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Windows XP Survival Guide

Get a Faster Home Network

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April 2014, Vol. 9, Issue 4

YOUR PC

CAN GO EVEN

FASTER

Best speed tips no one ever told you about


Make old PCs last longer
Remove hidden junk

Stop things taking ages

Fastest hardware, cheapest prices

....Oh, and you can get faster broadband too!


PLUS

LENOVO YOGA
TABLET 8
Lenovos First Multimode
Yoga Tablet born

LG G FLEX

A curvy smartphone from the future

Brought to you in India by...

MEDIAMAN INFOTECH PVT. LTD.


14 th oor , Goldlled Tower B , Sion Bandra Link Road ,Sant Rohildas Marg, Sion , Mumbai 400017.
Tel.: +91-22-24061200 E-mail: sales@mediaman.co.in
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website: www.mediaman.co.in Facebook:+663)$&(%22.&200(',$0$1&2,1

Welcome
From the Editor
Microsoft will be ending
support for windows XP from
8th April. In a three part
survival guide starting this
issue, we explain whats
happening and what it means
for you. On other pages, nd

Vol. 9 Issue 4

out whats making your


computer run slowly and then
speed it up.

Editor & Publisher


Amit Tewari
Senior Feature Writer
Kunal Gangar

I hope you enjoy reading


this issue, as much as we
enjoyed putting it together.

Contributors
Daniel Booth, Alian Lu, Sherwin Coetho, James
Temperton, Scott Colvey, Graham Brown

Amit Tewari, Editor

a.tewari@nextgenpublishing.net

p52
p56

Creative Director & Head Production


Atul Bandekar
Designer
Prakash Gavnang
Image Desk
Deepak Narkar, Ravi Parmar
Illustrators
Ian Jackson, Nick Palmer,
Tom Steyer, Ajay Paradkar
Photography
Mahesh Reddy, Sharonjit Samrai
Asstt. Operations Manager Circulation
Sanjeev Roy

p42

Asstt. Circulation Manager


Kapil Kaushik, Delhi
Subscription Supervisor - Print
Sachin Kelkar
Tel: +91-22-43525220 Fax: +91-22-24955394
Email: subscriptions@nextgenpublishing.net

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Computer active April 2014

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Editor : Amit Tewari

Contents

April 2014 [ Issue 4

In this issue

YOUR PC

YOUR PC CAN GO
42
EVEN FASTER
Find out whats making your

CAN GO EVEN

computer run slowly, then get it going


faster than ever before with ours
expert tweaks and upgrades
Play all your music
anywhere you like
Enjoy your entire music collection on
any device whenever you want

FASTER

48

The 10 stupidest things


in Windows
Windows is riddled with unfriendly
controls. we explain how to avoid
Ctrl+Alt+Del and other idiotic aws

50

Windows XP Survival
52
Guide-Part 1
In the rst of a three-part series

Find out whats making your computer run slowly, then get it going faster than
ever before with ours expert tweaks and upgrades

Scariest new ways to get hacked


58
Hacking now comes in lots of dierent
forms. we nd out the 14 worst things hackers

on how you can survive the end of


support for XP

can do so far

Get a faster
56
Home network
Dont pay for a new router. we show

Control your PCs power and


62
save money
Energy prices may have skyrocketed, but you can

you how to get nippier network


connections without upgrading

cut your bills by reducing how much power your


PC wastes. we explains what you should do

In every issue
4

Welcome

87 Problems Solved

Letters

93 Fast Fixes

10 News

94 Jargon Buster

24 Protect Your Tech

95 The Final Straw

27 Best Free Software

97 IMS QUIZ

Get a faster Home


network
p56

61 Whats All the Fuss


About?

Windows XP Survival Guide-Part 1


6

Computer active April 2014

p52

Contents
Reviews
28 HP DeskJet 2520hc
29 Asha 502
ASRock H61 Pro BTC Motherboard
30 Lenovo Yoga Tablet 8
31 LaCie Rugged Triple USB 3.0 HDD

Asha 502

p29

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 8

p30

32 LG G Flex
33 Nvidia GeForce GTX 750 Ti GPU
34 D-Link DCS-825L Baby Camera
Epson EH-TW5200 Projector
36 SanDisk Ultra Dual USB Drive
Strontium 64GB microSDXC card
38 Sony VAIO Flip 13
39 Sony Xperia Z1 Compact

LG G Flex p32

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact

p39

40 Google Chromecast
JBL Flip 2

Workshops
22 pages of brilliant workshops
65 Get a free tablet office suite with CloudOn
68 Read your webmail offline with Thunderbird
70 Master the new iOS 7 on iPhone and iPad
72 Send huge files with Hightail
73 Hack Windows Media Player to share
your media
76 Master Chrome on iPad and iPhone

78 Make a private social network with Path


80 Learn how to create a tilt-shift photo
PLUS
81 Readers Tips
82 Tablet & Phone Tips
84 Make Windows Better
85 Make Office Better
86 Secret Tips For... OneNote

April 2014 Computer active

Letters
This is with reference to
the article that appeared
in computer active
December 2013 issue.
Whats the best OS ever? And
the comment by a reader
Mr.Peter Goms.
I am a hobbyist and interested in old
vintage Hindi Music and so are my
other old vintage music lover friends.
Most of this category people are old
senior citizens. The old music is a
past time for us.
I am using windows XP for the last
couple of years. I find it very useful
tool. I can load my music files at any
of the PCs hard disc drives without
having any problem and can open the
same from any of the music player of
my choice. But I think this is not the
case with Windows 7 or Windows 8.
Once I opened a Window Media
Player in Windows 7 which pointed to
organize the music files as per the
default of Window Media Player. (I
may be wrong also). In Windows XP
OS it is simple to operate the music
files in a simple way without having
unnecessary complication. People
like us are deterred to use advance
Windows 7 or Windows 8 OS for such
music hobby purpose. The advance
system will be useful for other users
but not us. At the most we may use
the computer to load the photos to PC
from digital camera. For that
Microsoft should keep the option to
users to use either of the Operating
Systems rather than totally rejecting
Windows XP. They may charge for
updating the XP file.

Tell us whats on your mind


Email: ca@nextgenpublishing.net
Post: Letters,CA, Next Gen Publishing Ltd., 2nd Floor, C Wing, Trade World,
Kamala Mills Compound, S. B. Marg, Lower Parel (W), Mumbai 400013.
We cannot offer technical assistance or reply personally to correspondence but all letters are read by our staff.
Letters and emails may be edited for publication on this page. Please mark your message not for publication
if you would prefer it not to be shared.

STAR LETTER

Chromebooks battery is puny


I notice that Google has
launched another
Chromebook the HP 11
(www.snipca.com/10274).
They say its for everyone.
Id say its only for people
who dont mind recharging
their laptop every couple of
hours. People say its cheap.
Id say its a false economy
because youll probably end
up spending more than that
on electricity. I bought a
Chromebook last year
and now wish I hadnt. It
simply has the puniest battery of
any laptop Ive ever used. Yes, its
fast and simple. Its good for people
whose web life revolves around
Googles services, and its stylish

of users who would be opted to


purchase the genuine software from the
Microsoft Company.
The nero media player is also one the
best music player for hobbyists. nero
informs users to purchase Nero mp3
PRO software for mp3 music. However,
when enquiry is made to them on line
for the purchase, they offer a very
advance version of software for music,
videos and photos etc. which may not
be much useful for us. Even the
recording of cassettes music as

and light. But you cant rely on a


single charge to last all day, for
example. So be warned before you
fall for Googles tempting
marketing.
Deepak More

provided in the old version of nero


media palyaer. is available or not
available in the new version, is not
known.
Windows OS has also withdrawn the
facility of License for playing cda.
format of music files in Window Media
Player and the other music players.
There are very good computer
engineers and technicians in our
country, would anybody be kind
enough to guide us in the matter.

Those customers who have purchased


the new computers on the basis of XP
OS will be in troubles.
I think one more suggestion if
Microsoft slashes the cost of the
Windows XP software instead of
closing it, there would be thousands

Computer active April 2014

Last months winner: Jay singh

News

Round up of the top stories of the month

Gionee launches Worlds Slimmest Smartphone


ELIFE S5.5 in India
ionee, the leading global
designer and manufacturer
of mobile devices launched the
Worlds Slimmest Smartphone
- ELIFE S5.5 in India. Named
after its biggest feature a
5.55mm slim body. The path
breaking innovative smartphone
ELIFE S5.5 is going to hit India
market by mid April 2014.
The ELIFE S series is a new
product category developed
through Gionees deep
understanding of customers
desire for a slim and powerful
smartphone to also act as a
fashionable accessory. The
ELIFE S series products will
incorporate an emphasis on
design without compromising

the hardware and software of a


smartphone to create a whole
new user experience.
The phone specifications
include 5.0 Super AMOLED
Plus display, Octa- Core 1.7GHz
CPU,Single SIM, 13.0MP AF rear
and 5.0MP AF front Camera,
AMIGO OS 2.0 (based on
Android OS, V4.2) 16GB on
board memory with 2GB of
RAM. The phone measures 145.1
x 70.2 x 5.55mm and comes
with a non-removable 2300mAh
Battery.
The GIONEE ELIFE S5.5 is
available in Black, White, Blue,
Pink, and Purple. ELIFE S 5.5
will be available at the price of
INR 22, 999 in India.

Sony brings large screen Xperia T2


Ultra at an affordable price
Sony India has launched Xperia T2 Ultra.
Designed specically with customers from
emerging markets in China, the Middle
East, Africa and the Asia Pacic rim in
mind, Xperia T2 Ultra brings together the
best of Sonys imaging and display
technologies with ground-breaking design
eciency to produce a stunning Android
smartphone at a mid-range price point.
Xperia T2 Ultras stunning 6 HD IPS
TRILUMINOS display extends to within
2.5 mm of the phones edges. This means
that it has a screen to phone size ratio of
73.6%, both making the most of the space
available and ensuring that the phone is
no wider than a standard credit card. It is
also both slim (7.6 mm) and light
(weighing only 173 1g depending on
variant dierences), tting easily in a

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Computer active April 2014

jacket pocket.
Big, bright screens
can often use a lot
of power, but
thats not a
problem with
Xperia T2 Ultra,
Sony has ensured
that it is ready to
go the distance by
incorporating a
battery-ecient
processor and
massive 3000
mAh battery. Xperia T2 Ultra features a 13
megapixel camera.
Xperia T2 Ultra dual (the only variant
available in India) oers a new experience
through the incorporation of Sonys latest

generation of dual SIM mobile technology.


Users can set up both SIM cards
independently with custom ring tones
and one-touch switching between SIMs
before making calls or sending texts.

First Android-powered Nokia X


now available in India
Nokia has announced that the Nokia X,
part of the new Nokia X family of
aordable smartphones that run
Android apps, will begin selling in
India. The new Nokia X family that
includes Nokia X, Nokia X+ and Nokia XL
is the perfect introduction to the world of
Android apps, coupled with signature
Nokia experiences, and the most popular
Microsoft services.
Nokia X comes with Fastlane, a screen
which lets people switch between their
favorite apps more smoothly. People can
access curated, quality-tested apps from
Nokia Store, more than a dozen thirdparty app stores and by side loading. All
devices are also pre-loaded with a variety
of very popular third-party apps and
games such as BBM, Twitter, Facebook,
Plants Vs. Zombies, etc.
Out of the box, consumers can enjoy
signature Nokia experiences including

free HERE Maps, with true oine maps


and integrated turn-by-turn navigation,
and Nokia MixRadio for free music
streaming and downloadable playlists.
The Nokia X is also an aordable
introduction to popular Microsoft
services, including 7GB free cloud storage
using OneDrive and additional 3GB if
consumers enable camera back up.
Nokia X, a beautifully crafted
smartphone with Nokias signature
design approach and bold, bright colours.
At only 10.4mm thin, the slim, durable
monobody design features a 4 scratchproof display and exchangeable back
covers that come in a variety of statement
colours. Inside, the device runs on the
Nokia X Software Platform and is
powered by a1Ghz dual core Qualcomm
Snapdragon processor.
The dual SIM Nokia X will be available
in India starting at Rs. 8599 MOP.

Canon new EOS 1200D targets families and first time users
Canon India Pvt. Ltd., has launched the EOS 1200D
in the Indian market.
This entry-level DSLR offers advance control,
images with sharp details, a host of
easy-to-use features giving consumers
the option of exploring Canons
repertoire of more than 70 EF lenses.
The new EOS 1200D is targeted at
newcomers to the world of DSLR
cameras, including families who
want to capture their memories with
superior quality, budding amateurs
and even hobbyists looking to work
on their photography skills with a
user-friendly DSLR. By combining
Canons powerful DIGIC 4 imaging
processor and an 18-megapixel APS-C
CMOS sensor, the EOS 1200D produces
stunning photographs with a combination of sharp details
and attractive background blur.

A key difference between taking photos on a


smartphone or compact camera and on a DSLR is
the availability of an optical viewfinder in the
latter. The EOS 1200D has a highly-accurate
9-point Auto Focus (AF) system with center
cross-type AF point enables accurate and
rapid focusing on both horizontal and
vertical planes.
The EOS 1200D captures Full HD
movies at up to 30 fps. Videos are shot
with beautiful background blur effects
and incorporate a higher dynamic range,
a capability that a smartphone cannot
achieve. Even in low light situations, the
EOS 1200D is able to shoot videos at ISO
speeds of up to 6400.
The EOS 1200D will be available at all
Canon Image Squares and leading retail outlets
at a price of INR 30,995 (MRP) for the body only.

April 2014 Computer active

11

News
HTC unveils One (M8) smartphone
HTC unveiled the highly anticipated new
HTC One (M8), the ultimate evolution of the
award-winning HTC One (M7). Launching
in Gunmetal Gray with the all-new HTC
Sense 6, the new HTC One (M8), boasts a
high quality metal unibody with a Smart
Sensor Hub that anticipates your needs and
uses Motion Launch controls to make
everyday tasks easier. New Duo Camera
technology delivers creative, professionallooking photos and amazing eects, and
HTC BoomSound again sets new
standards for audio quality on a
smartphone.
The new HTC Ones body has
been re-crafted to create an even
more stunning yet approachable
look. The beautiful, durable, high
quality metal unibody ows right
up to the 5-inch, full HD (1080p)
display, tapering to thinner edges,
with softer curves for a smooth,
more natural grip.
Supported by the Qualcomm
Snapdragon 801 processor with 2.5
GHz quad-core Krait CPUs and
running Android 4.4, KitKat, the
latest version of the Android OS,
the new HTC One (M8) features the
all-new HTC Sense 6, available on
the device and as an upgrade from the
Google Play store. Completely redesigned
with a cleaner, more striking visual style,
HTC Sense 6 features bold, customisable
colour themes and delivers a more intuitive,
personalised user experience
The new HTC One (M8) brings a totally

12

Computer active April 2014

dierent dimension to mobile imaging by


combining the worlds rst smartphone
with a Duo Camera that features HTCs
innovative HTC UltraPixel module, a dual
colour ash and full 1080p HD video
recording. A 5-MP wide-angle front facing
camera also captures superior seles with
ease.
With the introduction of HTC Sense 6, the
new HTC One (M8) boasts capabilities that
give the product a sixth sense. For example,

Motion Launch is immediately able to detect


its position and movement, thanks to
built-in motion sensors that allow you to
interact with the phone without turning on
the screen. A simple swipe will activate the
device, Auto Answer allows you to answer a
call by putting the phone to your ear without

touching the screen a handy tool if the


phone rings when you are digging the
garden or washing the dishes and a double
tap turns the lock screen on and o.
Taking that sixth sense functionality one
step further you can extend Motion Launch
by double tapping the dot view case, in
addition to checking the time, weather, new
texts, emails and calls - without touching or
revealing the screen.
The innovation doesnt end there, as we
are also changing how people use their
phone battery. With the original HTC One
(M7), HTC optimised power consumption
so that you could get the most out of your
phone. The new HTC One (M8) takes this to
a whole new level making the battery
power last 40% longer. Whilst normal
power saving mode delivers a great
experience, we have also included an
Extreme power saving mode that makes
your battery last even longer. Fully charged
it will deliver 14 days worth of battery
power, whilst still allowing you to receive
calls, texts and emails perfect for when
you are travelling.
Activated either manually or automatically,
it delivers 60 hours of extra standby time at
20% power, 30 hours at 10% power and 15
hours at 5% power so, whether you are out
late at night or hiking in the mountains, you
never have to worry about running out of
battery again.
The HTC One (M8) will be available
globally in Gunmetal Gray, Glacial Silver and
will be rolled out in the South Asia region in
the coming weeks.

News
BenQ debuts two new short-throw
classroom interactive projector solutions

BenQ, an internationally renowned


provider of Interactive Classroom IQ
solution and a leader in the global DLP
projector market introduces their energy
ecient and eco friendly classroom
projectors MX823ST&MW824ST.
The MX823ST & MW824ST feature

LumenCare Mode, which adjusts projector


lamp power in gain steps until full power is
reached. It is the rst and only projection
feature on that ensures three years of
consistent image brightness for optimal
learning and teaching. Along with the
same,the LampSave Mode is designed to
adjust the lamp power dynamically by
content brightness level to extend projector
lamp life signicantly by 50% giving the
total lamp hours of upto 10,000. The lamp
replacement frequency is also reduced by
up to 50% to lower the replacement costs.
The wide range of connectivity options and
availibity of PointWrite and QWrite
interactive features make MX823ST& MW
824ST complete classroom interactive
projector solution. Through PointWrite and
QWrite interactive features teachers can get

up to 4 students to come up to the board


and collaborate simultaneously with
PointWrite pens to solve Quizzes, board
work, presentations and games.
The ultra-sharp contrast ratio of 13000:1,
3200 ANSI Lumens brightness and long
lamp life guarantee vibrant, reliable visual
performance time and again. Both MX
823ST & MW824STcomes with DLP
technology that supports 3D functionality,
ensuring an immersive learning experience
to their students with a simple preparation
of 3D glasses and 3D content from your
blu-ray player.
The MX823ST has a native resolution of XGA
(1024 X 768) while the MW824ST has a
native resolution of WXGA (1280 X 800).MX
823ST & MW824ST are available at a retail
price of Rs 60000 & 65000 respectively.

Motorola launches Moto X, exclusively on Flipkart


Moto X represents the best of
Motorola and Google, and its
available to Indian customers
exclusively through Flipkart.com
from 19th March, 2014.
Moto X has a unique curved back,
designed to fit your hand. With
Google Now, Moto X tells you what
you need to know when you need
to know it. With two flicks of your
wrist, Moto X becomes your
camera and captures the shots you
used to miss. Its ready when you
are.
To use your Moto X, you only need
your voice. Without touching it at
all, you can get directions, set an
alarm or do just about anything
just by talking. Moto X is always
ready to tell you what you need to
know. Instead of a uselessly
blinking light, Moto X gives you
useful info at a glance with Active

14

Computer active April 2014

Notifications, which appear right on


screen.
Moto X knows you need a camera,
and its always ready to go. Just twist
your wrist twice and its ready.
Touch anywhere on the screen, and
youll get the shot. All in just a few
seconds. Continuous shooting
capabilities, as well as a ten
megapixel camera, mean the photos
you do take are the ones you want.
Moto X will be available in Woven
Black and Woven White starting 19th
March for INR 23,999. In early
April, there will be three more color
variations (Cherry Red, Royal Blue,
and Turquoise Green) and two
wood-finish editions (Walnut finish
and Teak finish) would be priced at
INR 25,999.

News
Seagate launches new Backup Plus Portable
Drives in India
Seagate Technology has announced the
second generation of its sleek external
storage lineup, Seagate Backup Plus Slim.
With a svelte compact design and
superspeed USB 3.0 interface, the Backup
Plus Slim drive is the ideal storage
solution to aggregate and back up valued
photos, videos and other les despite
being spread across numerous devices,
social networks and personal computers.
This new oering includes the backup
software, Seagate Dashboard, which made
the rst generation of Seagate Backup
Plus drives so popular. The Seagate
Dashboard software provides an easy
one-click backup solution, but can also be
set as a scheduled backup up as needed.
Additionally, the Dashboard software will
back up Facebook and Flickr albums to
ensure that even video and photos shared
through these networks are backed up

and easy to nd. Use the


Save and Share features
to download and upload
content from these
social media networks.
Even all the photos you
have been tagged in can
be backed up from your
social networks to the
drive.
Backup Plus external
storage is available in a
range of capacities to t
every size of job. The
USB 3.0-powered, 2TB
drive is the highest
capacity drive tting into a 12.1mm form
factor. The metal-top case of these drives,
available in red, blue, black and silver, is
designed to resist scratches and
ngerprints.

Seagate Backup Plus storage is available


in stores by capacity: for Backup Plus Slim
portable: 500GB Slim - INR4,250, 1TB
Slim - INR6,000, 2TB Slim - INR10,500
and the 4TB Fast - INR25,000 MSRP.

SATranscend Launches SDXC/SDHC UHS-I Cards that support 4K


Video Capture
Transcend Informationhas launched
SDXC/SDHC UHS-I cards featuring full
support for the Ultra High Speed Class 3
(U3) specication . Capable of reaching
incredible read and write speeds of up to
95MB/s and 85MB/s, Transcends SDXC/
SDHC UHS-I U3 cards provide the
performance necessary to harness the full
power of UHS U3-compliant digital
recording equipment.
Recently released by the SD
Association, the Ultra High Speed Class 3
specication guarantees a minimum
constant write speed of 30MB/s to
facilitate cinema-quality video recording.
Transcends SDXC UHS-I U3 and SDXC/
SDHC UHS-I U3X Extreme cards,
however, can achieve at least double this
performance with blazing-fast write speeds of
up to 60MB/s and 85MB/s respectively. When
used with todays advanced camcorders, such as

16

Computer active April 2014

the Sony 4K Handycam FDR-AX100, Panasonic


Lumix DMC-GH4, and Canon EOS C500 Cinema
Camera, these cards ensure smooth 4K video
capture in stunning color and clarity.

In devices that do not support the UHS-I


specication, Transcends SDXC/SDHC
UHS-I U3 cards oer constant write speeds
of at least 10MB/s (SD Speed Class 10
performance), which makes them perfect
for Full HD video recording as well as
fast-action consecutive shooting. Pairing the
new UHS-I U3 cards with Transcends RDF8
USB 3.0 multi-card reader or the handy
RDF5 USB 3.0 card reader with built-in USB
port signicantly reduces the time it takes to
transfer data from card to computer with
read speeds of up to 95MB/s.
Featuring capacities ranging from 32GB to
an enormous 128GB, for added value, each
Transcend memory card includes a free
download of Transcends exclusive
RecoveRx photo recovery software. All
Transcend memory cards are fully tested for
compatibility and reliability, and carry
Transcends Lifetime Warranty.

News
Lenovo unveils Thinkcentre m73 tiny desktop
Lenovo, one of Indias leading PC players has
unveiled the new ThinkCentre M73 Tiny, a
compact, high performance desktop, perfect for
modest workspaces. Starting at INR 28,500 plus
taxes, the aordable desktop comes with VESA
mount support, which allows the M73 Tiny the
exibility to t anywhere in the workspaceon
the desk, or behind a monitor.
The 1L sized desktop weighs 2.9 pounds (1.3Kgs
onwards), and is equipped with 4th generation
Intel Core i processors that improve performance
by 10%. The PC Cloud Manager 2 oers failure
warnings, troubleshooting and power
consumption reports to keep the PC healthy and
green. The Intelligent Cooling Engine (ICE) 3.01
allows for working in hotter temperatures and
enables system monitoring with thermal alerts
that preempt overheating possibilities.

Kingston Launches MicroDuo Dual Interface USB Drive


Kingston has announced the
launch of its DataTraveler
microDuo in India. In a small form
factor, the microDuo is a
combination of USB and microUSB
Flash drive that allows consumers
to expand the storage of their
Android tablets and smartphones
on-the-go.
DataTraveler microDuo uses the
microUSB port on devices often
used for charging to expand

18

Computer active April 2014

storage up to 64GB. This is especially helpful


as more and more smartphones and some
tablets come without a microSD card storage
expansion slot. The drive can be used with
any USB On-The-Go compatible device and
the dual interface allows users to transfer
files without plugging into a PC.
Smartphones and tablets shoot hi-res photos
and HD video, and with some devices now
shooting 4K video, consumers can easily
move large files, photos, videos and music
off the device to free up space just like a
normal Flash drive.

News
Samsung unveils Galaxy S5
Samsung Electronics has introduced
the Galaxy S5, blending features that
matter most to consumers. The new
Galaxy S5 offers consumers a refined
experience with innovation of essential
features for day-to-day use. The Galaxy
S5 combines an advanced
camera, the fast network
connectivity, dedicated
fitness tools and enhanced
device protection features
as consumers stay fit and
connected in style.
The Galaxy S5 blends
iconic Samsung design
with modern trends to
appeal to a range of
consumer tastes and
interests. The Galaxy S5
features a perforated
pattern on the back cover
creating a modern glam
look. Its new sleek,
contoured shape comes in
an array of vivid colors,
including charcoal Black,
shimmery White, electric
Blue and copper Gold, to
complement the style of
the individual consumer.
The new Galaxy S5 offers
superior camera
functionality, featuring a
16 megapixel camera with
an enhanced menu and
user interface that allow
consumers to effortlessly
take, edit and share
photos. The Galaxy S5
offers the worlds fastest
autofocus speed up to 0.3
seconds and the advanced
High Dynamic Range
(HDR) reproduces natural
light and color with striking intensity at
any occasion.
The Galaxy S5 offers the fastest Wi-Fi
performance available today, ensuring
blazing fast data speeds for unrivaled
media consumption and productivity.
The Galaxy S5 supports fast 3G speeds at
42Mbps and it comes with a powerful
Octa-core processor, capable of

20

Computer active April 2014

operating all 8 cores at the same time, to


deliver a seamless experience on the
Galaxy S5.
With the enhanced S Health 3.0, the
new Galaxy S5 offers more tools to help
people stay fit and well. It provides a

comprehensive personal fitness tracker


to help users monitor and manage their
behavior, along with additional tools
including a pedometer, diet and exercise
records, and a new, built-in heart rate
sensor.
The Galaxy S5 is IP67 dust and water
resistant. It also offers a Finger Scanner,
providing a secure, biometric screen

locking feature. The Ultra Power Saving


Mode turns the display to black and
white, and shuts down all unnecessary
features to minimize the battery
consumption.
Expanding its industry-leading
wearable line,
Samsung has launched
three incredible
devices Gear Fit,
Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo
that blend style, fitness
and convenience to
provide ultimate
connectivity for the
active mobile
consumer.Samsung
Gear Fit, the industrys
first curved Super
AMOLED wearable
device, empowers
consumers to stay
physically active
without sacrificing
personal style or
mobile connectivity.
The Samsung Gear 2
and Gear 2 Neo are
designed to take the
freedom, convenience
and style of wearable
technology to the next
level. The Samsung
Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo
offer consumers
enhanced connectivity
and a completely
integrated approach
for the most personal
wearable experience.
Both devices offer a
lightweight design
with a premium finish
that reflects modern
trends.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 is priced
between Rs. 51,000/- and Rs. 53.000/-.
Galaxy Gear 2 is priced at Rs. 21,900/and both Galaxy Gear 2 Neo and Galaxy
Gear Fit are priced at Rs. 15,900/- each.
These devices will be available across
India through Samsungs retail stores
and e-commerce sites on April 11, 2014.

