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Computeractive Issue 501 1023 May 2017

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Track Flights
Up to 10 people – wherever
they are page 35
d!” p9
“Put down that phone, Da
Best real-time app ever?? p42
Y 20
ISSUE 501 ❘ 10 – 23 MA
every is
Learn something new in
Download NEW p60
best-sellers to
enjoy on any device
Superb NEW tools that your PC has always needed
+ How to install it without problems p50
Master the new Settings app
Free up hard-drive space
Improved Start menu
Many more secret tools p50
Share between your PCs without wires p588
Make a...
Remote Control For
Using your phone or tablet
bl t p38
Group Editor Daniel Booth
Features Editor Mike Plant
Technical Editor Sherwin Coelho
Production Editor Graham Brown
Art Editor Katie Peat
Sorry, no technical or buying advice.
Advertisement sales & media pack
020 7907 6799
Group Ad Manager Charlotte Milligan
Deputy Advertising Manager Alexa Dracos
Subscriptions Rachel Hare
Marketing Production Manager Gemma Hills
For subscription enquiries ring 01795 592 926
Group Production Manager
Stephen Catherall
Production Controller
Maisie Harvey
Managing Director John Garewal
MD of Advertising Julian Lloyd-Evans
Commercial and Retail Director David Barker
CFO/COO Brett Reynolds
Chief Executive James Tye
Company Founder Felix Dennis
From the Editor
I’m not sure I would fit Microsoft’s description
of a ‘Creator’. Ever since my first badly drawn
Mother’s Day card at primary school, I’ve been
pretty useless at making things. So I fear that
the new Paint 3D app in the Creators Update
will be lost on me. But not so the other new
tools, all of which make Windows 10 much
easier to use. We explain what they do in our
Cover Feature (page 50). Taken together, I think
they amount to the best ever update to any
version of Windows. Think that’s overstating
it? Please let me know.
I’d like to thank everyone who emailed me to
say how much they enjoyed our special 500th
issue. I’m delighted you had as much fun
reading it as we had putting it together.
Daniel Booth
• Due to reader demand we’ve published a
new book – The Complete Guide to Kodi. It’s
on sale on Amazon at
Companies can obtain a licence to use approved
quotations from articles, the Computeractive
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Please contact Anj Dosaj-Halai for more
information and rates: 020 7907 6132
Requests to use quotations from articles will
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requests to:
Computeractive is available for international
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This publication may not be resold or otherwise
distributed, whether at, below or above face
value. Nor can this publication be advertised for
sale, transfer or distribution.
Material may not be reproduced in any form
without the written consent of the publisher.
Please address such requests to John Garewal,
Dennis Publishing, 30 Cleveland Street,
London W1T 4JD
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.
Computeractive is published
fortnightly by Dennis Publishing
Ltd, 30 Cleveland Street, London W1T 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-Dec 2016, 83,856
copies per issue.
© Copyright Dennis Publishing Limited
Apps available in
the new NHS digital
library - p7
3 years
How long a spyware app
remained on Google’s
Play store - p16
Printed in the UK
Old price of Magix
Music Maker, now
free - p40
We use snipcas to turn long URLs that
are hard to type into ones that are
short and simple. They aren’t websites
themselves, which means they won’t
be recognised if you type them into
Google. Instead, you need to type them
into your browser address bar, then
press Enter. Doing this will take you to
the correct website.
10 – 23 May 2017 3
In this issue…
Windows 10
Creators Update
All you need to know about installing,
fixing and using the new tools in the
best ever Windows update
Help with Hobbies
57 Coin
Share anything wirelessly
between your PCs
Use your hardware with any PC
across your network
Where to find free
audiobooks online
Get classics and bestsellers without
10 – 23 May 2017 • Issue 501
Windows 10
P50 RE
Superb NEW tools that your PC has always needed
paying a thing
+ How to install it without problems p50
Share hardware
across your
for the hear
and now
In every issue…
6 News
11 Question of
the Fortnight
Can Google predict the
General Election result?
