The Bug Report
THE BUG REPORT
A monthly publication of
GS-BUG Inc. (c) copyright 1996.
Reproduction of any material herein by any means is expressly prohibited unless written permission is granted. Exception: Articles may be reprinted by other users groups in unaltered form if credit is given to the author and the original publication.
Editor - Kay Burton
GET IT BACK
RECYCLING PC COMPONENTS AND PARAPHERNALIA: Part 3
SOFTWARE LIBRARY NEWS
WHAT’S A BOT?
By Dr. John Hanson
1. Difference between AT and ATX
2. San Diego Conference
3. System Mechanic Utility
4. Why buy a clone?
5. Best buy computer
6. Power supply failures
8. Summer Computer Class
1. No one should buy an AT these days, especially since
ATX is the next evolution, is much better, and very inexpensive
if you know where to look. The easy way to tell is to look
at the back. If most of the connections are located together in the
upper left hand corner, it’s an ATX. The power supply should have
a switch on the back for safety. Be careful as some don’t.
If you look inside at the power supply you will see that the
connector that plugs into the mother board is long and
two pins across. The older AT had two separate
plugs. In the cluster at the back of the computer you should
see two USB slots and often next to it a RJ45 jack indicating the
network card is built in. Also look at the two nine pin
connectors. My favorites are one male and one female
with the female indicating that the video card is built in.
You will also see a parallel connector, a game port
and connections for sound.
By the way you can buy an excellent ATX case with a 400 watt power supply for only $20 at one of the computer shows. Avoid getting any with a funny looking floppy disk slot. You want two normal floppy slots. If the power supply has the name Deer on it see #6 below.
2. The South West Computer User Association has it’s annual meeting in San Diego on the Aug 9-11 weekend. If you have never been to one you should go. It only costs $40 and you get back many times that in food, software and other goodies. It is very well run, lots of fun and very educational. You can sign up on APCUG.net or get more details there. Talk to some of the members who have gone like Dr. Gary Sexton, Herman Krouse, Emmett Ingram, Virginia Pfiffner, Tom Tucknot, John Sellers or me. The Hilton Hotel rooms are only $99 this year, so if you share with someone it is a real bargain. People come from all over the West Coast.
3. System Mechanic Utility: Last month we had a terrific program by Francis Johnson, the technical director of the company that makes System Mechanic. It’s a pleasure to have a speaker who really knows his stuff. Altho he didn’t hold the mike close enough his words were so important you didn’t want to miss any. We should get a cordless mic that can be clipped on to his shirt as it is difficult for some members to hear his words clearly. Apparently other members were as impressed as I was and about 13 of us bought the program from his lovely assistant Daniele. Please pass along your comments as you try it. I was also impressed when Nuts and Bolts came out and then very disappointed when I tried it. It was just as bad as Norton Utilities after Symantec bought it. What a shame as Norton used to be the best until it was bought out by Symantec and became the pits. I am an eternal optimist so I wanted to give System Mechanic a fair chance. It lived up to its claims in that it recovered about 500 mb of temporary and back up files, etc. but it did it in a manner that did not please me. During the installation which was fairly good it asked for the User ID number and the serial number which is always burdensome but more so in this case as the numbers were printed very small and in a font where it is easy to mistake a six with an eight, etc. Apparently they didn’t test this with a normal, practical human. Another weak point they should fix, was in the installation where it asks what to do with the removed files. Fortunately it offers a choice of putting them in a folder and not in the recycle bin where they would be mixed with all sorts of other files. I elected the third choice of a folder but hadn’t prepared one in advance and it didn’t offer to create one for me as it should have. That annoyed me but wasn’t the worst thing. The worst was when I used the wizard to remove those extraneous files. It started normally and had a feature that showed it was doing something and then it appeared to freeze with just the hourglass showing and control of the computer was lost. I almost rebooted but decided to walk away and come back after a rest. It turns out that it was working and did remove all those to the new folder I had created this time in advance.