Protect Your Tech


Scams and threats to avoid, plus new security tools
WATCH OUT FOR

Security flaws in D-Link routers


What happened?
A researcher found security aws
in seven D-Link router models. Its
thought hackers could have used the
weaknesses to take remote control
of a router and modem and spy on
peoples online activity.
Writing on his blog (www.snipca.
com/10334), Craig Hener said the
DIR-100 (pictured), DI-524, DI-524UP,
DI-604S, DI-604UP, DI-604+ and
TM-G5240 models were at risk. He also
claimed two models made by Japanese
company Planex (www.planex.net)
were aected. The aw, known as a
backdoor, lets hackers bypass normal
security authentication while remaining
undetected. Fortunately, theres no
evidence its been exploited by hackers.
Craig Hener belongs to a group of
hackers called /dev/ttys0 (www.
devttys0.com), which delves into

devices such as routers and set-top


boxes looking for vulnerabilities
that companies should x.

What should I do?


If you use any of these
routers you should install
D-Links rmware updates
to x the aws. At the time
of going to press, the company
said these would be available by
the end of October. In a statement
posted on its website (www.snipca.
com/10335), D-Link wrote: We are
proactively working with the sources
of these reports as well as continuing
to review across the complete product
line to ensure that the vulnerabilities
discovered are addressed. On the
same webpage youll also nd rmware
updates to x other vulnerabilities
identied earlier this year. If you use

New tools
Ashampoo has launched
its first antivirus software
since 2009, using malwareblocking technology from
Bitdefender and Emsisoft.
The program, which works
with every version of
Windows from XP to 8.1,
contains all the necessary
tools you need to stay
safe, such as real-time
protection, which thwarts
attacks as they happen.
Whats really impressive,
though, is that it also
contains two privacy tools
from Ashampoos

24

Computer active April 2014

any of the routers listed you should


install the update now.
We go along with D-Links advice,
especially that you should ignore emails
that claim your router is in danger of
being hacked and prompt you to click
a link. These emails will denitely be
scams. You should also disable remote
access to your router if you dont need it.

Ashampoo Anti-Virus 2014


www.ashampoo.com/antivirus

WinOptimizer software
(www.snipca.com/10363):
File Wiper to erase files and
folders, and Internet Cleaner
to delete your browsing
history.
Ashampoo Anti-Virus
comes in one, two and
three-year packages, priced
29.99, 39.99 and 54.99
respectively. Theres also a
free trial which lasts 10 days
if you dont register (30 days
if you do). Helpfully, you
dont need to provide your
credit-card details to
sign up for the free trial.

CD Contents
From the Editor
Dear Readers,
This months CD contains a multitude of
productivity software. For music lovers, this
months full software will be a treat. Enjoy.
EDITOR
PS:-Please reach us on ca@nextgenpublishing.net
with your suggestions. Some of the software
provided on this disc requires a product key from
the publisher.

Full Software
MP3 COVER FINDER
OS : Windows XP/2003/2008/Vista/7/8/8.1

Productivity :
q &WFSOPUF
q3PCP5BTL

Utilities :
q5VOF6Q6UJMJUJFT
q*OY1%'&EJUPS
q+BWBWVQEBUF
q 0QFSB
q .JDSPTPGU0OF%SJWF
q%SPQCPY

Multimedia & Entertainment :


q1-&9.FEJB4FSWFS
q J5VOFT
q 8JOEPXT&TTFOUJBMT

26

$PNQVUFSBDUJWF April 2014

April 2014

Best Free Software


Brilliant new programs that wont cost you anything
website checker

WOT
www.mywot.com
What you need: Internet Explorer, Firefox,
Chrome, Safari or Opera
:27 :HERI7UXVW LVDQH[FHOOHQWWRROWKDWXVHVWUDIILFOLJKWV
WRLQGLFDWHZKHWKHUDZHEVLWHLVVDIHWRYLVLW7KHUDWLQJV
DUHJHQHUDWHGIURPIHHGEDFNXVHUVSURYLGHDIWHUYLVLWLQJ
ZHEVLWHV&OLFNWKHFLUFOHQH[WWRWKHZHEOLQNRUDGGUHVVEDU
IRUFRPSUHKHQVLYHGHWDLOVDERXWWKHVLWHVUDQNLQJ,QWKH
QHZYHUVLRQ\RXFDQUDWHVLWHVDFFRUGLQJWRVSHFLILFFULWHULD
LQFOXGLQJFKLOGVDIHW\DQGWUXVWZRUWKLQHVV<RXFDQQRZDOVR
EORFNDGXOWVLWHVE\XVLQJWKH3DUHQWDO&RQWUROVHWWLQJV

Printing

Primg 1.2.1.2
www.snipca.com/10134
What you need: Windows XP, Vista, 7 or 8

6KRUWIRUSULQWLPDJH3ULPJSURGXFHVDGLJLWDOFRQWDFW
VKHHWWKDW
VXVHIXOIRUYLHZLQJSKRWRV\RX
YHLPSRUWHGDQG
LQWHQGWRSULQW
7KHODWHVWYHUVLRQRI3ULPJOHWV\RXSULQWPRUHLPDJHV
VLPXOWDQHRXVO\ZKLFKPDNHVLWPRUHXVHIXOWKDQWKHPXOWL
LPDJHSULQWOD\RXWRSWLRQ\RX
OOILQGLQ:LQGRZV3KRWRDQG
)D[9LHZHU7RXVH3ULPJEURZVHWR\RXUSKRWRVDQGFOLFN
WKHRQHV\RXZDQW<RXFDQDGMXVWWKHRUGHUDQGVL]HRI
LPDJHVRUFKRRVHDVLQJOHVKRWDQGFURSLWVRLWSULQWVH[DFWO\
DV\RXZLVK3ULPJKDVDOVRUHFHQWO\ODXQFKHGDELWYHUVLRQ

Voice and video chat

ooVoo
www.oovoo.com
What you need: Windows XP, Vista, 7 or 8

2R9RRLVRQHRIWKHPRVWLPSUHVVLYHYLGHRFDOOLQJWRROVZH
YH
WULHG<RXFDQJURXSFDOOXSWRIULHQGVDWRQFHDQGVHQG
ILOHVRIXSWR0%RYHURR9RRIURP\RXU3&<RXFDQDOVR
VKDUH\RXU3&RUODSWRSVFUHHQZLWKWKHRWKHUSHUVRQVR\RX
FDQVKRZWKHPKRZWRGRVRPHWKLQJ2R9RRQRZVKRZV
IULHQGVDYDLODELOLW\LIWKH\
UHQRWDURXQGWRFKDW\RXFDQVHQG
WKHPDYLGHRPHVVDJHQH[WWLPHWKH\ORJLQ7KHUHDUHDOVR
QHZL26 ZZZVQLSFDFRP DQG$QGURLG ZZZVQLSFD
FRP RR9RRDSSV

April 2014 Computer active

27

Reviews
PRINTER
HOW WE TEST
Computeractives reviewers follow
strict guidelines to ensure the
opinions expressed in the magazine
are fair, accurate and independent.
Every product or service we review is
thoroughly examined and tested by
experts.
The manufacturer has no
involvement in our tests and is never
told the result of a review prior to
publication. Please note that our
reviews grade products, not
customer service. We welcome
feedback on our reviews
send us an email to
ca@nextgenpublishing.net

OUR STAR RATINGS


We provide a clear verdict for every
product we review. Each verdict is
accompanied by a star rating. Heres
what those stars mean:
An excellent purchase
A good purchase

OK by us

Below average quality


Very poor quality

OUR STAMP OF APPROVAL


Our Buy It! stamp of
approval is a sign that a
BUY IT! product has exceeded
our high expectations in
both quality and value.
If you see the Buy It! logo you know
we were impressed with the product
and we think you will be too. The Try
It! Stamp is our equivalent award for
software and services that are free
of charge.

PRICES
The prices we print are the
suggested retail prices set by the
manufacturer. Products can often be
found much cheaper on the internet
or in shops.

TECHNICAL TERMS
AND JARGON
While we try to keep our reviews free
from technical language or jargon, it
is sometimes unavoidable. See the
Jargon Buster column for concise
explanations of highlighted words.

HP DeskJet 2520hc
A simple and efficient printer

The HP DeskJet 2520hc has a simple yet


elegant design. It is a good looking
all-in-one with premium touches all over.
Finished in pristine matte black plastic,
steeply raked at the front, it has surprising
good looks for a budget printer. The beige
bezel, a chrome striped gradient on the top
lid, neatly designed control panel and the
well concealed paper input and output trays,
make it surprisingly compact. Despite the
compact size, the two cartridge slots are
easy to access.

Computer active April 2014

While printing photos, it took 1.03mins to


print 4x6in image at best quality settings.
The photo quality is acceptable. The colours
are natural with limited grains, however the
black level is not cent percent accurate, this
may be due to the dual colour cartridges.
But at this price, you should not expect
more than this.

A single USB 2.0 socket at the rear is the


only means of connecting, the printer does
not have HPs ePrint or Mobile Printing
ability.
The installer package is very
interactive and is a detailed
step-by-step process, it
starts with an online
check for the latest
installer le. In our
case it downloaded
a 54.45MB installer
le. The installation
process took around
15-25 minutes, this
may vary based on
your computers
conguration.
Printing quality is not bad at all. We
started with printing a 8 page PDF in Draft
mode, the job was completed in 49
seconds. The quality was paler than usual,
but this is common with most printers.
We them printed 9 pages of dierent font
sized text in normal quality, it took 1.09
minutes to print the entire document. To
test the printer at best quality, we used a
PDF that had dierent font sizes, graphs
and images. The speed achieved was ve
pages a minute.
Scan and copy speed is better. Scanning a

28

4x6in photo took 24seconds at 300DPI.


Scan quality was good with ample details
and colour.

The printer retails at Rs. 8300 (at the time


of review), it is available on HP online store
and others. The cartridge costs Rs. 546
each, and lasts 750 pages (colour) or 1500
pages (Mono).

VERDICT: A compact ecient home MFP

INFO: hp.com/in/

New Products tested by our experts


PHONE

Asha 502
Nokia improves on the Asha 501 with a new Asha phone
Nokia launched the Asha range with an
aim of bringing smartphone-like features
to entry-level devices, making the Asha
501 an instant hit. Following in the
footsteps is the Asha 502, which we
looked at, this month.
Design is more or less similar to its
predecessor. It has a similar candybar
form factor but differentiates itself with a
glossy but clear plastic body, giving the
phone a crystaline effect. Moreover, the
phone is small but has a decent width that
offers a good grip.
Asha 502 is essentially a feature phone
but Nokia has spruced up the device to
integrate smartphone-like features. Nokia
has made no changes in the display
department, which remains at 3-inches
along with QVGA (240x320) resolution
Unlike Android where the selling point
of the device is the processor and RAM it
packs, Asha ranges highlight is the
software and its ability to give
smartphone-like features. The Asha 502
runs on the Asha Platform 1.1 and has

something called as Fastlane. A simple


swipe on the main screen shows the
Fastlane, which lists recent activities on
the phone, enabling users to quickly
access them. However, the limited
processing power and memory does come
with some drawbacks. There are times
where youll notice some lag and slow
performance.
Nokia 502 is also packed with Nokia
services like HERE Maps, Music, Xpress
Browser and even supports third-party
apps like Whatsapp, Facebook and Twitter.
The camera on the Nokia Asha 502 is a
step up from its predecessor. The phone
comes with a 5 megapixel fixed-focus
camera and LED flash that produces some
good pictures, provided you shoot in good
lighting conditions. However, the camera
takes below par pictures in inadequate
lighting.
Asha 502 is a dual-SIM phone and
despite two cellular networks
continuously searching for network
coverage, battery life on the Asha 502 is

HARDWARE

ASRock H61 Pro BTC Motherboard

impressive. On a full charge, the phone


easily lasts more than a day.
Asha 502 is a good device that
improves on many things that Asha 501
lacked or could not deliver smoothly. But if
youre looking for 3G support, youll have
to go for Asha 503 as the Asha 502 does
not support it.
VERDICT: Good phone for the price, but the
lack of 3G is a dampener

INFO: www.nokia.co.in

VERDICT: Decent motherboard for Bitcoin


GPU miners

INFO: www.asrock.com

This new motherboard mines Bitcoins


Use of Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies
have increased in the last few months and to
cash in on the opportunity, ASRock has
introduced a motherboard that makes mining
Bitcoins easy. For the uninitiated, Bitcoin, also
known as BTC or is a peer-to-peer payment
system and digital currency introduced as an
open source software in 2009. It is called a
cryptocurrency because it uses cryptography to
control the creation and transfer of money.
Bitcoins also take a lot of computational power
to mine a single Bitcoin. This is where ASRocks
latest motherboard comes into play. ASRocks
BTC motherboards like this one are equipped
with six PCI expansion slots. In short, a Bitcoin

miner can install up to six graphics cards that can


be used simultaneously to mine a Bitcoin. The
motherboard also oers stable voltage
considering it comes with two extra 4-pin power
connectors for users to connect their graphics
cards safely. The ASRock motherboard is also
equipped with a High Density Glass Fabric PCB,
which means the motherboard is protected from
water, humidity, thus, drastically reducing the
chances of it being aected by humidity.
Furthermore, the H61 Pro BTC supports second
and third generation of Intel Core, Pentium and
Celeron processors, supports Dual-channel
DDR3 RAM, 4 SATA ports, 10 USB 2.0 ports and
D-Sub and HDMI for video out options. It also

comes with ASRock Extreme Tuning Utility


(AXTU) an all-in-one software to ne-tune
dierent features like Hardware Monitor, Fan
Control, Overclocking, OC DNA, IES and XFast
RAM; Intel Smart Connect Technology that keeps
refreshing the content like email, social networks
etc. automatically updated even when the system
is asleep; Intel Rapid Start for quick boot; ASRock
OMG (Online Management Guard) that acts as an
internet lter and lots more. ASRock has an
interesting hardware to oer. GPU mining may
not be cost ecient and fast like ASIC mining but it
certainly is useful if you want to dabble on the
cryptocurrency craze. If not, its still a good
motherboard for your regular computing needs.
April 2014 Computer active

29

Reviews
TABLET

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 8


Lenovos First Multimode Yoga Tablet born

Lenovos Yoga range of devices rst broke


cover as convertible notebooks based on
Windows OS and now the Chinese PC
maker has set its eyes on the burgeoning
tablet market with its rst multimode Yoga
tablet. The Yoga tablet from Lenovo is also
the rst range that has been created after
the appointment of Hollywood star, Ashton
Kutcher as Lenovos Product Engineer.
While weve reviewed many tablets in the
past, Lenovos Yoga Tablet 8 is the rst
one to take a dierent approach in terms
of design. Its the cylindrical design at the
bottom that gives the Yoga
Tablet 8 a distinct touch. This
design makeover however,
serves many purposes more
importantly, Yoga tablets
Multimode feature. The
cylindrical handle enables the
tablet to be used in three modes
Hold, Tilt and Stand. The
handle makes it easy to hold the
tablet and is particularly useful
while reading. Pop out the side
cylinder 90 to make the tablet
stand on a tablet or use it as a
kickstand for a better viewing
angle.
As far as the rest of the
design goes, Yoga Tablet 8 is
stylishly designed device with
clean aluminium nish and
laser etched back to prevent
scratches.
In short, Lenovo wins full marks for making
the design of the Yoga Tablet 8 innovative
and attractive.
The tablet features an 8-inch HD
(1280x800) display and produces good
colours with decent colour accuracy. The
viewing angle is excellent as well.
The Yoga Tablet 8 runs Android 4.2.2 with
Lenovos custom user interface that really
transforms the Android we know. The
interface fuses the app drawer and home
screen into a hotseat for apps that enables

30

Computer active April 2014

quick access for up to 6 apps.


The interface also supports few gestures
like a top swipe that reveals the launcher
menu or a bottom swipe that shows
recently used apps. Powering the tablet
is MediaTeks 1.2GHz MT8389 processor
and 1GB RAM, and to put it frankly, this
combination for the tablet is not enough.
While most of the things work as intended,
theres an obvious lag and stutter when you
try to scroll through the interface.
The tablet supports 3G and just like majority
of the Android tablets, Yoga Tablet 8

We mentioned at the start that the


cylindrical handle serves many purposes
and one of them is that it hosts dual
batteries.
Lenovo claims the dual batteries in the Yoga
Tablet 8 are generally found in laptops and
in our tests, with a mix of watching movies,
using 3G data and Wi-Fi, Yoga Tablet 8
easily went over two days, making it one
of the best tablets if youre looking for
prolonged battery life.
To sum things up, Lenovo oers a great
looking tablet with a stellar battery life at an

supports voice calling. It also comes with


16GB internal memory with support for
expansion via microSD up to 64GB.
On the multimedia front, the tablet fares
really well as it plays everything you throw
at it. Theres Dolby support as well that adds
to the overall audio quality.
The Yoga Tablet 8 features a 5 megapixel
camera at the back and 1.6 megapixel on
the front. Both cameras perform well in
good lighting conditions, support HD video
recording and continuous image support.

attractive price. The only shortcoming is the


mediocre processor choice that makes the
tablet lag a bit. The Lenovo Yoga Tablet 8
sells for Rs. 22,000.

VERDICT: A good looking tablet with


excellent battery life, bogged down by
an average CPU

INFO: www.thedostore.com

New Products tested by our experts

MONITOR

LaCie Rugged Triple USB 3.0 HDD


Heading: Rugged Protection in a compact chassis
There are many portable hard
drives in the market but very
few boast the militarygrade protection to protect
the data from any untoward
accident. LaCie is one of the
few with their Rugged Triple USB
3.0 drive that gives decent storage
and protects the drive from accidental
drops and hacking.
The LaCie Rugged Triple USB 3.0 is designed
by renowned designer, Neil Poulton based in
France but were not talking about its aesthetic
appeal but its four layers of protection. The
portable drive boasts an orange, rubberized,
shock-resistant rubber sleeve with an
aluminium anti-scratch protective shell. There
are internal rubber bumpers to save from
shocks and a shock-resistant hard drive

capable of handling up to 1000G of


shock. In short, the drive adheres to
the 810-F military specication
and can even withstand
drops of up to 2
meters when not in
use.

Performance-wise, the
LaCie Rugged Triple USB 3.0
supports USB 3.0 and FireWire 800 interface.
Its backward compatible as well, which means
if youve got a PC supporting USB 2.0 or
FireWire 400, the drive will still work but will
give lower transfer speeds. In our tests with
USB 3.0, the LaCie Rugged Triple USB 3.0
reached a transfer speed of around 90MB/s.
The drive also supports AES 256-bit

software encryption that enables users to


create a password-protected area on the drive
to save all the data from prying eyes.
But thats not all. LaCie bundles an Easy
Setup assistant and automatic backup software
and 10GB of Wuala secure online storage for
free for a year.
The 1TB version of LaCie Rugged Triple USB
3.0 is priced at around Rs. 12,000 and if youre
serious about preserving data with the best in
class protection, LaCies HDD is good to have in
your arsenal.
VERDICT: Combo of rugged protection
with high-speed interface support gives
the drive an edge over others

INFO: www.lacie.com

Reviews
SMARTPHONE

LG G Flex
A curvy smartphone from the future

With the processor and memory


advancements in the mobile phone
industry reaching maturity, companies are
looking to innovate on the form factor
front. One such case is LG who announced
the G Flex earlier this year for the Indian
market.
A glance at the G Flex, and youll know
somethings different with the phone.
Thats because LG has integrated the
worlds first 6-inch curved OLED display.
The curve adopted by LG is a vertical
curve, which according to the Korean
company is ergonomically designed to
suit the human faces curvature. Another
good thing about the design is the can
flex! Apply some pressure on the back of
the device to see the G Flex straighten
itself and return to its original curved
form.
G Flex has a clean design with just the
screen dominating the front side of the
phone while the physical keys like power/
lock button and the volume keys are
placed at the back. Speaking of back, LG
also touts G Flex to have a self-healing
back. No, were talking sorcery here but in
fact the back of the G Flex comes with an
elastic coating that can heal light and
small scratches automatically.
Display on the G Flex is a 6-inch curved
Plastic OLED display. While there are little
complaints when it comes to colour
accuracy and contrast, the biggest bane
we feel is the 720p resolution. HD
resolution would have been better with a
display as large as on the G Flex, there are
times when noise is pretty evident in the
image.
The situation is slightly different when it
comes to performance. G Flex is powered
by Qualcomms Snapdragon 2.26GHz
quad-core CPU and 2GB RAM, making it
more than enough for the device to run
smoothly, including heavy processing
during games and few other apps.
The phone runs LGs custom UI atop

32

Computer active April 2014

Android 4.2.2 and though most of the


things are borrowed from LGs top-end
device, the G2, there are a few things
exclusive to the G Flex. The phone has
something called as Fluid Lock Screen
that moves the wallpaper according to the
tilt of the G Flex. Theres also QTheater
that flaunts a curved UI for images and
videos and Dual Window that enables to
use two apps at once.
G Flex also features KnockOn that
locks/unlocks device with just two taps on
the screen, Slide Aside that enables to run
three apps simultaneously, QSlide, Quick
Remote, Guest Mode.
On the camera front, G Flex has a
decent 13 megapixel camera at the back
and 2.1 megapixel on the front. Camera
produces some good pictures and even

has the ability to record videos in UHD


(4K) resolution.
G Flexs display is just one part of the
curve. It also sports a non-removable
curved battery rated at 3500mAh that
easily gives more than a day of run time.
LG gets full marks for G Flexs
innovation but the phones success is
hampered with its price tag. Its priced at
Rs. 69,000, which makes it appealing for
a very limited set of consumers.
VERDICT: Good performing curved
smartphone with an expensive price tag.

INFO: www./lg.com

HARDWARE

Nvidia GeForce GTX 750 Ti GPU


Nvidias latest GPU is powerful and small
There are over 600 million gamers worldwide
or about twice the population of US and with PC
gaming on the rise, Nvidia released their new
GeForce GTX 750 Ti GPU with a promise to
improve performance at an aordable price.
Nvidia has made the GeForce GTX 750 Ti
really compact. Its just 5.7-inches long that
makes it ideal for gamers who have PCs with
just the integrated graphics or PCs with small
chassis. One of the good things is that it does
not need an internal power connector, which
means it also saves on power.
GeForce GTX 750 Ti is Nvidias rst GPU
based on Maxwell architecture and is based on
28nm process, 640 CUDA cores and 1GB or 2GB
GDDR5 memory, depending on the GPU add-in
partner.
As for performance-per-watt goes, GTX 750
Ti boasts 4 times the power eciency compared
to Fermi-based GTX 550 Ti or double the

eciency when pitted against Nvidias


Kepler-based GTX 650 Ti. It also
consumes about 60W of power
compared to AMD R7 260Xs 115W.
Nvidia also oers the freedom to overclock
the GPU and can be safely pushed to over 10 to
12 percent from its original boost clock of
1020MHz.
The GPU is targeted at gamers who want to
enjoy gaming at Full HD 1080p resolution and
Nvidias oering is optimised to give a better
performance than AMDs R7 260X in titles like
Battleeld 4, BioShock Innite, Call of Duty:
Ghosts, Batman: AO, Crysis 3 and Far Cry 3.
GeForce GTX 750 Ti also packs in some
Nvidia technologies like GPU Boost 2.0 that
enables the graphics card to run at the highest
clocks possible for the best gaming
performance; ShadowPlay to record their
games; G-Sync support that helps to resolve the

issues of
screen tearing,
stutter, input lag on
the supported monitor;
and Gamestream that
enables Nvidia Shield users to
stream their Steam games from
PC to the
handheld gaming console.
GeForce GTX 750 Ti oers a good set of
features at an asking price of Rs. 11,990 and with
the compact size, GTX 750 Ti opens a subset of
gamers who wouldnt think to upgrade their rig
due to their small PC chassis.

VERDICT: Good performance with low


power consumption and price.

