iTunes Problems After Abrupt Windows Shutdown 

by on September 30, 2007

Q: I was running iTunes one day when my computer shut down all by itself. When I started the computer back up and tried to start iTunes again I started getting an error message that said something like “an unknown error occurred (-50)”. What can I do to get iTunes running again?

A: Sometimes when Windows is shut down improperly, files and applications can be damaged. The easiest way to fix iTunes would be to uninstall it and install the newest version. First go to the iTunes site and download the newest version of the software. Remove the current version of iTunes using Add/Remove Programs in the Control Panel. This will not delete your music from where you have it saved. Install the new version of iTunes you downloaded, and add your music back into iTunes once the installation is complete. Don’t forget to configure it according to your preferences.

 
 

Upgrading RAM 

by on September 29, 2007

Q: Is there a product that will allow me to convert two DIMM slots to four using a piggy back component of some sort like they had in the old days?

A: We searched high and low and could not find any such component available. That does not mean one is not available it just means it is going to be difficult to find. If you want to convert your four 512MB DIMM’s into two 1GB DIMM’s you have two other options. The first one is to go to a local computer show and bring your RAM. There will be RAM vendors and depending on the quality of your RAM they might allow you to trade in your RAM for new RAM. There will be a slight cost associated with doing this, in most cases, but it will be less expensive than buying the RAM and having your old RAM sitting around and doing nothing.

Your next option is to try to sell the RAM on ebay, craigslist, or some other method. This will allow you to get some money for your old RAM and you can use that money to upgrade your system to have more RAM.

 
 

Questions About Upgrading From Windows 98 

by on September 28, 2007

An Into Tomorrow listener submitted the following question!

Q: I would like to know if I update my windows 98 to 2000 or later, will I lose the games, pictures, etc that I have saved or purchased over the years?

A: If your system is running Windows 98, it must be several years old and there is no guarantee that it will be able to run any of the newer versions of Windows. You should check the minimum System Requirements for the Operating System you are planning to install before making any attempt to perform an upgrade.  Microsoft no longer supports Windows 2000 because it is so old, so you may want to consider installing Windows XP. Unfortunately, this may require the purchase of an entirely new computer (which will likely come with Windows XP or Windows Vista), because the System Requirements for Windows XP are much greater than those for Windows 98. Many of the applications that ran on Windows 98 did not run on Windows 2000 or Windows XP so you should also consult the software manufacturer’s web sites to see if there are versions available for newer versions of Windows.

Before you begin an attempt to upgrade an Operating System, you should always back up all of your data to an external source (CD, DVD, Flash Drive, or External Hard Drive). This way you will not lose your data.

 
 

System Keeps Booting Into Safe Mode 

by on September 28, 2007

Q: We have a Windows XP computer that the whole family uses and some how we started to get pop-ups on it, which seemed to have caused the computer to boot into “Safe Mode”. We are unable to figure out how to get the computer out of “Safe Mode”, can you please help?

A: In order to leave Windows Safe Mode, you should reboot your computer as you would normally (Start > Shutdown > Reboot). If your computer refuses to boot back into Windows normally and continues to enter Safe Mode, there could be problems with the Operating System. You should try using System Restore to return you PC to a previously healthy state. Essentially you will need to click on Start > Programs > Accessories > System Tools > System Restore, then follow the instructions to return your system to a time or day before your family experienced the pop-ups. Once the system reboots you should be able to boot Windows into normal mode.

If you are unable to restore your system to a previous working state, you may consider backing up your data and running a Repair Installation of Windows.

 
 

Questions About Processor Upgrades 

by on September 27, 2007

Q: Is it possible to upgrade from an Intel Celeron to an Intel Core 2 Duo processor?

A: In order to determine what kind of processor upgrade your motherboard can accommodate, you will need to refer to the documentation that came with it or contact your motherboard manufacturer’s support department. It is unlikely, however, that your current motherboard will be able to accommodate a current dual core processor. If you would like to upgrade to a specific processor, you should research motherboards that accommodate it and buy a compatible one.

 
 

How Does DRM Work? 

by on September 27, 2007

An Into Tomorrow listener submitted the following question!

Q: I just bought a new computer with Vista Home and am wondering is what Digital rights management technology does? I am also wondering if I download torrents if my IP address will get sent to the RIAA due to this new DRM.

