove easy prey for spam messages. A supervised account is a good way to start children with email. Begin by creating an account or even sharing your own. Either way you maintain control. You can also set up a Hotmail account. You and your child can choose an address and a password together. Then secure the account with filters. In the Hotmail Options menu select Mail, Click Junk Email Protection, click Junk Email Filter, and select Exclusive and click OK. The setting filters out messages from anyone who is not a contact. Next click Contacts in the top menu and then click New. Enter your name and email address and then click Save. Repeat the process for trusted family members and friends. By default filtered spam is stored in a junk folder. Your child might open and explore the folder out of curiosity, to prevent that set the account to delete spam automatically. Next time your kids ask for their own email address you have the steps to get it done.

I HAVE SONGS ON MY COMPUTER THAT I WOULD LIKE TO PASS ON TO A FAMILY MEMBER TO PUT ON THEIR IPOD, CAN I BURN THEM TO DISC AS MP3S AND SEND THEM TO HER?

The answer is yes, but you may be violating copyright law. You can use programs in Windows XP to burn to the disc. This works best if the songs are already in MP3 format, but you can also send them in Windows Media format. When you make the disc burn the files as data. If you burn them as music they will be much larger. They will take up a lot of space on the disc as well as the iPod. When your family member receives the disc they can copy the files directly into iTunes. If you send in Windows Media format, iTunes will convert them automatically to a format that the iPod can play. If you send MP3’s, iTunes will send them in that format to the iPod, which can read MP3’s.

WHEN MY CHILD LEAVES THE HOUSE THEY LEAVE THE COMPUTER RUNNING WITH AN AWAY MESSAGE ON AOL INSTANT MESSENGER. ARE WE LEAVING OURSELVES OPEN TO ATTACKS OR OTHER POSSIBLE PROBLEMS?

The AOL Instant Messenger faces the same problems that come with any internet connection. To keep the computer protected it should be equipped with a firewall, anti-virus, and anti-spyware programs. Like other programs AOL Messenger occasionally faces security problems. However, instant messages generally cannot be used to force malicious software onto a computer. Most attacks require human cooperation. That typically means the victim must click a link or download attachments from AOL’ chat window. Because AOL’s messenger is becoming so popular some viruses use it to spread themselves. For example some can send inviting messages and malicious links using the buddy list. Others can rewrite a profile or away message to include harmful links. If your computer is infected you can unknowingly be attacking others. Personally I don’t see a real advantage to leaving AOL’s messenger logged in. Logging back on takes only a minute or so and if you are logged off it will inform your buddies of that fact.

IS IT POSSIBLE FOR MY USB FLASH DRIVE TO SPREAD VIRUSES?

It is possible to spread a computer virus via flash drives, also called thumb drives. Computer viruses are programs. The must be purposely planned and coded like other programs. Unlinke most programs viruses are designed specifically to be annoying or harmful. Some are made to copy themselves into parts of other programs. Others can send copies of themselves through email. The good news is you are able to scan your flash drive just like you would scan your computer’s hard drive for viruses. Usually as long as you keep your virus definitions up to date and run a scan of your hard drive at least once a month you will keep your computer virus free. This means that if you are copying data to a flash drive you will also not have to worry about viruses there either. The problem is plugging your flash drive into a computer that is not keeping virus definitions up to date or may not have up to date anti-virus protection at all. You leave yourself open to attack as you bring the infected drive back to your own computer. So you must be careful when passing your data back and forth between computers or you may end up in the repair shop. As always, if you have computer problems that you aren’t able to fix yourself you are welcome to bring it into the shop us to take a look at it for you.

WHEN I WENT TO DOWNLOAD A PROGRAM YOU RECOMMENDED IT ASKED ME TO SELECT A MIRROR. WHAT IS A MIRROR?

Mirrors are computers from which you can download software. Sometimes a mirror is the spitting image of the main computer. More commonly all they have in common is a particular program that is available for download. Let’s say Joe Software writes a program that everyone will love and he is giving that program away. Joe goes to a local freeware distributor and his program turns out to be a hit, so many people have downloaded it that one computer could not handle all of the downloads. That’s not a problem as the distributor has set up several computers around the world. These computers are mirrors. When people come to Joe’s site for the program they click on one of the links. All else being equal you can get a faster download from a mirror near your home. If you find one is downloading the program very slowly, you can just choose another mirror site.

