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Welcome 


EDITORIAL 

Group Editor Daniel Booth 
Features Editor Jane Hoskyn 
Reviews Editor Alan Lu 
Technical Editor Sherwin Coelho 
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Sorry, no technical or buying advice. 

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For subscription enquiries ring 0844 815 0054 

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Please address such requests to John Garewal, 
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LIABILITY 

While every care was taken preparing this 
magazine, the publishers cannot be held 
responsible for the accuracy of the information 
or any consequence arising from it. All 
judgments are based on equipment available 
to Computeractive at the time of review. 
Computeractive takes no responsibility for the 
content of external websites whose addresses 
are published in the magazine. 


A DENNIS PUBLICATION 

I Computeractive is published 
fortnightly by Dennis Publishing 
Ltd, 30 Cleveland Street, London WIT 4JD. 
Company registered in England. Material may 
not be reproduced in whole or part without the 
consent of the publishers. ISSN 1461-6211 



Average sales, Jan-Dee 2014, 88,274 

copies per issue. 


© Copyright Dennis Publishing Limited 


From the Editor 

I remember the first time my PC was destroyed 
by hidden malware. It happened about 15 years 
ago, back when I was far too carefree about 
what I downloaded from the web. I was in the 
middle of writing a feature, probably about the 
launch of Windows XP, when my PC went 
blank. Nothing I did could bring it back to life. 

In the end, I had to scrap it, and splash out on a 
brand new machine. 

I thought I was safe because I had antivirus 
installed. But as I’ve since learnt, no antivirus 
is perfect. Hackers will always find ways to drill 
through its defence to plant silent killers on 
your PC. Read our Cover Feature (p50) to 
discover what these invisible threats are, and 



how you can remove them. 

You’ll need some light relief after reading 
that, so because this issue is dated 1 April 
we’ve got a little ‘guess the hoax’ quiz on 
page 57. Can you spot the three fake news 
stories we’ve mischievously created alongside 
the seven that are bonkers but true? 

Daniel Booth 

editor@computeractive.co.uk 



^HIDDEN 



stay safe fram hillert you*- anti-wnJS 



THIS ISSUE IN NUMBERS 

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1-14 April 2015 3 



Contents 


1-14 April 2015* Issue 446 


In this issue... 


C Remove hidden malware .* 
I Some of the worst PC pests * 
are getting harder to see. We show 
you howto search and destroy 

c 7 ^ an y° u s P ot t *^ e tec ^ 

3# hoaxes? 

Decide whether our outlandish tech 
tales are true or false 


C O Shut down your PC faster 
3 O and safer 
Make slow shutdowns a thing of the 
past with our handy tweaks and tips 

Things to do with an old 
DUXP PC -Parti 
We talk you through installing Linux 


Remove 1 

HIDDEN 

MALWARE 







Dating apps: partners 
on tap p74 


6 News 

9 Question of 
the Fortnight 

Will Islamic State hack 
you next? 

10 Letters 

12 Consumeractive 

14 Protect Your Tech 

16 Best Free Software 
VLC 2.2.0 

30 Buy It! 


70 Fast Fixes 
Partitions 


73 Jargon Buster 


74 The Final Straw 
Stuart Andrews falls out 
of love with dating apps 


32 Competition 
Win a Crucial MX200 
500GB SSD 

49 What's All the Fuss 
About? Apple ResearchKit 

64 Problems Solved 


In every issue... 


4 1-14 April 2015 










Workshops & Tips 

14 pages of brilliant workshops and expert tips 


35 T ry Word and Excel in 4Z Create your own Word 

Windows 10 for free fonts for free 


38 Recover your files when 43 Readers' Tips 
Windows crashes Explore old London town 



40 Browse the web faster 
than 


44 Phone and Tablet Tips 

Speed up your Android device 

46 Make Windows Better 

Find files based on date created 

47 Make Office Better 

Add slideshows to your sway 

48 Secret Tips For... 
VirtualBox 



Reviews 


18 Motorola Moto E 4G 

A 4G phone for less than a ton 

19 Asus X555LA-XX290H 
Asus' budget laptop is worth 
every penny 

20 Canon i-SENSYS LBP6230dw 
A mono laser printer for home use 
Samsung 850 Evo 1TB/ 

Crucial MX200 500GB 

Two SSDs with real drive 

22 Samsung Galaxy Note Edge 
A curved-edge phablet that's 
notsophabulous 

23 Samsung UE40H5500 
The devil is in the detail with 
Samsung's superb smart TV 

26 Wired2Fire Diablo Ultima 
A great PC - but cover your ears 

27 Philips BDM4065UC 

A huge 4K PC monitor for widescreen 
web activity and gaming 

28 Asus RT-AC52U 
Low-cost, slow-running router 

29 Cellhire 10GB Data SIM 
Avoid roaming charges in Spain 


Computeractive 
offer of the fortnight 


Kaspersky Internet Security 
2015 page 54 



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1-14 April 2015 5 








News 


The top stories in the world of technology 


Windows 10 to launch this 
summer - try new tools now 


Windows 10 


M icrosoft has surprised 
everyone by announcing 
that Windows 10 will launch 
this summer. It had previously 
been thought that the 
operating system (OS) would 
arrive in the autumn. 

Writing on a Microsoft blog 
on 17 March (www.snipca. 
com/15881) Terry Myerson, 
the company’s head of 
operating systems, said: 

“We continue to make great 
development progress and 
shared today that Windows 10 
will be available this summer 
in 190 countries and 111 
languages”. 

In the same blog post 
Myerson revealed that you’ll 
be able to sign into devices 
running the OS with your 
eyes, face and fingerprint. This 
is because Windows 10 will 
support Windows Hello, 
Microsoft’s new system of 
authenticating a person’s 
identity through unique 
physical characteristics, 
known as biometrics, which 
is far safer than relying on 


passwords. For more 
information on Windows 
Hello visit www.snipca. 
com/15882. 

Microsoft also confirmed 
that it’s shelving the Internet 
Explorer brand that it’s used 
for its web browsers since 
1995. Instead, Windows 10 
will contain Microsoft’s new 
browser, codenamed Spartan, 
which has been designed to 
run on every possible device, 
from phones to PCs. 

However, Spartan was 
surprisingly omitted from the 
latest Technical Preview of 
Windows (Build 10041), which 
was announced on 18 March. 
Microsoft developers 
confirmed on Twitter that 


Spartan will appear in the 
next Windows 10 Preview: 
www.snipca.com/15886. 

Finally, Microsoft said it will 
release Preview versions of 
Windows 10 more regularly. 
You can control how often you 
receive updates by selecting 
the Fast or Slow ‘ring’ within 
Windows 10 ’s settings. 

If you pick fast, you’ll 
receive every update, but 
these will contain more bugs, 
so it best suits confident users. 
If you choose the slow ring, 
you’ll receive less frequent 
updates, but they will more 
stable, with fewer flaws. 

You can choose which ring 
you want by clicking the Start 
menu, Settings, ‘Update & 


COMMENT 


We're excited by the prospect 
of getting our hands on the 
final version of Windows 10 
before autumn, but we hope 
Microsoft isn't rushing things 
to hit an unrealistic deadline. 
Happily, there's no sign of 
that. We're wary of tempting 
fate, but no operating system 
since XP has looked this 
good this early. The latest 
Preview version isn't a huge 
improvement, and Spartan's 
absence is disappointing, 
but three magic words 
make it worth downloading: 
'drag and drop'. Few things 
make computers easier 
to use. 

recovery’, ‘Advanced options’, 
then selecting Fast or Slow. 

Download the new Preview 
at www.snipca.com/15888. 
For more information on 
what’s new see the box below 
and read Microsoft’ s’blog: 
www.snipca.com/15883. 


WHAT'S NEW IN THE LATEST WINDOWS 10 PREVIEW 


START SCREEN 
TRANSPARENCY EFFECTS 

The Start screen is now 
transparent, making it look like 
the menu icons 
and tiles are 
floating on top 
of your Desktop. 

You can also drag 
and drop apps 


from the All Apps or most used 
apps list to pin them to the Start 
menu. 

USE CORTANA 
IN THE UK 

Cortana, Microsoft's 
voice-activated personal 
assistant, is now available 
to users in the UK. 


Before, you could only use it by 
changing your location to US. 

UPDATED PHOTOS APP 

Microsoft has updated the tile 
for the Photos app to show 
pictures from your OneDrive 
account, not just those saved on 
your PC. It also now supports 
keyboard shortcuts (tab, arrow. 


and page up/down keys). 

DRAG AND DROP IN 
VIRTUAL DESKTOPS 

The virtual desktop feature 
(new in Windows 10) now lets 
you drag apps and windows to 
different Desktops. Previously 
you had to right-click and 
choose an option. 



© You'll like this... Terry Pratchett has been 
immortalised in hidden code that can be 
added to websites (www.snipca.com/15879) 


© ...but not this High-street shops are still 4 

selling Lenovo computers containing the 
Superfish adware (www.snipca.com/15880) J 


6 1-14 April 2015 





IN BRIEF 


Beware 'plague' of pension 
scams once new rules kick in 



Financial regulators and 
Government ministers have 
warned the over-55s that they 
are likely to be targeted by 
pension scams as conmen 
try to exploit confusion over 
the new rules. 

Pensions minister Steve 
Webb has predicted a “plague” 
of scams once the new 
regulations take effect on 
6 April. From that date anyone 
aged 55 and over will be able to 
freely withdraw money from 
their pension pots. 


1 Claim to know loopholes that 
let you access all your pension 
before you turn 55. 

2 Offer a free pensions review 
as a way of earning your trust. 

3 Say you'll miss out on a 
“once in a lifetime” deal if you 
don't sign up straight away. 


It’s now much safer to 
download apps from Google’s 
Play Store after the company 
improved how it checks 
for malware. 

In a blog post (www.snipca. 
com/15862), Eunice Kim, 
product manager for Google 
Play, said that for the past 
several months a “team of 
experts” has been testing 
apps for malware and other 
“policy violations”, such as 
sexual content and copyright 
infringement. 

Until now Google has been 
far more relaxed than Apple 
about allowing apps to appear 
on their store. Since the Play 
Store launched in 2008 (as 
Android Market’), Google has 
taken a reactive approach to 
security, removing malicious 
apps once they’ve been spotted 


Talking to the Daily 
Telegraph, Webb said that 
fraudsters are already 
sending text messages en 
masse and cold-calling 


4 Try to dazzle you with 
incredible returns on your 
money - up to 10 per cent. You 
can't get better than the four 
per cent offered by the NS&I 
pensioner bonds. 

5 Advise you to put all your 
money into one investment. 


rather than testing 
them first to stop them 
appearing. 

The new system, in 
which Google analyses 
apps using software 
before the review team 
test them, is similar 
to how Apple checks 
apps before approving 
them. 

Google has also 
introduced age-based 
ratings for apps and games. 
From May, app developers 
will have to complete a 
questionnaire about their 
app before submitting it to 
Google for approval. 

They will be asked whether 
their app contains sexual and 
violent content, drugs and 
alcohol, gambling, and other 
content that should be 


people, copying the 
tactic used by 
companies offering 
PPI compensation. 

“If you are promised 
a really eye-catching 
interest rate above what 
you’d expect, it’s almost 
always too good to be 
true,” he said. 

Martin Wheatley, 
chief executive of the 
Financial Conduct 
Authority, said he expected 
scammers to strike while 
people were still deciding 
what to do with their new 
pension freedoms. 

“Scams and fraud, we know, 
tend to proliferate at the 
moment of maximum 
uncertainty,” he said 
For more info on pension 
scams visit the Government 
website Pension Wise: www. 
pensionwise.gov.uk. 


age-restricted. 

This should help reduce 
the number of inappropriate 
apps downloaded by children. 
Previously, app developers 
assigned their own age rating. 

Google says it will check that 
developers aren’t lying in the 
questionnaire in order to make 
their app appear suitable to a 
wider range of people 


BT BOTTOM OF 
BROADBAND SURVEY 

BT has come bottom of a 
customer-satisfaction survey 
of 11 ISPs conducted by 
consumer watchdog Which?. 

BT achieved an overall score 
of 45 per cent, just below 
Sky and TalkTalk. Smaller 
ISPs performed better, with 
John Lewis, Zen and Utility 
Warehouse taking the top 
three places. Which? surveyed 
customers across a range of 
different criteria, including 
connection speed, technical 
support, customer service and 
reliability. See the results at 
www.snipca.com/15850. 

BBC NEWS LAUNCHES 
RESPONSIVE SITE 

The BBC has launched a 
responsive version of its 
News website. This means 
that its layout will adapt to 
better suit the screen of 
the device - phone, tablet 
or computer - its being 
displayed on, making it much 
easier to navigate. The site 
launched as a beta in March 
2014, and has been tested 
by 750,000 visitors since 
December. Read the BBC's 
Internet Blog for more details: 
www.snipca.com/15867. 

P^UH,y||y.y. U .u.u M .u MM y. U . U .^ 

1 Tomorrow's I 

plpworidi 

i * l|r I 

i 3 

i French woman Jeanne 

: : 

Calment, aged 122 when she 
; died in 1997, was the oldest 
person to have ever lived. But : 
; Google's Bill Maris wants to 
invest in medical companies 
; aiming to extend that record 
by several centuries. Recently, 
in a fascinating interview 
; with US business magazine 
Bloomberg Markets, he said 
it was “possible to live to be \ 
500”. Read it at www.snipca. \ 
\ com/15756. 



FIVE THINGS SCAMMERS WILL DO 


Finally! Google to check Android apps 
for malware before they go live 



1-14 April 2015 7 




News 


IN BRIEF 


BT FINED FOR TEXT- 
SPEECH DELAYS 

Ofcom has fined BT 
£800,000 for missing the 
deadline to release a text-to- 
speech service designed to 
help people with hearing or 
speech impairments. Along 
with all phone operators, 

BT had until 18 April 2014 
to launch a tool that turned 
typed words into a phone 
conversation. BT's Next 
Generation Text Service 
(http://ngts.org.uk) finally 
launched in September, 2014 
following technical problems. 

NATIONAL GALLERY 
BANS SELFIE STICK 

The National Gallery has 
become the latest cultural 
institution to ban the selfie 
stick, prompting delight 
among the many people 
who regard the device as 
a modern-day nuisance. 

The telescopic sticks, which 
extend to around 1.5 metres, 
help users take better photos 
of themselves than can be 
achieved by holding the 
phone at arm's length. The 
British Museum is rumoured 
to be following suit. 


5Mbps broadband should be a 
legal right, says Government 



Demanding access to 
broadband would 
become a legal right, 
under Government 
proposals announced 
by George Osborne 
in the Budget. 

The Government 
wants to introduce 
rules that let customers 
force companies to 
install broadband that 
can hit speeds of at least 
5Mbps, a quarter of 
the UK average. 

They would do this by 
raising the Universal Service 
Obligation, which is the 
legal entitlement a company 
must provide, from dial-up 
speeds to 5Mbps. This would 
be the highest guaranteed 
speed in Europe, the 


Government claims. 

The plans were outlined 
in the Government’s 
digital communications 
infrastructure strategy, a 
policy paper published 
alongside the Budget. 

You can read it at www. 
snipca.com/15843. 

Osborne also stated in 
the Budget a “national 
ambition” for the UK’s 
minimum broadband 
speed to be an “ultrafast” 
100Mbps. The Chancellor 
said that he was committed 
to making sure “nearly 
all homes” in the UK 
would get this speed, 
though didn’t reveal 
any further details. 


Using 100Mbps 
broadband you’d be 
able to download a film 
in two minutes and an 
album in eight seconds. 

In order to deliver 
ultrafast broadband to 
remote areas, Osborne 
promised to speed up 
an existing scheme that 
uses satellite broadband 
and other advanced 
technologies to link rural 
homes to the internet. He 
claimed that “wherever you 
live in Britain you should have 
ultrafast broadband - and we 
are going to make it happen”. 

The Government’s current 
aim is to make superfast 
broadband, defined as 24Mbps 
and above, available to 90 
per cent of the UK by 2016, 
increasing to 95 per cent 
in 2017. 

Osborne also announced 
funds to provide free Wi-Fi in 
libraries and to boost research 
into driverless cars. 

Do you think the Government 
will achieve its ambition of 
100Mbps broadband? Please let us 
know at letters(Pcomputeractive.co.uk 




BBC hands out one million free computers to schools 


Every pupil in Year 7 across the UK will 
receive a mini computer as part of the 
BBC’s Make It Digital initiative to inspire a 
new generation of children to develop 
digital skills such as coding. 

Around one million computers, 
currently named the BBC Micro Bit 
(pictured right), will be given to schools 
for 11- to 12-year-olds to use. 

The BBC says the device is designed 
to be a wearable personal computer 
and be extremely easy to use, letting 
children start coding on it as soon as 
they plug it in. 

The device will be compatible with 
the Raspberry Pi, the hugely popular 
British-made mini computer, rather than 
act as a replacement for it. 

As part of Make It Digital, the BBC will 


screen a season of TV programmes 
promoting digital skills, and encourage 
kids to play interactive games online, 
such as ‘The Doctor and the Dalek’ 
(www.snipca.com/15829) . 

The BBC has also teamed up with 
50 leading tech businesses and 
organisations, including Microsoft and 
the British Computing Society, to run 
events around the country. In addition, 
the BBC has formed a partnership with 
the Government to launch a traineeship 
to help up to 5,000 young, unemployed 
people to develop their digital skills. The 
long-term aim is to fill the 1.4m digital 
jobs it is estimated the UK will need 
over the next five years. 

Tony Hall, BBC Director-General, said: 
“Just as we did with the BBC Micro in the 



1980s, we want to inspire the digital 
visionaries of the future. Only the BBC 
can bring partners together to attempt 
something this ambitious”. 

For more information visit www.bbc. 
co. uk/makeitdigital. 


8 1-14 April 2015 





/ 


Question 

of the 

Fortnight 




Will Islamic State 
hack you next? 


Islamic State wants to spread its murderous message across the internet 
but not every 'Isis' hack is what it seems 


dillDMU 



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http : //fb, cm/I OOOOS'MSl JG320 


O n Sunday 8 March, anyone 
visiting the website 
of the Dublin Rape Crisis 
Centre would have seen 
the now- familiar black 
flag of Islamic State plastered 
across the homepage. It was 
accompanied by the sinister 
message ‘Hacked by Islamic 
State (ISIS), We Are 
Everywhere’ (see image). 

It was one of many hacks 
committed that weekend that 
Isis sympathisers claimed to 
have carried out. Hundreds of 
other websites have been 
hacked in a similar fashion in 
2015, though they wouldn’t 
appear to be obvious targets 
for murderous Islamists. In 
recent weeks, for example, Isis 
has targeted the websites of a 
Tokyo camera shop, a sports 
club in Yellowknife, Canada, 
a hotel in New York State, an 
Italian political party and a 
quilting museum in 
Wisconsin. They even hacked 
the website of the non-League 


Essex football club Heybridge 
Swifts. 

Because hackers are 
targeting obscure websites 
such as these, can you be sure 
the site you run for your local 
club or society isn’t also at 
risk? It would appear it might 
be. The apparent randomness 
of these attacks doesn’t look 
like the work of serious 


cyber- terrorists, but more like 
the online equivalents of louts 
who indiscriminately spray 
ugly graffiti on buildings. 

But are these hackers really 
supporters of Isis? As the 
targets become more trivial, 
security experts are beginning 
to suspect that the culprits 
have no affiliation with Isis, 
but are simply lone hackers 
out to shock. Limited by 


relatively poor hacking skills, 
they choose soft targets. 

Speaking to US broadcaster 
NBC on 9 March, Evan 
Kohlmann of global security 
firm Flashpoint Intelligence 
said: “There are no indications 
that the individuals behind 
these latest hacks have any 
real connection to Isis”. 

Kohlmann added that 


“ordinary hackers have 
cynically used far-fetched 
references to Isis as a means 
of attracting media attention”. 

Tellingly, he called these 
hacks “defacements”, which 
is an important point. 

The hackers don’t actually 
steal personal information 
or endanger national 
infrastructure. Instead, their 
actions are more like acts of 
cyber-vandalism. Seeing 
an Isis flag on your 
homepage is certainly 
upsetting, but it can 
easily be removed. 

Crucially, many of 
the websites hacked in 
March have one thing in 
common: they are all 
built on the WordPress 
blogging platform. It appears 
that the hackers exploited the 
well publicised vulnerabilities 
in WordPress plug-ins (for 
more information visit www. 
snipca.com/15793). Hackers 
targeted these sites because 
of a shared security flaw, not 
because they were symbols 
of ‘the West’. 

But if experts question the 


THE FACTS 


• Hackers claiming to 
represent Islamic 
State have hacked the 
websites of many local 
clubs, organisations and 
businesses 

• They deface the homepage 
of websites with a black 
banner containing the 
words 'Hacked by Islamic 
State (ISIS), We Are 
Everywhere' 

• Security experts suspect 
some hackers are shock- 
seeking opportunists, rather 
than genuine militants 

authenticity of recent attacks 
on soft targets, there seems 
little doubt that the hack on 
12 January of the US military’s 
Central Command Twitter 
account was carried out by 
actual Isis sympathisers. 
Calling themselves the 
Cyber Caliphate, they posted 
sensitive information 
including personal details 
of senior US officers. It also 
seems certain that the attacks 
on 19,000 French websites 
following the murders at 
the Charlie Hebdo office on 
January 7 were carried out 
by genuine Islamists. 

So far, Islamic State’s 
cyber- terrorism hasn’t been 
anywhere near as serious as 
its barbaric actions in Iraq and 
Syria. Its aim has been to wage 
a propaganda war on the sites 
and accounts of its perceived 
enemies. Sadly, its success can 
be measured by the number 
of copycat hackers now hiding 
behind the black flag to instill 
fear and spread hatred. 


I i The apparent randomness of these 
attacks doesn't look like the work of 
serious cyber-terrorists, more like louts 
who spray ugly graffiti on buildings J J 


1-14 April 2015 9 






Tell us what's on your mind 

n Email: lettersCPcomputeractive.co.uk 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/computeractive 

Twitter: (P Computer Active 

www.twitter.com/computeractive 


Motorists using phones 
'should face prison' 

At last somebody has said what 
k^J millions of us have been thinking 
for years - ban drivers who use mobile 
phones. I applaud Chief Constable Suzette 
Davenport’s comments (News, Issue 445), 
and I hope that as a top-ranking police 
officer she will have considerable 
influence. These dangerous miscreants 
shouldn’t just be banned from the roads 
- they should face the threat of prison. 

I hate seeing people using phones at 
the wheel. I always give them a steely 
glare, but I’m too scared to bang on their 
window because they always look like the 
sort of boorish oaf who would wind it 
down and punch me. 

Gordon Evans 


t\J\ I have very personal reasons for 
IrN agreeing with Suzette Davenport, 
so I hope you don’t mind not printing my 
name. I’ll confess that I used to dismiss 
the dangers of texting while driving. I 
thought criminalising it was a ‘nanny 
state’ law, like banning smoking in pubs. 
But a couple of years ago, while driving 
home late at night, I skidded off the road 
and smashed into a fence. Ok, that 
happens to a lot of people. But I was to 
blame because I’d been texting someone. 
I’ve always considered myself a safe 
and confident driver, but clearly I had 
become complacent. It was a real shock 
to me, because if it had happened on a 
motorway or high street I could have 
killed someone. 

So I never, ever use my phone now 
while driving. But there are still too many 
people who do. And they will continue 
to do so until they are made to feel 
uncomfortable by other people judging 
them. So yes, drivers should be banned, 
but we also need a program of education 
that paints their behaviour as socially 
unacceptable. 

Name and address supplied 


£399 for your Back Issue CD? 

T\S\ Are you in desperate need of 

money at Computeractive? I saw 
your 2014 Back Issue CD being sold 
for a whopping £399 on Amazon (see 
screenshot above right) - and don’t forget 
the £2.80 postage! I bought the CD a 
couple of weeks ago for £15, which now 


it through the Marketplace. 
We can’t stop people 
doing this, but happily 
Amazon is sticking to the 
original £15 - buy it at 
www.snipca.com/14981, 
or search Amazon for 
‘computeractive cd’. 

The £399 CD was still on 
sale as we went to press 
(www.snipca.com/15746) , 
and at that price it will 
seems like a bargain. It’s great, and I’ve probably remain so forever! 
been using it every day, but sorry it ain’t 

worth £399. That would buy me 133 pints FOFgCt WQIHgS - my 

down my local! broadband needs more welly 



Doug Marquis 


CA says 


| That’s more than it would buy 
in our local - central London prices 
being what they are. We don’t 
blame Doug for being shocked by 
the price of the CD. At £399, it’s 
almost a 2,700 per cent increase 
on our RRP! It’s not us selling the 
CD, but a third-party seller who 
must have bought it through 
Amazon for £15, then 
decided to charge this 
rip-off price when selling 



To the absolute ignorant person in 
Letters, Issue 445 (George Parks) 
who believes everybody in the countryside 
has wellies and Land Rovers, here’s a 
reality check. 

Only a quarter of the cabinets 
in my village (near Northampton) 
has fibre. I enjoy gaming on my 
custom-made computer but have 
you ever downloaded Skyrim 
(11GB) on broadband? It takes four 
hours, sometimes more, if the 
connection is unreliable. 

If anything goes wrong with 


Vile phone scammers 'deserve all the 

f 



abuse they get 

Has the Royal Society for 
the Prevention of Cruelty 
to Scammers just bought a 
subscription to 
Computeractive? I ask 
because I’ve read several 
letters recently urging us not to 
be nasty to these delicate souls, 
the latest being Alan Ingrey’s letter in 
Issue 445. 

Well, I think Jane Hoskyn’s Villain of 
the Fortnight in the same issue (page 
10) reminds us that these scammers 
won’t cry themselves to sleep because 
we hang up after shouting a naughty 
word. She told us the horrible story of 
a phone scammer threatening to kill a 
Canadian man who had the temerity to 
ask him why he was trying to con 
people. So, do-gooders, remember 


what kind of people these scammers 
are. They aren’t vulnerable victims 
being coerced into making malicious 
phone calls; they are aggressive 
criminals prepared to bully and 
intimidate. I know this myself after 
talking to one last year, who told me 
that he’d “pester me every day at six in 
the morning” until I agreed to install 
his malware on my PC. These people are 
vile, and deserve all the abuse they get. 

Mike Amos 



10 1-14 April 2015 




STAR LETTER 


the game or it needs to be downloaded 
again I have to phone my friend, take 
my desktop computer with me and 
download it on his fibre connection 
two minutes up the road. 