INFO: www. nvidia.in

Reviews
CAMERA

D-Link DCS-825L Baby Camera


Check on the baby from your smartphone
There are times when you want to check on your
newborn while youre slogging at work and the
latest gadget from D-Link helps to full this
objective. The Wi-Fi Baby Camera (DCS-825L)
is not a regular baby monitor but in fact, it
enables the parent to check on their loved one
remotely on their mobile device.
The D-Link Baby Camera has a really simple
design. It comes with an interchangeable blue
and pink colour rings to add some personalisation
and a matching stand where the circular shaped
camera can be placed or mounted to a xed
position. The top side of the camera features controls like
power and volume while the AC adapter, microSD card slot and
speakers are placed at the back.
Setting up the Wi-Fi Baby Camera is really easy. Just download the free
mydlink Baby app for iOS and Android and follow on screen instructions.
Once the camera is connected to the Wi-Fi network, all a user needs is
the app to monitor their child.
Here is where it gets more interesting. The camera supports up to
720p quality and even night vision, which activates the infra-red LEDs

when the ambient light gets dark. It can also


detect motion, sound and integrates a
temperature sensor. All this information comes in
handy when youre using the app as the simple UI
relays all the information along with the video feed
for you to act on.
For instance, you can remotely play lullabies (up
to 5) or even use your own voice to calm your child.
The app also noties if it detects any sound or
motion and displays the room temperature to notify if
its too hot or cold.
The D-Link Wi-Fi Baby Camera packs in some good
features giving you the freedom to nish some chores
while keeping an eye on the newborn all the time. The
camera is priced at Rs. 9,000.
VERDICT: Great camera with an easy-touse app

INFO: www.dlink.co.in

PROJECTOR

Epson EH-TW5200 Projector


Affordable projector with 3D playback
Epson has a wide range of projectors that
cater to dierent segments of the market, and
the latest projector that promises to give
decent features at an aordable price, is the
EH-TW5200.
Epson goes for the home users and gamers
with the EH-TW5200, given the target market,
Epson has made the projector compact in size
and easy to lug around.
Placement-wise, the lamp and the vents
are located on the front, keystone adjuster and
controls on the top and input ports like HDMI,
VGA port, RCA port, RS232c, USB port, 3.5mm
headphone jack at the back along with 2W
monoaural speaker.
The projector uses 3LCD technology that
brings out good colours but gets aected by
the lower contrast when watching a scene

34

Computer active April 2014

with dark background. The brightness for the


colour light as well as the white light is 2000
lumens, supports Full HD resolution playback
and has an estimated lamp life of up to 4,000
hours. The lamp can last up to 6,000 hours if
the projector is used in Eco mode.
TW5200 is one of the cheapest projectors
to support 3D playback and since its rst
objective is to be cost ecient, Epson does not
bundle any 3D glasses. Consumers will need
to buy new 3D RF glasses to watch 3D
content. The projector also supports 480Hz
Drive that helps to give an improved 3D and
gaming experience.
One of the HDMI ports supports MHL,
which is a technology that enables users to
mirror their smartphone devices to the
projector. The projector works well with MHL

and can even stream content from an Android


or an iOS device wirelessly with an option
Wi-Fi dongle and iProjection app.
Epson EH-TW5200 can project content up
to 300-inches in size and with Full HD and 3D
playback added to the mix, the EH-TW5200
makes a good buy.
VERDICT: Good Projector for home users
with 3D support

INFO: www.epson.co.in

Hi TechTrend Setters
Top ProspectsHome Base of ICT

COMPUTEX TAIPEI

is going to feature such themes as

Touch-Enabled Applications, Cloud, Wearable Technology, 3D


Printing, Vehicle Telematics/Auto Multimedia and IoT. This ICT mega
event and worlds leading procurement platform will run from June
3-7, 2014 in Taipei.

Pre-register NOW!
3 easy steps let you shape the future at this
amazing ICT event!
1. Go online: www.computextaipei.com.tw
2. Click: Visitors Pre-registration and complete
registration form and survey.
3. Click SEND and its done!

This years show will build on the success of last years show, which
accommodated 1,724 exhibitors using 5,042 booths and

Have your badge delivered to your hotel

welcomed 38,300 international visitors.

International visitors may choose to have badge

Two new exhibition areas will join the already rich lineup- Touch

delivered to designated hotels. Requests will be


accepted 1 month prior to the show.

Applications & Display Products and Smart Tech & Applications

Unlimited FREE Metro for 4 days (June 3rd 6th)

spotlighting products and services that reflect new technology

First time EVER! International visitors get a FREE

and market trends.

4-day metro pass embedded into their upgraded


visitor badges. It provides FREE unlimited rides on
the Taipei Metro from June 3rd to 6th. The

All buyers attending COMPUTEX TAIPEI 2014 will receive a buyers badge

just-opened Xinyi Line Metro runs right to the front

that combines buyer identification with unlimited four-day free Taipei

door of TWTC Hall 1.

Metro transportation. In other words, the badge not only allows buyers to
visit the tradeshow, it also enables them to travel around the city for free.

For the ease and comfort of the international


visitors the organizer even offers FREE shuttle buses
that zip between airports to show venues, and

Reminder:
Deadline for pre-registration is May 28th.
After that date, registration can only be made at on-site counters.
For more details on COMPUTEX TAIPEI or to pre-register on the
official website: www.ComputexTaipei.com.tw

between the show venues and major hotels.

Reviews
CAMERA

SanDisk Ultra Dual USB Drive


Use the same flash drive on PC and a Smartphone
We reviewed the Transcend OTG USB Drive
last month and this month we have SanDisks
USB OTG solution known as the Ultra Dual
USB Drive. USB On-the-Go or simply, USB
OTG enables users to use the regular USB
ash drive on a device with a full size USB
port and on a smartphone or a tablet.
The SanDisk Ultra Dual USB Drive has been
designed a bit dierently when you compare
it with the Transcend oering and quite
frankly, we like it. There is no cap to lose that
hides the microUSB port as the Ultra Dual
USB Drive comes with a sliding plastic to hide
the normal-sized USB port or microUSB port,
when not in use.
Using the USB Drive is pretty simple. Just
pop in the USB 2.0 drive to a PC to copy the
contents like you usually do with a normal
USB ash drive or if youre trying to copy or

backup content from your mobile device,


make sure the device supports USB OTG
function. A full list of compatible devices can
be found here http://bit.ly/1jk1IEz.
Although the drive works with any le
manager in the mobile device, SanDisks
Memory Zone is highly recommended as it
makes manoeuvring through the content
really easy. The app also makes it easier to
copy or move content back and forth from the
mobile device to the Dual Drive and even
supports variety of online services like
Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, Facebook etc.
The SanDisk Ultra Dual USB Drive is a
handy tool for users who are always in a
space crunch on their mobile devices. The
drive comes in capacities from 16GB and
goes up to 64GB with the price starting from
Rs. 1,199.

VERDICT: Good performance omplemented


with a decent software support

INFO: www.sandisk.com/dualdrive

HARDWARE

Strontium 64GB microSDXC card


SDXC card with huge storage with promise of a good speed
With consumers creating and consuming
Full HD content, storage for devices has
become one of the deciding factors during the
purchase of a new gadget. Use of microSD
cards has proved instrumental to give the
freedom to expand the storage to consumers
and at the same time, keep the price of the
mobile device low.
This month we try out Strontiums
microSDXC UHS-1 card that boasts storage of
64GB. This card from Strontium is classied
under UHS-1 and Class 10, which makes it one
of the high-speed rated cards available in the
market.
A clean formatted card gives about 59GB of
storage and in our tests, we tried the card on a
Lenovo Android tablet running Android 4.2.2
and on a Dell notebook running Windows 8.1.
The results were surprising to say the least. In

36

Computer active April 2014

to up to 56MB/s. Achieving Strontiums


85MB/s read speed is a bit of a task since its
tested under certain conditions but getting a
read speed of more than 50MB/s in real
world conditions isnt bad either.
Another advantage is that the card works
with variety of Android devices as well as
Windows Phones and digital cameras. It even
bundles a full version of the MyBackup Pro
app for Android devices worth Rs. 312.
Strontium sells the card for around Rs. 2,800.
the three random tests on the Android tablet,
the card managed to give a write speed of
about 15.1MB/s while the read speed stood at
12-15MB/s. On the other hand, card when
used with the bundled SD adapter gave a write
speed in the range of 20MB/s and read speed

VERDICT: Price and decent speed makes


it a good value for money accessory for
mobile and camera owners

INFO: www.strontium.biz/

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Reviews
LAPTOP

Sony VAIO Flip 13


A laptop that turns into a tablet with a flip of a finger

The Sony VAIO Flip 13


Multi-flip Windows 8.1
laptop is nothing if not a
head-turner. Although
the Multi-flip looks like
just another ultra
portable laptop, its a
little different because
you can flip the screen
180 degrees back on
itself so it can be laid flat
on the keyboard, allowing
the Multi-flip to be used
as a tablet.
The flippable screen is
mounted on a pivoting
hinge halfway up the
back of the lid, which
provides a fair amount of
flexibility. When the
screen is flipped back on itself,
the computer can be turned
upside down and positioned
V-shaped, like a tent.
Alternatively, the screen can be
tilted forwards, partially
covering the keyboard, which
makes it more comfortable to
use the touchscreen when
seated at a desk or table. If you
just want to use the Multi-flip
as a laptop, the screen can be
locked in place using the switch
built into the hinge so it doesnt
come loose accidentally.
These flexible screen modes
are surprisingly useful and the
ability to tilt the screen
forwards in particular makes
using touchscreen apps on the
Multi-flip much more bearable.
Although its 1.3kg weight is
light for a laptop, its heavy for
a tablet, so holding and using
the Multi-flip as a handheld
tablet for even short periods of
time, quickly becomes

38

Computer active April 2014

premium, thanks to
the brushed
aluminium finish. It
also has a
diamond-cut logo
and curved edges
that makes it really
easy for the VAIO
Flip use in all 3
modes Laptop,
Viewer and Tablet
Mode. Usefully, the
charger has a USB
port for charging
your smartphone.

tiresome.
Our model came equipped
with 4GB of memory and a
dual-core 1.6GHz Intel Core i5
4200U processor, which makes
it fast enough to be used as
your main computer. Battery
life was good too at about 6
hours and 37 minutes, although
weve seen other laptops last
even longer.
Using the Multi-flip as a
laptop is very comfortable
thanks to the large keyboard.
The keys have enough travel
and give plenty of feedback
when pressed. The keys also
light up for use in dark rooms.
The touchpad is large and
accurate with firm, clicky
buttons built into the bottom of
the pad itself. The touchscreen
is accurate and very
responsive. Disappointingly,
image quality is poor. Despite
the laptop boasting a
Triluminos display technology
by Sony, we found the screen

to be not very bright. Colour


accuracy isnt great and
becomes even worse when
you shift seating position
because the viewing angles are
quite narrow.
VAIO Flip 13s another
shortcoming is the noise and
the heat. Even when handling
undemanding tasks such web
browsing and word processing,
the cooling fan is irritatingly
noisy. Despite the ventilation at
the side, the bottom of the
device gets unbearably hot
after sometime, making it
uncomfortable to use it on the
lap.
The device earns full marks
on the design front. It looks

Included with the


VAIO Flip 13 are
several useful
extras. Pre-installed
on the 128GB SSD is a host of
useful Sony software including
PlayMemories Home, VAIO
Movie Creator, Xperia Link,
Norton Online Backup and a
few more. Sony also bundles
MDR-XB8910A headphones
worth Rs. 12,990 and Sony Jive
music download and streaming
service for three months with
every purchase of the Sony Flip
series notebook.
The Sony VAIO Flip 13 is a
good touchscreen laptop, but
its let down by its poor screen
quality. Wed expect far better
at this price and this flaw make
the VAIO Flip 13 only fair value.
It sells for Rs. 84,990.

VERDICT: A potentially excellent touchscreen laptop


spoiled by disappointing image quality.

INFO: www.sony.co.in

New Products tested by our experts


PHONE

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact


Power packed phone in a small size

Devices with large display


maybe in vogue these days but
there are many who still vie for
the same hardware found on
flagship phones, with a smaller
display. The mini range put
out by some mobile phone
manufacturers dont do justice
to this demand, but Sonys
newly launched Xperia Z1
Compact is looking to buck the
trend.
As the name goes, Xperia Z1
Compact is a compact version
of Sonys flagship phone
Xperia Z1. The design too, is
inspired from the Xperia Z1
with clean glass design on the
front and back and anodised
aluminium sides for a premium
look. The phone is also
certified IP58 compliant,
keeping the phone protected
from dust and water.
The compact variant of the
Xperia Z1 features a 4.3-inch
display supporting a 720p
resolution (1280x720). Despite
the current trend of going with
Full HD resolution, we feel
720p is more than enough on
this size of display. The display
reaches a respectable 342ppi
that results in sharp, clear text
and images.
Furthermore, the phone is
also equipped with Sonys
TRILUMINOS display tech and
to be honest, we were not big
fans of Sonys display tech but
the difference in the Xperia Z1
Compact is quite evident.
Colour accuracy, contrast ratio
and even the legibility under
direct sunlight are great on the
Xperia Z1 Compact.
As we mentioned before,

this phone is the compact


variant of the flagship and not
the mini version, which means
it packs in all the good
hardware from a larger-sized
Xperia Z1. The Xperia Z1
Compact is powered by
Qualcomms 2.26GHz
quad-core Snapdragon 800
processor and 2GB RAM,
ensuring amazingly smooth
performance, including while
gaming and doing other
processor intensive tasks.
Battery life is decent as well on
its 2300mAh battery.
The phone runs Android 4.3
and comes with Sonys
customer user interface. Good
thing about the interface is that
its unobtrusive and clean like
Androids original user
interface. You get multiple lock
screen support along with
widgets, home screen and
Small Apps support.
The Xperia Z1 Compact is
equipped with a 20MP Exmor
RS camera sensor that
promises better quality
pictures on a mobile phone.
There are a lot of options to
play with for users to take a
good shot. Sony has also
integrated features like
Info-eye that recognises the
text or other content in the
captured image to search and
display related information.
As far as camera quality
goes, we would say its good
but not the best. The colour
accuracy, contrast and white
balance are good but the
picture shows some amount of
noise. The camera can record
in Full HD resolution but are a

bit surprised that it does not


support 4K video recording
despite the Qualcomm chipset
supporting it from the outset.
Admittedly, there are not many
devices to play 4K content but
it would have been a good

thing to have.
Xperia Z1 Compact is a great
little device and theres little to
complain if you want a superior
hardware and performance in a
small size.

VERDICT: Its compact phone, but packs a punch

INFO: www.sony.co.in

April 2014 Computer active

39

Reviews
DEVICE

Google Chromecast
Chromecast brings multimedia streaming to the big screen
There are many devices that
transform your regular HDTV to a
Smart TV, one of the most
interesting and inexpensive
solution, comes from the house of
Google. Google calls it
Chromecast, the basic premise of
the device is to stream content to
the HDTV from your
smartphone, tablet or PC.
Design-wise,
Chromecast is a
compact, ash
drive-like device that
houses a HDMI
connector and a
microUSB port that is
used to power the device.
Google does the job of
explaining how to setup the
device well, and once set up on

the same wireless network as


your mobile device or PC,
everything is just tap and watch.
Best part of using
Chromecast is that a
user does not
have to

download
a dedicated
app to make it
work. When Chromecast is
connected, a supported app like

YouTube will automatically show


a Cast button to instantly stream
content on to the big screen.
Currently, there are a
limited number of
apps that
support the Cast
functionality but
given the fact that
Google recently
released the Google
Cast SDK for all
developers, the support for
Googles device is bound to
expand exponentially each
passing day.
Another interesting feature is
the ability to cast Chrome tabs.
With the help of an extension on
the Chrome browser for Desktop,
users can cast any open tab with a

single click, thus giving rise to a


possibility of casting virtually
anything.
In summary Chromecast may
be a little raw around the edges
and might have a dearth of
supported apps currently, but
Google by opening up the
platform has signalled of good
things for future. Plus, at $35
(~Rs. 2,500), it doesnt really hurt
the pocket.
VERDICT: Easy to setup and
use, Inexpensive.

INFO: www.google.com/
chromecast

SPEAKERS

JBL Flip 2
Wireless Speakers with a dash of colour

Bluetooth portable speaker options are


available aplenty for consumers. But how many
oer a good audio quality at an aordable
price? JBLs tries to address this with their Flip 2.
But does it deliver? We take a look.
The Flip 2 features a cylindrical design with
two 6W speakers facing the front.
The sides has volume, power, Bluetooth pairing
controls, while the back has a microUSB port
for charging, Aux in and battery indicator. Users
can pair their device via Bluetooth, or use the
integrated
Near-Field Communication (NFC), if its
supported by the mobile device.
Although NFC will ultimately use bluetooth for

40

Computer active April 2014

pairing, its faster as it requires just a tap.


All in all, Flip 2 is designed with portability in
mind, which is why JBL also packs in a premium
looking carrying case for better portability.
Speaking of performance, JBL Flip 2 oers
top notch audio quality. Despite its size, the Flip
2 is surprisingly loud and boasts crystal clear
sound without distortion even at the highest
volume. We found the bass a bit lacking though!
The Flip 2 also comes with a built-in
microphone that enables to receive calls and
talk through the speaker. The call audio quality
is pretty good and supports noise cancellation
technology.
JBL has equipped Flip 2 with a 2000mAh

rated battery that takes about 3 hours to charge


through the bundled AC adapter. The rated
battery life is up to 5 hours, it lasted nearly 4.5
during our test.
The Flip 2 is a great compact speaker from
JBL that oers quality sound along with a
choice of colours. It retails for Rs. 6,499 and
comes in black, white, red, blue and yellow.

VERDICT: Good sound quality at an


aordable price

INFO: www.jbl.com/

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YOUR PC

CAN GO EVEN

FASTER

Find out whats making your computer run slowly, then get it going faster than
ever before with ours expert tweaks and upgrades

lmost as soon as you get a new


PC it starts to slow down.
Eventually, parts wear down and
your computer gets lled up with
les, folders and endless bits of software.
But theres no reason for everyday PC use
to result in system slowdowns. Nor should
you need to do anything complicated to
make your computer run as fast as or
even faster than when you bought it.
Here we look at how to boost your PC speed
quickly and easily and how spending a bit
of money can get your computer running
faster than ever.

Find out how fast your


computer is now

KEY POINTS

S
#
@
S

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Computer active April 2014

Run the Windows Experience Index to find


weaknesses in your computer setup

You cant start improving things without


knowing what youre up against, so first
find out how well your computer is really
performing and what areas are holding
it back. You can get a quick overview of
your computers particular strengths and
weaknesses using the built-in Windows

Experience Index tool in Windows


7 and 8.
Go to Control Panel, Performance
Information and Tools and click
Run the assessment (or Re-run
the assessment if youve run this
test in the past). Windows will
show you scores for the processor,
graphics, memory, hard drive and
gaming graphics, ranging from 1.0
to 7.9. The lowest score indicates
the weakest area of your computer.
For a more in-depth idea of your
computers performance run the
PassMark Performance Test
(www.snipca.com/10113).
You can use this professional
benchmarking test in a free trial for
30 days. PerformanceTest 8.0 gives
you a comprehensive picture of whats
inside your PC, showing the processor,
motherboard, graphics card, memory,
hard drive and CD/DVD drive.
To get an accurate benchmark score,
close down everything else thats running

Your PC can go even faster


on your computer including your web
browser, email software and Skype. Start
PerformanceTest, click Run Benchmark,
then Yes. The test takes several minutes,
during which time the screen flashes on
and off as it measures how well your PC
handles 2D and 3D graphics, how fast the
memory operates and the condition of your
PCs hard drive.
PerformanceTests scores go up to around
12,000. As with the Windows Experience
Index tool, you can use PerformanceTests
results to analyse your computers weak
spots. Your PCs score will be added to
Passmarks results database. This will
help provide more accurate figures for
how everyones components compare.
One of our oldest test computers, replete
with three-year-old processor and 4GB of
RAM, scored a measly 877.8. If we wanted
to play games on this PC, for example,
we can see that wed need to upgrade the
graphics card. Your computer will probably
fare better. Click Summary to compare
each components performance compared
with others in the Passmark database.

Note your benchmark score, then check for


improvements once youve tweaked your PC

Compare the speed of your computer


components to see whats slowing it down

For instance, CPU Mark shows results for


processors from a Core2 Duo to a highend Core i7. The green bar indicates your
computer.
If your benchmark tests show a low score
for memory youll be able to add more quite
cheaply. But if the processor rating is also
low you may want to consider buying a

newer, faster computer because processors


are neither cheap nor easy to upgrade.
However, a new processor will provide a
massive increase in speed.
Once youve made changes to your PC
based on our tips and the benchmark-test
results, run PerformanceTest again to see
how much its speed has increased.

FIX THE MOST ANNOYING PC SPEED PROBLEMS


Even without running a performance test,
youll probably have a good idea of which
parts of your computer arent working as
well as they could. Heres how to fix the
most common speed problems.

Dont disable your antivirus


software or any programs
you dont recognise. Click OK
to confirm the changes and
restart the PC. In Windows
8, press Ctrl+Alt+Delete then
click Task Manager, startup.
Your PC starts up very slowly
To stop an item starting
There are very few programs that need
whenever you switch on
to load when Windows starts. To prevent
the PC, click its name, then
unnecessary programs running at startup
Disable. Click Apply, then OK.
and slowing everything down, open a
You can claw back more
Run box by pressing Windows key+R,
seconds by disabling unused
type msconfig and press Enter. Click
hardware so Windows doesnt
Startup and untick all unwanted items.
bother loading
the drivers to
Switch off unused hardware items so Windows isnt slowed
down loading their drivers
run them. For
example, its
category by clicking the small arrow on
unlikely you use a floppy
the left then the specific hardware device.
disk drive. Unless you use
For example, to disable Bluetooth, rightwireless headphones or
click it in the list and click Disable. Only
a wireless keyboard and
disable hardware items that you know
mouse, you probably dont
youll never use. To reverse the process,
use Bluetooth on your
click Enable to turn those items back on
Desktop PC either.
should you need to use them. If Bluetooth
To disable these items and
or floppy-disk-drive options arent
other unused hardware open
shown, it means your PC doesnt have
the Run box, type devmgmt.
these items installed.
msc and press Enter to
The more operating memory Windows
launch Device Manager.
Make your PC start faster by disabling programs that dont
need to start up
has, the less it needs to use the hard drive.
Click the relevant hardware
April 2014 Computer active

43

Your PC can go even faster

Use Crucials System Scanner to find out what type of memory to buy

If you add more RAM youll significantly


improve its overall performance. In
particular, adding RAM speeds up
memory-intensive tasks such as photo
and video editing. Your PC should
come with at least 2GB of RAM already
installed. If youve got a 32bit version of
Windows (which is the case on most XP
and Vista PCs), you can install up to 4GB
of RAM. The limit is determined by the
motherboard. Older 64bit motherboards
can accommodate up to 8GB of RAM.
But if you can afford it, install 16GB.
However, youll probably need to replace
the existing RAM modules, because they
need to run at the same speed and have
the same amount of memory bandwidth.
The only problem is working out how
much and which type of memory to
buy. Its easiest to check if you know
your computers exact model. You can
download and install the Crucial System

Scanner tool (www.crucial.com/uk/


systemscanner). This will check your
system and show you the results in your
web browser. Under Quick Configurations
Crucial displays a list of compatible
memory modules. The advantage of this,
is that memory modules are guaranteed
to be compatible.
To install new RAM modules, switch
off your computer, disconnect it from
the mains and discharge any static by
touching the metal case. Next, remove
the side panel furthest away from the
connectors (it may have a fan grille on
the side). Gently lay the computer on its
side and unclip either end of the RAM
modules that are currently installed.
Grip the module firmly at the top edges
and rock it from side to side to release
it. Keep the old modules in a safe place
in case you need to reinstall them. Next,
carefully push the new module into place

Add an SSD to get an immediate and significant speed boost

44

Computer active April 2014

Install new RAM modules to vastly improve performance

and secure it using the retaining clips


at either end. Reassemble the computer
and switch it on. As long as the memory
modules are correctly seated and are the
correct type, the computer should simply
start up as normal and perform much
faster from now on. Another excellent
way to speed up your computers overall
performance and its startup time is to
exchange the hard disk for an SSD (solidstate drive). SSDs can access data almost
instantly and, because they dont have
any moving parts, you dont need to
wait for a disk to spin up and access the
files you want. The best way to use an
SSD is to install Windows on it and keep
all your documents and other software
on your existing hard drive. Youll need
a spare hard-drive bay and the DVD
or installation code for Windows. For
guidance on installing an SSD watch this
video tutorial: www.snipca.com/10096.

Use Defraggler to comprehensively defragment your hard disk

Your PC can go even faster

Turn off caching to stop Windows pointlessly limiting


the speed of your hard disk

Your programs take ages to


load
Once your computer has lots of files,
photos and music stored on it, the
hard drive takes longer to retrieve
stored items because theyre scattered
all over it. This condition is known as
fragmentation. You can claw back some
speed by using defragmentation software
to reorganise everything.
Windows has its own diskdefragmentation tool. To use it, right-click
your hard drive in Windows Explorer,
click Properties, Tools, Defragment
now (or Optimize in Windows 8).
Next, click Defragment, Defragment
now, Defragment disk or Optimize
(depending on the Windows version

Uninstall unwanted add-ons to make browsing faster

youre running). Repeat this process every


few weeks to keep your PC organised
and running quickly. Windows Vista,
7 and 8 will defrag automatically, but
your PC needs to be on for it to happen,
so its worth defragging manually from
time to time. For comprehensive disk
defragmentation use the excellent
free Defraggler (www.piriform.com/
defraggler). Windows uses a cache to
speed up hard-drive performance, but
by default the settings are designed for
safety rather than maximum speed.
Open a Run menu, type devmgmt.
msc, then press Enter to open Device
Manager. Click the arrow next to the
Disk Drives entry to expand it. Doubleclick your hard drive, then click Policies.
Make sure both boxes on the page are

ticked, then click OK. Dont do this


for USB or other removable drives as
you could lose your data when the drive
is unplugged.

It takes forever for your PC to


open documents
Windows indexing is a common culprit
here. It indexes hard drive to enable faster
searches, but the process can slow down
your PC. Opening Word documents,
for example, can take several seconds
because of indexing. In XP, indexing is
worse than useless, so youre better off
disabling it. In My Computer right-click
your hard drive, choose Properties then
untick the box labelled Allow indexing
service to index this disk for fast file
searching. In Windows Vista, 7 and 8,

BOOST YOUR SPEED WITH OVERCLOCKING


Overclocking is the process of making
computer components run faster than
their factory settings. The procedure
for overclocking your graphics cards is
quite straightforward, but overclocking
your processor is a much more advanced
undertaking that many computer
experts shy away from. It will void any
warranty covering your computer and,
if not done correctly, could cause
irreversible damage. Incorrect settings can
cause data loss or stop your
computer working altogether.
Most cheap computers cant be overclocked
in any case. You can find out whether your

processor can be overclocked by searching


for its model number on the Intel or AMD
site. To find your processor model click
Computer, System Properties. Only the
most expensive processors let you overclock
and you will only find these in premium
computer models.
If you decide to attempt to overclock your
processor you should proceed with extreme
caution. Some motherboard manufacturers
provide tools to safely overclock your
system. Try Intels Desktop Control Center
(www.snipca.com/8792) or AMDs
OverDrive (www.snipca.com/8793), but
dont change any settings if youre unsure.

