Get answers to your technical questions with help from our PC experts
WINDOWS HELP HARDWARE FIXES SOFTWARE SOLUTIONS INTERNET TIPS
Email Google Drivefull
QI followed your step-by-step guide on page 61 of issue 135 to archive my old Gmail email from before 2015. Everything appeared to proceed smoothly enough – the files are now in MailStore and I chose the option to delete messages on the server, but Google is still telling me I only have 350MB free space. What gives? Greg Jenner Nick P’s solution When MailStore deleted your mail from the Gmail server, it didn’t wipe it completely; instead the mail was placed in the Bin folder, where it will reside for the next 30 days until automatically being wiped. If you’re confident all the mail you’ve archived is now accessible through MailStore, go to mail.google.com and locate the Bin in the list of folders on the left. Click this followed by the ‘Empty Bin now’ link at the top of the page. Confirm how many messages will be deleted, then click OK. Be patient while this process occurs; once done, it may also take a little time before your Google account is updated to show the correct amount of free space you have.
Networking Printer won ’t connect
QI’m attempting to re-connect my laptop PC to my network printer after installing the Windows 10 Creators Update. When I run the printer’s setup software, however, it fails to find the printer. Do you have any idea what’s happening? Evan Luckett
Rob’s solution Evan subsequently revealed that his laptop had 2GB of RAM, and that he had no problem connecting to the printer from his main desktop PC. We investigated the issue and discovered that due to
firewall hardening rules, some network printer software may be unable to detect printers over the network on machines with under 4GB RAM. Microsoft should resolve the issue in an update, but you can fix the issue manually.
Right-click the Start button and choose Command Prompt (Admin), then type the following command and hit [Enter]: sc config fdphost type=own Restart Windows and the printer software should now be able to detect – and install – the printer.
Security RANSOMWARE FEAR
QThe recent well-publicised attack on the NHS leaves me worried about whether my spare laptop could be susceptible to such an attack. It’s still running Windows XP, but I have security software installed and up to date browsers. Kyle Dawkins Mayank’s solution Sadly, the days for Windows XP have long since gone. Even with up-to-date security software installed and the latest browsers in place, there are still gaping holes that can be exploited, as the global WannaCry ransomware attack so devastatingly proved.
WannaCry targeted business PCs, so you will have dodged one bullet, and the attack was so serious that Microsoft rolled out a universal update to patch the bug for both Windows XP and Windows 8, so installing that through Windows Update should close the door to that particular vulnerability.
But there will be other exploits both now and in the future, which is why XP is no longer safe, even in the short term. If your laptop is still performing adequately, but isn’t capable of being upgraded to at least Windows 7, then you should consider switching to an alternative operating system, such as Linux Mint (www.linuxmint.com). Mint has a clean, modern user interface and is relatively safe from malware. And it runs easily on older PCs.
Windows COMPATIBILITY ISSUES WITH EMBER
QI’m still using a wonderful (but discontinued) program called Ember, which I purchased back in the Windows XP days. I’ve never found another graphic file manager, viewer and screensaver like it, so keep going back despite my best efforts to move on. I’ve tried to install it now in Windows 10, but am unable to get past a series of setup screens, which keep appearing each time I restart the program. Can you help? Peter McAndrew
“WannaCry targeted business PCs, so you will have dodged one bullet”
RESTORE THE WINHLP32 HELP SYSTEM
QI can no longer view help files from older programs in Windows 10. Is there a workaround? Fiona Hollis Rob’s solution Microsoft stopped providing a fix for this problem with Windows 8.1, but thanks to the efforts of Komeil Bahmanpour (and a slight tweak) you can get older help files working in Windows 10 – even with the latest Creators Update. Here’s how to do it… Cat’s solution In the past, Peter could complete the setup process by temporarily reducing User Access Control to its lowest level, but this no longer works in Windows 10. Ironically, the actual solution is a lot simpler. When running Ember for the first time, simply right-click its program file or shortcut and choose ‘Run as Administrator’. This gives it the one-time access to the Registry it needs to finish setting itself up – once done, the program should run as normal.