My actual gripe is how my village’s 
broadband serice is apportioned, because 
I only have to walk two minutes within 
the same postcode to get super-fast 
broadband. I believe I have a better 
chance of winning the Lottery then 
knowing why this is. 

Now I am going to put my trainers on 
and drive into town in my partner’s 
Ford Fiesta. 

Gail Coles 


New Forest ponies say 
neig h to fast broadband 

[\y| Following conversations 
^ ^ about broadband speeds in 
Computeractive, in our little corner of 
rural Hampshire (Woodgreen village), 
we are left amused and envious of those 
around us with their talk of gigabytes 
and fibre. On a good day we might get 
1.5Mbps. Even our nearest neighbour, 
Hale, has 95 per cent of residences on 
3-4Gbps. 

The problem is that in the New Forest 
the allocation of the land is controlled by 
the Verderers (www.verderers.org.uk). 
The ideal place to install fast broadband 
is a patch of land about three metres in 
diameter, outside our local pub, which 
has a redundant bus shelter (there are 
no buses) and a red phone box on it. 

It’s listed as grazing land for the ponies, 
so cannot be used for other purposes. 

And up to now the Verderers won’t 
budge - not that the ponies appreciate 
this! 

Derek Minns 


Only April Fools still use XP 

I In News, Issue 445, you said you 
I were starting a series on what to 
do with XP computers, and that it 
would begin in your 1 April issue. 

Please tell me this is an April Fool’s joke. 
XP has passed on! It has ceased to be! 

It’s a stiff! It’s kicked the bucket, shuffled 
off this mortal coil, run down the 
curtain and joined the bleedin’ choir 
invisible! It is an ex-operating system 
(with apologies to John Cleese). 

Please Computeractive, you shouldn’t 
be encouraging people to use an 
operating system that’s deader than 
a dead parrot. 

Harry Powell 


Amazon right to ban libellous reviews 



I was very 
interested in the 
Consumeractive case of 
Malcolm Adnett in 
Issue 445. He was 
complaining that 
Amazon won’t publish 
his negative review of a 
flash drive. Maybe he 
thought it was an 
attack on his freedom 
of speech and that he should be allowed 
to say what he likes, but as you rightly 
pointed out there is a major risk of 
libel. Amazon gets a lot of criticism for 
its tax-avoiding antics, but it’s right to 
stand up for small businesses whose 
reputation would be damaged by 
false reviews. 

I have no idea if Malcolm’s flash drive 
was ‘fake’, but the point is: nor does he. 
Think about it - how could he know? 

He may suspect it is, but how could he 
prove it? I accept he’s perfectly entitled 
to make a subjective criticism within 
his negative review, maybe by 
suggesting that the drive isn’t very easy 
to use. I’m pretty sure Amazon would 
have allowed a comment like that. But 
customers simply can’t make wild 
claims about products that could 
jeopardise the future of a business. 

I speak from experience. Since 
retiring a few years ago, I’ve been 


running a small company selling 
homemade items through Amazon 
Marketplace. A year ago, we were on 
the receiving end of some blatantly 
unfair reviews which libelled us. 
Fortunately, Amazon listened to our 
grievance, and removed the reviews, 
but not before our status as a trusted 
business had been undermined. 

We live in an age where the customer 
is king. You see this on eBay, where 
the buyer can leave negative feedback, 
but the seller can’t. The knock-on 
effect is that buyers think they are 
never, ever wrong, and therefore make 
unreasonable demands. Like a child 
who always gets what they want after 
throwing a tantrum, online buyers are 
spoilt rotten at the moment. Thanks 
Computeractive for bringing this often 
overlooked matter to the attention 
of your readers. 

Mary Robinson 


The Star Letter writer wins a Computeractive mug! 




CA says 


| We agree that you shouldn’t 
use an XP PC as your main computer, but 
there are lots of ways you can still use it 
safely. So the start of our XP series on 
page 60 isn’t a hoax, but we do have 
some April Fool’s fun on page 57. 

How uncooked rice can 
save drowned phones 

~1 I must confess to being 
l bemused by Tony 
Davies’ letter in Issue 
444 (‘Beware killer 
taps’), and his 
reported loss of an 
expensive phone after 
his wife dropped it into 
a sink and drowned the 



dratted thing. 

I am a novelist and journalist/ 
photographer. I’ve travelled almost 
everywhere and I have dropped phones 
in the sea, in rivers, into a fish tank and 
down the loo (which became the subject 
of caustic comments from my associates). 
Each time I have just removed the battery, 
given the phone a shake to rid it of excess 
water, then shoved it into a bowl of 
uncooked rice. Within 24 
hours the rice has 
absorbed every (tear) 
drop. I’ve been lucky 
and recovered a couple 
of batteries - but that’s 
cheaper than a new iPhone! 

Dominic Fahr 


1-14 April 2015 11 






Consumeractive 


Should I report 

TalkTalk to Ofcom? Can I challenge HMRC's import fees? 




I moved house at the end of 
October 2014. 1 remained with 
TalkTalk for broadband and 
phone, but signed up to a new package. 
I’d paid one year’s line rental on the 
original contract and am owed £61.15 for 
this. But getting TalkTalk to give me this 
refund is impossible. They told me over 
the phone that it would be in my account 
within 10 days, but months later I’m still 
waiting. Should I complain to Ofcom? 

Fred Frost 

Yes, Fred should complain to 
Ofcom because this helps the 
regulator monitor on bad 
customer service and unfair practices 
by ISPs. However, Ofcom won’t take on 
his case, so we will. 

So far, Fred has only spoken to TalkTalk 
over the phone. He should also email 
TalkTalk (www.talktalk.co.uk/contactus) , 
outlining his complaint in full, using 
specific dates when possible. We don’t 
believe TalkTalk is disputing Fred’s claim, 
but has simply failed to process the refund. 

Fred could have referred it to the 
Ombudsman (www.snipca.com/15673), 
but first he would need to have asked 
TalkTalk for a deadlock letter, in which a 
company confirms how they plan to 
resolve a complaint (use this 
template when requesting 
one: www.snipca.com/15676). \ 





I paid £16.90 for some plastic 
food containers from an 
Amazon seller called 
Shopforyou. I didn’t realise the seller 
was based in South Korea so I ended 
up paying a further £11.38 to HMRC in 
VAT and for handling. I don’t think I 
should have to pay this, so is there any 
way I can challenge this charge? 

Hillary Duffy 

Yes there is. Hillary should 
contact HMRC to try to get her 
money back. This can be done 
by printing then posting a claim form 
from the HMRC website (www.snipca. 
com/15667, scroll down to the bottom). 
Hillary will have a greater chance of 
winning if she has kept the packaging 
the goods came in. 

However, after looking into Hillary’s 
case, we’re quite pessimistic about 
her chances. This is because HMRC 
is likely to reject her defence, which 
rests on her failing to realise the 
company is based in South Korea. 
HMRC will probably say that Hillary 
was responsible for checking this 
before confirming the purchase. 

The charges Hillary paid comprised a 
handling fee of £8, and VAT of £3.38 
(20 per cent), which is added to 
imports from outside the European 



HM Revenue 
& Customs 


Union that cost more than £15. 
However, you can avoid VAT on 
goods priced under £36 from outside 
the EU if they are labelled as ‘gifts’. 
Shopforyou seems to have tried to 
help Hillary avoid charges by doing 
this, but HMRC’s rules state that for 
an item to qualify as a gift it must be 
sent to and from individuals, not 
companies. It seems likely that HMRC 
realised the parcel wasn’t a gift from 
one person to another. Read the full 
regulations on HMRC’s ‘Tax and 
customs for goods sent from abroad’ 
page (www.snipca.com/15678). 

To avoid unexpected import charges, 
make sure you double-check the 
location of a seller on eBay and 
Amazon. Hillary can help other 
shoppers by leaving feedback 
about her experience, warning 
people that what seems 
like a bargain may not 
turn out to be so. 


A 


Does creating a recovery USB make a new PC second hand? 



I found out recently that PC 
World has been making 
customers a recovery backup 
on a USB stick. Unlike Nick Dobie’s case 
in Issue 440 where Currys was trying to 
sell him a USB stick for £35, PC World 
only charges £10. 1 think this is great 
customer service, but I’ve got a question. 




PC World 


*3 


If PC World did this without your 
permission, does this make the laptop 
second hand in the eyes of the law? 

Ian Bebbington 

No it doesn’t, though it is an 
interesting question. If you buy a 
new computer and a recovery 
backup is created by the retailer, this isn’t 
seen as ‘use’ by the law. It’s no 
different to a manufacturer 
creating a portion on the hard 
I drive as backup, which is very 
common practice. 



For a computer to be ‘used’, it must 
have had a previous owner (the legal 
definition of second hand). A retailer 
creating a backup USB stick doesn’t mean 
the PC stops being seen as brand new. 

Like Ian, we think this is a very good 
service, but if you don’t want it just tell 
the shop not to create one for you. A sales 
assistant can’t force you to buy one as 
part of the deal. Nick Dobie was told 
this misleading information by 
a Currys sales assistant in ASt 

the case we reported in \ ) 

Issue 440. ^ 


12 1-14 April 2015 









£3 Contact us so we can investigate your case 

Email: consumeractive@computeractive.co.uk 
Write: Consumeractive, Computeractive, 30 Cleveland Street London WIT 4JD 
Please include both your phone number and address. 
Unfortunately, we can't reply to all your letters. 

stand up for your legal rights 


Can you help my claim against Ebuyer? 


of Goods Act (SOGA). 

Because John has owned 
the graphics card for 
more than six 
months, he will have 
to prove that it is 
inherently faulty Before 
the six-month cut-off, 
the retailer has to prove 
accidental damage. John is 
confident that the fault is 
inherent, and has sent the 
card to an independent 
computer repair company for 
examination. If this report backs up his 
claim, then we’ll be able to help him 
tackle Ebuyer. 

If he wins his case, it’s unlikely Ebuyer 
will offer to repair the card, so he’ll be 


Ebuyer.com 


entitled to a replacement, or a partial 
refund (because he’s already used the 
card for some time). Ebuyer 
will also have to pay him the 
cost of the examination. 


Two years ago I bought an Asus 
660GTX graphics card from 
Ebuyer for around £300. It came 
with a three-year warranty, but suddenly 
stopped working. I sent it back to Ebuyer, 
but they have accused me of causing the 
damage by adding thermal paste. I 
categorically deny this has happened. 

Can you advise me? 

John Shorter 


Indeed we can. By claiming that 
John broke the graphics card by 
applying thermal paste, Ebuyer 
is saying that the problem was caused by 
accidental damage, and therefore isn’t an 
inherent fault. If this were true, John’s 
warranty would be invalid, and he 
wouldn’t have a legal claim using the Sale 


CASE UPDATE 


At long last - Vodafone refunds 
TopUp and Co customers 

Vodafone has finally decided to refund 
customers who lost money when the company 
ceased supporting its TopUp and Go' mobile- 
broadband dongles. Our struggle to resolve this 
began in Issue 432, last September, when reader and former 
TopUp and Go customer Brian Patterson contacted us. Since 
then, several other readers have emailed us to say that they 
also lost money. They all had outstanding credit in their 
account when Vodafone stopped the service. 

We've already run one update on this case, in 
Issue 442, when we advised unhappy 
customers to complain to the Ombudsman 
Services (www.ombudsman-services. 
org). Some readers took our advice, and the 
Ombudsman ruled in their favour, forcing 
Vodafone to refund them. We had also told 
Ofcom of our readers' complaints. 

In February, Vodafone told us it will refund 
customers, which is good news. If you think 
you're owed money, email us your details 
with 'Vodafone TopUp' in the subject line. 

Please remember to include your name, 
address, a contact phone number and the 
dongle number, which you can find on the SIM 
card inside. If you want Ofcom to investigate 
your case further, please let us know and we'll 
pass on your details. 



THIS WILL COME IN USEFUL 


Charities contact details 


British Heart 
Foundation 
0300 330 3322 

Contact form: 
www.snipca.com/15556 
Email: supporterservices@ 
bhf.org.uk 
Twitter: @TheBHF 

Cancer Research 
0207242 0200 

Contact form: 
www.snipca.com/15557 
Twitter: @CR_UK 

Macmillan Cancer 
Support 

0300 1000200 

Email: webmanager@ 
macmillan. org. uk 
Twitter: @macmillancancer 

NSPCC 

0808800 5000 

Email: help@nspcc.org.uk 
Twitter: @NSPCC 


Oxfam 

03002001292 

Email: 

enquiries @ oxfam. org. uk 
Twitter: @oxfamgb 

RNIB 

0303 123 9999 

Email: helpline@rnib.org.uk 
Contact form: www.rnib. 
org.uk/contact-us 
Twitter: @RNIB 


Royal British Legion 
0808 802 8080 

Contact form: 
www.snipca.com/15558 
Twitter: @PoppyLegion 


RSPCA 

03001234 999 

Twitter: @RSPCA_offlcial 

Save the Children 
0207 012 6400 

Twitter: @savechildrenuk 


% 


This will come in useful, too: www.snipca.com/14981 1 - 14 April 2015 13 






Protect Your Tech 


Scams and threats to avoid, plus new security tools 


WATCH OUT FOR... 


FREAK flaw fixed by Windows update 



What happened? 

Microsoft released a Windows update 
that fixed the FREAK flaw, which was 
revealed by security researchers in early 
March (see News, Issue 445). The fix 
arrived a week later in Microsoft’s 
Patch Tuesday update for March. 

The flaw, which has existed since 
1999, means hackers can make sure 
data that’s sent between browsers and 
servers uses weak encryption. This 
makes it easier for them to steal 
personal information, such as the 
banking details of people browsing 
the web. Given the length of time the 
flaw lay undetected, and the severity of 
the damage hackers could do with it, 
Microsoft’s fix could be considered one 
of the most important Windows updates 
ever. Other companies, including Apple 
and Google, have also released fixes. 


The fix was one 
of 14 released by 
Microsoft. They 
include updates for 
Internet Explorer 
and Office, which 
were rated ‘critical’ 

- the highest 
threat level, above 
‘important’, ‘moderate’ and ‘low’. 

Left unfixed, these flaws could 
potentially let a hacker take remote 
control of an infected PC. Read 
Microsoft’s ‘Security Bulletin for 
March’ for more information 
(www.snipca.com/15754) . 

What should you do? 

As we always say when Microsoft 
releases security fixes, you need to make 
sure you have ‘automatic updating’ 


turned on. Once it’s activated, you 
can sleep easy in the knowledge that 
Microsoft’s updates will be applied 
to your operating system. It’s very 
important advice, so it’s always 
worth repeating this. 

To learn how to do it, visit Microsoft’s 
‘Turning automatic updating on or off’ 
page (www.snipca.com/15755, see 
screenshot), then choose your operating 
system at the top-right (XP isn’t listed 
because Microsoft ended support for 
this in April last year) . 


A ScamWatch 

a READERS WARN READERS 


You'll find plenty of new security tools in our Cover Feature 
(page 50), so for this issue we've made ScamWatch bigger 


Want a call-blocker? 

No thanks 

I had a phone call from a firm 
suggesting that my phone provider 
wanted to offer me a call-blocker device 
because of all the unwanted calls I had 
received lately. They said the device 
would be free, and I’d only have to pay 
the £1.75 postage costs. The caller knew 
my name, but never mentioned my 
phone provider by name. When she 
asked for my debit-card details to take 
the £1.75, 1 hung up. She rang back later 
but I declined her kind offer. The caller 
was English and dialling 1471 gave me 
the number 0113 834 6763. A search for 
the number on Google didn’t produce 
any indication that this was a known 
scam number. 

Eric Gendle 


Beware Facebook 'money 
mule' requests 

I’d like to report a horrible scam that 
one of my relatives almost fell for. She 
saw a post on one of the Facebook 
groups she belongs to, which was 
asking for people who would ‘hold’ 
money in their bank account, so it 
could be sent abroad at a later date. 

She said it sounded like an easy way to 
make a bit of cash, and asked me what I 
thought. I took a look, and immediately 
realised it was some kind of money- 
laundering scam. If you fall for the 
scam, you are in effect becoming a 
money mule. I looked online for more 
information, and came across this 
confirmation from ActionFraud: 
www.snipca.com/15759. 

Clive Turner 


Asked to confirm Apple account 

On 5 March I received an email from 
do_not_reply@apple.com signed by the 
Apple Care Team. It told me that my 
“Apple Email ID” had been used to buy 
Enrique Iglesias’s album Desperado 
from iTunes on an Apple device not 
“associated” with me. They wanted me 
to check whether I’d made the purchase 
and to confirm my account. It sounded 
dubious, so I contacted Apple and it 
turned out that nothing had been 
charged to my iTunes account. The 
email would appear to be an attempt to 
obtain my bank details. I forwarded the 
email to Apple (via reportphishing @ 
apple.com) for them to deal with. 

George Brion 

Warn your fellow readers about scams at 
letters(pcomputeractive.co.uk 



14 1-14 April 2015 







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www.snipca.com/15849 

What you need: Windows XP, Vista, 7 or 8/8.1 



If you’re still using iTunes for playing music and video on 
your PC, what are you thinking ? VLC, officially called ‘VLC 
media player’, has been outclassing iTunes (and Windows 
Media Player - aka WMP) for 14 years now, offering far greater 
reliability, ease of use and format support. 

VLC is not stuffed with memory-hogging novelty features, 
and there’s no iTunes-style library system to worry about. Just 
open a file or insert a disc and it will play. VLC supports vastly 
more codecs (which roughly means formats) than iTunes or 
WMP, and it also lets you play DVDs, CDs and VCDs (www. 
snipca.com/15852). We’ve even found it can play (some) 
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New formats are being invented all the time, so VLC 2.2.0 


stays up to date by adding support for the latest UltraHD 
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smartphone videos. 

The most noticeable change, though, is a new ‘Plugins and 
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but you had to download them from the internet and import 
them into the program manually - a bit of a hassle. Now you 
can browse, add and manage extensions and other types of 
plug-in from inside the program, just as you would in 
Chrome or Firefox. 

To get VLC, click the big orange Download VLC button, then 
save and run the installer. There’s no bundled adware or extras. 



D Click Media, Open File, 
then click a video or audio 
file on your PC to load it 
instantly in the player. The 
player window adjusts 
automatically to fit a 
video's dimensions. 


B Click 'Plugins and extensions' 
in the Tools menu to open 
VLC's new extensions 
manager, then click 'Get 
addons' at the bottom left of 
the manager window. 


B Click Extensions in the 
'Plugins and extensions' 
manager to see just 
extensions, such as VL Sub 
(which lets you find and 
download subtitles) and 
Lyrics Finder. 


□ Click an extension then 
More Information to see 
a description, then click 
Install to add it to VLC. You 
can remove extensions 
by going to the Active 
Extensions tab. 


16 1-14 April 2015 





SYSTEM MONITOR 

System Explorer 6.4.0 

www.snipca.com/15856 

What you need: Windows XP, Vista, 7 or 8/8.1 

Lift the lid on your PC with this powerful Task Manager 
replacement. It scans your running processes for security 
problems, memory usage, recent actions and much more. If you 
don’t recognise a process or it seems to be causing trouble, click 
its Details link to investigate it on the System Explorer website. 

Now for a grumble. System Explorer tries to warn you off its 
portable version (‘Not recommended!’) so that you use its 
installable version instead. You can download them both from the 
link above. Fact is, they’re almost identical, so go for the portable 
version. It’s not strictly portable anyway, because it installs a few 
program files and makes you accept a licence agreement. There’s 
no adware, however. The program window opens once you’ve run 
the initial Security Check, which takes a couple of minutes. 



BROWSER 

Opera 28 

www.snipca.com/15853 

What you need: Windows XP, Vista, 7 or 8/8.1 

With Internet Explorer (IE) facing its demise, Chrome constantly 
crashing, Firefox constantly changing and Spartan getting 
everyone talking, it’s easy to forget there are other browsers, too. 
Opera has been around for 21 years and there’s plenty of life in 
it yet, as this new version is eager to prove. The revamped Start 
page has a Speed Dial feature for your most-visited sites; there’s 
now a Discover tool for automatically gathering news, a bit 
like RSS without any of the hassle; and the new Opera Turbo 
technology compresses data for much faster and more reliable 
browsing. Opera may not grab as many headlines as Spartan, but 
it deserves consideration if you’ve decided to ditch Chrome or IE. 


WHAT SHOULD I DOWNLOAD? 

We tell you what software to use 





What should I use to 
back up Android? 

I have an Android smartphone and 
tablet, and I want to back up all their 
data for safekeeping. I tried using ES 
File Explorer, but couldn’t get the hang of it. 

Is there a full backup program for Android, 
like the PC program Macrium Reflect? 

Mike Lovell 


Most people know the importance 
of backing up their PC, but don’t back up their 
mobile devices - which are much easier to lose 
and break than PCs, and often contain very sensitive 
data (such as private text messages). 

There’s no direct Android equivalent of Macrium, but 
there are plenty of free, thorough alternatives. Easy Backup 
& Restore (www.snipca.com/1586l) lets you securely store 
apps, messages, contacts and more to locations of your 
choice, including Gmail and OneDrive, and restore them 
if needed. CM Backup (www.snipca.com/15868) is more 
powerful, but also more complicated. Both have just been 
updated to support Android Lollipop, and neither demands 
root access. Never give an app root access - it leaves you 
wide open to mobile malware. 

What's the best 
replacement for Outlook 
Express stationery? 

I was very happy with Outlook Express until 
Microsoft pulled the plug. Windows Live Mail 
(WLM) is OK, but doesn’t include stationery tools, 
such as coloured email backgrounds. Is there a similar 
program that does? 

Trevor Adams 




If lack of E ****™ prtt tm#< 

stationery is 
the only thing 
you don’t like about 
WLM, download the 
free WLM stationery 
extensions from 
Cloudeight (www. 
snipca.com/15864) . 

Alternatively, switch to 

a free online email service such as Gmail, which supports 
browser extensions like Email Backgrounds (www.snipca. 
com/15866). Browser extensions are very easy to use and 
can be installed with one click. 



121 


Do you need our advice on what software to use? 
Just email us at letters(5)computeractive.co.uk 


1-14 April 2015 17 









Reviews 


New products tested by our experts 


SMARTPHONE I £100 (without contract) from www.snipca.com/15771 

Motorola Moto E 4G 

A quality Android 4G phone for just £100 


Motorola makes some great Android 
devices, but the original Moto E 
smartphone wasn’t one of them (see 
our review, Issue 426). It may have been 
cheap, but it was undermined by its poor 
responsiveness and performance. There 
was little point in choosing it over the 
slightly more expensive Moto G. That’s no 
longer the case with the new Moto E. 

The most significant new feature (and 
the clue’s in the name) is the addition of 
4G, making this the cheapest 4G Android 
phone we’ve tested. When we were 
connected to Vodafone’s 4G network in 
central London, the battery lasted a 
staggering 45 hours 50 minutes when 
used for web browsing, calls, taking 
photos and GPS. When playing videos 
continuously, battery life was equally 
impressive at 13 hours 18 minutes. 

Call quality was generally excellent. 

The phone managed to shut out the 
racket of a drill and power washer as we 
walked by, albeit at the expense of audio 

it Motorola has done it 
again - the ideal phone 
if money is tight 

quality. Callers reported that we sounded 
quiet and distant. The quality improved 
no end once we’d moved away from the 
source of this noise pollution. 

At first glance, the new Moto E looks 
similar to its predecessor, but look a little 
closer and you’ll see it’s been redesigned 
inside and out. While it still has a 
microSD slot (essential for supplementing 
the meagre 8GB of built-in storage), you 
no longer remove the back panel to 
access it. Instead, you unclip the plastic 
rim running around the edge of the 
phone, providing easy access to both the 
micro SIM and microSD slots. Thanks in 
part to the fixed back panel, the phone 
feels exceptionally rigid and robust - 
especially compared with other phones at 


this price. This does mean, however, 
that you can’t replace the battery or 
add a different coloured back panel 
for that personal touch. 

The first Moto E had a dual-core 
processor, which simply wasn’t 
fast enough to run Android smoothly. 

The new quad-core processor here 
has no such trouble. Everything 
from loading web pages to opening 
apps was a breeze. Although the 
touchscreen can still sometimes 
suffer from poor responsiveness, 
it’s still a big improvement on 
its predecessor, and many other 
budget Android phones for that 
matter. 

People with smallish hands will 
find the 4.5in screen a little unwieldy 
to use. It’s bright with accurate 
colours, although the contrast is pretty 
mediocre. More limiting is the 
960x540-pixel resolution, which in a 
screen this large makes text look a little 
ragged. As a result, reading for long 
periods can be a strain on your eyes. 

The camera’s only really good enough 
for quick snaps if you need a record of 
something or as a last resort when it’s the 
only camera to hand. With no flash to fall 
back on, shots taken in low light are dark 
and blurry, and therefore unusable. Noise 
was a common problem, even in photos 
taken in daylight, though these were well 
lit with reasonable levels of detail. 

The Moto E 4G is one of the first phones 
to come with Android 5.0 Lollipop - all 
the more impressive given that many 
more expensive phones are stuck on 
earlier versions. We covered Lollipop’s 
major new features in our review of the 
Nexus 9 tablet (see Issue 438). Motorola 
has wisely left Lollipop almost entirely 

SPECIFICATIONS 

4.5in 960x540-pixel touchscreen • 1.2GHz 
Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 quad-core processor* 
400MHz Adreno 306 graphics chip • 1GB memory 
• 8GB storage • 4G • micro SIM • microSD • Android 
5.0.2 Lollipop • 145g • 130x67x12mm (HxWxD) * 
One-year warranty www.snipca.com/15772 



unaltered, save for the addition of a few 
apps. The most useful is Alert. Once set 
up, it lets you quickly send messages to 
friends and family in an emergency and 
even informs them of your location. 

Motorola has done it again - the Moto E 
is a bargain. While it’s not perfect (what 
is?), this is the ideal smartphone if money 
is tight. If you do have a little more cash 
at your disposable, then the 4G Moto G is 
still a great option, thanks to its sharper, 
higher-resolution screen and smoother 
responsiveness. 

VERDICT: The best budget Android 
phone available 

★★★★★ 

ALTERNATIVE: Motorola 
Moto G 4G (2nd 
generation) £159 A little 
more expensive, but 
more responsive and 
with a sharper 
5in screen 



18 1-14 April 2015 



LAPTOP I £317 from www.snipca.com/15764 

Asus X555LA-XX290H 

Finally, a budget Windows laptop actually worth buying 



We rarely recommend very cheap 
Windows 8.1 laptops because 
they usually represent a 
false economy Many 
previous bargain- 
basement models we’ve 
tested have been hamstrung 
by poor-quality construction, 
plodding performance, badly 
lit screens and unwieldy 
keyboards. Asus has bucked the 
trend with the X555LA - a 
no-frills laptop that costs just over 
£300 and puts other budget laptops 
from higher-profile rivals to shame. 