33 Competition
Win Pinnacle Studio 20
Ultimate software
49 What’s All the Fuss
About? Google AutoDraw
12 Letters
64 Problems Solved
14 Consumeractive
70 Reader Support
Your tech problems fixed
16 Protect Your Tech
18 Best Free Software
Thunderbird 52
30 Buy It!
4 10 – 23 May 2017
73 Jargon Buster
74 The Final Straw
Ken Rigsby feels out of
touch with mobile not-spots
See page 62
for our special
subs offer
Box Cube Panther i5
20 Box Cube Panther i5
Box’s PC squares up to the best
21 Dell Vostro 5468
Heavy laptop that’s light on appeal
22 Iiyama ProLite XUB2792
A PC monitor that’s off-colour
23 Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 9.7
Samsung’s high-price tablet aims to
bite into Apple’s core market
24 Huawei P10
Four-star, two-camera phone
Motorola Moto G5 Plus
Phone provides pictures of health
Tab S3 9.7
GigaGate p26
25 Google Home
Google’s smarter speaker is all ears
26 Devolo GigaGate
Mesh router covers all bases
28 Tado Radiator Thermostat
Control your heating by degrees
29 Brother MFC-J5730DW
Decent MFP printer – shame about
the scanner
Workshops & Tips
14 pages of brilliant workshops and expert tips
35 Share your PC screen
with multiple people
42 Track UK flights from
your iPad
38 Control Kodi from
your tablet
43 Readers’ Tips
Give your right-click menu
more options
40 Make your own music
for free
44 Phone and Tablet Tips
Digitise photos quicker
46 Make Windows Better
Schedule a PC shutdown
47 Make Office Better
Make documents easier to navigate
48 Secret Tips For… PDFs
10 – 23 May 2017 5
The top stories in the world of technology
Mark your calendar: W10
updates to come twice a year
indows 10 users can look
forward to two major
updates a year after Microsoft
announced a ‘release schedule’
for the operating system (OS).
In a blog post (www.snipca.
com/24207) the company said
updates will be released every
March and September. It will
support each update with
security fixes and new tools
for 18 months, which means
that the November Update,
released in late 2015, will be
‘retired’ in October this year.
However, it’s not known
when this new schedule will
begin. Microsoft said the next
update, codenamed Redstone
3, is “targeted” for September,
but that might not mean it’s
released in that month.
The new policy marks a big
change to Microsoft’s previous
system of releasing major
updates as and when they
were ready. The company’s
aim is to give users and IT
departments a more
“predictable” schedule, and to
reinforce the concept of
Windows 10 as the final
numbered version of
Windows. It wants the OS to
be seen as an ongoing service,
rather than as a predecessor
to Windows 11.
What’s in Redstone 3?
Although Microsoft has yet to
state a concept for Redstone 3,
the update is likely to see a
Windows 10 redesign. Since
November last year it has been
working on Project Neon, a
new ‘design language’ adding
transparent boxes and subtle
blurring to the OS (see
‘What’s All the Fuss About?’,
Issue 500).
Redstone 3 may also include
Power Throttling, which cuts
the amount of power used by
programs and apps running in
the background. This could
help a laptop’s battery last
longer when you use multiple
programs at the same time.
Writing in Microsoft’s blog
(, Bill
You can now sign into Windows
and Office without a password
using Microsoft’s new
Authenticator app, available
for Android and iOS (but not
Windows Phone).
Microsoft says this is more
secure than typing a password,
and solves the problem of
your accounts.
175 words When you next try to log into
having to remember it every
time you sign in.
your account, enter your login
To use the Authenticator app, name, then check your phone
which is free, you’ll first need
for a text message asking
to install it on your phone (via
you to ‘approve’ or ‘deny’ the
Microsoft’s site: www.snipca.
attempt. Tap ‘approve’
com/24214), then sign into
to sign in.
You’ll like this…
A mother in the US photocopies her iPad
screen for recipes (
6 10 - 23 May 2017
Announcing this change,
Microsoft said Windows
users want “predictability
and simplicity”. True. But
they also want updates with
great tools to justify the
hassle of installing them. The
danger is that by sticking to a
deadline, Microsoft is forced
to release updates that are
not ready. This would lead to
‘update fatigue’, as frustrated
users try to postpone them.