Then I looked at the duplicate files option and decided it was not a good deal as it would wipe out all of my duplicate fotos in Photoshop and maybe others where I wanted a duplicate. I was very impressed that Francis Johnson said the test for duplicate files was not just in the name, size, or date but in the content so that part is very good but there should be some way to exclude certain types of files like fotos or copies of files you have put on another drive for safety purposes. Was I pleased that I bought System Mechanic - Not really - but I would appreciate hearing from those of you who did buy it.
4. Why buy a clone? The most important reason is that you can get a very powerful and modern computer for about one third to half of what a name brand costs. You get more personal service if you have problems and very important is that clones are made of standard parts that are less expensive than parts made for the name brands. Brand name computer makers are always designing their machines so that you are dependent on them for parts and repairs. They even modify standard software to their own tastes, which can cause problems. Toshiba used to put their own version of DOS in my laptop which caused me lots of problems. When I say buy a clone you need to do some homework in order to get a good deal. The clone I am talking about is for a desktop computer. If you want a laptop then a clone may not be such good buy because of all the specialized parts required. Stick with a good brand like Dell or IBM. Never get a Gateway and be cautious of HP and Compaq. If you can’t afford a new one get a used Dell or IBM. Again do some homework as there are some good buys available. Just because HP makes terrific test equipment does not imply that they make good computers. That new woman CEO, Carly, has made a lot of loyal HP workers quite unhappy. Take Advisor.exe with you on a floppy and CDrom to see what’s inside. See #7.
5. Best Buy Computer: Advanced Computer on Western Ave. is still one of my favorites but there are other good ones if you want to drive across town. Advanced Computer has sold perhaps 10 to 15 computers to our members since October and all are very pleased. If you get one please keep me informed. Sonny, who used to take good care of us, has been replaced by Luong Lam, who says he will also be very good to us. Their number is 618-0928.
Prices have dropped since my last report. Their basic AMD Athlon value machine is only $269 and with the items I recommend for the Dr. Hanson special the cost is only $299 which includes a 40 GB hard drive. When buying, ask to be shown the list for the Dr. Hanson special and when you pick it up, instal and run Advisor.exe to see that you get every-thing you are paying for. For only $20 more you can advance from 900 mc to 1300 mc but don’t go any higher at this time.
Things change in the computer business and they can no longer get the case I recommend so I suggest investing $15 more to get an even better case that has two USB ports in front as well as sound ports. That’s the latest addvance so now you will have four USB ports, two in front and two in back which is ideal. It comes with a fast CDrom. If you want a burner, for a 32x12x40 with Nero software which can burn a CDrom in only three minutes. Look around, there may be better values in burners somewhere else as I haven’t checked this one out. I recommend keeping the provided CDrom even if you add the burner but you could save a little by just upgrading.
6. Power Supply Failures: I talked a little about this in my last article but here is some new information you should be aware of. Our power supply expert, Jack Burton, has analyzed several failed power supplies I gave him. All failed in the same spot indicating poor design at that point and all had the name “Deer” embossed into the metal case. They were all ATX supplies but I have no idea how recently they were manufactured and if new ones have the same potential failure weakness or have been improved I would guess that by this time the manufacturers know about the failure and have modified the design but there could be many of the old design in the pipeline so decide for yourself.
7. Advisor.exe: What a terrific program by Belarc.com! With only about 500 kb it easily fits on a floppy so you can check your own computer and those of your friends. It tells you all about your computer in about three pages of printed output. It even tells you how many memory slots you have and how much memory is installed in each with a few errors here and there. Of course you can do similar things with Sandra or System Suite but they are much bigger and more complicated. This one is so easy, even I can use it. Place it in your utility directory and then install with the run command. It puts a nice icon on your desktop so any time you want to know about your computer just double click on the icon. I print two copies. One I keep with the computer and one I put in a folder for my various computers.