Check which processor your PC uses in System


Properties, then look online for information
about whether you can overclock it

April 2014 Computer active

45

Your PC can go even faster


BE CAUTIOUS ABOUT USING TUNE-UP TOOLS
Theres a long list of companies
offering dubious tune-up
software, which make spurious
claims about cleaning up and
speeding up your PC. Often,
youll find enticing online
adverts for programs that
purport to make your computer
faster and to fix problems you
probably dont even have.
Never click on these seductive

links theyll often download


malware or ask you to pay for
non-existent PC improvements
that their pseudo-system scans
have unearthed.
You should certainly never pay
to download these programs
as few of them do anything
useful. Its much better to
spend money on extra memory
because this provides an easy

open Control Panel, then type indexing


options in the top-right search box. Click
Indexing Options, then click Modify,
and untick all locations that dont need
indexing.
If Word is very slow to load, it might
be that the default document template
is very large. To shrink this template
and speed up Words startup, open a
blank document, then click File, Open,
Templates. If the size of the Normal
template is more than 20KB, it needs
fixing. To do this, open the Normal
template, click File, Options then Save.
Ensure Embed fonts in the file is not
ticked, then click OK. Click anywhere in
the text part of the document, then press
space, and then backspace to delete it.
Save and close the Normal template.

Your web browsing is slow


Firefox and Chrome add-ons are handy,
but they can begin to weigh your browser
down and its likely there are several
you dont even use. If you regularly clear

and almost guaranteed boost to


your PCs speed.
If you want to use software to
tweak your computer settings,
try the free Defraggler (www.
piriform.com/defraggler) and
CCleaner (www.piriform.com/
ccleaner) or the useful and
also free IObit Advanced
SystemCare (www.snipca.
com/10108).

out unused add-ons and plugins, your


browser will run much faster. In Chrome,
type chrome://extensions into the address
bar to see a list of installed extensions,
then click the rubbish bin next to the
extensions you want to remove.
In Firefox, select the Add-ons option in
the main menu. Select Extensions and
click Remove to banish any unwanted
extensions. Firefox makes it difficult to
delete Plugins, but the default option to
disable them is just as effective. You can
also use IObit Uninstaller (see Best Free
Software, page 17) to get rid of any surplus
add-ons.
You can claw back even more browsing
speed by turning off Flash. Doing this
will make most webpages load faster, and
it makes sense because you only need
Flash to watch YouTube videos or BBC
iPlayer. To get rid of Flash in Chrome,
type chrome://plugins into the address
bar, go to Adobe Flash Player, then click
Disable. In Firefox click Add-ons, Plugins
and click Disable next to Shockwave
Flash. You can
always enable
Flash again if its
absence causes
you problems.
Internet Explorer
lets you disable
Flash on a siteby-site basis, so
you can block it
on every website
except BBC iPlayer
or YouTube, for
example. To
block Flash, click
Tools, Manage
Add-ons, doubleclick Shockwave

Disable Flash to make sites load quicker, but youll need it for sites like BBC iPlayer

46

Computer active April 2014

The best antivirus products


also provide useful speed
tweaks because they remove
unhelpful files and programs
and help keep your computer
running faster and more
efficiently. The latest version of
AVG Free (www.free.avg.com),
for example, will tell you how
much faster your computer
starts up after it is installed.

Flash Object, then click Remove all sites,


Close, and Close again. Now, when you
load a webpage that has Flash on it, you
can just enable Flash for that page.

Your Wi-Fi connection is slow


If your laptop runs Windows Vista, 7
or 8, you can increase the battery life
by reducing the range of the wireless
adapter, although this means your Wi-Fi
wont be as powerful as it could be.
To check this, click Windows key+R
to open the Run box, type control.exe
powercfg.cpl, then press Enter. The
Balanced (recommended) power plan
should be selected. Click Change plan
settings, then Change advanced power
settings. Scroll down to Wireless Adapter
Settings and click +, then also click +
next to Power Saving Mode. Click Media
Power Saving next to On battery, change
it to Maximum Performance, then click
OK.
This will reduce the battery life of your
laptop but will also make the wireless

Tweak advanced settings to increase Wi-Fi range

Your PC can go even faster

Switch your home Wi-Fi network to a clearer channel where it isnt


competing for a connection

internet connection faster and more


reliable. If there are lots of available
networks shown when you connect
to your Wi-Fi network, the other
networks are probably using the same
Wi-Fi frequency as yours and could be
seriously slowing down your Wi-Fi.
Its easy to switch your Wi-Fi to a less
crowded (and therefore speedier)part of
the spectrum if you use the free inSSIDer
software (www.metageek.net/support/
downloads - click inSSIDer HOME to
start the download). Click Channel in
the list of Wi-Fi networks and check
which channels your network is using. If
its on the same channel as lots of other
networks you need to change channel.
Select one at least five channels away
from the most populated channel in
order to escape any interference. For
example, if your Wi-Fi network uses
channel 11 and lots of other networks are
also on channel 11, you should move your
Wi-Fi network to channel 5 or below.
To change channel, you need to go to
the settings menu of your router. Press
Windows key+R, then type ipconfig in
the Run box and press Enter. Note down
the numbers shown next to Default
gateway (such as 192.168.1.2). Type
these numbers into your browsers
address bar and click Enter. This will
take you to the admin login page for your
router. Youll find your routers login
details either on the router itself or in the
instruction manual that came with it. If
you cant find them try looking up your
router on www.routerpasswords.com.
Now look for the wireless section in the
router settings menu and find the radio
channel option. Switch it to the wireless
channel that looks least busy and apply
the changes. Not all PCs are configured

Speed up your graphics card using free overclocking software

to make the most of broadband internet


connections. The free, easy-to-use TCP
Optimizer tool (www.speedguide.net/
downloads.php) can give your internet
connection a real speed boost. Once
installed, you need to run TCP Optimizer
as an administrator. Select your network
adapter from the Network Adapter
selection list, click Optimal, Apply
changes, then restart your computer if
prompted to.

Your games run sluggishly and


the graphics are juddery
Games make big demands on a PCs
resources. If your processor and graphics
card arent up to scratch, youll end up
with a miserable gaming experience
in which scenes play out in a stuttering
fashion. To instantly improve gameplay,
close all other running programs. As
long as its not a game that requires
internet access, switch off your antivirus
software too. Dismiss any items in the
Notification Area by right-clicking them
and choosing Exit or Close. In the games
settings menu, minimise the graphics
quality settings (resolution, texture
quality and so on). Gradually turn up
the quality settings until you notice
frame rates and gameplay slow down
again, then turn the settings back down
a notch.
Next, try tweaking your graphics cards
to improve its performance (and your
gaming experience). This process,
known as overclocking, is relatively
safe. Your graphics card has special
tools in the driver settings for this. You
should only make small changes to your
graphics card clock major changes can
lead to overheating and possible damage.
Although the process of tweaking your

graphics card is simple, it should only be


attempted by fairly confident computer
users. For ATI/AMD cards, download
the latest driver and Catalyst Control
Center utility (www.snipca.com/10056).
Follow the instructions in the AMD
Overdrive section to determine the safest
overclocking parameters for your card.
For Nvidia cards youll need a free tool
such as EVGA Precision (www.evga.com/
precision) or MSI Afterburner (www.
snipca.com/10057).

It takes ages to copy items to


an external hard disk
If your backup drive connects via USB, it
might be this connection thats making
copying to your external drive slow.
However, you might speed things up
simply by switching to a different USB
port. One thats directly connected to the
motherboard will almost certainly offer
USB 2.0 transfer speeds.
The USB ports on the front of your
computer will probably be USB 1.1.
This slow version of USB is best used for
transferring small amounts of data.
If youve switched to a USB port on the
back of your computer but copying
still takes ages, consider upgrading to a
faster type of USB. If you install a USB
3.0 port youll be able to copy files at
up to 10 times the rate of USB 2.0. You
may already have a USB 3.0 port on your
computer. If you do youll recognise
it by the bright blue colour inside the
connection. Youll need a USB 3.0 hard
drive to take advantage of the faster
speeds. If you dont have USB 3.0 ports
on your PC, you can install a USB 3.0
add-in card. Into a spare slot on your
motherboard.

April 2014 Computer active

47

Set your songs free

Play all your music


anywhere you like
Enjoy your entire music collection on anydevice
whenever you want

ow that we mainly buy music


digitally, we often nd ourselves
locked into using whichever
service we bought it from. iTunes,
Google Music and Spotify all oer excellent
services but they force you to use them the
way they want Apple limits the number of
PCs you can use with the same iTunes
account to ve, for example. But as long as
the MP3 tracks stored on your computer
either those youve ripped from CDs or
bought from online stores arent protected
by DRM, the truth is that you can access
your entire music collection from just about
anywhere and play all your music on almost
any computer or portable device. Here well
show you how to do it for free.

Play all your tracks anywhere


One way to get the tracks o your PC is to
burn them to CD iTunes has a built-in tool
for doing this. But most people would need
a huge amount of discs to carry their entire
collection, so this isnt a convenient method.
Another answer would be to copy the music
les from your PC directly to a second
device, such as another computer, tablet or
smartphone. But, again, it may not be
possible to t all your music onto your

portable device and having multiple copies


of the same music library isnt the
most elegant solution.
Apple has come up with a way to
listen to all your music wherever you
are via the internet. Its iTunes Match
service (www.snipca.com/9895)
costs Rs. 1200 a year. It works by
scanning your computer for music
and importing it into your library, so
you arent limited to listening to
tracks youve bought through iTunes.
To set up iTunes Match launch
iTunes, go to Store, click Turn On
iTunes Match, type your Apple ID
Use Google Music Manager to store 20,000 songs online
and password and click Subscribe.
for free, then download them and play them on any
iTunes Match compares your music
device you wish
with the iTunes database. Songs it
recognises are added to your iCloud
Google Play Music also lets you store and
account. You can store up to 25,000 songs in
play thousands of songs online, however,
iCloud. Albums that havent been synched
unlike iTunes Match, you dont have to pay
with your iPad or iPhone, but are stored in
for it. Googles Play Music web-based
iCloud and accessible through iTunes
storage service will hold up to 20,000 of
Match, have a cloud icon next to them. Click
your songs. Theres no need to pay for the
this to download the album to your iOS
accompanying 7.99-per-month All Access
device.
Music subscription streaming service that
Google launched this summer. Sadly it yet to
Store all your music for free in your launch in India.
To store your music with Google, create or
Google account

iTunes Match can store 25,000 songs from your CDs as well as from iTunes

48

Computer active April 2014

Songs and albums stored in iCloud have a small cloud symbol next to them

Set your songs free

drawing pin icon next to


it. This will keep the
selected music on your
phone or tablet so you
can listen to it oine.
You can even listen to all
your Google Play Music
on an iPod touch, iPad
or iPhone. To listen over
Wi-Fi, go to play.google.
com and log into your
Google account. If you
want oine listening,
install the 1.49 gMusic
Google Play Music Manager automatically scans for new tracks
app from www.snipca.
and adds them to your Google Play Music library
com/9902 or the less
polished, but free,
App4.G (www.snipca.com/9932) and log
log in to your Google account and click Play,
into your Google account on your iOS
Music, My Music. Download and install
device. If you havent already forked out for
Google Music Manager, then click Upload
iTunes Match, this setup should prove a
songs to Google Play. Choose iTunes,
good free or nearly free alternative.
Windows Media Player, My Music or Other
as the storage folder on your computer, then
either click Upload all songs and playlists
Access your own music library
or Select songs to upload by playlist. If you
through Spotify
wish, click the option to automatically
Youll pay 9.99 per month to be able to
upload songs in the future. Click Finish and
access unlimited tracks through Spotify
Music Manager will upload all your songs.
Premium, or 4.99 per month for the
You can listen to music stored in your
Spotify Unlimited option. This lets you listen
Google Play Music library on just about any
to Spotify music on two devices a laptop
device. Using the Google Play Music app
and a PC, but not a tablet or phone.
which comes with Android devices you
However, with all but the ad-supported free
can stream songs whenever youve got a
version you can import your own music
Wi-Fi connection, or download them to play
from your hard drive to play via Spotify on
on other devices. To do this click or tap a
other Spotify-registered devices. Again this
song, album or playlist and select the
is not currently available in india.

into
Command
Prompt.
Your IP is on
the line IPv4
Address.
Back on your
Android
device tap
the icon that
matches
your IP
address,
click Users,
your
username
then click
Music. All
Connect your Android device
music is
to a shared folder in Windows
displayed as to stream and download your
its stored on music library
your computer tap a specic song to play it.
To download the songs to your Android
device, press and hold to select and tap on all
the songs you want to copy, tap More, Copy
to, Music and OK. To access music stored on
your home network from an iOS device,
download the free media:connect (www.
snipca.com/9913). Log on to the same
network as your computer on your iPhone,
iPad or iPod Touch then launch the app.
Tap the refresh button to scan for available
servers. When your computer appears,
tap it and navigate to your music folder.
You can now stream your music via
media:connect.

Listen to music stored on your


PC via your Android device

Tap the drawing pin icon in Google Play Music


on your Android device to download songs to
your device

If you set up a HomeGroup network on your


computer, youll be able to share music with
everyone within this home network. Youll be
able to access music stored on your computer
from any other device, but also on other
computers and hard drives on the network.
Right-click the folder where your music is
stored, click Share with then Create or join
a homegroup. Tick any folders you want to
share Pictures, Videos, Music, etc then
click Next. Windows will generate a
password that you must enter in order to
connect to other computers.
To stream music from your PC to your
Android device, download ES File Explorer
(www.snipca.com/9912). Open the app, tap
the globe, then tap Network and LAN. If
your homegroup has been created
successfully, the IP address of your PC should
appear. To nd your IP, press Windows
key+R, type cmd, press Enter, type ipcong

Use the free media:connect app for iPhone and


iPad to stream music from your Windows network

April 2014 Computer active

49

The 10 stupidest
things in Windows
Windows is riddled with unfriendly controls. we explain
how to avoid Ctrl+Alt+Del and other idiotic flaws
Having to press Ctrl+Alt+Del
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates recently
said he never intended the awkward-touse Ctrl+Alt+Delete key combination
to become a part of Windows. Use the
Ctrl+Shift+Escape key combination instead
and youll at least be able to launch Task
Manager with one hand. You can also
launch it by right-clicking an empty area of
the Taskbar and clicking Start Task Manager.

Deleting les only moves them


When you right-click a le and click Delete
it goes to the Recycle Bin, but it isnt actually
deleted. To permanently delete les, rightclick the Recycle Bin then click Empty
Recycle Bin. You can change delete options
in Windows 8 if you right-click the Recycle
Bin, click Properties then select Dont
move les to the Recycle Bin. Remove les
immediately when deleted. Tick Display
delete conrmation dialog, then click OK.

Dragging drive icons to the Recycle


Bin to remove them
Its more logical to right-click an external
drive in Windows Explorer or in the
Notication Area and then click Eject than
to drag it to the Recycle Bin to remove it.

Windows hides
your documents

Set AutoPlay to Take no action when you


insert a disc or USB device

the drives contents interrupts what youre


doing. To change this, amend AutoPlay
settings for the drive or the content type.
Go to Start, Control Panel, Hardware and
Sound, AutoPlay, scroll down to the item
type and click Take no action.

Booting to the Modern interface in


Windows 8
You neednt be forced to use the Modern
Windows 8 interface if you prefer the more
familiar Desktop view. To get rid of the
tile view, install the free Skip Metro Suite
(www.snipca.com/10231), tick the options
to Enable Skip Modern Suite and Skip Start
Screen.

Windows resize and get


stuck behind the Taskbar
Windows sometimes jump to maximised
view, but then cant be resized because their
edges are inaccessible beneath the Taskbar.
To x this, drag the window to the extreme
left or right of the screen to t it within half
of the screen. This will free the borders so
you can resize the window to suit you.

Right-click and eject USB drives rather than


drag them to the Recycle Bin

New items interrupt you


When you insert a disc or USB drive
or download new software, Windows
assumes you want to use it immediately,
but launching the program or displaying

50

Computer active April 2014

If you click away from a document


(perhaps to check something online),
Windows wont automatically take you
back to your document. Instead it groups
open documents on the Taskbar as
thumbnails. To make Windows 7 show
documents by name so you can locate
the correct one more easily, right-click
the Taskbar, click Properties and, next to
Taskbar buttons click Never combine
or Only combine when taskbar is full,
then click OK.

Things are organised into Libraries


rather than by type
Libraries in Windows 7 and 8 are collections
of links to items stored on your computer.
To hide the Library view go to Explorer,
click Layout and untick the Library view.

User Account Control keeps


querying your actions
UAC can be over-protective and
query everything you try to install or change
on your PC. To adjust the number of alerts
in Windows 7 or 8, go to Control Panel, click
User Accounts and Family Safety, User
Accounts, Change User Account Control
settings. Drag the slider up to increase
alerts or down to increase what you can do
without triggering a warning.

Clipboard only saves one item


Windows is perfectly capable of
storing more than one clipboard item.
Replace Windows clipboard tool with
the free ClipX (www.bluemars.org/clipx)
and youll be able to copy and save up to
1,024 items side by side and access them
from the Notication Area.

Change User Account Control settings to alter


how Windows responds to installations

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Windows XP
20012014

-Part 1
Whats happening - and what it means for you
In the first of a three-part series on how you can survive the end of support for XP,
we look at Microsofts reasons for pulling the plug and examine your options we
explain what you need to do before switching to another operating system
o, you bought your PC about 10
years ago. It cost an arm and a leg
at the time, but it was worth it
because it was an investment and
it was going to last more than a decade,
right? Wrong. As it turns out, the copy of
Windows that came with your PC had a
best before date and its about to go o.
Windows XP rst graced our Desktops
back in 2001 and its easily the most
successful operating system Microsoft has
ever produced. At its peak in 2007, its
estimated that XP was running on 80 per
cent of PCs. Even now incredibly its
thought that as many as 30 per cent of PCs
worldwide still run it.
Sadly, all good things come to an end.
On 8 April this year Microsoft will
terminate its support for this much-loved

OS, putting many in an awkward and


potentially expensive situation.
But why is Microsoft cutting XP adrift
and what does it actually mean for those
still using it? Will your PC still be safe to
use after 8 April? Will you have to splash
out on an expensive upgrade, despite
having paid a pretty penny for your PC all
those years ago? Over the next three issues
of Computeractive well explain how you
can move on from XP smoothly and safely.
Well also outline the security risks of
sticking with XP, and how you can
minimise those risks if you decide to stand
by the operating system. So, while
Microsoft may have given up on XP, well
make sure youre not left in the lurch.
First, lets look at the reasons for
Microsofts decision.

Why is Microsoft dumping XP?


Like it or not, most paid-for software has a
life cycle and, for Microsofts operating
systems, this is usually about 10 years. The
fact that XP has been going for almost
three years beyond that is a testament to
its popularity. To make way for new
operating systems, Microsoft phases out its
older products in stages.
The company stopped selling copies
of XP to the public in June 2008 after
launching Vista in early 2007, but
continued to sell it to PC manufacturers
right up until the end of 2010.
Mainstream support for XP actually
ended in April 2009, at which point the
company stopped making design changes
to the software and adding new features.
XP then entered the extended support

WINDOWS XP 2001-2014 Life and times of an operating system

52

21 OCTOBER, 2001

25 AUGUST, 2004

30 JUNE, 2008

Windows XP launches worldwide with a


much improved user interface compared to
its predecessors and updated Start menu and
taskbar

Windows XP Service Pack 2 arrives, adding


the Windows Security Center. It also provides
better Wi-Fi support and an ad-blocker for
Internet Explorer 6

Microsoft stops selling copies of XP to


the public

9 SEPTEMBER, 2002

6 MAY, 2008

Windows XP Service Pack 1 is released,


containing a number of security xes,
compatibility updates and support
for USB2

Windows XP Service Pack 3 is released as a


cumulative update. It also backports
tools from XPs successor Windows Vista,
which it launched in November 2006

Computer active April 2014

14 APRIL, 2009
Microsoft triggers the slow demise of XP by
transferring it from mainstream
support to extended support

8 APRIL, 2014
Microsoft will end all support for XP

Windows XP Survival Guide

phase of its life cycle and all updates


from that point focused on xing
problems or patching security
vulnerabilities. The big problem will
come when that extended period ends,
because the problem-solving updates
and security patches dry up.

What does this mean for you?

update to 8.1 directly from XP). The


standard edition of Windows 8 costs
about Rs.7000/- and can be bought over
the counter on disc or from Microsofts
online store (www.microsoftstore.com).
Because XP users cant install the
downloadable version of Windows 8,
theyll have to perform a clean install,
which wipes all existing les, programs
and data before installing a fresh copy of
Windows 8. As such, youll need to back
up all your personal les before you
begin the process, and you may nd that
many of the programs you used in XP no
longer work in 8.1. Your PC must also
meet the system requirements needed to
run the latest OS check www.snipca.
com/11044 or download and run the
Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant to nd out.

All versions of Windows require updates


if you dont keep your computer up to
date, then it quickly becomes unsafe.
Throughout an operating systems life
cycle, Microsoft is constantly playing
cat and mouse with hackers, malware
makers and identity thieves out to exploit
previously undetected weaknesses in
Windows. This means Microsoft have
to issue updates to plug those holes.
When support for XP ends, the
software on your PC wont suddenly
OPTION 2: WINDOWS 7
evaporate itll still be there and will
continue to work as normal. But without
The main problem with
Microsofts updates, XP is likely to
making the leap straight to
become very dangerous very quickly. Its
Windows 8 is that its so
precisely this situation that millions of
radically dierent to XP.
XP users will nd themselves facing in
Consequently, many XP users may feel
April.
more comfortable moving to Windows 7
Its interesting to note that Microsofts
instead, which has a more traditional
Support Lifecycle Policy (http://support.
XP-style interface. Mainstream
microsoft.com/gp/lifepolicy) states
support for Windows 7
that, in certain circumstances, the
ends in January 2015,
company may oer support for
but Microsoft recently
products beyond the extended
announced that
support phase, which may
it would
include assisted support and
continue its
hotx support. Its hard to know
extended
what this will mean for XP users
support until
but, given that the operating
January 2020,
system has in Microsofts eyes
which gives you
already outstayed its welcome by
at least another
at least ve years, its unlikely that The Wired2Fire Hal 1000 six years of
PC still runs Windows 7
much in the way of signicant
security updates
support will be oered after
and xes.
Aprils cut-o point.
Microsoft ocially stopped
Unfortunately, Microsofts decision
selling Windows 7 in October
means that if you want to carry on using
2013, but you can still get hold of
your PC, the only truly safe option is to
it if you shop around. Amazon is
switch to another operating system one
currently selling Windows 7
that will continue to receive security
Home Premium Edition.
patches and xes. And, if you adopt this
point of view, there are really only three
OPTION 3: LINUX
options available.
If you dont want to spend extra
OPTION 1: WINDOWS 8
money to keep your computer
going (and, after all, why should
Switching to the latest version
you?), then theres a third
of Windows means installing
option: install Linux.
Windows 8, then updating to
There are several dierent versions of
Windows 8.1 (you cant
Linux available and almost all of them

HOW LONG
DID PREVIOUS
VERSIONS LAST?
WINDOWS 1.0
Launched 20 Nov, 1985
Supported to 31 Dec, 2001

WINDOWS 2.0
Launched 9 Dec, 1987
Supported to 31 Dec, 2001

WINDOWS 3.0
Launched 22 May, 1990
Supported to 31 Dec, 2001

WINDOWS 95
Launched 24 Aug, 1995
Supported to 31 Dec, 2001

WINDOWS 98
Launched 15 May, 1998
Supported to 11 July, 2006

WINDOWS ME
Launched 14 Sept, 2000
Supported to 11 July, 2006

are free. Linux can take a bit of getting


used to, but some versions, such as
Ubuntu (www.ubuntu.com/desktop), use
an interface that should be reasonably
familiar to anyone who has used XP. The

Ubuntu is a free alternative to Windows

one big drawback of Ubuntu is that its


support cycles can be relatively short.
The current version (13.10), for example,
will only be supported until July 2014.
However, a long-term support (LST)
edition is also available (version 12.04),
which provides guaranteed security and
support updates until April 2017.
April 2014 Computer active

53

Windows XP
20012014

Back up les and prepare your PC for a new OS


s we explained in the previous
section Microsofts decision to
end support for Windows XP on
8 April means that millions of
computer users around the world
will need to upgrade to a new operating
system, either by buying a copy of
Windows 7 or 8, or by installing a free
OS, such as Ubuntu a Windows-like
version of Linux. Those who dont face
all manner of security risks (see Safety
Issues box below).
As well as being potentially costly
upgrading from XP to an alternative OS is
a major undertaking that requires you to
wipe your hard drive. In the process, its
all too easy to lose precious personal
documents, les and settings forever,
which is why you need to take every
precaution possible before you start to
ensure the transition goes smoothly.
To this end, were going to recommend
a three-step approach as you prepare to
migrate to a new system. It may seem like
overkill but, assuming you have several
years worth of documents, photos,
music and more on your computer, its
better to be safe than sorry.
All these tasks can be carried out
using free software and services, but
youll also need a large external USB
hard drive, one thats capable of storing
just over double the amount of data you
have to copy. A 500GB Toshiba drive
should do the trick. You could even
borrow one from
a friend if you dont already have one.
You will also need at least one blank CD
or DVD.
Ideally, youll already have some kind of
regular backup system in place. If so, your

SAFETY ISSUES
Windows XP becomes unsafe to use
after April 8 because Microsoft will
no longer provide security patches
or xes for the operating system,
meaning that your PC will suddenly
become a sitting duck for hackers,
malware writers and identity thieves.
Microsoft recently pledged to continue
providing XP users with updates to its
free antivirus tool Microsoft Security
Essentials until July 14, 2015, but this
alone wont oer sucient protection.