A: Digital Rights Management (DRM) is any technology that controls access to media or information based on copyright restriction. Digital Video, Music, and eBooks are most commonly managed with DRM technology. In order to play or use any item that is protected by DRM, you need to own the rights to use it. For instance, most music purchased through the iTunes Music Store is controlled via Apple’s Fairplay DRM. In order to play these items, you must provide your login credentials for the iTunes Music Store as authorization. You are also only able to play these items on a limited number of iPods and computers. If you have downloaded any items protected by DRM that you do not have the rights to use, you will be unable to play them.

If you have been downloading a lot of items that you do not own licenses to via Torrent sites, using them places you in violation of their respective License Agreements. It stands to reason that if you were reported to the authorities, software companies, RIAA, or MPAA, you could be in a substantial legal trouble. To avoid this, you should investigate purchasing licenses for the software you have downloaded, as well as purchasing legitimate copies of any movies or music you have downloaded.

 
 

How to Convert DVD Video to iPod Video 

by on September 26, 2007

Q: What is the best download for an iMac to convert DVDs to video that works on an iPod?

A: The easiest way to extract DVD video to a format that can be played on an iPod is by using an application called Handbrake. There is a tutorial on how to configure Handbrake to extract and convert DVD video, and how to sync it to your iPod. Since Handbrake is Freeware there will be no additional software cost. Before beginning, make sure that your Mac meets the minimum system requirements, otherwise video conversion could be very slow, or the resulting video could be of a reduced quality.

 
 

What Anti-Spyware Applications Should I Use? 

by on September 25, 2007

Q: I have Windows XP Home Edition and I want to know what the best anti-spyware software is to buy? I believe I have contracted a spyware, adware, or malware program on my computer because I have lost access to my administrative duties and I cannot locate the add and remove programs nor my Control Panel. Can you please advise me which is best?

A: There are many anti-spyware applications on the market, but some of the best ones are free. Spybot Search & Destroy, Adaware, and Spyware Blaster are three applications that are actively used by IT Professionals to diagnose and rid systems of spyware. Adaware and Spybot are applications that you must run regularly to clean your system of spyware, tracking cookies, and malware. Spyware Blaster is an application that attempts to block spyware from attaching itself to your system. Using all three of these applications on your system will certainly keep your system clean and safe. If you switch to Firefox from Internet Explorer, you will also vastly reduce the amount of spyware and malware infections on your PC.

 
 

Difficulty Replacing CD/DVD Drive 

by on September 25, 2007

Q: I installed a replacement CD/DVD writer unit as a replacement for my DVD/CD-ROM drive that bit the dust. My computer does not recognize the new drive and it also does not find the CD burner that was attached either. My computer runs Windows XP and any help would be greatly appreciated.

A: There are a few things you need to check to make sure that your drives will show up in Windows. First you need to make sure that the new drive you installed is jumpered correctly. The documentation that came with the drive should tell you how to place the jumpers on the drive depending on where you plug it into the IDE chain. You will want to try to remember the best you can, if you removed the IDE cable from your CD burner and if you did you will want to try to set that cable up the way it was previously.

You will want to double-check your CD burner to make sure it has the correct jumper settings. If both of them are plugged into the same IDE cable, only one can be jumpered as the Master device, while the other device would need to be configured as a Slave or Cable Select. Follow the instructions that came with your new CD/DVD writer to adjust the settings accordingly. You should also make sure that the IDE cable is plugged tightly into the motherboard and into each of the devices connecting to it. If you need additional assistance, contact Dell support and they should be able to walk you through it on the phone. If you are still having difficulty or require additional assistance, there are technicians at Best Buy, Circuit City, and CompUSA who will be able to assist you for a fee.

 
 

How to Convert SVG Files to JPEGs 

by on September 24, 2007

An Into Tomorrow listener submitted the following question!

Q: I run Windows on my computer and am trying to figure out how to convert an SVG file, from Inkscape, to a JPG file so I can upload them onto the internet.

A: The easiest way to convert SVG files to JPG files would be to use a converter. Fileformat.info provides a web based file converter that will allow you to convert SVG files to JPG, PNG, or TIFF files. You could also do a Google search for SVG to JPG converter and you will find a variety of applications capable of doing the conversion. The vast majority of them, however, are not free. You will need to determine whether or not you need to purchase one for your purposes.