Marian O’Donnell, one of the sharp students in my computer pair class, told me about it. I downloaded it over the Internet and gave Bob Hudak a copy for the club library. Even tho it is very small and easy to download you should still spend three dollars and get a copy from Bob at the next meeting. Call him in advance so he can reserve a copy for you. It’s fantastic. It even gives you the serial numbers of your software and not only a list of all your software but where it is in your system
8. Summer Computer Class: Its starts on july 8th at narbonne school on Western Ave from 5 to 8 on Tuesday - Thiursday or Monday - Wednesday. For Seniors, it's only $6. One of the classes will be all about digital imaging imaging and the other about making music CD's from your oldrecords, tapes or CD's with the music you want. the teacher is Mike Ochoa, who is very knowledgeable and makes learning lots of fun.
Editor’s Note: John Hanson is the inventor of Tooties, a superb self-teaching system used by millions in schools, homes, and by eye doctors around the world to improve vision. He also invented a new form of psychology called QET (Quick Effective Therapy) which transforms poor students into good students, almost overnight, usually in 5 to 15 days. He has also had outstanding success in helping brain damaged people, even years after their accident. Why go to therapy for years and spend lots of money when you can improve quite fast with QET? He uses computers to document his cases for his books so that others may benefit and improve their vision and other skills. Visit his web site at www.Tooties.com for more information.
By Frank Chao
This 47th article in the “Internet Talk” series is part of the fourth
newsletter that is being generated by Kay Burton, our energetic editor.
In additional to enhancing the look and feel of the paper version of this
newsletter, Kay has also implemented readability improvements to the Web-based
version of this publication, which is posted at the GSBUG website at http://gsbug.apcug.org
The Internet is a great way to get money-saving coupons. Read Jennifer Mulrean’s excellent article at http://moneycentral.msn.com/articles/smartbuy/dollarwise/9658.asp?special=summer Then go to some of the hyperlinks that are mentioned in the “Related Web Sites” sidebar to the left of the article. Print yourself some coupons and start saving some of your hard-earned money.
FIREWIRE HOME NETWORKING
Firewire, also known as IEEE 1394, is just beginning to emerge as a new way for people to network home computers together. At raw data speeds of 400 Megabits per second, Firewire is the fastest way that you can connect two computers together for a reasonable price.
The use of Firewire for home networks is described in http://www.homenethelp.com/network/firewire.asp
There are many limitations to the use of Firewire for peer-to-peer file sharing between Windows computers. However, it is worth your time to become knowledge about this cutting-edge technlogy.
Windows XP computers have native Firewire support: To network two Windows XP computer together using Firewire, just run the Network Setup Wizard on each computer and you should be able to share files in a peer-to-peer manner. Windows 98 and Windows ME computers usually do not have native Firewire support. To circumvent this problem, you can use Unibrain’s “Firenet” software: See http://www.unibrain.com/products/ieee-1394/firenet.htm to download a free evaluation copy of this software application.
The maximum cable length of a Firewire link between any two computers is 15 feet. Compare this to the 100-meter maximum cable length of an 10/100 Base-T (Ethernet) connection and you can see that Firewire is very distance-challenged.
RENEWING A BROADBAND INTERNET CONNECTION
If you have a DSL or cable modem connection to the Internet, and this connection is not working AND you are using DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) to assign IP addresses (which is true for 99 percent of broadband-connected computers), try releasing and then renewing your IP address assignments connection.This example also underscores the advantages of having some dialup Internet access capabilities, even if you have the latest and greatest DSL or cable modem connection for your computer. When your broadband (DSL or cable modem) Internet access is slow or inoperative, then your dialup Internet access serves as a redundant backup connection for the Internet.
