Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

For Emergency Repairs, You Need This Disc

Should the worst happen, and your computer decides to give you some white text on a black screen (saying essentially gibberish words, like, “Stop Error 0x0000005a” or “IRQ not less than or equal to”) instead of “booting” into your Windows Desktop like normal, you’re probably going to start panicking.

Well, yes. A certain amount of panic is probably justified. You quite probably have a rather serious “glitch”. Take a breath, and take comfort in the fact that there are Pros who can help you, (shameless plug: such as myself) and if you have the right tools you might be able to repair Windows yourself.. and get a working computer again.
And by “right tools”, that typically means a “boot disc”. And – typically – that means the “Windows Install” disc.

Before you do anything else today, please do this: find the discs that came with your computer.

Do you see a “Windows″ or “System Recovery” disc? No? Not surprising. Most PC makers are using a recovery partition these days (see, About the Recovery (D:) Drive). 
[note:
The “recovery partition” option wipes your hard drive, (aka “Drive C:”) and reverts the machine to the factory-condition state –> total data loss. All your updates and installed programs — gone. Thanks, manufacturers! *]

If you have a Windows 7 PC, you’re in luck: you can make a “boot disc” which includes an automated startup (“boot up”) repair tool, some repair/diagnostic tools, and the ability to access a System Restore point and revert your system to an earlier (working) time. (see, My favorite Life Saver flavor? System Restore).

If your PC is older: I have to opine, you really should upgrade to Windows 7 for security reasons if nothing else (see: It is time to face facts and finally dump Windows XP.) and also say that there is no reason (I can see) to wait for Windows 8 (unless you are planning on getting a touchscreen/tablet..). And I can tell you that to get a “boot disc” appropriate for your machine, you should click here: How To Get Windows Re-Install Discs.

The disc you’re about to make will give you important “recovery” options, that can get your computer working again.

So if you have a partition and not a disc. Remedy that now. All you need is a blank CD or DVD.

Step 1) Click the Start button and type repair into the Search box. The top result is what you want to click – “Create a System Repair Disc”.

repair

2) Your optical drive should be detected (if not, use the ‘drop-down arrow’ to select your CD/DVD drive). Click “Create disc”.

repair2

The drive tray should open, so put in your blank disc…

repair3

After a few moments, the tray should open (“eject”) and you will now have a “bootable” System Recovery disc…

repair4

.. and a powerful tool for repairing your computer in the event of serious errors. You need to make this disc BEFORE you need it.. though I hope you never will.

In case I wasn’t clear: do it now.

[note: To use this disc, and make repairs, you will need to “boot” to it. If you don’t know how to do that, see How to boot from a CD ]

Kudos to Microsoft for making this tool a part of Windows.

* Utter, snide, facetiousness. A terrible move; and whoever decided that should be ashamed. And fired. IMHO.

Today’s quote:He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.”  ~Epictetus

Bonus: As a reward for reading down this far, I will explain a bit of Geekspeak you may have seen but not recognized (maybe you have) “disc” – with a “c” – is an optical disc, which you probably think of as a “CD” or “DVD”. When it’s spelled with a “k” (“disk”), they’re talking about hard drives.. usually the storage inside your machine.

Bonus bonus: Amazon has a list of hundreds of up to 50% off gifts for dad (aka “a sale”).

Copyright 2007-2012 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

June 4, 2012 Posted by | advice, computers, how to, Microsoft, PC, troubleshooting, Windows 7 | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How To Add Images And Color In Your Holiday Letters

Word Tricks Makes Letters Merrier

It is the Holiday time of year. (Is it just me, or did 2010 pass-by rather quickly?) Each year at this time, I post this article which demonstrates some tricks to make your Season’s Greetings letters more joyous, and your documents more visually interesting.

Tip of the day: Add some festivity to your documents with fonts and color. MS Word has a lot of features and options built into it that allows for some very creative elements to be added to your correspondence, and is not at all limited to cold, “professional” documents. I’ll use Word for this demo, but you can do this in most text editors, and e-mail programs.

