[AI] Your questions answered

Sanjay ilovecold at gmail.com
Fri Jun 11 03:00:27 EDT 2010


Expert computing advice 

Chris Byers tackles readers' hardware and software conundrums 


Q I reinstalled Adobe Creative Suite 4.0 (CS4) on my newly upgraded Windows 7
PC.  When I launch Photoshop I get the error message: 'The program can't
start because dbghelp-xfw.dll is missing from your computer.  Try reinstalling
the program to fix this problem'.  The message is headed 'Owl Orphanage
Photoshop.exe'.  After exiting the dialog box it starts up normally.

I've tried reinstalling the suite and repairing both Photoshop and Windows 7
installations, all to no avail.  A system scan reveals nothing and no other
programs are affected.

Ken Brown 

First, download and install Adobe's Support Advisor (
adobe.com/support/creativesuite).  Also ensure that CS4 is fully patched.  If
the error persists, running Photoshop in Compatibility Mode may fix the problem.
Right-click its desktop or Start menu shortcut and choose Properties, then
Compatibility.  Tick the box next to 'Run this program in compatibility mode
for', select Vista SP2 and click Apply, Ok.

Also ensure that your system files are correctly registered.  Click Start, type
CMD and, from the results list, right-click CMD and select 'Run as
Administrator'.  Type sfc/scannow at the Command Prompt.

Selectively uninstalling any Photoshop plug-ins you used in a previous version
of Windows may also help, since several users have reported incompatibilities
with the new platform.  Eliminating the unhappy plug-in should rid you of the
error message.


Q I recently transferred some files to my new Vista PC, including a 268KB
spreadsheet that now appears in Excel 2007 as a 101KB .xlsx document.  I've
been able to open this file and work on it without problems on several
occasions, but the last time I tried it contained no data - yet it still
consumes 101KB.  Where has my data gone?

Peter Attridge 

It's unlikely that the data has disappeared completely, Peter.  But, assuming
that the data isn't simply hiding on a different worksheet (check the tabs at
the bottom of the window), you'll need to hunt it down.

Also check that no workbook pages are hidden from you.  Click the Home tab, then
choose Cells.  Now click the Format tab and, under Visibility, click Hide &
Unhide, Unhide Sheet.  Double-click the name of the hidden sheet that you want
to display.  Note that you can unhide only one worksheet at a time.

If the data is still missing, open the workbook and press Ctrl, F to open the
Find and Replace window.  Select 'Workbook' from the 'Within' drop-down
menu and 'Values' under 'Look in'.  Enter a keyword that you know is
included in the 'Find what' field.


Q In A fresh Outlook (Nov 09 issue, page 104), Richard Perry was using Outlook
but receiving error messages about compacting mail from Outlook Express.  You
recommended uninstalling Outlook Express from the Add/Remove Windows Components
in the Control Panel's Add/Remove Programs applet.

I have the same problem but I'm unable to find Add/Remove Windows Components
in XP Pro.


There's no reason why it shouldn't be there, Harry.  Go to Add/Remove
Programs and look for the Windows components link in the left panel just below
Add New Programs.



Q I've lost the music that was stored on my iPod.  I'm unable to see the
content either in iTunes or when the iPod is attached to my PC as an external
storage drive.

Terry Gibbon 

You don't say which operating system you're using with iTunes, Terry, nor
which iPod you've got.  However, I recommend you first uninstall iTunes,
reboot the computer and then download and install the latest version of the
software.  Updating this application should prompt the iPod to seek out files
previously stored on it and cause it to resynchronise itself with the library.

Several paid-for iPod recovery applications exist, including Recover My iPod (
recovermyipod.com).  Run a free scan; if the utility is able to locate your
missing music files, you'll need to pay ukp24 to activate the full program and
get your music back.

If neither option turns up results, the next stage is damage limitation.  Run a
search for .mp3 and .aac files on your computer and check My Documents, My Music
for an iTunes folder.  You can manually reimport any folders and albums stored
here, although you can't drag-and-drop tracks directly on to the iPod.

It's also possible to log into your iTunes account and re-download any tracks
you bought via the iTunes Store (you'll need to be using a PC that iTunes
associates with your device).  But you'll need to re-rip any CD albums
originally stored on the iPod.


Q I encountered a problem with Roxio Creator 2009 and was thereafter unable to
play CDs and DVDs on my PC.  System Restore proved a handy fix at first, letting
me roll back the PC to before the fault occurred.  However, this no longer

Ronald Hanson 

First, check in Control Panel, System, System Protection to see whether your
hard drive is marked as being protected.  If it isn't, click Configure to
enable protection.

Several conditions can cause System Restore points to be deleted without you
being informed.  A lack of storage space, you temporarily turning off System
Restore or the restore point being more than 90 days old will do it.  Malware
may also disable System Restore, preventing you from easily getting around the


Q Neither of my two DVD drives has worked since I installed Norton. 

I get the error message: 'Windows cannot start this hardware device because
its configuration information (in the Registry) is incomplete or damaged.  (Code
19)'.  Both drives appear in Device Manager with an exclamation mark next to
their listing.  I've already tried uninstalling and reinstalling the latest

Peter Gladston 

Open Device Manager, right-click any drives with a warning triangle next to them
and select Uninstall.  Next go to Start, Run and type regedit.  Press Enter.

Locate the string Hkey_Local_Machine\ System\CurrentControlSet\Control\
Class\{4D36E965-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BExxxxx}.  There may be several of these;
your drive should be the first listed.