Microsoft must try to maintain
the excellent standard it has
set with the Creators Update.
Karagounis, Director of
Program Management, said
that Power Throttling –
already available to Windows
Insiders (https://insider. – can reduce
processor use by 11 per cent.
Karagounis said it uses a
“sophisticated detection
system” that works out which
programs are “important to
you” so it can reduce the
power of those that aren’t.
• November Update (version
1511) 10 November, 2015
• Anniversary Update
(version 1607):
2 August, 2016
Creators Update (version
1703): 5 April, 2017
…but not this
Ransomware attacks grew by 50 per cent
in 2016 (
NHS launches health apps site,
but only one is approved
The NHS has finally launched
its much-delayed Digital Apps
Library, containing “digital
tools” to help patients look
after their health.
But it has approved only one
of the 25 apps available, a tool
for people with the lung
condition COPD (chronic
obstructive pulmonary
disease). On the Library’s
home page (https://apps.beta., the myCOPD app,
which costs £20, is marked
with a blue tick alongside the
words ‘NHS Approved’ (see
screenshot). Such apps have
met the NHS’s “quality
standards for clinical
effectiveness, safety, usability
and accessibility”.
Two other apps are marked
as being “tested” by the NHS.
These are Cove, which lets you
add music to create a “mood
journal”, and Chill Panda,
which suggests tasks to help
you relax.
However, despite no official
stamp of approval, the NHS
says that the remaining apps
have “been through an
assessment” and are “safe to
These include NHS
Smokefree, a 28-day plan
to quit smoking; ‘BMI
calculator’, which works out
your body-mass index; and
SilverCloud, an online course
to help you manage stress
and depression.
A disclaimer at the bottom
of the website states that the
apps “are not intended to be a
substitute for a consultation
with a healthcare professional”.
The Library is part of the
NHS’s “vision to transform the
way people experience” the
service (read its full statement
Previous attempts by the
NHS to offer apps have been
beset by privacy problems. In
September 2015, a study from
researchers at Imperial College
London found that of 70 apps
in NHS Choices’ ‘Health Apps
Library’, 23 sent personal
information over the web
without encrypting it.
The NHS closed the library a
month later, saying it would
learn lessons when developing
a new system for providing
apps. The project was first
proposed back in 2013.
Is your Virgin router a public hotspot?
Virgin is turning customers’
home routers into public
Wi-Fi hotspots, promising that
it won’t slow broadband
speeds and will be entirely
safe. But you can opt out if
you want (see box below).
1 Sign into your My
Virgin Media account at
2 Select My Profile at the
top of the page
3 Scroll down and select
‘Opt out of Virgin Media
4 Click Confirm
For now Virgin is turning
only the SuperHub v3 routers
(pictured) into hotspots, but is
planning to add older models
by the end of the year.
The company has written to
affected customers reassuring
them that “the broadband you
pay for stays exclusively yours,
and remains just as secure”.
In an FAQ (www.snipca.
com/24186) Virgin says that its
public Wi-Fi is secure because
it “uses a separate connection
on your Hub to access the
internet than the one used by
your home broadband
network”. According to Virgin,
this means that someone
using its public Wi-Fi won’t be
able to see anything on a
customer’s home network.
Ofcom has
unveiled plans
to make it more
straightforward for rivall
companies to access BT’s
broadband infrastructure,
which is run by Openreach.
It says that internet service
providers such as Sky,
Vodafone and TalkTalk must
be allowed to lay fibre-optic
cables using Openreach’s
tunnels and poles “as easily
as BT” does. It’s part of a
long-term aim to increase
broadband competition in
the UK.
Facebook has been accused
of hypocrisy for cracking
down on ‘fake’ news while
continuing to show adverts
with misleading headlines,
including one that claimed
the Queen had died. A Press
Association investigation
found several hoax ads that
promised sensationalised
gossip about celebrities. One
said that Hugh Laurie had
committed suicide, while
another claimed Alan Sugar
was “out of control”.