I HAVE AN HP PHOTOSMART 2610 AND SINCE I UPGRADED TO WINDOWS VISTA THE HP DIRECTOR PROGRAM NO LONGER WORKS, WHAT DO I DO?

Internet Explorer 7 has created some problems for people who are trying to use their old HP printer on Windows Vista. Some web sites used code specific to Internet Explorer 6 and programs relying on Internet Explorer will be affected. HP Director was the software included with HP printers from 2002 to 2004. It was replaced by HP Solution Center. HP Director is not a stand-alone program. It runs within Internet Explorer. According to HP, HP Director screens may not render properly in Internet Explorer 7. HP recently released an update to address this problem. To scan for the update, click Start, All Programs, HP, and HP Software Update. The correct update will be listed as “Critical update to prevent or resolve and HP Director issue.” Otherwise you can download the update from the HP web site. On the company’s home page click the Software and Driver Downloads link. Then enter your printer’s model number. There is no guarantee of an update for every model. For anyone still without an available update, HP recommends a work around. All you have to do is minimize and restore the HP Director window.

I HAVE TWO EXTERNAL DISK DRIVES THAT I USE FOR BACKUPS, USB FLASH DRIVES AND COMPACT FLASH CARDS FOR MY CAMERA. SHOULD I RUN CHECK DISK AND DISK DEFRAGMENTER ON THESE MEDIA TYPES?

Assuming that your drives show up in My Computer you should be able to run these utilities on them. Whether or not you want to is another matter. Drives become fragmented when you write a file and then resave over it. I see no reason why defragmentation should hurt your external hard drives. Same goes for check disk, but before defragmenting do an analysis of the drive it may be unnecessary. To do that click Start, My Computer, right-click the drive and click Properties. Select the Tools tab and click Defragment Now. Highlight the drive and click Analyze. Even if it says no defragmentation is necessary you can still do it. Running check disk occasionally also won’t hurt anything. You can access this off the Tools tab as before. Click check now and select all options, follow any instructions. The flash drives and the camera card is another issue. A flash drive is generally good for 10000 reads and writes so over time they will wear out. So doing extra work on these drives may cause problems. If you really think there is a problem with your USB flash drive I would copy the files off and then perform a quick format of the drive. To do this go to My Computer and right-click on the drive. Click Format, check quick format, and then click start. The quick format will leave the files on the drive but it would break the links to them from the disk index. That tells the disk they aren’t really there. When you reinstall the files they will group together in the same area on the drive. I wouldn’t worry about the Compact Flash cards as they should be formatted in your camera.

In most cases, all of your data is included in a single Outlook.pst file. That includes your Inbox, Sent Items, Contacts and all other folders. Again in most cases your Contacts folder is also your address book. Microsoft has a few ways to backup your Outlook data. The easiest way is its Personal Folders Backup tool. You can download this tool from Microsoft and it works with Outlook 2000, 2002, and 2003. Click on this link to download this program. When you use this tool you can back up to your hard drive, a network server or a shared file on a network. If you back up to the hard drive you would be able to move that backup file to a USB flash drive. You could also burn that file to a CD or DVD. Either way you could then remove that backup from the premises which would protect it from theft, fire, or whatever. You can also export your contacts only. To export Contacts, click File, Import and Export, select Export to a File and click Next. Click Comma Separated Values and click Next. Follow the wizard but pay attention to the folder to which Contacts is exported to. Once the file is exported, you can copy it to a Flash Drive or burn to disc.

I DON'T WANT TO LOSE MY PICTURES, IS IT OK TO PUT MY DIGITAL CAMERA THROUGH AIRPORT SECURITY?

X-rays were a problem with traditional film cameras as they can damage the physical film. Often times on film cameras, images were fogged by X-rays so you always made sure that you checked film cameras by hand. Digital gear does not pose the same problems. You can pass flash memory through airport screeners without any problem. You don’t have to worry about losing those digital photos with X-Rays.

IF I WERE TO USE AN INTERNET BASED EMAIL ACCOUNT LIKE YAHOO! OR HOTMAIL WILL THAT HELP ME STOP GETTING VIRUSES THROUGH EMAIL?