Expand the string, right-click the LowerFilters entry and choose Delete.  Repeat
this process for the UpperFilters entry.  Now reboot your PC.

Without pressing any keys other than those required to log in, you should see
Windows reinstall your drives with the correct settings.  Be sure to back up the
Registry before performing this procedure.


Q I upgraded my Windows XP PC to Vista and was prompted to install the latest
version of MSN Messenger.  This downloads correctly and begins to install, but
gets to a certain point and begins to roll back the process.  I've tried
defragging the hard drive, turning off Norton and using CCleaner to clear out my
Registry.  Nothing has worked.

Allan Ward 

This is no surprise, Allan.  MSN Messenger is years out of date and unlikely to
be compatible with Vista.  First, check that the current version has been
uninstalled.  Go to Control Panel, Programs, scroll down to MSN Messenger (it
may be listed as a Windows Component) and uninstall it.  Reboot the PC, navigate
to Program Files and delete any Messenger entries still present.

Next, navigate to the Windows Live Essentials site ( download.live.com) using
Internet Explorer.  Download any of the various elements of the Live suite you
want.  Note that it may take some time to download and install.  Once it's
installed, simply load up Live Messenger and log in.


Q I upgraded my Vista PC to run Windows 7 and replaced my old ADSL modem with a
wireless router.  In Vista, a window used to pop up allowing me to disconnect
from the web; with Windows 7 I have to pull the phoneline out of the back of the
router.  This doesn't seem right.

Roger Ponsford 

You now have what's known as an 'alwayson' internet connection, Roger.
Whereas you previously needed to tell Windows to manually disconnect from the
web, your router now handles this for you.  As far as Windows is concerned,
you're connected to a network until you turn off the router.

There are several advantages of an always-on connection.  Depending on the
settings you've specified, your security software can update itself whenever
it needs to, email will automatically download and Windows will quietly download
updates without you telling it to do so.  Provided Windows is fully patched and
your security software is kept up to date, you have nothing to fear from such a


Q When I turn on my PC, my ADSL modem reports that no network or internet
connection has been found.  A red cross appears in the Taskbar and the network
adapter doesn't appear in Device Manager.  If I restart the PC, however, the
connection works perfectly.

I have installed the latest updates for my ethernet controller and have
experimented with different maximum transmission unit (MTU) and speed/ duplex
settings.  It seems there is a setting in Windows that needs altering to find
the network adaptor at the initial startup - a problem not remedied by an
upgrade to Windows 7.

Jeff Wilkinson 

If your ethernet controller is integrated into your motherboard then you should
also obtain the latest Bios and firmware updates for this component, Jeff.  If
the network controller remains invisible to your machine after a reboot, it
could be faulty.

Microscopic cracks in the solder or components themselves can cause such an
error.  However, after the computer has warmed up the metal components will
expand slightly, allowing them to connect correctly.  This kind of fault is very
common at this time of year, as plummeting temperatures can put extra pressure
on electrical components at a microscopic level.

If you suspect that this may be the problem, disable the existing network
controller in the Bios and install a new network interface card.  Such an
upgrade costs about ukp10 for a branded version.

We don't advise altering your MTU settings without knowing exactly what
you're doing or being advised to do so by your ISP when troubleshooting your
connection.  These settings affect your broadband connection, and tweaking the
MTU won't be able to correct a failing network controller.  If anything, it
could make the situation worse.


Q My Lexmark X2550 multifunction printer refuses to print documents from my
Vista computer, although printing presents no problem from my Windows XP
machine.  I get the error message: 'App4R.exe has stopped working' and the
printer program refuses to start.  Can you offer any suggestions, please?

CH Lucas 

This error message relates to the bundled Lexmark Imaging Studio suite.  This
software was written for Windows XP and no updated version is available from the
company's website for use with Vista.  Unfortunately, this often happens with
older hardware and software.  You'll need to run the Lexmark Imaging Studio in
Compatibility Mode.

Go to Start, Program Files and right-click the app's shortcut.  Now choose
Properties, Compatibility, tick the box next to 'Run this program in
Compatibility Mode for' and select 'Windows XP (Service Pack 3)'.  Press
Apply, Ok and reboot the PC.

If this doesn't solve the problem, you may have to uninstall the program and
use Vista's own print and scanning tools.


Q I've archived my photos and other files that I don't need to access
frequently to an external backup drive.  That drive is now full.  What do you
suggest I do now so I can continue to back up my PC and ensure I won't lose
anything if its hard drive fails?

Jason Raines 

You could buy a more capacious hard drive than your current one, copy all your
files to it and then delete everything from the current backup drive.  Invest in
a backup drive that comes with associated software that performs incremental
backups, overwriting any older versions of files to eliminate duplicates.  If
it's important data at stake, consider starting over with a Raid setup or a
dual-backup approach where one backup set is complete and the secondary one is
an incremental backup.

Alternatively, you could check through the files backed up on the external
drive, identify any that never or only rarely change and burn those to DVD for
permanent archiving, thus freeing up space on your backup drive.

Yet another option is to start using a web backup service that automatically
recognises older files and only keeps the newest versions of a file.  MozyHome (
mozy.com) and Rebit (rebit.com) are good options.  If it's photos taking up
the bulk of the space, an online gallery that will store everything for free as
long as you buy the occasional photo print could be a good bet.

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