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February 2012 Vol.7 Issue 2

CD FSREaE, tools oftw re

with & utilities ue this iss

Computer active awards 2012
The latest...

Setting up a new display can be fiddly we explain how to do it



Software, Printers, Notebooks, Smartphones, Multimedia players and much more!


vice ear Ad Cl Simple

File sharing, peer networks, torrents, these words conjure images of illicit activity. The truth is far from this, this month's cover story describes legal ways to share files. All of us have aspired to play a musical instrument some time or the other in our lives. This wish can now be fulfilled easily by using home computers, we show you how. The era of digital photography affords us the luxury of touching up our efforts. In ontest we talk about the best online photo editors. These take away the need to buy expensive desktop versions. All other regulars like news, productivity articles and product reviews complete this month's issue. I look forward to your feedback and suggestions.

14 Letters
What the readers have to say

83 Best buys
The best hardware and software products as recommended by us


94 Net Chart
Top websites and downloads

18 News
All the latest stories from the world of computing



36 Sony Tablet S
Decent honeycomb tablet with unique design

Amit Tewari


38 Canon Legria HF R205

Budget camcorder with good overall performance


FOR DETAILS of subscriptions,back issues,email addresses,our technical helpline or how to contact us for any other reason,please read the Computer Interactive pages and the last page.

41 Philips 226V3LSB28
Decent display

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30 The hits and misses of CES 2012 43 Computeractive Awards 2012
Now in its fifth year, Computeractive Awards is one of the most anticipated technology industry awards in the country. The awards salute winners in different categories of the consumer technology industry. The winners of 2012 are....

Vol. 7 Issue 2
February 2012
Page 54


Master your Windows PC

Whether youre a complete beginner or an experienced user, brush up your Windows skills with our guide

51 Touch and go
Tablet computers are not a new invention but theyre suddenly in the news thanks to Apples iPad. We take a look at what they can do


60 Get started with webmail

Webmail has several advantages over traditional email methods. We explain all

62 Masters in print
Most programs use the Windows Print dialogue box. Find out how it works with our Back To Basics guide

64 Picture perfect
Setting up a new display can be fiddly we explain how to do it



76 Stream music around your home with Windows Media Player 79 Align text effectively in Microsoft Word 82 Hints and tips

85 Game Review
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 game for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC Battlefield 3 game for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC 6 Computer active

68 Receive application alerts with Grow! 72 Apply Parental Controls in Windows 7 75 Disable Notification Area alerts in Windows

February 2012

Branch offices
Chandan House, 3rd Floor, Mithakhali Six Roads, Ahmedabad - 380006 Tel: +91-79-4000 8000 Fax: +91-79-4000 8080
Vol. 7 Issue 2
Editor & Publisher Amit Tewari Senior Feature Writer Anirban Roy Contributors Mark Wilson, Niall Magennis, Paul Townsend, Paul Allen, Rob Beattie, Scott Colvey, Tim Smith Creative Director & Head Production Atul Bandekar Design Nandkishor Sawant Image Desk Deepak Narkar, Ravi Parmar Illustrators Ian Jackson, Nick Palmer, Tom Steyer, Ajay Paradkar Photography Mahesh Reddy, Sharonjit Samrai Product Manager Perseus Master Asstt. Operations Manager Circulation Sanjeev Roy Asstt. Circulation Manager Kapil Kaushik, Delhi Subscription Supervisor Sachin Kelkar Tel: +91-22-43525220 Fax: +91-22-24955394 Email: DISCLAIMER
Readers are reminded that the opinions expressed, and the results published in connection with reviews and/or laboratory test reports carried out on computing systems and/or related items, are confined to, and are representative of, only those goods as supplied and should not be construed as a recommendation to purchase. Whilst every precaution is taken to ensure that reliability and good business practices prevail, the Publisher cannot be held responsible for the overall trading activities of any supplier referred to, or advertising within, this publication.
N e x t G e n P u b l i s h i n g L t d. 2nd Floor, C Wing , Trade World, Kamala Mills Compound Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel (W), Mumbai 400013 Tel: +91-22-43525252 Fax: +91-22-24955394 Email: 2007 Incisive Media. All rights reserved. Published with the permission of Incisive Media. Reproduction in any manner in any language in whole or in part without prior written permission from Incisive Media & NGPL with regard to their respective content is prohibited. P r i nt ed by Amit Tewari Next Gen Publishing Ltd., 2nd Floor, C Wing, Trade World, Kamala Mills Compound, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel (W), Mumbai 400013. P ublished by Amit Tewari on behalf of Next Gen Publishing Ltd., 2nd Floor, C Wing, Trade World Kamala Mills Compound, Senapati Bapat Marg Lower Parel (W), Mumbai 400013. P r i nt ed at Kalajyothi Process Pvt. Ltd, 1-1-60/5 RTCX Roads, Hyderabad - 20. P u b l i s h e d at Next Gen Publishing Ltd., 2nd Floor, C Wing, Trade World, Kamala Mills Compound, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel (W), Mumbai 400013. Newsstand distribution - India Book House

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February 2012

Editor: Amit Tewari

February CD
Dear Readers, This issue we have something really special for you.Here is a bundle of accounting software which may prove helpful to you,all of them are free .Also included is the regular section with latest software and updates for your download pleasure. However,if you need any particular software or utility,please drop a mail at ca@nex Editor Security Cloud Antivirus
Panda Cloud Antivirus is cloud-based. It consists of a lightweight antivirus agent that is connected in real-time to PandaLabs' online Collective Intelligence servers to protect faster against the newest malware variants while barely impacting PC performance.

Index Dat Analyzer

Index.dat files are hidden files on your computer that contain all tracks of your online activity, where have you been on Internet, what sites you visited, list of URL-s, files and documents you recently accessed. Index.dat files stored on your computer are obviously a potential privacy threat as they can be found and viewed without your knowledge.

Trend Micro RUBotted 2.0

RUBotted monitors your computer for suspicious activities and regularly checks with an online service to identify behavior associated with Bots. Upon discovering a potential infection, RUBotted prompts you to scan and clean your computer.

Internet Google Chrome

Google Chrome is a browser that combines a minimal design with sophisticated technology to make the Web faster, safer, and easier. Use one box for everything--type in the address bar and get suggestions for both search and Web pages. Thumbnails of your top sites let you access your favorite pages instantly with lightning speed from any new tab. Desktop shortcuts allow you to launch your favorite Web apps straight from your desktop.

Coffee Cup DHTML Editor

Suitable for both Web-design newbies and HTML hotshots, CoffeeCup introduces a new CSS and HTML autocompletion tool to join its well-known WYSIWYG and standard HTML editors.

Mozilla Firefox 9.1

Firefox has always had an outstanding position in the always competitive web browser battles. Firefox 9, though not very different from Firefox 8 in terms of design, brings a bunch of great improvements.

Opera 11
Version 11.60 uses the Opera Presto 2.10 rendering engine, implements the HTML5 parsing algorithm and Google's new Geo-location JSON API, and redesigned the interface to include two-lined message list, mail grouping, and new settings dialogs.

Apple Safari
Version 5.1.2 improves stability, addresses issues that could cause hangs and excessive memory usage, addresses issues that could cause webpages to flash white, and allows PDFs to be displayed within web content

Ultra Surf 11.03

UltraSurf is a small app that works as a secure filter when you're browsing the web, preventing the browser from saving information such as history of visited sites and cookies.

Vidalia Total
Vidalia is a cross-platform graphical controller for the Tor software, built using the Qt

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Cloud Antivirus Index Dat Analyzer Trend Micro RUBotted 2.0

framework. Vidalia runs on most platforms supported by Qt 4.3 or later, including Microsoft Windows, Apple OS X, and Linux or other Unix variants using the X11 window system.

Picasa 3.8
The program works with JPEG, GIF, BMP, PSD, and movie files and is compatible with most digital cameras; it detects your USB driver and imports pictures into albums. Editing tools include cropping (standard or custom), removal of redeye, and enhancing--even switching from color to black and white.

Yahoo Messenger
Yahoo! Messenger - Instant messaging allows you to quickly exchange messages with your online friends. Unlike e-mail, instant messages appear as soon they`re sent. By downloading the Yahoo! Messenger application to your computer, you can send instant messages to other people from around the globe, send them files or have a voice conference.

Google Chrome Coffee Cup DHTML Editor Mozilla Firefox 9.1 Opera 11 Apple Safari Ultra Surf 11.03 Vidalia Total Yahoo Messenger

Youtube to mp3 converter

Free YouTube to MP3 Converter combines simplicity of usage as well as advanced downloading features which you can set as you like: save original (non-converted) YouTube files; enjoy multistream downloading; customize output name easily; save and load links from external text files; save download history; import videos to iTunes automatically; download videos which require YouTube authorization via Firefox, Internet Explorer and Google Chrome; enable compatibility with screen reading software.

Multimedia Deep Burner

DeepBurner is the advanced and powerful CD and DVD burning package. It removes the hassle of making autoruns, creating and printing your own labels and booklets. You're able to burn any data, copy any disc, make backups, create astonishing photo albums, make ISO images and Video DVDs with this easy to handle professional software!

Deep Burner Eyes Relax Fast Picture Viewer File splitter and joiner Format Factory 2.80 Photobie Picasa 3.8 Youtube to mp3 converter Ziggy TV

Ziggy TV
Ziggy TV combines powerful Gnutella and BitTorrent technologies with effortless live channel streaming to give you the world's best online entertainment experience with the least amount of hassle. It uses sophisticated and proprietary underthe-hood technologies to optimize and accelerate download speeds.

Eyes Relax
Eyes Relax is an utility that helps avoiding eyes-related problems when working at a computer for several hours. Concentrating your eyesight on a computer screen can cause an eye strain. You can prevent this by taking regular breaks during the work and look at distant objects.

Office Delta 60
Delta60 has been developed over a period of 20 years and is now used by several companies as their main business software application. Delta60 is an integrated Accounting Software Package that includes: A/R, A/P, Invoicing, Inventory, Payroll and General Ledger. Delta60 emphasizes strong reporting and now has free built-in email support.

Fast Picture Viewer

FastPictureViewer is a minimalist 32 and 64-bit image viewer and culling tool engineered for previewing and rating digital images faster. The program features full ICC color management with support for profiled monitors, instant zooming and copy/move/delete functions, plus industrystandard Adobe XMP and Microsoft Photo rating, ideal for fast reviewing, culling and rating of large quantities of images.

Delta 60 eDrawing English Invoice Expert Itcale Accounting 1.2 PDF SAM RVX Manager

eDrawing English
Collaborate more effectively with everyone involved in product development by using eDrawings software, the first email-enabled communication tool that dramatically eases sharing of product design information. Fast, reliable, and convenient, eDrawings files can supply representations of 3D models and 2D drawings created with the many of widely used CAD systems on the market. eDrawings offers unique capabilities like point-and-click animations that make it easy for anyone with a PC to interpret and understand 2D and 3D design data.

File splitter and joiner

File-SJ consists of two programs, File Splitter and File Joiner. File Splitter is a useful and free program that enables you to split a large file into small chunks which are easy to be sent and stored, while File Joiner allows you to join these split parts together so that the original file is restored.

CPU Z eM Client Java Runtime environment Samsung Kies 2 Notalon Peagasus Mail PeaZip Portable 4.0 Spider Oak Thunderbird Portable Zimbra Desktop

Format Factory 2.80

FormatFactory might very well become a true hero for all those who struggle to convert files, no matter the format, because its free, works on every Windows version out there and has a lot of features.

Invoice Expert
Invoice Expert is the perfect software package to meet the billing, inventory and invoicing needs of your business. Whether you specialize in professional services, running a retail store, invoicing customers for repair work, or running an Internet business, Invoice Expert can simplify your invoicing and billing needs saving you precious time and money.

Photobie is a free versatile photo editing software. Photobie is featured with handy screen capture tools; Photobie is a perfect tool to create/edit high quality GIF animations. Photobie is feature-packed. it is one of the few freeware that supports thousands Photoshop filter (.8bf) plug-ins. Photobie can also generate high quality PDF file for best printing result.

Itcale Accounting 1.2

Iticale Accounting software is an accounting software that is designed specially for small business and personal accounting. and more...

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More on Macs
I have been reading Computeractive almost since its inception. My Windows computer is getting old like me, so I have invested in a Mac. After a few hiccups which the instruction books did not help with I have found that it is brilliant for photos, email and the internet, but not so good for Word documents. The biggest problem is that I cannot use my Serif and Nero software because the discs are in Windows format. Im not giving up on Computeractive, which has been helpful in the past, but could you mark your product reviews and downloads to say whether they are suitable for Mac users or other operating systems.
Pragati Shah

We want your opinions! Write to us on any of the topics covered in Computeractive

Whos watching your status?

I have been a user of Facebook for only a few months and have lost count of the times people say things like cant wait for Saturday, going on holiday for two weeks or a variation on that statement. They might as well send a written invitation to their local burglars to come and break into their homes and help themselves to all the valuables. Its OK to say what a lovely holiday we had after you get back but why let everybody know when your house will be empty and for how long? I dont think most people realise how easy it would be for the crooks to use that information for wrongdoing. Most peoples lists of friends contain friends that they do not know personally and who are only on their list because they are friends of friends or because they are just trying to build up a bigger group of contacts. This problem is another reason why parents should educate their children in the safe use of socialnetworking sites.
Raman Iyer

We agree and its not just parents and kids who need to be educated. There are plenty of adults on Facebook and other social networks who share details that could be dangerous. We recommend changing privacy settings so that only friends can view your status updates and choosing your Facebook friends carefully.
- Editor

I love my hybrid camera

It took me six years to change from film to digital photography. I read a lot about digital versus film and, once I saw the advantages of digital, I investigated which camera would suit me best. Eventually I bought a Canon G5 hybrid camera. One feature I have found useful is the flexible LCD screen that can be used at many angles (shooting above head height in crowds is invaluable). I am happy with my hybrid camera. Its quiet shutter means that I can take opportunistic shots and its small enough to fit in my jacket pocket. Long may it reign.
Anand Kumar

The writer of our Star letter will receive a iBall iRock earphones for pleasure listening that comes in trendy looking colours. So start typing and email us at or write to us at: Letters, CA, Next Gen Publishing Ltd., 2nd Floor, C Wing, Trade World, Kamala Mills Compound, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel (W), Mumbai 400013 . Last months winner: BaalKrishanan R K

Unorthodox camera care

My daughters Sony W80 camera developed a fault after a beach holiday.

When it was switched on, the lens would extend and retract a few times and the camera would switch itself off with a message on the screen saying there was a fault. It advised turning the camera off and on again. I did this a few times with no success. We all know that sand and digital cameras do not mix well, and, having a can of Airduster handy, I thought perhaps a good blast of compressed air into the lens tubes, when they popped out, might solve the problem. The first blast had a temporary effect, but then I gave it a really good blast. Its now working perfectly. From what I have read on various websites this appears to be a common fault with this kind of compact cameras. So, if you experience this problem, it might be worth a try before you bin it. Needless to say I am now a

star in my daughters eyes.

Apoorva Desai

The smart option?

Its not just our privacy thats at risk with smart power meters. The current design gives little thought to security. The firmware in the meter can be altered without authentication, they use software thats insecure and vulnerable and the mobile phone links are unencrypted and easily intercepted. Potential abuse ranges from altering peoples consumption data, cutting them off, or launching denial-ofservice attacks against the national network. Unless security is radically improved, we could find ourselves targeted by a new wave of hackers.
Manoj More

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February 2012


Now, the fun at Computer Interactive gets even more rewarding! Take a crack at this ZIONComputeractive Quiz and win! The contents of this issue contain the answers! So, read, find the answers and shoot before 29th February 2012 win a zany ZION RAM or multimedia memory card. Mail to with the subjectline: ComputerInteractive Quiz No.58
1) Nokia LUMIA 800 is aa) Windows phone b) Android Phone c) Symbian Phone d) None of the above

The winner of Quiz no.57 is Rajeev Shukla, Merut

2) Wi-Bridge has been launched byK a) ASUS b) Apple K c) ECS K d) None of the above K 3) Epson ME Office 535 retails for K a) Rs. 5999 b) Rs. 6999 K c) Rs. 3999 K d) None of the above K

Name: _________________________________________________________ Address: ______________________________________________________


City: _______________________ Pin Code: ____________________ Tel. No. ____________________ Mobile: _______________________ Email: __________________________________________________________ Subscription No. (For subscribers only) ________________________

The decision of the judges will be final and binding and no queries shall be entertained. The employees of Verbatim and Next Gen Publishing cannot participate in this contest. Participants can also send their entries by fax or photocopies at the Next Gen mailing address listed on colophon page. Winners will be decided by Lucky draw. Winner Will be awarded with 1GB PC667 DDR ZION RAM

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February 2012


Pioneer introduces the in-car entertainment segment

Pioneer India Electronics unveiled its new range of products for 2012 at Mumbai. These new models of in-car audio receivers featuring Pioneers latest technologies were unveiled by actor and brand ambassador, Shahid Kapoor. The new models are designed to take consumers audio experience up a notch with a plethora of new and improved functions, delivering a revolutionary in-car audio experience. The new array of in-car audio receivers features significant improvement from their predecessors, by offering a diverse range of functions to suit the unique needs of consumers. Models such as AVH-P8490BT, DEH-6450BT and DEH-5490SD feature the new MIXTRAX technology, a proprietary technology which creates a nonstop mix of an entire music library with DJ effects, to create a club-like atmosphere in ones car. With AVH-P8490BT, Pioneer introduced the Advanced App Mode for the first time in India. Advanced App Mode lets one fully control the applications from their compatible iPhone through the head-unit touchscreen. Applications such as MIXTRAX and a plethora of recommended applications including Navigation & HD Radio streaming can be operated using Advanced App Mode. The new in-car audio receivers also features Advanced Sound Retriever technology which restores the high frequency sounds lost in the digital compression process ensuring enhanced sound quality. Apart from sound quality and convenience in usage, Pioneer stressed its commitment to create reliable products by introducing an Anti-Dust Design in all newly launched head-units with CD-

mechanism. Anti-Dust Design prevents dust accumulation inside the system via an efficient heat dissipation system to optimize the airflow, reduce dust entry and thereby ensure a long life for the product.


MSI X79 mainboards break SandyBridge-Es world record for Base Clock
MSI X79 series mainboards adopt Military Class III components, the highest specification in the industry. Military Class III components have passed the 7 tests of MIL-STD-810G certification by the 3rd party lab to offer the best quality and stability. The American overclocker Turn&Burn successfully overclocked an Intel Core i73930K processor to a stunning record of 5.83GHz clock on an MSI X79A-GD65 (8D). The 182% overclocking rate has rewritten the highest record for the Sandy Bridge-E processor. Meanwhile, the renowned Taiwanese overclocker Toppc used a Big Bang-XPower II mainboard to overclock an Intel Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition processor to a new world record of 170.33MHz base clock! This proves that the MSI X79 series mainboards with Military Class III components are necessary to make overclocking breakthroughs, and MSI, with the best performance, is your first choice forX79 series mainboards. The new MSI X79 series mainboards are equipped with Military Class III components of high quality and stability. The newly introduced DrMOS II is the next generation DrMOS with a double thermal protection system built in. It ensures safety when users exceed normal operating specifications, for instance when they start overclocking. MSI X79 series mainboards also adopt the new PCI Express Gen 3 platform and offer the exclusive MSI Click BIOS II interface to offer the best performance and the smoothest operating experience. Other incorporated include the THX TruStudio PROaudio standard, Multi-BIOS II, Control Center II, and Super Charger. Furthermore, MSI Big Bang-XPower II has an enhanced 22-phase power design and supports 4-way NVIDIA SLI and AMD CrossFire multi-GPU computing technologies. All these above make MSI X79 series mainboards the best choice for ultimate performance.