Well you cannot be too careful anymore. There are an incredible number of threats out there. If just one gets through it could be lights out for your data. As you suspected, you are safer with the web based email systems. Both Yahoo! and Hotmail scan email for viruses. Other web mail systems probably offer that service too. If you are running antivirus software on your own computer you would be doubly protected. Of course, you have no control over that web based antivirus program. So don’t assume that it is always up to date. You wouldn’t want to let your own antivirus software lapse. The best thing about web based email programs is the ability to access it anywhere from any computer hooked up to the internet.

WHEN I OPEN INTERNET EXPLORER THE WINDOW DOESN'T FILL THE SCREEN, HOW CAN I FIX THIS?

When you close Internet Explorer it will remember the screen size. The next time you open Internet Explorer the window is not maximized. This can happen in many programs, but there is an easy solution. You just need to adjust a few things. The shortcuts on your Program menu are set to open a program in a Normal window. This is smaller than a maximized window that fills the screen. All you have to do is right click a shortcut and select Properties. On the Shortcut tab, find the drop-down box labeled Run. Select Maximized from the list and click Apply and OK. Problem solved!

MY DAUGHTER SPILLED LIQUID ON HER LAPTOP. THE COMPUTER TURNS ON BUT THERE IS NO DISPLAY, WHAT DO I DO?

This is bad news, real bad. You can try taking it to a service center; at least maybe the hard drive can be saved. In an event like this, you should disconnect the power and take out the battery. You should dry as much of the outside of the laptop as possible. If you have removable drive bays they should also come out. Prop your laptop upside down to let any moisture drain out. Imagine propping it up like an A. You can use canned air to blow out some of the water. You can also try using a hair dryer to dry it up a bit. Be careful though as you could melt some of the plastic inside. Only after it is dry should you turn it back on. That is why purchasing that accidental damage warranty could easily pay for itself in no time.

LIKE MOST PEOPLE YOU PROBABLY HAVE A LOT OF DATA STORED ON YOUR CELL PHONE. THAT INCLUDES PHOTOS AND PHONE NUMBERS, YOU MAY ALSO HAVE NOTES AND A CALENDAR ON YOUR PHONE. SO WHAT HAPPENS IF YOUR PHONE IS STOLEN OR LOST?

Have you taken steps to protect the data you have on your phone? If not, now is the time to do so. BitPim is a free program that will put your mind at ease. The program is designed to work only with CDMA cell phones. You can use it to back up the data from your cell phone. It will also help you enter phone numbers into your phone book. BitPim works with many popular phones from LG, Samsung, Motorola, and others. The site lists compatible phones. For more information or to download the program please visit www.bitpim.org

I HAVE A SMALL MICROWAVE IN MY OFFICE AND IT IS LOCATED WITHIN 5 FEET OF MY COMPUTER, WILL IT INTERFERE OR DAMAGE MY COMPUTER?

My Ethernet hub is also near the microwave will this affect my network at all? You probably will not have a problem. But your question is interesting. There are few things as electronically dirty as microwaves. In certain circumstances they can be a real problem. The risk in this case is relatively low. Electromagnetic interference always has the potential to cause problems but the computer case should block most of this. Plus 5 feet is a fair distance away. You could have problems with data arriving on the internet. Those files arrive in pieces or packets. If any packets are messed up, they have to be retransmitted. So if you find the internet has slowed the microwave could be the problem. I would keep the microwave away from where your internet connection comes in at. I don’t think you will have a problem with the hub. The greater issue might be the cabling. Long cable runs tend to act as antennas. If there is interference, the network system will resend the data. That will continue until the transmitted files are complete. From your standpoint it will look like a big slowdown. Microwaves can be a severe problem for wireless systems. Microwaves and most wireless systems run on the 2.4 gigahertz frequency. Putting microwaves close to such wireless systems is just begging for trouble. Other appliances like cordless phones and baby monitors also can cause problems. I would go ahead and use the microwave. If it causes problems you can always move it.

I DROPPED MY SMART PHONE IN THE TOILET, WHAT CAN I DO TO DRY IT OUT?

