Question:  Sometimes my computer gets very slow and locks up, why?

Answer: This situation happens more with people who leave their computers on all the time than with people who turn their computers off. When you run a program, it uses system resources in order to display graphics and run. When everything is working properly, when you shut down a program it is supposed to give all the resources back to Windows for other programs to use. Sometimes applications misbehave and don't give back all the resources they used and after a while the system gets low on resources and slows down. The only way to solve this situation is to reboot the computer.

Question: How do I get rid of that da.. Office Assistant in the Microsoft Office applications?

Answer: Clicking on the X to shut him down only results in him starting up again when you are in the Help menu or the next time you start up an Office application. To get rid of him for good, right click on the assistant, select Options. 3. On the Options tab uncheck the box beside Use the Office Assistant.  If you decide later to turn it back on, there is an item on the Help menu to check to turn him back on.

Question: How can I tell what size a certain folder is?

Answer: If you are wondering how many files are in a folder and what the total size of the files in a folder are, simply click the right mouse button on the desired folder when in Windows Explorer, then left click on the Properties item. It will give you all the information about the total number of files and the total size of the files in the folder.

Question: Is there an easy way to type URL's to help minimize typing errors with Internet Explorer?

Answer: If you are using the later versions of Internet Explorer, make sure Auto Complete is turned on in the Internet Options and remember if you are typing in an address to a .com site, all you need to do is type the name, such as mauihelpdesk, now, hold down the Ctrl key with your left hand and tap the Enter key with your right hand. IE will ad the http://www. prefix and the .com at the end for you. Remember, this only works for .com sites, not for others such as .org.

Question: Is there a way to change the view settings in Windows Explorer?

Answer: When you have Windows Explorer open, you can change the order the files are sorted by clicking on the headings. For example, let's say you want to view the files by date, click on the heading Modified and notice the files are now sorted by date in descending order. Now, click again on Modified and notice they are now sorted in ascending order. You can change the sort criteria by clicking on the desired heading.

Question: How can I set Windows Explorer to start up with the basic layout?

Answer: This is really irritating especially in Windows ME and XP. They changed the way Windows Explorer starts up. In order to get it to look like it did in Windows 95, right click on the Windows Explorer icon and click on properties. On the Shortcut tab, in the Target line type C:\WINDOWS\EXPLORER.EXE /n,/e, c:\ You will now have the look you are used to when Explorer starts.

Question: Is there a way to speed up downloading pictures from my camera to the computer?

Answer: If you are asking this question, it is probably because you have a camera connected to the serial port. Most of the older cameras were set up to connect to the serial port and can't be updated to connect to the USB port. The data going into the serial port goes one bit at a time so the transfer of pictures is very slow. Rather than buying a new camera, there is a cheaper solution, get a card reader. Regardless of the type of memory card your camera uses, there are readers available from $25 to $50 which will significantly speed up the process of transferring pictures.

Question: Is there a way to capture things on the screen to put in a graphics or word processing document?

Answer: Sure, some of the keys on your keyboard which you don't ordinarily use actually have some functions. One of these is the PrtScrn key.

In the old DOS days this key was used to print whatever was on the screen to a piece of paper. When Windows came along, it took charge of the Print Screen (shown as PrtScrn on some keybords) key and most people forgot it was there because it didn't appear to work any more. It still works, just differently. Now, instead of printing to the printer, it prints to the Windows clipboard. To show how it works, start up your word processor. Minimize it to the Task Bar and tap the Print Screen key. Now, maximize the word processor and paste the clipboard contents by pressing Ctrl-V or go to Edit-Paste. This procedure pastes the entire screen.   

Now, shrink the word processor to a window which is about one half the size of the screen. Hold the Alt key down and tap the Print Screen key. Now, maximize the word processor and paste again. Now you will have a picture of only the word processor window.  This is handy, for instance, if you're getting an error, and don't want to write down exactly what it says.  The error message is actually a window.  You can then save it to a file and send it to your computer guy so he can see exactly what it looks like, or have it for a reference to know exactly what the message said, or you can do a paste in an email message and put the picture directly into an email message.

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.