The first thing you notice is how light 
the X555LA is for a 15.6in laptop with a 
built-in DVD writer (2.1kg, increasing to 
2.3kg with charger). It’s still likely to 
spend more time at home than out and 
about, but its eight-hour battery life 
keeps open the option to use when 
you’re travelling. A circular pattern on 
the lid brings a touch of style to what is 

1 1 Its performance 
and bright screen puts 
other budget laptops 
from higher-profile 
rivals to shame J f 

otherwise a plain design, and its plastic 
casing does tend to creak and flex too 
easily. On the plus side, though, it never 
became unbearably warm underneath 
during our tests. 

Performance-wise, this laptop more 
than holds its own. The 1.9 GHz Intel Core 
i3 4030U dual-core processor, combined 
with 4GB of memory, makes it fast 
enough for use as your main computer. 
You can easily upgrade the memory, but 

SPECIFICATIONS 

1.9GHz Intel Core i3 4030U dual-core processor* 
4GB memory • 1TB hard drive • DVD writer • Intel HD 
4400 integrated graphics *15.6in 1366x768-pixel 
screen • 802.11a/b/g/n - Windows 8.1 • 2.1kg (2.3kg 
with charger) •26x382x256mm (HxWxD) • 
One-year warranty www.snipca.com/15765 


only up to 8 GB. This will be sufficient 
for the next year or two. After that, you 
might start feeling its limitations as 
software will inevitably require more 
resources. On the whole, it’s pretty hard 
to get inside this laptop, making it next to 
impossible to replace the 1TB hard drive 
with a larger model or an SSD. 

Unsurprisingly for this price, there’s 
no touchscreen, and to be honest little 
need for one because the touchpad is 
spacious, very responsive and accurate. 
We liked the keyboard too. The keys feel a 
touch wobbly and could benefit from a 
tad more resistance, but they don’t lack 
feedback and travel, which makes for 
fast and precise touch typing. 

Being a budget laptop, the screen has a 
1366x768-pixel resolution, and isn’t 
blessed with great colour accuracy and 
contrast. It is bright though and viewing 
angles are reasonably wide too. You can 
of course connect a second, higher- 
quality monitor via HDMI or VGA. 

As with any budget laptop, Asus has 
made compromises with the X555LA, but 
for the most part it’s made the right ones. 
Any flaws are easy to forgive, given its 
comfortable keyboard, pacy performance, 
respectable battery life and radiant 
screen. If you use XP or Vista currently, 
it’s the ideal laptop for those who wish to 
move to Windows 10 when it becomes 
available as a free upgrade to Windows 
8/8.1 users later this year. 


HOW WE TEST 

Computeroctive is owned by Dennis 
Publishing, which owns a hi-tech facility 
for testing the latest technology. You'll 
often read references to our benchmark 
testing, which is a method of assessing 
products using the same criteria. For 
example, we test the speed of every 
PC and the battery life of every tablet 
in exactly the same way. This makes 
our reviews authoritative, rigorous 
and accurate. 

Dennis Publishing also owns the 
magazines PC Pro, Computer Shopper, 
Web User, Micro Mart and Mac User, 
and the website Expert Reviews 
(www.expertreviews.co.uk). This 
means we can test thousands of 
products before choosing the most 
relevant for Computeroctive. 

FAIR AND IMPARTIAL 

Our writers follow strict guidelines to 
ensure the reviews are fair and 
impartial. The manufacturer has no 
involvement in our tests. 


OUR AWARDS 

We award every product 
that gets five stars our 
Buy It! stamp of approval. 
It means we were 
extremely impressed by the product, 
and we think you will be too. 



active 


Every product that gets a 
four-star review is given 
the Great Pick award. We 
highly recommend these 
products, although they just fail to meet 
the high standard of our Buy It! winners. 


PRICES 

Our reviews contain a link to the best 
price we found online at the time of press. 


VERDICT: A cheap laptop that gets all 
the basics right, making it great value 


★★★★★ 


ALTERNATIVE: Toshiba Satellite Pro 
R50-B-12U £390 
A 15in Windows 7 laptop 
that's easier to upgrade, 
has comparable battery 
life and has 
recently 
dropped in price 



1-14 April 2015 19 



Reviews 


PRINTER I £94 from www.snipca.com/15679 

Canon i-SENSYS LBP6230dw 

A mono laser printer for sharing on a home network 



Canon’s LBP6230dw costs about £35 
more than the most basic black-and- 
white (mono) laser printers, but in this 
case it’s money well spent. It claims a top 
speed of 25 pages per minute (ppm), 
which isn’t bad, but we’re more impressed 
by the fact you can share it over a wired 
or wireless network connection, and that 
it prints automatically on both sides of a 
sheet of paper (duplex printing). 

The paper input tray, which has a 
transparent lid to keep dust out, also acts 
as a single-page bypass feed. This means 
you don’t need to unload the input tray 
first if you want to print on an envelope 
or headed paper. The paper output tray is 
basic though, and can leave printed pages 


SPECIFICATIONS 

2400x600dpi maximum print resolution »20ppm 
mono quoted speeds • USB • Wi-Fi • One-year 
warranty www.snipca.com/15680 


in an untidy pile. Replacement 
toner costs about £44 and lasts for 
around 2,100 pages - a cost per 
page of roughly 2.1p, which is 
expensive for a laser. 

The printing process was quick in 
our tests, delivering a first page in 
nine seconds, and a total of 20 pages 
in 56 seconds - a fast average of 21.4ppm. 
Printing graphics was equally quick, 
while duplex printing produced 20 sides 
on 10 sheets in one minute 26 seconds. 
It’s a quiet operator and its barely audible 
fans stopped a few seconds after printing 
ceased. Both text and graphics results 
were excellent, although some photos 
looked artificial, with too much contrast. 

High running costs mean we wouldn’t 
recommend this printer for heavy-duty 
use, but it’s still a good buy for occasional 
printing at home due to its impressive 
features, quality and speed. 



VERDICT: Fast and flexible, this is a 
great mono printer for light duty in a 
home or small office 

★★★★☆ 

ALTERNATIVE: Brother 
DCP-1610W £127 A 
mono laser MFP that 
costs only a little more, 
although running costs 
are no cheaper 



SSD I £334 from www.snipca.com/15682 


SSD I £169 from www.snipca.com/15685 


Samsung 850 Evo 1TB 


A cheaper version of Samsung's 
lightning-fast 850 Pro SSD 



The Samsung 850 Pro is one of 
the fastest SSDs we’ve ever 
tested (see our review, Issue 
440) - and one of the most 
expensive. The 1TB 850 Evo 
comes in at a more affordable 
at 33p per gigabyte (the Pro is 
46p per gigabyte). The 
difference between the two is 
durability. Samsung claims the 
Evo will handle 150TB of 
copied data over its lifetime, 
while the Pro is rated for 
300TB. For most people 
though, 150TB should be more 
than enough. The Evo also has 
a shorter warranty - five 
instead of ten years. 

The Evo is slower than the 
Pro, but isn’t too far behind. It 


copied large files 
at 545MB/S and small files at 
75MB/s. The Crucial MX200 
(see right) is faster and has 
similar durability. If you 
want an even cheaper SSD 
and can live with lower 
durability, the 1TB BX100 
(see our review, Issue 445) 
costs £284 (or 29p per 
gigabyte) and is rated for 72TB. 


VERDICT: A blisteringly 
fast SSD, but better-value 
alternatives are available 


Crucial MX200 500GB 


A super-fast SSD at a fair price 


F J Y _ mfj 

j 1 


The MX200 isn’t Crucial’s 
cheapest range of SSDs (see 
our BX100 review in Issue 
445), but the 500GB version 
reviewed here is still very 
affordable at 34p per gigabyte. 

It has plenty going for it 
besides this. It can officially 
handle up to 160TB of data 
over its lifetime - this rises to 
320TB for the 1TB version. 
This is more than twice the 
durabilty of many cheaper 
SSDs. The MX200 is also one 
of the fastest SSDs we’ve ever 
seen when copying large files, 
reaching an overall speed of 
575MB/S. It wasn’t quite as 
brisk when copying small 
files, but was still quick at 
76MB/S. 




KTuTlaJ r, — __ 


The MX200 is a great SSD. 
It’s clearly better than cheaper 
SSDs, like Crucial’s own 
BX100, and stays ahead of 
other similarly priced and 
specified drives such as 
Samsung’s 850 Evo (see left). 
It’s a worthy winner of our 
Buy It! award. 


VERDICT: Faster 
performance and better 
durability - a worthy step 
up from a budget SSD 

★★★★★ 


20 1-14 April 2015 




THE INTERNET OF EVERYTHING 

presents 


the last queue 


We’re building the Internet of Everything for business. With UCS Server solutions 
providing data centre performance everywhere, mobile applications and analytics keep 
queues short and customers happy. Let’s confine queueing to yesterday. 

See how at cisco.co.uk/thelastqueue 


■ • | • 1 1 1 ■ 
CISCO. 

TOMORROW starts here. 


Cisco UCS with 
Intel® Xeon® 
processors 



inside' 

XEON* 


iarax Out- uo©y : 0! 


Reviews 


PHABLET I £99 plus £34.50 monthly on two-year Vodafone contract; 
£650 without contract from www.snipca.com/15817 




Samsung Galaxy Note Edge 

An average phablet with a curved screen 


The forthcoming Samsung Galaxy S6 has 
received an awful lot of attention for its 
curved screen. Amid all the hype, it’s easy 
to forget that it’s not the first Samsung 
phone with this eye-catching feature. 

The Galaxy Note Edge has a screen that 
curves away on its right-hand edge 
(see image), although the S6 Edge will 
have two curved edges. 

The Note Edge’s curve is much more 
pronounced however, measuring almost 
a full centimetre. From time to time, 
users who are right-handed will find 
themselves accidentally triggering 
onscreen controls with their thumb. 
Left-handed users can turn the phone 
upside down and flip the interface via a 
software setting, but doing so means 
they’ll have to use a headset to make and 
take calls because the mic and earpiece 
will no longer be in the right positions. 

The bar containing all your favourite 
apps has been moved to the curved edge. 


u The curved screen 
drives up the cost 
and brings negligible 

benefits 93 


Swiping the curve from right to left lets 
you access other features, such as a ruler, 
a torch, notifications and a news and 
stocks ticker. The screen can even be set 
to act as a bedside clock when plugged 
in and laid flat. 

Other features can be added by 
downloading ‘panels’ from Samsung’s 
app store. Most of these merely replicate 
the functions of traditional Android 
widgets and aren’t particularly 
convenient or useful. We weren’t won 
over by any of the screen’s features. 


SPECIFICATIONS 

5.6in 2560x1440-pixel touchscreen • 2.7GHz 
Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 quad-core processor 
• 3GB memory • Adreno 330 graphics chip • 32GB 
storage • 4G • Micro SIM • MicroSD slot • Android 4.4 
KitKat • 174g • 152x83x8mm (HxWxD) • One-year 
warranty www.snipca.com/15818 


Aside from its curved screen, the 
Note Edge is very similar to the Note 4 
(see our review, Issue 440). Like other 
Galaxy Notes, it comes with a stylus. 

Pop it out of its slot and a dial appears 
on screen that lets you quickly jot down 
your thoughts, draw a diagram or 
annotate a screenshot. Samsung’s app 
store contains a small selection of apps to 
use with the stylus, mostly for painting 
and drawing. We used the stylus 
sparingly, but we found it to be more 
useful than the curved screen. 

If you like using fingerprint readers as 
an alternative to a passcode to unlock 
your device, then you’re in luck (sort of). 
Unfortunately, the Note Edge’s reader is 
as frustrating to use as those on other 
Galaxy phones. It requires a slow, precise 
finger swipe, making it much more 
fiddly than the fingerprint readers on 
Apple’s recent iPhones. 

We weren’t exactly bowled over by 
the camera either. It coped well with 
landscape shots in broad daylight, but 
skin tones in portraits looked smeared 
and artificial. Low-lit images were often 
too dark, too blurry or too blighted 
by noise. 

Other hardware features are more 
impressive. The quad-core processor 
raced through our benchmark tests, and 
the touchscreen responded quickly to our 
prods and swipes. While the 5.6in screen 
is unwieldy if you’re using one hand, it’s 
bright with accurate colours and sharp 


text, thanks to its very high resolution. 

Call quality in London’s West End 
on the Vodafone network was 
surprisingly poor. Callers sounded quiet 
and remote, while calls suffered from 
frequent drop-outs. Background noise 
from a busy building site made it past any 
filtering technology, so it remained very 
much audible. Battery life was a little 
below average compared with other 
phablets. It lasted 23 hours 20 minutes 
when we were connected to Vodafone’s 
4G network and used the phone for calls, 
taking photos, web browsing and GPS. 
Continuously playing videos, the battery 
life lasted 14 and a half hours, which is 
three hours fewer than the Note 4. 

We’re not convinced by the Note 
Edge’s curved screen. Its benefits are 
negligible and it drives up this phablet’ s 
price (it costs nearly £150 more than 
the Note 4). If this is the best Samsung 
can do, then curved mobile screens will 
be a very short-lived fad indeed. 


VERDICT: The slim benefits of the 
curved screen aren't enough to justify 
the price premium over the Note 4 


ALTERNATIVE: Samsung 
Galaxy Note 4 £515 (without 
contract) An essentially 
identical phablet but cheaper 
because it has no curved edge 


22 1-14 April 2015 


Reviews 


SMART TV I £376 from www.snipca.com/15699 

Samsung UE40H5500 


Great picture quality and all the TV apps you'll ever need 



The UE40H5500 looks 
far more unassuming 
than the rest of 
Samsung’s TVs due to its 
plain, unadorned stand. 

But while it isn’t as glitzy 
looking as Samsung’s 
more expensive TVs, 
its picture quality is 
impressive. 

Both brightness and 
contrast were excellent in 
our test, so we could easily 
make out details in dark scenes in 
films and TV shows. The only flaws we 
could see in its colour accuracy were 
overly strong blues and magentas. 

We managed to compensate for this, 
though, by fiddling with the picture- 
quality settings. The only setting we’d 
recommend you avoid using is ‘motion 
lighting’. This attempts to save energy by 
automatically adjusting the brightness 
depending on what’s on screen, but 
this negatively affected contrast levels, 
making it more difficult to see what 
was going on in dark scenes. 

There’s no 3D support, which is 
unusual, but we don’t miss this gimmicky 
feature. You do get plenty of ports, 
including three HDMI ports as well as 
SCART, component and composite 
connectors. There are also two USB ports, 
an Ethernet connector and an optical 
audio jack. The built-in speakers were 
surprisingly good. Dialogue was crystal 
clear, although sound effects and music 
lacked punch. Dedicated film and music 
fans will want to buy a sound bar or other 
external speakers. Samsung’s smart TV 
interface feels smooth, thanks to the 
TV’s quad-core processor. 

Samsung’s smart TVs are the only ones 
that come with apps for every major 
terrestrial TV catch-up service (at least 
until Sony’s YouView models arrive 
this summer). There are also apps for 
Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Blinkbox, 

SPECIFICATIONS 

40in LED TV • 1920x1080 pixel resolution • 4x HDMI; 
2x USB2 • lx component • lx composite • lx SCART • 
lx Ethernet • Wi-Fi • Freeview HD • 578x907x196mm 
• 9kg • One-year warranty www.snipca.com/15700 


Spotify and YouTube, so there’s no 
shortage of entertainment. 

If you’d rather watch your own 
videos, switch to the Multimedia panel 
in the smart TV interface. From here you 
can play videos and music stored on a 
USB stick, or from a PC, smartphone, 
tablet or NAS on your home network. 

We do wish the interface here was better 
designed, though. The icons for USB 
sticks and other connected devices are 
crowded out by panels for content from 
YouTube and other online video services 
- an odd and annoying design decision. 

In any case, we didn’t have trouble 
playing any of our video and audio files. 

Overall, the UE40H5500 is an excellent 
TV. You’ll have to tweak the settings to 
get the best picture, but its image quality 
is better than other, more expensive TVs 
we’ve tested. While its smart TV interface 
could be better designed, it nonetheless 
has an unrivalled selection of online 
video content. 


VERDICT: Great picture quality 
and good smart-TV features make 
Samsung's UE40H5500 a bargain 

★★★★★ 

ALTERNATIVE: Sony KDL-42W705B 
£429 A slightly larger 42in TV with 
even better picture 
quality, but it doesn't 
have apps for all 
the terrestrial TV 
catch-up services 



The best... 

Accessories 


Allocacoc PowerCube 
ReWirable USB 


£16 from www.snipca.com/15844 
A portable cube- ^ 
shaped gangplug ^ 0 
with four power 
sockets and two 
USB ports. It's removable 
and uses a standard kettle lead 
connection so you can easily 
use a foreign plug or power lead 
when travelling. 


% K 


Acqualia Soulver 

£4 from www.snipca. 
com/15845 
A calculator app for 
iOS and Mac OS X 
that lets you solve 
fiddly arithmetic such 
as '15% of 75,000 
+ 22.5% of 54,000' 
simply by typing that 
text into its notepad- 
style interface. 


Creative Sound Blaster Jam 
£40 from www.snipca.com/15847 
This budget pair 
of wireless 
headphones 
sound 

surprisingly good. 

Although bass was merely 
okay, music otherwise sounded well 
balanced and clear. It connects to your 
mobile device via Bluetooth and to your 
computer via USB. 



Tuitive CameraSim 
£1.49 from www. 
snipca.com/15846 
An app that 
replicates the 
interface of a 
typical CSC/DSLR 
camera so you 
can learn what the 
various controls do, and how they affect 
your photos, without running down 
your camera's battery. Available for iOS, 
Kindle Fire, Windows and Mac. 



1-14 April 2015 23 




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Reviews 


PC I £550 from www.snipca.com/15774 

Wired2Fire Diablo Ultima 

A fast and affordable PC - with one critical flaw 


The best PCs tend to offer a good balance 
between performance, expandability and 
price, but Wired2Fire has rewritten the 
rules with its latest PC. The Diablo Ultima 
costs just £550 (albeit without a monitor, 
keyboard and mouse), but it provides the 
sort of superior performance we’d usually 
expect in a PC costing significantly more. 
It sounds too good to be true and - in one 
crucial aspect -it is. 

The plain black casing houses a fast 
3.2GHz Intel Core i5 4460 quad-core 
processor and 8GB of memory. The 
processor made short work of our 
benchmark tests, so it’ll definitely handle 
demanding programs for some time to 
come. 3D performance was particularly 
impressive. The AMD Radeon R9-270X 
graphics card tore through our 3D-graphics 
tests, producing smooth, detailed visuals. 
It only struggled when faced with the 
very latest resource-sapping games. 

You can also use the graphics card to 
speed up non-gaming software such as 
Adobe Photoshop or Roxio Creator. 

There’s the option to attach up to three 
monitors, as long as one of them is via 

SPECIFICATIONS 

3.2GHz Intel Core i5 4460 quad-core processor* 

8GB memory • 1TB hard drive • 2GB AMD Radeon 
R9-270X dedicated graphics card • Windows 8.1 • 
430x200x455m • Three-year warranty 
www.snipca.com/15774 


DisplayPort. Buy a DisplayPort hub (£83 
fromwww.snipca.com/15773) and you 
can connect a whopping six monitors. 

The Diablo Ultima can of course be 
enhanced as your needs change in future, 
but it has fewer upgrade options than 
many other PCs at this price. There are 
only two memory slots, so if you want to 
fit the maximum 16GB, you’ll have to 
dispose of the 8GB already fitted. 

In theory, you can add a Blu-ray drive, 
a storage card reader and another two 
hard drives or SSDs. In practice, you’ll 
have to be far more selective about which 
internal storage upgrades you add 
because there are only two SATA2 ports 
available (the two SATA3 ports are taken 
up by the DVD writer and 1TB hard 
drive). In any case, if you’re planning to 
install an SSD, it makes sense to plug this 
into one of the SATA3 ports and relegate 
the DVD writer (which doesn’t need the 
extra speed provided by SATA3) to one of 
the SATA2 ports. 

You could get around this SATA 
shortage by plugging a SATA card into the 
PCI Express slot. Although there are three 
of these slots, only one is actually usable 
as the other two are blocked off by the 
large graphics card. Having only one free 
PCI slot is annoying, but not as limiting 
as it once was because there are now USB 
versions of almost every PCI peripheral 



you could want. 

The Diablo Ultima’s critical flaw is 
the noise it generated whenever it was 
running demanding tasks, which was 
audible even above the servers and air 
conditioning of our test labs. 

This is a real shame, but it’s the only 
major flaw in an otherwise reasonably 
priced, powerful PC. If you want 
performance above all else, this is a 
good-value computer. 


VERDICT: If you can put up with its 
racket, you'll get a very powerful PC 
for not much money 

★★★★☆ 

ALTERNATIVE: Palicomp AMD Kaveri 
Evolution £500 If you don't 
need the fastest 
performance, this 
complete PC system 
is good value 



WHAT SHOULD I BUY? We solve your buying dilemmas 


What's the best tablet for Skyping? 



I would like to buy a tablet so 
that I can email and Skype my 
family when I’m away on 
holiday. Which tablet would you 
suggest? 

Ann Ewer 

We’d recommend an iPad or 
Android tablet rather than a 
Windows 8.1 tablet. Although 
any tablet can handle basic email and 
video chat, there is a wider range of 
alternative email apps available for iOS 



and Android, which is useful if 
the built-in default email app 
doesn’t suit your needs. 

Video-chat quality obviously 
depends not only on the quality 
of your tablet’s front-facing 
camera, but also your internet 
connection and lighting 
conditions. Even so, some tablet’s cameras 
are significantly better than others. 

Of the tablets we’ve reviewed recently, 
the iPad Air 2 (£399 from www.snipca. 
com/14309) and the Sony Xperia Z3 



Tablet Compact (£298 from 
| www.snipca.com/15814) easily 
have the best front-facing 
cameras with sharp focus and 
accurate colours. In contrast, 
the Tesco Hudl 2 captured 
footage with such an orange cast 
that our faces looked jaundiced, 
while the focus on the Amazon Kindle 
Fire HDX 8.9’s camera was far too soft. 


e Do you need advice on what you should buy? 
Email us at letters(5)computeractive.co.uk 


26 1-14 April 2015 




PC MONITOR I £621 from www.snipca.com/15724 



A gigantic 4K monitor 


4K screens have a minimum resolution 
of 3840x2160 pixels - four times the 
number found in your average 
1920xl080-pixel HD TV and PC monitor. 
The benefit of using a 4K monitor like 
Phillips’ BDM4065UC with your PC is 
immediately clear if you like to do several 
things at once. Four times more pixels 
means you get four times more space for 
all your windows and programs, which 
makes multi-tasking a breeze. Moreover, 
with all those extra pixels squeezed in, 
you’ll see high-resolution photos and 
videos in the minutest detail. Photos 
taken on an eight-megapixel camera, 
for example, will display on the 
BDM4065UC in their entirety, with 
no need to zoom in and out. 

Bear in mind that at 40in, the Philips 
BDM4065UC is massive, so you’ll need 
plenty of room on your desk. What’s 
more, you’ll want to push your chair 
further back than normal to view this 
monitor properly. Otherwise, you’ll be 
constantly swivelling your head from side 
to side to see anything at the corners/ 
edges of the screen. We’d recommend a 
distance of two to three feet away when 
watching films and playing games, and 
slightly more when working. Image 


SEE MORE ON 4K 


This diagram, laid over an eight- 
megapixel photo, illustrates the amount 
of working space 4I< resolution gives 
you. At 100 per cent magnification, you 
would see the entire image on the 4I< 
Philips BDM4065UC monitor. The red 
box represents what you would see on 
a typical 1080p monitor. The yellow box 
represents what you would see on a 
1366x768 monitor (the most common 
resolution on laptops). 


quality, as you’d expect, is excellent. 
Colours are bright and vibrant, while 
contrast levels are sky high, meaning 
minute detail is visible in dark shaded 
areas of photos and film scenes. Blacks 
are satisfyingly deep and inky, while 
editing photos and videos is a joy. 

Games look great, as long as you have 
a PC with a powerful graphics card 
that can play modern 3D games in 
4K at smooth frame rates. 

To use this monitor at 4K resolution, 
your computer will need a DisplayPort 
or Mini DisplayPort connector. You 
can use HDMI ports, but only if they 
support the HDMI 1.4 standard, and 
even then you’ll have to put up with 
a jerky refresh rate of 30Hz, which 
makes videos unwatchable. At 60Hz, 
DisplayPorts provide a far smoother 
viewing experience. 

The basic design of the metal stand 
doesn’t allow for much in the way of 
adjustment, but given the sheer size 
of this monitor, it matters little. The 
four-port USB 3.0 hub round the back is 
very handy, while the built-in stereo 
speakers are loud. The speakers do lack 
bass, however, so high-quality external 
speakers or headphones are a must. 

The on-screen menus are controlled 
by a small joystick on the back of the 
monitor. It’s a bit fiddly at first, but once 
you get the hang of it you can use it to 
adjust colour, tweak the brightness and 


even control the picture-in-picture mode. 

While the BDM4065UC is the 
cheapest 4K monitor of this quality 
we’ve tested, it’s still pretty expensive. 

The benefits of 4K are so compelling 
however, that we predict the vast 
majority of monitors will have 4K 
screens soon. Although you could 
buy a 40in 4K TV for less than £600, 
image quality and colour accuracy 
won’t be as good, and finding one with 
DisplayPort connectors would be a 
challenge. If you can afford it and your 
PC has the appropriate ports, the Philips 
BDM4065UC is a great buy for those 
wanting to join the 4K revolution. 

SPECIFICATIONS 

40in • 3840x2160-pixel resolution • 2x HDMI 
1.4 ports • lx VGA port • lx DisplayPort • lx Mini 
DisplayPort • 589x904x213mm (HxWxD) • 10kg 
www.snipca.com/15725 


VERDICT: An impressively large and 
vibrant display, but only for those with 
lots of desk space and deep pockets 


provides more working 
space than 1080p and it 
has stunning image quality 




ALTERNATIVE: Samsung S32D850T 
£440 A cheaper, smaller non-4l< 
32in monitor, but its 
2560x1440 resolution 


1-14 April 2015 27 





Reviews 



ROUTER I £53 from www.snipca.com/15710 

Asus RT-AC52U 

A remarkably cheap 8 02,1 lac router and 
USB adapter bundle 


The Asus RT-AC52U is an unusual 
router in more ways than one. Despite its 
low price, this router is 802.11ac-capable 
and even comes with an 802.11ac 
adapter for your computer. It’s attractive 
too - the crosshatch patterning catches 
the light in such a way that it sparkles 
as you walk past. There are numerous 
blue lights that shine through the 
crosshatch intersections, appearing as 
little glowing crosses (see image). 

