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your computer help questions

Your Computer Questions Answered

Find answers to everyday computer related problems, along with top tips that allow you to get more from your computer.

Just click on the Questions or Tips below for the full details to appear. Clicking again, or on another question, will automatically close the previous details.

How do I reposition Toolbars to suit me?

A toolbar is a collection of buttons or icons, usually displayed across the top of the screen, that represents the different tasks you can do within a program. For example, in Microsoft Internet Explorer, there is a toolbar for the standard Internet Explorer command buttons, one for entering an Internet address, and one for quick links you can set up.

When you open a toolbar, it will appear in a particular spot on the screen. If you want to change the location of the toolbar you can move it by dragging it to the new location. You can also resize the toolbar by dragging its edge. If you find a toolbar that cannot be moved or resized, the toolbar may be locked.

To unlock a toolbar:
1. Make sure you have only one window open for the program. (You can look at the taskbar at the bottom of your screen to verify this.) Then, right-click the toolbar.
2. If Lock the Toolbars appears on the shortcut menu and is selected (a check mark appears to the left of it), click Lock the Toolbars to unlock the toolbar. If you see Lock the Toolbars, but no check mark appears to the left of it, the toolbar is already unlocked.
Note: If Lock the Toolbars does not appear on the shortcut menu, you may not be able to move or resize the toolbar.
If you are able move the toolbar, once youíve moved the toolbar to the location where you want it, select Lock the Toolbars so that it isnít inadvertently moved. To make sure the change is permanent, lock the toolbar, exit the program, and then reopen it. The toolbar should be locked.

How can I add a program to the Start Menu?

Right click on any .exe file in Explorer, My Computer, Desktop and select 'Pin to Start Menu'. The program will then become added to the Start Menu, above the separator line. To remove it, click the file on the Start Menu and select 'Unpin from Start Menu'.

How do I add a Shortcut to my Desktop?

You can create shortcuts on your desktop that enable you to open your favourite files and folders by simply double-clicking your mouse.
To add a shortcut from a file to your desktop:
1. Browse through your My Documents folder, and find the file that you want to create a shortcut to.
2. Right-click the file that you want to be able to open from your desktop, click Send To, and then click Desktop.
Youíll see the shortcut icon appear on your desktop.
Note: The shortcut icon has an arrow in the lower-left corner to indicate that itís a shortcut rather than the actual file. You can open a shortcut just like you would any other file by double-clicking it. However, if you delete the shortcut, you wonít remove the file itself.

How do I make my folders private?

• Open My Computer
• Double-click the drive where Windows is installed (usually drive (C:), unless you have more than one drive on your computer).
• If the contents of the drive are hidden, under System Tasks, click Show the contents of this drive.
• Double-click the Documents and Settings folder.
• Double-click your user folder.
• Right-click any folder in your user profile, and then click Properties.
• On the Sharing tab, select the Make this folder private so that only I have access to it check box.
Note: To open My Computer, click Start, and then click My Computer. This option is only available for folders included in your user profile. Folders in your user profile include My Documents and its subfolders, Desktop, Start Menu, Cookies, and Favorites. If you do not make these folders private, they are available to everyone who uses your computer. When you make a folder private, all of its subfolders are private as well. For example, when you make My Documents private, you also make My Music and My Pictures private. When you share a folder, you also share all of its subfolders unless you make them private. You cannot make your folders private if your drive is not formatted as NTFS.

Keyboard Shortcuts to work faster

When speed counts, the keyboard is still king. Almost all the actions and commands you can perform with a mouse you can perform faster using combinations of keys on your keyboard. These simple keyboard shortcuts can get you where you want to go faster than several clicks of a mouse. You'll work faster on spreadsheets and similar documents, too, because you won't lose your place switching back and forth between mouse and keys.