Virgin also says that it has
increased how much
bandwidth its routers
can handle to ensure that
customers’ speeds aren’t
The service is similar to
BT’s FON WiFi (www.snipca.
com/24188), which uses
customers’ home routers to
provide around 5 million
hotspots in the UK.
Researchers at the University
of Pennsylvania are using
machine learning in an
effort to make life easier for
dementia patients. They’ve
used it to analyse brain
signals as part of research
showing that electrical
stimulation in the brain helps
boost memory. Scientists
hope that it could also help
epileptics, who can suffer
memory problems due to
frequent seizures.
10 – 23 May 2017 7
The European Court of
Justice has ruled that it’s
illegal to sell set-top boxes
specifically built to make
it easy to watch paid-for
films and TV for free. It
effectively bans the sale of
so-called Kodi boxes, which
are devices containing the
controversial TV-streaming
software. The Court made its
decision in a case between
a seller of TV boxes and an
anti-piracy group both from
the Netherlands.
President Trump may ban
passengers flying from the
UK taking laptops, ebook
readers and tablets as hand
luggage. He is reportedly
considering extending the
ban (currently affecting
Middle East countries) to
Europe, forcing passengers
to stow large electronic
devices in the hold. The
ban came amid fears that
terrorists had created a bomb
that could be hidden in a tablet.
No Webroot, Windows files
are not malware!
Webroot has
provided a
temporary fix
for a problem
that was causing
its antivirus
software to classify
Windows as
malware, causing
chaos for millions
of PC users and
For two hours on
24 April it wrongly
identified essential
Windows files as
Trojans, making it impossible
for many people to use their
It also flagged up some
genuine websites, including
Facebook, as containing
scams. Overall, the error led
to one of the biggest ever cases
of antivirus software reporting
false positives.
The problem was caused by
a faulty update to Webroot’s
database of malware signatures,
which are algorithms that
identify viruses.
Some mistakes are
forgivable. This one isn’t.
We recommend that all
Webroot users consider
switching to another
antivirus, preferably one
that performed well in our
latest antivirus test (see our
Cover Feature in Issue 493).
Norton and Avast scored
highly, but Kaspersky came
top for the eighth test running
(see our exclusive Reader
Offer on page 68).
Angry Webroot users
bombarded the company with
complaints. A thread about
the flaw on the company’s
forums (
24235) had reached 28 pages
within three days.
The company responded by
suggesting an 11-step solution
( that
restores the “quarantined
files”. It’s also been reported
that users can fix the problem
by uninstalling Webroot,
restoring the affected files
from a backup drive, then
reinstalling the program.
Webroot, which claims to
have 30 million customers,
tried to limit the damage to
its reputation by stressing
that the flaw had not been
caused by a hack.
It apologised for the
mistake, promising to conduct
“a thorough technical review
to ensure we have a complete
understanding of the root
UK loses £1.5bn tax from Amazon & eBay
British jobs are at risk due to
mass VAT fraud from foreign
sellers on Amazon and eBay,
MPs have said. Labour MP
Meg Hillier, the chair of the
public accounts committee,
called for HMRC to “finally
step up and act to confront
this growing problem”.
Her comments followed a
report from the National Audit
Office (NAO), Parliament’s
spending watchdog, thatt
claims Britain lost up to
£1.5bn last year in
unpaid VAT from
products sold on
the two sites.
Retailers must charge
20 per cent VAT on sold
8 10 - 23 May 2017
goods and hand the cash to
the Government. But the NAO
said that many aren’t doing
this due to “fraud or error”.
Most of the sellers are based
in China, the NAO said. They
export goods to the UK,
storing them in giant
‘fulfilment’ warehouses, such
as those owned by Amazon.
This means they can post
them quickly
ly to
o buye
But it also allows dodgy
traders to avoid tax and sell
items so cheap that UK
retailers can’t compete.
