Lately I have been flooded with questions from readers complaining that their computers are frequently malfunctioning. Most of the problems stem from missing files or applications corrupted by spyware, malware, adware, Trojans or viruses. Many of you have complained that your Windows just refuses to work properly. Your vendor tells you that you have to format your hard disk to fix the problem. Consequently, some of you have had to have your disk formatted every three months or so! This is a ridiculous situation because all your programmes have to be reloaded and you may even lose valuable data.
What will you do after your one-year service contract is over with the vendor that supplied your computer' You will have to shell out money unnecessarily every time you ask him to come and fix your machine. Over a period of time, you will find that you are spending several thousand rupees to keep your computer in working condition.
To avoid this completely avoidable expenditure I will repeat what I said in my earlier column. If you are using Windows, make sure you buy the operating system. Do not go for a cracked version of Windows XP even if your vendor tells you that it will work fine. Windows XP Service Pack 2 costs around Rs 3,500. Believe me, spend the amount and avoid a lot of headache. Make sure you register your copy of Windows with Microsoft after you buy it. The activation and registration instructions will come with the genuine CD.
Also make sure that you have a proper firewall, anti-virus and antispyware installed in your computer. You can get part of the package for free from www.google.com/pack. Pick up Ad-aware SE Personal from here. Next, get a good anti-virus software that is free. An example of this is AVG. Third, get hold of a firewall from Zone Alarm at www.zonelabs.com.
If you do not want to use Windows, go in for Linux which you will get for free. I will write about this in my future columns and help you set up your machine with the minimum of hassles. For starters, Ubuntu version of Linux is a good bet. It is available from www.ubuntu.com. To request a free CD, just go to shipit.ubuntu.com. Ubuntu is relatively easy to set up and free of viruses. Try it. When you ask for a Ubuntu CD, you will get an install CD and a live CD. With the live CD, you can safely try out the operating system without altering any files in your computer. Just put the Live CD in the CD drive and restart your computer.
If you just follow these suggestions, you can have a trouble-free computer experience. Now for some questions posed by readers.
Whenever I transfer pictures from my digital camera to the computer, the files have some unrecognisable names with DSC in the middle or at the beginning of the file name. I find it very difficult to look for pictures later with such gibberish in the file names. Is it possible to rename a group of files at one go without having to do it one by one'
To rename a group of files at one go, navigate to the folder where your images are kept with Windows Explorer. Select the files you want to rename. Press Control and click on the names if they are not adjacent to each other. After you have selected the files, right click and choose Rename from the contextual menu that appears. You can also go to File menu and click on Rename. Suppose you choose to name it “Venice”, the first file will be called “Venice” and the subsequent ones Venice1.jpg, Venice2.jpg, and so on. You can also specify the starting number of the Venice series of files. To do this, just type the starting number in brackets after the filename. So if you type Venice(4).jpg, the subsequent ones will be Venice(5).jpg, Venice(6).jpg, and so on.
I have installed genuine Windows XP SP2 on my computer. My system is fully compatible with Windows XP SP2 yet I cannot play any audio files. I have Windows Media Player 11 installed. The other system sounds work properly. Please help.
You do not have the necessary codecs for the audio files you are trying to play. Codecs basically compress or decompress audio signals for a given file format so that it can be played back on a media player. Why don’t you try a different media player for your audio files' I use iTunes and it works fine for me. You could even try out Real Player. If a codec is missing, the media player normally tells you where you can get it from.
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