Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Computing/2006 October 21

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October 21[edit]

Freeware censorware for XP[edit]

What's the best free content-filtering software? Don't care much about how effective it is, or anything like that, but it is important that it be configurable so that it applies to SOME users but not apply at all to others. Is there anything free like that out there? If it doesn't include spyware or otherwise disturb the system, that's a big plus. --Alecmconroy 00:20, 21 October 2006 (UTC)

Maybe ICRAplus is what you're looking for... but it relies on self-rating of the websites. And it doesn't apply to some users and vice versa. I used to use it but, hmm... Don't like it... --inky 02:10, 21 October 2006 (UTC)

History Button in IE7 ? How can I add it back to the toolbar ?[edit]

I know you can access your history by first clicking on "favourites" and then there is a "history" button available - but it is hardly convenient to hide it two clicks away ... I may as well just type the address in after all that effort! Also there is no option to add the button to the toolbar if you use the "customise toolbars" option. Thanks ! --Dr snoobab 04:29, 21 October 2006 (UTC)

Removing music from an iPod[edit]

My sister bought an iPod about a year before I did, and I just got one today. As soon as I plug it into the computer it fills my iPod with Gwen Stefani and the like. How do I remove her shitty music from my iPod, and prevent iTunes from automatically updating my iPod EVERY time I plug it in (short of deleting all her music from iTunes?) Is there anyway to maintain separate playlists?

Don't worry, I've figured it out.
I would have answered, throw it out the window and buy a different brand =P --Wirbelwindヴィルヴィルヴィント (talk) 07:32, 21 October 2006 (UTC)

For anyone that was wondering, the most common solution is to create a seperate user account. Pesapluvo 03:10, 24 October 2006 (UTC)

You can quite easily configure it to only download music on your command from your library. Poke around itunes a bit, its not hard to find. Perhaps in the properties of the ipod as seen from itunes, or ipod properties. Something to that effect. Id be more detailed, but itunes is not on this computer. --The Corsair. 21:50, 24 October 2006 (UTC)


when i try to import articles downloaded from into wikimedia i get this error

Unknown import source type

Please export the file from the source wiki using the Special:Export utility, save it to your disk and upload it here.

what is the problem??? --Utkarshkukreti 05:26, 21 October 2006 (UTC)

I'm not familar with running MediaWiki software. Perhaps you should try MediaWiki's help pageMitaphane talk 17:36, 21 October 2006 (UTC).

Change Windows resolution before going into Windows[edit]

Yesterday, computer was working fine - today, when I try to load Windows XP the monitor stops receiving a signal, as soon as it gets past the bit with the black screen with the Windows logo and the blue loading bar. It's definitely loading Windows properly as I can hear sound, I just can't see anything. Safe Mode and the pre-Windows boot up sequence displays fine, so I suspect that something's gone wrong with the video card (a Radeon X1900) and the onboard video can't display the high resolution I normally run Windows in.

Is it possible to somehow change the resolution that Windows XP boots up in before it loads? Obviously, I can't do it from within Windows because I can't see anything, and Safe Mode doesn't seem to have any way to change it, so somehow I need to make it boot up in 800x600 resolution. I'd like to be more sure about the problem before I go to the effort/expense of getting a new video card. While in Safe Mode, the card still shows up in the Device Manager, though going into properties and looking at the status just gives the not-very-helpful "Status is not available for this device when Windows is running in Safe Mode", so I'd like to get into Windows properly and see what it says then. Is it possible?