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Kaspersky Lab recently announced that it has officially been named a "Leader" in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Endpoint Protection Platforms. The Gartner Magic Quadrant is based on complex analysis of endpoint protection platforms of a wide range of IT security vendors. It is the most influential benchmark for companies seeking to evaluate vendors and products in the IT security industry, and plays a very important role in purchase decisions of enterprises on a global scale. This Magic Quadrant is based on criteria in two categories: completeness of vision and ability to execute. Completeness of vision reflects the vendor's standing on innovation, and whether the vendor drives or follows the endpoint protection market. Ability to execute summarizes factors such as the vendor's financial viability, market responsiveness, product development, sales channels and customer base in the endpoint protection segment.


BOSE launches ON-EAR OE2 audio headphone

Bose has introduced its nextgeneration of on-ear headphones: the OE2 Audio Headphones. The OE2 headphones deliver demonstrably better audio performance than their predecessors, and feature an updated look and design. Music is reproduced with improved depth and clarity, and the new contoured styling creates a closer, more comfortable fit. The OE2 headphones come with a standard audio cable. The OE2 headphones feature

an enhanced proprietary TriPort acoustic headphone structure. With redesigned and newly tuned earcup ports, audio reproduction is more balanced and natural. There is no manufactured boost across the frequency range; low notes are full and rich, and midhigh frequencies are smooth and clear. The OE2 Headphones also feature a new design thats smaller and lighter, with a slimmer profile. The headphones ear cushions, made from memory


HCL Learning, an education and talent development division of HCL Infosystems Ltd., recently announced the commencement of the Learning Conclave for Progressive Schools .The program has begun from December 2011 and will cover numerous schools, colleges and coaching institutes across various cities across the country. The program will be activated as specific events in each city wherein representatives from various educational institutions will congregate and discuss on the usage of IT in the field of education. The Conclave events have been designed to increase the knowledge base in the field of education technology. The events will be held in bigger cities like Mumbai, Jaipur, Mysore and Allahabad and also in places like Kurukshetra, Kota, Bhatinda, Bokaro, Mallapuram and Belgaum, Shillong and many others.

foam, conform to the user and combine with a redesigned headband for a better, more comfortable fit. They are available from Bose for Rs. 8100/- (Rupees Eight Thousand One Hundred). They replace the current Bose On-Ear Headphones, and are now available. They will be available in a choice of black or white. Right now the back SKU is being launched in the market, the white variant will follow later.


Cyber Criminal's target people through readers digest India

Trend Micro researchers were alerted to the discovery of a phishing attack that involves creating spoofed versions of web pages that ask for sensitive user information, such as login usernames, passwords and bank account numbers. Entering their information into such a page, the sensitive information is collected and sent to the cybercriminal responsible for the page itself, no doubt for malicious purposes. In this case, users are lead to a page where they must confirm their eligibility to win the supposed Reader's Digest cash prize, and it asks for their personal details. With the advertised event being confirmed false, it is also confirmed that whatever information is divulged in this page will be sent to cybercriminals. Trend Micro recently received samples of an email message that poses as a letter from Reader's Digest India. {Please refer to the pic attached} It informs recipients that they are potential finalists of a supposed sweepstakes. The message then instructs them to click on the link provided in order to access the website so that they could qualify for the cash prize. However, the link instead leads to a phishing site, which requires users to disclose personal information such as their email addresses and the like. Cybercriminals are exploiting the online consumers' anticipation to cash in on lucrative deals, there are many who may be tricked by this latest phishing campaign.

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HP introduces expanded 3D Portfolio

HP recently unveiled a new portfolio of 3D innovations for consumers. The new HP TouchSmart620 3D Edition PC will bring the thrill of 3D entertainment to life, and let users enjoy an expanded realm of 3D experiences all within their home environment. The new HP TouchSmart620 3D Edition PC offers an all-in-one hub of fun and entertainment in an ideal combination of form and function. Users can create their own 3D videos and pictures with the TouchSmarts built-in webcam and share them with family and friends online or via the PCs 23-inch (58.4 cm) diagonal Full HD display. The TriDef Ignition Game Player allows everyone in the family to enjoy playing their favourite games in 3D. Featuring an intuitive and ergonomic design, the TouchSmart620 3D Edition reclines up to 60 degrees, enabling users to adjust the displays position for a comfortable experience or reduce glare while viewing 3D content with the Active Shutter 3D Glasses. In addition to exclusive HP features like LinkUp Technology and Beats AudioTM, the HP TouchSmart620 3D Edition also offers the latest version of HPs exclusive TouchSmart software, premium graphics and processors. The next-generation TouchSmart 4.0 interface allows users to customize their user experience by multiplying the workspace with a scrolling desktop that expands horizontally, and dragging and dropping their favourite files and apps onto the desktops carousel. Its the most intuitive and powerful touch experience to date as users can conveniently access Windows apps, desktop icons and built-for-touch applications on an ever-expanding desktop environment. The HP TouchSmart620 3D Edition PC is now available at Maximum Retail Price of Rs.92, 999.

HP recently introduced Wi-Fi Mobile Mouse, the first mouse to connect quickly and easily without a USB dongle via a PCs built-in Wi-Fi receiver. The mouse instantly reconnects during each use and operates without interference from other wireless devices. HP claims it can provide twice battery life than any Bluetooth based wireless mouse. It will also have five customizable buttons for cut, copy, paste, undo and redo. It will also feature a smooth, fourway-tilt scroll wheel to improve control while scrolling up and down or side to side. The mouse can work up to 30 feet distance from the PC. The mouse is available in India for Rs. 2999.


Sony Walkman launches live with Walkman

Sony Ericsson India has announced the availability of the brands Live with Walkman, an Android smartphone that delivers a unique social music experience. With a dedicated Walkman hardware button, just like its predecessors Walkman W8 and Mix Walkman, this device provides instant access to the music player. On one hand, consumers can like, share and discover content through a deep Facebook integration, and on the other, they can keep track of their favourite songs through the infinite button. With Sony Ericssons popular curved design, a glossy finish and a mineral glass display, the phone has a 3.2 screen and a powerful 1 GHz processor. A front facing camera is enabled for Skype video calling, while the 5MP camera on the back panel captures 720p HD video recording. Sonys xLOUD enhances audio output, and the latest Android platform for smartphones (Gingerbread 2.3) provides access to over 250,000 applications on the Android Market. Additionally consumers to get a premium headset for better music experience.

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Automotive Security

Cowon Systems unveils Auto Capsule

The first black box by COWON, Auto Capsule, is a product with features such as high resolution HD video recording, the biggest angle of view for its product level, and automatic recording according to situation. Auto Capsule provides HD (1280*720) high resolution videos with 30 frames per second through a 2 million-pixel image sensor, and especially has the biggest angle of view of 150 degrees (diagonal angle) for its range of product level. It is explained that this will help secure videos of a wider range of incidents such as the side view of an accident that were difficult to capture with existing products that offered 90 degrees or 120 degrees. It also provides various automatic recording functions preparing for unexpected incidents in addition to the basic fulltime recording and manual recording functions. The high-speed 3-axis acceleration sensor recognizes even the smallest shock applied to the vehicle and automatically saves a 30second video of 15 seconds before and after the shock. When parking, the camera recognizes movement outside the vehicle and automatically records a video. In addition, it includes an internal battery and video output terminal to prepare for emergency situations such as an accident or loss of power. The simple and sensual design that goes with the product name Auto Capsule is another part that catches the eye. It breaks away from the rigid rectangular shape and has a capsule-shaped design that stresses sophistication. The product can easily be controlled with just one button, and the motion status is shown through a color LED and by voice report. Besides, the camera that can rotate 360 degrees not only adjusts shooting angle but makes recording the inside and rear of the vehicle possible, too.

February 2012 Computer active



McAfee mobile security software available on Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet

McAfee recently announced that McAfee Mobile Security software will be preloaded on Lenovos Android-based ThinkPad Tablet for business users as a 30-day trial. This move extends McAfees ongoing collaboration with Lenovo to safeguard both the device and its stored information. McAfee Mobile Security software is a powerful combination of McAfee VirusScan Mobile software, McAfee WaveSecure software and McAfee SiteAdvisor for Android software. The solution protects a mobile device if it's lost or stolen; safeguards against mobile viruses and spyware; and allows users to safely surf the Web. Users can recover lost devices with alarm and location tracking, prevent misuse with remote lock and wipe and preserve important memories and personal data with remote backup and restore options. At the same time, McAfee Mobile Security protects against the risk of malware that originates via email, instant messaging and Internet downloads. For more information on McAfee mobile security solutions, go to: mobilesecurity.


Asus introduces VS197D LED Monitor for Mainstream Segment

ASUS recently released the VS197D monitor, an 18.5in LED monitor with 1366x768 resolution and 5ms quick response time for work and entertainment. The monitor has a sturdy stand and slim profile without compromising style in ensuring stability and durability. The VS197D also features 50,000,000:1 ASUS Smart Contrast Ratio which dynamically enhances the displays contrast by adjusting the luminance of the backlight to achieve the darkest black and brightest white delivering lifelike images. The best dual-display companion with widescreen notebook enlarges the visual space for multi-tasking efficiency. Aspect Control function allows users to select a preferred display mode among Full and 4:3 for true-to-life gaming or movie watching without any data loss or image distortion. ASUS bundles exclusive SmartView Technology functionality, which allows adjustment in color parameters to deliver the same image quality and colors with straight viewing while watching movies. The VS197D will be available in the market for Rs. 5000 excluding taxes

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February 2012


NIKE announces new NIKE+ fuelband

The NIKE+ FuelBand will use accelerometry to provide information about different activities through movement of the wrist via a LED dot matrix display. It can show four metricsTime, Calories, Steps and NikeFuel. Unlike calorie counts, which vary based on someones gender and body type, NikeFuel is a normalized score that awards equal points for the same activity regardless of physical makeup. The NIKE+ FuelBand displays a series of 20 LED lights that go from red-togreen as the user gets closer to their goal. The FuelBand syncs with the Nike+ website through a built-in USB, or wirelessly through Bluetooth to a free iPhone app, to record activity and track progress every day. The app interface also provides encouragement and motivation as goals are achieved. The Nike+ Fuelband will be available for preorder starting January 19th in the US at for a suggested retail price of 149 USD.

NIKE launched an innovative wristband that tracks and measures everyday

movement to motivate and inspire people to be more active.


Panasonic introduces Full HD 3D Home Theater Projector: PT-AE7000

Panasonic, the global leader in innovation and technology today announced the launch of its first Full HD 3D home theater projector PT-AE7000 with 1080p (1,920 x 1,080 pixel) resolution. The PT-AE7000 is also world's first 3D projector to use transparent LCD panels driven at 480Hz. The newly-developed optical engine, which produces an incredible 300,000:1 contrast ratio and 2,000 lumens of brightness to give natural clarity and sharpness to details results in more natural, life-like expression. The PT-AE7000 delivers both stunning 2D images and a comfortable and immersive 3D viewing experience at home. With this new launch, 2D to 3D image conversion is simplified, with five 3D effect modes to select from. The PT-AE7000 uses frame sequential technology for 3D image projection and comes equipped with a built-in 3D transmitter that lets the user enjoy large-screen 3D images with optional eyewear. Panasonic PT-AE7000 is available in the market for Rs.250,000/- and is backed by two years warranty.

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February 2012


Zebronics unveils premium laptop bags and skins

ZEBRONICS expanded its range of stylish and functional laptop accessories, with the introduction of premium laptop bags and skins. The two models of laptop bags are the Zebster ZEBBP5000 backpack-style bag and the Zebster ZEB-EB1000 executive style top-loader. Both are made of durable and water resistant material and feature hard outer shell that protects the laptop from shocks, scratches and bumps well. The Zeb-BP5000 backpack has ergonomic contoured padded shoulder straps with extra padded back panels to make it absolutely comfortable and lightweight in carrying, while on move. The extra soft interior helps it to absorb shocks and vibrations to fully protect your laptop and accessories. It holds a small handy pouch for mobile phone, MP3 player etc on the strap and removable twin side compartments for bottles. The large compartment has full zip down flaps and multiple inbuilt pockets to stow away most of your accessories in an organized manner all in one case. The ZEB-EB1000 executive laptop bag is available in a hard black-and- white shell design which gives it a professional look. Both bags have smart and elegant finish and are capable of accommodating laptops up to 15.6-inch size. In addition to laptop bags, Zebronics has unveiled three series of laptop skins 3D, Designer and Elite. Made of durable, hardwearing vinyl material, these skins add a personalised look and style to your laptops, at the same time offering protection against scratches and abrasion. The 3D skins feature attractive and colorful design that creates a unique 3D visual effect. The Designer series of skins comes in two designs with a sports bike and racing car that will appeal to action sports and gaming enthusiasts. The Elite series carries an unique textured surface design and comes in five elegant designs. All three series of laptop skins leave no residue and can be easily removed. The Zebster laptop bags are available at a value-formoney price of Rs. 3000/instead of Rs. 3600 for the ZEB-BP5000 backpack and Rs. 1875/- instead of Rs. 2350 for the ZEB-EB1000 Executive bag. Both bags as well as the laptop skins are available at leading IT stores, or online at


Kingston Ships High Performance SSD Upgrade Solution for Business and Consumer Use
Kingston, recently announced the latest addition to its SSDNow range, the SSDNow V+200. The SSDNow V+200 features the secondgeneration high-speed SATA 3.0 (6Gb/s) SandForce SF-2281 Processor and sequential read and write speeds of up to 535MB/s and 480MB/s. The SSDNow V+200 enables fast system start-up, rapid data access and speedy copying of large files such as videos, presentations and graphics illustrations. The SSDNow V+200 is available in 60GB, 90GB, 120GB, 240GB and 480GB capacities as either a stand-alone drive or as an upgrade kit to make installation easy and quick. Kits include cables, brackets, cloning software and HDD enclosure everything the business or home user needs to get started. A video of the new SSDNow V+200 can be found at K7DtjEac5rk.

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February 2012

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The hits and misses of CES 2012

his year, we saw a packed house at the conference, giving hope for an industry resurgence and the return of strong financials. Microsoft's farewell address was earmarked by the emergence of Intel, while Nvidia and Sony made strong pitches of their own. On the other hand, the lack of real progress and innovation gave reason to question the direction many of the largest firms in the business are taking.

2. The stars were out

High-profile celebrities were out in force this year, proving that the show is still a major draw. Justin Timberlake, part-owner of MySpace, was on stage to unveil a partnership with Panasonic as he continues to try and revive the ailing social network. 50 Cent stopped by to promote his own range of wireless headphones made by SMS Audio, as he looks to emulate the success Dr. Dre had with Beats Audio. Even teenage heart-throb Justin Bieber showed up to unveil the mRobo Ultra Bass, a dancing robot that plays music.

Best of CES 1. Healthy crowds return

In recent years, attendance at CES had been dwindling. With the economy in turmoil, many people didn't have the money or interest in attending the show. This lead to a noticeable drop in attendance and trepidation among vendors and exhibitors. This year, however, the crowds were back. Along with the usual throngs of press and bloggers, there was no shortage of buyers and general expo attendees. In total, the CEA estimated that 150,000 people attended this year's conference. While the larger attendance may have added onto the already long lines and packed venues, it is also an indication that interest and, perhaps, investment in PCs and consumer electronics is picking up again.

3. Nvidia wants to put Tegra 3 in everything

We already knew that the Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core would be making an appearance in the Asus Transformer Prime, but that is not the only device that will be packing the chip. Jen-Hsun Huang, chief executive of Nvidia announced that the quad-core chip will be squeezed into a 7in Asus tablet and retail at an impressive $249. German car maker Audi also revealed that its fleet would incorporate the Tegra 3 helping to provide photo-realistic 3D graphics. It looks like 2012 is going to be the year of the quadcore and a bumper year for Nvidia. In fact, the chipmaker was pushing the processor so much, we half expected it to unveil a quad-core-powered kettle.

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4. Tablet and smartphone ranks grow

A healthy market is always a good thing. When there is ample competition, vendors push each other in both cost and features, while consumers end up with better products. This year, the tablet and smartphone markets expanded considerably. First, Nokia unveiled the Lumia 900 for the US market. The handset adds to the company's Windows Phone lineup and builds on Nokia's strategy for localised devices in each of the major markets. Later in the week, Lenovo pitched a handset of its own with the K800. The smartphone will be the first to rely on Intel's Atom processor. Motorola is also planning to opt for the Intel chip in its upcoming designs. New entries also dotted the tablet landscape, including the Samsung Galaxy Note and the Asus 7in Tegra tablet as well as Sony's dual-screen Tablet P.

5. Intel wins the day with big announcements

Intel chief executive Paul Otellini showed Microsoft how to deliver a keynote when he took the stage on day two of CES and unveiled a raft of exciting products and partnerships. Everyone was expecting Intel to finally announce that it would be entering the smartphone market and the company didnt disappoint. At the top of the list was the announcement that Lenovo would launch the K800 smartphone, the first to incorporate an Intel Atom Medfield chip. The chip manufacturer also gave an extended demo of its reference smartphone, which impressed the crowd. Features such as HDMI video playback and the ability to capture 15 photos in less than a second went down particularly well with those in attendance. Motorola chief Sanjay Jha even turned up to confirm that the manufacturer had signed a multi-device deal with Intel. Dell took the opportunity to join the party and launch its first ultrabook in the form of the XPS 13. The keynote was a major statement of intention from Intel and with this being Microsofts last year at CES, it looks like the chip maker will be the top dog at the show from now on.

Not earth-shaking news by Apple standards, but it could still be enough to take what little wind was put in the sales of competing tablets showcased at CES.

2. CES is too big for one show

The increased attendance this year highlighted the biggest problem with CES; it is too large for its own good. While the show once fancied itself as the single place to see all the top electronics brands, it has now become a massive affair that is too large for one person, or even a small group, to take in. The advantage of getting everyone together at the same time has been outweighed by the huge crowds and massive expanse of exhibits and more time is lost waiting in lines and pushing through the show floor than is saved by getting different markets and industries together. The benefit of not having to send product buyers on two trips is understandable, but is it really worth it if they have to wade through huge crowds and bypass hundreds of stands for products they don't care about? Perhaps it's time to split up the show again. Separate conferences for the PC/mobile and home electronics spaces would still fill up the Las Vegas Convention Center without completely overwhelming the city.

1. Apple is left to steal the headlines

One problem CES has had in recent years is that the timing of the show usually falls about two to three weeks before Apple likes to announce its big iOS releases. Even when CES turns up some impressive products and demos, the show can be forgotten when just a few days later Apple unveils the next iPhone or iPad. This year, there wasnt much in the way of industryshaking news from CES. Many of the models displayed were either incremental updates or products which had already been announced in other markets. Apple has an event scheduled for later this month, which is said to focus on the educational market. While the news is widely believed to entail the addition of textbooks to the iBooks service, the company could sneak in a 'one more thing' in the form of another iPad model or price cut.