Today I’m going to use a hypothetical holiday greeting letter to show how to add some fun. By default, Word sets the font to Times New Roman at 12 “points” in height. I have typed in my text, to get things started, and will demonstrate using this letter’s “opener”. As it is a header, I have “centered” the text. 1.jpg

As you can see, this font and text does not quite convey the joy and cheer and “best wishes” I am hoping to express. In fact, this may as well say, “Memo from Giganti Corp.” Yawn! So first thing I’m going to do is ‘tweak’ the font style, and make some word bigger (louder), to express a less formal tone. 2.jpg

I “highlighted” Season’s Greetings, and used the Font drop-down arrow and selected a cursive font– Lucida Handwriting (explore Words various fonts, and find the one you like best). I set the point size to 36. I repeated the process on the second sentence, but set the type smaller.. only 18. I think you’ll agree, this is much more “friendly” than the default’s look. But this is just not Festive enough! Let’s use some color and improve things some more. 3.jpg

I have again “highlighted” season’s greetings to select this font, and then clicked the Font Color button on the Formatting toolbar (If this is not showing, click here to read how to customize your toolbars). I then clicked on the little red box in the color-picker. Now season’s greetings is red. I want to alternate letters in green, so I hold down the Ctrl key and use my mouse to “select” every other letter. 4.jpg I didn’t really like the greens available on the color-picker, so I clicked on “More Colors”…. 5.jpg
… and selected a green that contrasted nicely with the red– as the box in the lower right corner shows. This is the result of these steps. 6.jpg

Much more jolly! But, something’s missing… 9.jpg

Let’s add one more thing– a picture of a candy cane. I went on the Internet and found a Royalty-free graphic (though a piece of Clip Art would do just as nicely) and…10.jpg

Voila!I could ‘go crazy’, and get carried away with adding things here… but I hope you will be able to see by this little demonstration — using only two of Word’s functions — that you are limited only by your own creativity, and that it’s easy to personalize and ’spice up’ your documents.

Copyright 2007-2010 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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December 9, 2010 Posted by | advice, computers, Digital Images, how to, MS Word, tech, word processors | , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Add Festivity to Your Holiday Letters

Word Trick Makes Letters Merrier

It is the Holiday time of year. (Is it just me, or did 2009 pass-by rather quickly?) Today I’m going to demonstrate some tricks to make your Season’s Greetings letters more joyous, and your documents more visually interesting.

Tip of the day: Add some festivity to your documents with fonts and color. MS Word has a lot of features and options built into it that allows for some very creative elements to be added to your correspondence, and is not at all limited to cold, “professional” documents. I’ll use Word for this demo, but you can do this in most text editors, and e-mail programs.

Today I’m going to use a hypothetical holiday greeting letter to show how to add some fun. By default, Word sets the font to Times New Roman at 12 “points” in height. I have typed in my text, to get things started, and will demonstrate using this letter’s “opener”. As it is a header, I have “centered” the text. 1.jpg

As you can see, this font and text does not quite convey the joy and cheer and “best wishes” I am hoping to express. In fact, this may as well say, “Memo from Giganti Corp.” Yawn! So first thing I’m going to do is ‘tweak’ the font style, and make some word bigger (louder), to express a less formal tone. 2.jpg

I “highlighted” Season’s Greetings, and used the Font drop-down arrow and selected a cursive font– Lucida Handwriting (explore Words various fonts, and find the one you like best). I set the point size to 36. I repeated the process on the second sentence, but set the type smaller.. only 18. I think you’ll agree, this is much more “friendly” than the default’s look. But this is just not Festive enough! Let’s use some color and improve things some more. 3.jpg

I have again “highlighted” season’s greetings to select this font, and then clicked the Font Color button on the Formatting toolbar (If this is not showing, click here to read how to customize your toolbars). I then clicked on the little red box in the color-picker. Now season’s greetings is red. I want to alternate letters in green, so I hold down the Ctrl key and use my mouse to “select” every other letter. 4.jpg I didn’t really like the greens available on the color-picker, so I clicked on “More Colors”…. 5.jpg
… and selected a green that contrasted nicely with the red– as the box in the lower right corner shows. This is the result of these steps. 6.jpg

Much more jolly! But, something’s missing… 9.jpg

Let’s add one more thing– a picture of a candy cane. I went on the Internet and found a Royalty-free graphic (though a piece of Clip Art would do just as nicely) and…10.jpg

Voila!I could ‘go crazy’, and get carried away with adding things here… but I hope you will be able to see by this little demonstration — using only two of Word’s functions — that you are limited only by your own creativity, and that it’s easy to personalize and ’spice up’ your documents.

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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December 1, 2009 Posted by | advice, computers, how to | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments