Thursday, 31 July 2008

Keyboard shortcut of the week: New, Open, and Save

Just about every Windows application works with documents, which you will create, open and save at various stages. These three functions have associated keyboard shortcuts that work with most if not all the applications that you use regularly. I use the word document here to refer to anything that can be created or edited with software, whether that is a piece of music, an image or some other project.

New document
To create a new document (or in the case of web browsers - to open a new window) hold down the Ctrl key and press N. In some programs you may be asked whether you want to save your current work, this is because they only work with one document at a time.

Open document
To toggle the 'Open File' dialogue hold down the Ctrl key and press O. As with creating a new document, you may be asked to save your current work first.

Save document
To save your current document hold down Ctrl and press S. The first time you save your document the application will generally ask you for a file name to save it with, after that it will probably not give you any indication that it has saved your work.

This is probably the most important of the three as anyone who has lost work through Windows crashing, because of a power outage, or through some other calamity will tell you. Save regularly!

Sunday, 27 July 2008

The Seventh Carnival of Computer Help and Advice

Welcome to the seventh monthly Carnival of Computer Help and Advice. Here is another selection of some of the best blog posts offering aid with computer issues published in the last month. I would like to thank everyone who contributed. If you would like to host the next carnival leave a comment on this post or use the contact form over at our Blog Carnival page where you can also submit your blog posts for inclusion.

We shall start with a couple of posts about quality free software. Mastersystem at TipForge provides us with a set of CCleaner Tips to help us remove all those temporary files that gather on our hard-drives. Speaking of hard-drives, Jules lets us know about a Windows Defrag Alternative at

These two bloggers also offer advice about dealing with Windows problems: mastersystem explains Problem Reports and Solutions in Vista; while Jules shows How to Deal with Uninstall Problems in Windows.

First time contributor, Sai of American (Tech) Sai-ko submitted an excellent post, IE Cookies: Yum!, which contains everything you will ever need to know about cookies in Internet Explorer.

We will finish up with a pair of posts from two regular contributors to this carnival. Resident security expert, Paul Wilcox of Security Manor, gives advice on Removing Spyware From Your Computer and described The 3 Forms Of Computer Viruses. Digital imaging expert, Andrew Edgington, presents two more posts about Photoshop. The first explains about Changing Image Dimentions Using Adobe Photohop, and the second introduces Airbrushing.

See you next month.

Friday, 25 July 2008

Speak now or forever hold your peace... well until next month anyway

This is the last chance for somebody to volunteer to host this month's Carnival of Computer Help and Advice. If you would like to play host to this digest of some of the best of this month's blog posts that share their author's sagely wisdom leave a comment on this post, contact me through the carnival's web page, or use the Contactify facility in the left column on this page.

There are three options for hosting: first, I can forward you details of all the submitted articles and you can select around twelve of them and write the carnival post; second, I can select the best dozen or so articles and forward you the details of those; third, I will select the articles and write the host and all you have to do is post it on your blog on the 27th July (short notice, I know).

If nobody is interested in hosting this month's carnival, it will appear here in a couple of days time.

If you wish to host a future carnival then please contact me using one of the aforementioned ways.

Monday, 21 July 2008

Tweak UI: free MS Power Toy for Windows XP

I should start with an apology for not having posted anything here for a while. I have been rather busy for the last few weeks, but I am back now posting more PC help and advice starting with the most powerful of Microsoft's Power Toys for XP: Tweak UI.

You can download the software from here (or here if you have an Itanium™-based system).

Note: this software is designed for Windows XP (and 2003 Server), some users have reported some success with it on 32-bit versions of Vista, but not on Vista64.

Once downloaded and installed, Tweak UI (UI meaning 'user interface') will appear in your Control Panel. If you run it you will be presented with the following:

If you select a category from the tree-list on the left the right panel will show any relevant tweaks that can be made to the Windows interface. For example, Tweak UI offers some extra settings for the mouse. Click on the + next to 'Mouse' in the tree-list, and then click on 'Wheel' to see the following:

As you can see, I have chosen to use mouse wheel for scrolling 3 lines at a time. Notice that there is a description of what the tweak does, and that this change applies only to the user you are logged on with, not every user as some changes will. Browse through all the settings and see the other tweaks that you can make. Click the 'OK' button to apply the changes and close Tweak UI, or just click the 'Apply' button to see your changes in action while keeping Tweak UI open in case you wish to revert to your previous settings.

If you have any problems with or questions about Tweak UI feel free to leave a comment on this post. Happy tweaking!