AT&T PREPAID INTERNET SERVICE
If you are a real light user of dial-up Internet access AND Netzero and Juno do not have toll-free phone numbers that are available to you, AT&T’s PrePaid Internet Service might have a toll-free phone number for you to use. To learn more about this service, go to http://www.att.com/prepaidinternet/
According to this Website,AT&T’s PrePaid Internet Service is incompatible with both flavors of Windows XP, so it will only work with Windows 95, 98, ME, and 2000.At the end of May, I purchased a startup kit for $9.95. This package consists of a calling card and a CD-ROM with proprietary software. It allows me to use up 8 hours of dial-up Internet service over the next 12 months, with no additional charges. The calling card has a serial number and a PIN number that you have to enter when you use the CD-ROM to install the software. After installing the software on the CD-ROM, I ended up with an icon called “AT&T PrePaid Internet Service” on the “Desktop” of my Windows 98 computer. Since that time, I have logged on three times and each time, my V.92 modem was only able to connect at 28.8 kilobits-per-second to an AT&T modem that is located in Gardena. I will experiment with this Internet service and attempt to see if I can make a faster connection in upcoming months.
DUAL BOOTING AND MULTIPLE BOOTING
Using multiple operating systems on a single computer can enhance the amount of fun and utility that you get out of Internet.
If you are running Windows 95 or Windows 98 for your operating system: Click on the “Start” button. Click on “Run”. Type in winipcfg A dialog box entitled “IP Configuration” will pop up. Click on the “Okay” button. Click on the list pull-down arrow to select your Ethernet network adapter. Click on the “Release All” button. Click on the “Renew All” button. Click on the “Okay” button.
If you are running Windows 2000, use the “ipconfig” command from within a “command prompt” windows to accomplish the same thing.
When you boot up your Windows computer, it is supposed to obtain IP addresses from either your local Internet gateway box or your Internet Service Provider, depending on how your home network is configured.
Unfortunately, if this process fails, you will not be able to access the Internet.
Using “winipcfg” (for Windows 95 or 98) or “ipconfig” (for Windows 2000) lets you restart the process of getting IP address assignments and provides you with a workaround for the original failure of the DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Process).
To summarize, at this residence:
Internet access is provided by a cable modem which connects to D-link Internet Gateway which connects via a 10Base-T modular Ethernet cable to a Pentium 2.0 Gigahertz computer which connects via a Firewire cable to a Pentium 1.0 Gigahertz computer.
The bottom line is that a 400-Megabit per second Firewire link is used to connect two Windows XP computers together in order to facilitate Internet Connection sharing, file sharing, and printer sharing. Cool !!
More information about Firewire home networking will be provided in future articles.
WAYS TO CONTACT ME:
If you have any questions or problems, I can be contacted by the following methods: Leave a voice message for me at (310)768-3896. 2. Send me e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org 3. Send “snail” U.S. Postal Service mail to Frank Chao PO Box 6930 Torrance, CA 90504-0030. Or sell your computer and take up fishing instead !!
|SOFTWARE LIBRARY NEWS
By BOB HUDAK
If you missed out on picking up a copy of Jeff Levy’s computer lessons
last general meeting, make sure you see me at the Library table tonight.
Have your picture taken tonight for the new ID cards our membership chairman, Keith Decker,
is working on, if you have not done so al-ready. We are going to be able to get discounts on computer stuff at a number of venders. Gary Sexton is working on this. I am helping crop the pictures and made you all an offer that if you wanted a copy of your digital picture, I will put it on a disk for you for the usual Library fee. Order yours tonight. Our club computer got to the point that work was no longer possible on it. Windows booted whenever it wanted. I tried to save some work in Photo Shop and the program just quit. All work was lost. Many times a program would not even start. You get the picture. We decided the only thing to do was fdisk the hard drive and start over. A virus was working in the background so it was not safe to save any programs. The virus killed the virus scanning program in a way that I could not use it, delete it or reload it. There was so many good programs loaded over the years and all of a sudden everything is gone. It will take a lot of work to rebuild the system. Of course, if a good back-up was made now and then, a great deal of time would be saved. Finding the video driver and making it work took a week of spare time. Lost the driver or it was on the hard drive. Don’t know. It has been years since the system was put together. I want to get it back to being able to work on the ID pictures. Computers can eat up all your time if you are not careful. A Thanks to Norm Scheck for finding a new ISP that is really reasonable. Check out: http://www.bigzoo.com Less than $6 a month for 150 hours per month with 6 mo plan. Even cheaper with the Intro Offer. Sign up for six months and the seventh is FREE. Another plan is $1.99 a month for the first three months if you agree to stay on for another 6 months. You can sign for a month to give it a try. No banner ads and email of course. There is no setup fee at this time. Check it out. I hope all the raffle tickets for Windows XP are sold by now as the raffle is tonight. Run to the Library table and see if you can get in on this super chance. Only 30 chances are being sold. Max. Might end up being less. Support the club buy your Raffle TicketNOW!