Meg Hillier said: “Overseas
sellers who avoid VAT undercut
the prices charged by small,
law-abiding British businesses,
hitting British jobs”.
Conservative MP Charlie
Elphicke, also on the public
ts com
committee, said:
“Wee ca
nn allow the
kes of A
Amazon and
ay to wr
wriggle off
the ho
th ssites say that
ny for
foreign sellers
n’t re
realise they have
to p
ay VAT. They also
Some people just have
too much money. There’s
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos,
for example, who’s worth
£78bn. His company has
launched the Echo Look,
a camera that sits in your
bedroom taking selfie
photos of your outfits and
gives you fashion advice.
If you also have too much
money, buy it for $200.
Otherwise, get a £15 fulllength mirror from Argos.
claim it would be impossible
to check whether traders have
paid the correct amount of tax.
Tour new Google Earth in company
of David Attenborough
Wildlife tours featuring videos
presented by Sir David
Attenborough are among the
spectacular features in the
new version of Google Earth.
They appear in the new
Voyager section of Google
Earth, which contains dozens
of tours (see box below) that
zoom around the planet and
include videos (from the BBC
among others) and location
For example, the ‘World’s
Most Dramatic Mountains’
tour starts at the Matterhorn
• Big Five Beasts of Africa
• Following Charles Dickens
• Grand Canyon
• Machu Picchu
• World’s Most Dramatic
in the Alps, finishes at Mount
Everest (pictured right), and in
between visits peaks in Peru,
South Africa and Norway.
Attenborough’s tours include
footage of birds of paradise
and Africa’s ‘big five beasts’.
To access the Voyager
section visit
earth, click the Launch Google
Earth button, then click the
steering-wheel icon in the
left-hand menu (see
screenshot above).
Also new is the ‘I’m feeling
lucky’ option, similar to that
in Google Search, which takes
you to a random destination
– simply click the dice icon
in the menu.
Google has also expanded
3D views to cover the whole
planet, not just certain
buildings as before. At any
location click the bottomright 3D button. To zoom
into your home, click the
magnifying glass and enter
your postcode.
The new Google Earth is
the first that exists entirely in
your browser – only Chrome
for now – rather than as a
downloadable program.
There’s also an Android app
with an iOS version coming
later this year.
For more information read
Google’s blog: www.snipca.
Kids calling parents: stop using phones!
Parents are using mobile
phones so much that it’s
disrupting family life,
according to a survey of 2,000
11 to 18-year-olds.
More than a third of
children said they had asked
their parents to stop checking
their phones, and a fifth
blamed phones for preventing
family members from enjoying
each other’s company. Nearly
half of children said their
parents ignored their request
to put down their phones.
The research, carried out by
Digital Awareness UK (DAUK,
com) and the Headmasters’
and Headmistresses’
Conference (HMC), will
surprise those who think that
children are more addicted to
phones than adults.
Meal times are a particular
source of conflict. Over 80 per
cent of children said phones
shouldn’t be used while the
family is eating. But parents
don’t seem to realise the harm
they could be doing. In a
separate survey of 3,000
parents, only 10 per cent
said they were concerned
by the impact of phone use
on family life.
Parents also seem
untroubled about their
children not being able to
sleep as a result of staring at a
screen, with just 10 per cent
citing it as a problem. This
contrasted starkly with
children, 47 per cent of whom
said they were worried about
sleep deprivation.
It follows research last year
by DAUK and HMC that
showed almost half of all
secondary-school pupils
checked their phones after
going to bed.
Nearly half of British
companies were attacked
by hackers in the past year,
a Government report has
found. The ‘Cyber security
breaches survey’, which
was completed by 1,500
businesses, indicated that
46 per cent had detected
an attack. Most of the
security breaches were the
result of staff being tricked
into opening an email that
contained malware, or
clicking a link to a dangerous
website. The Government
said that a “sizeable
proportion” of businesses
still lack “basic protections”.