3. More of the same from 3D TV

The rollout of 3D has become a huge deal for the home electronics space. Not only can vendors such as Sony convince users to dump their relatively new HDTV sets for something else, but they can also make a fortune from February 2012 Computer active


the sale of both home and professional 3D cameras. So its understandable that 3D TV would get a huge marketing push. But this year there just wasnt much to sell. Some of the sets got a bit larger and the ubiquitous showpiece ultra-thin OLED sets got plenty of hype, of course, but there wasnt much real news or advancement in the 3D TV technology to get excited about. The holy grail of 3D will, of course, be the advent of glasses-free technology and, while that has been shown in mobile devices and notebooks, that may take some time to reach the TV market and work with multiple viewers. It is understandable that companies will want to market there products, but can we try and keep a lid on the hype?

company has gone out of its way to display the thin, powerful notebook class at every chance it gets, even going so far as to get a copyright on the word 'ultrabook'. But you have to wonder just how interested the PC vendors themselves are in the effort. Surely they want to make smaller and lighter systems, but being constrained to Intels strict definition of the category seems to have handcuffed designers and engineers. The various ultrabook models showcased at the event looked very much the same; either thin clamsheels or convertible tablet designs. I suspect that most of the ultrabook pitch is coming from Intel and the PC vendors themselves are less interested in moving the category than they are the generous financial benefits Intel no doubt provides those who participate in the program. If Intel truly wants PC vendors to build better notebooks, it need to wind down the ultrabook marketing push. We are now all aware of the benefits of Sandy Bridge and its potential for shrinking case designs, but PC vendors want to design better notebooks on their own terms, not just those that meet Intels 'ultrabook' specifications.

5. Microsoft goes out with a fizzle in its final keynote

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft chief executive, had the honour of giving the opening keynote at CES for the fifteenth consecutive year. This should have been a monumental moment as it was widely known that this year would be Microsofts last at CES. Attendees were queuing more than two hours before the start of the keynote to ensure they could get a seat inside. Everyone expected Ballmer to go out with a bang, but were left sorely disappointed by the snooze fest that was on stage. Ryan Seacrest, of American Idol fame, was rolled out on stage to carry out a mock interview with Ballmer. The Microsoft chief might as well have phoned in the keynote, it was that uneventful. Occasionally, Ballmer teased the audience he pulled out a Lumia 900, announced the Windows Store and that Kinect would be coming to the PC. But these were only mentioned in passing. Just when you though something exciting was coming, Microsoft would show us something we have already seen. The Windows Phone demo was carried out for what seemed like the hundredth time on stage. Partway through the keynote Microsoft rolled out a Twitter choir, to sing tweets from audience members. Of course, they were only given positive tweets to work with, but the whole performance was completely unnecessary and a shameless way to kill time. It might be that Microsoft, still stinging from past onstage demo failures wanted to play it safe, but they did so at the cost of putting much of the audience to sleep with one of the most boring CES openers in recent memory. Ballmer had a chance to leave CES with a bang, by the opportunity was wasted. Thankfully, Intel stepped up and, based on this years performance, the chip maker should be given top billing from now on.

4. Ultrabook vendors do little to distinguish themselves

It is no secret that the ultrabook campaign is Intels baby. The

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With every product we review, we tell it like it is and give it Computeractives authoritative star rating. Heres what those stars mean: Excellent Worth it OK by us Poor Awful ##### ##### ##### ##### #####


GoFlex Satellite
Wireless storage for smartphones and tablets
eagate GoFlex Satellite is a USB storage device catering to specific segment. It provides extra space to iPhone, iPod touch, iPad and Android users by storing photos, videos, music and documents which are accessible wirelessly. A battery is enclosed inside its sleeve powering the WiFi. Measuring 120mm x 88mm x 32mm and weighing 270gm, the drive is quite handy. The storage capacity is 500GB with a 2.5in 5400RPM hard drive. Like other members of the GoFlex series, a GoFlex connector is included, which enables it to connect to USB, FireWire 800 and ESATA ports. The hard drive is housed in a glossy all black plastic shell. On one side is a power connector to charge the device, while the other has a power button and two LEDs. While one acts as a battery indicator, the other indicates WiFi status. GoFlex Satellite comes preformatted in NTFS, if you use a


The Buy It! stamp of approval is a sign that a product has exceeded our high expectations in both quality and value for money. 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. A list of products that we think are the best available in various categories can be found at the back of the Tried & Tested section


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.


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.

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

Great performance, essential for movie buffs.

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Mac it will be necessary to format it in either FAT32 or HFS+. Once unboxed you need to connect the drive with a computer and transfer all necessary multimedia files and documents. It is also necessary to charge the device to ensure its files will be available across supported gadgets. Seagate has developed apps both for iOS and Android and both of them are available free. Using the USB3.0 port we got a speed of 66MB/s and

60.3MB/s while reading and writing files. Wireless performance is quite good, it took just 4.5 minutes to transfer a 700MB video to an iPod Touch. At this speed you can easily use this drive across three devices simultaneously. While testing we connected a Galaxy Note, iPad, Notebook and an iPod Touch to the drive. The drive worked flawlessly. The Apps are easy to use. The interface is neat and uncluttered. All files are grouped according to use, i.e all video, music and documents are grouped together. There is a small button at the top right to download the files instantly. You can use GoFlex Satellite to extend the memory of your iOS or android devices. We would have liked the ability to upload files from the device to the drive. All in all Satellite is a great product, increasing memory options for specific devices. DETAILS Contact: Seagate India Buy: www/en-an/

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February 2012



Blackberry Torch 9860

Full touch phone from RIM
nlike it's predecessors from BBM, Torch 9860 is an all touch smart phone. It sacrifices the much touted blackberry keyboard, but retains the multi touch trackpad, another trademark of BlackBerry devices. The front of the phone is made of glossy black plastic while he back is clad in gray rubber. Measuring 120 x 62 x 11.5 and weighing 135g, the phone feels

Decent multimedia performance, average better life.

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well built and is good to hold. The front is covered by a 3.7in capacitive touchscreen, four physical buttons and the trackpad. With a resolution of 480x800 and 252ppi density, the display is decent for a touchscreen smartphone. Like it's compatriots, Bold 9860 has two cameras: a basic one on the front for video telephony and a 5 megapixel main camera at the rear. Apart from geo tagging and features like face detection, the camera has continuous autofocus and image stabilisation and records videos at 720p. It supports an impressive range of file formatsM4V, AVI, WMV, WMA, MP3, OGG, AAC, AMR, WAV, MID, and even FLAC. A bight LED

flash helps shooting in the dark. Torch 9860 runs Blackberry OS 7 and is powered by a 1.2GHz processor and 768 MB of internal memory. In an earlier issue we have already discussed the logical yet impressive interface of BBM OS 7. It stands on its own against competing mobile operating systems. With Bold 9860 BlackBerry has taken a big step towards an all-round smartphone. It may not be able to beat the likes of Samsung Galaxy S II and iPhone 4S, but it may succeed in keeping BBM fanboys at home. DETAILS Contact: Blackberry India Buy:


KIngmax PNY 32GB

USB 3.0 storage with a classic look

ingmax PNY is a USB3 memory stick with 32GB of storage capacity. The drive is wrapped in a sturdy grey matte finish aluminium case. The capless design is easy to carry around. Surprisingly there is no status LED on the device. Standard USB 3.0 technology uses a dual simplex

Good performer

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communication system, in this, data read and write takes place on two channels simultaneously at a speed which is 10 times faster than USB 2.0. Hence USB 3.0 can reach transfer speeds up to 600 MB/s . Before testing we formatted the storage in NTFS. Formatting in NTFS, allows copying 4GB plus sized files. During our real life transfer test, we measured read and write speeds of 120MB/s and 70.4MB/s respectively for large files. It took only 9

seconds to transfer a DIVX file from computer to the storage. With medium sized files the speed remained in the same region but fell to 38.5MB/s when

transferring JPEG files. When plugged into a USB 2.0 port, we achieved a read and write speed of 32.8MB/s and 27.6MB/s respectively. The PNY 32G may cost slightly higher than USB 2.0 storages, but it delivers substantially better performance. DETAILS Contact: Kingmax India Buy: February 2012 Computer active




Sony Tablet S
Decent honeycomb tablet with unique design

ony is one of the last major manufacturers to come to market with a tablet, and the Sony Tablet S sets out to challenge the iPad 2 and Android devices with an alternative design and features like an infrared remote application. The Tablet S isn't the best name, but we do like the unique wedge shape that Sony has clearly taken its time over, although not everyone we've shown the tablet to likes it. Rather than a traditional flat and thin design, the Tablet S is reminiscent of a magazine with the front page folded around. This gives it a lovely ergonomic feel and makes easier to hold in portrait mode. The design also means that when the device is placed on a flat surface, the screen is tilted up slightly. We really like this alternate design and it's one of the best things about the device. The chassis tapers from 20mm down to 10mm and a textured back provides extra grip when holding the tablet in portrait mode, at least. When we held it in landscape mode, as Android Honeycomb is designed to be used, we found that the corner of the tablet dug into our palm meaning that we had to put it down. The 598g weight gives the Tablet S a lightweight feel and is about on par with the iPad 2, which weighs in at 601g. When on a flat surface the screen tilt makes it a lot easier to see and type compared to flat tablets. The power and volume buttons, headphone socket, full size SD card slot, microUSB port and stereo

Decent screen, DLNA is hard to use, poor camera

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speakers are hidden away on either side of the tablet in small recesses. This not only looks nice but is a handy place for these extras. For some strange reason this is also the location of the notification light, so you never see it. Sony has opted for a 9.4in touch screen, which is a little smaller than the display on the iPad 2, and other Android tablets such as the Motorola Xoom, which generally have a 10.1in form factor. However, the Tablet S still boasts a 1,280x800 resolution found on pretty much every other 10.1in tablet. The slightly higher pixel density wasn't that noticeable, but the screen is decent quality and a good feature. On the downside there is a distinct lack of brightness, and we needed to set it at the upper end of the scale before we were satisfied. Performance is one area where the tablet doesn't struggle, with the Android Honeycomb interface being powered by an Nvidia Tegra 2.1GHz dual-core processor. We might be on the verge of seeing quad-core Tegra chips, but dualcore processor is still sufficient. We found the performance of the Tablet S to be smooth across the board like other Tegra 2 tablets such as the Asus Eee Pad Transformer. The processor is backed by 1GB of RAM and you can go for 16GB or 32GB of internal storage. Unlike other tablets, the Tablet S has a full size SD slot for expansion rather than a microSD slot. That's handy if you're a photographer who wants to load images onto the tablet. The lack of a HDMI output was disappointing. The tablet does have wireless Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) technology, so we guess Sony didn't feel the need to add HDMI. Nevertheless, we would have liked a choice. In theory the Tablet S can receive

and send files such as photos and videos over DLNA. This is a handy feature if you want to show your friends a slideshow or watch a movie on a bigger screen. We've seen the feature demonstrated and it worked well, between Sony products anyway. We were disappointed to be unable to get the Tablet S to connect with non-Sony hardware we use, even though the manufacturer has said that it works with "pretty much anything". A feature of the Tablet S that isn't currently found on any other tablet is an infrared remote. The built-in application can control various devices around your home, such as your TV or Hi-Fi. The idea is that you do away with multiple remote control units in favour of the tablet. We tried the remote control feature out with an LG TV, which didn't produce great results. The automatic setup didn't work at all so we had to use the manual input to teach the tablet controls. The interface wasn't very user friendly and after spending 30 minutes setting up controls, we could get only one button to function correctly. If you have the patience to set it up, you'll probably get all the buttons programmed. However, the fact that you need to switch on and unlock the tablet to use this feature makes it a little redundant anyway. We found ourselves reaching for the original remote when wanting to switch channels. It's a shame that two of the big selling points of the Tablet S let us down when it came to real-life situations. You get Android 3.2 Honeycomb out of the box with the Tablet S. Sony has tinkered with the standard version a tiny bit, giving menus a slight different look, but the overlay is by no means an overhaul like the

HTC Sense interface. All the usual Android Honeycomb offerings, such as resizable widgets are present and there are a few nice touches. Firstly, the home screen has a small app tray or quick launch area at the top left hand side which stays visible no matter which home panel you're viewing. You can add four shortcuts to your most-used apps, so things are a little more efficient. We like the way the main apps menu has been redesigned. It allows you to sort the apps into groups, which you can name yourself, dividing them with separators. Scrolling had a nice 3D effect, but we found the screen a little sensitive as it launched apps when we were trying to just scroll. Lastly, there is the favourites section, which shows games, recently added media, most visited web pages and similar. The interface is nice and you can customise what it does and doesn't display. The Tablet S is the first PlayStation-certified tablet and comes with two games, Crash Bandicoot and Pinball Heroes. You do have to download these before you can play, though. The game controls can be customised in terms of colour, size and position on the screen. The gaming performance was fine, but we found ourselves getting bored quickly. It's more of a novelty than anything else. We found battery life to be decent from the 4,400mAh cell. This is a fair amount less that the 6,930mAh battery in the iPad 2, but it still gave us a couple of days of general use on a single charge, which is a solid performance. DETAILS
Contact: Sony India Buy:

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February 2012



Canon Legria HF R205

Budget camcorder with good overall performance

ow almost every still camera also shoots videos, but getting a dedicated video camera is sensible for a video buff as you get two things- zoom range and long battery life. Gone are the days when video cameras were very expensive, now you can get a good camera for twenty thousand. Canon Legria HF R205 offers full HD video with 18x optical zoom in a compact and light body. In the box we found the

Good image quality, full HD

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camcorder with a 8GB SDHC card, software disk, manual, warranty card along with all necessary cables. Canon does not supply an external charger in the bundle box, hence the battery needs to be charged directly while in the camera. Measuring 60 x 61 x 121mm, R205 fits easily in hand. Canon has sacrificed storage in favour of portability, storage is only in the form of an external SD card. The 3in LCD viewfinder can be flipped 180 degree anti clockwise and 90 degree clock wise, enabling adjustment of the viewing angle as per your choice and comfort. The camcorder has a wind filter which is useful outdoors. It also has a feature, pre-record, which keeps buffering

before you press the record button to ensure you dont miss any precious moments. The DIGIC DV III processor is quite capable of recording good quality HD videos. Another great feature is the Electronic Image Stabilisation, which eliminates blur. The image quality is decent in good lighting conditions but there was some visible noise in low light. The autofocus crisp though there was some delay in the live

mode. The zoom is smooth and we did not find any zoom motor noise in the recorded video. But focusing is an issue at high zoom. We also observed visible motion blur at high zoom. Quality of still images is very good with sharp definition and colour. Overall, Canon Legria HF R205 is a good camcorder. DETAILS Contact: Canon India Buy:


Click car mouse BMW Z4

Show your style quotient
o you own a BMW Z4 car? The answer maybe yes or no, but if we ask, do you have a BMW Z4 on your desktop? You might be wondering, what a weird question. To find the answer just log in to and get your dream car shaped mouse. We got a BMW Z4 to review. Unboxing the product we got a miniature BMW Z4 lookalike. The package included a AA sized battery. Connecting is a matter of putting in the battery and inserting the Nano receiver in to the PC. Like other wireless mouses, it needs no installation. The entire mouse is made of Prussian blue plastic, and is similar

inch to inch to a BMW Z4. The logos, rear view mirrors, lights are designed beautifully, one can easily confuse it with an actual scale model. The build quality is good and the shape is comfortable to hold for daily use. This mouse is officially licensed by BMW. The buttons and scroll wheel are placed on the bonnet and are easy to operate. The power button is placed below and has two movements, pushing the latch midway switches the power on while pushing it all the way switches on the head and the tail lights of the replica. A major concern in a wireless mouse is its battery consumption. This mouse uses a timer and automatically switches off after a

certain period of time ensuring long battery life. The mouse supports 800 and 1600DPI, which is good enough for most users. Day to day tasks, surfing and gaming are a breeze. This mouse may not be the most ergonomic and precise in the DETAILS Contact: Mr. Irfan Buy:

market, but if you are an automotive enthusiast, you will love this mouse.

Great design, responsive, ergonomics may be an issue for power users

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Kingston HyperX 64 GB USB Flash

Speed monster

ingston HyperX series is quite liked by gamers and geeks for its super performance . Following the success of HyperX RAM and SSD, Kingston launched a USB Flash product line of this series in 2008. USB 3 was not available then, but still those drives were able to achieve a speeds of 30MB/s and 20MB/s while reading and writing respectively, this was ground breaking at that time. After four

Great design, superb performance

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long years HyperX Flash drives are back in business with USB3.0 interface. This all new product claims to achieve higher speeds than any other Kingston USB Flash drives. The HyperX 3.0 is available in 64, 128 and 256GB storage capacities and is focused towards consumers who value performance and quality. To increase performance Kingston has used a 8 channel controller with fast NAND memory. With a blue metal case and black rubber grip, HyperX 3.0

looks super cool and is easy to handle. Measuring 74.99mm x 23.29mm x 15.9mm, it looks a bit thick , but feels light in hand weighing just 17.7gm. We used a PC with the latest X79 platform , SSD and updated firmware to test this drive. Apart from using benchmarking suites, we did a real life file transfer test too. For this we made a folder consisting HD videos, FLAC audios, DAT, spreadsheet, database and tree like folders. In the synthetic benchmarking test HyperX 3.0 achieved speeds

of 243MB/s and 135MB/s for sequential read and write respectively. Using another benchmarking suite, we got a phenomenal speed of 246MB/s write and 161MB/s which is perhaps even greater than claimed by Kingston. We have reviewed a lot of USB3.0 based storages till date, but HyperX 3.0 is the fastest amongst them all. The blazing speed and cool look vouch for its quality, though its price is a bit steep. But if your computer has a USB3.0 port and if you value performance more than the cost, then this is the product for you. DETAILS Contact: Kingston India Buy:


Budget dual sim phone with a tiny footprint
age is a known name in the dual sim mobile phone market for quality handsets. And the M144 Metal has adds to this reputation. The M144 has a sleek and tiny body. It is available in maroon and black. Measuring 94x45x14mm, it fits nicely in the palm. The front has a 2in screen with two navigation keys on either side of the multitouch track pad. A strip of short cut keys is placed on the home screen. The all black phone is cased in cheap glossy plastic but it has a solid steel bezel. The placing of bezel with the black body and

Good overall performer, menu keys are a bit cramped

the speaker grill at the back reminded us of RIM's BlackBerry. Unlike most dual sim phones, M144 does not have a QWERTY keyboard. The key feature of M144 is its tiny size and trackpad. The trackpad is quite accurate. The keyboard is good to use but a bit cramped. The 3.2 megapixel camera produces decent quality images, good enough for social media websites. M144 has an inbuilt antenna so you dont need to connect an earphone all the time for radio reception. The FM reception is good even in low signal areas. Sound quality is decent. M144 has dedicated call

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receive keys for both sims. Apart from this it also has Bluetooth and GPRS. The 1000 mAh battery has a decent life, usually more than a couple of days with normal usage. The M144 retails for Rs. 2699 with a 2GB memory card and is not a bad deal. DETAILS Contact: XAge India Buy:

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Philips 226V3LSB28
Decent display
he most important factors to consider before buying a display are price and size. For some, particularly movie buffs and gamers resolution, response time and number of inputs are also important. Philips has kept all this in mind

All rounder

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when designing this particular display. The Philips 226V3LSB28 is a standard 21.5in LCD display, with 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio, a contrast ratio of 700:1, an average response time of 5 ms and a native resolution of 1920x1080. This puts it squarely in mid range of specifications, hence it appeals to all kinds of users. Philips has an excellent reputation for building high quality displays and this model

is no different. The build quality is solid, with an adjustable stand. The display measures 532 x 397 x 209 mm and weighs 3KG, fitting easily on a work desk. The display excelled in all day to day tasks like web browsing, handling documents, spreadsheets , presentations as playing HD movies. The gaming experience was good, though hardcore gamers may want a response time of 2 ms.

