APC and its read­ers can be one gi­ant helpdesk. If you have a tech­ni­cal prob­lem, chances are one of us can solve it.

APC Australia - - Contents -

We fix read­ers’ com­put­ing prob­lems

WIN­DOWS FILE EX­PLORER SLUG­GISH When I right-click in­side a File Ex­plorer win­dow, it takes around 20-30 sec­onds to re­act. Some­times File Ex­plorer will even crash and then restart. What’s caus­ing this slow­down? Dorothy An­ders

The likely cul­prit is a third-party pro­gram that’s in­stalled fea­tures to the File Ex­plorer con­text menu. The sim­plest way to view and man­age th­ese is with Nir­soft’s Shel­lExView ( www. nir­soft.net/utils/shexview.html). Down­load, in­stall and launch the pro­gram. Choose Op­tions > Hide All Mi­crosoft Ex­ten­sions to fil­ter out ev­ery­thing ex­cept third-party ex­ten­sions. Start by press­ing Ctrl-A to select them all, then press F7 to dis­able them. Right-click the Taskbar and choose Task Man­ager. High­light File Ex­plorer and click Restart.

If — as Dorothy dis­cov­ered — things im­me­di­ately im­prove, you’ll know one of th­ese items is to blame. Re-en­able them in batches — when the prob­lem resur­faces, you’ll be able to fo­cus your trou­bleshoot­ing on the last set of ex­ten­sions you re-en­abled. In this case, we traced the prob­lem to the Google Drive shell ex­ten­sion. This is a known is­sue which, hope­fully, Google will soon is­sue a fix for. Mayank Sharma

SE­CU­RITY STUB­BORN PUP JUST WON’T GO AWAY When I run a scan with Ad­wCleaner it al­ways comes up with the fol­low­ing: ‘Chromium Ex­ten­sion Ad­vance Sys­temCare Surf­ing Pro­tec­tion’. I don’t know where it is, and it keeps com­ing back. Should I just ig­nore it? Jim Dun­can

You could safely ig­nore this — it’s linked to IObit soft­ware, which is safe enough — but Jim had no mem­ory of hav­ing in­stalled Ad­vanced Sys­temCare, while Fire­fox was the only web browser in­stalled on his PC. We kept dig­ging and con­firmed it was linked to the Chrome web browser, which Jim even­tu­ally re­mem­bered hav­ing briefly in­stalled, sug­gest­ing there are some left­overs on his PC’s hard drive some­where. We dis­cov­ered where the left­overs are likely to be: press Win­dows-R to open the Run dia­logue box, type %Lo­calAp­pData% and press En­ter to ac­cess the hid­den Ap­pData\Lo­cal folder in your per­sonal user folder. From here open a Google folder and see if there’s a Chrome folder in­side — delet­ing this should clear the left­over files. Rob Mead-Green

AP­PLI­CA­TIONS BROWSE PLUG­INS FOR PAINT.NET I’ve re­cently dis­cov­ered that Paint.NET sup­ports plug­ins. I’ve in­stalled loads, but have lost track of what I’ve in­stalled. Is there any way I can keep track of them? Frank Far­rell

The best tool for the job is the Plu­gin Browser, which lists all plug­ins — in­clud­ing the 43 bun­dled with the pro­gram it­self — that have been in­stalled. It’s sim­ple to in­stall: visit

fo­rums.get­paint.net and nav­i­gate to ‘Plug­ins – Pub­lish­ing ONLY’ and you’ll find it pinned to the top of the list. Save the .zip file to your Down­loads folder, then ex­tract and run the .exe file in­side — ig­nore the SmartScreen warn­ing, it’s safe to in­stall.

Once you’ve in­stalled Plu­gin Browser, click Close, open Paint.NET and ac­cess it via Ef­fects > Plu­gin Browser where you can browse by var­i­ous cri­te­ria. You’ll also see a key­word search tool: this can be used to search the plu­gin in­dex on­line to track down more plug­ins — just click a hy­per­link to be taken to the rel­e­vant web page. Plug­ins are down­loaded as .zip files, then if no in­staller is pro­vided, you copy the .dll file in­side the .zip archive to the rel­e­vant sub­folder — typ­i­cally Ef­fects — in­side C:\Pro­gram Files\Paint.NET. Nate Nate Drake

WIN­DOWS UP­DATE WIN­DOWS 7 IN­STAL­LA­TION DISC I’m un­able to per­form a re­pair in­stall of Win­dows 7 be­cause it says my in­stalled ver­sion is newer than the ver­sion that’s on the disc. How do I go about get­ting an up­dated ver­sion? Deb­o­rah Yard­ley