Google is planning to build an
advert blocker into Chrome,
according to reports. It would
mean users of the browser
could block online adverts
without installing an add-on,
such as the popular Adblock
Plus. Google makes most of
its money from advertising,
around £60bn in 2016, but
wants to stop people using
ad-blockers made by other
companies. Currently Opera
is the only major browser
with a built-in ad-blocker
Hackers and scammers use
Skype to communicate more
than any other messaging
service, new research shows.
A study by data analysts
Flashpoint monitored how
cybercriminals talked to
each other on underground
internet forums. They said
that the convenience of
Skype made it the most
popular “by far”, even though
it lacks the end-to-end
encryption (E2EE) offered by
services such as WhatsApp.
10 – 23 May 2017 9
Jane Hoskyn puts
t th
the boot into tech villains, jargon-spouting companies
and software stuffed with junk
Junk offender: FileZilla
Remember FTP? File Transfer
Protocol used to be one of the
few ways to send someone a
huge file such as a video or ZIP. Free
programs like FileZilla ( made FTP technology
available to everyday users.
Still does, in fact. The likes of Dropbox
and Google Drive have made it easier and
arguably safer to share massive files, but
FTP still has its fans – and FileZilla
continues to be updated. Version 3.25 –
out in March – ditches support for Windows
Vista and features “major refactoring of
the FileZilla internals” (a phrase I really
should have saved for the box below). If
you’re tantalised by this jargon or tempted
to install FileZilla for old times’ sake, be
warned. There’s junk in them thar zills.
Don’t take my word for it, take FileZilla’s.
In what may be a first, FileZilla actually
comes with a junk warning. “This
installer may include bundled offers” says
the small print on the download page. It’s
a bit like a burglar wearing a badge saying
‘I may break into your house’. Helpful,
but weird. FileZilla acknowledges that
bundling junk is bad – so why do it?
It’s down to a division of labour.
FileZilla started life in 2001 as a students’
computer-science project, but as it grew
its makers handed it to the open-source
community for maintenance and
distribution. Then the PUPs began. For
years, open-source hosting site SourceForge
bundled FileZilla’s installer with browser
hijackers and spyware. FileZilla now
hosts the installer itself, but it still
contains PUPs, currently Ad-Aware Web
Companion Pro, which itself is bundled
with a Yahoo toolbar (see screenshot). It’s
pre-selected, and tries to trick users by
adding a pre-emptive telling off (‘No,
FileZilla’s installer contains Web Companion
Pro - a nasty PUP with the Yahoo toolbar
don’t protect me’). I closed the installer
and managed to escape infection.
FileZilla is free and safe, but it’s being
wrapped in a PUP-packed installer by
some kind of cowboy software contractor.
I’m always sad to see this happen to
open-source programs. The very
existence of volunteer-run projects like
Firefox, VLC and Wikipedia warms my
cockles. They have to make money
somehow, so adverts and requests for
donations are justified – but dangerous
adware never is.
What are they
talking about?
Jane’s villain of the fortnight
What they say
What’s AVG up to now? Recently, it
tried to trick reader Walter Blanchard
out of £64.99 to upgrade its free
program, AVG Internet Security (see
Named & Shamed, Issue 492). Now,
these upgrade traps are turning users
into bait for hackers.
Reader John Wilson – a loyal AVG
user of many years – wrote to us to say
he turned down a ‘Free Update’ pop-up
from AVG, suspecting it was just a free
trial. Then the pop-ups took a
frightening turn. “I was informed I was
no longer covered. I am very worried
that I could be attacked and my
computer wrecked. This is blackmail!”
Fortunately, it’s not and John doesn’t
have to pay anything to stay safe. But
Elon Musk (
“There are a bunch of
concepts in your head
that your brain has to try
to compress into this
incredibly low data rate
called speech. If we can effectively
merge with AI by improving the neural
link between your cortex and the digital
extension of yourself… then effectively
you become an AI human symbiote.”
What they mean
Elon wants to merge your brain with
a computer. He may speak nonsense
but the PayPal founder is a self-made
billionaire, so he can say what he wants.
