Of Halves And Sixteenths

Published Date
01 - May - 2006
| Last Updated
01 - May - 2006
Of Halves And Sixteenths
Q.We manufacture in millimetres, but our customers need measurements in inches. I've used formulas to determine the inches, but when I format a cell for fractions, Excel does not give me the least common denominator. I measure to the level of 1/16 of an inch, but "half an inch" looks like "8/16" in my spreadsheets. How do I get around this?
Inder Kohli

There are many options in the "Fraction" category of Excel's number formatting. It seems to us that you've chosen the "As sixteenths" option. This, taken literally, means every fraction is rounded to the nearest sixteenth, and is then displayed in sixteenths-as in 8/16 instead of ½.

One option is to choose "Up to two digits," in which case you would see 1/2 rather than 8/16. The drawback is that you would also see fractions such as 51/82! You may therefore need to create a new column to display your values in sixteenths. If the base value is in cell A1, the function "=MROUND(A1/2.54,0.0625)" would give the value rounded to a sixteenth. After applying the formula, format the cell with "Up to two digits."

Shoo, Doggie!
Q. I use Windows XP Professional. Whenever I double-click on any folder in Windows Explorer, the Search Companion pops up. How do I get rid of it?
Prathamesh Mahindre
You will need to edit the Registry to get rid of the Search Companion. But we'd like to warn you that you should proceed only if you're familiar with editing the Registry: one wrong step could render Windows unbootable.

Modify Registry key to open folder on double-click

In the Registry Editor, navigate to "HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTDirectoryshell", and locate the "Default" entry in the right pane. Click "Modify" to change the value, and enter "none" in the "File" data box. Click OK and exit the Registry Editor. That should make the little dog go away!

Q. I have Windows XP installed on my computer-a Pentium 4 2.4 GHz with 512 MB of RAM and an 80 GB hard drive. I have a broadband connection. I suspect that a virus has infected my computer. I find small executable files in each folder with their names as that of the root folder. What can I do?
Kalyani Guhathakur

Your computer has been infected by W32.Traxg@mm, which is a mass-mailing worm that sends itself to all addresses in the Microsoft Outlook address book. This is not a high-risk worm-all it does is send copies of itself to various e-mail recipients. Removal of the worm is very easy-just follow these steps.

1. Install an anti-virus and update the virus definitions from the vendor's Web site.
2. Disable System Restore. To do this, go to Control Panel > System > System Restore, and tick the box next to "Turn off System Restore on all drives". Click OK.
3. Restart the computer in Safe Mode.
4. Run a full system scan and delete all the infected files detected during the scan.
5. Open the Registry Editor. Navigate to "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionRun". In the right pane, delete "TempCom" = "%WinDir% Fonts<randomname>.com", where "randomname" can be any random file name. Exit the Registry Editor and restart the computer in normal mode.
6. You may also want to restore the default settings of Windows Explorer that were changed by the worm. To do this, start Windows Explorer, go to Tools > Folder Options > View, and click the Restore Defaults button. Click OK and close Windows Explorer.

Seeing Double
Q. I use Windows XP Home SP1. Add or Remove Programs displays two entries for some programs I've installed. How do I correct this?
Anil Kumar Sahoo

Sometimes, when you uninstall a program and install a higher version, or when you install a newer version of a program over an older version, the entries of the old program are left in the Add or Remove Programs applet. This happens because some programs do not correctly remove the Registry entries of the uninstall string for the program while being uninstalled or upgraded.