54

Computer active April 2014

STEP 1: BACK UP YOUR


PERSONAL FILES
rst step will be a lot easier, as you can
simply run your normal backup process
and take the most up-to-date copy of all
your important les and folders before
proceeding. Remember, youll need to
back up not only the les from your own
user account, but also those belonging to
any other people who log into your PC
because these will also be wiped
during the upgrade.
If you havent been making
regular backups of your
data up to this point,
then nows the time
to start. Your best
option is to
use a free
online

Use a large USB hard


drive such as this 500GB
Toshiba model - to back up
your PCs contents

log into the website then click Connect


Drive to your desktop to download and
install the app.
Free online storage accounts have limited
capacity Google Drive lets you store
15GB, SkyDrive oers 7GB and Dropbox
only provides 2GB. If thats not enough
storage space, you could consider paying
for extra space (Google Drives prices start
at around 81.993 per month
for 100GB) or you could use a tool like
Jolidrive (www.jolicloud.com) to
combine all your
various free

cloud
storage
accounts
into one
enormous
online drive.
Those with large
digital music
collections should
consider using Google Play
Music, which lets you upload
up to 20,000 songs to the cloud
free of charge this is on top of
your standard 15GB Google Drive
allowance. Go to http://music.google.com
and select the Standard (free) option.

storage service such as Google Drive


(https://drive.google.com), Microsoft
SkyDrive (https://skydrive.live.com) or
Dropbox (www.dropbox.
com). This way you can
keep copies of your most
valuable les in the cloud,
which is better than saving
them to a DVD or ash
memory drive, because
physical media can easily
get damaged or lost. All
three services provide
desktop apps that
synchronise folders on
your hard drive with your
online storage. With
Use Macrium Reflect Free to create an image of your PCs system
Google Drive, for example,
drive before attempting to upgrade

Windows XP Survival Guide

PREPARING YOUR
HARDWARE

Synchronise folders on your hard drive with Google Drive by installing the Google Drive Desktop app

STEP 2: MAKE A
DISK IMAGE
Making a disk image is a sensible
precaution in case anything goes wrong
with your upgrade. It makes an exact copy
of your PCs system drive in its current
state. This can then be restored in the
event of a disaster, meaning you can
always return your computer to exactly
the way it was before attempting the
upgrade a second time.
There are several good free image backup
tools available. One of the best is Macrium
Reect Free (www.macrium.com/
reectfree.aspx), which is reliable and
easy to use. Attach the large external hard
drive mentioned earlier, thendownload,
install and run the program. Next, select
your C: drive, click Image this disk, select
your external drive from the Destination
Folder menu, then click Next and follow
the remaining prompts. The process may
take a while if you have a lot of data on
your hard drive.
Once its nished we also recommend
inserting a blank CD or DVD into your
disc drive, then selecting Create Rescue
Media from the Other Tasks menu.
Select the Windows PE option and click
through the remaining screens, selecting
your CD/DVD drive when prompted.
This will burn a disc you can then use to
boot your PC and restore your image
backup if the computer no longer starts
properly.

STEP 3: TRANSFER
YOUR FILES
Transferring all your personal les
documents, photos, videos, music, etc

from XP to your new operating system


essentially requires you to copy them to
an intermediary storage device such as
an external hard drive prior to the
upgrade, then copying them back once
the new OS has been installed. This
process is made somewhat simpler if
youre moving to a newer version of
Windows, because Microsoft provides a
handy tool called Windows Easy
Transfer, which can automate the
process to a certain degree and adds the
ability to transfer many user settings,
such as browser bookmarks.
Windows Easy Transfer doesnt
come with XP but youll find it on the
Windows 7 or 8 DVD. Insert the disc,
dismiss the prompt to start installing
the OS, then right-click your DVD drive
in My Computer and select Explore.

In addition to preparing your les,


youll need to make sure your PC is
physically up to the task of running a
new OS before you install it. Check
system requirements for Windows 7
(www.snipca.com/11151), for Windows
8 (www.snipca.com/11152) and for
Ubuntu (www.snipca.com/11150). Both
Windows 7 and 8 require at least 1GB
of memory. Adding extra memory is a
simple task you can carry out yourself.
To check what type of memory modules
you need, use the online tool at www.
crucial.com/uk/systemscanner, then
make a note of the details and compare
prices with other retailers.
A processor that isnt up to scratch,
however, is harder to upgrade and wed
recommend reviewing your options at
this point. Buying a new PC will almost
certainly be a better idea than trying to
replace an ageing CPU.

Open the support folder, then open


the migwiz folder and double-click
migwiz.exe to start the procedure,
making sure your external hard drive is
attached and switched on.
Those moving from XP to Ubuntu will
have a harder time because theres no
automated tool for porting your files and
settings directly across. Instead, youll
need to manually
copy all personal
files and folders
for each user
account to your
external hard drive
in preparation to
copy them back
once Ubuntu has
been installed.
Theres plenty of
room for error
here, but if youve
already made
online and image
backups, as we
suggested, then
youll be able to to
recover any files
you accidentally
miss.

Use Windows Easy Transfer to move all your files from XP to 7 or 8

April 2014 Computer active

55

GET A FASTER
HOME NETWORK
without upgrading
Dont pay for a new router. we show you how to get
nippier network connections without upgrading
ooting up your home computer
to check something on the internet
has become second nature to all of
us, but were going online with
more and more devices and theyre all
competing for the same connection via
Wi-Fi. But we dont
just use Wi-Fi to surf the web. We also
stream music from room to room, view
slideshows of photos stored on our network
drives and watch YouTube and iPlayer on
our laptops. No wonder some of these
activities can seem so slow.
Thankfully, you dont have to tolerate
aky Wi-Fi when you share music, les and
photos around your home network. Here we
look at how you can ease your Wi-Fi
congestion, make network sharing more
ecient, and share items between
computers in places where the Wi-Fi signal
is poor.

Wi-Fi Coverage Maps app for Android


(www.snipca.com/10354), to help you
choose the best place to use your laptop
or tablet and connect to the home Wi-Fi
network. In Network Multimeter tap the red
button to look for a Wi-Fi signal, then tap
the lines at the bottom of the screen to bring
up a graph which displays the variations
of signal in your home. The sensor locates
the strongest signal, while the graph helps
you retrace your steps if you start moving
away from the strongest Wi-Fi signal.

Set up your router to maximise


your home network
Your broadband connection dictates
the speed at which you load webpages and
download les to your PC, but its the router
that shares the web connection with all the
devices on your home network. The faster
the type of Wi-Fi it supports, the faster
you can copy les between computers or
send documents to print. If youve got a
dual-band router, make sure the fastest
802.11n devices are on the 5GHz spectrum
and the slower 802.11g or b devices are on
the 2.4GHz band. This stops older devices
slowing down ones with faster Wi-Fi.

You can use the same tools to nd the best


place for your router. Position your router
where youd prefer it to be (ideally on a
shelf, at head height, with plenty of room to
splay its antenna) then check the connection
by tapping the app. If the signal is poor,
move the router or adjust the antennas to
see whether the Wi-Fi signal improves.

Dont share your router


Although a router can comfortably
share your broadband connection with
up to 40 devices simultaneously, the
more devices that are connected, the less
bandwidth each will have. You can limit the
number of devices that can log on at any
one time in the settings menu of your router.
To get to the settings page, press Win+R to
bring up the Run box, type cmd, then type
ipcong and press Enter. Make a note of the
number listed in the Default Gateway line.
Type this number into the address bar of
your browser and youll go to a login page
for your router.
You can now explicitly
allow devices (excluding all others) by

Find the strongest Wi-Fi


signal in your home
You can use a phone or tablet app, such as
the 69p Network Multimeter app for iOS
(www.snipca.com/10353) or the free 3G/4G/

56

Computer active April 2014

Use Network Multimeter to check the Wi-Fi


strength at various places around your home

Add devices to your routers Wi-Fi filter list to


specify which ones can connect to it

Get a faster home network without upgrading

adding their MAC address to the Wi-Fi lter


list in your routers advanced settings menu.

Use Ethernet wherever you can


HomePlugs are a fantastic way to connect
devices via your mains electricity circuit,
but it can be expensive to connect all your
laptops and printers this way. You also need
to make sure that any new HomePlugs run
at the same speed as your existing ones
because the network as a whole will only
run at the speed of the slowest element.
You may not need to buy more HomePlugs
at all. Many other devices accommodate
an Ethernet connection and come with
Ethernet cables in the box. You can use
any spare cables to connect your laptop or
printer directly to your router, which will
ensure much faster network access.

Use Wi-Fi Direct to copy les


Wi-Fi Direct is a brilliant way to quickly
share les between devices that are near
to each other. Despite the name, you dont
use the wireless network at all. Instead,
the two devices connect to each other and
form a temporary peer-to-peer network.
Wi-Fi Direct copies les between connected

of Wi-Fi than the other devices on your


network, make sure you plug your printer
into the router directly so it can be shared
wirelessly. If you dont have any spare router
ports, take it o the home network so it
doesnt slow everything else down, then
connect it to the PC you use for printing.
If you want to share that printer, you can
make it available to anyone on the network
via your HomeGroup. HomeGroup-sharing
works in Windows 7 and 8 and is a great
way to connect your devices and share
whats on them without having to set up a

Send large les using AirDrop


If you have a fourth-generation iPad or
newer, or an iPhone 4s or newer, you can
use a combination of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
to send les to other Apple devices within
range using AirDrop. Both of your iOS
devices need to support AirDrop and have it
switched on in the Control Center. To send
les this way, tap the photo or le you want
to send, then tap AirDrop as the transfer
method, and wait for your iPad or iPhone
to search for other AirDrop devices within
range. Next, tap the device you want to send
the le to. Tap the photo again to send it.
You can also use AirDrop to send les to
your Mac computer if you have one on the
same network. Just choose AirDrop rather
than iMessage or email as the transfer
method.

Share your printer on the network using


HomeGroup, so other devices can use it

Use Wi-Fi Direct to transfer files between


devices, which is much faster than Wi-Fi

devices at up to 250Mbps and, because


theyre the only two devices on the network,
there shouldnt be interference. You can use
Wi-Fi Direct to send les over 500 metres.
You can nd out whether your laptop,
phone or tablet can use Wi-Fi Direct at
snipca.com/10364 (or type the device name
plus Wi-Fi Direct into a search engine). To
use Wi-Fi Direct on an Android phone, go to
Applications, Settings, Wireless and
Networks, the More menu, then tap the
slider for Wi-Fi Direct to On.
You wont nd Wi-Fi Direct on all your
gadgets, but only one of your connecting
devices requires the technology in order to
transfer les between the two.

Send large files wirelessly between Apple


products on the same network using AirDrop

Make an old printer available


via your PC
If your printer uses an older, slower version

separate server or a NAS (network-attached


storage) drive.
To switch on HomeGroup sharing,
click Start, Control Panel then, under
Network and Internet, click Choose
homegroup and sharing options. Decide
whether you want to share all your music,
videos, photos and documents, and
whether to share your printers and the
contents of any attached devices.

Share your printer via the web


You can also make your old printer
available to other PCs on your network
using Googles free online Cloud Print
service (www.google.co.uk/cloudprint/
learn). It works with Windows XP Service
Pack 3, Vista, 7 and 8, but you need
Chrome installed and a Google account.
We recommend you create a Chrome
account for the printer so you can share
the login details. Next, launch Chrome,
go to the Settings menu and click Show
advanced settings. Scroll down to the
Google Cloud Print option, then click Sign
in to Google Cloud Print. Click the printer
name, then Add printer(s). Now, when
youre signed into Chrome youll be able
to use this printer.
April 2014 Computer active

57

Scariest new ways

to get hacked
Hacking now comes in lots of different forms.
we find out the 14 worst things hackers can do so far
acking usually involves your
computer being taken over via
Trojan software that was hidden
inside another program you
downloaded. It records your passwords
and your credit card number when you
buy things online and sends them to the
hacker, so they can steal from you. But for
the latest hacks, scammers dont wait for
you to visit a dodgy website so they can
cram your computer with viruses. Now
they target your phone and your webcam
or even try to steal the data from your
passport while its still in your pocket. You
might even get phone calls aimed at
nabbing your mobile phone
or bank details.
Thankfully, most hacks can be thwarted
by using up-to-date antivirus programs
and keeping your rewall switched on and
your wits about you. Well show you the
best way to avoid the scariest new hacks
and what to do if you get caught.

You receive a phone call warning


you your PC is infected
Many readers have received phone calls
purporting to be from Microsoft support
sta informing them their version of
Windows is infected. Now scammers are
telling Windows XP users their computer
is no longer supported and theyd better
upgrade to Windows 7 or 8. Helpfully, the
caller oers to sort it out over the phone.
Of course, the person on the other end
of the phone isnt from Microsoft and if
you let them access your computer youll
end up with a virus on it. The caller wants
remote access to your computer so they
can capture your passwords and bank
account login details. Sometimes callers
ask you to pay for a new, clean version of
Windows that theyll install for you. Of
course, whatevers downloaded will be

58

Computer active April 2014

riddled with spyware and youll have given


the bogus caller your bank account details.
Needless to say, your computer was
never at risk, so report the scam call to the
police. They should be able to trace the call
(though it may be from overseas or a
prepaid mobile-phone number). Microsoft
India doesnt have a dedicated reporting
line for these scams but oers some useful
advice on avoiding them (www.snipca.
com/10348).If youve been duped you
should tell the bank and cancel your cards
and put a block on your account. Change
the password on your computer to stop the
hacker remotely accessing it too.

Things start happening randomly


on your computer
Random pop-up messages on your
computer usually indicate malware. This is
certainly the case if the messages contain
security warnings from an antivirus
program you dont even use. Dont click on
the pop-up message. Instead, close down
all your other programs and scan your
computer using your antivirus program.
You should also run Spybot Search and
Destroy (www.safer-networking.org) or a
second antivirus program in case your
main one has been compromised.

If you see pop-ups from a security program


you dont use, scan your computer for spyware

Youve ended up on a porn site


you cant close down
Sites containing links to free software,
music and lms are sometimes riddled
with viruses while others take you to porn
sites against your will and then wont let
you leave. When you try to close the
browser or go to another website, a
message pops up saying your PC has been
locked and you need to pay to unlock it.
If you reboot your computer, a similar
message appears onscreen saying theres
porn on your PC and youre locked out.
Dont search online for a x to this hack
as sites claiming to remove porn are often
riddled with malware too. Instead, boot
into Safe Mode on your PC (press F12
before the Windows logo appears), then
run a virus scan.
Its likely that your antivirus program
has been attacked by the malware thats
installed itself on your computer so,
scan your computer with Lavasoft
Ad-Aware Antivirus Free 11+ (www.
lavasoft.com). This can run alongside your
existing security software without clashing
(which many antivirus programs cant).
Since your computer is compromised,
youll need to download Ad-Aware to
another computer, copy it to a USB drive
and then run it from that. Once Ad-Aware
has cleaned your PC, launch your main
antivirus program again and let it check
for virus updates.
To check whether a site is trustworthy
so you dont get hacked again install the
free McAfee SiteAdvisor toolbar (www.
siteadvisor.com) or use the free Web of
Trust (www.mywot.com). Both use a
trac-light system to indicate whether a
site is reputable.

Hackers use your computer


to attack the internet

you should always


check whether the
site has HTTPS at
the start of its web
address to conrm
its a secure site. But
hackers are now
able to fake HTTPS
and SSL certicates
too, making it really
hard to know
whether a site is
Use the free McAfee SiteAdvisor browser add-on to check whether
geniune.
or not a website is safe to visit
If you think youve
been caught out, call
Hackers are always looking for new ways
your bank or credit card company and tell
to take over your PC to use it in a DDoS
them you want to cancel your card. Even if
(distributed denial of service) attack. One
its too late to stop the payment going out,
of the latest tricks is to embed malicious
theyll watch your account for suspicious
code in the banner ads that automatically
transactions. The sooner you cancel your
appear on webpages you visit.
card, the more likely it is that youll be
Your computer could be taken over in
able to get your money refunded (since
just such an attack unless you get rid of
you took steps to limit the banks losses
the Trojan software used to trigger it. Keep
and your own).
your antivirus software up to date and
Now change your email, bank account
check the legitimacy of links using
login and other passwords. Make sure you
SiteAdvisor before clicking them.
do this on a dierent computer from the
In March, Dutch anti-spam company
one you used to purchase goods because
Spamhaus (www.spamhaus.org) suered a
that PC will now have keyloggers installed
web attack so severe it almost brought
on it that capture your new password
down the whole internet. The computers
details too.
used in DDoS attacks are home computers
that have been hacked. On the hackers
command, the computers simultaneously
Strange posts appear on your
send messages to the targeted website in
Facebook page
order to overwhelm it and force it oine.
If dodgy messages that seem to come from
you appear on other peoples Facebook
pages, you should immediately change
The website youve just bought
your password in the Account Settings
items from is fake
menu at the top right of your page. Log
When youre buying something online,

Change app permissions in Facebooks Privacy Settings so that


companies are unable to post messages on your profile

back into Facebook and post


a status update telling everyone that
your account was hacked and apologise for
any weird posts that appeared to
be from you.
If your Facebook prole is littered with
messages you dont recognise, youve
probably given an app permission to post
messages on your timeline. This can
happen if you use your Facebook account
to log into a service. To get rid of these
messages, go into the Apps section of your
Privacy Settings, click Show all apps
under the installed apps list and click the
X next to Edit to remove the app from your
Facebook page. Now conrm you want all
your data associated with that app to be
removed from Facebook.

Strange photos start


appearing on your phone
If photo or video messages start appearing
on your Android phone, its been hacked
via Bluetooth. Hackers within range of
your phone can easily log on to your phone
and send you messages or intercept les
youre transferring to and from your
laptop. Switch o Bluetooth in your
phones settings menu and, if its an
Android phone, run a scan for malware on
it using AVG Free (www.snipca.
com/10349). With iPhones you arent at
risk because iOS apps run separately
within a sandbox that prevents hacks.
Other phone messages are simply spam.
Reply with STOP or STOP ALL to make
them stop. If they dont, report the number
to PhonepayPlus at
www.snipca.com/10310.

If spam text messages continue to plague you after youve told the
spammer to stop, report the number to PhonepayPlus

April 2014 Computer active

59

You get a call about your mobile


phone and then it stops working

Youre locked out of your


bank account online

You get a phone call from your mobile


phone company and you conrm a couple
of details. A few hours later your phone
goes dead. A hacker has spoofed the caller
ID number and got your details as part of
an identity theft hack. Next, they will have
contacted your mobile phone company
and got your phone number switched to
work with a dierent phone which is
why your phone no longer works. Theyll
then try to log into your online bank
account and request a password change,
hoping the bank will verify by text
message. If they do, your bank account will
be emptied very quickly.
Banks are beginning to rethink using
text messages to verify account changes as
theres no way to ascertain the
message goes to the account holder. If you
think youve been hacked this way, contact
your bank immediately the hack is the
last stage in an identity theft scam in
which access to your bank account is the
end goal.

It sounds as though someone else has been


getting your emails and has changed your
bank password. Call the bank immediately
and raise the alarm. A hacker may have got
hold of your email password and set up a
lter on it to redirect messages containing
words such as login, password, bank or
sort code. Get a new email account and
password now.

A stranger is sending you


photos of yourself
If software called a RAT (remote access
Trojan) installs itself on your computer, the
hacker that placed it there will be able to
switch on your webcam and watch you
whenever they want to. Sometimes, the
live video stream or photos are posted to
porn websites.
Your webcam can take photos of you
even if your computer isnt hacked. In this
instance, a website you visit will have been
modied so something youre likely to
click (such as a play button) hides a box

Tweak Skypes privacy settings to make sure


only people in your Contact list can video call
you and send you messages

asking you to allow Flash to run on your


computer and take screenshots.
To be safe, cover the webcam when
its not being used, dont keep it in
your bedroom and never let someone you
only know online send you les or connect
to your computer to help you x it. Use the
privacy settings in Skype or your videochat software to limit calls from people you
already know.

HACKS THAT SOUND LIKE THEYRE FROM A MOVIE


Every year, hackers working
for security companies
uncover aws that could be
exploited, with the aim of
getting the companies whose
products theyve hacked to
x them. Here are four of the
scariest.

YOUR PASSPORT CAN BE


HACKED EVEN IF ITS IN
YOUR POCKET
RFID data (the information
the customs ocer swipes
to check) can be stolen from
peoples passports with no
more than a handheld
scanner.
Are you at risk? Probably not,
but cheap and easy enough for
a hacker to try. If youre really
worried, you could always
wrap your passport in tinfoil so
its data cant be read.

HACKERS COULD FORCE


YOU TO DRIVE OFF A CLIFF
It may sound like an action

60

Computer active April 2014

Electronic control units built into


your car could be hacked and
your car controls taken over

movie plotline, but someone


really could take over your
cars controls. The US DARPA
(Defense Advanced Research
Projects Agency) funded two
security researchers to hack
the ECUs (electronic control
units) of a Ford Escape and a
Toyota Prius to nd out what
they were able to control.
As well as the speedometer
and the fuel supply, the
hackers were able to take
over the steering, brakes and
acceleration. Read how they
did it at illmatics.com/car_
hacking.pdf.

The hack is particularly


successful because ECUs dont
authenticate commands and
its easy for one infected ECU
to pass on commands to others
within the same vehicle.
A similar hack involving the
onboard diagnostics unit was
unveiled by the Center for
Automotive Embedded Security
Systems (www.autosec.org/
index.html) in 2011. Here,
a program called CarShark
used Bluetooth on a phone to
send false information to the
vehicles onboard diagnostic
controller, allowing the hacker
to change the speedometer.
Are you at risk? Not unless
youve really upset anyone
enough for them to bother!

A PHONE HACKER COULD


TAKE OVER THE PLANE
YOURE IN
Theres no encryption for
air-trac control or the
aeroplanes autopilot both
are eminently hackable. In

April this year, a German


hacker showed how a jetliner
could
be hacked and its autopilot
details adjusted from a
phone on the ground.
Are you at risk? Air-trac
control security has thwarted
plenty of attempted hacks. The
Security measures are proving
to be eective so far.

EVEN YOUR PACEMAKER


CAN BE HACKED!
This hack relies on the
way wireless transmitters
that instruct pacemakers
operate in order to combat
irregular heartbeats. Hacker
Barnaby Jack demonstrated
at the Breakpoint security
conference in Melbourne in
October 2012 how a hacker 50
feet from the victim could set
o an 830-volt shock.
Are you at risk? Unlikely.
Expect this hack to appear in
a James Bond plot some time
soon.

Whats All The Fuss About

3D printing

You can now print objects in your home, but what can you make
and how much does it cost? We give you the answers
What is it?
A remarkable technology that prints
objects in plastic, metal and ceramics, layer
by layer, from models created in
3D-modelling software. Its been used in
industry since the mid-1980s to create
prototypes, but printers are now available
for the public to use in the home.

Sounds amazing, but what


would I actually use it for?
Thats the key question. We think
printing objects will prove popular as an
alternative to buying them in shops. So
instead of going to a DIY store to buy
replacement screws and nuts, youll print
and use them straight away. Weve also seen
3D-printed chess pieces, toothbrushes,
smartphone cases, bulldog clips, cookie
cutters and many more everyday items.
However, we think 3D printing will only
really take o when people realise how
much fun they can have building objects
such as ying saucers (www.snipca.
com/10250) and starsh (www.snipca.
com/10254). This rocket pencil case (www.
snipca.com/10247) and model of the Mars
Curiosity Rover (www.snipca.com/10252)
are perfect for space-obsessed kids.
Youll nd photos of all these at
Thingiverse (www.thingiverse.com), which
is the best place online to see what people
are making.

which costs 699.99 from Maplin


(www.maplin.co.uk/3d-printer)
though you will also need to spend
44.99 to buy the tools needed to
assemble it. More expensive at
1,195 is the Cubify Cube, which
Dixons and PC World started
selling in September Youll need to
buy printing materials too packs
start from 14.80 (12.50) on
Shapeways (www.snipca.
com/10263).

Can I buy 3D-printed


items?
Yes. Have a browse at Shapeways
(www.shapeways.com). Prices are
in Euros, and some items are a bit
gimmicky. That said, we love the
Rubiks Cube-style 3D puzzles
built by Oskar van Deventer (www.snipca.
com/10244), although we wont be buying
any until they become signicantly
cheaper.

So how long until were


all using 3D printers at home?
Thats still several years o because
only enthusiasts will splash out at least

You need to create your model within


3D software, such as SketchUp
(www.sketchup.com) or OpenSCAD (www.
openscad.org). This can be tricky however,
so if youre a beginner you should use
models uploaded by people to Thingiverse.
There are over 100,000 to try.

Yes. The cheapest is the Velleman K8200,

700 to buy one. 3D printing will only take


o once prices head below 500.
But even then, we think many people will
struggle to see the point of having one. The
benets of owning a 3D printer arent as
obvious compared to some other
technologies at launch, such as video
recorders and digital cameras.

How else is 3D
printing being used?

How do I design
something to print?

Are 3D printers expensive?

The Velleman K8200 is the cheapest 3D


printer currently available

You can buy ready-made 3D-printed items,


like these Rubiks Cube-style puzzles

Perhaps the most incredible use of


the technology so far has been in medicine.
In August Chinese scientists announced
they had printed human kidneys to use in
transplant operations (www.snipca.
com/10258). Amazingly, articial bones,
skin grafts, ears and blood vessels have also
been printed.
Next year Nasa plans to test a 3D printer
on the International Space Station to
help astronauts manufacture spare
parts and tools.

April 2014 Computer active

61

Energy prices may have skyrocketed, but you can cut


your bills by reducing how much power your PC wastes.
we explains what you should do
Find out how much power
your PC uses
Cutting the amount of power your PC uses
isnt easy if you dont know how much
power its using to begin with.
The average PC uses about 150 watts of
electricity. If switched on for ve hours a day,
365 days a year, that will cost you quite a bit

Work out exactly how much electricity your


PC is using with the free Local Cooling tool

62

Computer active April 2014

to run. The age of your computer and the


components within it will have a big impact
on its eciency, which in turn will aect
your electricity bill. Laptops use a lot less
power typically about half of that used by a
desktop PC.
To get an idea of how much power your
own PC uses, download the free tool Local
Cooling (www.snipca.com/10983) by
clicking the External Mirror 1 link (ignore the
green download buttons they will be
adverts). Local Cooling was created to help
Windows XP users cut their PCs power
consumption. Although Microsoft has since
added more advanced power-control options
in Vista, 7 and 8, this software is still a great
way to estimate your PCs power usage.
Once youve installed it, click Settings at
the bottom of the small Local Cooling
window. In the larger window that opens
click My power to see how many watts your
PC is using. On our test PC we got an
estimated reading of 272 watts, which is quite
high. This was because we were running two
monitors, which were responsible for 180
watts in total. As wed expect, our processor
was also somewhat power-hungry at 45
watts.

Calculate how much your


PC costs to run
Working out how these numbers translate
into cost requires a simple calculation. To
work out your monthly cost divide your
power consumption in watts by 1,000, then
multiply that gure by the number of hours
you use your PC each month, then multiply it
again by the cost per kWh, which should be
indicated on the back of your electricity bill.
The calculation for our PC was 272 watts
divided by 1,000, multiplied by 224, then
multiplied again by the rate. That gave us a
monthly cost in pence of 1035.776, or 10.36.
Multiplying that by 12 gives us an estimated
annual electricity cost. Regardless of how
little or how much electricity your computer
uses you can still make it more ecient and
save a bundle on your bills.