(One way that did just occur to me was to try and work out in Safe Mode the correct sequence of keyboard shortcuts to switch to the lowest resolution, then repeat it, but that seems like a wild shot in the dark - literally - so I'm going to post this anyway before trying that.) --Sam Blanning(talk) 11:53, 21 October 2006 (UTC)

I've just realised that I've overlooked the fact that my monitor is plugged into the video card - so the fact that it's displaying anything at all means it can't be completely broken. Still, if anyone knows the answer to the above question or has any idea what could be causing the whole thing, I'd be grateful. Using keyboard shortcuts to navigate the Display options blind didn't work for some reason. --Sam Blanning(talk) 12:41, 21 October 2006 (UTC)

I've had many video cards that worked in safe mode (VGA display), but not in any other mode (SVGA display). They had to be replaced. Also, I was able to set my video card's default display in safe mode when the card was working, but not when it stopped displaying SVGA. --Kainaw (talk) 16:35, 21 October 2006 (UTC)
Get the command line program QRes, and make a shortcut (that's what it's called in Windows, right?) that runs "C:\Program Files\Qres\QRes.exe" /x 1280 /y 960 /r 75 /c 32. You might want to change the parameters (horizontal resolution, vertical resolution, frame frequency (Hertz), colour depth (number of bits to use)). Place the shortcut in the autorun folder of the start menu. —Bromskloss 21:07, 21 October 2006 (UTC)

pen drive[edit]

friends,I am using a pendrive for the first time.So I want to know how to safely load data into it and remove it from usb.I have heard that one cannot directly pull it out.I am using windows xp.kindly help.

There may be an icon in the tasktray (bottom right corner) that you should use to safely remove hardware. Double click on it and select your USB key and click on 'remove' (or similar). Wait until you are told it is safe to remove the drive.
In my case, after saving my files on the USB drive, and noting that the red light is not flashing, I go ahead and unplug the drive. The only problem would be if you were transfering data at the time you unplugged the drive or if you had a file open, edited it, and pulled the drive from its socket before remembering to save (in which case you could just pulg it back in and then save). --Username132 (talk) 14:42, 21 October 2006 (UTC)
Many computers save changes to USB drives in memory. So, even if you are done saving, the changes may not be on the USB drive yet. You have to close out all remaining changes to the drive before removing it. In general, if the light is on you can't pull it out safely. When the light is off, you can pull it out safely. It doesn't work all the time (my PC never turns the USB light off - even when I turn off the computer), but it is a general rule. --Kainaw (talk) 16:33, 21 October 2006 (UTC)
Use the safely remove hardware icon, often items aren't written to a USB drive until it is worth the power to right to it (fill up the cache). Not an issue when it's still plugged in when you're working, but if you don't let it empty the cache (by safely removing it) you could lose some changes. It's unlikely, but it has happened to me. Chris M. 02:20, 23 October 2006 (UTC)
All the Safely Remove Hardware icon does is dismounts the pen drive. Most drives have an LED on them that blinks when the data is being accessed. If the light's off after you've saved everything, it's usually OK to close all of the open files on the pen drive and then pull the drive out without dismounting it. However, if you've got important files on it, you should always dismount it unless the computer's restrictions somehow forbid you from doing so. --Jrothwell (talk) 10:24, 24 October 2006 (UTC)

Moved Files Got Deleted In Windows[edit]

I tried to move a folder, itself containing three folders, to another HD. After moving the contents of the first folder of three, Windows complained that it could not delete the folder because another program was using it. It told me to close the program and try again. I clicked OK and noted that not only were the contents gone from the original copy of the folder, but they were not present on the drive to which I tried to move them (i.e. they're gone).

a) Why would Windows do this? and b) Is there a freeware undelete utility that might handle this (noting that the files weren't meant to be deleted, just moved). --Username132 (talk) 14:37, 21 October 2006 (UTC)

are they in the recycle bin? they might be in the recycle bin of the particular drive, which may be hidden. otherwise, i think that means the files are permanantly deleted. i think Sashafklein 15:09, 21 October 2006 (UTC)

They are not in the recycle bin, but then, they were never deleted. I asked Windows to move them. An undelete utility should be able to read the files without their records in the file allocation table. --Username132 (talk) 15:34, 21 October 2006 (UTC)
I think pointed someone to this page a while back when some talked about deletion recovery from Windows. I hope that helps your situation. —Mitaphane talk 17:34, 21 October 2006 (UTC)
I found this free utility which got those files right back (Win XP). --Username132 (talk) 13:49, 22 October 2006 (UTC)

Making your own laptop[edit]

