From the Kenosha News on 10-22-06

Reader provides Windows tips; others ask about cleaning

In response to last week’s column about reader questions, reader “Jim” submitted some great additional tips.

Concerning printing web pages to make them fit on the paper: Firefox – an alternative browser to IE – formats pages for printing automatically. Use the Print Preview option under the File menu, and select “Shrink to Fit.”

For the “c:\windows\system32\WNHTTPdll is not a valid windows image” error message: The reader is probably seeing a message regarding winhttp.dll, which is an MSN Live Messenger file. More information on this can be found at http://www.mcse.ms/message721347.html. Perhaps downloading the file referenced above to C:\windows\system32 or uninstalling and reinstalling MSN Live Messenger might eliminate the problem. Most likely, the person with the problem bought a webcam that included the MSN software, and the installation was aborted somehow. Jim suggests that novice users probably shouldn’t try to modify the registry, even with a tool like System Mechanic.

For the user who wanted to forward a web site address to someone using their email address: If you use Outlook or another “real” e-mail client rather than a web-based e-mail service like Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail, etc., you can forward a page link in IE by clicking File -> Send -> Link by e-mail. This will open a message in the user's default mail client with the link already in the message. The user just has to enter the e-mail address to send to and click "Send." In Firefox, it's File-->Send link.

Several readers have asked about the best way to clean their computer – especially cleaning a laptop screen. A great web site that covers cleaning very thoroughly is http://www.computerhope.com/cleaning.htm. The most important tips I usually give people are:

  • For laptop screens, use a “glasses cleaning cloth” if you have one, or another soft cloth if you don’t. Avoid paper towels except in a pinch as they might scratch the surface.
  • Always spray any cleaner onto the cloth, not onto the screen or machine itself. You can use Windex on glass CRT screens and mild cleaners on your computer’s case, but don’t use anything abrasive or harsh. When in doubt, stick with water for screens and cases, but don’t get internal components wet.
  • Use canned air to blast out dust from inside your case, your keyboard, and even your floppy drive occasionally.

The above site also provides instructions how to clean your mouse. If you have a mouse with a ball – rather than an optical one with a light – it’s pretty simple to clean and will work much better. You will need to remove the mouse ball and then remove the crud from the three small rollers inside. You should be able to do so with your fingernail or a pocket knife. You may also need to blow out the dust or remove dust balls with a tweezers. If you do have an optical mouse, it does not need cleaning; remember that it uses a laser, but it can be dangerous to shine that red light in your eyes. Keep optical mice away from small children for that reason.

By Carol Sabbar from the Kenosha News on 1-22-06