Create your own power plan


Windows Vista, 7 and 8 have lots of settings
you can tweak to cut down your PCs power
consumption. Press Windows+R, type
powercfg.cpl, press Enter, then click Create a
power plan. Give the plan a name, click
Next, set Turn o display to 5 minutes, and
Put computer to sleep to 15 minutes, then

Control your PCs power and save money

Change your PCs BIOS settings


If you have a desktop PC then you can tweak
settings in the BIOS to stop your computer
from using so much power when it goes into
standby. Reboot your computer and open the
BIOS by pressing F2 or DEL (this varies
depending on what computer you have).
Look for the Power menu and then
for the ACPI Suspend Type option. If the
Suspend Type is set to S1 or S1 (POS),
then your system will keep powering the
processor and memory even when your PC
isnt being used. Change this setting
to S3 or S1&S3 to cut the power to all but the
most essential components when your PC
enters standby. Keep in mind that BIOS
menus vary a lot, so if youre unsure of what
settings to change then dont do it.

Only use PC power when


you need it
PowerSlave (www.snipca.com/11004)
is free software that changes your PCs power
settings depending on the time of day. This
lets you have dierent plans during the day
and at night, which is handy if you tend to
keep your PC on all the time. The software is
primarily designed for oces, where
computer use is heavy during the day, but
non-existent at night, though its still useful
at home, letting you keep your PC ticking
over while youre not using it.
After installing PowerSlave, open it, then
select a Day time plan from the dropdown
menu. This should be either Balanced, High
Performance or a power plan youve created.
Next to Night time plan select Power Saver.
The Start Time and End Time should be the
period when you use your PC most 9:00

DONT WASTE
MONEY ON STANDBY
Leaving your monitor, printer, scanner
or other peripherals on standby can
use up a lot of electricity. Rather than
worrying about remembering to
turn things o, you can use a clever
extender for your plug socket to do it
automatically.
The Energenie Automatic PC
Standby Shutdown (www.snipca.
com/10989) works by detecting when
something plugged into it has gone
into standby. When this happens it cuts
the power to that device. Just press the
button on the lead that comes out of
the plug when you want to turn it back.
The extender has four sockets that
can be controlled and one socket that
is permanently switched on, which is
ideal for a PC setup.

Stop peripherals from wasting electricity


when on standby by automatically cutting
power to them using an extender
Shorten the amount of time your monitor
stays on to make big energy savings

click Create. Select the plan youve just


created to make it your default.
In Windows XP press Windows+R, type
powecfg.cpl and reduce Turn o monitor to
After 5 minutes and System standby to
After 15 minutes. Change System standby
to After 15 minutes and click OK.
You may have noticed an option to
Hibernate your computer, but this is only
really useful on laptops.
Hibernate only uses slightly less power than
Sleep mode, but your computer needs more
power to wake from Hibernation than to
wake from Sleep. For that reason alone, we
wouldnt advise setting your desktop
computer to Hibernate.

AM until 06:00 PM, for example. Click Apply


to make the changes.

Change your monitor settings

Use PowerSlave to change how much power


your PC uses depending on the time of day

Your monitor probably guzzles more


electricity than any other part of your
computer, but you can easily cut the amount
of power it uses and save money immediately.
Most monitors are set to a brightness of 90 or
100 per cent by default, but this isnt
necessary. Use the buttons on the front of
your monitor to access the settings and then
select Brightness. Turn the brightness down
to the lowest acceptable level. Most people
should be ne with 70 or even 60 per cent
brightness.
April 2014 Computer active

63

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22 pages of easy-to-follow workshops


65 Get a free tablet office suite
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68 Read your webmail offline
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70 Master the new iOS 7
72 Send huge files with Hightail

PLUS

73 Hack Windows Media Player to share


your media
76 Master Chrome on iPad and iPhone
78 Make a private social network with Path
80 Learn how to create
a tilt-shift photo

81 Readers Tips
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84 Make Windows Better
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86 Secret Tips For... OneNote

Get a free office suite on


your tablet with CloudOn
What you need: Android 3.1 or higher or iOS 5 or higher Time required: 30 minutes

loudOn (www.cloudon.com) gives


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1
STEP Choose your online storage service when launching
CloudOn for the rst time. You can use more than one
storage service, which is handy if you use one for work
and another for personal projects. Tap a service to add it, type
your login details and provide the required permission to give
CloudOn access to your les. To add another account, tap the
middle cloud icon at the top 1 , then Settings. Tap a service and
follow the instructions to add it to your CloudOn account.

STEP Change how you view your les in your online


storage by tapping the left-hand icon 1 at the top.
This alternates between list, carousel (large icons)
and icon views of your documents.
Tap it until the list view appears, then tap the column titles
to sort your documents by date, size, type or name. Tap and
hold a le to see a menu with common le actions including
rename, copy and delete.

April 2014 Computer active

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Workshops
STEP To create a le, tap the right-hand icon at the
top of the screen. Next, tap the Word icon,
give the le a name and tap New. A new
Word document will appear with a Ribbon at the top.
Tap anywhere in the white part of the document and
the onscreen keyboard will appear. This contains extra
keys that function in the way certain keys work on a
desktop computer. For example, tap Ctrl 1 and then B
to format your text in bold.

STEP CloudOn also provides the quick-formatting text


menu youll nd in Word. To select text, tap and
hold until a cross-hair icon appears under your
nger. Drag this to select the text. Next, tap and hold again
until the text format menu appears.
You can use this to access the Font Dialogue window where
you can change the fonts style, eects and size.

STEP You can leave messages on CloudOn documents,


which is handy if you need to add something to the
document on your Desktop that you cant add with
CloudOn. Tap the Home tab in the Ribbon and then Annotate
on the right. Draw a rectangle or ellipse around the relevant
area, then type your message in the box, then tap Save 1 . To
read the annotation tap the grey box with a speech bubble
that appears. These annotations appear in CloudOn, but not in
Oce on your computer.

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STEP Entering formulas in spreadsheets is made easier thanks to


the tool tips that appear as you type. Tap a cell, type =, then
the formula. A selection of possible formulas will then be
listed in a dropdown menu. Double-tap the formula you want. Further
tool tips will explain what information is needed for the formula. Once
youve nished the formula, tap Return. To edit an existing formula,
tap the cell, then tap in the formula bar 1 . Its easier to reach the
precise cell by tapping the arrow keys 2 .

Get a free office suite on your tablet with CloudOn


2

STEP You can adjust the size and position of


a graphic in presentation saved in your
online storage service, although you
cant add graphics in the free version of CloudOn.
Tap the graphic, then tap and drag the grab
handles 1 that appear to resize it. To change the
outline of a graphic, tap it, then tap the Drawing
Tools tab. Tap Change Shape 2 and choose a new
shape for the graphic.

STEP You can easily change the colours of your presentation


by using the dierent collections. Tap the Design tab,
then Colors to see a list of themed colour combinations.
Tap a theme to apply it to your entire presentation. If none of
these themes are suitable for your project, tap the Create New
Theme Colors option at the bottom 1 . Choose a colour for each
section and enter a name for your new theme at the bottom of the
window. Click Save to apply it to your presentation.

STEP Sharing documents lets other people work on them.


Return to the main le view, then tap and hold the le
you want to share. Tap Share and type the recipients
email address. Type your message and tap Share to email a link
to the document. They can edit the document in Chrome or
Safari once theyve logged in, if they install the CloudOn add-on.
Instructions will be shown on the webpage when they click
the link.

STEP Adding comments is very useful when more than


one person is working on a document because it
lets you explain changes and request further
information. Tap the speech bubble on the right of a les
row to view a list of comments about a le. This list will also
show a history of who has edited the document and when
they made their changes. Once youve nished, tap the topleft back arrow to return to the le list. O

10

April 2014 Computer active

67

Workshops
Read webmail offline with Thunderbird
What you need: XP, Vista, 7 or 8 Time required: 10 minutes

ow that Microsoft has allowed


access to Outlook.com email
accounts via IMAP, you can use
Thunderbird (www.snipca.
com/10211) to read your emails
when offline. This technology leaves
your emails on the server so you can

switch between using Thunderbird


and a web browser without losing
emails and creates a backup
automatically. IMAP access is
available for other email services.
Cancel the wizard that appears
when you first run Thunderbird.

STEP Launch Thunderbird, click the top-right icon 1 , then move the
mouse over Options and click Account Settings. Click Account
Actions 2 at the bottom of the screen, then Add Mail Account.
Type your name, email address and password, then click Continue. Next,
select the IMAP (remote folders) option on the left (dont select POP3
or you will remove emails from your online account when Thunderbird
downloads them). Thunderbird will then look for the correct details from
a list of common email services.

STEP You can adjust these settings if they dont match

1
2

those of your email provider. For example, to set up a


Microsoft email account using IMAP, click the Manual
cong button, then select IMAP in the Incoming dropdown
menu 1 . Change the Incoming Server hostname to imap-mail.
outlook.com and make sure the Port is 993 and SSL is set to
SSL/TLS. The Outgoing server should be set to smtp-mail.
outlook.com with the corresponding Port set to 587 and the
SSL set to STARTTLS. Both Authentication options should be
set to Normal password. Click Re-test, then Done.

STEP Keep your inbox uncluttered by using


the Archive function, which moves
messages out of your inbox, without
putting them in a specic folder. Click a
message, then click the Archive icon 1 . The rst
time you do this an archive folder appears
underneath the inbox icon on the left. Click this
folder to see archived messages. On some
accounts, Thunderbird will show your archive by
year. Click the small arrow next to the Archives
folder 2 and then a year to nd your emails from
that time.

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Computer active April 2014

1
2

STEP You can search for emails in a particular folder

STEP You can change character poses by clicking a character

by clicking in the search box 1 above the email


list or by pressing Ctrl+Shift+K. Type a keyword
from the email or the senders name and results will
appear as you type. Use the top search box 2 to look in all
of your email folders. Type a term into this box and press
Enter to open a new tab with the search results. Use the
links on the left to narrow down the search by people
and folder.

and moving the points of control. Click the character on


the right in the rst cell to show the control points.
Click and drag the blue dots to adjust the position of the hands
and feet. The red dots adjust the elbow and knee joints, and the
orange dot lets you adjust the angle of the characters head. The
light-blue dots control the position of the spine. Finally, click and
drag the purple line with an arrow at each end to adjust the
angle of the entire character.

1
1

1
STEP Avoid constant interruption from new email alerts by
customising how often Thunderbird checks for new
messages. Click the Menu icon, move over Options,
then click Account Settings. Click the Server Settings entry on
the left of the Options window. Adjust the setting in the Check
for new messages every box 1 or uncheck the option, so that
Thunderbird only looks for new messages if you click the Get
Mail icon or press Shift+F5.

STEP Thunderbird can save hard-drive space by


compressing emails. Click the Menu icon, File,
then Compact Folders 1 . You can set Thunderbird
to do this automatically when it detects that a certain amount
of space can be saved. Click the Menu icon, Options, Advanced,
then the Network & Disk Space tab. Make sure the bottom
option is selected. If you receive lots of attachments, increase
the gure in this option to 100MB or higher so Thunderbird
doesnt spend too much time compressing your emails. O

April 2014 Computer active

69

Workshops
Master the new iOS 7
What you need: iPhone 4 or 5, iPad Mini, iPad 2 (and later) Time required: 30 mins

he new iOS 7 is a great upgrade.


It has a clean new look thats
easier to use. The changes are not
just skin-deep though, because
many of the most useful iOS tools
have been updated. We also like the
new Wish List function thats been
added to the App Store.

Here, well explain the most useful


changes and how to take
full advantage of them. We
recommend you first back up
your device with iTunes through
your PC before upgrading, but you
can also update without using a
computer if youd prefer.

STEP You can now switch easily between apps using a new view
that appears when you double-press the Home button.
The App Switcher is now full screen and includes a preview
image above the apps icon. You can also access this screen by
swiping up with four ngers (thumb optional). If you want to close an
app, swipe up from its preview image. You can now access
the volume and brightness controls by swiping up at any time to
show the Control Center. The Control Center now includes options
for launching the Camera app and controlling wireless connections.

STEP Theres a new way of accessing Spotlight Search for nding

STEP Youll nd that Safari, the built-in browser for iOS, has

apps, information, music and video on your device. Open it


with a downwards swipe on the home screen (in previous
versions of iOS youd swipe from left to right). Start typing the search
term in the tools search bar and suggested results will appear based
on your apps, notes, contacts, calendar events, videos, emails and text
messages.

been greatly improved. Safari can now show more


preview tabs than iOS 6. If you have more than 10 tabs
open, the far-right tab will have three dots on the right 1 . Tap
this dotted tab to see a list of the tabs that dont t. Also, you can
now swipe left and right to move through your browsing history.

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Computer active April 2014

STEP Entering website addresses in Safari is even

STEP You can easily share les between your iPhone 5, iPad

easier in iOS 7. The .com button in the onscreen


keyboard has been replaced by a new menu that
appears when you press the . key. Dont lift your nger just
yet move it over the email sux you want and then let go.
Youll also see that theres no longer a separate search box
at the top of Safari. If what you enter isnt a web address,
Safari will search for it on Google instead. Common Google
searches and relevant references in your bookmarks will
appear as you type.

(4th generation) and iPad Mini over a wireless network


using the AirDrop tool. To share photos, tap the Photos icon,
then Share in the top-right corner. Next, tap Share some photos and
select the photos you want to send. Tap Share again and then, in the
AirDrop section of the menu, tap the device you want to send the
photos to. If you want to receive les this way, swipe up from the
bottom of the screen to reveal the Control Center. Tap AirDrop and
choose whether to be visible to everyone or just people in your
contacts list.

STEP The best new function in the App Store is the Wish List
tool. Once youve identied a paid-for app youd like to
buy in the future, tap the top-right icon 1 and then
Add to Wish List 2 . To see your Wish List, return to the App
Store home page and tap the icon with three dots and horizontal
lines to the right of the category list at the top of the app. To
remove an app from your list, tap the circle to the left of the
entry, then Delete at the top of the menu.

2
1

STEP You can reduce the eect of icons moving around the
home screen as you move the device the much maligned
parallax eect if you nd this distracting. Tap Settings,
General, Accesssibility and then O in the Reduce Motion row. Swipe
the switch on the right so that its background turns green 1 . Tap
Accessibility 2 to return to the Accessibility options or tap the Home
button to leave the Settings page. O

April 2014 Computer active

71

Workshops
Transfer huge files for free with Hightail
What you need: XP,Vista,7,8, Android, iOS Time required: 10 minutes

ightail is the easiest way to


share large files over the
internet. Previously called
Yousendit, the service has now
been enhanced to include online
storage, making it easier to share
files. The recently updated mobile
apps let you share these files while

youre away from your computer.


Sign up for an account at hightail.
com, where youll also find links
for downloading the mobile apps
and the Hightail Express program.
Free accounts come with 2GB of
online storage and a 50MB limit
on individual files.

STEP You can share les using an email notication with


Hightail Express (www.snipca.com/10139). Sign in
using your Hightail account details and the new
message screen will appear. Enter the recipients email
address, type a subject, and your message and click Add
Files 1 or Add Folder 2 at the bottom. If you want to
password-protect your documents, compress them with
7-Zip (7-zip.org) before adding them to Hightail to avoid
having to pay Hightail for this premium service. Click Send.
Once the le is uploaded and your email sent, the le link
will appear so you can share it with other people. The link
will only be active for seven days.

STEP To store documents in Hightail so you can share them


regularly, sign into your Hightail account, click Folders in
the top toolbar, then Create Folder. Name the folder, then
click it. Next, click Add Files, select the les you want to store and
click OK to upload them. Click the Actions button, then Get Link 1
to see the link for your le. Click the Copy button to add the link to
your clipboard so you can paste it in a message. When the
recipient gets the link, they can download the le or add it to their
Hightail account, if they have one.

STEP Use one of the new mobile apps whenever you want
to email les from your Hightail folder but dont have
access to your computer. This means you can share
les without using up your data allowance. Download and install
the app (iOS: www.snipca.com/10137, Android: www.snipca.
com/ 10138) then sign in with your Hightail account details. Tap
the circled arrow next to a le name to open the menu. Tap
Send, enter an email address and tap Done.

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Computer active April 2014

Hack Windows Media Player


to share your media
What you need: Windows 7 or 8 Time required: 40 minutes

haring music and video is one


of the great benets of using a
home network. It helps you avoid
having multiple copies of media
les eating into your precious
hard-drive space no small saving
where video is concerned.
Sharing media with Windows

Media Player also gives you control


over what other people in your
household can watch, so you
can stop children watching
inappropriate content.
You can even access your
home-based media les over the
internet from your work computer.

STEP To share music and videos from


your computer, click the Start
button, type windows media player
and press Enter. Click Stream on the left of
the toolbar, then Turn on Media Streaming.
Click Yes in the User Account Control
window that appears and then click Turn on
media streaming. Select Local network 1 in
the Show devices on dropdown menu, then
select Allowed 2 in the box beneath.
Beneath the box, youll see the message All
devices are allowed to access your shared
media. Click OK. As other devices on your
network connect, they will be added to this
list so you can apply dierent streaming
rules to dierent computers.

1
2

STEP To access your media from another


computer, start Windows Media Player
on the second computer. If it isnt
visible, press Ctrl+1 to bring up your Library. Any
devices in your network found by Windows
Media Player will be displayed at the bottom of
the left-hand column. Click the arrow left of a
device 1 to view the media stored on it. Click a
Library, then browse it and play the music as if it
were on your computer. These tracks can also
be added to playlists on your computer.

April 2014 Computer active

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Workshops
STEP You can set restrictions on videos shared with other
computers on your network, particularly a childs PC,
by using parental ratings. To restrict videos, for
example, click Videos in the left-hand column 1 , then click the
down arrow 2 to the left of the Search box and select Details.
You may need to re-arrange the columns so you can see the
Parental rating column. Right-click this entry in a videos row
and click Edit. Type a rating description for the video, such as
restricted, and press Enter.

1
STEP To stop restricted les being shared with a computer, click
Stream in the toolbar, then More streaming options. Click
Customize in the row for the restricted computer in the
Media streaming options window. In the window that appears,
deselect Use default settings 1 and select Only 2 in the Choose
parental ratings section. Look through the list below and untick the
categories you dont want other PCs to access, in this case Video:
Restricted. Click OK to save the changes. Youll see the description
in this middle row has changed to Allowed access using
customized streaming preferences.

STEP You can use Windows Media Player to play music


remotely on another computer. Click Stream, then
Allow remote control of my Player. Click Allow
remote control on this network. To start playing music on
another computer, click the Play tab and add music to the
playlist. Click the top-right icon 1 (with a green arrow), then
click the name of the computer you want the music to play
through. You can now control playback through the other
computer.

1
1

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Computer active April 2014

STEP You can also share music from your computer to


another PC over the internet, which lets you listen to
your home-based music at work, for example. Click
Stream, then Allow Internet access to home media. Click Link an
online ID, then Add an online ID provider 1 . Click Download and
install the Windows Live ID Sign-in Assistant. Return to the Link
Online IDs window and click Link online ID in the WindowsLiveID
section (if the link doesnt work you may need to restart). Click
Link Online ID and sign in with a Windows account. Return to
Windows Media Player and click Allow Internet access to home
media again. O

Hack Windows Media Player to share your music


STEP To play your home media on a PC in another house
(or work), click Stream in Windows Media Player,
then Allow Internet Access to home media, and
then Link an online ID 1 . Repeat the sign-in process in the window
that appears. Click Allow Internet access to home media, then click
OK. Your library will appear in the Other Libraries section on the left
and you can browse through it as if you were on your home PC. You
need to be careful about keeping within broadband bandwidth
restrictions when sharing video les over the internet.

STEP You can edit the entries in the Other Libraries


section, which is useful if youre in an oce with
lots of other people who are also sharing their
media or if you want to hide libraries that you dont have
access to. Click Organize in the Library, then Custom
navigation pane. Select Other Libraries in the top
dropdown menu and a list of available libraries will appear.
Deselect any libraries you dont want to see in Windows
Media Player, then click OK.

STEP To share music with Windows Media Center


on computers on your network, you need to
share the folder containing your music on
your network. Click the Start button, then Computer.
Click Libraries 1 in the left-hand column. Right-click
Music, click Share with, then Homegroup (view and
edit). Repeat this process for the Videos and Pictures
libraries if you also want to share them. If youre
worried about other users on your Homegroup editing
les in your libraries, select Homegroup (view) in the
Share with menu.

STEP Next, add these folders to Windows Media Center.


Start Windows Media Center and scroll through
the menu to Tasks. Select Settings and press
Enter. Go to Media Libraries and press Enter. Select a type
of media and click Next. Select Add folders to the library,
then click Next. Select On another Computer and click
Next. Select the folders you want to add, click Yes use
these locations, then Finish. A message will appear saying
the libraries are being updated after which they will be
available in Windows Media Center. O

10

April 2014 Computer active

75

Workshops
Master Chrome on iPad and iPhone
What you need: iPad or iPhone Time required: 20 minutes

oogles Chrome browser is


ideal for iOS as well as
Windows. Its certainly better
than Safari at handling lots of
open tabs. Chrome also makes
browsing easier by letting you
share links between Windows
and your mobile device and

search the web with your voice.


You can use all the new tools
here with all iOS devices
because they were introduced
in September with Chrome 29.
Newer devices can install later
versions of Chrome, which
require iOS 6 or later.

1
STEP You can open as many tabs as you like in Chrome,
unlike versions of Safari prior to iOS 7. Tabs start to
stack up on the far right of the tab bar after you
open more than six 1 . Swipe the tab bar to move between
the dierent tabs. Once youve opened a new tab youll nd
three tools to search for sites: Most visited, Bookmarks and
Other devices. Swipe left and right in the main window of
Chrome, or tap the links at the bottom 2 , to move
between these pages.

STEP To look for specic information without using the ddly

STEP Sign into Chrome with your Google account on

onscreen keyboard, tap the microphone icon on the


right of the address bar and speak your question when
prompted. Youll see your question (or at least the words
recognised by Voice Search) onscreen 1 . Results will come from
all Googles search tools, including Images and News. This is a
handy alternative to Siri if your device is too old to have it.

both your mobile device and via your Desktop


browser to share bookmarks and open tabs
between the two. Tap the Chrome menu button on the right
of your mobile device, then Other Devices 1 . Youll see a list
of tabs open on your PC. Tap one of these entries to open
the webpage on your device. You can also open tabs from
your device on your PC. Click the menu button on the right (it
looks the same in both), then Recent Tabs. This menu shows
tabs on your computer and mobile device.

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Computer active April 2014

STEP Entering website addresses in Safari is even

STEP You can easily share les between your iPhone 5, iPad

easier in iOS 7. The .com button in the onscreen


keyboard has been replaced by a new menu that
appears when you press the . key. Dont lift your nger just
yet move it over the email sux you want and then let go.
Youll also see that theres no longer a separate search box
at the top of Safari. If what you enter isnt a web address,
Safari will search for it on Google instead. Common Google
searches and relevant references in your bookmarks will
appear as you type.

(4th generation) and iPad Mini over a wireless network


using the AirDrop tool. To share photos, tap the Photos icon,
then Share in the top-right corner. Next, tap Share some photos and
select the photos you want to send. Tap Share again and then, in the
AirDrop section of the menu, tap the device you want to send the
photos to. If you want to receive les this way, swipe up from the
bottom of the screen to reveal the Control Center. Tap AirDrop and
choose whether to be visible to everyone or just people in your
contacts list.

STEP The best new function in the App Store is the Wish List
tool. Once youve identied a paid-for app youd like to
buy in the future, tap the top-right icon 1 and then
Add to Wish List 2 . To see your Wish List, return to the App
Store home page and tap the icon with three dots and horizontal
lines to the right of the category list at the top of the app. To
remove an app from your list, tap the circle to the left of the
entry, then Delete at the top of the menu.

2
1

STEP You can reduce the eect of icons moving around the
home screen as you move the device the much
maligned parallax eect if you nd this distracting.
Tap Settings, General, Accesssibility and then O in the Reduce
Motion row. Swipe the switch on the right so that its background
turns green 1 . Tap Accessibility 2 to return to the Accessibility
options or tap the Home button to leave the Settings page. O

April 2014 Computer active

77

Workshops
Make your own free
private social network
What you need: Android or iOS Time required: 30 minutes

he social-network app Path is a


great way to stay in touch with
friends and family privately. It
doesnt let you make posts public
(and therefore is a great alternative
to Facebook). Sign up for free at
www.path.com, where you can also
install the Android or iOS app.

To ensure you only add people who


matter, youre limited to 150 friends.
Theres a premium account for
10.50 a year that includes extra
emoticons and camera effects. Well
be looking at the iOS app for most
of this Workshop, but the two apps
are very similar.

STEP To add friends in Path, tap the Friends icon

1 and then the


red portrait icon with the plus symbol 2 . You can nd friends
through options including Twitter and Gmail contacts, as
well your devices address book. Give Path permission to access your
contacts and it will check to see if theyre already members. Tap
friends to send them an invite. Tap the Promote button to post to
Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter, so friends on those networks can also
nd you.

STEP A new feature in Path makes it very easy to


add a friend whos actually with you at the time.
You both need to go to the Add Friends menu, then
tap the In Person option. The bottom half of both screens
will show a QR code that works as an invitation to Path.
The top half of the screen is the view of the devices camera.
Scan one devices QR code with the other device to become
friends on Path.

STEP A notication will appear at the top left of the app

whenever one of your invitations is accepted. Tap this


marker to see who accepted the invitation and to send
them a message. Notications will also appear here when other
people send you invitations. Tap the plus symbol next to the invite to
accept that person as a friend and to send an automatic message
telling them. Tap the persons name to visit their Path site or to send
them a message. Youll also receive the invitation in an email. Click
the Connect to button in the email to accept them on Path.

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Computer active April 2014

STEP To share something on Path, tap the red plus

STEP You can quickly respond to posts in your news feed

symbol on the left and ve icons will appear 1 .


These let you post photos and text updates and
mention where you are and what music youre listening to.
Tap the quotation marks to create a text update. You can add
information about who youre with and where you are using
the two buttons below. Tap the padlock icon so only you can
read it and then tap Add Friends to let others on your friends
list view the post. Tap Save to post your update.

by tapping the icon to the right of the post 1 .


A small window will appear with a choice of emoticons,
which you can include to express how you feel about the post.
This pop-up also tells you how many people in your friends list have
seen your post. Tap the comment text box to add your own update to
the post. Your comments and emoticons will appear below the post.