I known of a couple people who have "made" (ie put together) their own computers. I am looking for a obscenely powerful 15 inch laptop and have had trouble finding one. Alienware has ridiculous laptops, but all the REALLY nice ones are 17 inch, which is really too big. So I was wondering about the feasability, utility, and cost of buying various parts of a laptop and making my own uber -computer from them. I know nothing of how to do this. Does making your own computer generally cost less than buying a pre-made one? Where could i get top-notch drives etc? Is it very difficult? Do you guys suggest that a novice on the subject not try to put together a laptop? Will I really be able to make myself a laptop any better than one I can buy (I want a VERY good laptop. 200+ gigs, approx 4+ ghz processor, great speaker system, nice display, fast as hell)? Is there any site I could visit to learn more? Thanks, Sashafklein 14:57, 21 October 2006 (UTC)

The hardware in laptops is not generic - so you'll have a headache getting things to work with one another. You can look at for extremely small motherboards. If you can get one to fit in a 15" laptop case, you should be able to add all kinds of extra stuff to it. The trick will be getting the keyboard and video from the laptop to plug into the motherboard. --Kainaw (talk) 16:29, 21 October 2006 (UTC)
I've never heard of anyone building their own laptop. If you want a very small, very fast (and very expensive) laptop, the IBM/Lenovo X60s is tiny and very nice. -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 16:37, 21 October 2006 (UTC)
Sounds like you are looking for a Desktop replacement computer. If you're looking for a reccomendation, I would try Sager. I purchased one about 2.5 years ago (3.2 Ghz P4, 1GB RAM, 120GB HD, DVD Burner, built in WiFi, 16.1 in display, Radeon 9000 128MB Video Card) and it still serves me well. I've had very little problems with it and as far as cost goes it was much cheaper than what Alienware offered at comparable specs. Building your own laptop might be cheaper but as people have mentioned above, it's going to cost you in headaches and time. —Mitaphane talk 17:29, 21 October 2006 (UTC)
Trust me the equipment that you would have to buy to build a laptop would buy you a top of the line laptop from Alienware. Whispering 00:53, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

Changing System Drive[edit]

If I copy all the files from my system drive (currently two SATA drives in RAID 0) and copy them onto another drive (ATA) - will this work in the same computer? I takes ages to install all that crap on my computer and I don't want to have to go through the rigmarole again...

Raid 0 means that each drive is an identical mirror. You should be able to pull one out and replace it with a blank drive. The RAID controller should recognize this and start copying the good drive to the bad drive. Then, you have 3 identical drives - one of which can be used by itself. Note that I said "should". Chances of this working are nil to none. You'll more likely have to put the ATA drive in your RAID computer, copy all the files to it, and then put it in another computer. Being as it is a system drive, you'll likely have to reinstall the OS (as an "upgrade" or "repair") to get the drivers working. --Kainaw (talk) 16:27, 21 October 2006 (UTC)
You are using RAID 0 (i.e., striped, non-redundant.) Kainaw describes a RAID 1 (i.e., 1-to-1 mirrored) system. His approach is not relevant to your problem. For you, I assume the ATA drive has sufficient space for all of the files on your current RAID 0 filesystem. If so, you can simply copy the files. You will also need to install the bootloader and configure it to find the OS. The approach for this varies depending on your OS. The reason you must do this is that the boot track on the disk is not part of the filesystem and is therefore not copied when you copy the filesystem. -Arch dude 14:10, 22 October 2006 (UTC)

Does WinXP use a bootloader? --Username132 (talk) 14:55, 23 October 2006 (UTC)

The primary bootloader on any computer will be part of the BIOS or other firmware( see Booting ). The secondary bootloader used by Windows XP is NTLDR. --LarryMac 12:57, 24 October 2006 (UTC)

VPN Connect/Disconnect Icon[edit]

Can someone point me to a tutorial for making a KDE icon that shows an unplugged icon when I'm disconnected from my VPN and a connected icon when I'm connected? I'd like to be able to double-click the icon to toggle the status. I've been googling all week and haven't found anything useful. --Kainaw (talk) 16:22, 21 October 2006 (UTC)

Win98 security -- my options?[edit]

In case the following message doesn't make it clear. I pissed off at Microsoft and I mean really pissed off. (If you don't like rants, you can skip to next paragraph and go straight to my question).

