Question:  How can I do a fast search for something on the Internet using Internet Explorer?

Answer: In the address bar type ? search word or words Make sure to put a space after the question mark.

Question: Is there a way to filter out annoying ads when you are browsing on the Internet?

Answer: Previous to the last two versions of Internet Explorer, it was necessary to download a separate program to stop pop-ups.  Now, that function is integral to the latest version of Internet Explorer.

Question: Is there a fast way to switch between running programs?

Answer: Of course, that's why the question is in here.  Hold down the Alt key and each time you tap the Tab key, icons will appear in the middle of the screen representing the running programs, and the highlight on the icons will cycle between all the running programs. When the right one is highlighted, let go of the Alt key and it'll switch to that program. Shift-Tab cycles backward.

Question: What hardware do I need to do backups?

Answer: Preferably an external hard drive or a DVD writer. I personally have never been a fan of tape backups. They are terribly slow and are very unreliable. All the new stuff is getting really cheap. A DVD burner is not expensive and is very handy for CD and DVD duplication and data backups. Another way to go is get an external hard drive. Prices have really come down and they are easy to use. Newer computers having USB 2.0 ports are very fast writing to these drives. Even with an older computer, they are much faster than a CD/DVD writer.  For the ultimate, inexpensive alternative, and much better solution to backups, click here for information or drive imaging.

Question: Now much free space do I need to have on my C drive?

Answer: Chances are if you're asking this question you have been getting errors saying you don't have enough free space. Windows needs free space for a swap file, click here for info. In the old days programs didn't need the amount of drive space they need today. You can clean out the c:\windows\temp directory, but chances are that won't help much. Most of the temp files in Windows XP reside in the C:\Documents and Settings\"Username"\Local Settings\Temp directory.  If you're getting messages about space problems, it's time to start removing programs you don't use. Go to Control Panel - Add/Remove programs and remove everything you don't use or need. If you don't have any programs you can't remove then it's time to think about another hard drive.

Question: If a program locks up, can I stop it without rebooting the computer?

Answer: Always try to hold the Ctrl and Alt keys down and tap the Delete key. When the task list comes up the program which locked up will be on the list and it'll say it isn't responding. Click on End Task. After a few seconds another window will open up and pick End Task there also. Once in a while you may have to pick the program three times before the second box will appear. Always restart the computer after a program locks up or you recover from a blue screen. Even though everything appears to be working OK, you should always restart whenever a problem occurs.

Question: Can I add a second hard drive to my computer?

Answer: Probably, it depends on what else you have on your computer. Generally, you have two IDE controller cables each capable of running two devices so each cable has two plugs.  One component on the first plug on each cable is designated as the master device and the component on the second plug is designated as the slave device. The first controller has the hard drive attached and that hard drive is set as the master. Other IDE devices which you may have are: a CD-ROM drive, a re-writeable CD/DVD drive, a 120mb super disk drive, an internal ZIP drive. You can have a total of four devices so if you don't already have four, you can add another hard drive. If you already have four devices you will have to purchase a larger drive to replace the one presently in the computer.

Question: I'm trying to setup my ADSL connection and can't seem to get things to work even though everything is setup according to the directions, any ideas?

Answer: There are several things to setup and I'm not going to go into that here. If everything should be OK, check you NIC (network interface card) and make sure it is either a 10mb or 10/100 card. ADSL will not work at 100 so if your card is a 100mb card, that's probably your problem.

Question: I have two COM ports on my computer but only one shows up in Windows, why?

Answer: The other COM, or serial port is probably disabled in the BIOS so the modem can use it without any interruption. This is pretty normal on most of the computers in the last couple of years.  Actually, since this FAQ was originally setup, computers will generally not have more than one COM port.  In fact, some of the newer computers don't even have a parallel port, which causes problems if you have an older printer which doesn't have a USB connection.

Question: How do I change the folder location where Word opens files?

Answer: Go to the Tools menu and click on Options. Next click on the File Locations tab then click on Documents. Now, click on the Modify button and go through and select the directory you want Word to default to.

Question: Is it possible to delete, rename, and work with files while in Word.

Answer: Definitely, for instance, go to the File menu and click on open. If there is a file in the list you want to delete, simply right click on the file and select delete, rename, or whatever. To do a easy delete, click on the file, and tap the Delete key. You can also click on the file to highlight it, then click on the name, which will highlight just the name portion, then just type the new name. Other neat tricks, click on the bar at the top called Name. If you watch the file list it will sort A-Z and the next time you click, it will sort Z-A. Click on any of the other bars and the list will sort by that title, like by date. You can also click on the icons above to show the files by list, to get properties, etc.

Question: How can I make my Word program at home the same as the one at work?

Answer: Word stores all the toolbars, macros, styles, Autotext entries, etc. in a file called Normal.dot. Put a floppy disk in the A drive. Go to the Start button and click on either Find or Search, depending on which Windows you have. Click on find files or folders and type in normal.dot. When you find it, right click on normal.dot and then left click on Send To, then select A:. Now put the disk in the other computer, open the file and go to the Tools menu and click on Templates and Add-ins. Now click on the Organizer button. From here you can select the desired tab and copy the items you want into the computer you are on now.

Question: Why do I get illegal operation errors with certain Word documents?

Answer: Most people don't realize how much data there is in a word processing document which can't be seen. For instance just type one letter or number in a document and save it, then look at the size of the file.  It is probably somewhere between 15 - 20,000 bytes in size. Why, well because there are a lot of other things stored in the file like what font is used, formatting information, type of printer, etc. People don't realize how important it is when you are using a document as a template, it should be saved and used as a template, not as a document. Information in the file can be corrupted when you constantly change and resave the document. A good example would be a fax. Many times people will take a saved fax and open it up, delete all the old info and type in new info. A template is much faster and easier. People also tend to complain about the size and speed of programs today but for the most part they aren't even scratching the surface of the things they could be doing with the programs.

Question: Is there any way to get data out of a damaged Word document?

Answer: One thing you might try is to inset the damaged file into a new document. The final paragraph mark in a Word document contains information about the document. If the document is damaged, you may be able to retrieve the text of the document if you can omit this final paragraph mark. Create a new blank document and go to the Insert menu, then click on File. Find the file and insert it into the document. This may salvage the data in the file. If this doesn't work try creating a new document, and type This is a test., and save it with a name such as test.doc. Select the text "This is a test." and copy it to the clipboard. Create another new document and click on the Edit menu then click on Paste Special then click on Formatted Text, then Paste Link and click OK. Now, go back to the Edit menu and click on Links. Click on Change source, then select the damaged file which will import any usable text into the present document. Now, last but not least, go back to the Edit menu and click on Links and click Break Links. Hopefully this lengthy process will make it possible to salvage some of the data from the file.

Please Note: All information provided in The Help Desk web site is in easy to understand terms, in my opinion only, and may not necessarily be the only accepted answers or advice.  I will not be responsible for any problems caused from anyone making any configuration or hardware changes to their computer system resulting from information obtained from this web site.  Please contact me prior to using any content from this web site.