If youre looking for a display with good overall performance and a slim form factor, Philips 226V3LSB28 is the one for you. DETAILS Contact: Philips India Buy:



Mediaman 8GB
Inexpensive storage option
nside the blister pack we found the 8 GB micro SD card along with the usual plastic storage case. We missed the SD adapter, required to use the card in multiple devices. The packet suggests the card is a class 4 card, capable of transferring data at 4 MBPS. An 8GB capacity means it can store almost 2000 photos, 2 hours of HD video and 2000 MP3 files. To test it's performance we inserted the card in a Canon PowerShot S90 and shot around 335 frames. We measured the write time by connecting the shutter to an online timer, which tripped each

Creative WP-250
Convenient headphones
t is quite common to come across several people using headphones everyday, whether listening to music or talking on phones. Managing wired headsets may be a problem in our fast paced environment, as they need to connect directly to the source. Wireless headsets are the answer and the industry is moving in that direction, with new launches every month. WP-250 is a stylish wireless headset, the ear pieces are connected with a single wire. The power switch is on the bezel, with a micro USB port just above to charge the hidden battery. There is a rocker to control volume while on top is a button to receive and disconnect phone calls. The other earpiece has buttons for

Smart price, good performance

time the shutter fired. We stopped the timer exactly when the image appeared. The images thus shot took about 10 percent of the card's storage. We also used a disk benchmarking software to compare results. The overall results are decent for a class 4 card. The speed is good enough for a smartphone, tablet or perhaps a non-ILCC camera. At Rs. 400 for 8GB, this is a smart choice. DETAILS Contact: Buy:

Great audio performance

play/pause, rewind and forwarding music. The entire unit is easy to wear and carry. The in-ear design fits nicely on to your ears, so its easy to wear them while doing some outdoor activity. The sound performance is very good. The bass is punchy without being overbearing with just the right level of treble. Noise reduction also works well even in lows and mids. The Wp-250 retails for Rs. 3,500. DETAILS Contact: Creative India Buy:

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OVERALL: #####

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Computeractive Awards 2012

Now in its fifth year, Computeractive Awards is one of the most anticipated technology industry awards in the country. The awards salute winners in different categories of the consumer technology industry. The winners of 2012 are....

Mr. Jose Antony - ZM, HP India receiving the award from Ms. Neha Nadkarni - Product Manager, Next Gen Publishing Ltd.

Printer Manufacturer of the year Laser

The nominees:


Winner: HP

February 2012 Computer active February 2010 Computeractive



Printer Manufacturer of the year Inkjet

The nominees:


Winner: CANON

Mr. Perseus Master - Product Manager, Next Gen Publishing Ltd. presenting the award to Mr. Alok Bharadwaj - Sr. Vice President, Canon India.

Printer Manufacturer of the year All in one

The nominees:


Mr. Jesal Rathod - Channel Sales Manager, IT Biz, Samsung India receiving the award from Ms. Abha Srivastava - Editor, Next Gen Publishing Ltd.

Printer Manufacturer of the year

The nominees:


Winner: HP

Mr. Gopal Rao - RMO, HP India receiving the award from Mr. Stephen D'lima - CFO, Next Gen Publishing Ltd.

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Display Manufacturer of the year

The nominees:


Mr. Jesal Rathod - Channel Sales Manager, IT Biz, Samsung India receiving the award from Mr. Amit Saraf - Managing Director, IMS Mercantiles.

Projector Manufacturer of the year

The nominees:


Winner: BENQ

Mr. Om Prakash Dubey - ASM, Mr. Jagdish Patel - ASO, Mr. Mukesh Jaisingh - RSM, Benq India receiving the award from Mr.Mukul Kashyap - India Sales & Marketing Manager, Lino Manfrotto.

Networking Manufacturer of the year

The nominees:


Winner: D-LINK

Mr. Kerman Rana - Vice President, Channel Sales, Dlink India receiving the award from Mr. Max Morishita - Manager, Kenco Company Ltd., India.

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Notebook / Netbook Manufacturer of the year

The nominees:


Winner: ASUS

Mr. Amit Tewari - Publisher and Editor, Next Gen Publishing Ltd. presenting the award to Mr. Unaez Quraishi - Director Sales & Distribution, ASUS System Business Group, India.

All-In-One Desktop Manufacturer of the year

The nominees:


Winner: DELL

Mr. Sachin Soman - Regional Trade Marketing Manager, Dell India receiving the award from Ms. Priya Pathiyan - Editor, Next Gen Publishing Ltd.

Tablet PC Manufacturer of the year

The nominees:


Winner: APPLE

Mr. Dayal receiving the award on behalf of Apple from Mr. Dante Mody - Proprietor, Envoy Uniloc Kinetronix.

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Security Suite Manufacturer of the year

The nominees:

Mr. Anand Shringi - Channel Sales Manager, Symantec India receiving the award from Mr. Sunil Patil - Associate GM, Godrej GP Batteries.

Mobile Security Manufacturer of the year

The nominees:

Mr. Hoshang Billimoria - CEO, Next Gen Publishing Ltd. presenting the award to Mr. Altaf Halde - Managing DIrector, Kaspersky Lab - South Asia.

Storage Manufacturer of the year Internal

The nominees:


Winner: WD

Mr. Sushil Bandi - Country Manager, WD India receiving the award from Mr. J. P. Soni - Chairman, Photoquip India and VP AIPTIA.

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Storage Manufacturer of the year - External

The nominees:


Mr. Masaki Zenco - Sr. Manager - Photo Imaging Division, Fujifilm India honouring Mr. Rahul Seth -Business Development Manager, Seagate India.

Storage Manufacturer of the year Flash / SSD

The nominees:


Mr. Chris Chang - Managing Director, Adata India receiving the award from Mr. Prasad Parulekar - CEO, DGFLICK India.

Storage Manufacturer of the year

The nominees:


Ms. Nidhi Sethi - Sales Director, Kingston India receiving the award from Mr. Toshio Murai - Managing Director, Olympus Imaging India.

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Camera Manufacturer of the year

The nominees:


Mr. Alok Bharadwaj - Sr. Vice President and Mr. Seiji Hamanishi Asst. Director, Canon India receiving the award from Mr. Humayun Dhanrajgir - Chairman, Next Gen Publishing Ltd.

Smartphone Manufacturer of the year

The nominees:


Mr. R. N. Jha - Director, Next Gen Publishing Ltd. presenting the award to Mr. Jesal Rathod - Channel Sales Manager, IT Biz, Samsung India.

Motherboard Manufacturer of the year

The nominees:


Winner: ASUS

Mr. Albert Tung - Regional Director and Country Manager, India and SAARC Region, ASUS receiving the award from Mr. Amit Tewari Publisher and Editor, Next Gen Publishing Ltd.

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Peripherals Manufacturer of the year

The nominees:


Ms. Lata Amin - GM, iBALL receiving the award from Mr. Anirban Roy - Computer active.

Multimedia Manufacturer of the year

The nominees:


Mr. Ernest Sim - Regional Sales Manager for India and Indian Subcontinents, Creative Technology receiving the award from Mr. Cyenthil Nathan - Country Head, Photo Imaging Div., Fujifilm India .

Graphics Card Manufacturer of the year

The nominees:


Winner: NVIDIA

Mr. Pawan Awasthi - Marketing Manager, Nvidia India receiving the award from Mr. Eric Tahara - Sales Marketing Manager, Kenco Tokina.

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Touch and go
Tablet computers are not a new invention but theyre suddenly in the news thanks to Apples iPad. We take a look at what they can do

ost computers made in the past 40 years have required you to operate them in much the same way: by typing on a keyboard, or more recently by using a mouse. Now a third option has become popular: tablet computers with no keyboard or mouse, and only a touch-sensitive screen. Tablet computers have been around for a long time but you may not have heard much about them until this year. So why has this old idea suddenly become a success, and should you be thinking about swapping your desktop or laptop PC for a tablet in the near future? Well explain all.

also so-called slateswhich didnt have keyboards at all everything was controlled using the screen. Two main problems faced makers of these computers, technically impressive though they were: first they were too expensive,

The first tablets

A tablet computer is one that you control using a pen, stylus or your finger rather than a keyboard or mouse. Although it may feel natural if you have been using one for a few years, a keyboard is not an instinctive human way to communicate, so for some time computer manufacturers have looked for better methods. Since writing is more widespread and more widely taught, it makes sense that if a computer can be made to understand writing it ought to be easier to use. The first patent for an electrical device that could be used to capture handwriting was granted to one Elisha Gray on 31 July, 1888, but it wasnt until the 1940s that people began to theorise about controlling devices using writing. An electronic tablet with handwriting input was demonstrated in the 1950s, but while the crew in the original 1960s Star Trek series were using stylus-based computers, there wasnt yet anything in the real world to match. In the 1980s so-called graphics tabletsbecame popular for the first time. These are separate devices that sit next to a keyboard and enable the user to control a computer with a stylus. However, they are mainly used by artists and engineers for drawing, rather than for more general control. Graphics tablets are still sold now and are more versatile but they still require you to use your hand in one place while looking at a screen elsewhere, whereas a tablet allows you to touch the screen itself. In 2001 Microsoft began to popularise the phrase tablet PCby introducing a computer of the same name, along with a Tablet PC Editionof the Windows XP operating system. From then Windows computers began to appear with tabletlike features. Generally they took the form of laptops on which the screens could be rotated and locked back into place on top of the keyboard so that the computer could be used either as a standard laptop or as a touch-controlled device. There were February 2012 Computer active




M The Joojoo runs an operating system based on Linux

costing much more than the equivalent standard laptop. Secondly it was hard to convince potential customers that there was much point in having a tablet computer. By that time most people who wanted to use computers had learned to use a keyboard and mouse or the touchpad on a laptop, and the handwriting recognition and pointer control on tablets still left a lot to be desired, so most of us stuck with our trusty keyboards and mice.

Going mobile

More recently, companies tried building touchscreens into small, mobile computers. The OQO and Dialogue Flybook were two examples of tiny, stylish devices that worked well, though in both cases their cost put them out of reach of almost everyone. Following that came the ultramobile PC (UMPC). This was another type of small, portable computer

A tablet computer is controlled by a pen, stylus or your finger

Table-Top Touchscreens
Touchscreen technology isnt limited to tablets or laptops. Several manufacturers have recently released so-called all-in-one computers which incorporate all the computing components (except the keyboard and mouse) with a touch-sensitive screen into one unit. Examples include the Advent MT22, Samsung U200, MSI AE2220 Hi-Fi and the Medion Akoya P4011D. Weve yet to be convinced that, for desktop computers, the touchscreen offers much of an advantage over the mouse and keyboard. Its easier to learn how to operate a touchscreen, but if youre teaching a child to operate a computer, they will be left behind if they only learn how to use a touchscreen because theyll have to use a mouse and keyboard anyway when out of the house. That said, the all-in-one size and shape will work well for those with cramped living quarters or who just dont want the hassle of a desktop computer but who want more than a laptop.

with a touchscreen but again these were quite expensive. Another problem for this kind of small PC was the increasing power and ease of use of mobile phones and smartphones. Smartphone screens were getting bigger and processors were getting more powerful, meaning that they were getting closer to computers in what they could do. When Apple released the iPhone in 2007 it was billed as a device that could be used to surf the web, read and send email and check maps, which was most of what people wanted from a device they were carrying around. One area where tablet computers did take off, however, was in certain types of business. People who worked taking surveys, for instance, could use a tablet computer to enter information directly rather than writing it down on paper and later transferring that to a computer database, while shops and meter readers also found tiny tablets handy for processing records and sales. Many of the tablet computers designed for business users are rugged that is, built to withstand use outside and the rough-and-tumble of daily workplace use. These tend to be much more expensive than standard computers, so theyre well out of reach of most home users, but then the extra cost is a more attractive option to companies than constantly replacing damaged PCs.

Impact of the iPad

In April this year Apple launched its iPad tablet computer. This new tablet PC clearly took inspiration from the iPhone, and even uses the same operating system, but with the larger screen of a traditional tablet. Once the iPad had shown people what a tablet computer could do (helped by Apples enormous marketing budget and television advertising) it was suddenly a lot easier to convince people that a tablet might be useful at home. One of the most important selling points of the iPad was its ease of use. As Apples television advertisement says, you already know how to use it, and its certainly easier to get started with than most Windows computers. One Computeractive staff member bought one for his mother, who had never used a computer before, and who is now a very keen tablet user. Its not ideal for everyone, however. Although its good at

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Best of both worlds?

Another problem affecting the iPad, and indeed any other tablet PC with no keyboard, is that its not ideal for long periods of writing. While the iPad has a version of Apples Pages word processor and you can connect a Bluetooth keyboard, its still going to be better to use a full computer with keyboard if you need to write anything longer than an email. With that in mind, some companies continue to make hybridtablets computers that can be operated using either the touchscreen, like a tablet, or with a standard keyboard thats built-in. We recently reviewed the Fujitsu Lifebook T4410, for example, which folds to convert between laptop and tablet and runs a standard version of Windows . The Lifebook might be more versatile than an iPad, so it could be an ideal choice if you want only one computer for both typing and tablet-based tasks, but then it does cost nearly three times as much as the average Apple tablet. Alongside hybrid computers, though, were seeing a rash of new tablets designed to be much more similar to the iPad. The Joojoo (, for example, is bigger than the iPad but looks similar, with the entire front given over to a touch-sensitive screen. Like the iPad it doesnt run Windows, instead using a special operating system based on Linux. Its cheaper than the iPad, too, at 340 including postage to the UK. HP has a tablet computer coming called the Zeen, which will use the Android operating system more commonly found on smartphones. Its thought to be geared towards reading books than general computing use. In July Microsoft reaffirmed its commitment to selling slate computers running Windows 7, claiming that they would be available later this year from companies including Samsung, Dell and Sony.

So have tablet PCs finally become useful for home users, or is the iPad a one-off? At the moment its too early to tell. Apple has sold several million iPads, but until we see a wider range of similar products later this year its hard to know whether its a one-off fuelled by great marketing or a real shift towards tablet PCs that are good for the home as well as working out and about. For tablets to become really popular they will need to become cheaper, but then as more of any device are sold prices tend to fall. For the moment we cant see them replacing the majority of laptops any time soon, but keep an eye out for reviews of the latest and greatest tablets as they are released in our Tried and Tested section.

Other Portables
Small, light and cheap portable computers dont have to be tablets or have touchscreens. In fact, the ones without touchscreens tend to be even cheaper. The general category of netbooks covers the smaller end of the laptop range, with models such as the Toshiba NB300 and the Samsung N150 both costing less than 300 a price that no tablet computer could hope to match at the moment. If your budget is tighter and you dont mind slightly older technology a model such as the Acer Aspire One D250 is available for less than 200. We reviewed it favourably back in January 2009 when it cost 329 but its still on sale at a good discount. All of these computers can do word processing, email and web surfing just as well as touchscreen models and, in some cases, better. February 2012 Computer active

showing most websites, the iPad cannot display anything made using Flash, so many websites have parts missing and some video services just dont work at all. Whats more, because the iPad runs Apples iOS operating system theres no way to install the software you would use on a normal PC or Mac, such as Microsoft Word. Instead youre limited to specially designed applications, sold through Apples App Store. There are many applications available but some tend to work better than others. Tasks that tend to be intensive on the computers processor tend to work poorly, as tablets have cheaper, less powerful processors, and if youre going to be editing photographs or lots of video you will be better off with the flexibility and storage space of a Windows or Mac laptop or desktop computer. This leaves the iPad in an odd position: its a great computer, and very easy to use, but we think that for most people its best as a second device if you already have access to a laptop or desktop for more involved tasks.

Techno babble demystified...

system for portable PCs and mobile phones,

Android An operating
based on the Linux system that is used on some computers.

to create high-quality animations on websites.

Flash Application used
The Fujitsu Lifebook converts between a laptop and tablet

that can be systemmodified and freely

Linux An operating

distributed by its users.

laptop thattohas been designed favour

Netbook A type of
portability over power. Netbooks are smaller and many use solidstate memory rather than mechanical hard disks.

is the brain of the computer.

Processor The chip that

styled like a pen, used for operating palmtop

Stylus A plastic pointer

computers (PDAs) with touch-sensitive screens.





Master your Windows PC

Whether youre a complete beginner or an experienced user, brush up your Windows skills with our guide

icrosoft Windows sits at the heart of most PCs but with countless applications, an almost bewildering array of settings and a good dose of techno-jargon, there is almost too much to remember. In this back to basics feature we will explain the fundamentals of Windows, covering everything from running programs and using Windows Explorer, through to the importance of shutting down your PC properly. So, whether you are totally new to Windows or just hoping to brush up your existing skills, this article will be useful for everyone. After all, no matter how long you have been using Windows, its easy to overlook some of its handy features.

Getting started with programs

As you might expect there are many different ways to start programs within Windows, but the simplest is to use the desktop. If there is an icon representing the program you want on the desktop, double-click it with the left mouse button. Alternatively, if the program does not have a shortcut icon on the desktop, click the Windows Start button. Shortcuts to the most frequently used programs will be displayed, but by clicking on Programs or All Programs you can browse through all the applications installed on the PC. When you find the one you want, click on it once with the left mouse button to run it. Items in the Start menu can always be chosen with just one click rather than two. You might also see a set of small icons just to the right of the Start button. In Windows XP or Vista this is called the Quick Launch. In Windows 7 you can choose any number of programs to be pinned to this part of the menu for easy access. In either case, a single left-click on the appropriate icon will launch the program.

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Techno babble demystified...

found in the Starttomenu that enables you

Control Panel A tool
tweak the basic functions of Windows, your PC?and any peripherals attached to it.
M M Access installed programs via the Windows Start button Right-click the bar across the top of the Window to display a menu

Window controls
Once the program has started it will, almost always, appear in a new window on screen. You can then adjust how much space this window takes up on the desktop by using the three small buttons in the topright corner of the window. Click the left-most button (a single line) and the window will disappear. The program is still running, though, and you will be able to see it as a button on the Taskbar that runs across the bottom of the screen. Left-click that button once to bring it back. The middle button (depending on the current mode, this will be either one or two small boxes) switches between maximised and windowed mode. When maximised, the window will take up the entire desktop, which is useful if you want to focus on that one program. Switch to windowed mode and its possible to manually adjust the size of the window by clicking and dragging the sides and corners. The right-hand button, marked with a cross, lets you quickly close the window. If the program uses only one window, as many do, this will shut down the program. Unless a window is maximised, you can move it around. Click on the bar along the top of the window and then, while holding the button down, drag it to the desired location and release the button. This drag and drop method is used in Windows to move many types of items around. Double-clicking the bar across the top of the window will also switch the window between windowed and maximised views, while rightclicking it brings up a handy quick-access menu. Windows 7 includes additional window control tools that can be used by dragging windows to different areas of the desktop. For example, click and drag the bar at the top of the window to the top of the desktop and it will automatically maximise. Meanwhile, if you drag a window to one side of the screen it will resize itself so it takes up exactly half of the desktop by dragging another window to the opposite side, you can quickly compare two documents side by side.

twice quickly ina mouse succession on

Double-click To click

Using the Taskbar

As we mentioned earlier, most running programs also appear as a rectangular button on the long thin bar called the Taskbar that extends across the bottom of the screen. We mentioned that a minimised window can be restored by clicking its button, but the reverse is also true: if a program is running and the window is shown on screen, clicking its button on the Taskbar once will minimise the window. Right-click a Taskbar button and a range of options relevant to that program will appear. These options include closing the program and restoring it to the desktop, but the precise list depends on the version of Windows you are using Windows 7 allows program makers to choose exactly what appears here. Open a few web browser windows, documents and other programs, and eventually the Taskbar will fill up. To help out Windows can group together similar

by Windows to identify a file or application. Real-time text-baseda communication over

Instant messaging
network (usually the internet), using a program such as AOL Instant Messenger.