STEP Post a photo to Path by tapping the plus icon on


the left, then the camera icon. Tap the left-hand
button in the camera screen to add dierent
eects 1 to the photo. You can use this to preview how an
eect will look before you take your photo, but its probably
better to add eects retrospectively. Tap the middle icon to
take a photo. Use the icons at the bottom to change the lter,
increase the brightness and crop the photo. Tap the tick icon
to save a shot. Add text to describe the photo and tap Save
to add photo and text to your news feed.

STEP Group messages are ideal for organising events


between friends. Tap the group chat icon 1 , then
Start a Group Message. Tap your friends names
to add them. When you start typing names, your friends
entries will appear below the search box. Tap the entry to
select. When you have all the people you want in the list, tap
Message at the top right and type your message. You can
include an emoticon by tapping the face in the text box 2 .
Once youve nished, tap Send. All friends included in the
message will see the update. Tap the Group Message icon,
then the conversation to see what people are saying. O

1
2

April 2014 Computer active

79

Workshops
Create a tilt-shift picture
from any photo
What you need: XP, Vista, 7 or 8 Time required: 10 minutes

dding a tilt-shift effect makes an


ordinary photo look like it was
taken of a model, turning a city
into a model village, for example.
Previously, you needed to buy
expensive equipment to take tilt-shift
photos, but now you can use free

image editor GIMP (www.gimp.org) to


achieve the same effect in just three
steps. Well be using GIMP in the
Single-Window Mode because its
easier to explain. Before, you start,
click Windows and then SingleWindow Mode, then open your photo.

STEP Adjust the colours to make the scene look more like a
model. Click Colors 1 , then Levels. Move the arrows
( 2 and 3 ) at the bottom of the Input Levels graph
towards the centre to x any overly dark and light areas. The
arrows should at least touch the graph where it starts to rise and
may need to be closer to the centre. Click OK. Make the colours
more vivid by clicking Colors, then Brightness and Contrast.
Increase both sliders and click OK. For a more extreme eect,
click Colors and then Hue-Saturation. Increase the Saturation
level and click OK.

1
STEP Click Layer

1 and then Duplicate Layer. Press Ctrl+L to


see the Layers toolbox and click the top layer. Click
Filters, Blur and then Gaussian Blur. You can resize this
window to make the preview bigger. Increase the Blur Radius
gures 2 so that the picture is very blurred. Exactly how much
depends on the subject of the photo, but we used 40. Click OK.
Right-click the top layer (the one you just blurred) and click Add
Layer Mask. Choose White (full opacity) and click Add.

STEP Select the Blend tool by pressing L and click the


tool settings tab below 1 . Click the box 2 next
to the Gradient title, then FG to Transparent.
Click the Shape menu and select Bi-linear. Hold down Ctrl
and click and drag a vertical line over an area to bring it
into focus. Ctrl makes it easier to draw a straight line.
Save your picture by pressing Ctrl+S. GIMP saves in its
own format so if you want to share the image via email or
social media, click File, then Export. Enter a lename
ending in .jpg and press Enter.

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1
2

Handy hints and tips from your fellow readers

Readers Tips

Email us your tips: ca@nextgenpublishing.net

TIP OF THE FORTNIGHT

Recover wasted disk space with Duplicate File Finder

fter a couple of upgrades to new


computers I was becoming aware
that there were a lot of duplicate les
left behind after moving les from one
computer to another. I used Auslogics
Duplicate File Finder (www.snipca.
com/10127) to free up space taken up
by these les. Its simple to use with
several options to speed up the
scanning process.
Once installed, launch Duplicate File
Finder and give it permission when
prompted in User Account Control.
You can choose specic disks and
folders to scan. Click the arrow next to
the disk to see and select the folders.
This will reduce the time required to
search for duplicates. Unless you have
a dierent le type in mind, you
should leave the Look for these les

types only option selected. Click Next


twice. Leave Ignore File Dates selected,
because these change when les are
copied, thus hiding duplicates, then
click Next.

Finally, choose how the les should be


deleted. Its not a good idea to select
Permanently as you may want to retrieve
some of them. Instead, choose Rescue
Center, then click Search. This may take
some time depending on your
device. When its completed, you
will see a list of les. Each group of
les has a dierent coloured
background so you can easily pick
out the duplicates. Select the
duplicates to delete. If there are too
many to select individually, click
Select, then Select Duplicates by
Modication Date and nally
Earliest.
Calimanco, Computeractive Forum

The winner of every Tip of the Fortnight wins this exclusive Computeractive mug!
GMAIL

Sort emails into the correct tab


I found messages appearing in my
Gmail Primary tab even after Id moved
them to Promotions or Social because theyd
been starred. The solution is to unstar them
and they will instantly move to the correct
tab. If youve created a lter to add the star to
certain emails, youll need to modify that
lter. Click the cog icon, Settings, then Filters
and nd the lter rule youve created. Click
edit on the right, then Continue. Deselect
Star it and click Update lter.
Roy Wilson
iTUNES

Fixing iTunes Match


You can x missing music tracks
in iTunes Match in a couple of
ways. When you open the album folder
in iTunes youll see a cloud with an
exclamation mark or a slash inside it.
The exclamation mark means iTunes cant
nd the les. To x this, remove the album
from iTunes, click the File menu, then Add
Folder. Find the album in your music folder
on your PC and add it again. This will make
the album suitable for iTunes Match.
If the cloud icon has a slash across it, this
means the les are saved in an unsuitable

format, for example WMA. To x this,


right-click the album and click Create AAC
Version. This may take a little time but when
the conversion is nished, delete the original
les and this will leave the album available in
the cloud for iTunes Match.
John Avis
STEAM

Use Steam Launcher for


non-Steam Games
You can use the Steam game launcher
to start games that you didnt buy from
Steam. Start Steam and click the Library title
at the top. Click Add a game at the bottom,
then Add a Non-Steam Game. Steam will list
programs found on your computer. Select the
games you want to add. Click Add Selected
Programs and they will appear in the
left-hand column of your Library. There
wont be any extra information or updates

about the games, but its a good way to make


them easier to nd.
Tony Hills
INTERNET

Easier Snipca links


As a reader of Computeractive since its
rst issue I nd the snipca.com web
addresses very helpful, so I decided to add a
shortcut for snipca to my Desktop. To do this,
type snipca.com into your address bar, press
Enter, then drag and drop the small paper
icon that appears to the left of the address
onto your Desktop. Now all you have to do is
double-click the link and add the relevant
number to the end of the address in your
browser.
Mike Goodwin
WINDOWS 8

Improve Windows 8 fonts


I have an additional solution to the
Improve Oce Fonts tip in Issue 407
that can be used with programs other than
Oce and Internet Explorer. Right- click the
programs shortcut icon on the Desktop, then
click Properties, and the Compatibility tab.
Select Disable display scaling on high DPI
settings and click OK.
Sam Asten

April 2014 Computer active

81

Phone and Tablet Tips

Brilliant things to do on your device


and alarms. Just tap an icon to adjust the
volume level.

ANDROID

Share a tablet between


several people
A new feature in Android 4.3,
as found on the latest Google Nexus
and other recent Android devices,
lets you switch between dierent user
accounts on Android tablets. Tap the All
Apps button at the bottom of the home
screen, then Settings. Swipe through the
list of options on the left and tap Users (the
nal option in the Device section). Tap Add
User in the top right, then OK in the
message box that appears. Youll then be
prompted as to whether or not the other
user is ready to set up their account. Tap
Set up now and Android will return to the
lock screen. Youll now see two circles at
the bottom of the screen representing the
dierent users. Make sure that the circle
without a caption is the bigger of the two
(tap it if not) and unlock the device so the
new user can enter their details.
There are some things to be aware
of when sharing a device. The original
user will be recognised as the devices
owner and can therefore uninstall apps
installed by other users at any time,
while other users will be able to accept
updated app permissions when they
appear. If youre happy with that
arrangement, tap the right-pointing arrow,
then yes when prompted for a Google
account. Complete the rest of the setup
process, including any payment options.

ANDROID

Find and lock a lost or stolen


device

ANDROID

Control your phones volume


A common frustration with Android
is adjusting the ringtone volume
setting to be discreet, only for a
game or other app to play loudly to great
embarrassment. Slider Widget (www.
snipca.com/10155) is a free app that gives
you full control over the dierent volume
settings on your device. You can set it up on
your home screen, where Slider Widgets
icons show the various volume levels for
ringtones, media, notications, voice calls

Best New Apps

82

Hopefully, youll never lose your


phone, but as an extra level of
security, you should set up the new
Android Device Manager from Google at
www.snipca.com/10156. This will help you
nd your phone or protect it if it is lost or
stolen. Sign in with the Google account
used on your device and youll be asked for
permission to let Android Device Manager
use location data. Click Accept and the
webpage will attempt to contact and locate
your device. The location data is of course
dependent on having GPS enabled on your
phone. To give this service permission to
lock and, if the worst happens, remotely
wipe your device, tap All Apps, then the
green Google Settings App. Next, tap
Android Device Manager, then select the
option Allow remote lock and factory

What you should install this fortnight

Genius Scan

Bitdefender Smart Battery Saver

Moves

Free
Android www.snipca.com/10169
iOS www.snipca.com/10170
It can be very annoying when important
documents go missing, or you dont
have them to hand when you need them
most. Genius Scan xes this problem by
helping you digitally le documents using
the camera on your phone or tablet. You
can add titles, tags and other details to
documents to make nding them easier.

Free
Android www.snipca.com/10165
Phones and tablets have a nasty
habit of running out of battery life
when you need it most, especially
the latest models which
come stued with powerhungry apps. This handy
tool for Android lets you
squeeze the most out of
your battery. One of its
most useful features is the
energy-conserving Night
Time mode, which lets you
set a period of time when
youre likely to be asleep.

Free
Android www.snipca.com/10203
iOS www.snipca.com/10213
Moves converts your Android smartphone
or tablet into an activity tracker. It uses GPS
and accelerometers to measure your foot
steps walking or running during the
day. Using the GPS
is optional if you
want to conserve
battery life and
avoid sharing
too much data
about where youve
been.

Computer active April 2014

in iTunes. Connect your device to your


computer and launch iTunes. Click the
device name at the top right, then Apps in
the menu bar. The device will scan your
apps and display them in a list. Select Sort
by Size to identify which ones are the
largest.

reset. Another message will appear askKPI[QWVQEQPTOVJCV[QWCITGGVQIKXG


#PFTQKF&GXKEG/CPCIGTVJGUGRGTOKUUKQPU
6CR#EVKXCVG1PEG[QWXGRTQXKFGFVJGUGRGT
missions, the webpage will update with a more
CEEWTCVGRKPRQKPVKPIQH[QWTFGXKEGUNQECVKQP
Without GPS, the accuracy drops to around
500m. You may need to restart the phone.
1PEGVJGRJQPGKUTGEQIPKUGFQPVJKURCIG[QW
can use the three buttons in the left-hand box
to Ring, Lock or Erase your phone. The Ring
QRVKQPRNC[UVJGTKPIVQPGCVHWNNXQNWOGYJKEJ
KUJCPF[KH[QWXGLWUVRWVVJGRJQPGFQYP
somewhere. Lock changes the password, useful if you think youll get the phone back and
want to protect the contents without wiping it.
'TCUGYKRGUGXGT[VJKPIHTQO[QWTFGXKEG
iOS
Identify space-hogging apps
If youve suddenly run out of space
on your iOS device, theres a
helpful tool in Settings that tells
you exactly how much space each app is
taking up. Many apps can use a lot more
space than their initial download. Tap the
Settings icon, then General in the lefthand column. Tap Usage and the device
will scan all apps on your device and show
them as a list, with the largest apps rst.
You can tap an app for more information
and theres also a button to remove an app
if you dont want it any more.
You can also nd this information

iOS
Easy emoticons
If you want to include
emoticons (little smiley faces) in
messages from your iPad or iPhone
without having to remember the character
combinations, you can use a special
keyboard instead. Tap the Settings icon,
then General. Tap Keyboard, then

International Keyboards. Tap Add


New Keyboard and scroll down to the
Emoji entry. Tap this to add it to iOS. Next,
tap the globe key that appears to the left
of the Space bar to switch to this keyboard.

Games With Kids


What to play together on your phone and tablet
AGES 05

BBC CBeebies Playtime


Free www.snipca.com/10157 (iOS)
The CBeebies app combines fun and real educational value. There are several games for kids to
play, featuring characters from Alphablocks, The
Octonauts, Tree Fu Tom and Mr Tumble. Up to
four children can create accounts and you can
leave them your own recorded messages or
messages from CBeebies presenters.
AGES 610

Candy Swap
Free www.snipca.com/10241 (Android)
This pairs-matching game is well designed and
sure to appeal to all ages with friendly looking
characters who explain how to play. The
dierent challenges will keep kids interested,
although earlier levels seem to nish
too quickly. There are a few adverts but they
re easy to skip.
AGES 1116

Small World 2
6.99 www.snipca.com/10159 (iOS)
This great version of the popular strategy
board game can be played solo or passed
around between up to four other players.
The graphics are excellent, although wed
prefer more help when learning to play,
so its worth downloading the rules as a PDF
(www.daysofwonder.com).

April 2014 Computer active

83

Make Windows Better


VISTA, 7, 8, 8.1

Get program support information


from Windows
If youre having diculty nding
help for a particular program, you
might be able to nd contact details for it in
the Remove Programs tool. In Vista and 7,
press the Windows key, type remove
programs and press Enter. In Windows 8,
youll also need to click Settings, then Add
or Remove Programs. Right-click one
of the column headings and click More.
A window will appear with a list of available
columns. Select Support Link, Support
Telephone and Update Info Link. To re-order
the columns, select an entry and use the
Move Up and Move Down buttons. Click OK
to display this extra information.

Clever tips for every version

XP, VISTA, 7, 8

Install software in one go with Ninite


The Ninite utility is a fast
and easy way to install all the
best free software on a new computer
in one go, letting you quickly prepare
a Windows PC for use. Go to ninite.com
and choose the software you want to
install from the selection at the bottom of
the screen. This list is constantly being
updated with the latest versions of
software as well as newly released
programs. It will ascertain whether you
need a 32bit or 64bit version and can also

determine when you already have


a particular program on your PC.
Click the green Get Installer button when
youve made your selection.
Save and then run the download to
install the programs. The reason you
should save the download is so you
can run it again when you want to
check for any available updates for
the software. The Ninite Updater program
will check for updates automatically for
you, but this costs US$10 (6.25) a year.

XP, VISTA, 7, 8

Change settings with shortcuts


You can quickly change all manner
of useful Windows settings using
Nircmd, a clever utility that works
through shortcuts. You can use it to open
and close your DVD drive (ideal if the button
is hard to nd or press), mute your sound
and turn your computer o. This latter
feature is particularly useful in Windows 8,
which is a hassle to shut down.
Go to the Nircmd website (www.snipca.
com/10129), and scroll down to the bottom
of the screen to the download links, where
youll nd versions for 32bit and 64bit
Windows. Extract the les to your
Documents folder, right-click the nircmd.exe
program, then click Run as Administrator.
Click the Copy To Windows Directory
button, then Yes. To create a shortcut to mute
your PC speakers, right-click the Desktop,
click New, then Shortcut. Type nircmd.exe
mutesysvolume 1 and click Next. Type a
name for the shortcut and click Finish.
Double-click the shortcut to run it. If you see
a window that oers to copy Nircmd to the
Windows folder, it means the command may
have been mistyped, so try again. The
shortcut isnt a toggle, so to enable sound
again, create another shortcut replacing the 1
with a 0. You can even add these shortcuts to
the Windows 8 Start Screen. Open Windows
Explorer, press Ctrl+L, type C:\ProgramData\
Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs
and press Enter. Drag and drop the shortcut
from the Desktop into this folder. You may

84

Computer active April 2014

need to give Adminstrator permission to do


this. Once youve copied or moved it, the
shortcut will appear on the Start Screen.
Even though it works with Windows XP,
Nircmd was last updated in August,
when it improved its tools for the
Windows clipboard.

WINDOWS 8.1

Bypass the Start Screen


To bypass the Start Screen on
startup, click the Desktop Tile,
right-click the Taskbar, then click Properties.
Click the Navigation tab and select Go to the
desktop instead of Start when I sign in. Click
OK and reboot to check that the setting
works. Other options in this window let you
use your Desktop background as the Start
Screen.
You can also change the Start Screen to
display your programs rst rather than your

app tiles. Select Show the Apps view


automatically when I go to Start and List
desktop apps rst in the Apps view when its
sorted by category, then click OK. Press the
Windows key and click by name at the top
left. Choose by category in the menu that
appears and the list of apps will disappear.
You can still type in the Start Screen
to search for programs and apps.

Make Office Better

Expert tips for every program

POWERPOINT

Create online videos of presentations


In PowerPoint 2010 and 2013
you can export your
presentations as videos and
share them on YouTube. Click File, then
Save & Send in 2010, or Export in 2013.
Click Create a Video in the second
column. Next, choose a video- quality
setting. The Internet & DVD setting is
best if youre intending to upload to
YouTube because, unless your viewers
enable full screen, they will watch
videos in this settings dimensions.
Make sure the text in your presentation
is readable at this size. Choose Computer
& HD Displays if you want to share your
presentation via a USB stick, for
example, and want the best possible
quality. You can also record a narrative
from this screen. Click the dropdown
menu next to Record Timings and
Narrations to start the recording. To add
OUTLOOK

Give yourself time to retract


an email
Outlook can send email the
instant you click Send in your
editing window or you can tell it
to wait for you to click the Send/Receive
button. This might seem like an odd
setting, but anyone who has ever wished
they could stop an email the moment
theyve sent it will appreciate it. In
Outlook 2010 and 2013, click the File
button, then Options. Click the Advanced
option on the left, then scroll down to the
Send and receive section on the right.
Adjust the Send immediately when
connected option and click OK.
In Outlook 2003 and 2007, click the
Tools menu, then Options. Click the
Mail Setup tab and select the option
Send immediately when connected
in the Send/Receive section. Click OK
to save the setting.
WORD

Layer images in a Word


document
You can arrange pictures in a
Word document so that one
appears on top of another. Insert
the background image rst. Click the
Insert tab, then Picture. Click your image

pointer and pen markings to your video,


click the pen icon in the bottom-left
corner of the screen. Youll need to use
the left and right arrows to move
through the slides when the mouse is in
this mode.
When you reach
the end of your
presentation
youll
automatically
return to the
Export menu.
Click Create
Video and the
Save As window
will appear.
Choose a name
and location for
the video and
click the Save

button. This tool is not available in


PowerPoint 2007. The best solution is to
export your slides as JPEG image les
and use Windows Movie Maker to
convert them into a video.

le, then click Open. Right-click the image


and select Format Picture. Choose either
In line with text, Square or Tight in the
Wrapping style section. The Wrapping
styles ensure that text doesnt get lost
behind the images. Click OK. Insert the
second picture and open the Format
Picture window again. Click the Layout tab
and select In front of Text in the
Wrapping style section and Other in
Horizontal alignment. Resize the image
by clicking and dragging the grab handles
on the corners of the background image.
If youre using several images, you can
specify the order in which they appear
by using the Bring Forward and Send
Backward icons in the Arrange section
of the Picture Tools Format Ribbon tab.

window. Click the Format button, then


the Fill tab in the Format Cells window
that appears. Choose a background
colour, click OK in this window, then
New Formatting Rule. If you want to
format the other rows (those with odd
numbers), create a new rule by typing
=mod(row(),2)<>0. By way of an
explanation, this Mod function is used to
calculate the remainder when you divide
one number by another. In this case we
divide the row number by 2. Even rows
result in 0, in which case use the rst
conditional formatting rule. Use the
second rule if the result is anything
other than 0.

EXCEL

Make alternately shaded rows


with conditional formatting
You can add shading to alternate
rows in Excel 2007, 2010 and
2013 very quickly by creating
conditional formatting rules no
messing around trying to select a
number of non-contiguous rows. Select
the entire table, click Conditional
Formatting, then New Rule. Select Use a
formula to determine which cells to
format. Type =mod(row(),2)=0 in the
text box in the bottom half of the
April 2014 Computer active

85

Secret Tips For

OneNote

Stay organised on your computer,


online and on your mobile

Edit your notes on any device

Youll need to set a default location for


new notes to be created. To do this open
the OneNote app, tap and hold on a
document within a Notebook. Next, tap
the top-right menu button and select
Set as default. Now, whenever you tap
a widget to take a new picture, record
audio or add a text note it will
automatically be added to this document.

OneNote is a part of Microsoft Oce, but


if you dont have the expensive software
suite, you can still use OneNote without
paying a penny. The basic, but perfectly
functional, Android app is free to
download (www.snipca.com/10177) and
there are also free versions for iPhone
and iPad (www.snipca.com/10178).
Alternatively you can access, edit and
share your notes in a web browser using
the excellent OneNote web app. Log in at
www.skydrive.com, click Create and select
OneNote notebook from the dropdown
menu. To edit existing OneNote
documents simply search for their name
using the Search SkyDrive box or select
Documents to view all your notes.

Find notes quickly


If OneNote is lled with numerous
notes, you can easily nd something
specic using the search function. Tap
the magnifying glass icon and type what
youre looking for. If you know your
note contained an audio recording, for
example, include audio recording
started in your search. As in a Google
search, adding quotation marks around
several words will result in a search
for that exact phrase.

Add useful widgets


To create notes quickly you can add
widgets to the Android home screen.
Press and hold on an empty space and
select Apps and widgets. Scroll across
until you see the widgets for OneNote
there are four to choose from. The biggest
is a banner that can open the app, take a
picture, and add audio or text. Tap and
press the widget you want to add and
drag it into place on the Android
home screen. You can add individual

Add multiple Notebooks


The Android app comes with several different
widgets giving fast access to its different tools

widgets as shown above. The audio


widget will instantly start an audio
recording when you tap it on the
home screen.

Share your Notebooks


One of the best things about
working with documents in
the cloud is that they can be
shared with others really
easily. In OneNote you can
share whole Notebooks,
which is great if you want to
work on a project collaboratively. Go to www.skydrive.
com and sign into your
Microsoft account. Select
Documents, click the
tick-box in the top-left
You can share entire Notebooks with OneNote
corner of the Notebook you
In all instances you get to choose
want to share and click Sharing in the
menu at the top. You can share it via
whether people can edit the Notebook
email, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
or just view it.

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Creating multiple Notebooks is a


much-needed and welcome new feature
when using the OneNote web app.
Annoyingly, you cant create a new
Notebook in the Android or iOS apps,
but you can easily do this using the
Windows 8 app or OneNote web app.
Open the Windows 8 OneNote app,
slide your nger or mouse across to
open the menu on the left and select
the +Notebook button. To do this online,
log into SkyDrive, and select Create and
then OneNote notebook from the
dropdown menu.

Change formatting on Android


You can easily change basic formatting of
documents on the OneNote Android app
and even highlight passages of text so
you can refer to them later. Open a
document in the OneNote app, tap the
top-right menu button and select
Format. You can make text bold, italic,
underlined, strikethrough (which
crosses out words) or highlight it in
yellow. This is very handy for making
notes in documents.

Problems Solved
PROBLEM OF THE FORTNIGHT

How do I manually set album


cover art in iTunes?
In a recent article
you explained how
to make iTunes
display album covers.
However, the article did not
cover a problem that Im
experiencing. Because I
found some tunes too fast,
I have slowed them down
using Audacity, made new
CDs and then re-imported
them into iTunes. However,
the album covers will not
display for these slowediTunes is unable to identify songs on its online database
down versions. Other
albums that I add have their that have been slowed down
covers added automatically.
number of covers to nd, we suggest
Why wont iTunes add covers for my
creating a special folder for them and
slowed-down CDs? And is there a x?
Mahesh kumar G repeating these instructions until youve
gathered them all this will save time for
The reason iTunes isnt
the next part of the process.
Next, launch iTunes (were assuming
displaying the album art for
youre using version 11). Click Albums at
these albums is because it no
the top and then right-click the rst
longer recognises them as commercial
album that lacks a cover and choose Get
releases. You have fundamentally
Info from the pop-up menu. In the
changed the CDs contents so, even
dialogue box that appears, click to select
though you know theyre basically the
the Artwork tab the image pane should
same albums, iTunes cant nd a
currently be blank. Now click the Add
match in its online database.
button, navigate to the folder containing
The x is to add the album covers
saved cover images.
manually. The rst step is to use Google
If some arent in JPEG format, click the
to nd the relevant cover art just
dropdown menu on the right-hand side
search for an album name then click
to select the relevant le type (or just
Images to see a selection of cover images
select All les *.*). Click to select the
in thumbnail form. Hover your mouse
relevant image and then click Open.
pointer over some of those that look
correct and make a note of the resolution Finally, use the slider control to size the
image so that it neatly ts the image
gure that appears at the foot of the
pane.
thumbnail: more pixels means better
If you want, multiple images can be
quality, but anything above around
attached to one album this is useful if
500x500 pixels will be sucient for
you want insert art, say. Just repeat the
your needs.
When youve identied a suitable
above process, noting that the left-most
thumbnail, right-click it, choose Save
image is the one displayed by iTunes (or
image as from the pop-up menu, type a
on a portable player such as an iPod).
suitable name for the image and then save To change whats displayed, just drag and
it in a convenient location. As you have a
drop another to the leading position.

How do I delete
undeletable files?
I have an old PC running
Windows XP. As its own hard
drive is quite small, I store much
of my data on an external drive. I have
discovered some corrupted les on this
drive, which I suspect occurred when I
removed the drive without waiting for the
safe to remove message. I cannot open
these les and Windows refuses to delete
them. Am I stuck forever with these
undesirables?
Geet Baxi
The action that you describe
removing a drive before Windows
has let you know that it is safe to
do so can indeed lead to corrupted les
which cant easily be deleted. Theres no
simple way to remove them with Windows
alone, but you can using free software.
First, download and install MoveOnBoot
(www.snipca.com/10062). Launch the
program, click the Delete button and
then click Delete File. In the Delete File
dialogue box that appears, click the button
labelled with three dots, navigate the
aected les and then click to select them
hold down Control (Ctrl) to select several
in dierent places, or hold down Shift to
select a block of les. Click Open followed
by OK and the list of les will be added to
the top pane of the MoveOnBoot window.
Check this thoroughly. If you wish to
keep any of the listed les, click to
highlight them then right-click and
choose Remove (followed by Yes to
conrm). Now restart Windows and
your undeletable les will be deleted.