While troubleshooting the problem, Ian came across XnView (www.xnview.com) as a potential long-term replacement for Ember. It comes in many guises – XnView MP is the most fully featured version, while XNView Classic may have the functionality Ian needs. All are free for personal use, and can be run as portable applications too.
Hardware NEW DRIVE ISN’T VISIBLE
QI recently fitted a second internal hard drive to my desktop PC. I’ve double-checked the physical connections and verified it’s visible in the configuration utility that appears before you boot Windows, but there’s no sign of it in Windows at all. What am I missing? A driver? Leonard Green Matt’s solution It sounds like the drive hasn’t yet been initialised, which you can do in Windows. Right-click the Start button and choose Disk Management, which will list all the drives attached to your PC. You should see your new drive is visible here, but it’ll be marked as Unallocated. Right-click this space and choose New Simple Volume. Follow the wizard through the steps to set it up – the default choices will create a single NTFSformatted hard drive complete with drive letter, ready for you to use.
Windows FREE UP DRIVE SPACE ON A TABLET
QI’ve gone to great lengths to keep my Windows tablet’s 32GB SSD drive from filling up, including moving user folders, apps and programs to a secondary drive (the latter using Steam Mover as recommended by yourselves). But I’m still struggling for space – is there anything else I can attempt to shift off the drive to my 64GB microSD card? Luca Kaestner Nick P’s solution Before looking for any additional folders to move, first run Disk Clean-up (or a trusted clean-up tool such as CCleaner) to see if there’s any obvious detritus hanging about
– for example, if you’ve recently installed the Creators Update you may be able to free up a significant chunk of space.
If you’ve enabled System Restore on the drive, consider switching it off, but only if you’re taking a full drive image using a tool like Macrium Reflect Free. We’ll assume any cloud storage (OneDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox and so on) is already saving to your microSD card, but also consider selectively syncing only a subset of the folders available or – in the case of OneDrive – removing the sync completely and relying on the OneDrive Windows Store app to selectively access files directly from the cloud as and when required.
If you regularly fill your drive with temporary files, then go to Start > Settings > System > Storage and make sure ‘Storage sense’ is switched on, clicking ‘Change how we free up space’ to configure automatic deletion of temporary files and files that have been left in the Recycle bin. Or move the temp files off your drive completely: type ‘environment’ into the Search box and click ‘Edit environment variables for your account’ before editing both the TEMP and TMP variables, so that they point to your microSD card.
Windows RESTORE SYSTEM CONTROL PANEL
QI see that the Windows 10 Creators Update has now removed the System Control Panel, embedding it into Settings instead. Is there a way to bring the original back so I can easily access the advanced options? Tony Barrowclough Rob’s solution Windows 10 is doing its best to hide away the old Control Panel, but it’s still there – the quickest way to access the Advanced tab of the System Properties Control Panel is to press [Win] + [R], type sysdm.cpl and hit [Enter], for example, while typing ‘control system’ brings up the System Properties Control Panel with information about your PC.
If you’d like these shortcuts back on the menu that appears when you right-click the Start button, download and run Win+ X Menu Editor (http://winaero.com/download.php?view.21). Select ‘Add a program‘ from the list of options at the top of the window, then choose ‘Add a Control Panel item’, and scroll down and choose System. Now restart File Explorer and the shortcut will appear.
“If you’ve recently installed the Creators Update you may be able to free up a significant chunk of space”
Network glitch Firewall changes may make it hard for your PC to detect a printer.
Image viewer XnView is a feature-rich tool for viewing and editing images.
Empty bin You won’t be able to reclaim space on Google Drive if its bin is full.
Missing drive You must initialise your hard drive before it’s visible.
Temp move Free up extra space by housing temporary files on another drive.