Icon A small image used

area on the bottom-right of the screen that shows

Notification Area An
which programs are running in Windows.

Ease of access
All versions of Windows come with a range of accessibility options. These include tools to make text easier to read (such as changing the display to a high-contrast mode and enlarging the size of the text) and features for those who are hard of hearing. These settings can be accessed via the Control Panel. XP users should click on the Accessibility Options link, while Vista and Windows 7 users will find them within the Ease of Access Center option. In Vista and Windows 7 you can complete a short questionnaire. Based on your answers to questions relating to eyesight, hearing and other issues, Windows will suggest the accessibility options that best suit your needs.

February 2012 Computer active




Techno babble demystified...

computer that runs on aperiod of after a short

Screensaver A program

inactivity and displays a moving image on screen.


standard Bus. A quick andthat allows easy

USB Universal Serial

Unless you tell it otherwise, Windows will group programs on the Taskbar

connection of external peripherals such as storage devices to your PC. the image used as your background to Windows desktop.

Wallpaper A pattern or

The graphical interface to the Windows filing

Windows Explorer
system. that helps processsettings. you choose

Wizard A step-by-step

Taskbar buttons. So, for example, if you have five Word documents open, instead of having five separate buttons they will all be grouped together under a single button on the Taskbar. To access the individual documents, left-click the button and choose from the list. Vista and Windows 7 will display preview windows. If you want Windows to always display a button for each window, right-click the Start button, select Properties, choose the Taskbar tab then remove or add a tick from the Group similar taskbar buttons option. In Windows 7 the grouping options are in the Properties window, under the Taskbar Buttons dropdown box. The Taskbar can also be resized to make room for more buttons. Right-click an empty portion of the Taskbar and click on the Lock the taskbar option so the tick is removed. Move the mouse to anywhere along the top edge of the Taskbar (the arrow pointer will change to a two-arrowed pointer) and click and hold the left button. The Taskbar can be resized by dragging it up or down. You can also drag the Taskbar to any other side of the screen, but generally we do not recommend this.

signifies a program running on your PC. If there are too many to display at once, click on the small arrow button to expand the list. Certain icons are placed in the Notification Area by default, such as the volume control. However, many

The Notification Area

Situated at the right-hand side of the Taskbar and just to the left of the clock is the Notification Area. This section shows a series of small icons that each

Managing external storage devices

USB storage devices are great for transferring files between PCs and connecting one is simple: just plug it in. Removing them, however, needs a little more care. When a USB device is attached, a small icon displaying a USB connector will appear in the Notification Area. Double-click this icon and a list of all attached USB storage devices will be displayed. In Windows 7 click the device you want to remove and click Stop. In XP and Vista you need to highlight the appropriate drive from the list and then click Stop. After a short wait, Windows will say when it is safe to remove the USB device. Its important to follow this process. If you remove a storage device while its in use, the data on the device could be corrupted or lost.

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You can customise what is shown in the Notification Area

other programs are only shown in the Notification Area. Common examples include security suites (such as Norton, McAfee and AVG) and instant-messaging programs that only need to display a window when you receive a message. If the Notification Area becomes too cluttered you can change which icons are shown or hidden by default. Right-click the Start button, click Properties and, within the Taskbar tab (in Vista, the Notification tab), click Customize. All programs that use the Notification Area will now be displayed and you can change how each one appears by choosing from the options in the relevant dropdown box.



know what they do if in doubt, leave this section as it is. Windows 7 comes with a new feature called Libraries that makes it much easier to organise similar files that are located in various different folders. So, for example, the Music library can show all your music files even if they are scattered in several folders across the hard disk.

Control Panel
If you want to change any aspect of Windows, including how it looks or operates, you will need to head to the Control Panel. It can be accessed directly from the Start menu and is home to a wide range of tools that can adjust anything from the wallpaper image on your desktop right through to security settings. There are two ways to view the Control Panel: Category or Classic mode (the latter is called Icon mode in Windows 7). In Category mode, the various options are sorted into groups, such as Network and Internet and User accounts. You may find it easier to use the Classic mode. This shows all Control Panel tools in a single window. In general, though, its best to stick to Category mode since this will direct you to the most commonly used tools. To change the overall visual appearance of

Right-click a file to see a menu of available options

Windows Explorer
As well as managing and running programs on your computer you will also want to use Windows to manage files and documents. The part of Windows used to do this is called Windows Explorer. It allows you to perform tasks such as copying, moving and deleting files as well as renaming them. To open a Windows Explorer window, click the Start button and then click Computer (or My Computer in XP). Windows Explorer will also appear when you double-click on a folder located on the desktop and you can launch it by pressing the Windows key on the keyboard and the E key (for Explorer) together. Once Windows Explorer is open you can single-click a file or folder to select it, or double-click to open it. To move, copy, rename or delete a file or folder, right-click it and choose the appropriate option from the list. To move a file, right-click it and select the Cut option, then navigate to the destination folder, right-click an empty portion and select Paste. Follow the same process to copy a file, but select Copy instead of Cut. Windows Explorer has a section called Folder Options. To access this open a Windows Explorer window, head to the Tools menu by pressing the Alt and T keys together and select Folder Options. The General tab lets you specify basic settings, while the View tab contains more advanced tools, such as the ability to show hidden files. Dont play around with the settings in the View tab unless you are sure you

Make it your own

In this article we have concentrated on how to use Windows, but there are also plenty of ways to customise it. The range of customisation options available depends on your version of Windows, but all versions allow settings such as the desktop background and the screensaver to be changed. All visual settings can be adjusted from within Control Panel. Using the Category view, click on the Appearance and Themes (Windows XP) or Appearance and Personalisation (Windows 7 and Vista) option and select Change desktop background. Now, using the dropdown box, choose one of the pre-installed wallpapers or click the Browse button to select one of your own photos. To choose a screensaver, return to the previous window and select the Change screen saver option (or screensaver tab in XP) and select from the list. Other options for certain screensavers may be available by clicking on the Settings button. February 2012 Computer active




Use the Control Panel to uninstall programs you no longer want on your PC

Windows, open the Personalization category (or Appearance and Themes in XP). Take a look at the Make it your own box below to find out how to change the wallpaper via this Control Panel option. You can also access Windows accessibility options from Control Panel look at the Ease of Access box on page 11 to see how. Although there are lots of useful features within Control Panel, its also home to some more advanced tools that are best left alone unless you know what you are doing. For example the Administrative Tools


In XP select Printers and other hardware from Control Panel and click Printers and Faxes. In Vista and Windows 7, type printers into the Start menu search box and press Enter. Hover the mouse over the printer icon and its status will be displayed. If its offline, ensure the printer is switched on and the USB cable is attached to both printer and PC.

If you are still having problems printing, clear all the documents that have been sent to the printer. Doubleclick the printer icon and all current print jobs will be displayed (in Windows 7, right-click the icon and select See whats printing). To clear all documents from the printer queue, click on the Printer menu and select Cancel all documents.

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Windows 7s Libraries can organise files of a given type into one place

option contains lots of advanced tools, but we recommend leaving these settings as they are unless you know exactly what youre doing.

Uninstalling programs
The best way to keep your computer running smoothly is to remove programs you no longer use. Deleting the program files will not suffice. Instead you will need to properly uninstall them from Windows. This frees up disk space, removes clutter from the internal bits of Windows itself and keeps the PC running swiftly. Thankfully, uninstalling programs within all versions of Windows is a simple task. In XP, click Start, Control Panel and then select the Add/Remove Programs option. Vista and Windows 7 users need to click on the Uninstall a program link within Control Panel.

Windows 7 has some advanced troubleshooting tools that often sort out the most common printing problems. To use them, right-click the printer and select the Troubleshoot option. Windows 7 will perform a variety of tests on the printer and, after a short wait, will report on any errors it found. If this fails, restart the computer and printer.



A list of all currently installed programs will now be displayed, and its just a case of hunting down the one you want to remove, clicking on it and then selecting Remove (XP) or Uninstall (Vista and Windows 7). After a short wait, the uninstall wizard for that program will appear and guide you through the process. When it has finished you may be required to restart the PC.

Shutting down safely

Speaking of restarts, its important to get the hang of the various ways to shut down your Windows computer. It might seem laborious but letting Windows handle the shutdown process allows it to perform various housekeeping operations before switching off, such as ensuring all programs close properly. Also, simply pulling the plug on a computer can result in lost work or damage to programs and Windows itself. Follow the correct process and you will be prompted to save your work before shutting down. Click Start, then the Shutdown button in Windows XP. In Windows Vista you will need to click the little arrow just to the right of what appears to be the shutdown button, then choose Shut Down from the list that appears. Thankfully, Microsoft made these options clearer in Windows 7. Windows also uses the shutdown process as an opportunity to install important security updates. If you never shut down your PC properly, these updates may

Sleep mode allows you to suspend all open programs

not be installed, which could leave it at risk. An alternative to shutting down a PC is to use the Sleep mode. Instead of closing all programs, in Sleep mode Windows will suspend them. In this state the programs and documents will remain open, so you will not lose any data. The monitor will then switch off and all non-essential hardware inside the PC will power down. The advantage of using Sleep mode as opposed to shutting down a computer is that it only takes a few seconds for it to power up again. And everything will be exactly as you left it so there is no need to re-open all your programs again. Unlike a PC that is switched off, one in Sleep mode will still consume some power. However, this will typically be less than five watts, which is considerably less than the 50 watts most PCs draw when switched on.

Understanding the basics

We have now outlined all the key skills you need to get the most from Windows, whether you are a beginner or a regular user brushing up on the basics. So, with these basics covered you should be far better placed to dig yourself out of any problems you come across in the future. There are, of course, hundreds of other options, tricks and tips hidden in each version of Windows. If you have a favourite you would like to share with other readers, why not write in and let us know? February 2012 Computer active




Webmail has several advantages over traditional email methods. We explain all

Get started with webmail

any people rely on an email address provided by an internet service provider (ISP). BT?Broadband customers, for instance, are issued with email addresses such as This is all well and good while you remain a customer of the ISP but if you switch providers you may have to stop using that email address. There is, however, an alternative that is free and works with any computer, with any internet connection. Its called Webmail read on to find out how to use it.

browser and an internet connection thats everything from computers in internet cafes to smartphones.

Get started with Gmail

Signing up for a Gmail account is simple just go to and click the Create an accountbutton. The registration process asks for a second email address, to help reset the account should you ever experience a problem. Wed recommend filling it in if possible, but its not essential. The first page youll see after signing up for an account is the main Gmail window, with a list of folders on the left (underneath the Gmail logo) and their contents on the right. New messages can be created by clicking the Compose Mail link below the Gmail logo. New messages appear in the Inbox, which is the folder highlighted in blue. To read a message, just click its subject line in the list and the message content will replace the list (note the aforementioned Google adverts on the right of the page). Once youve opened an email, move between unread messages in the same folder using the Newer or Older links at the top and bottom right of the message window. Opened messages also have a Reply button at the top and bottom of the message body, along with a quick replybox that achieves the same thing. Gmail doesnt have a toolbar as such but it does have a row of buttons to the right of Inbox folder. When a message is open, these buttons apply only to that message. When viewing messages in a folder, click to tick the box next to each message and the buttons then apply to your selection.

Webmail basics
The word webmailis shorthand for an email service that works with a web browser rather than a dedicated email application, such as Outlook or Windows Mail. Messages are stored on the webmail providers computers rather than your own and accessed much like any other web page on the internet. Webmail accounts are typically free because the providers use them to attract people to their other online services. Thats certainly the case with Gmail, which is one of the most popular webmail services, and the one well focus on in this Back to Basics article. Gmail is operated by Google, which makes money by displaying discreet adverts as you send and receive messages. Its by no means the only choice for webmail, though, as both Microsoft ( and Yahoo ( offer free online email. Webmail is ideal for people who need email, but dont always have access to their own computer. The service is simply a web page, so messages can be viewed using any device with a web

M 9The Gmail login screen for new and existing email accounts. Click Create an account to sign up

Gmail folders and labels

Although weve talked about foldersso far, this is a bit of a fib. Gmail doesnt use folders, it uses labels. This may not sound like a much of a difference, but it does affect the way this particular webmail service works. For starters, that folder listweve talked about is really a label listand, unlike the folders used in an email application, Gmails labels dont actually contain anything. Instead, labels are nothing more than a quick way to filter messages in Gmail. Click Inbox, for example, to see email with the Inbox label a label thats automatically applied to all incoming email. The same applies to outgoing messages

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Archiving your emails also comes into its own when you create your own rules to automatically apply labels to new messages. This option is found under Settings then Filters (found at the top-right of the Gmail window) and while we wont go into detail here, archiving a message after applying a label removes the confusion of seeing it twice once under the appropriate label and once in the Inbox. Settings is also where youll find the option to import old emails from an existing ISP email account and Gmail has more than enough space to store them.

Techno babble demystified...

Provider. A company that provides you with

ISP Internet Service
an internet connection. such as the network,that distributes internet,

Server A computer on a

Break the tradition

Traditionally, webmail was at best a complement to synchronising messages to a desktop computer via an ISPs email servers. However, in a world where internet access is available almost anywhere, and via any number of different gadgets and gizmos, powerful and flexible webmail services such as Gmail provide a real alternative to traditional email services and programs. Make the switch and youll never again have to worry about losing a precious email address when switching to a better internet deal.

information to other PCs. combined term for acomputer and handheld


Labels can be applied to an open message or to a group of messages. Select the message(s) and click the Labels button to choose from a list. Be sure to click Apply to finish the labelling.

Labelled messages stay in the Inbox unless archived (with the Archive button) but also appear under the appropriate labels list. Labelled messages show their labels in the subject lines, too.

Use Gmails check availability! button to find an email address

Smartphone Generic

and Sent Mail, and any other labels that you might manually apply using the Labels button. So, if labels are just filters, where does Gmail keep the original messages? It hardly matters in practice but they can be found under All Mail in the labels list on the left click the 6 morelink to reveal the hidden option.

mobile phone. across that runsWindowsthe top of most

Toolbar A strip of icons

Archive your emails

Although labels help to organise messages in Gmail theyre not essential. A basic understanding of labels will help with one other useful Gmail feature archiving. Gmails Archive button is the only way to remove the Inbox label thats automatically applied to all incoming email. So, click Archive for a message and the message disappears from the Inbox view. The original message is still stored in All Mail, so if nothing else, this is a handy way to hide old messages from view without deleting them, and as Gmail offers more than 7.5GB of storage space theres little need to delete old messages.

applications. Used to provide quick access to certain features, such as saving and printing.

program for viewing websites.

Web browser A

account that isa website. accessed via

Webmail An email
Creating or replying to an email displays an edit window with textformatting tools

Select Manage Labels on the Labels button to create a new label. This opens the Settings page with two headings: System labels (that cant be changed) and Labels (that can be edited).

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Masters in print
Most programs use the Windows Print dialogue box. Find out how it works with our Back To Basics guide

hese days a great deal of content produced by PC users resides entirely on the web words on Facebook or Twitter, photos on Flickr, and so on but there are still times when its necessary to print out a photo or a document and hold it in your hand. In this Back To Basics we will explore the Windowsbasic Print dialogue box, used by everyday programs such as Wordpad. And we will look at the extendedone that is used by programs such as Microsoft Word and explain what all the options do.

The basic dialogue

Lets start by looking at the basic Print dialogue box we will use Wordpad because that is included with every recent version of Windows. Click the Start menu, navigate to the Accessories folder and select WordPad to launch the program. Now type in a few paragraphs of text. In Windows XP and Vista, click the File menu and choose Print to open the dialogue box; in Windows 7, click the Wordpad button (its the equivalent to the Office button, if thats more familiar) and choose Print from the dropdown menu. The top half of the dialogue box shows icons representing any printers that are installed (the one that Windows programs use by default is ticked). The Add Printer wizard can also be accessed from here, which may be useful in order to set up a printer without its installation CD. Depending on which version of Windows is being used and how its set up, there may be one or more other icons here. Usually these will be labelled one of the following: Microsoft Document Image Writer, Microsoft XPS Document Writer or Fax. Instead of printing a document onto paper, the first two turn it into a file that other PC users can read, even if they dont have a copy of the program that originally created it. Choosing Fax allows the PC to send a fax if it The basic Windows Print dialogue box, shown here has a fax modem. with Wordpad Underneath this is the Print to fileoption with an

empty tick box next to it. This is an older feature enabling users to save something as a file that can be printed later; unfortunately, it doesnt always work with modern USB printers so its best ignored.

Page ranges and copies

By default, Windows prints one copy of every page in a document, but that can be changed. Close the Print dialogue and highlight a paragraph of text, then open the dialogue box again: the Selection radio button will now be active, allowing the highlighted text to be printed on its own. You can also print specific pages by typing their numbers into the Pages box see the stepby-step guide on page 61. Be aware that the Current Page option doesnt do anything in Wordpad, but works fine in Microsoft Word. We will explore this more later on. If you require multiple copies of a document, enter the amount into the

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of paper, as well as whether to scale the document to fit a particular paper size this is a bit like the enlarge/reduce feature found on photocopiers and saves having to fiddle with line breaks and margins. There are also options to print only odd or even pages, and some of behind-the-scenes stuff (such as document properties and mark-up) that can be important for multiple users collaborating on complex documents. There is a further option under Print to filecalled Manual duplex. Some printers can print both sides of a sheet of paper (automatic duplex printing), while others require pages to be put back in by hand to print the second side (manual duplex); the option supported by a printer can usually be checked by clicking the Properties button in the Print dialogue box. Finally, as mentioned above, the Current Page option works in Word and will print only the currently selected page.
M If you have highlighted a paragraph of text, click Selection and Wordpad will only print out the selected text

Print job complete

There will always be a need to print photos or text and, as weve demonstrated, a little time spent with the Windows Print dialogue box will reap dividends when it comes to getting the results you want.

Number of copiesbox this activates the Collate option. Selecting this prints all the pages in the document once before printing extra copies; remove the tick and all the copies of page 1 will be printed, then all the copies of page 2, and so on.

The Properties button will open a dialogue box for the selected printer, so the options for a Canon i455 inkjet, for example, will be different from those for an HP Laserjet. Both, however, will control basic features such as printing the page in landscape or portrait, print quality, and paper type and size.

The extended dialogue

Programs such as Word have a fancier Print dialogue box that includes all the features we have mentioned, plus some extras. For example, the Zoom controls can be used to specify the number of pages to be printed on a single sheet

Clicking the Properties button will bring up the Printer ?Properties dialogue box for finetuning various printing ?options


Here is a 19-page document. We have made some changes to a few pages and want to print those out, but not the unchanged ones. In Word 2003, click File and then Print. In Word 2007, click the Office button and then choose Print.

Pages 3, 6, 9 and then 12, 13, 14 and 15 have been edited so we are going select just those pages in the Page Range section of the dialogue box. Click to select the radio button next to Pages.

Type in 3,6,9,12-15 (no spaces) and then click the OK button. Word will print only those pages that have been selected.

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Picture perfect
Setting up a new display can be fiddly we explain how to do it

ot only are flat-panel LCD monitors cheaper than ever, but they are also bigger, brighter, clearer and easier to use. Replacing a bulky old display with a newer, thinner, better one is a great way to add new life to an old PC. But although installing a monitor should be as simple as plugging it in and turning it on, it is often not quite as straightforward. Has it got the right connector? Is it compatible with my graphics card? Why does Windows look squashed or blurred? How do I use two monitors together? These are questions we regularly hear from Computeractive readers, so here well provide a definitive guide to installing and configuring a monitor.

