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Converting VCR to DVD
Q: Have many VCR tapes and wish to transfer them to DVD's. My PC has a Radeon 9600XT video card. Is this adequate or do I need to update? Radeon 8500DV and the 9700 Pro are mentioned in some literature so do I need one of these? Other devices suggested are USB analogue video capture devices or IEEE1394 Firewire.
A: Your video card is more than adequate and there is no need to upgrade the graphics card. Firewire ports are used to capture output from a movie camera and not a VCR. What you do need is some hardware to capture the output to the video card and some software to convert that captured file to a DVD format for burning. There are a number of devices that can capture the analogue signal from a VCR player. Some low cost USB TV cards have both a digital and analogue capability and come with software that allows saving the incoming TV image to file. When shopping around ensure that it does support analogue. An advantage of these devices is that if you have a TV antenna near the computer you can watch High Definition TV as well. These can be purchased for under $100.
There is one other very low cost product called USB 2.0 Easy Video Grabber for $37 including postage. See: http://www.zazz.com.au/pastproducts.php?past=791 for details. One of my friends used this to capture a VCR tape and compared the result with an $800 hardware device to capture the same tape and the results were virtually indistinguishable.
Password protecting folders
Q: I have tried to no avail but can you tell me if it is possible to password protect individual directories in Windows XP?
If you do not see this option then you must convert the file system of the drive to NTFS. The conversion must be done from a DOS box and you must have some free space on that hard disk. You will be warned if there is insufficient free space to proceed. Data will not be lost in the process. To open a DOS box click on Start, Run and type CMD, then from the command prompt type: CONVERT x: /FS:NTFS where x is the USB drive letter. Note that if you are dual booting this computer and the other operating system is Windows 98 or ME, do not convert as that drive or partition will not be readable by the older operating systems.
Alter Outlook Express text
Q: Often, the font in Outlook messages that I receive is too small for comfortable reading. How can I enlarge the text for my aging eyes?
A: This will depend on what version of Outlook you are using. Make sure that you are not in the preview pane by double-clicking on that e-mail then click on View and select Text Size and pick one of the Large options. In Outlook 2007 this task is very easy. Hold the Ctrl key and use the scroll wheel on the mouse to make the font larger or smaller.