You can save a phone that has been for a swim. But you have to act quickly because corrosion moves fast!! First thing you want to do, after fishing it out of the toilet, is to remove the battery. Pat it dry and set it aside. Pat the phone dry too. Remove the sim card if your phone has one. Sim cards are found on phones that support GSM technology. This is going to sound a little crazy, but immerse your phone in a container of uncooked rice overnight. This will help to pull the moisture from the device. You could also use an airtight bag with silica packs. Those are the things that protect goods from moisture. Silica sucks up moisture. You probably could find silica packs at camera stores. You could also use a hair dryer, low heat won’t hurt the phone but you wouldn’t want to heat the battery. The toilet water is city or private well water, as such it is going to have stuff in it that could settle on fine circuitry. Tolerances on circuit boards are tiny and contaminants can cause huge problems. You might displace the contaminants with distilled water or alcohol. I’d prefer the latter since it evaporates quickly and cleanly. It will also displace water. Hardware stores have denatured alcohol which is used to clean electronic parts. Be sure that it is denatured with methanol. If you buy rubbing alcohol be sure it is 91%. The lower the percentage the more water is used as filler. I would go about three days before trying to use the phone again, just to be sure. Fast action is imperative in this situation. Get the phone out quickly because the longer it is in the toilet the more likely the water will penetrate. If your efforts don’t go as well as planned you could just view this as an opportunity to upgrade your phone.

I RECENTLY BOUGHT A LARGE HIGH-DEFINITION LCD TV. I WOULD LIKE THE TELEVISION TO DOUBLE AS A COMPUTER MONITOR. I WANT TO HOOK MY COMPUTER SO I CAN WATCH SLIDE SHOWS AND VIDEOS AS WELL AS SURFING THE WEB. HOW DO I DO THIS?

The temptation to use a large screen TV as a monitor may be too great to resist. Unfortunately though connecting a computer to a TV isn’t as easy as it should be. On the plus side your HDTV probably has a lot of different connections. Hopefully you can match them to your video card. Let’s go through the connections in descending order of quality: HDMI, DVI, component, s-video, VGA and composite. Your computer’s video card probably doesn’t have component or composite connections, but it will have a VGA connection and possibly DVI or s-video. I would try to use an HDMI or DVI connection. DVI connections are the most popular digital connection for video cards. HDMI is the most popular for televisions. This may seem to present a problem but it really doesn’t. HDMI and DVI are compatible. You can buy a cord and use an adapter at one end. Or you may find a cord that will make the connection without an adapter. The only thing you really lose going from DVI to HDMI is sound. DVI cannot carry sound, but HDMI can. You’ll have to connect your computer to your sound system. You’ll need to make some adjustments to the display settings in your computer. Your television will have a native resolution. This is the resolution at which it was designed to display images. You’ll get the best quality picture if you match the computer’s resolution to the television. Consult the TV’s manual to find the native resolution. The television’s native resolution will probably be too high for your video card to display. But the video card may allow you to create custom resolutions. Custom resolutions procedures will vary from video card to video card, consult your manual. If your video card won’t do custom resolutions you have two options. Live with it, or buy a new video card. Make sure that the new card offers custom resolutions.

THE PEOPLE WHO SOLD ME MY COMPUTER INSTALLED A PIRATED COPY OF WINDOWS XP. I WANT TO MAKE IT LEGITIMATE. CAN I INSTALL A LEGAL VERSION WITHOUT DELETING MY STUFF? OR CAN I LOAD XP PRO ON A NEW HARD DRIVE AND USE THE SECOND FOR MY DATA AND PROGRAMS?

Your first idea is probably not going to work. I would be worried about damaging or wiping out the data at that point. It is usually best to install Windows after formatting the hard drive. You will want to copy your data off first as everything will be wiped out when you reformat. Your second question would probably be a better option as you can easily use two hard drives. The new drive should be setup as the primary drive; the old one would be the secondary. Once both drives are installed, put Windows on the new primary drive. You can use the second drive for your applications and files. The pirated edition of Windows can then be deleted. You could also use the second drive externally. External drives are really handy for backups. To do that, you will need to move your applications and files to the primary drive and then buy an external drive enclosure to put your old hard drive into. You may not need to purchase Windows. Microsoft can sometimes help piracy victims or you may be able to buy a product key number. With that you can make your installation legitimate. Microsoft has more information on their site, to read more click here. If you are running operating systems older than Windows XP you will pretty much be out of luck trying to get a hold of a new copy. Microsoft has stopped support for Windows 95, 98, and Millennium. You would have to see if your computer is big enough to handle Windows XP or Windows Vista and if not looking to replace that old computer with something bigger.