Here are some of the most useful keyboard shortcuts:
Copy. CTRL+C
Cut. CTRL+X
Paste. CTRL+V
Undo. CTRL+Z
Delete. DELETE
Delete selected item permanently without placing the item in the Recycle Bin. SHIFT+DELETE
Copy selected item. CTRL while dragging an item
Create shortcut to selected item. CTRL+SHIFT while dragging an item
Rename selected item. F2
Move the insertion point to the beginning of the next word. CTRL+RIGHT ARROW
Move the insertion point to the beginning of the previous word. CTRL+LEFT ARROW
Move the insertion point to the beginning of the next paragraph. CTRL+DOWN ARROW
Move the insertion point to the beginning of the previous paragraph. CTRL+UP ARROW
Highlight a block of text. CTRL+SHIFT with any of the arrow keys
Select more than one item in a window or on the desktop, or select text within a document. SHIFT with any of the arrow keys
Select all. CTRL+A
Search for a file or folder. F3
View properties for the selected item. ALT+ENTER
Close the active item, or quit the active program. ALT+F4
Opens the shortcut menu for the active window. ALT+SPACEBAR
Close the active document in programs that allow you to have multiple documents open simultaneously. CTRL+F4
Switch between open items. ALT+TAB
Cycle through items in the order they were opened. ALT+ESC
Cycle through screen elements in a window or on the desktop. F6
Display the Address bar list in My Computer or Windows Explorer. F4
Display the shortcut menu for the selected item. SHIFT+F10
Display the System menu for the active window. ALT+SPACEBAR
Display the Start menu. CTRL+ESC
Display the corresponding menu. ALT+Underlined letter in a menu name
Carry out the corresponding command. Underlined letter in a command name on an open menu
Activate the menu bar in the active program. F10
Open the next menu to the right, or open a submenu. RIGHT ARROW
Open the next menu to the left, or close a submenu. LEFT ARROW
Refresh the active window. F5
View the folder one level up in My Computer or Windows Explorer. BACKSPACE
Cancel the current task. ESC
SHIFT when you insert a CD into the CD-ROM drive Prevent the CD from automatically playing.
Use these keyboard shortcuts for dialog boxes:
Move forward through tabs. CTRL+TAB
Move backward through tabs. CTRL+SHIFT+TAB
Move forward through options. TAB
Move backward through options. SHIFT+TAB
Carry out the corresponding command or select the corresponding option. ALT+Underlined letter
Carry out the command for the active option or button. ENTER
Select or clear the check box if the active option is a check box. SPACEBAR
Select a button if the active option is a group of option buttons. Arrow keys
Display Help. F1
Display the items in the active list. F4
Open a folder one level up if a folder is selected in the Save As or Open dialog box. BACKSPACE .

Virtual Memory Low

Donít worry too much about this alert message if you see it on screen. You probably have several files open at once, or are working with a large image or some other memory-hungry action. Just close down a few programs. If the message appears too regularly, you may need to add some extra RAM.

Erase entries from Recent Documents menu

In Windows 98, right-click the task bar at the bottom of the screen, select Properties, Start Menu Programs and click on the Clear button in the Documents menu box. In XP, access the Properties Ė Start Menu tab as before, but then youíll need to click on Customise then the Advanced tab and Clear list.

How to take a Snapshot of your screen

Itís not always convenient or practical to print whatís on your screen. To capture everything thatís on your current screen Ė hit the Prnt Scrn button. That put an image of whatever is on your screen onto a clipboard. You canít see the clipboard, so you need to now paste (Ctrl-V) the image into a graphics program. An easy way to do this is to launch Paint (Windows, Programs, Accessories, Paint). Just launch the program, Ctrl-V to paste the image (the Paint area will automatically adjust to accommodate the size of your image) and Save the file.

Ctrl-Alt Delete

This is a useful facility. When your computer gets in a tizzy, sometimes you need to take action. Holding down the three buttons Ė Ctrl, Alt and Delete Ė will launch a small box which shows the current active programs. To stop a program, and possibly regain control of your PC, simply select a program and press the End Task button which will close the program down. Sometimes, you have to repeat the process. (Leave Explorer, Systray and Rnaapp alone).

Deleted files being retained within your system?

Yes itís true. When you Delete a file, it is not permenantly removed Ė it can be retrieved by you or somebody else in the future Ė if you or they know how. The file isnít deleted, itís simply tagged as erased. So if you want to ensure a file is obliterated once and for all, you need to make more of an effort. You could consider the free Eraser product from www.heidi.ie

Is your PC on a go slow?

Think carefully before being persuaded to part with money on some web site that promises to Ďspeed up your pcí in exchange for a £15/£20 payment. Typically, these type of services (a) donít work (b) can actually slow down your PC and (c) can be a nightmare to uninstall when you want to get rid of them. If your PC is running a bit slowly, the most likely answer to your problem (assuming it hasnít ground to a halt) is that you need more RAM.