Connecting cables
We will assume you have already bought a monitor but our advice should be useful to anyone struggling to set up an existing monitor. If youre thinking about investing in a new display, see the box below for some useful pointers to help you pick the best model. First connect the monitor to the computer. The three common connector types, VGA, DVI and HDMI, all provide a digital connection between the PC and monitor, except VGA, which is analogue-only. VGA connectors are

the oldest type, but very common. For a quick way to identify sockets, look at their colour: VGA sockets are usually blue, while DVI ones are white. DVI can get a little confusing as there are several different types of cable and socket: one carrying only a digital picture, one carrying only analogue, and one (DVI-I) that does both. If your computer has a DVI output, its almost certainly this type, so any type of DVI monitor will connect to it without problems. One common problem is finding that a PC and laptop has a white DVI-I socket, but that a display has only a blue VGA one. This is easily solved by plugging a small DVI-to-VGA adapter into the PC. These are often included with monitors and computers, or can be purchased online. When buying adapters, make sure you get one with the sockets and plugs the right way around: a male (M) connector has pins sticking out, while a female (F) one has sockets for those pins. HDMI sockets were designed for the latest highdefinition televisions, but can also be found on some displays. Its rare to find an HDMI socket on a PC but a DVI-to-HDMI adapter cable sorts the problem.

Watching Windows
Before turning on the PC with the new monitor connected, note its native resolution. This should be prominently marked on the box or in the manual, and is sometimes called maximum resolutionor resolution. It should look something like 1,280x800. This is the number of physical picture elements (pixels) there are horizontally and vertically in the LCDs screen. Even if the display looks fine when Windows starts, it is worth checking everything is set up correctly. Follow our step-by-step guide on page 66 to adjust the resolution to the native resolution and make sure the best colour setting is used.

Buying a new monitor

When buying a new monitor youll probably want one with a high resolution so you can fit large web pages, or even two documents at once, on the screen. First choose whether you want a widescreen display (most have an aspect ratio of 16:9 or 16:10) or an old-fashioned squarer 4:3 model. Widescreen displays are great for watching films, but the taller, squarer 4:3 models are better suited to office work. Look for a resolution of at least 1,280x720 for widescreen displays. A 4:3 screen should have a resolution of at least 1,280x1,024 and preferably higher. Also check the contrast ratio: look for a static (not dynamic) contrast ratio of 1,000:1 or more. Brightness is measured in cd/m2 look for 200300 cd/m2, which is fine for most homes or offices. Choose a monitor that matches the connectors on your PC: if your PC has only a VGA socket, youll need a VGA monitor. DVI-I computers can connect to DVI monitors or, with an adapter, VGA ones.

Tiny text
At this stage, many users complain that everything is now too small to read, especially if they are used to a lowerresolution monitor. Reducing the resolution in Windows can make text and windows look bigger, but with a flat-screen monitor this makes everything on screen blurry. This is because, given the choice of showing the smaller image surrounded by black bars or stretching it to fit the screen,

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almost every display will Monitor matters The monitor should automatically attempt to do the latter. adjust when the resolution is Some people try to get around changed in Windows, but for this problem by using the Large analogue connections you may fontssetting in the Windows need to tweak the settings if the XPs display settings box, but picture is not centred or seems out this can produce other problems. of focus. To check alls well, look It makes all the text bigger, but at the test image at not the spaces designed to hold If the text, so words often disappear large plain grey area appears to be from menu options. shimmering or banded, the monitor If using Windows XP the needs adjusting. Check the manual correct way to solve the tiny text first most monitors have an autoproblem is to adjust the dots-peradjust function or a dedicated inch (dpi) setting. Right-click the button to start this process. Open a desktop, choose Properties, click few windows on screen so the the Settings tab, click Advanced monitor has something to measure then choose Large size (120 by, then activate this function to it DPI)in the dropdown box. lock onto the picture. Click Apply, click OK then click Increasing the dots per inch in Windows improves If there is no auto-adjust, the Yes to restart the PC when readability on high-resolution monitors controls you need are the clock and prompted. When you log on again, phase (focus), plus possibly horizontal and vertical shift. all windows, menus and text will be larger. If this is still too This kind of adjustment will never be needed when using a small, repeat the process but choose Custom...then click digital connection. and drag the on-screen ruler scale until youre happy. If you Once the above settings are correctly set and the image is set the DPI too high, some menus might not fit on the screen, so try increasing it a little at a time. To change the same setting in Vista open the Control Panel, search for Font Size and you should see an option to Adjust font size (DPI). In Windows 7 open the Control Panel, make sure all items are being shown then click Display. Click Set custom text sizeon the left, then choose from Smaller, Medium or Larger. If you still find the text hard to read, try Microsofts free Clear Type Tuner tool. This alters the way text is displayed to make it as clear as possible. XP and Vista users should use the online wizard at In Windows 7 the tool is built in; type adjust cleartype into the Start menu search box, press Enter and follow the instructions. The size of text in Windows can be increased

Techno babble demystified...

of the relative width and height of a display.

Aspect ratio A measure

DVI Digital Visual Interface. A connection that provides a pure digital signal from a PC to a monitor or TV. HDMI High-Definition

Interface. Multimediacarries bothA cable that high-definition video and sound. Technology display. create lowused to

LCD Liquid-crystal

power, slim display panels. which element, part of is the smallest an image displayed on a monitor.

Pixel Short for picture

connecting a monitor to a computer.

VGA Socket for
that helps processsettings. you choose

Wizard A step-by-step

February 2012 Computer active




9In just three steps Calibrize can optimise monitor settings

sharp you can move on to check the brightness, contrast and colour temperature: read the monitors manual if it isnt obvious how to use the controls. Colour temperature is a measure of the relative amounts of red, green and blue in the picture usually there are several preset values, and choosing one is a largely matter of personal preference. In XP and Vista the simplest way to adjust the picture quality is with a free program called Calibrize ( In three steps it optimises brightness, contrast and colour temperature all you need to know is how to use the monitors brightness and contrast controls. If you find this lacking theres a complete, albeit jargon-ridden, guide to adjusting a monitors settings manually at Windows 7 users, however, have another option: the builtin calibration wizard. Type calibrate display in the Start menu search box and press Enter. Follow the instructions and your display will be correctly adjusted.

Double vision
Windows XP, Vista and 7 all allow the use of two monitors side by side. This is a great way to get a larger Windows desktop cheaper than a very high-definition display. The

monitors do not have to be the same size or resolution. To do this your PC needs a graphics card with two video connectors. Plug the two monitors into the computer and turn everything on. In Windows XPs display settings panel (see our step-by-step guide below), click the Settings tab. There should be two monitor icons labelled 1 and 2. Press the Identify button to show which is which. In the Display dropdown box, select the monitor you want as the main display and make sure the Use this device as the primary monitorbox is checked. Select the other monitor and tick the Extend my Windows desktop onto this monitorbox. For each monitor, move the Screen resolution slider to the right until it matches the displays native resolution. Press Apply then OK. If the two monitors are the wrong way round, click one of the monitor icons and drag it to the other side of the other monitor icon to switch them over. Vista has an almost identical procedure to XP but Windows 7 is slightly different. Open the Screen resolution dialogue box (see Step 3 below) and selecting each monitor in turn, choose the Recommended resolution value for each. In the Multiple displays dropdown box choose Extend these displays. Click Apply, Keep Changes and OK. Now you can drag any window across to the second monitor. To make Windows rememberthe position of a window when it is next opened, press Shift while clicking the red X in the top right corner of the window to close it. It can be surprising what a difference a new monitor makes, although it often takes some time for your eyes to get used to the picture try using it for a day or two before making the final adjustments. And, if you have followed our advice, it should now be looking its best.

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In XP, right-click an empty part of the desktop and choose Properties. Click the Settings tab. Slide the Screen resolution slider to the right, until the resolution indicated matches the native resolution of the monitor. Select Highest (32-bit) in Colour quality dropdown box. Click Apply then Yes to keep the settings if prompted, then OK to exit.

In Vista, open the display settings by right-clicking the desktop and selecting Personalize. Click the link labelled Display Settings. Resolution and colour settings are adjusted in the same way as in Step 1, except Colour quality is labelled Colors. If the graphics card has two connectors, there may be a monitor icon labelled 2 ignore this.

In Windows 7, right-click the desktop and choose Screen resolution. Pick the Recommended resolution from the dropdown box, click Apply, Keep changes if asked, then OK. To check colour settings click Advanced Settings, then the Monitor tab. Ensure the Colors setting is True Color (32-bit). Click Apply click Yes to save changes.

February 2012


Compression The process of reducing a files size by encoding the data. Desktop The background area on screen where Windows files and icons appear. Download Transferring files onto your PC directly from the internet. Dropdown menu A list of options that appears when you click a menu bar or button. Firewall A piece of software or hardware that prevents unauthorised access to a computer over a network, such as the internet. ISP Internet Service Provider. A company that provides you with an internet connection, either for a fixed monthly fee or for the cost of local call charges. Network A way of connecting several computers and devices so they can share data. Notification Area An area on the bottomright of the screen that shows which programs are running. Plug-in A small program that adds extra features to your web browser or to other applications, and is loaded only when its needed.

WORKSHOPS In this Issue...

Radio button A type of button where only one choice can be made at any time.

Receive application alerts with Grow!

Growl can sound alerts when important things happen in favourite applications. Heres how to get started p68

Registry A file integrated into Windows that stores information on all hardware and software installed on your PC. RSS Really Simple Syndication. A simple format for automatically distributing content from the web. Server A computer on a network that distributes information to other PCs. Shortcut A file that acts as a link to something else, such as a program file or disk drive. Slider A control that enables you to change a setting by clicking and dragging a slider switch. SMTP Simple Mail Transfer Protocol. A standard for sending email messages. Stream Audio or video material that can be viewed as it is downloaded from the internet or transferred from another computer. Zip file A file that can contain a number of compressed documents or files.

Apply Parental Controls in Windows 7

Windows 7 includes options to keep children safe while on the computer. We explain how to manage Parental Controls p72

Disable Notification Area alerts in Windows

Frustrated by constant alerts appearing on the Taskbar? Well show you how to silence Notification Area warnings p75

Stream music around your home with Windows Media Player

Sharing a music collection from one computer avoids duplication. We show you how its done p76

Align text effectively in Microsoft Word

Ever tried to position text in Word by using the Spacebar? Learn how to align text easily using tabs p79 Hints and tips p82


Suitable for the most anxious novice, Level 1 deals with simple tasks that every computer user can try. More involved, but simple enough for all to complete, Level 2 may introduce you to new features in applications. LEVEL 3 will bolster your existing knowledge and help you to see how much your computer can do. Clear but demanding.

February 2012 C o m p u t e r a c t i v e



Receive application alerts with Growl

Growl sounds alerts when important things happen in applications. Heres how to get started
Lots of computer programs generate notifications. An email application like Outlook, for instance, can display alerts when new messages are received. The trouble is, in many cases such notifications are only visible when a particular application is in use. Growl overcomes this problem by displaying visible notifications from many popular applications. It can be used to check emails and RSS feeds, display alerts about events on Facebook, monitor hardware resources and much more. Growls notifications can take the form of messages, sounds or even emails. Read on to find out how to get started.

THE GROWL SOFTWARE CAN be downloaded by visiting and clicking the Download Growl link to the upper right of the page. If the File Download Security Warning dialogue box appears, click Save and then choose a location for the downloaded file. Firefox users should click Save File to save the download to Firefoxs default download folder. When finished, double-click to open the compressed (zip) file and then double-click the setup.exe file contained within. If a User Account Control dialogue box is displayed, click Continue. M

Step 1

OTHER THAN CHOOSING WHERE Growl should be installed, there are no options to configure during the installation. Click Close when the installation is complete and then launch the program from the Start menu or by double-clicking the shortcut created on the Windows Desktop. If a firewall security message is displayed, click the option to allow Growl access to your network and the internet. For Growl to be effective, it needs to launch at the same time as Windows. To do this now, first right-click the Growl icon in the Notification Area and select Open Growl from the popup menu. This opens the main Growl interface. Click the General tab and then click to tick the box labelled Automatically start Growl at login. M

Step 2

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GROWL CAN WORK WITH lots of popular applications, including Windows Media Player, iTunes and Outlook a comprehensive list of supported applications can be viewed at Some applications and services already know about Growl, while support for others can be added by installing special software extensions. Well start by looking at a way to have Growl display notifications about tracks currently playing in Windows Media Player. Click the Download Media Player Plug-in link and save the file to the Windows Desktop. M


Step 3

WHEN THE DOWNLOAD HAS finished, double-click the file (called WMP-GNTPInstaller-1.0.3.msi).Click Next, select I Agree and click Next again. Click Next followed by Next and the installation will be performed click Close to complete the process. Once installation is complete, return to the main Growl interface and move to the Applications section: an entry for the plugin should be visible labelled WMP-GNTP. There may also be entries for other supported applications that were already installed. M

Step 4

THE PLUG-IN SHOULD BE automatically enabled in Windows Media Player; to avoid any problems, it is worth checking. Launch Windows Media Player and click the down arrow to the right of the Organize button before selecting Options from the menu that appears. Move to the Plug-ins tab of the Options dialogue box and click the Background entry in the Category list to the left. To the right of the dialogue box, in the Background box, ensure that the entry labelled WMP-GNTP Plugin is ticked and then click OK. M

Step 5

RETURN TO THE APPLICATIONS section of Growl and select the entry for WMP-GNTP to configure the type of notifications that should be displayed. To receive notifications when a new track is played, for instance, select the Item Changed option in the central column and ensure that the Enabled setting is set to True to the right. The Display, Duration, Sticky and Sound dropdown menus can then be used to configure the kind of notification that should be displayed, how long it should be shown on screen, whether notifications should remain on screen until manually closed, and whether an audible alert should be played. M

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IF WINDOWS MEDIA PLAYER isnt your preferred playback program then there are Growl plug-ins for both iTunes and Winamp, as well as other media players. These can be downloaded from the Apps section of the Growl website and configuration is achieved in very much the same way. Just like the Windows Media Player plug-in, Winamp can be used to displayed information about the currently playing track, while the iTunes plug-in is also capable of displaying album art. M

Step 7

THE STICKY OPTION IS useful when stepping away from your computer. Growl notifications usually disappear after a few seconds but by configuring a time limit after which Growl should consider the computer as idle, and by setting the Idle option to When Idle, notifications will remain on screen. The delay can be configured by moving back to the General section of the program, selecting the Consider me idle after option, and enter a time in seconds. M

Step 8

MOVE TO THE DISPLAYS section of Growl to configure the default display notification. Different styles of notification can be used for individual applications to allow for easy identification at a glance. The built-in notification style can be tested by selecting one from the list and clicking the Preview button. More can be downloaded by clicking the Find & install additional displays link to the lower left of the program window, or visit M

Step 9

SOME DISPLAY TYPES ADD extra features to Growl. Scripty, for example, can launch an application when a notification is generated. Click the Download Scripty link on the Displays download page and then click the Install Now button. Select the option to open the download with Growl and click Yes when asked if the display should be installed. The Display section of Growl can then be used to specify a program that should be launched by Scripty: the display can then be attached to a particular notification type as described in Step 6. M

Step 10

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GROWLS ALERTS CAN BE sent to other computers and devices. To configure this option, head to the Network section of the main Growl interface and tick the box labelled Forward notifications to other computers. Now click the green + button at the bottom of the screen. Various notification forwarding options are available including notification via Twitter or email. Well explore how to use Growl to send email alerts. M

Step 11

TO CONFIGURE NOTIFICATIONS TO be forwarded via email, click the option labelled Click here to forward notifications to an email account and then enter a suitable description and the relevant email address. Click the blue edit link and edit the SMTP settings to match that of your ISPs email server it will be something like Enter your email username and password, tick the Use Authentication box, click the done link followed by the Save button. Back at the Network screen, ensure that the new entry in the left-hand list is ticked. M

Step 12

NOW RETURN TO THE Applications section of Growl and select an application from the list. Choose a notification type from the central column. To the right of the screen, click the dropdown menu next to the Forwarding option and select Choose. In the Choose Forwarding window that appears, tick an email address (we have only one set up here) and click the Save button. The usual on-screen notifications will continue to be displayed when email forwarding is enabled. M

Step 13

THE HISTORY SECTION OF Growl keeps a record of notifications generated over the past few days. Notifications can be viewed by date or application using the Group By option, and filtering allows particular notifications to be easily located. Use the slider to adjust how many days records should be displayed and click the Clear button to delete the log when necessary. G

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Apply Parental Controls in Windows 7

Windows 7 includes options to keep children safe on your PC. We explain how to use them
Its hard for parents to ensure that children stay safe when using the PC, not least because many kids are assured computer users. But Windows 7s Parental Controls feature can help. It allows adults to supervise and manage the actions of youngsters without constantly watching over their shoulders. Once set up, Parental Controls can restrict childrens computer use by time period, applications launched and age ratings on games. In other words, its possible to control how long youngsters spend on the computer and what games and applications they are able to access while there. In this Workshop we will show you how to set up and manage Windows 7s Parental Controls for multiple user accounts.