10 10 – 23 May 2017
AVG has cried ‘Upgrade!’ so many
times that users are now wary of
clicking Update – and that’s really
dangerous. Updates are free and
essential. Upgrades are neither free
nor essential.
AVG’s confusing pop-ups earn
them lots of money from accidental
upgrades. We can almost understand
the business sense in that. But tricking
people into switching off their AV is
Want to nominate a villain of the fortnight?
Email us at
of the
Can Google predict the
General Election result?
Online searches could be better than polls at forecasting votes
t’s been hard to take polls
seriously since they got the
2015 General Election and the
EU Referendum so badly
wrong. This scepticism was
reinforced on the first weekend
after Theresa May’s surprise
decision to call a snap election,
when the Conservatives’ lead
over Labour differed greatly in
two polls: ComRes put it at 25
per cent, while Survation
placed it at 11. Such
discrepancies have discredited
opinion polls. Many analysts
now think that more accurate
predictions can be made by
looking at what people search
for on Google.
The theory is that people are
more likely to search for their
preferred party or candidate.
It was put to the test in 2015
when the Google News Labs
mirrors the size of his victory
in Electoral College votes. This
contrasts with polls on the day
of the vote, which were still
predicting a Clinton victory.
So who will win on 8 June?
For early insights, we headed
Forty per cent of searches were
about Labour, ahead of the Lib
Dems and Conservatives
team, working with Dr
Alasdair Rae from the
University of Sheffield,
forecast a victory for David
Cameron. Their prediction
was based on how often the
party leaders had been
searched for in the preceding
12 months.
The pattern is the same in
the US. It’s not just that more
people searched for Donald
Trump than Hillary Clinton
– that could have been
expected, given the provocative
nature of Trump’s campaign.
What’s particularly revealing
is that the size of Trump’s lead
in searches almost exactly
to Google’s ‘UK election 2017’
site (,
which shows search trends
related to the forthcoming
vote. And it gave us a surprise.
When we visited in late April
the homepage showed that
40 per cent of searches for
political parties were about
Labour, ahead of the Liberal
Democrats on 25 and the
Conservatives on 14. Could
this be a sign that the polls are
underestimating support for
To dig deeper we clicked the
Explore button (see screenshot),
which shows what people
were searching for in relation
to each party. The fastest rising
Labour search query was its
pledge to introduce four new
bank holidays, suggesting it
could be a vote winner for
Jeremy Corbyn.
But it’s more negative for
Labour back on the site’s
homepage, where Google
shows the five most asked
questions for all parties. For
Labour this included ‘Can
Labour win?’, ‘Who is the
Labour leader?’ and ‘How
many seats will Labour lose?’.
Questions about the
Conservatives and Liberal
Democrats were more
positive, both including ‘How
do I join the party?’. But we
found bad news for both in
the Explore section, which
showed that people were
searching about Chancellor
Philip Hammond’s supposed
‘tax bombshell’, and Lib Dem
leader Tim Farron suspending
its Bradford East candidate,
David Ward, for alleged
anti-semitic comments. UKIP
will be happier that one of its
policies, a ban on burqas, was
a popular search term.
North of the border, the SNP
• Some analysts claim that
Google searches indicate
election results more
accurately than polls
• In 2015, a team from
Google predicted David
Cameron would win, based
on how many times he was
searched for online
• Google has launched a
site showing search trends
relating to the forthcoming
General Election
dominates searches, with 50
per cent. Across the UK one of
the most popular SNP-related
questions was ‘Who can vote
SNP?’, presumably asked by
voters outside Scotland.
So where does that leave us?
None the wiser, probably,
without much deeper analysis
of Google’s search data. Like
Peter Snow’s famous
swingometer, finding out
what voters are searching for
is just a bit of fun. But if
there’s a shock Labour
landslide, remember where
you read it first.
10 – 23 May 2017 11
Tech since 1998:
good news and bad news
Following your request for readers’
memories of computing, I’d like to reflect
on its impact in the past 20 years. In
1998, as an early adopter for my work’s
new email rollout, I was glad to say
goodbye to the office memorandum.
