Questions and Answers

Thanks so much for writing in - keep your enquiries coming! For this column, I'm answering computer-based questions. Next time, I'll be tackling laptop, and wireless queries, so fill in the form and hit 'send' to ask questions on these and I'll try and cover most points. Just fill out the form here.
Please back up your computer before following advice from anyone! When you send your queries in, please give as much information about your set-up as possible!
Dear LJ, I've just bought a USB external hard drive & a USB hub to handle all my devices. The external hard drive causes the computer to hang - could it be it’s plugged into the hub & not the main USB ports? The hub is rated to USB 2.0. Greivsy, Edinburgh Dear Greivsy, Some devices don't just exchange information through USB ports; they also draw power from them. It sounds like your removable hard disk needs more juice than it's getting – chances are, your computer is hanging (i.e. everything stops) because your external device runs out of breath 'mid-sentence' and your PC is 'hanging around' waiting for a response. First, try plugging your external hard drive directly into your computer's main USB port – these are powered anyway, and it’s a good way to test that your hard drive is working fine with your PC. If your external device works in this layout, then one solution could be to get a powered USB hub, or get a mains adaptor for your existing USB hub (check for a hole with a voltage marking: make sure to use the correct adaptor). Using a mains-powered USB hub will give high-drain devices the power they need to operate effectively. You may also wish to power your removable hard drive from the mains.
Dear LJ, I copied all my digital photos from the C: drive onto Adobe Photoshop Album and then deleted the photos from the C: drive. How can I retrieve the photos? Elvira, Luton Dear Elvira, Don’t worry; we can try a few things before your photos are proclaimed to be lost forever. 1. Have you checked your recycle bin? Use your mouse to double click on this icon in your desktop: - your photos may be in here. If they are, then (in Windows XP) select the pictures and click 'Restore All Items', which is the second option down in the left hand box. Alternatively, right click your mouse on the picture and choose 'Restore items'. If this works, your pictures should hopefully re-appear on your C: drive. By the way, after you’ve done this, in Adobe Photoshop Album, you can click on the File menu, and select 'Reconnect All Missing Files' which may also help. 2. If you still have pictures on your memory cards, but you've deleted them, then there is a program called 'Image Recall' which recovers deleted or lost photos and videos on removable media. Have a look here 3. If all else fails, your remaining option is expensive and/or more complex, and means taking your computer to a file recovery company, or buying some advanced software recovery programs. I copy valuable files on to something like a DVD or a removable hard drive as a back up. I learned this the hard way. Elvira, I hope you get your pictures back – let me know how it goes.
Dear LJ, My computer runs Vista and when I try to use Windows Live Messenger it says that it is closing messenger down because of DEP. Can you please help? Gerald, Leicester Dear Gerald, Having looked at the messenger site, this is known as a 'DEP Flash Crash': Apparently, you need to uninstall your old Flash Player (Click Start, Control Panel, Uninstall a Program, select Flash Player). Close Windows Live messenger and any other programs that use Flash, then go to Adobe's Flash Player Site to download and install version 9, which should address this issue. Sources:!5B410F7FD930829E!23982.entry
Dear LJ, I have 2 laptops running XP Home and XP Pro. My wireless router is hard-wired to my 3rd desktop PC in the loft. Both laptops connect through it to the internet. I'd like to transfer files between laptops without having to email them. The solutions on Google etc seem to be for experts only which I certainly am not! Please can you help? Kev, Wetherby Dear Kev, I used to email myself files as well! I've listed a few solutions for you below. You mention that you have a wireless router – that's going to be useful for solution 2. Solution 1 Recipe: 1x Trust USB Data Transfer Cable This works by allowing two computers connected together to see each other without freaking out. You can then freely drag and drop your files and folders between your laptops (or desktops). Install the transfer software on both laptops, and connect them together using the cable – this works across 2000 and XP, so should work well with your set-up. This is also a great cost-effective way to transfer large amounts of data directly across from one laptop to another, and also works with desktops. Solution 2 Recipe: Your Wireless Router, 1x Shared Storage drive If you find you're using the same data across both laptops, you might want something called a NAS or shared-storage drive, which connects to your wireless router via an ethernet cable (this plugs in to the back of the router, like another PC). A NAS is a storage disk which you can access from all your computers on your network. At home, I can drag and drop files either from my hardwired PC, or wirelessly through my laptop to and from my shared storage drive as if it's a communal filing cabinet. Kev, you could also access the files from your 3rd PC in the loft and then print them out on your loft printer. Sources:
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