virus screen   702 Weekend , 16 June 2001

Tips & Hints

Posted 18 July 2001

Old computers are a pest. Most aren't worth anything and almost no-one wants them. It isn't good to throw them out either as they are a combination of heavy metals and other environmental nasties. ABC Radio National's Earthbeat discussed this problem in March.

If you are looking at buying a new computer, ask the shop if they will take a trade-in. Some shops will use old computers for spares because older parts are impossible to get. Don't expect too much money for it and don't bother asking about trade-ins at a computer super-store.

Another option is to offer them to a charity, but most charities are reluctant to take old computers because of the number of useless boxes they end up with. Ask if they want it before you dump your old PC on the local charity. If they don't want it they may know someone who does.

Tinkerers and scavengers have a strange attraction to old computers. It is rare that the council actually gets to collect old computer equipment left out for a household rubbish collection. However you're really just passing the problem onto someone else's long suffering wife or mum.

Moving the "My Documents" folder

Glenn from Sydney wanted to move his "my documents" folder to his D drive.

In Windows 98 onwards, right-click my documents select properties and change the target location to d:\ or whatever folder or drive you want. Of course you have to move all your documents to that folder. You may have to change the file locations settings in some of your applications as well. For more information check Microsoft's web Knowledge Base

Connecting a new computer to an old printer

Lucky Jackie won a new laptop on a quiz show. She has an old dot matrix printer that came from her old employer.

Most old printers can be connected to newer computers, however there are a number of things that can get in the way. Really old printers may be serial printers and they are just not worth bothering with. Some new computers only have USB ports while most older printers use an LPT or parallel port.

Using older computer equipment really comes down to a question of "how much is it going to cost?" In Jackie's case it isn't worth it because the cost of replacement ribbons and the hassle of tractor feed paper makes buying a cool new inkjet the best option. Generally we recommend buying a USB printer with separate black and colour ink cartridges.

Resizing screen

Anne from Ebenezer couldn't resize her screen after the kids had changed it to 640x480 to play a game.

The simplest way is to reboot the PC in Safe Mode. As the computer starts press the F5 key. Do it before the "starting Windows" screen appears. You'll know you're in Safe Mode when Windows starts with a long-winded message. You should be able to change the screen settings and then restart in normal mode.

Temporary Internet Files

David from Castle Hill couldn't get rid of the Windows Temporary Internet Files.

The Temporary Internet Files are a quirky part of Windows. It is best not to let these build up as they can affect the running of your computer. To clean them and other unnecessary files up have a look at our optimising your computer page. It is a very good idea to reduce the Internet Explorer Cache size as we describe on the optimise page.

Once again we had a lot of callers we couldn't get to. We will be back on again next month at the new 11.30 timeslot. In the meantime visit our tips pages for useful help on getting the most from your computer. Happy computing.

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