TO EMPLOY WINDOWS 7S Parental Controls feature it is necessary to have at least two user accounts set up an administrator account for the parent and standard accounts for each child. If this is already the case then skip to Step 3. Otherwise, click Start followed by Control Panel. If the View by setting is not already set to Category, then click to select this from the dropdown menu. Now click the Add or remove user accounts link beneath the User Accounts and Family Safety heading. M

Step 1

ON THE MANAGE ACCOUNTS page, click the Create a new account link. Now type in a username for the account (your childs name being the obvious choice) and click the Standard user radio button. Click the Create Account button. To add another user account, click the Create new account link again. Alternatively, click the Set up Parental Controls link (below the Additional things you can do heading) and ignore the first line of Step 3. M

Step 2

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CLICK START FOLLOWED BY Control Panel, pick Category from the View by dropdown menu (if it is not already selected) and then click the Set up parental controls for any user link beneath the User Accounts and Family Safety heading. Now click a standard user account to set up some parental controls for that user. M


Step 3

WINDOWS 7 OFFERS THREE different types of parental control: time limits, age-rating controls and application blocking. However, before any of these options can be tweaked, the controls need to be turned on, so click the On, enforce current settings radio button. This enables all three control categories, ready for editing. We will start by applying some time controls, so click the Time limits link. M

Step 4

THIS OPENS THE TIME Restrictions Control Panel, a grid that maps out the week in one-hour time slots. Initially all time slots are blank (white), meaning the user is able to log on and use the PC whenever they want. To restrict the available time periods, left-click in a time-slot square to colour it blue. This indicates that the user account will be unable to log on during this one-hour time slot. By left-clicking and holding down the mouse button it is possible to drag to select a larger block of time slots. To turn a blue (blocked) time slot back to white (allowed), just click once more. Here, we have set time controls that allow our user, Little Jimmy, to use the PC for a couple of hours after school each weekday and all day at weekends. Click OK to return to the main Parental Controls dialogue box. M

Step 5

WINDOWS 7S PARENTAL CONTROLS can also be used to manage games and applications that the user is allowed to launch. Game-playing in particular can be controlled in various ways. Its possible, for example, to impose a blanket ban on all games or allow games to be launched if they conform to a particular agerating system. Alternatively, the administrator can make decisions on a by-title basis. To begin, click the Games link. To disable all game-playing for the selected user account, just click the No button below the Can [user name] play games? question. M

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ALTERNATIVELY, TO MANAGE GAME-PLAYING by age rating select the Yes button and then click the Set games ratings link to move to the Game Restrictions dialogue box. The ratings systems recognised by Windows 7 are the two most common Pan European Game Information (PEGI) and British Board of Film Classification (BBFC). Most games sold in the UK carry one or both of these ratings systems, as indicated by logos on the packaging. The first option on the Game Restriction page lets you block games with no rating, which may be wise (titles downloaded from the internet or obtained illicitly may not carry PEGI or BBFC ratings). So, click to select the Block games with no rating button. M

Step 7

NOW USE THE SLIDER to scroll down the Game Restrictions dialogue box to view the ratings. These are applied progressively, rather than selectively. In other words, if you click the PEGI12+/BBFC12+ rating then the user will be able to launch games meeting that rating and everything below (so they will be able to play games rated for children younger than 12). The allowed age ratings are indicated by a highlighted blue block after a selection is made. Now scroll to the bottom of the Game Restrictions dialogue box. M

Step 8

THE TICK BOXES HERE augment the selected age ratings based on a games specific content. For example, a game rated as suitable for 12-year-olds may still contain mild violence. If you tick the Violence box then the child will be unable to launch a 12-rated game that contains violence, but will still be able to play other 12rated games. Make your selections and then click OK. For more information about an install games age rating and content, click the Games link from the Start menu. M

Step 9

FINALLY, TO MICRO-MANAGE EXACTLY which applications a user can and cannot launch, click the Allow and block specific programs link on the Game Restrictions dialogue box. Click to select the [User name] can only use the programs I allow radio button and then scroll through the list of programs, ticking those that the user is allowed to launch. If a particular program is missing from the list, click the Browse button to find it. Click OK when finished. From now on, should the user try to launch any blocked application, a warning will be displayed. G

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Disable Notification Area alerts in Windows

Frustrated by constant alerts appearing on the Taskbar? Well show you how to silence them
One of the many ways Windows XP tries to be helpful is by popping up warnings every now and then. Many of these appear in the Notification Area, which sits at the far right of the Windows Taskbar. Known as balloon tips, these little alerts are intended to be helpful but as more applications are installed so the frequency of these Notification Area alerts increases and can quickly become distracting. With Windows 7, Microsoft has made it much easier to limit these alerts but thats no consolation for users of Vista and XP. In this Workshop, well show you how to switch off the Notification Areas balloon tips. We will be editing the Windows Registry, so novices should proceed with caution and a full Windows backup is a must in all cases before proceeding.

HERES AN EXAMPLE OF a Notification Area balloon tip. It can be closed by clicking the X or followed for further information by clicking anywhere in balloon. The trouble is some balloon tips will just keep appearing, even if youre well aware of alerted issue. Fortunately, a quick edit of the Windows Registry will suppress these balloon tips. Note that before proceeding, we strongly recommend backing up the Registry. The easiest way to do this is by making a Restore Point using System Restore (click Start then point to All Programs followed by Accessories and System Tools and then click System Restore). M

Step 1

NOW CLICK START FOLLOWED by Run. In the box that appears, type regedit and press Enter. This launches the Registry Editor. Click the + icons alongside the headings in the left-hand pane to drill down to the following Registry subkey: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentV ersion\Explorer\Advanced click Advanced at the end to ensure that youre in the right subkey. M

Step 2

NOW RIGHT-CLICK IN THE right-hand pane and, from the pop-up menu, choose New followed by DWORD Value. A new value will appear; call it EnableBalloonTips. Now double-click this new EnableBalloonTips value. An Edit DWORD Value dialogue box will appear: type 0 in the Value data box and click OK. Now click the Registry Editor and restart Windows. To restore balloon tips, just repeat this Workshop but instead of doubleclicking the EnableBalloonTips value in Step 3, right-click it and choose Delete from the pop-up menu. l G

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Stream music with Windows Media Player

Sharing a music collection from one computer avoids duplication. We show you how its done
All versions of Windows include Windows Media Player, Microsofts tool for playing music and movies. If your household has more than one PC its possible to use Windows Media Player to share media files between the various computers. In this way a single music library can serve all family members, say. Not only can this eliminate duplicated tracks, its handy for computers with smaller hard disks: they can just pull music from another computer, without wasting storage space. Whether you use Windows 7, Vista or XP this Workshop will show you how to use the latest version of Windows Media Player to share your media across several computers.

IF YOU USE WINDOWS 7, skip to Step 5. In Windows Media Player 11 for Windows Vista and XP, media sharing can be enabled through the program itself. Launch Windows Media Player from the Start menu and click the Library button at the top of the screen. From the menu that appears, select the Media Sharing option and tick the box labelled Share my media. Click the OK button and if a User Account Control dialogue box appears, click Continue. The necessary changes will be made to the firewall to enable sharing to function correctly. M

Step 1

ONCE SHARING HAS BEEN enabled, click the Settings button on the Media Sharing dialogue box. On the Default Settings dialogue box that appears, enter the name that should be used to identify this computer in the box labelled Share media as. The options below this can be used to choose whether music, pictures or videos (or any combination of these) should be shared, and whether star and parental ratings should be used to filter shared files. Once these settings have been configured, click OK. M

Step 2

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BACK AT THE MEDIA Sharing dialogue box, click one of the icons representing a computer on the same network and click either Allow or Deny depending on whether media files should be shared to that particular computer or not. Now select a sharing-enabled computer and click the Customize button to specify which files should be shared. By ticking the Use default settings box the settings configured in the previous step will be used; by clearing this box, individual settings can be applied to different computers. M


Step 3

NOW THAT MEDIA SHARING is enabled, files stored on another computer should be automatically visible in the left-hand side of the library (though the sharing computer needs to be up and running). These can be browsed and played in the same way as files stored in a local media library. Should a particular computer not show up, click Library followed by Media Sharing and ensure that the Find media that others are sharing option is ticked before clicking OK. M

Step 4

WINDOWS 7 COMES WITH Windows Media Player 12 and the method of sharing depends on whether or not a Homegroup has been created. If a Homegroup has been created, open the Homegroup Control Panel and use the tick boxes in the Share libraries and printers section to indicate that music files should be shared with other computers. Click the Save changes button. For more information about working with Windows 7 Homegroups, see the Workshop published in issue 313. M

Step 5

LAUNCH WINDOWS MEDIA PLAYER using the Start menu or Taskbar shortcut, click the Stream button at the top of the screen and select More streaming options from the menu that appears. At the top of the dialogue box that is displayed, enter a name for the media library stored on the current computer then click the Choose default settings link. Use the Star ratings and Choose parental ratings setting to indicate that media files other computers should be able to access. Click OK. M

Step 6

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BACK AT THE MEDIA streaming options dialogue box, make sure that the Local network option is selected from the Show devices on dropdown menu. Below this will be listed all of the computers that have been detected on the network: for each, define access to the shared media library by selecting either the Allowed or Blocked option from the corresponding dropdown menu. Individual sharing settings for particular computers can also be configured by clicking the Customize link. Click OK to save the settings. M

Step 7

ONCE SHARING HAS BEEN enabled, another computer on the same network will be able to access the shared media library. In Windows Media Player 12, accessing such shared content is little different to playing media files stored in a local library. In the left-hand navigation pane, when computers with shared media are switched on, they will be listed at the bottom of the pane. Expand a computers entry in this list to access its music, video and other libraries. M

Step 8

WINDOWS MEDIA 12 CAN also push music from one computer to another, or to a compatible media-streaming device. To allow another computers media to be played on a particular machine, click the Stream button in Windows Media Player followed by Allow remote control of my Player. In the dialogue box that appears, click Allow remote control on this network. With this option enabled, it is possible to right-click a track or album and select the Play to option before selecting one of the available computer to play the track on the other computer. M

Step 9

IT IS POSSIBLE TO access a Windows Media Player 12 music library over the internet. Click the Stream button at the top of the Media Player window and then click Allow internet access to my home media. Click Link an online ID and work through the process of linking an existing Windows Live account to your Windows user account (or sign up for a new one, if necessary). Once done, click Allow Internet access to home Media in Windows Media Player and run through the same process on the computer that will be used to access media remotely. The shared library can then be accessed through the Other Libraries section of the navigation pane. G

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Align text effectively in Microsoft Word

Ever tried to position text in Word using the Spacebar? Learn how to align text easily using tabs
Its not unusual for Microsoft Word novices to bash away repeatedly at the Spacebar in an effort to align text on the page. Though this approach works after a fashion, it can cause all sorts problems when the document is printed or if the text is later reformatted. However, by using tab markers it is possible to quickly, easily and consistently align text at specified points on the page. In this Workshop we will be looking at setting tab stops to align text in different ways either to the left, right, centre or to a decimal place. Tabs can be set either before typing begins, as typing proceeds or even applied to text that has already been written. Although this Workshop focuses on Word 2003, additional instructions have been included to cover Word 2007. Heres how to get started.

LAUNCH WORD AND START a new document. If the ruler is not displayed across the top of the document window, click on the View menu and choose Ruler (in Word 2007 click the View Ruler button at the top of the vertical scroll bar). Word has default tab settings set at ? inch intervals (1.27cm) from the left margin, displayed as small grey marks underneath the ruler. Pressing the Tab key on the keyboard moves the text-entry cursor to the next tabbed position in the document. As well see, it is possible to set custom tabs, specifying their position, alignment and leaders (dotted or dashed lines between the text at each tab stop). M

Step 1

THERE ARE FIVE TYPES of tab stop in Word. The Tab Alignment button to the left of the horizontal ruler is used to quickly set custom tab stops. Each time the Tab Alignment button is leftclicked, the tab style will change. A left tab aligns text to the left against the tab stop. A centred tab centres all of the text to the middle of the tab stop. A right tab aligns text to the right against the tab stop. A decimal tab aligns all decimal points with the tab stop. Finally, the bar tab doesnt position text; it inserts a vertical line at the tap stop. M

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THE OTHER TWO OPTIONS of the Tab Alignment button are for indents, rather than tabs. The First Line Indent indents the first line of a paragraph and the Hanging Indent indents the whole paragraph except the first line. Click to select a Left Tab, then click at the bottom of the ruler at the position where the tab is to be set. To follow the example used in this Workshop, set this left tab stop at 0.5cms. Press the Tab key on the keyboard and the cursor will move to that position. Note that when a custom tab is set, Word removes any default tabs to the left of it. Type some text to follow this example, type Course. M

Step 3

NOW SELECT A CENTRE TAB using the Tab Alignment button to the left of the ruler. Click at the bottom of the ruler to set the centred tab at approximately 5.5cms. Press the Tab key on the keyboard once to move the cursor to the next tab position. Type in Days. Select a right tab using the Tab Alignment button and set it at approximately 11.5cms. Press Tab then type Level. Finally, set a decimal tab at approximately 13.5cms and type Time. Press the Enter key on the keyboard. Notice the four different tab markers displayed on the ruler. M

Step 4

PRESS TAB ON THE keyboard, then type Word Processing. Press Tab, type Monday, Friday. Press Tab, type Beginners, then press tab again and type 10.00am. Press Enter to move to a new line. Continue filling in information, remembering to press Tab to jump to the next tab stop. If you find there is not enough room to fit all the text across the page, try making the font size smaller or reduce the page margins (select Page Setup from the File menu) to increase the amount of text that will fit across the page. M

Step 5

IF YOU DECIDE THAT tabs have been set at the wrong position, it is possible to move a tab to a different point on the ruler. To move a tab stop simply highlight the text (hold down Ctrl and press A to select everything), then drag the tab marker left or right along the ruler to a different position (a vertical dotted line will be displayed showing you its position as it is moved). When you have finished filling in the information, press Enter a few times to move down the page. The tab stops will remain set; the markers are still displayed on the ruler. M

Step 6

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TO DELETE THESE TAB stops, click and drag each tab marker (up or down) off the ruler. Alternatively, to quickly remove all tab stops, open the Tabs dialogue box by clicking on the Format menu, then select Tabs (or double-click any tab marker on the ruler). The tabs are listed in the Tab stop position: box in the top left-hand corner. Select Clear All, then click OK. (To access the Tabs dialogue box in Word 2007, click on the Paragraph Dialogue Box Launcher in the bottom right-hand corner of the Page Layout tab, then in the Paragraph dialogue box, click Tabs.) M

Step 7

THE TABS DIALOGUE BOX can also be used to set or amend tabs. It allows precise tab positions and tab leaders (eg dotted, dashed or solid) to be set. Click on Format and choose Tabs. To follow this example type 3 cm in the Tab stop position box, select the Left (alignment) radio button, then None in the leader section. Click on Set. To set another tab type 11 cm in the Tab stop position box but this time choose a decimal tab and a dotted leader. Click on Set again, then click OK. M

Step 8

PRESS THE TAB KEY, type Beginners Classes, press the Tab key again (a dotted leader should appear), then type 30.00. Press the Enter key to move down a line, then type prices for the Intermediate and Advanced courses, using the Tab key to insert a leader and jump to the decimal tab each time. The Tabs dialogue box can also be used to amend the spacing between the default tab stops. Default tabs are set every 1.27cm. To change this, click on Format, then choose Tabs. In the Default tabs stops: box type in the amount of spacing required between the default tab stops, then click on OK. M

Step 9

LEFT-ALIGNED TABS CAN ALSO be quickly inserted using click and type. Select Options from the Tools menu, then choose the Edit tab. Ensure the Enable click and type box is ticked in the Click and type section. Click OK. Double-click in any blank area of a document to insert a left-aligned tab. (A tab marker will automatically appear on the ruler.) If no text is entered and the cursor is moved to a different point, then the tab stop will be deleted. M

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Better questions

arking questionnaires and quizzes is much easier if you can restrict the answers that people can give. If you create the quiz in Excel it can provide a list of possible answers and refuse any alternatives using a technique called data validation. Once the quiz has been created, make a list of possible answers for the first question in a column off to one side of the quiz so it doesnt distract. Then, move the cursor to the cell that will contain the answer. Click on the Data menu and then Validation. Click on the Allow dropdown menu and select List. Click on the small icon on the right of the Source box, select the list and click the icon on the right in the Data Validation window that appears. Click in the box labelled In-cell dropdown so that the tick disappears to make the quiz more challenging by not providing the answers. You can also prevent people peeking at the answers by putting them on a separate worksheet. Select the sheet, click on the Format menu sheet and then Hide.



Disable Caps Lock

Searching in Windows

The Caps Lock key is easy to press by accident. The Microsoft Intellitype software can quickly disable this key. It can be downloaded from Click on the Start button and then on Control Panel. Click on Printers and other Hardware if you have category view enabled on Windows XP. Click on the Keyboard icon (double-click if you are using Classic view). Windows 7 and Vista users should click on the Start button, type keyboard and press Enter. Click on the Key Settings tab and scroll down to the Caps Lock entry. Left-click on it and then on the Configure button. Click in the box labelled Disable the Caps Lock key so that a tick appears and then the Finish button. Click OK.

In issue 314, Dominic Hodges recommended Launchy as an alternative to the search feature in Windows 7 and Vista. Windows Desktop Search, which gives the same functionality as Windows 7 and Vista, should be offered through Windows Update, but it can also be downloaded from x1182. Click on the Get it now link and select your version of Windows. Once installed a search box appears on the Taskbar. Click in this box and start typing. As you do files and folders that match the search term will appear. Theres also an option to open a more advanced search window.

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Our Best Buys are a selection of the best products reviewed in Computeractive in recent months. Those selected are not necessarily winners of our Buy It! award but they have fared well enough in our tests to warrant consideration. The prices were correct at the time of printing but use them as a rough guide.The prices we print are suggested retail prices. For the latest prices, visit the manufacturers website.

Nokia E71 Nokia N86 Creative Zen Mozaic iPod Nano Samsung Yp-P2 Pebble Smartphone Smartphone Portable Media Player Portable Media Player Portable Media Player Blackberry killer, the E71 is one of the best business device Wireless, sporty Walkman with good sound quality Unique and performing The slimmest iPod ever with great looks and storage MP3 player with playlist capability 19,990 27,359 5,000 9,700 2,490 33 47 35 36 44

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Samsung NC10 MSI Wind Acer Aspire One Dell Studio 1435 Acer Aspire 5738G Intel Atom Intel Celeron Intel Atom Intel Core 2 Duo Intel Core 2 Duo Premium looks, great finish and a good netbook Best UMPC with good storage Practical UMPC Value for money notebook loaded with features Superb keyboard with DDR3 RAM 28,447 25,000 21,000 44,900 30,999 37 32 34 42 45

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HP LaserJet P1007 Brother DCP-6690CW Brother DCP-7030 Epson TX600 FW Brother HL-2140 Laser Printer Inkjet Printer All-in-One All-in-One Laser Printer Monochrome laser at affordable price A good A3 business all-in-one Cost eddective multi-function laser for home and office Multi-talented, multi-performing beauty An affordable personal laser printer 6,299 27,270 10,900 14,999 5,900 34 41 37 47 32

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i2i Razer Copperhead Gaming Mouse Divoom iTour 10 Logitech V550 Nano Creative GigaWorks T3 Music Streamer Mouse Portable Speaker Mouse Speaker An easy to use effective music streamer for music enthusiasts A must have mouse for gamers Pocket speaker for your iPod or mobile phone A mouse to use on the move with a laptop Solid Bass output with small footprint 9,800 4,500 1,500 10,990 16,619 41 15 37 37 45

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Symatec Norton NIS 2009 Apple Safari 4 Moblin 2.0 Beta PC Tools Spyware Doctor Apple iLife 09 System Security Browser Operating System System Utility Media management All rounder system protection software Feature-rich browser for Mac and PC Best operating system for netbook till date A good tool to protect against spyware A great upgrade to the already good iLife08 3,290 Free Free 999 4,700 35 40 45 25 41

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February 2012 Computer active



Games of 2011

Here's our pick of our favourite titles of the year


1 Total War: Shogun 2 Our reviewers called Shogun 2 "a deep, enthralling experience and a must for strategy fans"

2 The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Possibly the most engaging role-playing game we've ever played, Skyrim is quite superb. 3 Hidden Mystrey Collectives: Drawn With beautiful graphics and an imaginative storyline, this twogame puzzle pack is a bargain. 4 Deus Ex: Human Revolution A smart and classy action game, with lots of player choice, an interesting story and good visuals. 5 Portal 2 A stunning sequel, this action-puzzle game is one of the most consistently enjoyable we've played.

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February 2012


Battlefield 3

(Game for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC) for the full requirements) and there's a more onerous requirement. Not only must players log into Origin (an equivalent to the popular Steam online system that's run by EA Games), they must also set up and log into a Battlelog account before they can play, which is a clumsy and confusing system. If we were forced to choose between the two games, we'd probably end up plumping for Modern Warfare 3, if only because of its infinitely superior single-player campaign. Taken on its own merits, however, Battlefield 3 certainly offers a compelling multiplayer experience, as well as some of the most realistic-looking graphics we've ever seen.

attlefield 3 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 are, effectively, the Blur and Oasis of computer games. With the most recent versions of each released within days of each other, it's hard not to draw parallels between the two rival first-person shooters.