RECYCLING PC COMPONENTS AND PARAPHERNALIA: Part
3 (Donation Options for Whole, Functional PCs)
by Lee Hudspeth
November 1, 2001
If you don’t want to keep a recyclable PC, and you would prefer to donate it rather than sell it, you can make the donation to a family member, friend, colleague, next-door neighbor, or a charitable organization (select from these different donee types in whatever order of preference works for you).
For some insight into the recycle/donation market, here is a summary of comments from Ken Goldstein, Ph.D., Founder and State Coordinator, Hawaii Computers for Kids Program (“CFK”).
Ken started CFK in 1992 as a grass roots organization, and he now uses the services of thousands of local volunteers. In 1996 CFK became a “signature project” of the Rotary Club of Metropolitan Honolulu; through the Rotary network, Ken can reach 1.2 million Rotary members around the world.
When an end-user donates a computer, he or she gets a formal donation receipt that is qualified for federal and state tax write-offs. For PCs less than two years old—if the donor is a corporation—a federal law allows the entire original cost of the machine as a write-off (the corporation gets the free use of that machine for two years, and still gets a full tax write-off).
The donation process works like this: donated PCs are rounded up by Helping Hands Hawaii (HHH), and are then distributed to one or more of 16 local high schools. Students at these schools have been trained to diagnose, repair/upgrade, and load new operating systems on these donated machines. Then CFK locates schools that need these ready-to-use computers. This has proven to be Ken’s most daunting task, as the Hawaii Dept. of Education does not currently have a system for easily finding needy end-users. Nonetheless, CFK has managed to move more than 10,000 computers from donors to schools to date.
The entire transcript of his comments are on my supplemental page.
“Share the Technology,” a nonprofit corporation, offers caveats for folks preparing to donate a PC. This is a MUST READ if you’re considering donating a PC.
TechSoup.org maintains a “Recycled and Refurbished Hardware” page that lists on line (and traditional) national and local hardware manufacturers and resellers that provide used hardware to non- profit organizations.
AnotheR BytE, Inc. (nonprofit) maintains a Non-Profit Computer Recycling Useful Links page. It’s extensive and you’ll find it to be very helpful; check it out:
My next article in this series will cover scrapping PCs.
Note: for those of you interested in recycling your PC media as I reported in Part 1 of this While it’s true that you can scrap a fully functional, obsolete PC, I encourage you to try and keep it in service if at all possible. This way someone continues to extract value from it as an operating device, not just scrap metal or spare parts, and this minimizes inefficient, premature recycling.
If the PC is not fully functional then you’ll need to make a judgment call. If the problems aren’t too severe, you may be able to repair the PC yourself for just a few dollars. Even with severe problems, there may be a market for it in the used component channel. If you’re fortunate to have a PC donation/recycling organization nearby, contact them and see if they accept dysfunctional PCs.
Here’s how to sanitize a whole, recyclable PC. Folks, always sanitize a PC before you sell it or give it to someone else, even if you’re giving it to a scrap heap! Boot into Windows and manually clear the Recycle Bin, clear your browser caches, delete proprietary data, delete password files, uninstall programs, delete Registry keys containing sensitive or confidential information, and so on. Then run a Windows-based You can reach Lee Hudspeth: mailto:LeeHudspeth@TheNakedPC.com
WHAT’S A BOT?
