Computer Guide

Transferring address books

by George Skarbek -7th March 2007

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Q: I am looking for the best way to put all our various hardcopy address books onto my laptop (so that I can then eventually transfer it all onto a phone/palmtop yet to be purchased). Can you please suggest which would be the best software application to use for this?

The best way would be to enter them into your existing e-mail program such as Outlook Express or Outlook as both have the ability to export these and most palmtops synchronise with Outlook.

Starting programs automatically

Q: I would like to add a program to Startup so that it opens automatically when I start my computer. I have Windows XP. Could you advise how I do this?

This is relatively easily done. Just place a shortcut to the program into the folder called C:\Documents and Settings\Your Name\Start Menu\Programs\Startup. The only trap is that you do not drag that program into this folder as this action will move the program from its current location.

If you are not experienced in this area, do this in two steps. Right-click on your required program and select Send To and then Desktop (create shortcut) and now you can move that shortcut off the desktop into the Startup folder.


DVD question

Q: Please advise, comment, confirm or otherwise

  • DVD single layer can hold a total of 4.7 GB and a double layer a total of 8.5 GB
  • DVD burner is also a DVD reader
  • DVD burner for DVD double layer, can this burn & read a single layer type DVD?

I can confirm that all the above statements are correct.


Wasted space

Q: I have found all my Internet Explorer Favorites in the folder Favorites. Each URL file is only 1 KB, but with 2,100 files total size is 66 MB which is 31 k each - what explains the difference?

This is due to the cluster size on your hard disk. The cluster is the smallest addressable chunk of disk space that can be used. If you have a file containing just on character then it will still consume one cluster on the hard disk. This is because if the hard disk was set up so that each byte could be directly addressed, the directory required to keep all these addresses would fill a large part of the hard disk. The size of the cluster varies depending on the size of the hard disk and the operating system’s file structure.

If you are using XP then converting to NTFS should reduce the cluster size to 4 KB (from 32 KB). Firefox is much more efficient in this area as it stores all Favorites in one bookmark file which results in no wasted space and much faster backups.

Q: Thanks for your Standby and Shutdown shortcuts – REALLY shortcuts! Am I greedy and ungrateful asking you for the trifecta, please - a Restart shortcut? I use that much more than the other two.

The restart shortcut is: %windir%\system32\shutdown.exe -r -t 01

For readers who have missed the other two shortcuts; to quickly shut down the computer create a shortcut on the desktop by right-clicking and selecting New, Shortcut and add the following line: %windir%\System32\shutdown.exe -s - t 0

Note that the final character is a zero and not an o and the spaces between  s and  t are required

To hibernate create this one line shortcut: %windir%\System32\rundll32.exe powrprof.dll,SetSuspendState - noting that there is only one space in this line and this is after the .exe  Then just give this shortcut a meaningful name and when you double-click on this icon Windows XP is gone to sleep.


Printing from DOS

Q I have a number of DOS files which have a lot of important info therein built up over many years.  It seems that printers purchased today don't print out DOS (I have Canon MP170, before that another Canon).  Is there any way to print DOS while still retaining ability to do 'normal' prints from eg Word?

Unfortunately this is not possible. Printing was one of the main reasons why Microsoft went from DOS to Windows 3.0. Now all the printing for all programs is handled by the operating system, and you no longer have to install printer drivers for each separate program.

In DOS you had to install, often labouredly, printer drivers for all your programs individually if you purchased a new printer.

It possible, try to convert the data into a format that can be read by some current Windows programs.

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