It comes with a removable stand so you 
can position it upright. Alternatively, you 
can lay it flat or mount it to a wall. Setting 
it up is straightforward, but you’ll need to 
enable wireless security straight away as 
it’s turned off by default. Basic parental 
controls are built-in - you can restrict 
internet access to certain times, but you 
can’t block access to web sites. 

f C A good budget 
router with a speedy 
802.11n performance 
and extra features II 

The RT-AC52U can be used with cable 
or fibre modems, but its Ethernet ports 
only have a maximum speed of 100Mbps, 
which could be a problem in the future 
with super-fast broadband connections 
that exceed this speed. Interestingly, you 
can use two broadband connections with 
this router simultaneously. You can then 
increase your download speeds or have 
one connection automatically take over 
from the other in the event that it stops 
working. Few homes will have the luxury 
of two internet connections, but this 
router will be very attractive if you live 
in one that does. 

Unusually you can plug a 3G/4G USB 
dongle into the USB port, so you can 
use it as a backup internet connection 
should your main broadband service be 
interrupted. Alternatively, you can also 
share a printer or external drive plugged 
into the USB port with all your 


disappointing, the RT-AC52U is still a 
good budget router due to its speedy 
802. tin performance and extra features. 
If you want the very best speeds, though, 
either for copying files and/or for 
super-fast broadband connections in the 
future, then it’s worth buying a more 
expensive, but far faster 802.11ac router 
such as Trendnet’s TEW-812DRU 
(see our review, Issue 427). 


VERDICT: Disappointing 802.11ac 
performance, but an otherwise 
good-value budget router 

ALTERNATIVE: Trendnet 
TEW-812DRU £100 
Twice as expensive, 
but also twice as fast 
when used with its 
own 802.11ac adapter 
(sold separately) 


networked computers. 

There are even more 
extra features, most of 
which we would only 
expect to find on a NAS. 

Although the router 
should be able to act as 
an iTunes server - 
streaming media files 
stored on USB drives 
to your iOS devices or 
iTunes on a PC - we 
couldn’t get this to work. 

One feature that did work 
well was the ability to 
access files remotely away 
from home, wherever we 
had internet access. 

Asus had to cut corners 
somewhere to keep the 
price low, though, and it 
chose to compromise on 
performance. The RT-AC52U has 
a theoretical top speed of 433Mbps in 
802.11ac mode - noticeably less than 
the 1,300Mbps of most other 802.11ac 
routers. When using the included USB 
adapter with our laptop, we achieved 
speeds of 88.1Mbps at 10 metres and 
87.5Mbps at 25. These would be very 
good speeds for a 802. lln router, but 
other 802.11ac routers we’ve tested 
have been at least twice as quick. 
Although more than good enough 
for internet access, it’s not ideal for 
transferring lots of files between 
your own computers. 

When used in 802. lln mode, this 
router is dual-band capable. We got 
speeds of 39.5Mbps at 10 metres when 
we used our laptop’s built-in 802. lln 
adaptor on the 2.4GHz band. This fell to 
26.2Mbps at 25 metres. On the 5GHz 
band this increased to 90.1Mbps at 10 
metres and 60.5Mbps at 25 metres. 
These are good results. 

Although its 802.11ac speeds are 

SPECIFICATIONS 

Dual-band 802.11ac/a/b/g/n • 4x 10/100Mbps 
Ethernet ports • lx cable/fibre modem port • 
77x187x145mm (HxWxD) • One-year warranty 
www.snipca.com/15711 


28 1-14 April 2015 


DATA SIM I £40 for 30 days from www.snipca.com/15792 

Cellhire 10GB Data SIM (Spain) 

Banish your roaming worries in Spain - and elsewhere 



Using the internet abroad 
can cost the earth if your 
mobile network doesn’t 
offer a good roaming 
deal. Buying an 
international SIM card 
for a fixed price upfront 
before you leave can be a 
much more cost-effective 
way of getting online than 
buying daily passes from your 
current network provider. 

Cellhire ‘sells’ its international SIM 
cards as a standalone product or bundled 
with a portable router, although it’s more 
akin to renting than buying. Once you 
return from your trip abroad, you post 
back your SIM (and router, if applicable) 
using the included pre-paid envelope. 

Cellhire’ s SIM cards are available 
for 31 countries from Argentina to 
Switzerland. We tested Cellhire’ s 4G 
10GB Spanish Data SIM during a recent 
trip to Barcelona. The networks used by 
Cellhire varies from country to country. 

In Spain, Cellhire relies exclusively on 
Vodafone. Using SpeedTest.net, we found 
that download speeds were reasonably 
consistent across the city, ranging from 
12.14Mbps in the city centre to 16.4Mbps 
in a convention centre near the airport in 
the south of the city. Upload speeds, 
on the other hand, varied, starting at 
just 0.62Mbps at the convention centre 
and going right up to 4Mbps in the 
heart of the city. 

These speeds were more than sufficient 
for checking emails, uploading photos 
and finding our way around Barcelona 
using Google Maps. However, we did 
have connection problems in areas where 
a lot of other people were using portable 
routers or their smartphone’s internet- 
sharing feature. Here, our laptop either 
couldn’t connect to our portable router 
at all or we had to make a connection 
using USB. Such challenging wireless 
conditions are rare though. 

The main problem with Cellhire’ s 
Spanish tariff is that it isn’t cheap. The 

SPECIFICATIONS 

Standard, micro and nano SIM cards available • Locked 
to your chosen country www.snipca.com/15792 



30-day 4G SIM with a 10GB data 
allowance costs £40. You can add another 
£10 for a 3G-only portable router, rising 
to £34 extra for the 4G model. 

In April, Three is due to launch its 
Spanish Feel at Home service, which 
lets you use the internet at no extra 
cost as long as you don’t exceed your 
normal data allowance. A one-month 
unlimited data SIM-only plan (capped 
at 25 GB when used abroad) costs just 
£25, for example. And if you also want 
a portable router, Three’s plans still 
represent better value. A 10GB one- 
month plan costs £30 upfront plus 
£16.02 per month - and you get to keep 
the router. The catch with Three is that 
you’ll have to remember to cancel your 
contract with 30 days’ notice, but this 
is a small price to pay for better-value 
internet roaming. 

VERDICT: Fast and convenient, but not 

as cheap as Three 

ALTERNATIVE: Three Broadband (10GB 


1-month contract) £15 
per month Three's Feel 
at Home roaming deal 
is available in a smaller 
number of countries 
(including Spain), but is 
much better value 


LU 
LlH 




COMING SOON 


APRIL 2015 

Panasonic is 
targeting serious 
photographers 
with its CM1 
Android phone. 

The phone's camera sensor 
will apparently rival those found in 
dedicated cameras, but will be pricey at 
£799 without a contract. 

SUMMER 2015 

Sony has 
announced that 
all but one model 
in its 2015 range 
of smart TVs will 

use Google's Android TV interface 
and have YouView built in. 

SUMMER 2015 

Microsoft has 
announced 
that Windows 
10 will be 
available “this 
summer" with a new web browser 
(currently named Spartan) taking the 
place of Internet Explorer (see page 6). 



Windows 10 


►FreeviewPici. 


AUTUMN 2015 

Humax has 
announced it will 

make Freeview Play-branded PVRs. 
These set-top boxes will have catch-up 
TV apps and built-in Wi-Fi in addition to 
video recording. 


NEXT ISSUE 


Dell Venue 8 
7000 

An Android tablet 
that measures 
objects with its 
camera 




HP Stream 11 
HP's £199 
Windows 8.1 
laptop 



TTiese and much more... 


Subscribe to Computeractive at 
www. getcomputeractive. co. uk 


1-14 April 2015 29 










_ . ■ 

9 * i . ■ • iBBm 

Find out what other products we liked in 2014. 

Buy our Back Issue CD now: 
www.snipca.com/14981 



Our pick of products that have won the Buy It award 


LAPTOP 


Asus X555LA-XX290H 



£317 from www.snipca.com/15764 
Tested: Issue 446 



Asus has made all the right choices 
with this budget Windows 8.1 laptop. Its 
comfortable keyboard, fast performance, 
respectably lengthy battery life and 
bright screen are all the more impressive 
given its low price. 


ALTERNATIVE Asus Chromebook C200 

A cheap Chrome OS ultra-portable 
laptop with a bright screen, lengthy 
battery life and a great keyboard. 

£190 from www.snipca.com/15269 


DESKTOP PC 


Palicomp AMD Kaveri 
Evolution 

£500 from www.snipca. com/11804 
Tested: Issue 422 



A budget PC with a fast overclocked 
processor. It also has good upgrade 
potential and comes with a surprisingly 
good 24in monitor, as well as a quality 
USB keyboard and mouse. 


ALTERNATIVE: Chillblast Fusion Rhino 

A very powerful and compact PC sold 
without a keyboard, mouse or monitor. 
£899 from www.snipca.com/15252 


TABLET 


Apple iPad Mini 2 

£239 from www.snipca.com/14467 
Tested: Issue 416 



Apple's mini tablet from 2013 is now 
available at an even lower price. The 
only thing it lacks compared with this 
year's Mini 3 is a fingerprint sensor and 
the option of lots of built-in storage. 
Otherwise, it's an absolute bargain. 


ALTERNATIVE: Apple iPad Air 2 A 

thin and lightweight lOin tablet with a 
fingerprint reader, an excellent screen 
and peerless selection of apps. £399 
from www.snipca.com/14309 


PHONE 


Motorola Moto G 4G 

£150 (without contract) from 
www.snipca.com/14162 
Tested: Issue 432 



Motorola's budget Android smartphone 
is an absolute steal. It's very responsive, 
well made, fast and has a good screen. 
Plus, it's now been updated with 4G and 
a microSD card slot. 


ALTERNATIVE: Apple iPhone 5s 

An excellent smartphone with a great 
camera and performance. £459 without 
a contract from www.snipca.com/10171 


This compact interchangeable-lens 
camera is small and reasonably priced, 
yet it has well-designed controls, a wide 
range of available lenses and shoots 
excellent quality photos. The GF6 really 
is unbeatable value. 


ALTERNATIVE: Sony A5000 A rival 
CSC with better low-light performance, 
although its controls and range of 
available lenses aren't quite as good. 
£259 from www.snipca.com/15854 



DIGITAL CAMERA 


Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF6 

£280 from www.snipca. com/12607 
Tested: Issue 405 


E-READER 


Kobo Aura H20 

£140 from www.snipca.com/15490 
Tested: Issue 435 


A waterproof e-reader with an easy-to- 
read, high-resolution touchscreen that's 
easy on the eyes and great for reading 
in the bath. There's no 3G version, but, 
unlike the Amazon Kindle, you can buy 
ebooks from independent retailers that 
use the ePub format. 

ALTERNATIVE: Amazon Kindle Voyage 

The best Kindle yet, with a sharp, 
extremely responsive touchscreen 
and easy-grip design. £169 from 
www.snipca.com/14451 


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SECURITY SOFTWARE 


Kaspersky Internet 
Security 2015 

£17.99 from www.snipca.com/14212 
Tested: Issue 427 



Kaspersky Internet Security 2015 has 
won our past four antivirus tests - an 
unprecedented set of results. The 2015 
edition is available at an exclusive reader 
discount on our Software Store. Click the 
link above for a one-device licence, or buy 
a three-device licence for just £39.99 at 
www.snipca.com/14221. 


ALTERNATIVE: Norton Internet Security 
2014 An affordable program, but 
sometimes blocked legitimate software. 
£30 from www.snipca.com/15115 


PHOTO EDITING 


Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 

£98 from www.snipca.com/14348 
Tested: Issue 402 



Lightroom is a consistently elegant, 
powerful and fast photo-management 
program packed with sophisticated 
features. If you want to keep on top of 
your photos and make them look great, 
there's no better software to do it with. 


ALTERNATIVE: Adobe Photoshop 
Elements 13 A fast and polished 
photo-editing program with excellent 
advanced editing tools. £59 from 
www.snipca.com/14731 


COMPETITION 


Win 1 of 2 

Crucial MXZOO 
500GB SSD 

Crucial's 
MX200 
is the 

company's 
second SSD 
to earn a 
five-star Buy 
It! review in Computeractive (see 
page 20). It is one of the fastest SSDs 
we've ever tested, copying large 
files at a top speed of 575MB/S. 

It's also very affordable at just 34p 
per gigabyte. To enter, email your 
address to cacomp(5)dennis.co.uk 
by midnight 14 April. 

The Crucial MX200 500GB SSD is 

available now priced £169. For more 
information visit uk.crucial.com. Tike' 
Crucial's Facebook page (www. 
facebook.com/CrucialMemory) 
and follow Crucial on Twitter 
(a>crucialmemory. 



PC MONITOR 


Dell UltraSharp U2412M 

£214 from www.snipca. com/14610 
Tested: Issue 378 



An exquisite monitor with superb image 
quality, an adjustable stand, a high 
resolution and even a built-in USB hub. 

It costs a little more than other monitors, 
but it's money well spent. It's easily the 
best value monitor we've seen and is 
the one by which all others are judged. 


ALTERNATIVE: AOC i2360PHU A good 
quality budget 23in monitor that's easily 
adjustable and has a built-in USB 2.0 hub 
too. £153 from www.snipca.com/15274 


SECURITY CAMERA 


Y-cam HomeMonitor HD 

£147 from www.snipca.com/11646 
Tested: Issue 420 



A home-security camera that's well 
priced and easy to set up. Plus, it has 
great picture quality, useful apps and 
there's no need to subscribe to any extra 
services. It's a worthy successor to the 
original HomeMonitor, our previous 
favourite security camera. 

ALTERNATIVE: D-Link Wireless N Day 
& Night Camera A good-value security 
camera with excellent night vision. £85 
from www.snipca.com/15275 


ROUTER 


Trendnet TEW-812DRU 

£116 from www.snipca.com/15855 
Tested: Issue 427 



TREriQne T 



An incredibly fast 802.11ac router 
that's also one of the cheapest we've 
seen. It's superb and it's the router to 
buy if you're ready to make the jump 
to 802.11ac. 

ALTERNATIVE: Linksys WRT1900AC 

More expensive, but even faster and 
with loads of features too. £200 from 
www.snipca.com/14950 



32 1-14 April 2015 









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Email: sales@devolo.co.uk 


The Network Innovation 




as rive 


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Bookstore 


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Your practical guide to the revolutionary £20 PC 


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instructions on mastering the new Pi models 
(A+ and B+), helping children learn the coding skills 
needed to excel at the new school curriculum. 

We take you step by step through the basics of 
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everything you need to know about taking 
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Workshops & Tips 







14 pages of easy-to-follow workshops and expert tips 


35 Try Word and Excel in 
Windows 10 for free 
38 Recover your files 
when Windows crashes 


40 Browse the web faster 
than ever 

42 Create your own Word 
fonts for free 


PLUS 


; 43 Readers' Tips 
; 44 Phone & Tablet Tips 
! 46 Make Windows Better 


47 Make Office Better 

48 Secret Tips For... 
VirtualBox 


Try Word and Excel in 
Windows 10 for free 


What you need: Windows 10 Technical Preview Time required: 2 hours 


M icrosoft has released new 
apps for Word, Excel and 
PowerPoint (not to be confused 
with Office 2016) for the Windows 
10 Technical Preview Even though 
these apps are mainly optimised 
for touchscreen devices such as 
tablets, we like the fact that they 


have bigger tabs than previous 
versions, making them much 
easier to use on a PC. Well show 
you how to create and edit 
documents and spreadsheets, 
which you can then access on 
any device by syncing them 
with OneDrive. 




H Refer back to our lead Workshops in Issues 443 and 444 
if you still haven’t installed the Windows 10 Technical 
Preview. You won’t be able to install the new apps 
unless you update your PC to the latest version of the Windows 
10 Technical Preview (Build 10041). Your build number is 
displayed at the bottom right of your screen □. To update your 
version of Windows 10, click the notification icon 0 then ‘All 
settings’. Now click ‘Update & recovery’ 0 then click the 
‘Advanced options’ link at the bottom. 



Choose Automatic (recommended)’ Qfrom the 
dropdown menu at the top, tick the box below 0 
(which updates all Microsoft products with Windows), 
then select Fast from the dropdown menu at the bottom 0 . 
Doing this lets you test new features as soon as they’re released 
(but read our News story on page 6 first). Now click the top-left 
Back button, then ‘Check for updates’. Windows will now 
download the latest Preview. It can take anything up to a few 
hours depending on your internet connection. When that’s 
finished, Windows will restart several times before 
automatically booting to the latest version. 


1-14 April 2015 35 





Workshops 


Customise your OneDrive settings 

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STEP 

3 


Before installing the apps, you should set up OneDrive 
so that you can edit and save any Office file there. 
Click the search bar at the bottom left, type onedrive, 
then press Enter. Now select ‘Sync all files and folders on my 
OneDrive’ D, then click OK 0. Click the OneDrive icon in the 
notification area to see your sync progress. When that’s done, 
click the icon, then click the ‘Open your OneDrive folder’ link 


0 & 


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Apps {195) 





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j j J To install the apps, click the Start button, the ‘Store 
■HI (Beta) ’ tile, type word in the search box at the top 

right Q, then press Enter. You’ll now see all three apps. 
Click Word Preview 0, then Install. When that’s finished 
installing, click the top-left Back button, Excel Preview 0, then 
Install. Repeat to install PowerPoint. We’ll first show you how to 
use Word. Click the search bar at the bottom of your PC, type 


to access your files. 

word and click Word Preview to open it. 


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STEP 

5 


Keep clicking the right arrow (to browse through the 
instructions) until you see ‘Use Word for free’, then 
click it. Because you’ve synced your OneDrive account, 
you’ll see a list of all your Word documents in OneDrive on 
the left □, which you can click to open. Click ‘Open other 
documents’ Q to open documents saved on your PC or external 
drive. Documents you create are saved to OneDrive, but if you 
want to save them in a folder on your Windows 10 PC instead, 
click the ‘in OneDrive - Personal’ dropdown menu 0 and select 
‘This PC > Documents’. 



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STEP 

6 


Click ‘Blank document’ to start creating one. Now, click 
‘Document (l)’ Dat the top and rename it. The Home 
tab features the usual font and formatting options at 
the top left. Click the Normal dropdown menu 0 to see different 
styles (Headings, Subtitles and so on) you can apply to your text. 
To search for a particular word in your document, click the top- 
right Binoculars icon to see a bar with various options. Type the 
word to see all instances of it highlighted in your document and 
the number of times it appears 0. Click the top-left cog icon to 
narrow your search or replace that word. 


36 1-14 April 2015 










Try Word and Excel in Windows 10 for free 



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Microsoft has added a Reader Mode, which is useful if 
you want to read your document like a book (with two 
columns, while using left and right arrows to navigate). 
You can change your font size and the colour of this mode with 
one click. Click the Read (book) icon at the top left to enter this 
mode, then click the three dots at the top right to modify your 
document. You can choose from four font sizes D and three 
colours 0 . To continue editing your document in normal mode, 
click EditB. 




If you can’t find a certain editing feature, click the 
lightbulb icon D and type your query (such as create 
header or insert link) . Click the relevant option in the 
list that appears to see those tabs (or menus). It’s easy to share the 
documents you’ve created and control whether others can then 
edit or view it. Click the Person icon 0 , then click ‘Get a link’ at 
the bottom. You’ll see two options: ‘Create an edit link’ and ‘Create 
a view-only link’. Select the one you want to get a link to your file 
that you can copy and paste using other programs, such as email. 
To provide Microsoft with feedback about the Word Preview, click 
the smiley face icon 0 , which opens the Feedback app. 




Open Excel by typing excel in the search box at the 
bottom of your PC, then pressing Enter. Navigate 
through the instructions, then click ‘Use Excel for free’. 
Click ‘Blank workbook’ or select one of your OneDrive 
spreadsheets from the left. You only see one sheet by default, 
but you can add more by clicking the ‘+’ icon at the bottom D. 
Right-click a sheet to see options to rename, colour, hide or 
delete it. The Home tab lets you format your text and cells. Click 
the function button 0 to see different categories of formulae 
(including Financial, Logical and Date & Time). The dropdown 
menu 0 lets you sort or filter your data. 


STEP 

10 


Excel automatically suggests charts that best represent 
your data. Highlight the data you want represented on 
a chart, click Insert 0 then Recommended. You’ll see a 


list of chart types. Select one, then keep clicking Switch 0 until 
you see one you like. Use the Chart tab to format its type, layout 
and colours. Click the three dots beside your chart El to see 
options to Cut, Copy, Paste and Delete. # 


1-14 April 2015 37 








Workshops 


■ 


Recover your files when 
Windows crashes 


What you need: Lazesoft Recovery Suite; blank USB stick or CD/DVD; 
external hard drive; Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8 or 8.1 Time required: 35 minutes 


C omputer crashes are not only 
harmful to your operating 
system, but can result in loss of 
data. Lazesoft Recovery Suite Home 
Edition is a free program that lets 
you create a bootable drive that you 


can use to boot into your crashed 
PC, fix the problems and recover 
any lost files. The program is 
packed with features, but has an 
easy-to-use interface with clear 
instructions for every task. 



H Go to www.snipca.com/15830 and click 

the green Download Now button. Click the 
downloaded setup file, Run, Yes, Next, select 
‘I accept the agreement’ D, click Next (three times) 0, 
then Install. Once it’s installed, tick ‘Launch 
application’, then Finish. You’ll see the main 
Lazesoft Recovery screen with five options. 



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We’ll first show you how to create a bootable disc. 

Insert a blank CD or USB stick into your PC. Click Burn 
CD/USB Disk in Lazesoft, then Next. Select whether 
you want to create a CD/DVD, ‘USB flash’ or ISO Image (that you 
can later save to an external drive). Click Refresh □ if your 
CD/DVD or USB stick doesn’t appear immediately. We selected 
USB Flash 0. Now click Start 0, then Yes. The creation process 
took about seven minutes on our Windows 7 PC. After it’s 
finished, you’ll see two links: ‘How to boot from USB flash 
device’ and ‘How to boot from CD/DVD’. We explain this 
process in the next step. 



The next time your PC crashes, insert your bootable 
CD/USB stick into it and restart your PC. As it boots, 
make a note of the brief notification telling you which 
key to press to access the Boot Menu in your BIOS (F2, on most 
PCs). Restart your PC and keep pressing that key as it boots. In 
your Boot Menu, select ‘USB drive’ as your First/Primary Boot 
Device, then click Lazesoft Live CD. Your PC will now boot in 
Safe Mode, displaying the Lazesoft Recovery Suite main 
window. Click Windows Recovery D, then OK. You’ll now see a 
screen with four solutions to common crash problems. If you’re 
unsure which option to choose, select One Click Fix Crash 
Solution, click the One Click Fix button, then Finish. Close that 
window, then click Reboot 0. 


38 1-14 April 2015 





When your PC reboots, you should see the files you 
may have lost during the crash in their original 
locations. If you can’t find them, it’s possible they’ve 
been deleted from your PC. Fortunately, Lazesoft’s powerful 
Data Recovery options can help you find and restore files or 
folders that have been deleted from your PC or external drives 
(such as USB sticks). It even lets you find and recover files that 
have been deleted using Shift + Del and those that have been 
emptied from the Recycle Bin. Open Lazesoft and click Data 
Recovery to see four scan options. 



Each of the scan options works more or less the same 
way: select the drive you want to scan for deleted 
items, wait for the scan to complete, then tick the items 
you want to recover from a list. We’ll show you how to use Fast 
Scan but if you can’t find your files using this, then try one of 
the other (more thorough) options. Click Fast Scan, then select 
the relevant partition □ - the drive letters 0 will correspond to 
your PC’s drive letters. Click Start Search a to begin scanning, 
then OK when the scan has finished. 


STEP 


Next, click the dropdown menu beside 
the relevant drive letter D to see a list of 
folders that Lazesoft has recovered files 
from. Click any folder to see its deleted files in 
the main section. If you see ‘Deleted and 
probably good’ 0 in the File State column, it 
means those files can be recovered. Tick the files 
you want to recover, then click Save Files □. Now 
select the folder you want to save the recovered 
files to, then click Select Folder. After restoration, 
open the folder you chose and you’ll see a folder 
named Recovered Data. Navigate through its 
sub-folders to access your recovered files. 




We’ll now show you how to clone an entire 
partition to an external hard drive. This is 
handy if you need to quickly transfer or 
back up data. In the main Lazesoft screen, click ‘Disk 
Image & Clone’, Clone Disk □, select the drive you 
want to clone 0 , tick the second box 0, then click 
Next. Now untick any partitions on that drive that 
you don’t want to clone, click Next, select your 
connected hard drive, then Next again. Finally, select 
‘Fix partitions to entire disk’, click Next, Start and 
OK. You’ll need to restart your PC to see your cloned 
drive. Read tutorials on Lazesoft’s other features at 
www.snipca.com/15839. # 



1-14 April 2015 39 



Workshops 


Browse the web faster than ever 


What you need: Any web browser Time required: 20 minutes 


V ivaldi - a new browser 
created by the co-founder 
and former CEO of Opera - ‘aims 
to be the fastest browser in the 
universe’, according to its website. 
And in our tests, it did load web 
pages faster than all the major 
browsers. It also has a setting that 
opens web pages without images, 
which speeds up browsing - most 


noticeably if you’re on a slow 
internet connection. 

Unlike many browsers, 
it lets you customise its 
appearance and use keyboard 
shortcuts. Despite being a 
Technical Preview, Vivaldi is 
regularly updated with new 
features and gave us no 
problems when we used it. 



H Go to www.vivaldi.com and click the blue Download Tech 
Preview 2 button. Click the setup file that downloads, Yes, 
then ‘Accept and Install’. The browser will open with tabs 
at the top and a few basic options in a panel on the left D. To open 
web pages without images, click the Image icon 0 , then select No 
Images. The slider 0 lets you zoom in and out of a web page. 





By default, new tabs open in the Speed Dial section, 
which contains six default website tiles. Close any you 
don’t want then click the ‘ + ’ tile to add new ones. To 
create a new Speed Dial section, click the ‘+’ icon D, name the 
section, then start adding tiles to it. Click the Bin icon 0 to see 
any tabs you’ve closed during that browsing session. From here 
you can reopen them if you want. One unique Vivaldi feature is 
‘tab stacks’, which lets you group multiple tabs into one. Click 
and drag any tab over a second one until it greys out, then 
release your mouse. Repeat this to add more tabs. Move your 
cursor over the stack 0 to see all its tabs. 