Unfortunately, the comparisons don't start well for Battlefield 3. Its single-player campaign came across as little more than a weak pastiche of Call of Duty. The game is set in the near future and the story attempts to provide the same levels of globetrotting blockbuster action as its counterpart. But Battlefield's

faceless characters, a paper-thin plot and largely linear gameplay make the campaign feel like a brief, dissatisfying fairground ride. However, Battlefield 3 started to distinguish itself once we got to the multiplayer component. The maps are massive and impressively detailed, and up to 64 players can hash it out in vast, frenetic battles both on foot and in vehicles, which even stretch to jet fighters. Customisation and progression offer plenty of depth too, although there's nothing particularly new that players of previous Battlefield games won't have seen before. A powerful PC is needed to enjoy Battlefield 3's highly realistic visuals (see


OVERALL: #####

February 2012 Computer active



Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3

(Game for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC)

achievements and translating experience into a rebalanced selection of perks' or special abilities. Throw in a couple of completely new multiplayer game types, a separate survival mode and a series of standalone co-operative missions and you're looking at an unbeatable overall package made up from a generous selection of highly polished individual component parts. Graphics and sound are both of a very high standard too, though it's worth noting that the game has some demanding system requirements (see Far from feeling like a routine update to last year's model, Modern Warfare 3 cements COD's reputation as the best shooter in town.

all of Duty - COD to its many friends - is, more or less, an annual event. Every Christmas a new chapter in the highly popular first-person shooter franchise hits the shelves. The latest instalment is mostly business as usual, with a slick, sensational single-player campaign and a variety of different multiplayer modes. It will most likely sell by the bucket-load. But do we really need a new one every year? COD's single-player campaigns are known for their big set pieces and occasional flirtations with controversy. Modern Warfare 3's story is a direct continuation from the previous game, resurrecting a few familiar faces and providing some fresh ones. The what if?' scenario (effectively the outbreak of World War III) requires quite a big stretch of the imagination

but allows for plenty of blockbuster moments, including an underwater assault on a nuclear submarine, a Russian invasion of Lower Manhattan and a battle beneath the Eiffel Tower. As long as you don't take it too seriously, the campaign rarely hits a duff note. Relatively short but never outstaying its welcome, it provides a surprising amount of variety and is buoyed along by some pitch-

perfect pacing. Many would consider COD's multiplayer modes to be the main' part of the game. And, far from trotting out the same old thing for the umpteenth year in a row, the game's developers have bravely implemented several tweaks to improve the experience. Players now have more control over their characters' development, accruing point streaks' for various in-game


OVERALL: #####

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Changing open shortcuts
I have a folder for all the documents Im currently working on in the My Documents Folder. I would like to be able to include this folder in the list of shortcuts that appears in the Open File dialogue window.

Our team of experts solves your computer, software & internet problems

concerned because the icon I wanted was to update Ubuntu.

Divesh Arora


Hitesh Waiker

There are a couple of ways of doing this depending on the software you use on a regular basis; Office 2003 has its own way of deciding which shortcuts are shown in the Open window. The easiest way of changing this setting in Windows XP is to download and install TweakUI. Once TweakUI is installed and started click on the small plus next to Common Dialogs and then on Places Bar. Select the option Custom places bar. There are several places already set up that can be selected by clicking on the dropdown menu arrows, or you can click in the text box and enter an address by hand. If youre confident doing this, find the folder in Windows Explorer and copy and paste the contents of the address bar. Click on Apply to save the changes and then OK to close the window. Theres no need for extra software in Windows Vista. Start a program and click on File and then Open to show the Open Window. Right-click in the Favourite Links section and click on Open Favourite Links Folder. A Windows Explorer window will appear showing this folder of shortcuts. Click on the Start button and then Documents. Find


the folder with your work and drag and drop it into the Links folder. The next time the Open window appears it will have the extra shortcut. Shortcuts can be moved by clicking and dragging them up and down the list. Windows 7 doesnt need extra software either but the process is slightly different. Start a program, click on File and then Open. Go to the folder you want added to the Favourites and right-click on the Favourites icon in the left-hand column. Click on Add current location to Favourites to add this folder. Once again, shortcuts can be moved up and down within the Favourites section. As mentioned, Office 2003 has its own list of shortcuts, so that the changes made in TweakUI wont show in the Office Open window. Instead, start Office, click on the File menu and then on Open. Go to the folder you want to have as a shortcut. Click

on the Tools menu and then on Add to My Places. As the Places column is already full, the new icon probably wont be visible. Click on the down arrow at the bottom of the column to scroll through the folder shortcuts. Right-click on the new shortcut and then left-click on Move up. Repeat as necessary to get it into the right position. Select Small icons from this menu to fit more icons onto the list.

Missing icons
I have installed Ubuntu Netbook Remix on my MSI Megabook S270 laptop, which has a widescreen monitor. All is working fine apart from the System section of the main menu. Some of the icons are hidden at the bottom of the screen. I can just see the tops of the icon but the scroll bar wont let me move any further down. I am a little

This is a known problem with Ubuntu Netbook Remix and widescreen laptops and, according to the official bug report at, has now been fixed. If you need to access the icons immediately the workaround is to change the resolution of the screen to an ordinary size rather than widescreen. Click on the Ubuntu logo in the top left-hand corner and then on System. Click on the Display icon in the main part of the screen. Click on the down arrow in the Resolution menu and select a different resolution with (4:3) at the end. Click on Apply and then Close. Access the icons in the System menu and then return to this option to return the resolution to normal. Ubuntu Netbook Remix will still check for updates automatically and prompt you to install them.



Mystery folder
Why do I have a folder called i386 on my computer? It must have been imported with updates and I feel it is intended for a sinister purpose. PC World advised? me not to delete it but not why I should keep it. It is also quite large.


Geeta Shah

L Office 2003 uses its own list of folder shortcuts

February 2012 Computer active



This folder contains all the files that would otherwise be supplied on a Windows disc and can be used to make a disc to recover the computer in the event of a serious problem. We also recommend that you leave this folder alone.


Renaming multiple files

I have several folders that store tracks from talking books. The individual tracks are named from Track01.mp3 to Track99.mp3. I would like to change these names to A01.mp3 to A99.mp3. Is there a faster way of doing this than changing each individually?


city name in the screen that appears if your city is not shown. Click on the circle to the left of the city to select it. The weather should update automatically. If not, tap on the text of your current location and then on the Weather tab. Tap Update Now to force the phone to look for the current weather. More help can be found from page 71 of the manual at

Should I be worried about tracking cookies?

Every time I run a security scan with my anti-virus program, it reports a number of tracking cookies on my computer, with names such as Should I be concerned that these are appearing on my PC, and is there any way I can stop them?


Peter Gomes

You can rename multiple files at the same time in Windows but there is not much control over the results. A much better alternative is to download Freecommander Portable. This is a file manager like Windows Explorer but with some extra tools. Download it and install the program. Start Freecommander Portable and navigate to the folder with the audio files. It doesnt matter which column you use. Select the files to rename (press Ctrl and A together if they are the only files in the folder). Click on the File menu and then Multi rename. A window appears with a list of the files and a preview of the new name at the top and all the renaming options at the bottom. The most important option is File name in the Pattern section. The default option is [n]. This tells Freecommander to keep the same filename and there are other codes like this. Click on the blue downward-pointing arrow to see a full list. We only need one more code, [c], which adds a counter to the file name. Click in the File name text box and type A[c]. You will see that the New name has been updated. There is one more change to make sure the tracks are played in the right order, which is to add a 0 to beginning of the number.


L Using Freecommander Portable you can save time by renaming multiple files

Computers have difficulty counting when the number of digits is not consistent. If we dont add the 0 to the beginning of the first nine files the computer will play the files in the following order: 1, 10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,2 ,20. Click on the dropdown menu Number of digits and select 2 (3 in the unlikely event that you have more than 100 files in the folder). Click on the Rename button when you are happy with the names.

format the hard disk you want Windows to be installed on, all the old files will be left in place. The installer will sometimes make a copy of the old Windows installation in a folder called windows.old. This and the old windows folders can be deleted, but as you have a backup of all your files it would be better to repeat the installation and click on the Format button when asked where to install Windows 7.

John Dsoza

Phone display problem

I brought an HTC HD2 smartphone in January. When it was connected to my home wireless network a picture of snow appeared on the Home tab, even though it wasnt snowing outside. How can I make it report the correct weather?

Weighty upgrade
I installed Windows 7 on my computer that was running Windows XP. All the documents were copied to an external disk, the Windows disc inserted and the installation completed. However, my hard disk is now showing as almost twothirds full when previously it had only been about a third with XP. Should I have deleted everything first or should the install wizard have overwritten everything?



Ketan Modi

Heena Shaikh


Unless you explicitly tell the installation wizard to

The default wallpaper on the HD2 shows an animation of the current weather but, for some reason, your phone is reporting the weather in Winnipeg, Canada. To change this, tap on the clock on the Home tab and scroll through the list for your nearest city. Tap on the Add City option and enter


A cookie is a small file stored on your computer by a web browser, that contains information about your visit to a specific website. It might hold details about when you last viewed the website, your viewing preferences, or products you recently clicked on. It may also record your IP address, the time of your visit and the browser you use. Cookies are harmless, since they are no more than a text file, and without them some aspects of the web, such as shopping carts, wouldnt work properly. Tracking cookies are slightly different. These are cookies placed on your computer by a website affiliated with the one you visit, and are sometimes called third-party cookies. Often this is a company that provides adverts for multiple websites, such as Doubleclick. These companies websites can use tracking cookies to build up a picture of your web surfing habits. It cannot track every site you visit, only those that carry that companys adverts.


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While some people see this as an invasion of privacy, these cookies arent the same as other malicious software, and cannot infect your PC. Dont worry about them too much, as theyre used in a lot of places and, after visiting a number of websites, its almost inevitable a few will end up on your PC. But it doesnt hurt to remove them if you wish. Alternatively, you can prevent them being downloaded in the first place. All browsers have options to restrict the downloading of cookies. In Internet Explorer 8, you can do so by clicking on the Tools menu, then clicking on Internet Options. Click the Privacy tab and adjust the slider on the left. At its maximum setting, no cookies will be created on your PC but, as we mentioned, this may cause problems, we recommend using a slightly lower setting. One possibility is to allow first-party cookies while disallowing thirdparty cookies, which is unlikely to cause problems when using certain aspects of websites, but will stop sites placing tracking cookies on your PC. Under the

same privacy tab, click the Advanced button, tick the box to override automatic cookie handling, and set third-party cookies to be blocked (or prompt if you wish). If you run into a site that says you need cookies enabled to view it, click the Sites button in this options window, and enter the URL of the website, so it ignores the rules you just set up.

Windows 7 reboots
I installed Windows 7 on my laptop, and it had been working fine. For some reason it now restarts at random times. I only use it to surf the web, and havent installed any software, so I have no idea what might be causing it.


your desktop saying Windows 7 Release Candidate, listing the build number afterwards. The symptoms your computer is experiencing are because this free version is set to expire, first by rebooting every two hours after 1 March 2010, then to finally stop working completely by 1 June. You can read more details at You will either have to re-install your copy of Windows Vista, buy a retail version of Windows 7, or try another operating system, such as Linux.

Techno babble demystified...

detects, repairs, cleans or removes virus-infected files

Anti-virus Software that
from a computer. stored on your websites andrecord settings. hard disk to

Cookies Text files generated by

image thata displays see on computers

Graphics card The part of a PC

Windows XP OEM licences

A while ago I bought a working second-hand computer with Windows XP Professional installed on it. Unfortunately the hard disk broke a few days ago so I replaced it with a new one. Can I re-install Windows XP on it by borrowing a friends installation disc? I do not have the original CD, but the machine has a licence sticker on it with the code needed for installation. Would it be legal and if not, what is the solution?


IP address Internet Protocol address. An identifying number of a computer attached to a network. Motherboard The main circuit

Rajiv Desai

Since you installed Windows 7 in September, before its official release, it sounds as if youre using the release candidate preview version, which was offered free to the public last year. You can find out exactly which version you have by clicking on the Start Menu, then typing winver into the search box at the bottom. A window will appear showing the version number of your copy of Windows. The final retail version will say Microsoft Windows Ver 6.1 (build 7600). The pre-release version will say build 7000, or 7100. You may also see a piece of text in the Control which, if any, cookies are downloaded to your PC bottom left of


inside any PC into board other component which every connects.

to somethingorelse, such as a program file disk drive.

Web browser A program

Shortcut A file that acts as a link

The unique address of a web page.

URL Uniform Resource Locator.

Anees Khan

When Windows comes preinstalled on a computer without installation discs, its


developed for viewing websites. Wizard A step-by-step process that helps you choose settings.

If your PC or software is driving you up the wall,send us the details of the problem and well try to print a solution that will help you
Contact us by email at or by post at: No Problem, Computeractive, Next Gen Publishing Ltd., 2nd Floor, C Wing,Trade World, Kamala Mills Compound, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel (W), Mumbai 400013 . Whether responding by post or email, please include your telephone number and address.Unfortunately, we cant reply personally to your letters and emails or give technical advice over the phone.When sending a query, tell us about your PC and include full information about the hardware and software youre using. Screenshots of your problem would also be useful (try hitting the Print Screen button and then using Paste in the Edit menu of your image processor).

We can work it out!

February 2012 Computer active



known as OEM (original equipment manufacturer) software, which restricts you to only using that copy of Windows on the PC that it came with. Youre not allowed to use its installation code to install Windows on another PC. Changing the hard disk doesnt constitute an entirely new PC though. You arent breaking the licence agreement if you use the code to re-install Windows onto a new hard disk, as long as it is in the original computer. Youre free to change certain other components too, such as the graphics card, although Microsoft has stated this doesnt include a change of motherboard. However, you might have to reactivate the software before it will work, which may have to be done over the phone. Try calling Microsofts quick assist support number on 0844 800 2345 for help.

Which monitor to get?

I am using an old Iiyama CRT monitor but I want to replace it with an LCD flat panel screen. I have been advised that IPS type monitors are the best for accurate colour rendering, which is important for my photographic work. However, only Lacie and NEC seem to make these monitors, and they are very expensive. Could I use the cheaper TN monitors available from many manufacturers?


Shobha Tommer

That is not a question we get asked often in Computeractive because for most computer users the differences between the different types of LCD flat panel monitor are not noticeable. For some users, though, especially those who work in design, art or photography, there are some important things to be aware of. As you note, most flat-panel computer screens are of a type


called TN (which stands for Twisted Nematic, and refers to the electronics inside the screen). These are fairly cheap to manufacture, but they are not enormously accurate when it comes to colour reproduction they are only able to display a few hundred-thousand colours, as opposed to the several million colours that a modern computer can reproduce. For most of us, that is not a big deal. While we may be able to tell the difference between the two, it will usually be quite a small difference, and the ability to view millions of colours onscreen is not something we need in daily life. For people who work with colours, including designers, photographers, artists and so on, it is a very important difference, which is why monitors that use the better IPS (In-Phase Switching) technology are a little more expensive than TN screens. Most IPS monitors can show millions of colours properly, and so for those specialists, IPS is the best screen. You dont give details of your work so its hard to tell whether IPS will really be necessary for you, but in short, if you earn a living from photography, you should regard the IPS screen as an investment, because this will give you the best colour reproduction for your work. If you are a professional, the cost of the screen may even be taxdeductible. For amateur photographers, hobbyists and even some of those who do paid photography on the side, a TN monitor may suffice. The best way to find out is to try to find a local computer or specialist professional photography shop that sells both kinds of screen, and to try them out with some of your images. If you are planning to buy, many shops will be happy to set up a demonstration for you. One more thing to consider is calibrating the colours of your

monitor after you have set it up. Because all screens display colours in slightly different ways, if youre working with images its important to ensure what you see on screen is the same as others will see. To do this you can use a product such as Datacolor Spyder3 ( 2206000), which attaches to the front of your monitor and uses software to detect and correct the colours it displays. Although the model we reviewed (see link above) is not cheap, there are cheaper versions of the product available (, and if you work in photography or design its an important thing to consider.

Mail merge
I am the membership secretary for an organisation with 450 members and at the end of each year I have to make new membership cards with a heading, a logo, name, membership number and expiry date. I am trying to find a program which will allow me to merge personnel information from my master list. Can you suggest a program?


Jayashri Kumar

This is a task that mail merging excels at it isnt just for formal letters. The membership list should be kept in a spreadsheet such as Microsoft Excel or maybe the Access database. Microsoft Word can then be used to produce and format the cards. To produce an A5 membership record card, click on the File menu in Word and then on Page Setup. Click on the down arrow in the paper size menu and select A5. Click on OK. Now create the page using the Mail Merge codes for the information that changes. It is also possible to create membership cards using a pack


of printable business cards and a mail merge document. For Word 2003, click on the tools menu and then Letters and Mailings, and Mail Merge. Select Labels in the Task Pane and click on Next: Starting document. Click on Label options and select a label template that matches the cards you have ready to print. Hopefully they will have an Avery code and there will be an exact match. If not, click on the New Label button and enter the exact dimensions of the cards you have bought. Click on OK and then on Next: Select recipients. Leave the top option Use an existing list selected and then click on Browse. Find the spreadsheet with the member information and click on Open. Select the correct worksheet or range and click on OK. Depending on the number of members, you may want to review the list of entries. They should all be selected but if not click on Select All. Click on OK and then Next: Arrange your labels. Enter the text and graphics that you want on the card. If you insert clip art and lose the Mail Merge links in the Task pane, click on the down arrow to the right of the Clip Art title and left-click on Mail Merge. When you are happy with the layout, click on the Update all labels button. Dont forget this button or you will only get one card. Click on Next: Preview your labels link at the bottom of the Task Pane. If you are happy with the results, click on Next: Complete the merge and then print the document.

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& Quiz # 11
Now, the fun at Computer Interactive gets even more rewarding! Take a crack at this IMS-Computeractive Quiz and win! Find the answers on page X and shoot before 29th February 2012 to win a Digitek Handy Scanner or Envie Speedster. Mail to

1) Rechargeable alkaline provide lower performance than ordinary alkaline batteries but can be recharged up to about 20 times a) True b) False 2) The memory effect does not occur with Nickel-Metal Hydride and Lithium Ion batteries. a) True b) False 3) V Stands for voltage. It measure the power of the batteries. a) True b) False

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The decision of the judges will be nal and binding and no queries shall be entertained. The employees of IMS Mercantiles and Next Gen Publishing cannot participate in this contest. Participants can also send their entries by fax or photocopies at the Next Gen mailing address listed on colophon page. Winners will be decided by Lucky draw.



Prepare your monitor, create 3D photo animations, get started with programming and web design

OF SITEONTH M THE Editing photos with a monitor that isnt set up properly wont give good results, this website offers all the help you need. Programming isnt always creating complicated programs. This site has everything you need to get started.

Open Clip Art Library Getting hold of good-quality clip art can be tricky if the image you want isnt already in your collection. The Open Clip Art Library has a 26,000-strong collection of images in PNG and SVG formats. The images arranged in categories from simple logos to complicated technical images. The collection can be downloaded as a single compressed folder. Offering lots of help and inspiration for creating your own website, Tripwire magazine covers everything from technology advice to free fonts. This website offers 3D on your website or Facebook. Take two photos three inches apart, upload them and an animated image is created for you.


Get creative with a distraction-free writing program, audio recording and a Lego-design tool

Sometimes the best way to get something written is to switch off all the distractions on your desktop. Creawriter is designed to do just this.

Opera Mini 5
This browser is great for mobiles, not only is it designed for smaller screens but page downloads are speeded up by Opera as well.

Lego Digital Designer

Dont run out of bricks part way through a building project. The Lego Digital Designer will help you plan properly.

Reaper is a very affordable (US$60) music recording and editing program with some advanced features for both audio and Midi.

Type: Freeware Type: Freeware File size: 994KB File size: 4MB Overall: ##### Download at: Overall: ##### Download at:

Type: Freeware File size: 52.6MB Overall: ##### Download at:

Type: Freeware File size: 4.4MB Overall: ##### Download at:

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RNI No. MAHENG/2006/17942