Phasing out old software is standard practice, but one single look at the visitor statistics of any random website shows a whole lot of people are still using it - ergo, it's not old enough to outphase. They're willfully creating security holes to fill their own pockets with our hard-earned cash. I don't have the money to buy Windows XP (especially not when it's about to be phased out itself in a few years) and even if I could pay for it, my computer is too slow to run it; it would also kill any space I have left on my hard drive and I certainly can't pay for a new computer. In other words, they're forcing people who don't have the money to run insecure systems because they don't take care of the people who can't afford to upgrade their system (to a still buggy and insecure 'upgraded' version). I could try Linux, but then again too much software is made for Windows and I just know some of the software I require is going to fail on me if I try to run it under Linux, so I'm up against the wall.

So I've decided: screw it all. I'm happy to abide by copyright, trademark and piracy laws, but Microsoft simply doesn't earn it. Are there any cracked versions available for anything above Windows 98 or are the security risks for those equally high? Viruses already target the newer systems. What holes are most hackers currently exploiting? - Actin 21:40, 21 October 2006 (UTC)

I haven't had Windows on any of my computers since 1998. I only run Linux. Many people do. So you won't be able to play all the latest games - that is what a PS or XBox is for. By switching to Linux you will be giving up the ability to use Windows programs, but there are many similar and nearly as good (if not better) ones for Linux that are free. Linux is free. In fact, I haven't paid a single penny for any computer programs since I bought Windows 95 (I'm not including my PS2 games). So, you can complain that using Windows costs money - yes, it does - and pretend that justifies stealing software, or you can just use free software. --Kainaw (talk) 22:24, 21 October 2006 (UTC)
He beat me to reply. Use something else, like FreeBSD, and WINE can be used to play even games like World of Warcraft, and it can run a multitude of other Windows software, or you can get free versions of similar software, like Open Office to replace Microsoft Office. You can also only install what you want, which can be more space saving than Windows. --Wirbelwindヴィルヴェルヴィント (talk) 22:28, 21 October 2006 (UTC)

You didn't say what you use your computer to do. I firmly believe in running old, proven software, not new, "bleeding edge" software. If they would ONLY fix bugs, then new versions of software would be better, but they do all sorts of other crap, like adding copyright protection software, which actually makes it harder to accomplish anything (you may be asked to enter registration codes periodically, for example). They also change things for no apparent reason. One example was when they renamed the File Manager to "Windows Explorer". Does that actually improve anything ? No, it just makes it difficult for those who knew the old name and it's less obvious to new users that "exploring" means managing files. So, I suggest you stick with the minimum level of software and hardware that will get the job done. For security, have you tried just tightening up your built-in security tools, like cookies permissions and prompting before running JAVA ? StuRat 11:57, 22 October 2006 (UTC)

  • Actin didn't say he was using the machine to play games. I'm having much of the same problems. Screen sharing software - Win XP, That Wikipedia category mass editing software (what's its name) runs on Windows XP or above too. Running Linux would also mean giving up on Wikipedia editing software and other more exotic types of programs. - 22:06, 22 October 2006 (UTC)
I think that "giving up" isn't the proper phrase. It should be "changing". I rdesktop Windows machines all the time. In fact, we set up a rather powerful little Win2003 box that all the developers rdesktop whenever we need to run IE (or some other Windows-Only program). It isn't exactly "sharing" a desktop. But, why share? Don't you mean collaborate? There is a lot of collaboration software available. Google has been developing (by which I mostly mean purchasing) online collaboration tools. All in all, it comes down to choices. I chose long ago to use free software. I do check webpages in IE before sending them off to production - but I don't really use IE. I've even checked rather complex documents in MS Word (which I wrote in Open Office). For me, it is a matter of freedom. I helped a friend learn to use MS Money 2006 this weekend. First of all, it is such a terrible program that you have to "learn" to use it. Then, after paying over $100 for the program, it is full of bugs and advertisements - yes, advertisements! It is times like that when I am happy to use my free little copy of GnuCash for balancing my accounts. --Kainaw (talk) 12:36, 23 October 2006 (UTC)