To bookmark a web page you’re looking at, click the 
Bookmark icon 0 . Next, click the dropdown menu 
in the panel that appears to see a list of categories 
(Bookmarks, Speed Dial, News, Business, Technology and so on) 
that you can add it to. Give your bookmark a description and 
nickname (optional), then click Save. Click the Bookmarks 
option 0 to see a list of categories containing popular websites. 
The four buttons 0 at the top let you add a new bookmark, create 
a new category, delete a bookmark and change its name and 
description. 


40 1-14 April 2015 








Vivaldi has 
other unique 
features, such as 
Mail, Contacts and Notes 
built into the browser 
(you need add-ons to use 
them in other browsers). 

The Mail tool isn’t live yet, 
but you can still save 
contact details for 
reference. Click the 
Contacts icon Q, then 
click the ‘+’ symbol and 
select New Contact or 
New Contact Group 0. 

Clicking New Contact lets 
you add their name, email address, phone number and address. 
If you click New Contact Group, type a group name at the 
bottom left, then press Enter. To add a contact to a group, type 
the group’s name in the box below the contact’s address details 
and press Enter. Any files you download will appear in the 
Downloads section Q. The three options below the downloads 
search bar let you stop downloads, restart them, and clear your 
download list. 



STEP 


The Notes 
feature is 
useful for 

saving web articles to 
read later, along with a 
short description and 
screenshot (you should 
be able to sync these 
across multiple devices 
when Vivaldi releases a 
mobile app). Click the 
Notes icon D, then click 
the ‘ + ’ symbol B to create 
a new note (or the icon 
beside it to create a new 
folder). Type (or copy and 
paste) your description in 
the section below and 
add the web page’s URL 

in the address field below that. To add a screenshot of the web 
page, click the Photo icon at the bottom. You can hide /reveal 
the black panel on the left by clicking the slider 0 . 



STEP 


To change Vivaldi’s settings, click the Settings 
(cog) icon □, then the General tab. The browser’s 
homepage is set to www.vivaldi.com by default, 
but you can change this in the Homepage field 0. Click the 
Appearance tab 0 to change where your tabs, address bar 
and panel appear by selecting from left, right, top or bottom. 
The Bookmark Bar is turned off by default, so you need to 
select if and where you want it (Top or Bottom). 


You can view and delete your saved cookies and 
passwords. Click the Privacy tab, scroll to the 
Cookies section, then click the Delete button 
beside an entry □ or click the Delete All Cookies 0 button. 
Repeat this process in the Passwords section to remove any 
you don’t want saved. You can change your search engine 
(to DuckDuckGo, for example) or search a specific website 
(such as Amazon or Wikipedia). To do this, click the 
Navigation tab 0, click the Google dropdown menu, choose 
the option you want, then click ‘Set default’. Scroll down to 
see a list of keyboard- shortcut tasks (create a bookmark, 
open a new tab, open your Settings and so on). Click any of 
the fields, then press the key combination you want. # 





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1-14 April 2015 41 












Workshops 


I 


Create your own 
Word fonts for free 

What you need: Any web browser Time required: 10 minutes 

I f you’ve been looking - in vain constantly previewing any 
- for the perfect font, why not changes you make. Once you’re 
create your own? Metaflop happy with the font you’ve 

Modulator is a new website that created, you can download it to 
lets you do just that. Simply by your PC and use it within any 

moving a few sliders, you can Office program, including 

customise your font while Word and PowerPoint. 



H Go to www.metaflop.com/modulator. Here, you’ll see a list of 
‘modulator’ options □ and ‘parameters’ sliders B. There are also 
three preview sections containing individual letters (Glyph), 
numbers and upper- and lower-case letters (Chart), and sample text 
(Typewriter). The ‘parameters’ section contains customisation sliders for 
‘unit width’, ‘pen width’, ‘cap height’ and so on. Click ‘on’ Bnext to 
‘anatomy’ to see an illustration of what each of these options refer to. 




□ I 3 ] 4 1 b 7 I * 

Fonl design Is in fad foh of fun, 
especially when you moke mistakes. 


anatomy 




Keep clicking the ‘flop it!’ setting H to browse the 
various font types. For more font-type options, 
click the ‘bespoke’ arrow at the top left and choose 
‘adjuster’ or ‘fetamont’. Once you’ve settled on a font type, 
start customising it by moving the sliders in the ‘parameters’ 
section. To preview another letter, click that letter at the bottom 
of the Glyph section. Click the left and right arrows B to see 
options for numbers and lower-case letters. You can change the 
Typewriter sample text and its font size using the arrows B. To 
undo your changes, click the ‘reset’ setting (beside ‘flop it!’). 



STEP 

Horne Insert 

Pige Layout 

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OpenType Layout. PostScript Outlines 

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To download and use your font with your Office 
programs, click ‘open type font’ beside ‘download’ 
in the ‘modulator’ section (top left). A file containing 
the font will download to your PC. Click the file to open it, then 
click Install D. Once it’s installed, open any Word document, 
click the Font dropdown menu B and choose your new font (it 
will be named Fetamont, Bespoke or Adjuster, depending on the 
font type you chose). If this method doesn’t work, copy (Ctrl+C) 
the downloaded font file. Now click the Start button on your 
PC, type fonts, open the Fonts folder and paste (Ctrl+V) the file 
there. You should now be able to use it within Word. 


NEXT ISSUE 


• Make amazing panoramas from your photos 

• Take screenshots using Windows 

• Edit videos on your iPad for free 

• Create a fake virus to test your PC security 


i 



(•) 


Subscribe to Computeractive atgetcomputeractive.co.uk 


42 1-14 April 2015 








Readers' Tips 


Handy hints and tips from your fellow readers 

0 Email us your tips: letters(5)computeractive.co.uk 


TIP OF THE FORTNIGHT 


/ 


Explore London as it was over 450 years ago 


As a retired History lecturer, I was 
intrigued when a former colleague 
emailed me a link to the Agas Map of 
Early Modern London’ website. This 
lets you explore details of the city as 
it was over four hundred years ago by 
using dropdown menus. 

Civitas Londinium (as this particular 



map is generally known) was printed 
in 1561 and is one of the earliest known 
maps of London. It’s believed to have 
been created by renowned British 
surveyor Ralph Agas, who made many 
maps during that time, including of 
Cambridge and Oxford - though 
some people still debate whether this 
particular map can be 
attributed to him. 

Go to the website (www. 
snipca.com/1576l) to see a 
(barely recognisable) map 
of our capital city. It’s 
striking to see just one 
bridge (London Bridge) on 
the Thames. The panel at 
the top right contains a 
list of locations, including 


bridges, churches and taverns. Click any 
of the category dropdown menus, then 
tick the ones you’re interested in to see 
their positions marked on the map. 

You can zoom in and out of the map 
either using your mouse wheel or the 
slider at the top left. Clicking anywhere 
on the map gives you more information 
about that specific area in a small box 
on the right. Click the links in the box 
to read more about the streets and 
landmarks in that location. 

Click the flower icon at the top left 
(above the slider), then click The Map 
to read more about this wonderful 
historical artefact I for one am 
thankful it’s now available 
as an interactive website. 

James Burden 


The winner of every Tip of the Fortnight wins this exclusive Computeractive mug! 



EMAIL 

Quickly attach files from 
Dropbox in Gmail 

Last year Google added a Google 
Drive icon to the bottom of the 
Gmail compose window that lets you 
quickly attach files from your Google 
Drive cloud storage. Sadly, this wasn’t 
much use to me because I’ve always 
used Dropbox. But now there’s a new, 
free ‘Dropbox for Gmail (Beta)’ Chrome 
extension that lets you add a similar 
Dropbox icon so you can quickly 
attach files from there. 

Go to www.snipca.com/15760 in 
Chrome, click the blue Add To Chrome 
button, then Add again to confirm it. 

Now open Gmail, click Compose, then 
click the Dropbox icon at the bottom. 

Sign into Dropbox and double-click any 
files to attach them to your emails. 

Jeremy Wells 


ADWARE REMOVAL 

Eliminate BoBrowser 
adware from your PC 

After downloading a number of free 
programs, I suddenly discovered a 
new browser had been automatically set 
as my default. It was also pinned to my 
Taskbar and when opened looked very 
similar to Chrome. Even its logo looked 
virtually identical (see image right). 


I decided to do some research on this 
mysterious Chrome lookalike and was 
shocked to find that it’s adware called 
BoBrowser, which comes bundled with 
some free programs. Even though I 
could eventually remove it from my PC, 
the process was far from straightforward, 
but it is possible. 

Lirst, close the BoBrowser window, 
then right-click its Taskbar icon and 
click ‘Unpin this program from taskbar’. 
Now open your system tray (in your 
notification area), right-click the 
BoBrowser icon, then click Exit. 

Next, uninstall BoBrowser from your 
PC via the Control Panel. When you see 
the Uninstall BoBrowser pop-up, tick 
both the boxes (see screenshot above 
right), then click Uninstall. You’ll see a 
message telling you BoBrowser has 
stopped working. Click ‘Close the 
program’, which should uninstall it. 

You now need to delete any data it 
saved on your PC. Open File /Windows 
Explorer and type %localappdata% in the 
location bar at the top. Now click the 
BoBrowser folder, then press Shift + Del to 
permanently delete it. As a final safety 
measure, run AdwCleaner (www.snipca. 
com/14262) or the free version of 

C Malwarebytes (www.snipca.com/ 

» 14312) to eliminate any traces of it. 

Eamonn Fowkes 


Uninstall BoBrowser 

Are yen sure vou w a-nt to ununstall EcBncAser 

v" Al* q ti fel-ete your brov^si n g ta ? 

^ Gunge default brewer tor Google 


Unin-sldJI 


PDFs 

Continue reading PDFs from 
where you left off 

My friend sent me a PDF of Jane 
Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, which 
I started reading on my PC using 
Adobe Reader. I quickly became quite 
frustrated though, because I could 
never remember the last page I’d reached 
when I wanted to continue reading. 
Thankfully, I found a way to open the 
PDF on this page. 

Open Adobe Reader, then press Ctrl+K 
to bring up your Preferences window. 
Click Documents on the left, then tick 
the first box at the top (‘Restore last view 
settings when reopening documents’) 
and click OK. 

Hillary Amis 




1 - 14 March 2015 43 



Phone and Tablet Tips 


Brilliant things to do on your device 


ANDROID 

See what you've 
recently bought 

Google has updated the Play 
Store app. Aside from a slight 
redesign, you can now see a list of 
anything you’ve bought on your device 
(apps, music, films and ebooks). 

Open Play Store, tap the three lines at 
the top left, then tap ‘My account’ to 
see two sections. ‘Payment methods’ 
includes your payment details and your 
Google Play balance (for example, 
any Google Play vouchers you have 
recently redeemed). You can add to 
or edit your payment methods by 
tapping those options. 

The second section (‘Order history’) 
lists anything you’ve bought (most recent 
items appear first) alongside the price you 
paid for it. Tap any content 
to see more information 
(category, genre and so on). 

Tap View to open it. 


want to move until you see a blue tick on 
it (and tick outlines on your other files). 
Now tick any other files you want to 
move. As you do this, you’ll see the 
number of files you’ve selected displayed 
at the bottom of the screen. Tap the three 
dots to the right of this number, then tap 
‘Move to’ (see screenshot below) and 
select a folder. You can also tap the folder 
icon at the top right to create a new one. 

ANDROID 

Speed up your device by 
deleting unwanted items 

The security software company 


dh 1 

W 

C 


ANDROID 

Move multiple Google 
Drive files at the 
same time 

Google Drive (www. 
If snipca.com/15776) 
now lets you 
batch-select and move 
multiple items to a folder. 
Open the app to see a list of 
your folders and files. Tap 
and hold the first file you 


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Avira has released a new free app 
called Avira Android Optimizer 
that’s designed to speed up your device. It 
has a handy button that instantly closes 
your background apps. It also provides 
options to delete your 
apps’ caches, uninstall 
multiple apps in one go 
and clean up your 
personal data (including 
browsing history). 

Install the app (www. 
snipca.com/ 15777), open 
it, then tap the green 
One-Tap Speedup button 
to close your background 
apps. Next, you should 
tap Clean Memory to see 
a list of all your apps and 
how much memory you 
can free up by deleting 
each one’s cache. Untick 


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any apps whose cache you want 
to retain (for example, your email apps), 
then tap Clean Now. 

The second icon at the top left lets you 
uninstall a number of apps in one go. 

Tap it to bring up a list of your installed 
apps along with their size. Tick the apps 
you want to uninstall, then tap Uninstall 
(see screenshot right). You then tap OK 
to confirm you want to uninstall each 
app in turn. 

Swipe right to see a third option, which 
lets you delete junk files (including system 


Best New Apps 


What you should install this fortnight 


Google Calendar 

Free 

Android: www.snipca.com/15779 
iOS: www.snipca.com/15780 
The Google Calendar app is finally 
available for iPhones. Log in with your 
Gmail account and sync the app with 
your existing 
calendars. Within 
the app, you can 
use Google Maps 
to find directions 
to any location you 
need to visit. The 
Android app now 
lets you add files to 
your calendar from 
Google Drive. 


j Dropbox 

j Free 

i 

Android: 

| www.snipca. 
j com/15778 

Dropbox for 
Android now lets 
you access any 
PDF file on your 
device - even 
! if if s not stored 
j in Dropbox. This 
means you don't 
need to install a separate PDF reader app 
(such as Adobe Reader). You can now also 
search for specific words within any Office 
document and PDF stored in Dropbox using 
the new search bar at the top. 


Wunderlist 

| Free 

Android: www.snipca.com/15781 
iOS: www.snipca.com/15782 
Wunderlist, which lets you create to-do 
lists, has received a major update, 
including a redesigned interface. You 
can now create 

| folders from the 
sidebar on the 
left, then drag and 
drop your lists into 
these to organise 
them. Items in the 
sidebar are now 
colour-coded to 
help you distinguish 
between them. 





44 1-14 April 2015 







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cache) and media (audio and video) files 
saved on your device. Tick the items you 
want to delete, then tap Clean Now. The 
last option lets you delete your personal 
data. Tick the options you want to delete 
(browser history, calls logs and clipboard 
data), then tap Clean Now. 


iOS 

Hide the new Apple Watch icon 
from your homescreen 

If you’ve updated your iPhone to 
the latest version of iOS (8.2), 

•' you’ll see the new Apple Watch 
app on your homescreen. This isn’t useful 
unless you own (or are planning to buy) 
an Apple Watch. Because Apple have 
decided to make this a default iOS app 
(similar to Photos, Camera and iBooks), 
it means you can’t delete it. However, 
it’s easy to hide the Apple Watch icon. 

To update your iPhone, open Settings, 
tap General, Software Update, then 
‘Download and Install’. Your device will 
restart as the update is installed. 

You’ll now see the new Apple Watch 
icon on your homescreen. To hide it, tap 
and hold any app until all your app icons 
start shaking (and display an ‘x’ symbol 
in one corner). Now tap and drag the 
Apple Watch icon over any other app to 
create an app folder containing both 
apps. Once it’s in the folder, tap the Apple 
Watch icon and drag it to the bottom of 
your iPhone screen. When you see your 


dock (the four apps at the 
bottom of your screen), 
release the Apple Watch 
icon, and you won’t see 
it on your homescreen 
anymore. 

You’ll still be able to 
access it by swiping down 
from the top of your 
device, then typing apple 
watch in Spotlight Search. 


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iOS 

Reply to or archive emails from 
the notification centre 


. £_ Gmail for iOS now lets you reply 
to or archive any new emails 
you receive directly from the 
notification centre, without you having to 
open your Gmail app. 

When you receive a new email, swipe 


down from the top of your device’s 
screen to access your notification centre. 
Now swipe left across the email’s 
notification to see options to close it, 
reply to the email or archive it (see 
screenshot above right). Tap the relevant 
option. To access your archived emails, 
open your Gmail app, tap the three 
dots at the top left, the More dropdown 
menu at the bottom, then All Mail. 


Games With Kids 

What to play together on your phone and tablet 


AGES 0-5 


Zuzu's Bananas 

£1.87 www.snipca.com/15783 (Android) 
£1.49 www.snipca.com/15784 (iOS) 

With over 50 games, this app will keep 
your kids entertained for hours. Our 
favourites include ones in which you tap 
flies to feed them to a frog and match a 
moustache to its outline. 



AGES 6-10 


Minichess by Kasparov 

£2.49 www.snipca.com/15785 (Android) 
£2.99 www.snipca.com/15786 (iOS) 

Endorsed by Chess grandmaster Garry 
Kasparov, this app features a friendly 
character (Cheddar the Chess mouse) 
who teaches your kids chess by describing 
how each piece moves, then quizzes them 
until they're ready to play. 


AGES 11-16 


Wordathon: Classic Word 

Free www.snipca.com/15787 (Android) 
Free www.snipca.com/15788 (iOS) 

In this new game (which is a combina- 
tion of Boggle and Word Search) you 
see a grid of letters and have to connect 
adjacent ones to form as many words as 
you can within a five minutes. Uncommon 
words win you more points. Take turns to 
challenge your children and see who the 
better wordsmith is. 




1-14 April 2015 45 







Make Windows Better Clever tips for every version 


WINDOWS 7, 8, 8.1 

Cancel print jobs you've 
already started 

There have probably 

^ ? been many times when 

’ you’ve sent multiple 

files to print only to realise you don’t 
need to print all of them. Thankfully 
there’s an easy way to remove specific 
files from the print queue before the 
printing job begins. Click the Start 
button, ‘Devices and Printers’, click your 
printer (in the ‘Printer and Faxes’ 
section), then click ‘See what’s printing’ 
at the top. You’ll see a list of all the files in 
the print queue, along with the number 
of pages they contain. To stop a specific 
file printing, right-click it, click Cancel, 
then Yes to confirm. 

WINDOWS 8, 8.1 

Navigate your screen without 
touching your PC 

If you have a laptop or PC with a 

webcam and like to use the Food 

& Drink app (on the Modern tile 
interface) to follow recipes while you 
cook, then you should try the app’s 
Hands Free Mode. This lets you navigate 
pages by simply swiping your hand in 
front of your camera (like Tom Cruise 
in Minority Report). Activating this mode 
will help you keep your laptop /PC free 
from messy ingredients. 

Open the Food & Drink app in the 
Modern tile interface and scroll to the 
Recipes section on the right. You can then 
click a recipe from one of the featured 
celebrity chefs (including Jamie Oliver, 
Mary Berry, Nigella Lawson), or click See 
More to sort recipes by category (such as 
Cuisine, Difficulty and Total Time). See 
Issue 437 ’s Make Windows Better for 
more information on how to create a 
collection of your favourite recipes. 

Once you’ve selected a recipe, click 
Hands-Free Mode at the bottom left, 
then click Allow to let the app access 
your camera and microphone. Your 
front camera will switch on and the 
recipe will be divided into individual 
steps, which appear as squares at the 
bottom. Sweep your hand across the front 


WINDOWS 7, 8, 8.1 

Quickly locate files 
certain time or of a 

We’ve all 
forgotten the 
name of a file 

that all of a sudden we desperately 
need to find on our PC. Despair 
not because there are other 
criteria (other than filename) 
you can use to locate files. For 
example, when they were created 
or saved, or how big they are. 

To find files created around a 
certain time, open Computer 
(or the folder you want to search) 
and type datemodified: in the 
search box at the top right. You’ll 
see a calendar with a list of 
options below it (see screenshot). 

Click one of the options - such as 
‘Earlier this year’ or ‘Last week’ 

- to see the files created in that 
time frame. 

Clicking ‘A long time ago’ displays 
files created more than a year ago. Click 
any of the dates on the calendar to 
narrow your search. To see files created 
between specific dates, go to the first 
date using the navigation arrows on the 
calendar and click it. Now, press and 


created at a 
certain size 



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hold the Shift key on your keyboard, 
navigate to the second date, and click it. 
You will now see a list of files created 
between those dates. 

To sort files by size, click the ‘x’ icon 
in the search bar to clear it then type 
size:. You’ll see a range of different file 
sizes from ‘Tiny (0-10KB)’ to ‘Gigantic 
(>128MB)’. Click the option you want. 


camera from right to 
left to go to the next 
step, or left to right 
to see the previous 
one. Click the green 
Hands-Free button 
at the top right (see 
screenshot below) 
when you want to 
exit this mode. 



1 hour 
3 hour* 
& hours 


Open Action Center 

Hide notifications for * 


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WINDOWS 10 

Hide distracting Desktop 
notifications 

The Windows 10 notification icon 
(see screenshot above) tells you 
about system updates, new emails 


® Step 1 of * 

Place the egg yolk, lime ju>ce, zest and mustard into a bowl and 
whisk for 1 minute. Add the oil in a thin stream whilst whisking 
continuously until thick and emulsified 


or data that’s being synced in the 
background with cloud services such as 
OneDrive. There’s an easy way to hide 
these notifications so they don’t distract 
you while you work. 

Right-click the notifications icon, then 
move your cursor to ‘Hide notifications 
for’ (see screenshot above) and select one 
of the three options - 1 hour, 3 hours or 8 
hours. If you want to revert to seeing your 
notifications as they arrive, right-click 
the notifications icon, then click ‘Show 
notifications’. 


46 1-14 April 2015 





Make Office Better 


Expert tips for every program 


SWAY 

Add a slideshow to your 'sway' 



Sway, Microsoft’s new 
online presentation tool, 
lets you create scrolling 
presentations (called ‘sways’) that 
can be accessed online as well as 
via mobile apps. See our ‘Make 
presentations using Microsoft Sway’ 
Workshop in Issue 442. 

Since we featured Sway in Issue 
444’ s Make Office Better, it’s been 
updated with even more features, 
including the option to add a slideshow 
to your sway This lets you upload a 
selection of images which you navigate 
through using left and right arrows. 

Go to www.sway.com, click ‘Sign in’ 
at the top right and log in with your 
Microsoft (Outlook or Hotmail) account. 
Now click My Sways at the top right, 
then click the sway you want to add a 
slideshow to. To add it to a new sway, 


click the three dots at the top right, 
then Create New. 

In your sway, click the ‘ + ’ symbol at 
the bottom left of the section you want 
to add the slideshow to. Next, click 
Cards at the top right, then Slideshow at 
the bottom left. Now click ‘Add a picture’. 
To add an image from your PC, click the 
top-left Suggested dropdown menu, 
Upload, navigate to the image, then 


click Open. Click ‘Add a picture’ and 
repeat the process to add the rest of 
your slides in the order you want them 
to appear in your slideshow. Click the 
dropdown menu beside Slideshow to 
add captions to your images. When 
you’ve finished, click the Preview 
button at the top right to see your 
slideshow images complete with 
navigation arrows. 



OFFICE 

Add files you access often 
to the File tab 

□ Clicking the File tab at the top 

left of Office 2010 and 2013 gives 
you a list of default options you 
use all the time (including Save, Save As, 
Open and Print). There’s an easy way 
to add files you access often to this tab. 
We’ll show you how to add Word 
documents, but this process also applies 
to Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint 
presentations. 

Click the File tab, then Recent. You’ll 



see a list of Recent Documents in the 
left-hand column and Recent Places 
(folders on your PC) on the right. Select 
the documents you want listed in the File 
tab by clicking the small, grey pin icons 
beside them. They’ll move to the top of 
the Recent Documents list and display 
blue pin icons (see screenshot below left). 
Now tick the ‘Quickly access this number 
of Recent Documents’ box at the bottom, 
then type the number of files you’ve 
pinned. Whenever you click the File tab, 
you’ll now see these documents listed 
between the Close and Info options on 
the left. 


POWERPOINT 

Save your presentation as a video 


In Issue 445, we showed you how 
to add audio files to your slides 
and edit them (see ‘Edit audio 
for slides in your presentation’). If you’ve 
created a presentation with audio, then 
it’s a good idea to save this as a video 
file. You can then burn this file to a DVD 
and play it on your TV or even upload it 
to YouTube. 

Open your presentation, click File (top 
left), then Save As. Name the file, click the 
‘Save as type’ dropdown menu, select 
Windows Media Video, then click Save. 
You can now play this file using Windows 
Media Player or software such as VLC. 


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EXCEL 

Link text to other sheets 

If your Excel file has multiple 
MfrJ sheets, there’s an easy way to 
create linked text within a cell 
that opens another sheet when clicked. 
Right-click the cell containing the text 
you want to link, then click Hyperlink 
at the bottom. Next, click ‘Place in This 
Document’ on the left. You’ll see a Cell 
Reference menu listing all the sheets in 
your file (see screenshot above). Select 
the one you want to link to, then click 
OK. The text will now turn blue, 
indicating it’s a link. 


1-14 April 2015 47 






Secret Tips For. . . 

VirtualBox 



Install a guest OS, speed up 
your virtual machines and 
roll back if things go wrong 


Run a guest OS in your PC 

We’ve mentioned VirtualBox (www. 
virtualbox.org) a lot recently, because it’s 
our favourite tool for creating virtual 
machines (VMs) - such as the one we’ve 
been using to run the Windows 10 
Technical Preview By running the 
Preview in a VM rather than installing it 
directly on your PC, you can isolate it 
from your main operating system (OS). 
In VirtualBox parlance, that makes 
Windows 10 the ‘guest operating system’. 

To create a VM, run VirtualBox and 
click New. Use the dropdown menu to 
choose the guest OS you want to install 


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Choose a 'guest operating system' to run in a 
virtual machine (VM) using VirtualBox 


(see screenshot below left), then allocate 
some of your PC’s memory and hard- 
drive space to it. You don’t have to make 
any decisions here - provided you’ve 
got enough RAM and space to spare, you 
can simply use the default settings. 

You won’t be able to run a guest 
version of Windows unless you have 
its installation CD handy, or at least a 
legitimate installation file (usually an ISO 
file) and your licence key. The Windows 
10 Technical Preview is free, of course, 
but you still need a licence key (see our 
lead Workshop, Issue 443). 

Speed up your virtual machine 
with extra memory 

Virtual systems need memory, just like 
your main OS does. When you create a 
VM, VirtualBox allocates a default amount 
of RAM to it, but you can allocate more 
by moving the memory slider to the 
right. You can change this later from the 
System section of the VM’s Settings menu. 

