Computer Guide

Changing program associations
by George Skarbek - 9th May 2006

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Q: Could you please advise me how to change the default for HTML from Notepad back to Winword, as when I reinstalled Windows XP, it had changed?

A: The association is done from Windows and the wording on the dialogue boxes will vary a bit depending on the version of Windows.
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".

Q: I have taken many photos with my new digital camera but the prints were cropped - I received prints back with heads partially chopped off. Is there a program that I can use to get the size correct before handing over prints for processing?

A: There are many programs that can do this. I always prepare my photos using the 10 x 15 cm horizontal or vertical cropping as I do not want an automated process making the decisions on my behalf. I then send the cropped images for printing.
Some programs that have this facility are Microsoft Office Picture Manager that many users may already have, Photoshop Elements and Paint Shop Pro but I am sure that there are many others.

Q: I have heard that after editing and deleting from Word, the deleted information is still somewhere in the Word document. This must be well hidden as even governments have been caught out with embarrassing revelations. Is it possible for an individual to to remove this unwanted material?

A: Yes, it is. Although you mention governments, the user who sends out the Word file was not aware of the hidden dangers and no protocol was in place. There are many ways this can be removed. One is to use a tool provided by Microsoft for this purpose. See: loads/details.aspx?familyid=144e54ed-d43e-42ca-bc7b-5446d34e5360&displaylang=en for details and this works with all the current Office programs.

You can prevent these changes from accumulating by removing the Fast Save option by clicking on Tools, Options and Save, and remove the tick. Also ensure that you have not enabled Track Changes under Tools.
If any personal information being left in the document is a problem, click on Tools, Options, Security and tick "Remove personal information from document".

Saving it as plain text will remove everything, making the file smaller but you will lose most of your formatting and all images.

Q: I wish to donate a Dell laptop (Win XP Home) to a charity but must totally clean hard drive and recycle bin of all my personal and business files but leave Win XP and Office still installed for their use. Is there a program for this on the market or does Win XP have its own program for clearing the drive? Also, what size plug-in USB micro drive would you suggest to save the average home data for transfer to another computer?

A: There are many shareware and freeware programs that can securely delete files but you have to find the folders individually. I am not aware of doing it all with one click. If you do not wish to use these, then delete your files, empty the recycle bin, defrag the drive, then copy a few CDs or DVDs onto the hard disk and then repeat the process. This will make recovery virtually impossible once the original contents have been overwritten.

Remember to clear out the history from IE. From the Tools menu, click Internet Options, Content tab and click Clear Forms. This will clear the forms that AutoComplete uses. To clear the entire history, click on Tools, Internet Options and, in the History section, click Clear History.

As for the size of the USB drive, for the average user, 256 MB will be more than adequate. Probably 128 MB will do unless you have a lot of mail. However, if they have a lot of photos, 1 GB will be the minimum. This is because normal documents can be compressed by at least 50 per cent using a program such as WinZip or WinRar but JPG images will compress only by about 2 per cent.
If you are using Outlook Express and have large DBX files, you should compact them from File, Folders, Compact all folders. If you have been deleting mail, this action can result in a spectacular reduction in file sizes as all the wasted space is removed from these files.

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