May 21, 2004
Q. I've got a major mess on my hands, Mr. M., and I hope you can help. I bought a new computer and moved more than 800 files over from my old computer. The two PCs are connected with a cable that my son set up, but I don't understand that much about it. After about three days of using the new computer, I discovered that not all the files were moved.
The files that did move have been used, so I can't just copy everything from the old computer to the new computer again because it will overwrite the files that have now been modified. My problem is that I don't know which ones have been changed and which ones haven't. Is there any program that can check the computers and synchronize files so that both computers end up with the latest version of everything?
A. There are a number of software programs that will sync files, but let me suggest something simple to try before you get involved with downloading, installing and learning a new software program. Click Start > Programs > Accessories > Windows Explorer, or Start > Programs > Windows Explorer to launch Windows Explorer.
Using the Details view (click View > Details), look at the hard drive on your new computer. Click each folder displayed in the left pane to view its contents in the right pane. Then click the Date Modified column and sort by the date last modified. You might be pleasantly surprised to discover that only a handful of files have been modified since migrating to your new computer. If that's the case, I would copy those files, to keep as a back-up, then proceed to copy all folders again from your old computer to the new computer. You'll be prompted if you would like to overwrite a file last modified on an older date with a file last modified on a more recent date, so you can simply eyeball the dates and make the appropriate decision whether to overwrite or not.
If a software program is ultimately needed, the one I recommend is called Replicator, created by programming wizard Karen Kenworthy. It can be configured to synchronize any two drives or folders on a network (your two cable-connected computers are considered a network), and will overwrite the older files, but not the newer files. http://tinyurl.com/cnta" class= "content-link" target="409">Visit http://tinyurl.com/cnta for more information or to download the program. Good luck!
Q. I'm not the greatest typist in the world and seem to hit between the keys more often than I'd like. I'm always turning on the Caps Lock or accidentally hitting the Tab key. I can live with those things, but too often I hit a key that causes my typing to overwrite other material. What am I doing wrong -- and more importantly, what can I do to make it stop?
A. The overwriting that obliterates other characters on your screen instead of pushing them to the right is the result of toggling the INSert key into its "off" position. Because the key functions as a toggle between “insert” and “overwrite” functions, you just have to press it again to toggle it back to INSert. When it’s in “overwrite” mode, you should see the letters “OVR” in the lower portion of your screen, just above the Taskbar.
You'll usually find an Insert key (your keyboard may have two) at the far right of your keyboard, on the bottom row of keys on the numeric keypad. Just turn it off and you'll be able to resume normal typing.
Q. I was given an old monitor that I'm trying to hook up, but the screen has a purplish-red tint to it. I know that means the thing is probably shot, but I was wondering if this can be fixed or if it's even worth fixing? It's a 17" monitor that I got for free, so I'd really like to use it.
A. Some color adjustments may be possible, particularly if the lovely purplish-red hue appears on the entire screen as opposed to just a small portion of it. Locate the television-type adjustments on your monitor (feel along the sides, top and bottom of the monitor) and see if you can straighten out the color. Unfortunately, these types of adjustments, if successful, are generally short lived if the monitor is on its last legs.
Computer monitors are rarely worth repairing. If you decide to take it in to be repaired -- assuming you can find somebody to repair it -- it will probably cost a minimum of $75 to get a technician to take a look at it.
If you decide to purchase a new monitor, a charitable organization such as the National Cristina Foundation (see this week's Web sites) will welcome your old monitor as a charitable donation and put it to good use.
Mr. Modem's Sites of the Week:
Build Your Own Fish
Thanks to the Museum of Science in Boston, you can create your own virtual fish online and then release your fish into the museum's Virtual FishTank exhibit. To build your fish, your system will need the Shockwave plug-in. If you don’t have it, you’ll be prompted to download it when you visit the site.
National Cristina Foundation
Since the early 1980s, the NCF has been welcoming corporate and individual donations of used computers, hardware, software, and related business equipment. After repairing and refurbishing the equipment, the Foundation provides (without charge) donated equipment to training and educational organizations for the benefit of people with disabilities, individuals who are economically disadvantaged, and students at risk.
Lenny Bruce FBI File
Lenny Bruce (real name Leonard Alfred Schneider), was called "a noble hero trapped in conservative 1950s America." He changed the face of comedy and earned an FBI file in the process. Here you'll find photocopies of actual FBI internal memos and Mr. Bruce's many letters of complaint to the Bureau.
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