Use XQDC X-Setup Pro to remove the duplicate entries in Add or Remove Programs

To correct this problem, download and install X-Setup Pro from www.x-setup.net. This is a system configuration and tweaking utility. Launch the program and navigate to System > Software Installation > Add or Remove Programs, and click on Add or Remove Programs List Editor. In the right-hand side, you can view the entries that appear in the Add or Remove Programs applet. Click on an entry and click Delete to delete it. You can also click on Edit Name or Edit CMD to edit the name of an entry, or to view the uninstall command associated with that entry. Close X-Setup and your problem should go away-no reboot is necessary.
Selective Trimming
Q. Often, my temporary Internet files folder gets too large. I'd like to reduce the size of the folder by deleting some of the sites I've visited, but not all. Is there a way to do this?
Varun Tripathi

In IE, go to Tools > Internet Options. In the General tab, you should find a panel in the centre called "Temporary Internet Files." Click Settings in this panel, and a dialog box will appear. Here, click View Files. You'll now be able to see all your cached temporary Internet files. That's precisely what you want-delete whatever you need to.

To Boot Or Not To Boot, …
Q. When I boot up my PC, I get this message: "Primary Hard Disk 1 not found. Push F1 to continue, F2 for setup utility." But when I press [F1], the system boots normally and runs fine. What could be the problem?
Navneet Joshi

There is more than one reason for this to be happening. Your BIOS is set to boot from the non-primary hard disk first. Most BIOSes have settings to re-order device booting, and some of these settings are buggy. The BIOS might not automatically look for the next available bootable device, and that's why the error message pops up. You will have to enter the CMOS setup and set your detected hard drive as the first boot device. Your problem should go away.

Another cause could be that your hard disk is taking some extra time to spin up. If this is happening, the system-which could be trying to boot fast-might not see the disk. You can fix this in the BIOS: usually, there's a setting called "Hard Drive Pre Delay" or "Hard Drive Pre-Boot Delay." Set this for a reasonable time such as 10 seconds to allow the disk to spin up.

All Spaced Out
Q. Double-spacing is required for my essays in MS Word. I'm using Word 2003. How do I configure it to automatically double-space?
Prakash Pundit

This is quite simple. Open a new document, and go to Format > Styles and Formatting. Look for "Normal" at the right of the Styles and Formatting panel, and select it. Click the arrow next to Normal and select Modify. Click Format at the bottom left of the Modify Style dialog box, and choose Paragraph. Now look for the Line Spacing setting and make your changes-from Single to Double. Now in the Modify Style dialog, select the Add to Template checkbox, and click OK.

A Question Of Credentials
Q. When I try to schedule a new task in the Task Manager, I get an error saying that the new task has been created but that it might not run because the account information could not be set. Task Manager reports error 0x80070005: "Access is denied." It says to use the Browse button to locate the application. What do I do?
Mahesh Verekar

When you schedule a new task, you need to give it the account name and password under which it will run. This ensures that the task can run even when a different user-or no user-is logged on. Remember that for scheduling a new task, you need to use an account for which a password has been defined: it's when you try to use an account that has no password, or if you omit the password, that you'll get the error you described.

If the account and password are fine, the problem could be with Windows. Microsoft has acknowledged a problem in XP SP2 that can result in this problem. They will release a hotfix for this. In the meantime, you can obtain a patch from Microsoft by linking from the KB article at https://support.microsoft.com/ kb/884573.

XP Home users will have to wait for the hotfix. If you're running XP Pro, you can rectify the problem using the Group Policy Editor. Navigate to Local Computer Policy > Computer Confi guration > Windows Settings > Security Settings > Local Policies > User Rights Assignment. In the right-hand pane, double-click Access this computer from the network. Click Add User or Group, enter the account name you're using for the scheduled task, and click Check Names. Click OK twice and close the Group Policy Editor.
Compatibility Concerns
Q. I have heard that SATA II hard drives may be incompatible with some older SATA I motherboards. I want to buy a hard drive, and I have a SATA I compatible motherboard. Should I go for a SATA I or a SATA II drive?
Biju Thomas

The SATA II standard is supposed to be backward-compatible, but you should keep in mind that there do exist a few compatibility issues. Some motherboards that use early versions of Via's K8T880 chipset don't work well with some SATA 3 Gbps drives. Newer chipsets have solved these problems. Because of some of the early incompatibilities, some SATA 3 Gbps (SATA II) drives are actually shipped in 1.5 Gbps (SATA I) mode. You may require a utility available from the manufacturer's Web site to let you set the drive to the faster mode.