We’d recommend allocating at least 
2GB (2000MB) of RAM to a VM running 
Windows 7, 8/8.1 or 10. But be aware that 
your PC’s RAM is finite. If you allocate 
more of it to a VM, your main OS and 


Explore the VirtualBox wiki site 


VirtualBox can be confusing at first, 
so make friends with its wiki site 
(www.virtualbox.org/wiki) before 
you get bogged down in buttons 
and menus. 

The site guides you through every 
step of the way, from installing it 
(www.snipca.com/15749) to running 
multiple VMs from a remote server 
(www.snipca.com/15750). The 
Community section (www.snipca.com/ 
15751) provides links to a forum, live 
Internet Relay Chat and (if you’re really 
confident with VirtualBox) ‘Test builds’. 

Click the small Preferences link at 
the top-right of any page to set up 
keyboard shortcuts, create an account 
and store and restore browsing sessions 


VirtualBox 


Store your sessions on the VirtualBox site 
in case you need to retrace your steps 

- a useful feature in a site this size. 

VirtualBox is open-source software 
and the site is community-run, but it’s 
all overseen by technology company 
Oracle (www.oracle.com/uk), which 
helps to ensure the information is 
up to date. 


other programs may slow down 
as a result. 


Roll back to a Snapshot 

VirtualBox lets you store ‘Snapshots’ of 
VMs as you go along, so you can roll back 
if things go wrong - a bit like system 
restore points in Windows. 

For example, if you want to use a VM 
to test a program you’re not sure about, 
create a Snapshot of the VM before you 
install the program. To do this, select the 
VM in VirtualBox, right-click Current 
State and click Take Snapshot (see 
screenshot below). Then click Start to 
run the VM, and install the software 
you want to test. When you’ve finished 
using it, you can restore the Snapshot to 
remove all traces of the program. 

You can save multiple Snapshots in 
each VM, just like saving multiple restore 
points, and roll back to any of them 
without overriding the others. 


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Take a Snapshot of your virtual machine so 
you can turn back the clock if necessary 


Hack VirtualBox with extensions 

In our Cover Feature in Issue 443, we 
showed you how to improve installed 
software using plug-ins such as browser 
extensions. VirtualBox also supports 
extensions, and you can download 
packages of them from the VirtualBox 
wiki site. Click Downloads in the left- 
hand menu, then ‘All supported 
platforms’ and save the file to your 
Desktop. You can then install the package 
from the Devices menu of a running VM 
(click ‘Insert Guest Additions CD image...’). 
For this to work, you’ll need to have 
allocated virtual-drive space to the VM 
when you created it, and you’ll need to be 
running the latest version of VirtualBox 
(4.3.24), which was released in March. 


48 1-14 April 2015 


Next issue Secret Tips For... Pixlr 



What's All the Fuss About... 



Apple ResearchKit 

You'll soon be able to aid research into Parkinson's and other 
medical conditions with a few taps on your iPhone 



What is it? 

New Apple software that lets iPhone 
owners take part in voluntary medical 
trials through apps that have been built 
by a number of institutions around the 
world, including Oxford University 
Apple says that by interacting with the 
apps users will provide valuable data 
to researchers. It was announced on 9 
March at the same event that saw Apple 
unveil its long-awaited smartwatch. Many 
tech experts believe - and we agree - 
that ResearchKit will prove the more 
significant development of the two. 

What kind of medical research? 

There are five free apps that each aid 
research into a different medical 
condition: MyHeart Counts for 
cardiovascular disease; GlucoSuccess 
for diabetes; mPower for Parkinson’s 
disease; ‘Share the Journey’ for breast 
cancer; and Asthma Health for asthma. 

How do the apps work? 

They all track your behaviour and activity. 
We’ve yet to test the apps, but the most 
impressive appears to be mPower. Its 
developers, Seattle organisation Sage 
Bionetworks and New York state’s 
University of Rochester, 
have created simple tests 
that make it much easier 
for them to monitor 
how the symptoms of 
Parkinson’s patients 
change over time. 

For example, you can 
take the app’s tap test to 
measure tremors in your 
movement. The app also 
records you saying 
‘Aaaaah’, just as an actual 
GP would, in order to 
measure tiny variations 
in your vocal chords (see 
screenshot right). It can 
even use an iPhone’s 
accelerometer and 


gyroscope to analyse your balance as 
you walk. 

That's impressive. What can 
the other apps do? 

MyHeart Counts combines records of 
your daily activity with your cholesterol 
results and blood pressure to calculate 
your risk of suffering a heart attack or 
stroke. Researchers into diabetes can 
use the GlucoSuccess app to gather 
data about how diet and lifestyle affect 
glucose level in blood. Similarly, asthma 
specialists can use Asthma Health to 
analyse what types of behaviour trigger 
attacks, while cancer 
researchers will use 
‘Share the Journey’ to 
help them work out 
why some breast cancer 
survivors recover faster 
than others. 

What do medical 
institutions think 
of it? 

They love it because 
currently they struggle to 
get research samples that 
are large and diverse 
enough to be useful. But 
with Apple’s sales of 
iPhones having reached 
700 million recently, 


scientists now have a gigantic pool of 
potential data providers - and that 
number will surely hit 1 billion some 
time this decade. The developers of 
mPower say the app will become 
“the world’s largest and most 
comprehensive study” of Parkinson’s. 

Can I download the apps now? 

No. They are currently only available in 
the US. But Apple plans to make them 
available worldwide soon. They work 
only on the iPhone 5, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6 
and iPhone 6 Plus. For more information 
visit www.apple.com/researchkit. 

Will Apple know all my 
medical details? 

All data is collected anonymously, so you 
don’t need to worry. But the price on the 
black market for medical data is rocketing, 
so hackers will certainly try to steal it. 

So what's in it for Apple? 

Prestige as well as profit. Apple won’t 
make a fortune by selling your medical 
data, but it will make even more billions 
in the future if the iPhone is perceived 
to be contributing to the wellbeing of 
humankind. For many people the iPhone 
is already the most desirable gadget ever. 
Its appeal will only increase if, as Apple 
hopes, ResearchKit “revolutionises 
medical studies”. 


Say ’Aaaaah " into 
the microphone for 
as long as you can. 




Open wide and say 'Aaaaah' to 
help Parkinson's researchers 
fight the disease 


1-14 April 2015 49 



Malware has learned how to sneak past your antivirus and hide in your computer, 
Jane Hoskyn shows you how to weed out these silent killers 



here is probably malware in 
your PC. You can’t see it, you 
can’t hear it and you can’t smell 
it, but chances are it’s there. 

The latest annual Kaspersky Security 
Bulletin (www.snipca.com/15800) says 
38 per cent of Kaspersky users’ PCs were 
hit by “at least one” malware attack in 


KEY POINTS 

• Scan your PCs processes for malicious 
activity 

• Find rootkit malware even your 
antivirus can't see 

• Kill stealth malware using free new 
tools that won't conflict with your 
antivirus software 

• Stop silent malware ever infecting your 
computer again 


2014. We reckon that figure is pretty 
conservative. After all, those users were 
running products that consistently top 
the antivirus (AV) tests run by our 
security team at Dennis Technology Labs 
(DTL, www.dennistechnologylabs.com) . 
Many people run much less powerful AV 
software, and some don’t run any at all. 

Moreover, the study only takes account 
of malware that was spotted. Undetected 
malware, by definition, won’t be included 
in that headline 38 per cent figure. This 
all means a huge number of us may well 
have fallen prey to a silent PC killer. You, 
me, your next-door neighbour... (definitely 
your next door neighbour). 

To check we’re not just being paranoid, 
we asked DTL if they thought our 
computer might be hosting hidden 
malware. We expected a long-winded, 
technical reply that translated as 


“maybe”, but the answer was quick and 
unequivocal: “Definitely!” 

Shouldn't your antivirus 
block malware? 

As the Kaspersky study shows, even 
the most powerful AV is far from fallible. 
That’s no reason not to use AV (please 
do!), but don’t assume it’ll catch every 
strain of malware - especially new 
bugs that security companies aren’t 
yet familiar with. Viruses, Trojans, 
worms, ransomware and other forms 
of malware evolve constantly and 
quickly to thwart their predators, and 
have even developed ways to regenerate. 
That’s how viruses survive, in technology 
just as in nature. 

Over the next few pages we’ll show you 
how to weed out your PC’s hidden nasties 
and destroy them so they never come back. 



50 1-14 April 2015 Buy Kaspersky 2015 for half price at www.snipca.com/14212 





Remove hidden malware 


FIND THE HIDDEN MALWARE ON YOUR PC 


Narrow down your 
Autoruns list to 
third-party tools, 
then right-click 
an item and click 
Search Online to 
check how 
safe it is 



Investigate mystery processes 

You all know the obvious signs your PC is 
malware-infected. It crashes a lot, it takes 
longer to start up and shut down, your 
browser homepage has changed (and 
refuses to change back), or there’s a big 
ransom note on your screen. 

But the really clever malware dispenses 
with these clumsy tell-tale signs. Its files 
hide themselves in the nether reaches of 
your system folders, and its processes are 
cunning devils that won’t slow your PC 
or show up in Task Manager. 

This being the case, this malware can 
run undetected for months or even years, 
logging what you type, recording your 
passwords and even, in the case of silent 
rootkit malware like Zeus, stealing from 
you when you log into your bank’s 
website (see box below). 

Any attempts to weed out this stuff 
starts with startup. We often recommend 
the free tool Autoruns (www.snipca.com/ 
15791) for removing pointless processes 
from Windows startup, but it’s a must- 
have if you want to find malware, too. 

Autoruns is portable, so there’s no 
installation process to worry about. 
Download it by clicking the blue 
‘Download Autoruns and Autorunsc’ 
link, then save the small (1.24MB) ZIP file 
to your Desktop, extract its contents and 
click ‘autoruns.exe’ to run it (or right- 
click and choose ‘Run as administrator’ 
for more thorough results). Wait a couple 


of seconds while it lists every process that 
starts with Windows on your PC, including 
Registry activity, browser extensions and 
drivers - including the malicious ones. 
These kind of processes (especially the 
hidden malware) won’t show up in Task 
Manager, so don’t even bother with that. 

Your Autoruns list will probably look 
quite intimidating, so use the Options 
menu to narrow it down bit by bit. 

Tick Hide Empty Locations, then 
Hide Microsoft Entries, and let the list 
refresh until it only contains active 
third-party items. 

Now read down the list and, if you see 
something you don’t recognise, right- 


click it and click Search Online (or 
press Ctrl+M) to check it out on Google 
in your browser. This is more useful than 
it sounds. Google searches for the full file 
name associated with the process (for 
example, ‘snagitshellext.dll’ in our 
screenshot) and provides links to the 
relevant pages of numerous security sites, 
such as File.net (www.file.net), which 
reveals whether certain files are safe; 
Process Library (www.processlibrary. 
com), which explains what the process is 
and why it’s running; and the excellent 
Should I Block It? (www.shouldiblockit. 
com), which tells you whether the 
process should stay or go. ► 


ZEUS IS BACK - AND THIS TIME IT'S INVISIBLE 



One of the most successful botnets ever, Zeus, 
is back with a vengeance 


Among all the generic bugs in the 
malware charts (Trojan. Win32.Generic', 
no less) we spotted a chillingly familiar 
name: Zbot, better known as Zeus. 

It's currently riding high at number 
three in the Top prevalent malware' 
list published by security firm Sophos 
(www.snipca.com/15789 - see 
screenshot right). 

Zeus is the ultimate hidden malware, 
and its stealth is the secret of its 
success. Between around 2009 and 
2013, Zeus was the most widespread 
botnet on the internet, reportedly 
infecting 3.6 million PCs in the US alone 
(www.snipca.com/15807). 

Zeus's mission is to intercept online 
banking transactions, stealing from both 
customers and banks, and its strategy is 
invisibility. It's based on rootkit technology 
that makes it difficult to detect, even with 


the latest powerful AV software (including 
that used by banks and governments). For 
more on rootkits, see page 52. 

Zeus mastermind Hamza Bendelladj 
was arrested in 2013, but Zeus is far 
bigger than one man. The Gameover Zeus 
botnet promptly picked up where Zeus 


left off, raiding bank accounts and (as 
an extra little party trick) distributing 
CryptoLocker ransomware. In 
February, the FBI offered a $3 million 
(around £2m) bounty for Gameover's 
alleged kingpin, Evgeniy Mikhailovich 
Bogachev (www.snipca.com/15806). 
But Bogachev is still at large (if you find 
him, let us know) and Zeus itself has 
bounced back with a vengeance. 

"Tbe bad guys don't have to be 
technical to use it," DTL's Simon 
Edwards says. "It hides in your system 
because it's usually after information 
and money. If it managed to get past 
your antivirus and into your system you 
wouldn't normally know". 

For more detail on what Zeus is and 
how it works, download the free 'What 
Is Zeus' PDF from Sophos (www.snipca. 
com/15805). 


1-14 April 2015 51 







Click the red fraction next to an Autoruns process to open its Analysis page in VirusTotal 


Find suspicious hidden 
processes automatically 

The latest version of Autoruns (13.2, 
updated in March) incorporates the 
file-checking database VirusTotal (www. 
virustotal.com) and adds a Check 
VirusTotal option to the right-click menu. 

At first we assumed (not unreasonably) 
that we could simply click Check 
VirusTotal to run an instant check in 
VirusTotal online, in the same way the 
Search Online option runs an instant 
check in Google. Well, it’s not quite that 
simple - you have to click a few set-up 
buttons, and the process is far from 
straightforward. 

First, right-click an item and click 
Check VirusTotal. VirusTotal’ s Terms 
of Service’ page opens in your browser; 
you don’t need to click anything on the 
page, just close it. Next, you need to 
enable VirusTotal scanning in Autoruns. 
Go to the Options menu, click ‘Scan 
options’, tick ‘CheckVirusTotal.com’, 
tick Submit Unknown Images, and then 
click Rescan. 

Your Autoruns list is then scanned by 
VirusTotal in next to no time, and reloads 
after just a few seconds. Now click 
Options, then click Hide VirusTotal Clean 
Entries, and the list will reload again, 
showing only the items VirusTotal has 
flagged as potentially malicious. 

As you can see from our screenshot, 
‘potentially malicious’ is a fairly broad 
description. VirusTotal flagged all our 


installed IObit tools, for example. We’ve 
got our problems with IObit, too (see 
Named & Shamed, Issue 444), but we 
do know its tools aren’t malware. 

The reason they’re flagged up in 
VirusTotal is down to the way VirusTotal 
works. It collates data from 57 (and 
counting) security programs and, if 
only one of those programs says the 
process is dodgy, VirusTotal marks it as 
such. Our IObit tools were only deemed 
malicious by one of the 57, as you can 
see from the VirusTotal column in 


Autoruns (see screenshot above). Click 
the fraction (‘1/57’ in this case) to open 
an Analysis web page showing results 
from all 57 security programs (this can 
take a minute or two to load). Click 
‘Additional information’ and ‘File detail’ 
to find out more about the file and 
where it came from. 

Root out rootkits your 
AV can't see 

Some malware makes its presence obvious 
(ransomware, for example); other malware 
needs to be tracked down using Autoruns 
and VirusTotal. But there’s another type 
that’s far better hidden. Rootkit and 
‘backdoor’ malware hides deep inside 
your system, using your PC’s root tools as 
an invisibility cloak. You can’t see it, your 
operating system can’t see it and your AV 
can’t see it. And, as we’ve seen in the case 
of Zeus, even the security software used 
by banks and governments can’t see it. 

Root tools aren’t inherently malicious. 
They’re built into your PC and other 
devices to hide system settings from 
meddling hands (hence the ‘rooting’ 
you read about, usually in relation to 
Android). Rootkits and backdoor bugs 
such as Zeus, SpyEye and Citadel (www. 
snipca.com/15816) hijack your root 
tools and wreak havoc under cover. 

There are plenty of free tools for 
finding and removing rootkit and 
backdoor malware. They work 
separately from your installed AV and 
won’t interfere with it. We recommend 
Malwarebytes Anti-Rootkit Beta (www. 
snipca.com/15810) because, despite its 
(long-standing) beta status, it’s very 


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Malwarebytes Anti-Rootkit flushes out malware that hide in your PC using root tools 


52 1-14 April 2015 




easy to use and doesn’t bamboozle you 
with jargon. 

Click the green Download button, save 
the EXE file and click to run it. There’s no 
installation involved, but you will need to 
choose an ‘extraction path’ (click OK) 
and, in our case, bat away a possible false 
positive before the tool launches properly. 
(Our false positive was ‘AppInit_Dlls’, 
which Malwarebytes forum users suggest 
is a safe graphics file: www.snipca.com/ 


15811. We took our chances and clicked 
No to ignore it. It seems fairly common, 
so it may be flagged on your PC, too.) 

When the program window opens, 
click Next, then Update to download the 
latest malware definitions, which may 
take a minute or two. Click Next, then 
Scan. The scan is thorough and will take a 
while; ours took almost an hour. It’s also 
memory-intensive, so your other 
programs will slow down. Best leave it to 


run by itself, perhaps when you go to bed. 

All being well, when you come back 
you’ll see a green tick and the reassuring 
message: ‘Scan Finished: No malware 
found!’. If the scan does detect rootkit 
malware, click the Cleanup button and 
restart your PC to blitz the offender - 
hopefully. Malwarebytes’ own website 
admits you should run the scan again 
(repeatedly, if necessary) to make sure 
the malware has gone. 


REMOVE HIDDEN MALWARE COMPLETELY 



GMCAU.UKK1 WMHWSLI.IfH r-r J 


Obliterate rootkits and other hidden malware using the powerful tool GMER 


Remove stubborn hidden 
malware 

If Malwarebytes Anti-Rootkit can’t 
combat a rootkit infection, move 
on to GMER (www.gmer.net), 
recommended by our security team 
at DTL. This free tool is raw, no-nonsense 
extremely powerful. GMER is especially 
well-suited to 64bit PCs, but will 
work on any PC running Windows 
XP or later. 

You’ll see from GMER’s website that 
this is not a program designed to appeal 
to the masses. Click the small grey 
Download EXE button under the 
screenshot and run the file (the 
intimidatingly named ‘r7ouccll.exe’), 
wait a minute or two for the program 
window to appear, then click Scan. 

As with Malwarebytes Anti-Rootkit, 
the scan takes some time and will slow 
down your PC, so leave it to run on its 
own. To speed things up, use the tick 
boxes at the right of the window to 
narrow down the scan to certain parts 
of your PC only, such as Registry, Files 
or Libraries. 

If GMER finds any sign of malicious 
rootkit activity, the troublesome file will 


be displayed in red and a ‘WARNING!!!’ 
pop-up will appear (see screenshot 
above). Click OK to remove the file, then 
restart your PC. We’d recommend 
running the scan again to make extra 
sure the file has been removed. 


Fix damage done by 
hidden malware 

Hidden malware can really mess up your 
PC, and this damage isn’t magically 
undone when the malware is removed. 
Clearing up is a vital part of the process. 

If you’ve downloaded Malwarebytes 
Anti-Rootkit, you’ve already got the 
powerful free clear-up tool FixDamage. 
You’ll find it in the ‘Plugins’ folder in the 
‘mbar’ folder on your Desktop. Before 
running it, save your work, close your 
programs and create a system restore 
point. Click ‘fixdamage.exe’, then Yes, 
then press ‘Y’ when the command-line 
window opens. The tool will 
automatically find and repair any 
changes to your system settings made 
by rootkit or backdoor malware. 

Adware and other PUPs (potentially 
unwanted programs) also litter your PC 
with hidden leftovers. Adware may not 
sound as scary as rootkits, but you’re 
much more likely to encounter it - and it 
dumps hazardous junk in hard-to-reach ► 



Rootkit scanners like GMER use a lot of memory, so they're best used when there's no 
other software running on your PC 


1-14 April 2015 53 




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Issue 415 22 January; Issue 425 11 June; Issue 430 20 August; Issue 437 26 November 




Remove hidden malware 


locations in your Registry and operating 
system (OS). This junk may include files 
that change your system settings and 
regenerate when you delete them. 

To find and remove adware, run the 
free portable program AdwCleaner 
(www.snipca.com/15819), one of our 
(and your) favourite security tools ever. 

It scours your PC for hijackers, Trojans 
and their hidden leftovers. It won’t 
find everything, however, so run 
Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free 
(www.snipca.com/15821) as well. 
Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free is not 
an AV program, because it doesn’t 
attempt to stop nasties getting into 
your system (despite its claim to 
“protect you from malware”), but it’s 
great for finding bugs and traces that 
AdwCleaner misses. If it detects 
malware you can click Review Detected 
Items to investigate the infection while 
the scan is still running. You can then 
remove selected items safely and 
completely. 

Unlike the tools we’ve mentioned so 
far, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free does 
need installing. Click the black-and- 
white Download button, then save and 
run the setup wizard. There’s no adware 
to opt out of (we’d be horrified if there 
were), but do untick ‘Enable free trial of 
Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Premium’ 
before you click Finish. 



You can investigate malware discovered by Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free while the scan is 
still running 



Use the FixDamage tool to completely undo any changes made to your PC by rootkit malware 


STOP MALWARE HIDING IN YOUR PC AGAIN 



Kaspersky Internet Security 2015 was the only AV program to 
block all threats in our latest lab tests 


Choose one antivirus 

Your AV suite is the most important 
program on your PC. It’s your body 
armour on the malware battlefield. If you 
choose and use your AV wisely, you may 
never have to remove hidden malware - 
because it stands a much smaller chance 
of getting into your PC in the first place. 

In DTL’s most recent Anti-Malware 
Report (www.snipca.com/15775; scroll 
down for the latest results as a PDF), 
only one product, Kaspersky Internet 
Security 2015 (www.kaspersky.co.uk/ 
internet-security), blocked all 1,140 
threats. But Kaspersky is a huge and 
memory-hogging program, so you 
might prefer the lighter ESET Smart 
Security (www.eset.co.uk/Home), 
which came a close third behind 
Kaspersky and Norton Security (www. 
snipca.com/15822). Both ESET and 
Kaspersky cost £39.99 for a one-year, 
one-PC licence; Norton is £49.99. To 
buy Kaspersky for the special price of 
£17.99 (and thousands of you already 


have), see our Reader Offer 
on page 54. 

The best free AV is Avast 
Free Antivirus (www. 
snipca.com/15823), which 
has fared very well against 
its paid-for rivals in all DTL’s 
recent tests and includes an 
‘intelligent anti-malware’ 
scanner that detects threats 
no-one has even heard of 
yet. Its paid-for version 
(£39.99) also has a ‘virtual 
window’ tool that lets you 
conduct online transactions 
without being detected by 
hackers using rootkit 
malware. 

Don’t use Microsoft Security Essentials 
(MSE, www.snipca.com/15824). MSE is 
free and made by Microsoft (trustworthy, 
you’d think), but the program has failed 
dismally in all DTL’s lab tests since 2013. 
If it’s on your PC, get rid of it and install 
an AV that works. 


Whatever AV you choose, it should 
be your one and only. Two or more AV 
suites will conflict with each other and 
neither will work properly, leaving you 
unsafe. Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free 
is not an AV and can be run safely 
alongside your AV. ► 


1-14 April 2015 55 







Remove hidden malware 


IS THIS MALWARE HIDING IN YOUR PC? 



Russian Trojan VicePass hides inside a fake Flash Player update 


Zeus may be the best-known 
invisible infection currently doing 
the rounds, but it's not the only 
one. In no particular order, here 
are today's most prevalent silent 
bugs, according to Kaspersky's 
Securelist (http://securelist. 
com) and the Sophos Malware 
Dashboard (www.snipca. 
com/15833)*. 

CARBERP: The name of this Zeus-like 
rootkit Trojan is the only thing we like 
about it. Its Russian masterminds were 
arrested in 2012, but its source code has 
since been released on to the internet, so 
hackers are now tweaking it into scary new 
versions (www.snipca.com/15838). 

DYRE: Also known as Dyreza, this Trojan 


first emerged last June, when it broke 
into some of the world's biggest banking 
computers. Its latest version secretly 
sends spam using people's Outlook 
accounts, then deletes itself (www.snipca. 
com/15832). 

UPATRE: A tiny program that hides in 
emails sent by the Dyre Trojan, it sneaks 
past your AV software and installs Zeus on 
your computer (www.snipca.com/15835). 


PUSHDO/CUTWAIL: A little- 
known BIG problem”, in the 
words of the virus-watchers 
at the Internet Storm Centre 
(www.snipca.com/15848), 
this secretive botnet was first 
recognised in 2007, but has 
re-appeared, mainly as a way 
to spread Dyre. 

VICEPASS: A new Russian Trojan that poses 
as a Flash Player update to break into your 
router's admin settings. Once there, it steals 
data from devices on your Wi-Fi network 
(your tablet, for example), then deletes 
itself. All the while, you'll have had no idea it 
was there (www.snipca.com/15834). 

Cexcept the ones so well hidden that 
no-one has found them yet...) 



Cut down your installer habit 

Nothing you do on your PC is safe unless 
your AV is enabled and up to date. 
However, you can help it by cutting out 
ways for malware to reach your system. 
One option is to stay off the internet 
completely but we wouldn’t recommend 
that - the internet is fantastic and mostly 
safe, especially if you use a free advert- 
blocker such as Adblock Plus (https:// 
adblockplus.org). The next best option is 
to stop using software installers. 

When you install software, you give its 
setup wizard privileged access to your 
Registry and hidden system folders, so it 
can plant program files and settings 
there. If adware can get into your system 
this way, so can invisible malware. So 
think twice before running an installer 
for a free program from a developer 
you’ve never heard of. 

Portable programs are a safer 
alternative. Most of the security tools 
we’ve mentioned here are portable, 
which means they don’t have to be 
installed at all. On the downside, they 
don’t update automatically because they 


don’t insert any files into your Registry. 
They’re also easy to lose track of in your 
PC, because they’re not indexed as 
software by Windows. Still, if we had to 
choose between a PC full of hidden 
portable tools and hidden malware, we’d 
go for hidden portable tools any time. 

Free web -based tools are another great 
alternative. They don’t need to be 


Check for 
hidden malicious 
components in any 
file or URL using 
VirusTotal online 

downloaded, let alone installed. You can 
edit photos online (Pixlr, www.snipca. 
com/15825), edit and manage documents 
online (Office Online, www.snipca. 
com/15826), check for hidden malware in 
any file (including EXE files) or URL 
using the online version of VirusTotal 
(https : //www. virustotal. c om) a nd much 
more, all in your browser. CSH 


NEXT ISSUE On sale Wednesday 15 April 


ON SALE 

15 April 


RECORD CLASSIC FILM 
& TV FROM THE WEB 

Every free program, tablet app and security 
tool you'll need this year 



Never miss another 
security alert 


Sort out your PCs files and 
folders - manage mess 
and save space 


56 1-14 April 2015 





tech hoaxes? 