You can delete corrupted files using the


free software MoveOnBoot

April 2014 Computer active

87

Our experts solve all your tech problems


Email us your problem and well try to help: noproblem@nextgenpublishing.net

Will an SSD require


a new licence?
I would like to upgrade my
computer drive to a solid-state
drive (SSD). I believe there are
kits to move everything from the old drive
to the new one. If I do this, will Microsoft
demand a new product key?
Ashwin Krishna

Youre right that there are SSD kits


that come with tools that let you
move Windows from an old hard
drive to the new drive. In many cases this
will happen seamlessly and Windows will
launch from the SDD as though nothing had
changed. To check that all has gone well, in
Windows 7 click Start then right-click
Computer and choose Properties. Now
scroll down to the Windows activation
section you should see the message
Windows is activated.
However, sometimes Windows will
require re-activation but that wont
require a new product key. This is because a

complete the activation.


The worst-case scenario is that
activation fails. In this instance,
repeat the above, but this time click
Show me other ways to activate.
Type your Windows product key and
then click Use the automated phone
system. Choose your location from
Look for the message Windows is activated to check that the list, dial the displayed
the operating system has been moved to a new drive
telephone number and then follow
the voice prompts. Eventually,
product key is tied to your copy of
youll be given a conrmation ID number
Windows, while activation depends on a
note this down, but dont hang up. Type it
particular conguration. If you move
into the box displayed by Windows and
Windows and its product key to another
click Next.
computer, or change your PCs existing
If the process fails again then stay on the
conguration, activation may be required.
If that happens, youll have to go through
line to be transferred to a human. Explain
a process thats usually completed in just a
what has happened that youve
few seconds. Follow the instructions above
transferred your copy of Windows to an
but instead, in the Windows activation
SSD but are otherwise using the same
section, click Activate Windows online
PC and the representative should give
now and then follow the prompts to
you a conrmation ID.

Why wont my
DVD videos play?
I have transferred video from my
Panasonic TZ10 digital camera to
my computer, and can watch
them on the VLC media player. However,
when I transfer the video to a CD or DVD,
I cant play these discs on any DVD player
that Ive tried. Instead, a message appears
that says incompatible disc. Am I doing
something wrong?
Jayesh Patil

Yes unfortunately you cant


simply take any video le, burn
it to any DVD disc and hope that
it will work in any DVD player. Instead,
you must use software to create a DVD
video disc that can be recognised and
played by a standard DVD player.
Windows 7 actually has a built-in tool
that will do this its called Windows

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Computer active April 2014

DVD Maker, and youll nd


it by clicking Start followed
by All Programs.
However, rst youll need
to convert your video les,
because your camera
captures and stores footage
in AVCHD format, which
Windows DVD Maker is
unable to handle. A quick
and easy way to do this is by
using Freemake Video
Converter (www.snipca.
com/10094).
Use Freemake to convert
Use Windows DVD Maker to create a DVD video disc that
your existing video les to
can be recognised and played by a standard DVD player
AVI, WMV or MPEG format
and then import the converted les into
click Next and follow the prompts to add
Windows DVD Maker (just drag and drop
a menu to the DVD before burning
them into the program window). Now
the disc.

Problems Solved
Where are
recurring
appointments
inWindows 8?
I have just moved over
to Windows 8. In the
Calendar app I want to
set an appointment for the third
Thursday of every month, but it seems
to lack such an option.
I could do this in Microsoft Works.
Surely Windows 8 must be
capable of this?
Kalpana Raheja

In fact, it is possible to set


recurring appointments in
Windows 8 Calendar, but the
option is hidden from view. First, click
somewhere on the calendar view to
begin setting up an appointment. Fill
out the rst part of the form, selecting
the third Thursday of the month from
the When dropdown menu.
Now move down the form to nd
the Show more link click it.
Select Every month from the How
often dropdown menu. If you want to
place a limit on its recurrence, click
the Set end date button and use the
date box that appears.
Fill out the rest of the appointment
form, adding a title and appointment
details and setting a reminder if
required and then click the top-right
save icon (a oppy disk), or use the
keyboard shortcut Ctrl+S.

Can I paste things automatically?


Is it possible to set up specic keys
to paste specic things?
For example, my email address is
quite long so Id like to set up a key or key
combination that, when pressed, will paste
it automatically to wherever its needed,
whenever I need. Is this possible? If so, how
do I do it?
Prashant Zuddu

^!s::
Send youremailaddress@yourdomain.
com{Enter}
return
Simply replace youremailaddress@
yourdomain.com with your own
email address. Press Ctrl+S to save the
script. Right-click the AutoHotkey icon
in the Notication Area and choose Reload
This Script. You can now paste your email
address at any time by pressing Ctrl+Alt+S.
To learn more
about creating scripts, right-click the
AutoHotkey icon and choose Help.

Yes, you can do this by using free


software called AutoHotkey to
create a script that can carry out
essentially any action you like get it free
from www.autohotkey.com.
Learning to write scripts can be
quite complicated, but your needs
are straightforward, so fortunately it
wont be too dicult to achieve
what you want. Launch AutoHotkey
and when asked if youd like to
create a sample script, click Yes. The
sample script will open in Notepad:
press Ctrl+A to select everything
and then hit the Delete (Del) key to
delete it all. Replace it by typing the Create a script in AutoHotkey that lets you paste an
email address using a key combination
following code:

Why wont my Microsoft


Money 2004update?
I have been running Microsoft
Money 2004 for a number of
years, on XP, Vista and now
Windows 7. It has a facility to
automatically update the share portfolio
online and it had always done this
impeccably. Recently, this facility had
stopped working, so the portfolio has to be
manually updated. Do you know why this
might be? Searching
on Google suggests that Im not the only
one with this problem.
Kirti Mahesh
We do not know the cause, but
Microsoft has acknowledged the
problem and its engineers are
investigating, so a patch might be available
by the time you read this. However, we
should also warn you that Microsoft Money
is a discontinued product and one for
which mainstream support ended a
couple of years ago (or in 2006 for your
particular edition).

As such, while Microsoft may choose to


issue a x for a problem that aects users,
they may decide its too much hassle.

Set recurring appointments in Windows 8


by clicking the Show more link

Mainstream support has been discontinued


for Microsoft Money

April 2014 Computer active

89

Problems Solved
Can an iPad be set up using someones PC?
I have a friend who is interested
in buying an iPad, but does not
have a computer or internet
access. Could he use another friends
computer to set up the iPad with iTunes
(and occasionally update iOS and apps)
and use free public hotspots to surf the
web and check emails?
Jorge Fernadis

The short answer to both your


questions is yes. However, both
you and your friend should know
that since iOS 5 which launched in
October 2011 there has been no need to
own a computer in order to set up an iPad
(or any other iOS devices for that matter).
On all devices with iOS 5 onwards and
thus all new iPads everything can be
done on the device, including major
updates to iOS itself. In other words, iPads

are now entirely


self-contained
devices.
To check for and
apply iOS updates,
for example, tap
Settings followed by
General and then
Software Update.
If a new version of
the operating
system is found, just
tap Install Now
SIM-only data deals for the iPad are available on monthly and daily tariffs
and follow
the prompts.
suitable for the iPad are available on
Theres still the matter of internet access.
monthly or even daily taris at
Security concerns notwithstanding, public
aordable rates. Vodafone Ireland, for
hotspots will work, but if your friends
example, charges 4.99 per month for
online needs are limited then advise him
300MB of data or 7.99 for 1GB see
to buy a 3G-enabled iPad and then pay
www.snipca.com/10063 for
for a 3G data plan. SIM-only data deals
further details.

Where is my spam folder?


I am unable to nd the spam
folder on my computer.
I asked an IT-savvy friend to
look and he also had no luck. The
computer is an Acer Aspire T135-S870
running Windows XP home and
Outlook Express 6.
Uma Raghav

Theres a good reason why


neither of you could nd
the spam folder Outlook
Express 6 doesnt have one. Its possible
to create one manually and then set up
rules that will automatically move
matching messages into a spam folder,
but that is a very inecient way to
deal with junk email.
However, we suspect that what you
actually want to achieve is to nd a
message that hasnt arrived in your inbox.
With Outlook Express 6 its possible to
block any email address
by choosing Block Sender from
the Message menu. If you do this, then all
messages from the agged sender will be
automatically directed to the Deleted
Items folder.
So, its possible you have been using

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Computer active April 2014

Click Remove in Blocked Senders to remove an email address

the Block Sender option as a form of


spam control and have inadvertently used
it against a trusted email address. If this is
indeed the case, then youll nd missing
messages in the Deleted Items folder
assuming it hasnt been emptied since
the relevant emails arrived (by choosing
Empty Deleted Items Folder from the Edit

menu).
To remove an email address from the
list of blocked senders, open the Tools
menu, point to Message Rules and then
click Blocked Senders List. Now click to
tick the box alongside the wrongly
banished email address then click
Remove followed by OK.

How do I display
file extensions?
I have recently moved from
Windows XP Professional to
Windows 7 Home Premium,
with the purchase of a new computer.
My old XP computer used to display
le extensions, which I found very
useful. Is it possible to turn on the le
extensions, as in XP? Also, from time
to time I want to access hidden les.
Can I also do this in Windows 7?
Ram kumar

Yes, this is very easy. First,


open Windows Explorer (by
pressing Windows key+E)
and then navigate to any folder. If you
want to view le extensions and
hidden les only in a specic folder,
then navigate to that folder. Next,
open the Tools menu and choose
Folder options. In the Folder Options
dialogue box, click to select the View
tab then scroll down to nd and select
the Show hidden les, folders, and
drives radio button. Now scroll down
a little further to nd and clear the
tick from the Hide extensions for
known le types box. Finally, decide
whether you want to apply this action
to the current folder or all folders: if
the former, click the Apply to Folders
button. If its the latter option that you
want, click Apply at the bottom.

To display file extensions, go to Folder


Options and tick the relevant box

How do I get Windows 7 to shut down?


I have an Asus Eee Seashell
laptop using Windows 7
with a peculiar problem
that I hope you can help me
resolve. Basically, I can no longer
shut this laptop down! Ive left it
shutting down overnight and it
never does. Ive resorted to
removing the power and popping
out the battery.
What could be causing this?
J K Parmar

Use the System Configuration utility to find out what


is preventing a laptop from shutting down

Its impossible for us to


say whats causing this
but as its a recent problem, its
almost certainly something that you
have installed perhaps a program or
an updated driver.
We suggest using Microsofts System
Conguration utility to isolate the cause.
Click Start, type mscong and hit Enter.
Select the Services tab, tick the Hide all
Microsoft services box and then click
Disable all. Flip to the Startup tab and
click Disable all. Click OK then restart
your PC (you may have to resort to

removing the battery the rst time).


When it restarts shut it down our guess
is that it will do so perfectly.
Now restart and use the System
Conguration utility to methodically
re-enable services and startup items one
at a time, noting down what youve
re-enabled and then shutting down
each time. Eventually, youll nd the cause,
as your PC will fail to shut down. Either
download and install the latest version
of the oending program,
or leave it disabled.

Will I need to uninstall


Classic Shell for Windows 8.1?
Like many,
I hated
Windows
8 when it came out.
I still dont like it as
its harder to
operate than
Windows 7. To
make Windows 8
easier to use, I
installed Classic
Shell. I suspect Ill
eventually upgrade
to Windows 8.1, but
will I need to
uninstall Classic
Shell rst?
Kiran Reddy

The updated version of Classic Shell will be compatible with the


soon-to-be-released Windows 8

No, that wont be


necessary. Just as we
were going to press
with this issue, Classic Shells
developer announced that the

program had been updated for


Windows 8.1. So all you need
to do is visit www.classicshell.
net and download version
3.9.5 (or later) and install it.
April 2014 Computer active

91

Problems Solved
What is this Secunia error message?
I have been trying to download
Secunia Personal Software
Inspector (PSI), but keep getting
an NSIS_Error. I have tried getting the
software from various sources, but the
same thing happens. Any ideas?
Dippy H K

The most likely cause is a


corrupted installation le, perhaps
resulting from a failed download.
This may seem unlikely, as you say that
youve tried to download the program from
various sources but well explain our
logic in just a moment.
When double-clicked, many
executable les (.exe) will run an algorithm
that checks nothing has changed in the
programs code since it was released by the
developer: if there is a problem then the
error you describe may be displayed and
the program will fail to run. If you are
attempted to launch a corrupted Secunia
PSI installation le, this would be the result.
As for why further download attempts
lead to the same error, we think you might
be overlooking that subsequent downloads
are named by Windows sequentially. So the

rst (likely corrupt) Secunia download le


will be called PSISetup.exe, with
subsequent downloads called PSISetup (1).
exe, PSISetup (2).exe and so on. When
you open your download folder to
launch the Secunia installation le, it
would be all too easy to assume that
PSISetup.exe has been replaced by the latest
download.
So look for and launch one of these later
le names. If it still fails, then wed worry

about the sources that youre using be


sure that youre downloading Secunia from
the Secunia website (secunia.com). Before
you do this, delete all earlier attempts from
your downloads folder.
If the problem persists, then wed suggest
running a full virus scan because its it is
possible that an infection is preventing your
PC from installing new software.
However, be reassured that we dont think
this is very likely.

Download a file more than once and Windows will number subsequent files sequentially

READERS TO THE RESCUE

Answer readers problems at forums.computeractive.co.uk

Has my network been hacked?


A computer or device called
Blue Peach appears to have
connected to my home network
and I have no idea what it is. It appears
in Windows Explorer under the
Network heading, along with my laptop
and my NAS (both of which are meant
to be there, of course). Ive never seen
this Blue Peach entry there before. I
cant access the device or see its
properties. My network is secured with
a good password. What could this be?
Any suggestions greatly appreciated.
Aerodynamic750, Computeractive
forums
Has someone piggybacked on
to your wireless connection
without your knowledge? If so,
check and change your router security to

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Computer active April 2014

WPA2 and set a very strong new password.


However, Ive never heard of Blue Peach. A
Google search turned up www.bluepeach.
com. It seems to be some kind of network
le-sharing service, which may help to
solve the situation.
Alanrwood, Computeractive forums

Have you installed any software


related to an Android device a
smartphone or tablet, say? If so,
then this Blue Peach software could have
been installed as part of that to help with
le transfers.
Marbles65, Computeractive forums

Blue Peach which has connected


to a readers home network
enables embedded devices to
share files with Desktop and
server systems

Fast Fixes
Fix problems with syncing, uploading and security

Dropbox
Make stalled synchronisation work
Youll usually nd it most convenient
to set Dropbox to automatically
download any new les to your Dropbox
folder on your Desktop. If Dropbox starts to
sync les so they appear in this folder but
the process fails to complete, the Desktop
version of Dropbox may be corrupted.
A spinning Dropbox icon in your
notication area indicates that its
attempting to synchronise your les.
Reinstalling your Desktop version of
Dropbox (www.dropbox.com/install)
should x the problem.

Access Dropbox les oine


on your phone or tablet
To save space on your phone or tablet,
Dropbox only synchronises les to it when
requested to. The rest of the time the
Dropbox app displays a list of your les,
but you wont be able to access them
without a web connection. To make a le
available oine, swipe over it to reveal the
actions list, then tap the star to mark it
as a Favorite.

Stop Dropbox les being hacked


Check for files that have failed to sync on
Dropboxs Bad Files Check page

Make missing les sync across


a number of computers

Fix problems syncing Dropbox files to your PC


by reinstalling the Dropbox Desktop version

Stop security settings


blocking Dropbox syncing
Some anti-virus software, notably Panda
and NOD32, can block Dropboxs attempts
at syncing, while PC Tune-Up uninstalls it
as part of its optimisation process. Contact
Panda (www.snipca.com/10163) or ESET
customer support (www.snipca.
com/10164) to ask them to unblock
Dropbox on your account. Its also worth
whitelisting Dropbox in your browsers
security settings.

The whole point of Dropbox is that you can


access any le stored in your Dropbox
account from any computer or device,
providing youre logged in. Sometimes,
les may not appear in your Dropbox
folder when they should. To x this, rst
check whether the missing le has been
uploaded to your online version of
Dropbox. Log into your account to see if
the le is there. If it isnt, go to the bad les
page at www.dropbox.com/bad_les_
check. If your missing les appear here
click the option To learn why these les
are incompatible with certain operating
systems. Invalid characters in a le name
can often prevent Dropbox from syncing
that le to your local folder. If you can access
the original le, amend the le name to
exclude any characters that prevent the le
syncing, then upload it again.

Files you store online in a Dropbox


account are automatically encrypted using
256bit AES protection. Dropbox will only
remove this encryption if its legally
compelled to give your les to the UK or
US governments. This is a pretty unlikely
scenario, but malware that intercepts your
uploads is a bigger threat. Free tools such
as Boxcryptor (www.boxcryptor.com) can
encrypt your documents before you
upload them, while still letting you view
their contents. Tick Disable Encrypting
File System (EFS) when you install
Boxcryptor and allow the EldoS
encryption engine to install. Once youve
created a Boxcryptor account, right-click a
le or folder to encrypt it, then upload it as
normal for Dropbox. While its sensible to
add an extra layer of security to your les,
Dropbox wont be able to salvage them
if your account becomes corrupted. This is
because Dropbox wont have access to the
encryption tools you used.

Stop Dropbox slowing down your


computer

Add Dropbox to your browsers whitelist to


stop file-syncing being blocked

Dropbox automatically indexes the les and


folders in your account to make sure
everything is up to date, as well as to check
how much storage youre using. If your
Dropbox account is full of large, gigabytesapping les, this indexing process can slow
down your computer during other tasks.
Dropbox has recently introduced a x for
this annoying problem, but you need to
update to the latest version of Dropbox
(currently 2.2.13) to take advantage.

Use Boxcryptor to encrypt files before


uploading them to Dropbox

April 2014 Computer active

93

Jargon Buster
1080p A type of high-denition video at
1920x1080 pixels.

Clock speed The speed at which a PC


processor can perform. Measured in
Gigahertz (GHz).

4G A set of technologies that delivers


faster mobile broadband.

CSC Compact System Cameras. A kind


of camera that uses interchangeable
64bit A technology that processes data in lenses but whose viewnder doesnt use
larger chunks. Most modern computers
a mirror.
are 64bit.
Defragment To reorganise the data
802.11ac The latest standard for wireless stored on a hard drive so les are stored
networks. It allows for higher transfer
in one piece and can be accessed quickly.
speeds than 802.11n.
Sometimes shortened to defrag.
802.11n A standard for wireless networks dpi Dots per inch. A measure of printed
that allows for higher transfer speeds.
image quality, or the size an object will be
shown on screen.
AAC Advanced Audio Coding.
A type of music le.
Dual band Wireless routers that have two
wireless radios working on the 2.4 and
Accelerometer A sensor that detects
5GHz frequencies.
movement. Used in smartphones to
decide whether or not to display a portrait Dual core When two processors are
or landscape screen.
combined into a single chip.

IMAP Internet Message Access Protocol.


A method for email that lets the user
manage messages stored on a remote
server.
ISO A type of image le that contains all
the data from a CD or DVD disc.
Megapixel A measure of the amount of
detail that can be recorded by a digital
image. A one-megapixel image is made
up of a million dots (pixels).
Micro SD card A small type of memory
card. Can be converted to SD size using
an adapter.
Motherboard The main circuit board
inside every PC into which all other parts
connect.

MPEG Motion Picture Experts Group.


A method of compressing digital video.
MPEG1 compression gives VHS-quality
video, MPEG2 gives high-quality video
ADSL Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line. Executable le A program le designed to and sound.
A technology
run in Windows. Executable les have the
that converts a standard phone line into a le extension .exe.
MPEG4 A standard for compressing
broadband internet connection.
digital content that maintains very high
Expansion card A card that can be tted
quality.
AES Advanced Encryption Standard.
inside a desktop PC to add extra functions
A form of encryption that scrambles
or sockets.
NAS Network-attached storage. A hard
information so it can only be read with the
drive attached to a network that can be
correct password
FLAC Free Lossless Audio Codec. A type shared by other PCs.
of digital audio le that can be created
Airplane mode Phones and tablets in this from CD with no loss of audio quality.
Noise Dust-like speckles that can appear
mode disable all radio communication
in camera and TV images.
(GSM, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, etc), so they are
Fps Frames per second, normally used to
safe to use on aircraft.
indicate gaming performance.
Notication Area An area on the bottomright of the screen that shows which
Altimeter A sensor for measuring height GHz Gigahertz. A measure of how many programs are running in Windows.
above sea level.
instructions a chip can process per second.
1GHz is equal to 1,000MHz.
Optical stabilisation A mechanism built
AVCHD Advanced Video Coding High
into digital cameras that compensates for
Denition. A standard for storing highGigabit Ethernet A very fast networking
any shaking or vibrations that occur during
denition video. AVCHD discs can be
standard that can transfer data at up to
shooting.
played by most Blu-ray players.
1,000Mbps.
Optical zoom A system of magnifying the
AVI Audio Video Interleave. A type of
Graphics card A component in
size of an image by physically adjusting
video le. AVI is known as a container
a computer that produces the image
the cameras lens elements.
format, as it can hold many types of audio shown on the monitor.
PCI Peripheral Component Interconnect.
and video.
H.264 A type of MPEG4 video that is used A high-performance expansion slot for
Burst-shooting mode A camera mode for on Blu-ray discs and recorded by many
desktop PCs, allowing simple installation
taking several pictures very quickly.
cameras and camcorders.
of PCI components such as sound cards
and modems.
Caret browsing A special mode in web
HDMI High denition media interface.
browsers that uses the keyboard to
A type of connection that transmits high- Quad core A computer that has four
navigate webpages.
denition video and audio signals.
processors on a single chip, which allows

94

Computer active April 2014

it to operate faster than standard (singlecore) computers.


Raw A format for digital photos that
stores the image exactly as the camera
captured it, without compression or
optimisation, but which is not compatible
with all image editors.
Resolution Amount of detail in an image
(screen or printed).
SATA Serial ATA. An interface for
connecting modern hard drives and optical
discs to a computer.
Scart A standard connector for video and
audio signals.
Screen calibration Ensuring that a monitor
correctly displays colours and shapes.
Sensor The part of the camera that
captures each image. Analogous to a
piece of lm on a lm camera.
SLR Single-Lens Reex. A type of camera
in which the same lens is used for viewing
subjects in the viewnder and for taking
pictures.
SSD Solid-state drive. Storage that, unlike
a hard drive, uses no moving parts. Faster
but more expensive than conventional
hard drives.
USB2 Faster successor to USB thats used
by such things as external disk drives.
USB3 A faster version of the USB
standard used to connect devices to a
computer.
Virtual Private Network (VPN) A
technology for keeping all internet
communication safe and private even on
insecure networks.
Whitelist A list of allowed websites,
email addresses or applications used by
parental-control software.
WMA Windows Media Audio. An audio
format created by Microsoft.
WMV Windows Media Video. A Microsoft
le format for video.
Xvid A video format that can be used for
free.

The Final Straw


In this issue Stuart Andrews rues the reality of

Incompatible tech
here was a time when everything
made sense. Just over a decade ago,
one bunch of silver discs played
music, while another bunch played lms.
If I wanted to read I went to my shelf and
took down a book, or pulled a magazine
out of the rack. I had a few games to
play on my console, and a few more
installed on my PC. As long as I didnt lose
the discs, leave my book on the
train or drop my magazine in a puddle,
everything just worked.
Not so now. I have some books I can read
on my tablet that I cant read on my
e-reader. There are lms Ive downloaded
to my tablet that wont play on anything I
have connected to my TV. And there are
lms and TV programmes that will play on

All these bits


of incompatible
technology failing to
work together makes
my blood boil

my games console, but not on my set-top


box, smartphone or tablet.
All these little bits of incompatible
technology failing to work together makes
my blood boil.
Sometimes my wife wants to watch a
lm on a Saturday evening. This used to
involve a quick trip to the video library, but
now it involves half an hour trying to
remember which lms weve seen on
Netix, iTunes, Google Play or Blinkbox,

followed by 20 minutes
hunting for a cable to
connect things up,
followed by a further
half-hour
of despair and
recrimination. Then we
just give up and watch
something
we recorded last
Wednesday on ITV2.
Much as I like The
Bourne Identity, the
rst 20 viewings were
probably enough.
I know this is
partially my fault.
I cant help buying
devices that belong
to very dierent
ecosystems those
combinations of
hardware, software and services that tie
you into the little worlds of Apple or
Google. As a technology journalist it goes
with the territory. I also cant resist a
bargain. Ive bought ebooks from Amazon
and ebooks from Kobo. Ive bought lms
from iTunes and lms from Blinkbox. My
rst music players were iPods, so I have a
library of music in Apples format, but
these days I buy MP3s. So I now have a big
problem.
Of the umpteen devices I have sitting
around the lounge, I dont think a single
one will actually play all my stu. It almost
makes me nostalgic for the days
of chunky videotapes, scratchy vinyl
and Sony Walkmans the size of a brick.
Ill admit that Im unusual in this, but
I dont think Im alone. In fact, I suspect
its only going to get worse as we go
through our lives, buying into dierent
hardware, systems and digital stores. I
know the new way is more convenient. I
can rent the latest blockbuster on a wet
Sunday without a wasted journey to the
local rental store. I can listen to my old
Beatles albums without having to locate

STUART ANDREWS is
Computeractives Mr Angry
@SATAndrews

where disc 1 of The White Album has


disappeared to, or even suering a single
Ringo track. Yet I cant help wondering
where all this will lead. Will I even be able
to play the lm I bought on Blinkbox in
2023? I have my doubts.
I used to own the things I enjoyed.
Now I rent the chance to enjoy them,
and only then if I can remember which
things will play on what. Meanwhile,
neither companies selling the hardware
nor the software seem keen on
old-fashioned ideas like interoperability or
compatibility, partly because they see too
much choice as a potential prots risk.
Sometimes, all this convenience is a trap,
locking us tighter and tighter into the
system until wed lose too much if we
broke out. So thats me stuck. I cant go
back to the good old days, but the new
stu doesnt work either. Maybe Jason
Bourne could help me sort it out.

Do you agree with Stuart?


Let us know at letters@computeractive.co.uk

April 2014 Computer active

95

&
Quiz # 34
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April 2014 to win a Digitek Instant Power
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Mail to ca@nextgenpublishing.net.

Question 1:
1) Microsoft will end support for
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a) 8th April 2014
b) 15 th March 2014
c) 8th April 2015

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2) Gionee ELIFE S5.5 is how many
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a) 6.5
b) 5.5
c) 5.0

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WinQnueizr#! 33

nner)
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