Frequently Asked Questions

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Every day Pamela receives numerous questions from troubled computer and iPad/iPhone users, by email and at various seminars and workshops. Her answers provide advice on a variety of subjects related to computer hardware and software and Apple iPad and iPhones. Listed below are the questions that Pamela feels will be helpful to most users, from beginners to the more advanced.

If you cannot find the answer to your question listed below, ask Pamela your questions here or click on the ‘Ask Pamela’ link on the sidebar menu below the category list. You can also leave Pamela a Message by clicking on the Blue Button at the bottom of the right hand sidebar. Pamela always answers promptly.


How do I Clean Up and Speed Up my Computer?

In order to keep your computer running smoothly, without slowing down or crashing, it helps to run “Computer Maintenance” weekly. These three tools will help to keep your computer trouble-free.

FIRST: DISK CLEANUP – Cleans up all the unwanted files.

SECOND: ERROR CHECKING – Searches the hard drive for problems, and fixes them.

THIRD: DEFRAGMENTATION – Allows Windows to access your files faster.Close all open programs before you begin

Cleans up all the unwanted files.

  • To run Disk Cleanup: Click Start then click on ‘Computer’
  • Right click the hard drive (C Drive)
  • On this screen, click on ‘Properties’
 Disk Cleanup Properties  
  • When ‘Properties’ opens:
  • Click on ‘Disk Cleanup.’Disk Cleanup Properties Box

Then the system will begin to calculate which files are available for deletion.

Disk Cleanup Properties Calculating


When the system has Calculated all the files, it will ask you to select which files you wish to delete. Put a check mark next to the files you wish to delete.Then Click OK.Computer TipI suggest keeping your ‘Office SetUp’ files and ‘System SetUp’ files.All the others can be checked for deletion.The system will then proceed to delete the selected files.Disk Cleanup Properties CalculatedDisk Cleanup Deleting Files  
SECOND: ERROR CHECKING – Searches the hard drive for problems and fixes them.To run Error Checking:

  • Click ‘Start’ then click ‘Computer’
  • Right Click the hard drive (C drive)
  • Click  ‘Properties’
  • Select the ’Tools’ tab
  • Click  ‘Check Now’

Properties Tools - Error Checking

  • PUT A CHECK MARK BOTH BOXES the FIRST time you run this feature.
  • Then check just the FIRST box the next few times you run ‘Error Checking’
  • I advise checking BOTH boxes at least every few months to keep the system clear.

Check Disk


Schedule Disk Check

Click – ‘Start’ then click “Schedule disk check.”  Close all open windows and reboot (restart) your computer to make this feature run.

  • When your computer restarts, you will see a pale blue or black screen with white text.  
  • Do not touch any keys, your mouse or use the computer until this process is complete. Just let it run its course. It could take a few hours the first time you run it.

When it has finished cleaning and fixing the problems, Windows will resume and your Desktop will appear as usual.

THIRD: DEFRAGMENTATION – Allows Windows to access your files faster.NOTE: If you have a ‘Screen Saver’ running, It is advisable to turn it OFF before you Defragment your system.To run Defragmentation:

  • Click ‘Start’ then click ‘Computer’
  • Right click the hard drive (C drive)
  • Click ‘Properties’
  • Select the ‘Tools’ tab.
  • Click ’Defragment Now’ even if you have a schedule in place or it advises you that you do not need to do it now.


Let the ‘Defragmenter’ run until finished. This procedure could take some time the first time you run it.

Perform the above three procedures at least twice a month to keep your computer running smoothly.




If I delete an icon from my desktop am I deleting the program?

Deleting an icon on your desktop or from your Quick Launch Bar does not delete the program; it just deletes the icon.

 If you want to delete a program you will need to do so from the Control Panel. 

 Windows XP:
1. Open the Control Panel and click on Add/Remove Programs.
2. Scroll down the list and click on the program that you wish to remove.
3. Select the option to uninstall the software.

 Windows Vista:

1. Open the Control Panel.
2. Click on Programs and Features.
3. Scroll down the list and click on the program that you wish to remove.
4. Select the option to uninstall the software.

Why do I get the error message that my email is over quota?

Your ISP ( Internet Service Provider ) only gives you a certain amount of space for email and when you exceed it, all your emails will bounce back and not be delivered. You may already have missed some important emails by having it over quota.

I suggest that you clear your Inbox and Deleted Folder at least once a week or maybe more often if you receive a great deal of email including spam.

How do I check my system for corrupt files?

Malicious software will often attempt to replace core system files with modified versions in an effort to take control of the system. The System File Checker can be used to verify the integrity of the Windows system files. If any of the files are found to be missing or corrupt, they will be replaced.

Follow these simple steps to fix your system:
Click on “Start”
Click on “All programs”
Click on “Accessories”
Right Click on “Command Prompt”
Choose “Run as Administrator”
Click “Yes” to the “User Account Control” The “DOS” box will appear.
Type sfc /scannow (including the space) after C:\Windows\system32>

System File Checker
The system will begin to check the files on your computer until it reads 100%

System Checking Files
The system found corrupt files and replaced them.

Corrupt Files Found

Why do I need to update my operating system on my iPad and iPhone?