All these daft tech stories may sound 
like 1 April fakes, but seven are true. 
Can you tell which three are fake? 
Answers upside down at the bottom 
of the page. No peeking! 




“With this 
tweet, 

I thee wed” 


e » 





» 

Fool's D 0 "' 


I Sony patents vibrating 
SmartWig 

Sony is currently working on a 
SmartWig intelligent hairpiece that 
links to your PC, tablet or phone via 
Wi-Fi. According to Sony’s patent 
application, SmartWig uses vibration 
signals to communicate with its wearer, 
for example by issuing directions or 
reminders. Sony says SmartWig could 
be made from “horse hair, human hair, 
wool, feathers, yak hair, buffalo hair” 
or synthetic material. 

2 Get married on Twitter 

Twitter has launched a wedding 
service in the US that allows couples to 
get legally married by sending a tweet to 
each other containing the hashtag #ido. 
The company hopes to market it to 
long-distance couples who fall in love 
online, but have yet to meet. 

3 New scratch 'n' sniff 
Raspberry Pi 

The makers of the hugely popular 
mini-PC Raspberry Pi are bringing 
out a limited-edition ‘scratch ‘n’ 
sniff’ version. A panel built into the 
motherboard emits the smell of 
fresh raspberries when rubbed. 

The odour has been synthesised 
from raspberries growing in a 
pick-your-own farm near the 
Raspberry Pi offices in Cambridgeshire. 

4 Robird patrols airports 

A Dutch drone company has 
created a £1.5m robo-falcon to scare 
smaller birds away from airports and 
prevent them flying into plane engines. 
The bogus raptor, named Robird, 
looks and sounds like a peregrine 
falcon and is currently undergoing 
training by clearing gulls from a Dutch 
municipal dump. 


5 3D-print your own Jeremy 
Clarkson Hungry Hippos 

Toy makers have released a special 
3D-print-your-own Jeremy Clarkson 
edition of classic children’s game 
Hungry Hippos. The game, Hungry 
Hungry Clarksons, marks the Top Gear 
presenter’s controversial failure to obtain 
a steak for dinner while recently filming 
the BBC show. Clarkson’s bobbing head is 
available to download and 3D-print at 
home in various colours. (3D printer and 
Hungry Hippos board not included.) 


wheel. The hamster believes it is 
scampering through virtual-reality 
scenes such as fields and tunnels. 

8 Read books on your shoes 

Lithuanian fashion designers 
have created shoes from flexible e-ink 
display material that allows wearers to 
customise the pattern or even read books 
on their feet. The shoes can be charged 
while you walk, thanks to a special 
wireless module in the sole. Currently 
available as high heels only. 



You, too, can play Hungry Hungry Clarksons - 
or can you? 

6 Six Nations grass recycled 
for smartphone 

Phone company 02 has created a fully 
working smartphone made from grass 
cuttings collected at Twickenham 
Stadium during the 2015 Six Nations 
rugby tournament. The phone is made 
from tens of thousands of blades 
of grass, many of which had 
been trodden on by famous 
international rugby players. 

7 Hamsters are the 
new smartphone 
zombies 

In more smartphone news, a 
new app has been built to 
create a 3D environment for 
hamsters to run in. Once the phone is 
attached to the cage, the app is activated 
when the hamster starts running on its 


9 Monkey owns selfie 
copyright 

A British photographer has lost a 
landmark copyright battle to a macaque 
monkey. David Slater was trying to 
photograph the primate when it snatched 
his camera and took a selfie. When Slater 
discovered the photo was being distributed 
online without his permission, he took the 
case to the Copyright Office - which ruled 
that Slater didn’t own the photo anyway, 
the monkey did. 

^ ^ Pizza Hut can read 
I w your mind 

Can’t decide what toppings to have on 
your pizza? Don’t worry - Pizza Hut’s 
new app can read your subconscious 
cravings and send the data 
back to the kitchen before 
you even know you’re 
hungry. The company’s 
^ eye-tracking 

technology works 
V by detecting your 
split-second reaction to 
y 20 icons including 
diced ham, sweetcorn 
and pineapple. r?Ti 


Can Pizza Hut's new app tell what 
toppings you want? 



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1-14 April 2015 57 


Shut down your PC 

faster 
safer 

Slow shutdowns can be just as frustrating 
as slow boot times. Jonathan Parkyn 
explains how to make your PC shut down 

quickly and safely every time — - 



W hen we talk about speeding 
up a slow computer, the 
focus is often on making it 
start up faster. But what 
about shutting down? A PC that hangs 
for ages when you’re trying to turn it 
off, or that throws up alarming error 
messages whenever you click the ‘Shut 
down’ button, can be just as frustrating 
as one that takes an eternity to boot. 

There are many possible explanations 
for a computer that finds it difficult 
to switch off - troublesome drivers, 
background processes, hidden spyware 
and other pests. Like a lot of PC 
troubleshooting, the key to success is 
to employ a process of elimination that 
will reveal the cause of the problem 
and a means to fix it. 

Here, we’ll outline the main underlying 
problems that cause this type of behaviour, 


then show you how to fix them and 
banish slow shutdowns forever. 

Cure hardware hangs 

Dodgy hardware drivers can often cause 
shutdown problems. If your PC has only 
recently started shutting down slowly, 
have a little think - did you install a 
device recently or add a new PC 
accessory, such as a new mouse? 

If so, uninstalling it may solve your 
problem. Open your Windows Device 
Manager by clicking Start, then right- 
clicking Computer and selecting Manage 
in Windows 7 (in Windows 8/8.1 you can 
just right-click Start and select Device 
Manager). Locate the device that you 
suspect might be the spanner in the 
works, right-click it and select Uninstall. 
Then shut down your PC and physically 
unplug the device. Next, start your PC 


and try shutting down again to see if it’s 
made a difference. 

Making sure all your drivers are up to 
date can be another way to resolve a 
hardware problem. Use a program like 
IObit’s Driver Booster 2 (www.snipca. 
com/15758) to find and update any old 
drivers on your system. 

Be aware that, while Driver Booster 2 
is free, it has a dreadful installer that’s 
packed with unwanted extras. Be careful 
to opt out of any bundled software, 
and don’t rush to click the Finish button 
(see Named & Shamed, Issue 444). Once 
it’s installed, Driver Booster 2 does at 
least do its job without asking for money, 
unlike supposedly “free” driver-updating 
programs such as SlimDrivers. 

You should consider giving your system 
a thorough going over with a free tool 
such as CCleaner (www.piriform.com/ 
ccleaner), which can purge your PC of 
other junk files that could be hindering 
the shutdown process. 

Solve software slowdowns 

When you try to switch off your PC, 
do you see an error message telling 
you that a program is still running 
or preventing Windows from shutting 
down? This usually means an 
application hasn’t been closed properly. 
More often than not you’ll see a list of 
programs in the error message. Click 
Cancel and check for any unsaved 
work or running programs, then save 
and close them before clicking ‘Shut 
down’ again. 

Not all software problems are as easily 
diagnosed. If you’re seeing this kind of 
error message in situations where there’s 
no obvious sign of any applications 



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58 1-14 April 2015 



Shut down your PC faster 


WHY YOU SHOULDN'T UNPLUG YOUR PC TO SHUT IT DOWN 


If your PC is taking the best part of a 
day to shut down, you may be sorely 
tempted to pull the plug on it and force 
it to switch off against its will. However, 
we'd advise against it unless you're 
absolutely sure your computer has 
stopped responding. 

Windows often uses the shutdown 
process to install updates or apply 
changes, and interrupting these could 
damage your PC. To allow for this 
possibility, leave your computer alone 
for anything up to 10 minutes after 
shutdown. 


If it still hasn't switched off at this point 
and there are no on-screen messages 
relating to updates, you might consider 
holding down the power button to force 
it to switch off. Note that doing this will 
probably produce an error message, 
next time you start up, telling you that 
Windows didn't shut down successfully. 

If you're experiencing this type of 
problem on a regular basis and none 
of our other tips have helped, then 
you could consider performing a clean 
re-installation of Windows (see our 
Cover Feature in Issue 444). 



If you force your PC to shut down, you'll see an 
error message like this when you restart 




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You can force a program to close via the Task 
Manager, but it should be a last resort 


actually running, then one of your 
programs may be struggling to close 
properly. If this is the case, click Cancel, 
right-click the Taskbar and click Start 
Task Manager, then click Applications 
(Windows 7) or Task Manager (Windows 
8/8.1). If there’s a program listed, it’s 
likely to be your culprit. 

If you can’t close the program in the 
normal way, try highlighting it and 
clicking ‘End task’. Bear in mind this 
method can cause you to lose work. 



Running startup items using the System 
Configuration tool can help shut down your 
PC faster 


In the longer term, if these programs 
continue to cause you problems, 
you should try updating them or 
uninstalling and reinstalling them. 

Fix startup to fix shutdown 

It may sound counter-intuitive to 
suggest speeding up startup, but slow 
shutdowns are often caused by 
background processes that are set to 
run whenever you boot your PC. By 
limiting the programs that run on 
startup, you’ll also be limiting the 
processes that need to be stopped 
when Windows closes down. 

In Windows 7, click Start, type 
msconfig, press Enter, then click the 
Startup tab. In Windows 8/8.1, open 
the Task Manager (see previous tip), then 
click ‘More details’ (if shown) and the 
‘Start-up’ tab. Now, look through the 
programs listed. There are likely to be 
several here you definitely don’t need 
(iTunesHelper and Adobe Reader, for 
example) - just don’t disable anything 
important, such as your security 
software. Run a quick Google check 
to establish what each one actually 
is before unticking any you 
don’t need (Windows 7) or 
right-clicking and selecting 
Disable (Windows 8/8.1). 

Restart your PC for the 
changes to take effect. 

Hack the Windows 
Registry to speed up 
shutdown 

If Windows is set to clear its 
page file when you switch off 
your PC, this can seriously 
slow things down. Some 
security programs enable this 
automatically, but you don’t 


need it unless you’re using a shared 
or public computer, and you can safely 
disable it via the Registry. 

Open Registry Editor (Regedit) 
by typing regedit into Start and 
pressing Enter. Navigate through 
the following path: HKEY_LOCAL_ 
MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\ 
Control\ Session Manager \Memory 
Management then double-click the 
ClearPageFileAtShutdown entry. If the 
value shown is 1, this means your PC 
is set to clear the page file. Change it 
to 0, click OK and close Regedit, 
then restart your PC. 

You can also edit the Registry to 
shorten the time Windows waits for 
processes to stop before it closes the 
system. Open Regedit again and 
navigate through the following path: 
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ 
CurrentControlSet\Control. Double-click 
WaitToKillServiceTimeout. Here you’ll 
see a value somewhere between 5000 
(5 seconds) and 12000 (12 seconds). 
Change it to 2000 (2 seconds), click 
OK, then close Regedit and restart 
your PC. FEI 



If your page file is set to clear on shutdown, disable this 
using Registry Editor to switch off faster 


1-14 April 2015 59 




Things to do with 
an old XP PC 



PARTI 


Install Linux 


/ 





J 


In the first of a new series on 
how you can breathe new life 
into your old XP PC, Jonathan 
Parky n shows you how to install j ■, ■ , ■ , y v ! * ! ■ X [ . \ ; \ \ \ V, \ * ; 

a Linux operating system / , ' ■ , v ' ■ ’ ■ ' * ’ ■ ' v V ' i A l \ \ V' \ \ , 




Replace Windows XP with Ubuntu and you can carry on using your PC 
safely for years 


W hen Microsoft 

withdrew support 
for Windows XP 
last year, millions 
of us faced a pretty stark 
choice. Carry on using XP and 
risk malware, try installing 
Windows 7 or 8/8.1, or fork 
out for a new computer. 

Now, one year after we 
examined these choices in 
some detail (see Issues 415 to 
420), the dilemma has become 
even more pressing. Even if you 
managed to upgrade Windows, 
you’ll know that your trusty 
old machine may be nearing 
the end of the line - especially 
if you plan to move on to Windows 10 
when it gets its full release later this year. 

Over the next few issues, we’ll explain 
how to save your old XP PC or laptop 
from a landfill site by using it in new 
ways. We think you’ll be surprised to 
learn just how useful that old computer 
of yours can still be. We’ll start by 
showing you how to turn it into a fast 
secondary computer running Linux. 

Why Linux is a great fit 
for your spare PC 

In Issue 418 (page 56), we suggested 
Linux as a viable alternative to Windows 
7 or 8/8.1. It also complements Windows 
well, so if you have bought a new PC, 
don’t throw the old one out - repurpose 
it instead with Linux. 


If Linux sounds like a foreign language, 
it’s one you may already be familiar with. 
You might already be running a Linux- 
based system alongside your Windows 7 
or 8/8.1 PC - it’s called Android (Google’s 
hugely popular mobile operating system). 

There are a number of Linux-based 
systems for PCs and the most popular is 
Ubuntu (www.ubuntu.com), which we’ll 
come to in a moment. Linux systems bear 
more resemblance to Windows than 
Android, for the simple reason they are 
designed to run on PCs rather than 
phones or tablets. 

Crucially, Linux won’t struggle running 
on older PCs that may lack the system 
requirements to support newer versions 
of Windows. In fact, some versions of 
Linux have been specially designed to run 


on older PCs. A Linux OS 
(known as a distribution, or 
‘distro’ for short) can allow 
you to carry on using your 
old computer safely for the 
foreseeable future. What’s 
more, unlike Windows, 

Linux is free. 

Choose the right Linux 
distro for your old PC 

Some Linux systems are 
specifically designed for 
certain types of specialised 
tasks. With the Linux distro 
KodiBuntu (http://kodi.tv/ 
download) running on your 
old PC, for example, you 
could convert the computer into an 
all-in-one entertainment system to play 
music, films, TV shows and more. 

Install the distro OpenMedia Vault 
(www.openmediavault.org) or Amahi 
(www.amahi.org), on the other hand, 
and you could turn your PC into a free 
network storage device (NAS) or home 
server, to back up your files and access 
them from anywhere. 

But if you’d prefer to revamp your old 
PC and use it as a spare computer, install 
Ubuntu. It’s similar to Windows and 
provides access to extensive libraries of 
free programs and applications. 

Where to get your Linux distro 

If you opt for Ubuntu (see our installation 
guide in the box opposite), be sure to get 


60 1-14 April 2015 






Install Linux 


HOW TO INSTALL UBUNTU 


STEP1 

If your old PC 
is running XP, 
we recommend 
downloading 
your Linux 
distro using a Windows 7 or 8/8.1 PC, for 
safety reasons. Download the ISO file, 
insert a blank DVD, right-click the ISO file 
and select 'Burn disc image' or 'Burn disk 
image'. When the process is complete, 
run the DVD in your XP computer. You'll 
eventually see a welcome screen. 


the most recent Long Term Support (LTS) 
version (14.04.2), which offers five years 
of security updates and fixes. Download 
the 32bit disk image (ISO file) from www. 
snipca.com/15763. The only other thing 
you’ll need is a blank DVD to burn the 
ISO file to. It’s possible to install Linux 
from a USB stick, but some older PCs 
can’t boot from USB devices. 

Depending on your PC’s specifications 
and current setup, you may also need to 
change the boot order in your computer’s 
BIOS, which you can access by repeatedly 
tapping a specific key (usually Del or F2) 


STEP 2 

You'll now 
be offered 
the option 
to either 
try Ubuntu 
or install it. 

Trying it runs Ubuntu directly from the 
DVD without affecting your Windows 
installation in any way. If you decide to 
keep it, boot your PC with the DVD in 
the drive again and this time select the 
install option. 


during startup. Look for a ‘Boot priority’ 
setting (or similar) and make sure that 
CD/DVD is at the top of the list. 

If there are any files on your XP PC that 
you want to keep, back them up before 
installing Linux. 

Make sure your old PC can 
support Linux 

Linux tends to be less demanding of a 
computer than Windows. But if your 
machine is more than five or six years 
old, make sure it meets the minimum 
system requirements. 


STEP 3 

Follow the remaining on-screen steps, 
then choose 'Erase disk and install Ubuntu' 
when prompted. Select your location 
and keyboard layout, then choose your 
username and password. When the 
installation 
is complete, 
eject the 
DVD from 
the disc drive 
and restart 
your PC. 


To run Ubuntu, for example, you’ll 
need at least a 700MHz Celeron 
processor, 512MB RAM, 5GB hard-drive 
space, a 1024x768 -pixel display and 
either a CD/DVD drive or a USB slot to 
install the ISO. 

If your PC’s specifications fall short, 
you could opt for a lightweight 
alternative, such as Lubuntu (www. 
snipca.com/15762). Based on Ubuntu, 
it will work on PCs with Pentium 4, 
Pentium M or AMD K8 processors. 
Lubuntu is designed for efficiency and, 
as a result, it’s really fast. FI 






Still want to use Windows XP? 
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Problems Solved 


PROBLEM OF THE FORTNIGHT 


Why has Outlook stopped working? 




I use Windows with 
Outlook as part of 
Microsoft Office. 

It’s all worked fine for years, 
but recently when I launch 
Outlook I see a message telling 
me that errors have been 
detected and that I need to 
quit all email applications. 

So I do this then launch 
Outlook again and the same 
thing happens. It seems to be 
stuck in this loop. Nothing else 
is wrong with my PC, and all my 
other Office programs seem fine. I 
cannot think why this has suddenly 
happened after all this time. I really 
need to rescue my email. Help! 

Kingston Davis 

You didn’t say specifically 
which version of Office you 
have but older versions of 
Outlook suffer from a problem with 
something called the Personal Storage 
Table (or PST), which is the file that 
contains all your emails. If you let this 
file get too large (specifically, over 2GB) 
then Outlook is unable to handle it, 
and at that point refuses to open. 

This can happen without warning - 
as in your case. 

There’s good news and bad news. 

The good news is that this is a known 
problem for which Microsoft long ago 
issued a remedy. The bad news is it’s 
only a partial fix that involves 
electronically chopping off the tail 
end of your PST file, resulting in the 
loss of some emails. There’s no way 
around this but, by trial and error, 
you’ll be able to restore the vast 
majority of your emails. We’d suggest 
backing up before proceeding. 

Visit www.snipca.com/15386 and 
download the free ‘Oversized PST and 
OST crop tool’. Next, use Windows 
Explorer to create a temporary folder 
on the Windows Desktop then double- 
click the downloaded file, click 
Browse, choose the folder you just 



Use Microsoft's Oversized PST Recovery Tool to 
recover space in Outlook and make it work again 


created and click Unzip. 

Open the temporary folder and 
double-click the file called PST2GB.exe. 
Click Continue. Click Browse and 
navigate to your PST file (if you don’t 
know where this is use Windows 
Explorer’s search bar to look for ‘*.pst*’ 
- and also make a note of its size), click 
to select it and then click Open. Now 
click Create, choose a location for the 
cropped PST file, type a name for it 
and click Save. 

Next comes the trial-and-error bit. 
You need to get the PST file below 2GB. 
Chop too little and Outlook will still 
refuse to open the truncated file; chop 
too much and you’ll lose more emails 
than necessary. So, if your PST file is 
2.1GB, say, then type 110 into the box 
labelled ‘Number of megabytes to trim 
off the end’. Click Start and then wait: 
it can take some time. 

Now run Outlook’s Inbox Repair 
Tool, by typing scanpst.exe in the 
Start menu search bar and clicking 
the search result. Click Browse, select 
the truncated PST file you created and 
then click Start. 

Finally, delete the old PST file (but 
remember to keep a backup), launch 
Outlook and import the new PST 
(depending on which version you 
have, open the File menu then ‘Import 
and Export’). If this doesn’t work, 
repeat the whole process, choosing an 
incrementally larger amount to crop 
from your PST file. 


Can I rescue 
videos from an 
unfinalised disc? 



I took video of a friend’s 
wedding and transferred the 
footage to a DVD. However, I 
forgot to finalise the disc and now I can’t 
access the film. The original tape got 
chewed up, so I really need to get this 
footage. Is there any way? 

Alan Merser 



Do you still have access to the 
computer and burning software 
used to create the disc? If so, we 
recommend using that to try to finalise 
the disc. Look in your software’s Tools or 
Burn menu for a Finalize option. 

Failing that, there are a couple of 
specialist tools that can access 
and recover data stored on unfinalised 
discs. Unfortunately, both are paid-for 
programs but they will let you use 
them free to discover if your data is 
recoverable. At that point, you can 
obviously decide whether you’re 
prepared to pay to get it back. The tools 
work slightly differently, so one might 
succeed where the other fails. 

Start with IsoBuster (www. isobuster, 
com). Pop your disc in, right-click the 
AUDICUTS or VIDEO_TS folder and 


choose Extract. If the program is able 
to do the job, it will ask you to pay to 
register. If not, try CDRoller (www. 
cdroller.com). The process is much the 
same: tick the folders you want to 
recover, then click the Recover All 
button and follow the prompts. 



Use IsoBuster to recover audio or video 
content from an unfinalised disc 


64 1-14 April 2015 


300 problems solved on our 2014 Back Issue CD: www.snipca.com/14981 








Our experts solve all your tech problems 

£3 Email us your problem and we'll try to help: noproblem(a)computeractive.co.uk 


How do I deal with suspicious Skype contacts? 



Our daughter lives in the US, so 
we Skype her for about an hour 
each weekend, sometimes using 
our Windows 8.1 laptop and other times 
on the Windows 7 desktop computer 
upstairs. Both have security software 
installed. Over the past month several 
unwanted requests for new contacts 
with dubious names have appeared, 
requesting to add me as a contact. 

Neither of us have any idea who these 
suspicious-sounding people are, and we 
have no intention of finding out. But how 
did they get our name and how do we get 
rid of them without clicking on them? 
What would happen if we did click? 

Gwynne & Maureen James 

Put simply, these are the Skype 
equivalent of email spam: 
unsolicited contact requests sent 
en masse in the hope that someone will 
take the bait and accept. They find their 
targets in any number of ways, either 
buying a list of known Skype user names 
or simply by using the search facility and 





Tweak your Skype privacy settings to protect yourself 
from spam contact requests 


then working through the list of results 
(you could do this yourself, if you were 
so inclined). 

Were you to click you’d probably be 
offered a piece of enticing or miraculous 
news, like winning a lottery you didn’t 
know you’d entered or a share of millions 
of dollars in an offshore account - all in 
exchange for your bank account details 
and an upfront ‘administration payment’, 
of course. In short, Skype is just another 
conduit for the same old scams. 


The answer is to tweak your 
privacy settings so that only 
people you know can contact 
you. In the Windows 8/8.1 
(full-screen) version of Skype, 
move your cursor over the 
top-right corner of the screen 
and then click Settings 
followed by Options. Now 
select Privacy and, under both 
the ‘Who can call you?’ and ‘Who can 
send you instant messages?’ headings, 
choose ‘Only my contacts’. 

For the benefit of Windows 7 users 
suffering the same problem, select 
Options from the Tools menu, then click 
Privacy on the left followed by Privacy 
Settings. Now, under the ‘Allow calls 
from’, ‘Automatically receive video and 
share screens with’ and Allow IMs from’ 
headings, choose the ‘people in my Contact 
list only’ button. Click Save to finish. 


Can I add another 
USB hub to 
my USB hub? 



I have a Windows 7 laptop 
with two USB ports. In one of 
these I’ve attached a four-port 
USB hub, giving me a total of five USB 
ports. However, I frequently find myself 
wishing I had another port or two, to 
keep all my peripherals attached while 
retaining spare sockets to charge my 
various mobile devices. Would it be 
okay to add another hub? And, out of 
curiosity, could this be attached to a 
port on my existing hub, or should I 
plug it into the computer’s second port? 

Sylvester Poole 


Yes, this is possible. Indeed, 
you can daisy chain up to 127 
USB devices from a single USB 
controller (which is what your laptop 
probably has). They can also be spurred 




off from any port, meaning directly 
from your laptop or from the 
existing hub. 

That said, there are a couple of things 
you should bear in mind. First, 
the more devices you have 
sharing the available USB 
bandwidth, the slower 
connected devices will 
transfer data. This is 
unlikely to be much 
of a problem unless 
you’re planning to 
attach 127 external 
hard drives that are 
permanently busy reading 
and writing data. 

Power is another potential 
stumbling block. A single USB 
2.0 socket supplies up to 500mA 
current at 5V. If you’re using 
unpowered USB hubs, this could 
quickly get eaten up by your attached 
devices - especially if you’re charging 
smartphones and tablets. So, shop 
around for a powered hub. 


Use a powered USB hub if you plan to attach 
a lot of devices to your computer 


1-14 April 2015 65 






Problems Solved 


Where is the 
Run option in 
Windows 7? 



Because Microsoft has 
ended support for Windows 
XP, I have reluctantly 
upgraded to a PC with Windows 7 
Home Edition, which a local 
computer shop built for me because 
I could not find anything other than 
Windows 8 PCs elsewhere. I have to 
say that I’m pleasantly surprised by 
Windows 7, but there is one thing 
that bothers me. Where has the Start 
menu’s Run command gone? 
Admittedly I don’t use this often, 
but I read a tip somewhere recently 
that mentioned clicking Start and 
then Run, but... no Run command on 
my Start menu! I checked back on 
my old Windows XP computer and 
there it is. Why has Microsoft 
removed this, and is it possible to put 
it back? 

Michael Cooper 



We don’t know why 
Microsoft removed the Run 
command, but it is just 
hidden by default, and not actually 
absent from Windows 7. 

Restoring it is easy. First, right- 
click the Start button and choose 
Properties. Next, on the Start Menu 
tab, click the Customize button. 

Now scroll down through the list to 
find and tick the ‘Run command’ 
box. Click OK twice and your Start 
menu will once more display the 
Run command. 



Tick the 'Run command' box to restore 
the option to the Start menu 


Why can't I run LibreOffice updates? 



I have a Windows 8.1 laptop on 
which I’ve installed LibreOffice. 
On launching it recently, I was 
told an update was available that had to 
be downloaded manually - which I did. 
The file (called ‘LibreOffice_4.2.8_Win_ 
86. man’) downloaded correctly, but will 
not run because my PC asks me which 
program I wish to use to run it. I opened 
it in Notepad, but this only showed lots of 
code. What am I doing wrong? I use 
Internet Explorer, in case that’s important. 

Henry Wood 


This is caused by a configuration 
on one of TibreOffice’s download 
servers, or more likely one of its 
mirror servers, and the way that Internet 
Explorer (IE) downloads from them. 



