Computer Guide

There's no place like home - I just wish it was over at eBay
by George Skarbek -7 February 2006

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Q. Could you please tell me how to set the Home Page? That is, I want to make Ebay my home page but all I have succeeded in doing is setting it as my Desktop Background. Which I didn't want to do.

A. When you have the page that you require on the screen, Ebay in your case, click on Tools, Internet Options and the General tab, and then in the Home Page section click Use Current to make IE open there in the future.

Now for a tip to help you save disk space and improve performance. When you have the Internet Options window open click on the Settings button and see how much space is allocated to your temporary Internet files. If you have a large disk, the space can be huge. I have seen more than 3 GB allocated to these in some cases. My recommendation is that you do not need more than 10 MB, which is enough to hold several thousand of these small files. Also, you should Delete Files to clear the existing large cache.

Deleting these files will initially affect your performance while browsing the web, but the effect on performance will be barely noticeable depending on your surfing habits and how often you visit the same sites. IE will load, say, a logo or banner GIF file from the hard disk rather than downloading it again from the web if you revisit the same site. IE uses this method to improve performance because it can retrieve images from the hard disk while downloading text from the website.

Having 200,000 files or more will not make IE go faster because it will have to search all these files to try to find a match, and I believe about 10 MB for these files is all that is required. If you are using Windows XP with multiple users, each user will have the default disk space allocated.

Q. A friend has scanned some pages from a workshop manual that he then emailed to me as an attachment. When clicking on the glider clip in Outlook Express, his attachments appear as six separate JPG Files. Each one is a scan of a page from the manual. However, when I click on any of these I get the message . . . "This file does not have a program associated with it for performing this action. Create an association in the Folder options of Control Panel." When I went into Control Panel/Folder Options, I did not know what to do. I just want to open his "pictures" and then copy them into my Word Files for future reference. How do I open his JPG pictures, please?

A. Install the excellent free program IrfanView from:  or

After downloading and installing, open Irfanview and click on Options, File associations, and tick JPG, and I suggest the other popular image formats such as TIFF, GIF, BMP and PNG, or if you do not have a viewing program, Select All.
If you already have a good viewer program, you can associate it with JPG.

To reassociate a file type, do the following:

  • Highlight the wanted file with left mouse click.
  • Right click on the selected file,
  • Select Open With and then select Choose a Program.
  • Select the required program from the list and check the Always open with this program.

Q. I've changed from Windows 98 SE to Win XP Pro and found XP may not support an old flatbed scanner with a parallel port interface. So that's why my scanner doesn't work. Is there a way around this?

A. If the manufacturer has not supplied drivers for XP the scanner will not work. You have two options. One is to buy a new scanner. Good scanners using a USB connection with faster transfer speeds can be bought for less than $100 and have far superior software to what you have now.

The other option is to set up dual booting. This will require you to partition your hard disk or install a second hard disk and a Windows 98 on it and then have a boot manager. This requires a reasonable amount of knowledge and time, and even then it is fiddly as you would have to reboot to Windows 98 each time to use your scanner. I can't see any other options.


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