Computer Guide

Stopping the annoying Word macro warnings

by George Skarbek - 28 November 2006

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Q: We are a small non-profit community agency operating on a shoestring budget.  Recently, we bought a new computer and installed Windows XP Pro and Office XP Pro.  However, when we open an existing file or create a new file in Word, a message comes up stating macros in this document have been disabled and asking if we want macros enabled.  Even if we click 'Enable' and save the document, the next time we open the same document the same message comes up. We had exactly the same operating system and programs installed on our old computer but didn't get this message.  I tried using 'Help', but got no useful information as to what to do. Is there anything we can do to get rid of this infuriating message?

Yes. In Word click on Tools, Macro, then select Security and reduce the level by one from your current level which is most likely to be set to Very High.

What program do I need to open files?

Q: When I click on some attachments to E-mails, I occasionally get a message saying the file does not have a program associated with it for this action. The instruction to create one is difficult to understand. Can you explain what this means and how to correct it?

The message means that Windows does not recognise the type of file that has been sent to you and therefore is does not know what program to use in order to open that particular file. For example is the file ends in .doc, the program Word will be used to open that attachment. For a .jpg file there are many image viewing programs and Windows will select the one that has been associated for the jpg format.

However, if a friend of yours is using some program that creates files ending in .xyz then you need to have a program that can open such files. Windows does not test to determine if this is a music file, or a spreadsheet, or whatever, as it just looks at the filename extension.

What you need to do is to either ask the sender what program is required or look on the web at:  to identify the correct program. If you have that program on your computer then you will have to associate it with that file extension.

The re-association has to be done from Windows and the wording on the dialogues boxes will vary a bit depending on 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”

It is possible that the sender has renamed the file to give it a more meaningful name and in doing so accidentally removed the extension. In such a case just rename it again but add the correct extension that you sender should inform you.

Deleting partitions

Q: My friend has bought me a portable phone bank hard drive. The case has a Samsung 2.5" 80GB hard drive. The dealer has partitioned it into 3 drives as 31.2, 31.2 and 12GB, all formatted to FAT32. I use the first one for the SD card for my digital camera, and the rest are for my data/programs backup. I tried to backup the Winxp's backup program on the Automated System Recovery, but could not be able to complete the whole process. I checked and there is plenty of space on the 12GB drive. I was told the limitation of the Fat32 which I do not quite understand what it means. The problem is I would like to reduce this phone bank box into two drives, one for my SD card backup when I go for travelling, and the other for all my data/programs. I was told that I could also save up more GB space. I shall appreciate you could show me how to do it and any other important issues that you need to be aware of.

Using Windows XP you can delete partitions by using the disk manager. To find this, click on Start, Settings, Control Panel, Administrative Tools, Computer Management and finally Disk Management. Then right-click on the partition that you want to delete and you should have an option to delete it. The other partitions can then be resized.

It is also possible that the backup file exceeds the 4GB file size limit of Fat32.
As for other issues, the critical one is that you backup the data on the other partitions before starting as once a partition is deleted, for all practical purposes all data is lost. When working in this area it is possible to make an error so be sure that you click on the correct drive and do not rush.


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