For example, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, manufacturer of the Deskstar line of SATA drives, offers the Feature Tool on the company's download site (www.hitachigst.com/hdd/support/download.htm).

It's available in three forms, all of which create bootable media, since the utility works only as a standalone app. Some drives, such as those from Samsung and Western Digital, have jumpers for this purpose. Back up your drive before using any utility that can modify hard drive settings.

Keyboard Kaput?

Q. I hear faint "beep" sounds as I tap keys on my keyboard. If I need to type in a word that has a letter that repeats consecutively, I have to pause a few seconds before repeating the letter. I even replaced my keyboard, but to no avail. This is getting very frustrating-what can I do?
Kiran Chedda

The Accessibility feature in Windows is intended to aid users with physical difficulties in using the keyboard. Accessibility has a feature called FilterKeys that helps such users-when FilterKeys is active, Windows ignores rapidly repeated keystrokes, and drastically slows down the repeat rate. This is similar to what you've described. It looks like you've accidentally activated this feature by keeping the [Shift] key pressed for eight seconds and then clicking OK.

To turn off FilterKeys, launch Accessibility Options from the Control Panel. Uncheck the box titled Use FilterKeys, then click the Settings button. Near the top is a box titled Use Shortcut: uncheck it. While you're at it, also turn off StickyKeys, the option for which is also in the Accessibility Options. This is another feature that can be troublesome if you don't need it. Click OK twice to finish restoring normal keyboard operation.

When PCs Go Bad
Q. I've recently bought a high-end PC, and it was performing flawlessly until now. But for the past few days, it has started rebooting spontaneously. This happens mostly during CPU and graphics-intensive applications such as gaming or video rendering. How can I fix this?
Ravi Patil

Frequent reboots during intensive operations are most likely due to a hardware problem. There are several possible causes. You will need to check your PC in the following order.

First, the PC may be overheating due to dust accumulation. Over time, dust can gather inside the PC cabinet, layering over heat sink surfaces, memory modules, and circuit boards. You can blow the dust out with something as simple as an air blower.

Turn off your PC and disconnect it from the mains. Discharge yourself of any static by grounding yourself and rubbing your hands on a metal surface, open the case, and check to see where dust has accumulated. Be sure to use short bursts with the air blower, and also clean the surface of the cooling fans mounted on the CPU and GPU heat sinks.

Another possible cause is a problem with the power supply. You might have exceeded the power supply's capacity to deliver adequate power to the graphics card. Or it may simply be that the power supply is failing.

Yet another cause could be memory going bad. This can be easily tested by downloading a free copy of Memtest86 (www.memtest.org). Run Memtest from a bootable floppy or CD. It will run a series of tests on your system memory to check if it is failing.

Pinpointing A Power Problem
Q. My old power supply recently failed, and I just got myself a new one. The problem is that my older power supply was a 20-pin type, and the new one has a 24-pin connector. My motherboard only has 20 pins for the main power connector. What do I do now?
Gerlin George

You can plug the 24-pin connector into the 20-pin socket on your motherboard.It will go in only one way, and four pins will go unused.In addition to the wider power supply connector, all motherboards now have an auxiliary 4-pin power connector socket that dedicates power for the CPU. If your motherboard has one such socket, don't forget to plug that one in as well-your new power supply will have the required connector.We'd like to tell you that the 20-pin connector common in ATX 2.0 power supplies is being slowly replaced by the 24-pin connector. You can also plug a 20-pin, ATX 2.0 power supply into a 24-pin motherboard socket, but it's not recommended, since it cannot provide adequate power for CPU-intensive applications.

The greater power draw of modern CPUs can mean instability if insufficient power is delivered.

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