Basically, unless it received information in 
a specific way from the server, IE will 
misidentify the .msi file type (‘Microsoft 
installer’) as .man (‘Unix manual’). 
Windows cannot run Unix files, which is 
why you get this error message. 

There’s not a lot you can do about the 
setup of the remote download servers so, 
rather than getting into the technical 
details as to why this happens, we’ll just 
tell you how to fix this - and that’s simply 
to rename the downloaded file to restore 
the .msi extension. In Windows 8.1, press 
Windows key+E to open File Explorer, 
then navigate to your downloads folder, 
click to select the LibreOffice_4.2.8_ 
Win_86.man file, tap F2 to rename it and 
then replace ‘.man’ with ‘.msi’. You can 
now double-click it to launch your update. 





Rename the LibreOffice_4.2.8_Win_86.man file so that you can run updates 


Why should I buy a large SSD? 



drop it’s beginning to make more sense 
to buy a larger SSD, which can then be 
partitioned to serve as two logical drives 
- one for Windows and the other for your 
data. You could still keep using your 
conventional hard drive, if you wanted. 


Your recommendation that one 
of the best upgrades is to install 
a solid-state drive (SSD) 
has been repeated several times. I 
believe the idea is that Windows is 
installed on the SSD, leaving the 
conventional hard drive free for 
programs and data. You also recommend 
the Crucial MX100 512GB SSD. While I 
understand the speed benefits with 32bit 
Windows 7 requiring just 16GB of space, 
why would I buy a 512GB SSD when a 
much smaller (and cheaper) SSD would 
do the same job? 

Stephen Ford 

You could indeed buy a smaller 
SSD if you’re happy to keep 
using a conventional hard drive 
to store your data. However, as prices 


66 1-14 April 2015 


300 problems solved on our 2014 Back Issue CD: www.snipca.com/14981 











Why can't I open Word or Excel files? 



When I try to open Microsoft 
Word or Excel files that I have 
created on my own computer, 

I continually get the following message: 
“There was a problem sending the 
command to the program”. To get 
around this problem I have to open the 
documents using OpenOffice. Is there a 
solution to this problem? Any help would 
be appreciated. 

Noel Gallagher 



There are a couple of possible 
causes for this problem, the 
main suspect being an obscure 
feature in Excel. 

You didn’t tell us which version of 
Office you’re using but, if you’re using 
either of the latest two editions (2010 and 
2013), begin by clicking the File tab 
followed by Options. Now, click Advanced 
in the left-hand pane and scroll through 
the list to find the General section. 

Here, find the box labelled ‘Ignore 
other applications that use Dynamic 



Untick the 
box labelled 
Ignore other 
applications that 
use Dynamic 
Data Exchange 
(DDE)' to open 
Word or Excel 
files by double- 
clicking 


Data Exchange (DDE)’. This option is 
actually disabled by default, but it’s 
possible that in the past you’ve 
accidentally ticked it while tweaking 
some other setting. So, remove the tick 
and then click OK. 

This should enable you to once more 
double-click Excel files and have them 


open in Excel, and it might also fix the 
same problem you’re experiencing 
with Word. But, if not, you can quickly 
re-establish Word’s file associations 
with the following trick. First, click Start, 
type run into the Search box and press 
Enter. Then, in the Run box, type 
winword.exe /r and press Enter. 


Does my router 
have an insecure 
backdoor? 



I have TalkTalk broadband with 
a TalkTalk-supplied D-Link 
router, updated with the latest 
firmware. I’ve already changed my 
router’s default username and password, 
but Avast 2015 Home Network Security 
flags up a network-security issue, saying 
it was possible to log into my router 
using a backdoor method. I telephoned 
TalkTalk and was told the solution was to 
reset the router to factory settings. I 
wasn’t convinced but went ahead. I 
called TalkTalk again and was this time 
told the backdoor was somehow 
necessary for some kind of router 
maintenance and could not be removed. 
Should I be concerned by this? Can I do 
anything to close this backdoor? 

Rowland W Williams 


We think several issues have 
been conflated here, 
apparently not helped by your 
discussions with TalkTalk. Some D-Link 
routers did (or do) contain an insecure 




Untick the TR069 box to stop TalkTalk remotely accessing your router 


backdoor, which can be fixed by 
applying the latest firmware. You say 
you’ve already done this, so you 
shouldn’t need to worry about this. 
Other readers can check for the latest 
firmware atwww.snipca.com/15413. 

Unrelated to this - but we believe 
related to your concerns - is an aspect 
of TalkTalk’ s service that it calls 
Enhanced Remote Management. When 
this is enabled, as it is by default with 
routers supplied by the company, it 


allows TalkTalk engineers access to 
various aspects of your router. It also 
lets them update the firmware remotely, 
so it’s always up to date. Read more 
about it at www.snipca.com/15415. 

If you’re unhappy handing TalkTalk 
this ability, you can disable the feature. 
Log into your router, click Advanced 
followed by OK, then click Advanced 
again. Now, click Network Tools followed 
by TR-069, clear the tick from the TR069 
box, then click the Add/Apply button. 


1-14 April 2015 67 









Problems Solved 


Why doesn't 
Outlook 2013 
create tasks 
for all flagged 
messages? 



I use Outlook as part of 
Office 2013, which came 
free with my PC. When I 
click the little flag icon alongside a 
message (so that I know to follow it 
up), sometimes a task is automatically 
created and displayed on Outlook’s 
Tasks page, but sometimes not. I 
would expect (and would like) to 
have Outlook create a task every 
time I click a flag. I sort my emails 
into numerous different folders 
and I’ve figured out that it works 
always on some folders, but never 
on others. What am I doing wrong? 
Or is this a bug? 

Scott Chambers 



This isn’t a bug and you’re 
not doing anything wrong. 
By default, Outlook 2013 
(and 2010 and 2007 for that matter) 
creates tasks from flagged messages 
only if they’re stored in the first 
Personal Storage Table (PST) file. 

By the sounds of your setup, we’re 
guessing you’ve got more than one 
PST file on the go - perhaps for 
different email accounts. The fix is 
simple, but not obvious. First 
right-click the PST file’s name in the 
folder tree on the left and choose 
Properties. Now select the General 
tab and tick the box labelled ‘Display 
reminders and tasks from this folder 
in the To-Do Bar’. Click OK to finish. 



Create tasks for flagged emails in 
Outlook via your PST file's Properties 


How private are Facebook groups? 



I don’t really use 
Facebook much myself 
because I’m worried 
about privacy, but I do have an 
account just to stay in touch with 
the lives of a few close friends 
and family members. Recently, 

I was invited to join a local 
society that’s apparently quite 
active on Facebook. One of its 
members invited me to join its 
Facebook group, but I’ve not 
joined. I’m tempted, but I’m 
really concerned about who 
would be able to see what I post or 
discuss. This person has assured me it’s a 
private group, so is it safe for me to sign 
up? And will people who know me on 
Facebook know that I’ve joined it? 

Ivy Cross 

There are three types of 
Facebook group - Public, Closed 
and Secret. You can probably 
guess that Public is certainly not private, 
while both Closed and Secret are, but to 
differing degrees. 

Anyone on Facebook can see that a 
Closed group exists and anyone can ask 




Find out more about privacy levels for various Facebook 
groups via the website's Help Center 


to join one, but they have to be 
permitted access by an existing member. 
Importantly, anyone on Facebook can 
also see who is a member of a Closed 
group - so if you join this type of group, 
someone might discover that fact. 

Secret groups (and their members) are 
invisible to anyone who’s not already a 
member of the group, and the only way 
to gain access is to be invited by an 
existing member. 

Within both Closed and Secret groups, 
discussions are visible only to current 
members. For full details read Facebook’s 
own explanation at www.snipca.com/ 
15747 (see screenshot above). 


Can I stop Word's clipboard appearing? 



A while ago you 
tackled a reader’s 
question about 
Word 2013’s clipboard, 
explaining that pressing 
Control (Ctrl)+C twice 
would make the clipboard 
appear in a pane down the 
side of the program’s 
window. That was a useful 
tip, but for me it’s also the 
source of some annoyance. 

I have reason to copy and 
paste stuff all day long in 
Word, but I’d rather the 
clipboard pane stayed out 
of my face. Currently, it 
appears when I start copying, making 
the screen jump and reducing the editing 
space. Is there a way to stop this? 

Jason Shales 


Yes, this is very easy to do. 

First, bring up your clipboard 
as usual. Next, click the Options 



Stop your clipboard from appearing while working in Word by 
ticking 'Collect Without Showing Office Clipboard' in its options 



button at the bottom of the clipboard 
pane, then untick the Show Office 
Clipboard Automatically option. 
Repeat this process, but this time tick 
Collect Without Showing Office 
Clipboard (see screenshot above). 

To finish, click the cross at the top 
right of the clipboard pane. 


68 1-14 April 2015 










Why won't my new monitor display at maximum resolution? 



I have a Dell Inspiron 560MT PC, 
with an Nvidia GeForce G310 
graphics card and running 64bit 
Windows 7. 1 have recently acquired a 
BenQ GW2765HT 27-inch monitor, 
with a maximum native resolution of 
2560x1440 pixels. I use the computer to 
process digital photos, which is why I 
want a high-resolution monitor. 

However, no matter what I do I can only 
achieve a top resolution of just 1920x1080 
pixels. I’ve installed the very latest Nvidia 
drivers, but no luck. The monitor has a 
DisplayPort connector, but my PC 
doesn’t, so I use the older DVI cable. How 
do I get my new monitor to display its 
maximum resolution? Do I need a new 
graphics card? And would this be worth 
doing on a four-year-old PC? 

Roger Harvey 


You don’t need a new graphics 
card because your existing one 
supports your new monitor’s 
top resolution. 




The problem is almost certainly 
with the cable that you’re using. 

You gave us a clue when you said 
‘the older DVI cable’, which we guess 
means the one used with your previous 
display. Adding weight to this theory is 
the fact that, according to BenQ’s 
documentation, the GW2765HT comes 
with VGA, HDMI and DisplayPort 
cables - but no DVI cable. 

There are various different types of 
DVI cable, but the pertinent variants 
are single link and dual link. A 
dual-link DVI cable has extra pins 
that are necessary for carrying the 
additional data required to drive higher 
resolutions; single-link DVI cables are 
able to transport enough data for a 
maximum resolution of only 1920x1080 
- which is precisely the top resolution 
you’re achieving currently. 

So, by deduction we’re convinced that 
you’re using a single-link DVI cable, thus 
limiting what your graphics card is able 
to send to your new display. The solution 


Use a dual-link 
DVI cable to enable 
your monitor to display at 
maximum resolution 


is simple: buy a dual-link DVI cable, 
which you can pick up for just a few 
pounds (such as this £7 example from 
Amazon - www.snipca.com/15395). 


Can I keep my virgin.net email address? 



I have just read in the papers 
that my virgin.net email will 
soon cease to exist, because 
Virgin Media is transferring customers to 
TalkTalk. I have had a virgin.net email 
address since the year dot. I don’t use it as 
my main email address nor do I want to 
lose it. Surely Virgin could arrange emails 
sent to the old address to be forwarded to 
a new one? I gather one solution is to sign 
up for Virgin’s fibre-optic broadband, but 
I live in the countryside, so there’s no 
chance. Can you tell me what’s 
happening and why, because Virgin has 
told me nothing? Is there any way to keep 
my virgin.net email address? 

Eric Martin 



This is happening because Virgin 
Media is offloading its ‘legacy’ 
ADSL service (and customers) 
to TalkTalk to concentrate on its cable- 
based, fibre-optic services. Some 100,000 
customers are affected. It expects to 
complete this process by the end of this 
month (April). 

Yes, it would be technically possible 
for Virgin to offer some form of email 
forwarding that would keep old virgin, 
net email addresses alive long-term, 



but the company has apparently decided 
that it doesn’t want the cost or hassle of 
doing so. 

We’re afraid there’s no solution, other 
than signing up for Virgin’s cable services 
- which sound like they’re not available 
in your rural area. You are under no 
obligation to switch your services to 
TalkTalk, but that’s what will happen if 
you do nothing. If you do switch to 
TalkTalk, your virgin.net email address 
will continue working for 12 months; if 
you don’t, it will be terminated 90 days 
after your contract ends. You’ll find full 
details atwww.snipca.com/15583. 


Users of the virgin.net email service face the 
prospect of being transferred to TalkTalk 



NEXT ISSUE 


• Why can’t I pay online using 
Microsoft Money? 

• How do I move my stuff from XP 
to Windows 8.1? 

• Can I use Google Maps offline 
with my iPhone? 

...And many more 


Subscribe to Computers di ve 
at getcomputeractive.co.uk 


300 problems solved on our 2014 Back Issue CD: www.snipca.com/14981 


1-14 April 2015 69 














/% Fast Fixes 



I ^j— i ■ - I | I | /“l Find missing hard-drive space, 

[ I II 1 1 1 1 I delete recovery partitions and 

X L- XX LX L1U1 LkJ change drive letters 


Your PC's capacity is smaller 
than expected 

If your new PC’s hard drive doesn’t 
appear to have all the storage stated 
in its specifications, your computer’s 
manufacturer may have included a 
recovery partition, which lets you restore 
your PC to its factory condition. To check, 
click Start, right-click Computer and 
choose Manage. Next, click Storage, then 
Disk Management. In the bottom of the 
right-hand pane you’ll see a graphic 
of your drive partitions, along with 
their drive numbers. Here, you should 
see a partition named Recovery. 

It’s worth bearing in mind that 
Windows calculates capacity in terms 
of 1,024 kilobytes per megabyte, 1,024 
megabytes per gigabyte and so on. Drive 
manufacturers, however, typically use 
1,000KB instead. So, if a drive advertised 
as 4TB is reported by Windows as 3.7TB, 
the “missing” 300GB is down to the 
way capacity is calculated. 

You can't delete your 
recovery partition 

Manufacturers usually mark recovery 
partitions as protected, which effectively 
prevents the Disk Management tool from 
doing anything with them - including 
letting you delete them. This is often a 
problem when you want to re-purpose 
an old drive. The solution is to use the 
built-in Windows tool DiskPart, which 
integrates with the Command Prompt, 
to wipe everything. 

Click Start, type cmd and press Enter. 
In the Command Prompt window, type 
diskpart and press Enter, then type 
list disk and press Enter. DiskPart then 
displays a list of all your drives, labelled 


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The DiskPart tool will delete everything on a 
drive, including recovery partitions 


‘Disk O’, ‘Disk V and so 
on. Yyou can use Disk 
Management to check 
which drive is which 
(see previous tip). 

Now type select disk 
NUMBER, substituting 
NUMBER for the relevant 
drive number (for 
example select disk 1), 
then press Enter. 

DiskPart will confirm 
the selected drive. If 
you’re certain you want 
to continue, type clean 
and press Enter. Now use 
Disk Management to 
prepare the drive. 

Deleting a partition 
doesn't free up space 

You would expect that deleting a 
partition from your PC would 
automatically make the freed-up space 
usable. In fact, it’ll remain invisible to 
Windows until you create a new partition, 
or instruct an existing partition to extend 
itself into the available space. You can 
carry out both of these tasks using Disk 
Management. Right-click an existing 
partition and click Extend Volume or, 
to create a new partition with its own 
drive letter, right-click the unallocated 
partition and choose New Simple 
Volume, then follow the prompts. 

Windows won't let you 
create large partitions 

If you find you’re unable to create 
partitions bigger than 32GB, it’s probably 
because your hard drive has been formatted 
using the FAT32 file system. This will 
often be the case if you have an old PC 
or you’ve fitted a drive from an old PC. 

The solution is to format your hard 
drive to use the newer NTFS file system 
(and lose all your data), or convert it 
(and preserve your data). 

To format it, launch Windows Explorer 
or File Explorer (press Win+E), then 
right-click the drive and choose Format. 
Choose NTFS from the ‘File system’ 
menu, then click Start. If you plan to go 


down this route, make sure 
you back up all your data 
and create a system restore 
point first. 

Alternatively, preserve 
your data by choosing to 
convert the drive instead. 
Open the Command 
Prompt (type cmd, then 
press Enter), type convert 
DRIVELETTER: /fsmtfs, 
replacing DRIVELETTER: 
with the relevant drive 
letter (for example, convert 
d: /fsmtfs). Press Enter, type 
a name for the drive and 
press Enter again. Close the 
Command Prompt window 
when complete. 

Drive letters are in a 
strange order 

Adding or removing partitions can 
lead to non-sequential drive letters 
(for example, C: followed by E: then G:). 
This isn’t a problem for Windows but it 
might be for your head (where is D:?). 

Or you might want to apply different 
drive letters for other reasons, such as 
assigning P: to the partition containing 
your photos. 

It’s easy to change drive /partition 
letters, but be warned: this can play 
havoc with programs that have been 
set up to use a particular drive letter, 
so proceed with caution. In Disk 
Management, right-click the relevant 
partition, choose ‘Change Drive Letter 
or Path’ and then click the Change 
button. Choose the desired letter from 
the dropdown menu, then click OK 
followed by Yes. Never change drive C: 
(your local hard drive). 



Use Disk Management to change drive letters, 
but leave your C: drive well alone 



Re-format old FAT32 drives to 
NTFS to create partitions that 
are larger than 32GB 


70 1-14 April 2015 


Next issue Fast Fixes for... Word 




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First-year 

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*First-year cost does not include line rental. Cost is calculated at monthly price x12 with all introductory offers subtracted. Additional charges incurred 
outside of free inclusive calls not included in first-year cost. 

** Fair-usage or restriction policy applies. 

Data supplied by www.broadbandgenie.co.uk. Correct as of 23/03/2015 


OFcam 

Broadband Genie’s helpline 
is powered by Simplify 
Digital, the Ofcom- 
accredited switching service 


72 1-14 April 2015 










Jargon Buster 


32bit A measure of how much 
information a computer can 
process at once. Most older 
computers are 32bit. 

4K Video with a resolution of at j 
least 3840x2160 pixels 

— . — _ s 

64bit A technology that processes j 
information in larger chunks. Most 
modern computers are 64bit. 

802.11ac A standard for wireless 
networks that allows for much 
higher transfer speeds than802.11n. j 

802.11n A standard for wireless 
networks that allows for high 
transfer speeds. 


Backdoor A way of bypassing the 
normal security procedures in a 
piece of software. 

Bandwidth A measure of 
how much information can be 
transferred through a connection 
at one time. 


Beta A version of software that's 
being tested. Beta versions are 
often released so problems can be 
ironed out. 


BIOS Basic Input-Output System. 
Essential software built into 
every PC that connects the vital 
components. 

Botnet A group of infected 
computers connected together 
via the internet, and used to infect 
other PCs, send junk email and 
perform other criminal tasks. 


Cache A temporary space for 
storing information. 

Component A cable, usually with 
three to five connectors, which is 
used to display video. 

Composite A cable with three 
connectors which is used to 
display standard-definition video. 

Cookie A small text file stored on 
your computer by a website. 

Daisy chained A wiring system 
in which multiple devices are 
connected together in sequence. 

j 

Definition A file downloaded by an 
antivirus program, giving it details 
of how to spot the latest threats. 


DisplayPort A new socket for 
connecting monitors. 

Driver A file that tells Windows 
how to work with a device. 

Dual band Wi-Fi routers that can 
work on both the 2.4 and 5GHz 
frequencies. 

Dual core When two processors 
are combined into a single chip. 

DVI Digital Visual Interface. 

Ethernet A standard used for 
almost all wired PC networks. 

Extension A program that adds 
extra features to your browser. 

FAT32 A system for formatting 
hard disks used by Windows 98 
and ME. 

Feedback The tactile response 
that the keys on a keyboard give 
when they've been pressed. 


Firmware Basic software stored 
on a device to control its operation. 

False positive When an antivirus 
program wrongly detects a 
malware infection. 


Frame rate The number of still 
images , or frames, shown per 
second to create a moving image. 


GPS Global Positioning System. 


HDMI High Definition Media 
Interface. 


Internet Relay Chat (IRC) A 
chat system that enables users 
to connect to a server using a 
software program or web service to 
communicate with each other live. 

ISO file A type of image file that 
contains the data from a CD or DVD. 

MB/s Megabytes per second. 

Megapixel A measure of the 
amount of detail that can be 
recorded by a digital image. 

I 

MFP Multifunction printer. A 
combined printer and scanner. 

! 

MicroSD card A small type of 
memory card. Can be converted to 
SD size using an adapter. 


Micro SIM A smaller version of 
SIM cards used in mobile phones. 

Mirror server A website that 
contains the same downloadable 
software as others, so it's available 
from more than on place. 

i 

NAS Network-attached storage. A 
hard drive attached to a network 
that can be shared by other PCs. 

NTFS New Technology File 
System. A file system used by all 

recent versions of Windows. 

I 

Noise Visible dust-like speckles 
that appear in some camera and 
TV images. 


Open source Software that can 
be modified by anyone. 

Optical audio A socket that 
provides a high-quality sound signal 
between computers, amplifiers, CD 
and DVD players and more. 


Page file A temporary storage 
area that Windows uses as virtual 
memory. 


Partition A large hard drive can 
be split into two or more partitions 
or 'virtual' drives. Once partitioned, 
each section is treated by Windows 
as though it were a separate drive. 


Plug-in A small program that 
adds extra features to your web 
browser or to other applications. 


Processor The processor - or 
central processing unit - is the 
brain of a computer. 


PST Personal Storage Table. A 
file format used to store copies of 
messages and calendar events. 


PUP Potentially Unwanted 
Program. A program that may 
not be desired, despite the user 
consenting to it being downloaded. 


Quad core A PC that has four 
processors on a single chip. 

RAM Random-access memory. 
The PC's working area, used for 
data storage while the PC is on. 

Recovery partition A hidden 
portion of your hard drive where 
a copy of the original system 
configuration is stored. 


i Bust more jargon on our 2014 Back Issue CD: www.snipca.com/14981 


Refresh rate The number of times 
per second (in Hz) that the image 
on your monitor is redrawn. 


Resolution The amount of detail 
shown in an image. 

Roaming charge Fee incurred 
for using your phone to receive 
data through overseas mobile 
networks. 

Root access Circumventing the 
restrictions that are put in place by 
a device's operating system. 

Rootkit Software that gives a 
malicious user administration 
rights and access to a computer. 


SATA Serial ATA. An interface for 
connecting modern hard drives 
and optical discs to a computer. 

Scart A standard connector for 
video and audio signals. 


Server A computer on a network. 


Source code Program instructions 
written by a programmer in a high- 
level language that is readable by 
people but not computers. 


SSD Solid-state drive. 


System Restore Point The 
collection of system files stored 
by System Restore on a given date 
and time to which Windows can 
revert if a problem occurs. 


Travel The distance the keys of 
a keyboard have to be pressed 
before the keystroke is recognised. 


USB 2.0 Faster successor to USB. 

USB 3.0 An even faster version of 
the USB standard. 


VGA Video Graphics Array. 


Virtual machine A software- 
based computer running inside 
another computer. 


Widget A small program that runs 
on the Windows Desktop. 


Wiki site A collaborative website 
that users can easily edit. 

ZIP file A file that can contain 
a number of compressed 
documents or files. 


1-14 April 2015 73 


The Final Straw 


This issue Stuart Andrews has no love for. . . 



STUART ANDREWS is 

Computeractive ' s Mr Angry 



Dating apps 


I ’m usually glad that I’m no longer 
young, free and single. I never enjoyed 
the whole dating thing. I know some 
people find it thrilling and romantic, as 
you try to puzzle out what makes each 
other tick. But I always saw it more like a 
cross between a sales pitch and some 
unnecessarily complex parlour game 
- and one where I didn’t understand the 
rules. I wouldn’t want to go through 
dating again even were it still like that, 
but now? Forget it. In a world of dating 
apps I wouldn’t stand a chance. 



You can flick through 
a hundred possible 
partners while you're 
waiting for the 
kettle to boil 

I know why people have gone mad for 
such things. We’re all so busy these days. 
We work unearthly hours, then have to 
find time to watch all the must- watch 
TV, listen to the must-listen music and 
do all the must-do stuff. Checking and 
posting to our social networks is 
practically a full-time job, yet no matter 
how connected we are, and no matter 
where we live, meeting someone special 
never gets any easier, so why not let 
someone else handle the job? 

This was where the old-fashioned 
online dating services came in. You filled 
out a profile and the service went all out 
to match you with someone vaguely 
compatible. Yes, the whole concept was 
flawed because our profiles never told the 
truth. But there was always a small 


chance that the potential mate who 
claimed they were a keen cinephile with 
a love of jazz and world cuisine wasn’t 
some sad sack who spent their weekends 
eating cold pizza in front of the telly - or 
that at the very least you had the same 
lies in common. 

But even this kind of dating now 
sounds quaint. With dating app Tinder 
and its ilk there’s no need to waste time 
with profiles or messages or any of that 
nonsense. You just flick through a stream 
of photos of nearby matches, then swipe 
them left to send them packing or right 
to give them the eye. If both parties swipe 
yes, then bingo! Tinder sets you up for a 
quick text chat, and anything that 
follows on from there. 

Tinder has some good points. It hooks 
into Facebook, so there’s some proof that 
the girl or guy you like is roughly what 
they claim to be. It doesn’t tell anyone 
else you like them unless they feel the 
same way about you, avoiding any 
potential humiliation. And it’s quick and 
easy, letting you flick through a hundred 
possible partners while you’re waiting for 
the kettle to boil. Sure it’s a brutally 
superficial way of finding someone, but 
it’s brutally efficient and honest too. 

In fact, Tinder is so brutally honest that 


it’s making people aged over 28 pay £11 a 
month more to use the premium service 
than those who are 28 and under: a clear 
sign of which age group Tinder values 
most. There are other things I’m not keen 
on. If something this efficient at pairing 
people up is entirely based on looks, then 
it’s no surprise that many of the men who 
use it are only after one thing. 

Most of all, though, I think that Tinder 
and its rivals might be a bit too efficient. 
You have one photo to sell yourself, and it 
had better be good. No instant attraction? 
No date. That’s probably great if you have 
the bone structure of a catwalk model, 
but it leaves little opportunity to win 
hearts and minds with a warm personality. 

That’s a lot of pressure, and I wouldn’t 
have liked it on me. Sure, first impressions 
counted in the old days too, but they 
lasted longer than the millisecond it takes 
for a Tinder user to swipe you on to the 
scrapheap. Someone you initially found 
sort-of- attractive might with time (or 
booze) become quite the catch. There was 
a humanity to dating that Tinder and the 
like seem to have lost. Once we lose it, it 
might be hard to get it back. 

Do you agree with Stuart? 

Let us know at letters(pcomputeractive.co.uk 



74 1-14 April 2015 


Next issue Stuort has only himself to blame 




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