The word is derived from “robot”, and refers to a computer program that gathers information or performs a service, usually on some regular schedule. A bot (sometimes called an agent) typically searches the Internet, gathers information relevant to your interests, and presents it to you on a daily or other periodic basis. Bots gained notoriety on IRC (Internet Relay Chat) where they served such functions as greeting new participants, monitoring the use of offensive language, and sometimes being downright annoying. Today they retrieve information, and respond to events on Use net, the Web and other corners of cyberspace. While some bots silently roam the net at your bidding, others are interactive, such as chatterbots - the kind of bot you can talk to.
The first bot, Eliza, was created in 1966 by Professor Joseph Weizenbaum of MIT, to study natural language communication between man and machine. Eliza parodies a therapist by answering questions with questions. Here’s a conversation I had with Eliza:
Me: Hi there. I’ve got a few questions to ask...
Eliza: Please go on.
Me: Well, I think I have a drinking problem.
Eliza: But you are not sure you have a drinking problem?
Me: I’m sure. All my shirts are stained in front.
Eliza: Why do you say your shirts are stained in front?
Me: The dry cleaning bills are really getting out of hand.
Eliza: Would you like it if they were not getting out of hand?
Although Eliza is 36 years old, you can still try it out at http://www-ai.ijs.si/eliza/eliza.htm
ALICE (Artificial Linguistic Internet Computer Entity) is a more sophisticated program that creates the illusion of natural conversation. ALICE can even tell lies, spread gossip, and is credited with influencing several real world happenings. Try this one at
There are lots more interesting chatterbots, like BRIAN (a computer program that thinks it is an 18 year old college student), the John Lennon bot or Mr. Mind (you have to convince him you’re human). Visit them and many other chatterbots at
There are chatterbots that speak various languages (some can even EARN new languages) and bots that you can invite into a chat room.
Do you find yourself running the same search engine query on a regular basis? Let a bot take over. Are you tired of scanning the classifieds or shopping sites in search of the best deal? Send a bot to do your shopping. Here are some bots that do useful things for
TRACER LOCK offers free monitoring of search engines, stock market info, newsgroups, classifieds, auctions, employment sites, and personal ads. It emails you when it has found new matches for your search terms.
MINDIT - Monitor any Web page for specific changes and receive alerts on these changes via email, mobile phone or pager.
REMEMBERIT - This service will help you remember important dates such as birthdays, anniversaries, or whatever. You get an email to remind you of the event on the date you specify.
EYES - Helps you find recently published books on a certain topic.
SHOPPING Bots - Wanna find the lowest price without visiting dozens of shopping sites? Check out dozens of bots and intelligent agents that are waiting to help you.
INFOBEAT - News, Weather, Snow, Stocks, Sports, Entertainment. Your own personalized news delivered daily via e-mail.
INTERNET SEER remotely monitors your Web site and will send you an email message alerting you when your site is down.
LEARN MORE ABOUT BOTS
BotSpot is the place to go if you want to find bots or learn more. They classify bots and intelligent agents by subject, with reviews and historical perspectives. Maybe you’ll find a bot to automate some online activity that you do by hand today.
Well, I gotta go... I hear Bob coming down the hall. —Bob’s Bot
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GET IT BACK
How To Recover A File You Just Deleted
Whether you’ve only used computers for a few months or your first computer was an IBM PC you bought 20 years ago, you’ve probably inadvertently deleted a file. And it was probably an important file; Murphy’s Law guarantees it, right? Perhaps when this happened, you panicked. Maybe you began clicking and typing like mad, losing track of the steps you tried to recover the file. Then, you admitted failure and placed the blame squarely where you knew it belonged: on your computer.