Speeding up a Windows machine[edit]

I've used Macs most of my life. Although my wife has a PC running Windows that's running slower than we think it should. Also, when she's working with her digital photos, iTunes will skip during playback of songs. The chip is at least 2 gig and she has 3 gig of memory in it. I've run Spybot and Ad-aware on it lately. She doesn't have Norton or McAfee (sp?) running on it so those aren't in the way. What else can I check or run that might speed it up some? Dismas|(talk) 22:51, 21 October 2006 (UTC)

Spybot and Ad-aware will find spyware but won't find viruses. If you don't have something I'd recommend AOL AVS. A friend of mine had an inexplicably slow machine, and it turned out to be many copies of a spamer virus. -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 23:06, 21 October 2006 (UTC)
We're using AVG Anti-Virus for virus protection. Dismas|(talk) 23:29, 21 October 2006 (UTC)
That's pretty good, and not a memory/CPU hog. From your description above, it might be that you're running out of memory. I'd to a ctrl-alt-del to bring up the task manager, sort by memory use, and see what's taking up the memory. -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 23:33, 21 October 2006 (UTC)
Agreed. I would also say you should kill any process you can't identify or that doesn't seem to serve a valid purpose. Be sure to save everything you're working on first, however, as you might inadvertently shut down a critical process. Also, a periodic reboot will help to clear out old processes that just take up memory. StuRat 11:43, 22 October 2006 (UTC)
So, I've gone through the task manager and all of the processes that are taking up the most memory seem to be necessary except for "WUSB54GC.exe" which from what I've read is the application for the USB wireless adapter for the wireless internet connection. Right now, shortly after a reboot, it's at 14,192K. And according to this it will keep climbing the longer the computer is up and running. That link did talk about "...decided to switch from that over to the wireless network wizard and then went into my services and set the linksys wireless manager service to manual, rebooted..." So is that something I should do? If so, how do I do what they describe? I'm really rather frustrated with the Linksys crap that we have and am planning on going with a wired connection when I have the money for a new router and cables. So she has to use the wireless adapter for now. Oh yeah, it's Windows XP. I realize now that I didn't put that in the original question.
Also, there are two hard-drives and two optical drives (one CD and one DVD) in the box. It's been suggested that I take one of the hard drives off the same ribbon cable and swap it with one of the optical drives. Therefore each ribbon cable would have one optical and one hard drive each. I was told that the two hard drives on the same ribbon cable could create a bottleneck. Is this accurate? Is it worth investigating more? I opened the box a few minutes ago and the cables aren't long enough to reach one optical and one hard drive each. Dismas|(talk) 15:42, 22 October 2006 (UTC)
I suggest you kill the suspect process and see if that cures the problem. If so, then you can possibly put a higher priority on switching to a normal wire connection. Having both hard disks on the same cable will indeed cause a slow down, particularly when using both hard disks simultaneously, as when copying large numbers of files from one to the other. You can buy longer cables, if needed. If killing the suspect process doesn't cure the problem, then that might be the next thing to try. StuRat 02:12, 23 October 2006 (UTC)
I was under the impression that having an optical drive and hard disk on the same IDE cable meant that the data rate was lowered to that of the optical drive. You can always give it a try though... Robmods 12:27, 23 October 2006 (UTC)
That may depend on which is the master. StuRat 20:20, 24 October 2006 (UTC)
Have you tried defragmenting the drive/s ? This works wonders if fragmentation is the problem. If you do a lot of graphics editing or download and discard a lot of songs your drive may be badly fragmented. I've seen PCs grind to a complete halt from this. Right click the drive in My Computer, click properties, tools, defragment now. --Dave 14:14, 25 October 2006 (UTC)