You need to keep your iPad operating system up-to-date at all times. You will get a notification on “settings” when new updates are available; similar to the way you get update notifications on your computer, if you still use one.

If you do not download and install the updates you will not benefit from all the new and exciting features that it offers and your device may begin to malfunction.

For more Apple iPad and iPhone Tips and Tricks click here.

Why can’t I delete, send or receive any emails in Microsoft Outlook?

If you do not Compact Folders in Outlook regularly it could stop working effectively.

When you delete email messages they go into your ‘Deleted’ folder. After you empty your ‘Deleted’ folder, the folder is empty but the emails still have not been deleted from your computer system. They are in a hidden file that just keeps growing if you do not ‘Compact’ it regularly. This will eventually halt the activity in Microsoft Outlook and it also applies to Outlook Express.

From time to time, your system will ask you if you want to ‘Compact’ your emails, unless you have disabled this option. You should click ‘Yes’ or you can compact them manually.

In order to free the “backlog” and give you some space back on your hard drive, try the processes below. Make sure that you close all open programs and leave the computer to “compact” without touching it until it has finished. Any interruption could cause a malfunction.

In Microsoft Outlook 2007:

  1. Select File
  2. Data File Management.
  3. Select outlook.pst, and then click Settings.
  4. Click Compact Now.

In Microsoft Outlook 2010:

  1. Click the File tab
  2. Select Info in the left pane.
  3. Click Account Settings, and Account Settings again.
  4. In the Account Settings dialog box, click the Data Files tab.
  5. Select the file and click Settings
  6. Click Compact Now.

While Microsoft Outlook is compacting the folders, walk away from the computer and do not work on the computer until the process completes. After the compacting has finished, close Microsoft Outlook and restart the computer.



When I opened my computer my Home Page had changed. How do I change it back and why did it change?

Sometimes a file or “cookie” can get into your computer and change your Home Page to the one that it wants you to view but it is very simple to change back to the one you enjoy.
• Find the page that you want as your Home Page.
• Click on “Tools” then on “Internet Options.”
• Under “Home page” click on the first button “Use Current.”
• Then click “OK.” When you reopen your browser the page that you chose for your Home Page will appear.

I have just returned from my vacation and cannot connect to the internet. I have a wireless system and am using my new laptop. Can you help?

One of the most common causes for not being able to connect wirelessly to the internet is that the settings in Internet Explorer have changed or have been changed to “Dialup.” This happens when you have been using “dialup” in another location and have not changed it back when you returned to use “broadband.” It could also happen if malware has infiltrated your computer.

To check if this is the problem, follow the steps below:

  • With Internet Explorer open click on “Tools.” Choose “Internet Options” from the drop down box.
  • Click on the “Connections Tab” and make sure that “Never dial a connection” is checked.
  • Click OK.

When I am typing an email or a document in Word on my laptop my mouse jumps to another line and I find myself typing in the middle of another sentence. Why does this happen and can it be corrected?

When using a notebook with a touchpad and a mouse attached, your thumb may get too close to the sensitive touchpad. This will cause the insertion point to jump to another line.

To prevent this you can disable the touchpad in Control Panel > Mouse > Touchpad tab, and just use the mouse. If you prefer to use the touchpad, look for a setting on the Touchpad tab to make it less sensitive.

I needed to download Microsoft Silverlight so I installed it and clicked “run.” Each time I want to use a webpage that needs Silverlight to view the page I get another message asking me to download Silverlight again. Can you tell me why this is happening and how I can make this program active?

There is a very simple ‘fix” to this problem. When you download and installed Silverlight it went into your computer as an “Add On.” You just need to go into “Manage Add Ons” and “enable” Silverlight and you will be able to view all the webpages that need this software.

Follow the steps below to “enable” Silverlight:
• With Internet Explorer open click on “TOOLS” • Click on “Manage add-ons” • Scroll down until you find Silverlight then click to “enable” • Click Close.

I have just returned from our cottage where I was using a dialup service and now the dialup service keeps popping up each time I try to connect to the internet. How can I prevent this?

After using the dialup service you will need to change the setting in ‘Internet Options’ so that the dialup service is not operable.
Once Internet Explorer is open click on TOOLS > Internet Options > Connections.
Click into the Radio Button next to ‘Never dial a connection’ then click OK. This will turn off the dialup service.

I need to restore my computer to the Factory settings. I have the Recovery disk but it does not work when I put it in the CD tray. Can you let me know why the Recovery disk will not connect?

The Recovery disk will work if you place it in the CD tray while the computer is on and then RESTART the computer. When the computer restarts, the Recovery disk will begin the process to restore your computer to the factory settings. Make sure that you click to ‘boot from CD’ when the option appears. It disappears very quickly so you need to be quick to click on the option.

If I cannot close my computer using the Start Button or my computer freezes, is it OK to pull the plug?

No, it is not advisable to “pull the plug” if your computer freezes. The “shock” of pulling the plug on a working computer could cause the hard drive to crash or malfunction.

The safe way to close down the computer is to hold down the CTRL, ALT and DELETE keys simultaneously, which will bring up the Windows Task Manager. This “tool” allows you to close the troublesome program or programs and then continue working on your computer without closing down your system. It also has an option to ‘Disconnect’ or ‘Logoff’ under the ‘Users’ tab.