You need in­stall me­dia that has both Win­dows 7 and Ser­vice Pack 1 slip­streamed into it. Here’s how you can get your copy, courtesy of Mi­crosoft. Open File Ex­plorer: rightclick Com­puter in the left-hand pane and choose Prop­er­ties to open the Sys­tem Con­trol Panel. Make a note of your Win­dows sys­tem type (32-bit or 64-bit) in the Sys­tem sec­tion. Open your web browser and go to www. mi­crosoft.com/soft­ware-down­load/ win­dows7 and en­ter your prod­uct key to ob­tain the cor­rect edi­tion. When prompted, select 32-bit or 64-bit depend­ing on your sys­tem type to down­load the file. Once down­loaded, insert a blank DVD into your disc rewriter, then lo­cate the ISO file and dou­ble-click it. Your burner should be de­tected, so tick ‘ Ver­ify disc after burn­ing’ and click Burn, then sit back and wait for the in­stall disc to be cre­ated. Down­load and run Ru­fus Por­ta­ble from ru­fus.akeo.ie. Click the FreeDOS drodown menu and choose ISO Im­age, then click the disc icon to select your ISO file. Select your USB drive from the De­vice drop-down menu and click Start. Rob Mead-Green

SE­CU­RITY STOP­PING SPEC­TRE AND MELT­DOWN IN THEIR TRACKS I’m a lit­tle rat­tled by the on­go­ing rev­e­la­tions about pro­ces­sor (in)se­cu­ri­ties. I have a four-year-old PC with an In­tel Core i5-4450 (Haswell) chip. What steps can I take to pro­tect my­self against the Spec­tre and Melt­down vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties? Frank El­don

We’ll as­sume that you know what th­ese vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties are — flaws so fun­da­men­tal that vir­tu­ally ev­ery PC out there is af­fected by at least one vul­ner­a­bil­ity. Start by ver­i­fy­ing that your chip is af­fected by one or both vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties with the help of Ashampoo’s free Spec­tre Melt­down CPU Checker ( bit.ly/asham­spec­tre). Once con­firmed, make sure your web browsers are fully up­dated to close the door on one type of Spec­tre-based at­tack. Also check that Win­dows has also been patched against both threats — Win­dows 7, 8 and 10 should have re­ceived fixes in Jan­uary. If you’ve not re­ceived any up­dates since the turn of the year, your anti-virus will need up­dat­ing to let Win­dows know it’s com­pat­i­ble (and stop it block­ing up­dates). Con­tact your anti-virus vendor if this doesn’t hap­pen — if nec­es­sary, you’ll need to switch to an­other se­cu­rity pro­gram. In­tel chips will also need a mi­crocode patch. The older your pro­ces­sor, the longer you’ll have to wait and see if In­tel will pro­vide one. In­tel has re­leased a patch for the Haswell chip in Frank’s PC. Nev­er­the­less, there’s one more hur­dle to over­come: In­tel isn’t de­ploy­ing the patch. In­stead, you’re re­ly­ing on your sys­tem or mother­board man­u­fac­turer to pro­vide this as part of a BIOS firmware up­date. Frank’s mother­board

“I’m un­able to per­form a re­pair in­stall of Win­dows 7 be­cause it says my in­stalled ver­sion is newer than the ver­sion that’s on the disc. ”

“I switched on my Win­dows 10 lap­top and was told it needed the lat­est se­cu­rity up­dates, but that Mi­crosoft had to first in­stall the lat­est ver­sion of Win­dows 10. ”

man­u­fac­turer – ASRock – hadn’t de­ployed any up­dates for older moth­er­boards at time of writ­ing, but keep check­ing back (and keep an eye on of­fi­cial user fo­rums too) for up­dates. Rob Mead-Green

BACKUP WHAT BACKUP PLAN DO I NEED? I no­tice that you’re big fans of Macrium Re­flect Free. Can you ex­plain why is this a bet­ter backup tool than the drive imag­ing op­tion of­fered by the Win­dows 7 Backup and Re­store tool? Gra­ham Ellesmere

There are nu­mer­ous rea­sons why we love Macrium Re­flect Free — which, as a re­minder, is avail­able for down­load at www.macrium.com/re­flect­free.aspx.

Its main ad­van­tages over Win­dows’ built-in drive-imag­ing tool in­clude be­ing able to ver­ify that your drive im­ages aren’t cor­rupt, and you can also eas­ily ex­tract in­di­vid­ual files from the im­age. Macrium Re­flect Free also en­ables you to take ad­van­tage of dif­fer­en­tial back­ups, which take up sig­nif­i­cantly less size than a full backup, al­low­ing you to store mul­ti­ple snap­shots of your sys­tem at dif­fer­ent points in time with­out gob­bling up too much stor­age space.

Our rec­om­mended ap­proach when us­ing the app is to cre­ate two sep­a­rate backup jobs, with each point­ing to a dif­fer­ent backup de­vice (say an ex­ter­nal stor­age drive and a net­work drive). Each backup job should run at dif­fer­ent times dur­ing the week, and you should set up a sched­ule that takes one full backup a month, sup­ple­mented by weekly dif­fer­en­tial back­ups. Matt Han­son

WIN­DOWS WIN­DOWS 10 SE­CU­RITY UP­DATE I switched on my Win­dows 10 lap­top and was told it needed the lat­est se­cu­rity up­dates, but that Mi­crosoft had to first in­stall the lat­est ver­sion of Win­dows 10. After 24 hours it’s stuck at 99%. What should I do? An­drew Win­ton