While it might make you feel better to blame the computer and threaten it with a one-way trip out a 10th-story window, you’ll eventually realize the blame for the accidental deletion problem probably resides with you, the user. This isn’t a bad thing, though, because it means you also might have the power to fix the problem.
If you accidentally delete a file in the future, or if you just deleted one a few minutes ago, the first thing you must do is not panic. Don’t start clicking randomly. Instead, if you have a current backup copy of the file, calmly find the file on your backup media and reinstall it. Problem solved.
If you haven’t made a backup copy in a while, though, you can panic a little. (But only a little.) Depending on how long ago you deleted the file, and depending on what you’ve done on your computer in the interim, you still might have a good chance of recovering the file. The sooner you attempt calm, calculated file recovery efforts, the better your chances of success. Here are some steps you can try to recover files you’ve inadvertently deleted Undo It. If you recently deleted the file, you are using Windows 95 or newer, and you haven’t performed many other tasks on the computer after deleting the file, try undoing the deletion. In the program window from which you deleted the file, click the Edit menu. If you see an Undo Delete command available, click it to restore the deleted file.
Depending on which tasks you performed since deleting the file, you might see another type of Undo command, such as Undo Rename, under the Edit menu. If so, you might be able to click it and work backward through the various Undo commands to reach the Undo Delete command.
If the Undo command is dimmed and unavailable, you’ll have to try another step. Recycle Bin. In Win95 or newer, you can use the Recycle Bin feature. Unless you’ve changed the default settings, every time you delete a file from your hard drive, the Windows OS (operating system) places it in the Recycle Bin, which, in essence, is a holding spot for deleted files. When you choose to delete a file, Windows marks it as deleted on the hard drive but doesn’t remove it from your hard drive. Windows places the file name in the Recycle Bin, letting you access it later and restore it to your hard drive.
To see whether your deleted file is still available through the Recycle Bin, double-click the Recycle Bin icon on your Desktop and look through the list of files there. If you find your file, click it. (To select multiple files, hold down the CTRL key while clicking each file.) Then click the File menu and the Restore command. You can also right-click the file name and choose Restore from the pop-up menu to restore a single file quickly. Windows will return the file to its original directory location on your hard drive. (If you’ve also deleted the original directory, Windows will re-create it first.)
Any files deleted from your hard drive remain in the Recycle Bin and available for restoration until you empty it by right-clicking the Recycle Bin icon and choosing Empty Recycle Bin from the pop-up menu. Once you select that command, Windows will remove permanently all files marked for deletion from the hard drive. (Even the Undo command in the Recycle Bin window won’t bring the files back.)
If you can’t find your file in the Recycle Bin, it’s possible you’ve bypassed this feature in Windows. Right-click the Recycle Bin icon and choose Properties from the pop-up menu. In the Recycle Bin Properties dialog box, click the Global tab. Make sure no check mark appears in the checkbox to the right of the Do Not Move Files To The Recycle Bin command. This command tells Windows to bypass the Recycle Bin. (You can also bypass the Recycle Bin by right-clicking the file you want to delete and then holding down the SHIFT key while clicking the Delete command. If you used this method to delete your file, you won’t see it in the Recycle Bin, either.)added layer of protection against accidental deletion of files, you might want to place a check mark in the Display Delete Confirmation Dialog checkbox. While activating this command can be a hassle (each time you delete a file, Windows will ask you to confirm your choice), it’s a good guard against accidental deletions, such as when your 3-year-old son hits just the right keys to delete a file. With this command activated, he’d have to also hit the ENTER key to complete the deletion. Click OK to save the changes you made.
As a final note, files you delete from any removable media, such as a diskette or a CD-RW (CD-rewriteable), don’t travel to the Recycle Bin, even if you drag and drop them on the Recycle Bin icon. Instead, Windows immediately deletes such files. If you think you might change your mind about deleting a file from a removable media source, you’ll first need to copy the file from the removable media to your hard drive and then delete the file from both locations. You can later try to use the Recycle Bin to restore the file to your hard drive
Find Feature. Because many software programs automatically save files as you’re working, a copy of the file might be stored on your hard drive without your knowledge. For example, in Microsoft Word, you can click the Tools menu and Options followed by the Save tab to configure Word’s automatic save feature.
