Computer Guide

A good freePDF creator?
by George Skarbek - 22 August 2006

To look at the e-book in PDF format, Computer Guide, based on these columns click here


Q: Do you have an opinion on free PDF writers? Is one outstandingly better than the rest? Or is Adobe so much better that I should bite the bullet and pay the dollars?

A: My suggestion is that you try some of the free or low costs PDF writers before purchasing the full Adobe product unless you require some special features that only it provides. In many cases the free programs are quite satisfactory for normal small business use.

Three good free products that should be considered are: PDF995 from , PDF Creator from  and CutePDF from Both of these products have been used over an extensive period without any problems.

Another solution is to install Open Office from: This free program is very large and is the equivalent of Microsoft Office. It can read Word, Excel and PowerPoint files with a very high compatibility, with the exception of macros. Having read in your Word file you can then create a PDF file.

Many other “free” PDF creators insert a footnote or watermark containing an ad for their product but those above do not.  Although these free PDF should be quite adequate for most newsletters, anyone needing more features should consider a low cost program, pdfWriter from:  where a trial version is available.

Q: No matter how much I delete or transfer to Drive D, my Drive C remains the same with only 700 MB available, and frequent messages that I am running out of space. I am using XP Pro SP2. I am not sure what I am doing wrong especially as I don’t seem to have much on the computer to have used so much space. Do you have any suggestions?

A: I have some suggestions that may help but as you have not stated how large your drive is I can only make some general suggestions.

Without obtaining additional software there is only a relatively primitive way to find out what is consuming your disk space. Click on Start, Search, All Files and folders and for Size select files larger than 1 MB and ensure that you select to search the hidden files and folders. When the search is complete ensure that your View is set to Detail and sort on Size by clicking on the Size heading and then concentrate on the large items. There may be log files that are several GB in size. You can have several fonts that are over 20 MB in size and never used.

For frequent use in determining where the disk space is consumed you could consider the excellent shareware program, Treesize from

Other quick areas to consider in cleaning junk files are: Search for *.TMP files. They are usually in C:\Documents and Settings\Your Name\Local Settings\Temp. Generally all files and sub-folders can be deleted in there. Note that this is a hidden folder. When using Windows Explorer click on Tools, Folder Options, View and click on Show Hidden Files and Folder.

Temporary Internet files by default can consume. Reduce the space allocated from Internet Explorer, Tools, Internet options, Temporary Internet files, Settings and alter the space to 10 MB then delete all the temporary files.   

A good program to achieve most of the above is CleanUp from:

Moving the swapfile will also help considerably. This is done from Control Panel, System, Advanced, Performance, Settings, Advanced, Virtual Memory and after making the changes, make sure that you click on Set for both drives and then ignore the warning. After a reboot the very large swapfile will be on the other partition

Q: I have a dictionary CD that is required to be in the CD drive, when running the dictionary program. What software do you recommend so that I could copy the whole contents of the CD onto my hard drive and let the system think somehow its spinning in the CD drive, without the need of the CD physically in the CD drive.

A: There are very many free, shareware and commercial products that can do this. See:,fid,19360,00.asp
for a small selection of these programs.

Q: I am running Windows XP which offers a means of storing digital images. Somewhere along the way I downloaded Adobe Photoshop Starter Edition 3.0. This has now taken over the storage of images completely. Can I get rid of this programme without deleting any images it has already taken over?

A: Yes, you certainly can. Click on Start, Settings, Control Panel and select Add / Remove programs and remove it from there. Your images will not be deleted. I have found the same aggressive takeover attempt of this program and have uninstalled it from my computer.

It may be possible that that the program that becomes associated with some images is not the one you want so you will have to change the association. To re-associate a file type, do the following:
·    Highlight the wanted file with a mouse left click
·    Right click on the selected file
·    Select Open With then select Choose a Program
·    Select the required program from the list and check the “Always open with this program”


To look at the e-book in PDF format, Computer Guide, based on these columns click here