MY CELLULAR PHONE IS EQUIPPED WITH BLUETOOTH. I HAVE TRIED TO CONNECT IT TO MY COMPUTER TO TRANSFER PICTURES AND HAVE HAD NO SUCCESS. I HAVE ALSO TRIED TO UNSUCCESSFULLY TRANSFER PICTURES TO MY FRIEND'S PHONE. BOTH MY COMUTER AND MY FRIEND'S PHONE HAVE BLUETOOTH, WHAT AM I DOING WRONG?

For many people Bluetooth can be tricky. That is because Bluetooth requires that you pair gadgets. First let’s explain Bluetooth. It is a wireless networking standard similar to Wi-Fi. Bluetooth is used for personal area networking. That’s a fancy way of saying it connects to gadgets that are nearby. It is most commonly used in cell phones and wireless headsets. People who look like they are talking to themselves probably are using a Bluetooth headset. You will also find Bluetooth in wireless keyboards and mice. There are different types of Bluetooth and ranges vary. Some gadgets can range as far as 300 feet; most gadgets have a range of about 32 feet. To make Bluetooth gadgets communicate you need to make a connection. This involves establishing a shared PIN. Paring will be different from gadget to gadget but I can give a general rundown. First turn on your Bluetooth and allow the phone to be discovered by other gadgets. Likewise the other gadget must be discoverable. Consult the manual for your device for more information. If you want to pair a wireless handset with your phone it will probably have a paring mode, this will require you to hold down a button on the headset. For security reasons you should only make your phone discoverable when paring and you should only do Bluetooth paring in a private place. If you do it in public you could pair with someone else’s phone or computer. Next you need to add the other gadget with which you are connecting. On your phone you should get an option to add device or setup device. From the list select the gadget you wish to connect. When you select it you will be prompted for a passkey. Most devices will have a fixed passkey from the manufacturer and this information should be in the manual. Once this paring is done you won’t have to do this every time you use your headset. To transfer pictures or data via Bluetooth you will have to initiate a connection. You do this by selecting or opening the item. You should then have a menu option that will allow you to send the item via Bluetooth. For the transfer to work the other gadget will need to accept the incoming data, a message will pop up on its screen. It sounds like a lot of trouble, but once you transfer files a few times it will become old hat.

MY DAD IS 79 YEARS OLD, I WANT TO MAKE IT EASIER FOR HIM TO READ THINGS ON THE COMPUTER. WHAT CAN I DO?

Just because someone has vision difficulties doesn’t mean that they cannot use a computer. Many websites are not designed with accessibility in mind; in fact Windows itself is not very accessible. You do have a number of options. First, you could buy a screen magnifier. It fits over the screen and magnifies text and pictures. Another option is a screen reader. These programs actually read the screen aloud. They work with both Windows and web browsers. Screen readers are expensive, be prepared to spend around $1000. You can also change text size in Windows. Right-click on a blank spot on the desktop and select Properties. Open the Appearance tab, under Font Size select Extra Large or Large and then click Apply. The screen will go dim for a minute and when it returns click OK. Windows has other accessibility options and Microsoft has a guide to them on it website, click here to view that page. When your Dad is surfing the web, he can make text bigger. You can press the Ctrl key and use the mouse’s scroll wheel to increase or decrease the size. This trick also works on some sites in Internet Explorer and in Microsoft Word and Excel. Furthermore, you can select a more readable font and font size for web pages. This works with both Internet Explorer and Firefox. And it overrides the fonts and sized established on a given web page. In Internet Explorer click on Tools, Internet Options. On the General tab, click Accessibility. Select Ignore font styles on Web pages and Ignore font sizes specified on web pages. Additionally you can have IE ignore colors. When you are done click OK. Now click Fonts. Select a font that is easy to read, click OK, and OK again. Next you will need to specify a font size. To do this click View, Text Size. Pick out a font size that is easy to read. Opera is a free web browser that can read web pages aloud. In Opera, click on Tools, Preferences and open the Advanced tab. Click on Voice to get the options for voice browsing.