Usually, the software will store such files as temporary files (with a .TMP extension) or with an altered file name, meaning it might not be obvious to you that the file name you’re looking at is a copy of your deleted file. These temporary files probably won’t contain the last edited version of your file; instead, they probably will contain a portion of the file. Unfortunately, Windows usually clears out such .TMP files each time you reboot your computer, meaning you’ll need to find and restore the file before the next time you reboot. The software program itself could clear its temporary files when you close the program, too.
Try using the Find command in Windows to search your hard drive for any copies of the file you might not know about. (You’ll find this command by clicking Start.) In the Find dialog box, type the name of the file you want to find in the Named text box and click Find Now. Make sure to select My Computer in the Look In text box and make sure to mark the Include Subfolders checkbox before clicking Find Now to perform a thorough search.
To give yourself a better chance of finding the file, you might want to use wildcards. (In a text string, a wildcard represents all possible characters.) For example, if your file is named “letter for grandma.doc,” you might want to type lett* in the Named text box to find all files that begin with lett and end with any set of characters (as represented by the asterisk wildcard). This method will probably return many more results than if you searched for the exact file name, but it will give you a better chance of finding the file.
When software performs an automatic save, it might truncate or alter the file name, meaning you wouldn’t be able to find it by searching for the exact file name. If using a wildcard returns too many results, you can use more characters in the search, such as “letter for *” in our example. (When searching for a file name with spaces in it, use quotation marks around the search string to limit the results to file names containing that exact phrase.) Because some programs might change the first few characters of the file name when doing an automatic save, if your initial searches don’t yield any results, try searching for a portion of the middle of the file name, such as typing *tter* in the dows run more smoothly and lessen the chance of a system crash that could inadvertently corrupt or delete an open file. Some of the more common options are Norton Utilities 2002 from Symantec (http://www.symantec.com) and McAfee EasyRecovery from McAfee (http://www.mcafee.com). Such utility software isn’t for everyone, but it can give you some peace of mind.
Watch for viruses. Certain viruses, which are rogue programs looking to cause annoyances or destroy data on your computer, could erase your personal data files or corrupt them. You should have anti virus scanning software running on your PC at all times, especially if you’re a frequent Internet user. For broadband Internet users, personal firewall software is a must, too.
Tune up your hard drive. Make sure your hard drive is in top condition at all times by running ScanDisk and Disk Defragmenter, which are built-in Windows programs. These programs will help your hard drive run more efficiently and will catch potential problems on your hard drive before they cause a major loss of data. Click Start, Programs, Accessories, and System Tools to gain access to these programs. You will probably want to run these programs at least monthly; frequent computer users may want to run them two to four times per month.
Free hard drive space. The more free space your hard drive has, the better chance your deleted file will still be in the Recycle Bin when you attempt to recover it. If your hard drive is nearly full, Windows will permanently delete the oldest files from the Recycle Bin, as it needs additional hard drive space to save new files. Try to keep at least 10% of your hard drive space free at all times.
Make backups. How often have you heard that mantra? But a recent backup copy of your important data files is your best defense against accidental deletion of a file. You can make a backups in a variety of ways: To a diskette, to a Zip disk, to a CD-RW, to another computer on your network, or even to a Web-based data storage area..
After-the-fact help won’t help you recover that last-minute term paper the dog managed to delete by hitting the perfect series of keys while walking across the keyboard. However, it will help ensure that the next time Fido “helps” you with your computing, the results won’t be so damaging . . . to your files or to the physical well-being of the computer that resides in your 10th-story apartment.
by Kyle Schurman , SMART COMPUTING