The warn­ing about not switch­ing off or clos­ing your PC can be safely ig­nored by this point – although check the hard drive ac­tiv­ity light isn’t flash­ing be­fore you do ex­actly that. With his heart in his mouth, An­drew switched off his lap­top, then pow­ered it back on. It im­me­di­ately be­gan to up­date again, and by mid­night his lengthy Win­dows 10 up­date had com­pleted suc­cess­fully. Rob Mead-Green

AP­PLI­CA­TIONS COM­PAT­I­BIL­ITY IS­SUE WITH HYPERMAKER I pro­duce in­ter­ac­tive web-based files for a lo­cal mu­seum. Once pre­pared, I use HyperMaker to com­pile the files into a sin­gle .exe file that can be run on any PC, but the pro­gram no longer works in any ver­sion of Win­dows where In­ter­net Ex­plorer 11 has been in­stalled. Can you help me over­come this in­com­pat­i­bil­ity? Ed Cum­ming

Given that HyperMaker no longer works with IE11, it’s time to re­tire it. We’ve found a sim­i­lar free al­ter­na­tive called We­bSiteZip Packer ( www. spadixbd.com/wsz/), which in­stalled and ran with no prob­lems on our Win­dows 10 ma­chine. Ed has man­aged to keep HyperMaker go­ing on an old net­book, but we’ve rec­om­mended he ex­per­i­ment with We­bSiteZip Packer go­ing for­ward to see if it’s a suit­able re­place­ment — the .exe files it pro­duces work flaw­lessly in Win­dows 10, mak­ing it a vi­able al­ter­na­tive to HyperMaker. Cat El­lis

GAM­ING PLAY OLD DOS GAMES IN WIN­DOWS I re­cently stum­bled on a copy of the orig­i­nal Civ­i­liza­tion game, which I used to play back in the day. Is there an easy way to play this in Win­dows 10? Graeme Lyle

The sim­plest thing to do is use a free app called DOSBox ( www.dosbox.com). It sim­u­lates the MS-DOS en­vi­ron­ment and works with clas­sic PC games which were writ­ten in DOS. Down­load the Win32 in­staller (which works on both 32-bit and 64-bit sys­tems), dou­ble-click it and fol­low the prompts, in­stalling the pro­gram to its own folder on the root of drive C. This should in­stall the pro­gram with no com­pat­i­bil­ity prob­lems. Open File Ex­plorer and browse to the root of drive C, then cre­ate a folder called ‘oldgames’. Copy the con­tents of the game CD to a folder in­side it called ‘CIV1’ — al­ter­na­tively, down­load and ex­tract a zipped copy from www.aban­do­nia.com. Type

dosbox into the Search bar and click DOSBox to launch it. Type MOUNT C C:\OLDGAMES into the win­dow that ap­pears and press En­ter. When drive C is con­firmed as mounted to the ‘oldgames’ direc­tory, type C: and hit En­ter. Type CD CIV1 , press En­ter, type CIV and En­ter to launch the game. Press 1 , 4 and 2 re­spec­tively to set graph­ics, sound and con­trol modes. When the game starts, click in­side the win­dow to cap­ture the mouse. Exit by press­ing the Win­dows key. Mayank Sharma

EMAIL OUT­LOOK WON’T SEND TO A SPE­CIFIC AD­DRESS Our church or­gan­ist has de­vel­oped a prob­lem: he can’t send emails to one of my email ad­dresses from his lap­top. He can send them to ev­ery­one else – in­clud­ing an­other of my email ad­dresses and to my wife on the same do­main name – but not this spe­cific ad­dress. We’ve checked Out­look is set up cor­rectly and there are no rules or black­lists. When I check his Sent folder, it shows the email ad­dress as be­ing ‘0’ along with the sub­ject, but no email ap­pears to have been sent. Ian Hen­der­son

We traced the prob­lem to the or­gan­ist’s Con­tacts folder which had Ian’s non-func­tion­ing email ad­dress. The so­lu­tion is to open this con­tact in­for­ma­tion card, delete the name be­low the email ad­dress and press Tab, which will show the cor­rect name and email ad­dress in paren­the­sis. Save and close the con­tact. Now cre­ate a new email. Start typ­ing the name as shown in the con­tact in­for­ma­tion card — when it ap­pears in the aut­ofill field, high­light it and hit Delete. This re­moves the name from the aut­ofill list but not the con­tact. Now click ‘To:’ and lo­cate your con­tact — the cor­rect name and email ad­dress should then ap­pear. Alex Cox

See which plug-ins you’ve in­stalled in Paint.NET with Plu­gin Browser.

Slow or non-re­spon­sive File Ex­plorer be­hav­iour can be traced to the con­text menu

Once you’ve down­loded your Win­dows soft­ware, burn the ISO file onto a blank DVD.

Ver­ify whether your CPU has been patched or not

Use a mix of full and dif­fer­en­tial drive im­ages

We­bSiteZip Pa­cler is com­pat­i­ble with WIn­dows 10

If you can’t find the game’s cur­sor, try clickin in the win­dow to bring it up

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