MY BROADBAND INTERNET CONNECTION IS MOVING SLOWLY, IS THERE ANYTHING I CAN DO TO SPEED THINGS UP?

There is a way in Windows XP Professional, not Home, to increase your broadband speed. By default, Windows reserves some of your connection’s bandwidth. But you can change that easily. Click, Start, Run. Type gpedit.msc and click OK. The Group Policy Box will open. You will see Local Computer Policy. Click the plus sign to expand the Administrative Templates section. Next, click the plus sign to expand the network section. Highlight QoS Packet Scheduler. In the right side of the box, double-click Limit Reservable Bandwidth. Check Enabled. Change Bandwidth limit to 0 percent. Click Apply and OK. When you restart your computer, the effect should be immediate. Enjoy your blazing broadband speeds!

I SUDDENLY LOST THE ICON THAT IS AT THE BEGINNING OF THE WEB ADDRESS ON THE ADDRESS LINE IN MY FAVORITES LIST, IT IS NOW JUST A GENERIC INTERNET EXPLORER ICON. HOW DO I GET BACK THE ORIGINAL ICON?

Some sites include a favorites icon, sometimes called favicons. Modern web browsers save and display them in Favorites or bookmark lists. Favicons come in handy when you are sifting through a large collection of links. Some sites do not offer favicons. To make this work, an icon file must be developed for the site when the web page is being created. If you delete your temporary internet files your favicons will disappear. Deleting your temp files is a good habit to get into, but to get the favicon back you have to delete and resave the site as a Favorite. This process will have to be completed each time you delete temporary internet files. If you use Firefox you will not have this drawback, your favicons will stay put even after you delete temporary files.

DOES THIS SOUND FAMILIAR? MOM, CAN I DOWNLOAD LIMEWIRE? I CAN USE IT TO SHARE FILES WITH BILLY. LIMEWIRE IS SAFE AND LEGAL. ALL THE KIDS SAY SO. THE QUESTION IS SHOULD I LET MY KIDS DOWNLOAD LIMEWIRE?

LimeWire is a peer-to-peer file sharing program. Hardcore geeks consider it obsolete, but it is still heavily used by kids. Strictly speaking, LimeWire is safe and legal. In practice, it often is neither. In the beginning, Napster was the first big peer-to-peer program. It allowed people all over the world to share their recordings. The file sharing was eventually stopped by court order, but it gave millions access to a vast library of music. Other programs followed Napster; they hid behind the Supreme Court’s Betamax ruling of the 1980’s. That ruling said that Sony Betamax could not be outlawed simply because it could be used to record copyrighted material. The recording industry also took file sharing programs to the Supreme Court. The court held that the Sony ruling did not necessarily apply to them. If the program encouraged theft, it said, they could be sued. The industry subsequently went after the file sharing operations. Most folded, but LimeWire chose to fight. The industry and LimeWire are currently embroiled in a lawsuit. So how is LimeWire used? It certainly has legal uses. For instance, say you develop software as a hobby. You want to share it with the world. Such programs are called freeware or open source. There actually are people who do this and LimeWire and other peer to peer programs facilitate such sharing. Your child may be one to do this, but there are probably specialized sites better suited for this activity. The truth is, children use peer to peer programs to swap copyrighted material. It is a dangerous hobby. The music industry still aggressively trolls for music sharers. You could get a letter out of the blue and many parents have paid thousands to settle such cases. There are terrific dangers involved in sharing files in this manner. That is especially true when naïve children are involved. Peer-to-Peer programs such as LimeWire set up sharing folders on your computer. Anything in that folder can be downloaded by anyone anywhere. You can put the Sharing folder wherever you want. You can, and people have, shared everything on your hard drive. Would you offer your tax returns to the world? Your child could do that. And then there is the spyware. This could be the biggest threat of all. An attacker could easily induce your child to download a Trojan. The spyware could be disguised as a popular song. If that Trojan were enabled you could end up losing your identity. Your bank account could be emptied or your computer could be turned into a slow moving hunk of metal and plastic. If your child uses LimeWire, keep a close eye on it. The potential downsides are many. Children often exhibit poor judgment, but that is part of being a child. Personally I would not let the program be installed on my computer. If you want to download music, there are a lot of legal ways to do it and you don’t have to open yourself up to a lot of other problems.