Almost 20 years later, flexible, direct and
instant email has squarely taken over
most people’s working lives. This is to
the point where you could easily spend
all day simply answering emails without
actually doing much else.
In 1998, the town in which I then
worked was in the midst of a shoppingled, post-recession building spree, both
in the centre and its fringes. Meanwhile,
at home in 1998, for the first time, the
internet was beginning to make its mark.
Twenty years later, you can’t help
marvelling at the social changes the
computer and internet have brought us.
How quick, for example, it is to download
music. But the result has not been good
for that same town centre. There’s not
one music shop where once there were
several. As many as one in five units lie
empty. That 1998 shopping development
is now vacant except for one and even the
large stores have fled.
It would be too simplistic to blame the
computer, but there’s no doubt that it has
played a major role. And is all this tech
wizardry actually making life easier?
Why do most of us work even harder
than in the days of the simple office memo?
Peter Davies
Does the first iPhone ring
any bells?
The nostalgic feel of Issue 500 prompted
me to look back at my pristine copy of
Issue 1, which has been carefully kept in
the attic. I found a fantastic gem on page
10 – the iPhone. But not Apple’s iPhone.
Instead it was made by a company I’d
never heard of, called MediaScope. Their
device was a landline-type phone with
a screen and phy
physical keyboard.
In y
your report on it
you seemed to be
impressed that it
could browse the web,
and th
that it “even lets
u sa
save up to 40 of your
urit websites”. Do
12 10 - 23 Ma
May 2017
Tell us what’s on your mind
Twitter: @ComputerActive
you have any more information on this
prescient device?
Ian Richmond
save them. If we don’t, then we shouldn’t
moan about their loss afterwards.
Edward Hamilton
CA says Well spotted Ian. If ever a
device was ahead of its time, it was the
original iPhone, which was actually
made by US company InfoGear, and sold
in the UK by MediaScope. It received
positive reviews, and won awards for
innovation, but you couldn’t browse the
web and make calls at the same time. It
was also very slow, and had a puny 1MB
of memory. Cisco bought InfoGear in
2000, and discontinued the iPhone a
year later. In January 2007, when Apple
launched its own iPhone, Cisco threatened
to sue over the name. But the two
companies negotiated a deal that gave
Apple ownership of the name. Read more
on Wikipedia:
Kodi crackdown is not
BBC’s fault
What’s wrong with
high-street chemists?
I was saddened to read about the dodgy
online pharmacies that are misselling
drugs to people (News, Issue 500, page
9). It was worrying to read about their
carelessness, but I was more upset
that people feel the need to resort to
pharmacies on the web. It made me
wonder what’s wrong with simply going
to the local chemist, which is the kind
of service that, like the Post Office and
newsagents, should be the backbone of a
local community.
With these services rapidly vanishing
from our high streets, the message is
clear: we need to use them in order to
I’m not sure why Dean Stockton is
blaming the BBC for the crackdown on
Kodi boxes (Letters, Issue 500). Kodi’s
biggest enemy isn’t the Beeb, but payper-view broadcasters like Sky and BT,
and mega-rich sporting organisations like
the Premier League. They stand to lose
millions – even billions – so they’re the
ones driving the backlash.
But as you demonstrated in Issue 498’s
Cover Feature, there’s much more to Kodi
than streaming dodgy content. That said,
I’m sure there will always be add-ons that
let people bend and break the law. Not
even the Premier League’s lawyers can
un-invent technology.
Carl Moore
Does Brexit mean Wrexham?
With reference to your article on the new
‘Watch, Attend & Spell’ subtitling system
(‘What’s all the Fuss About?’, Issue 499),
and the errors made by the existing
Let older people design phones
Gordon Hart’s letter in Issue 499
– ‘What’s needed (and not) in a
phone’ – certainly struck a chord with
me, being a very technically capable
pensioner with
th a husband, pa
parents and
in-laws who, shall
hall we say, are
very much less so.
But I think I know what the
bile phones are
problem is. Mobile
designed by young
ave no
people who have
experience of dealing
ly, or what
with the elderly,
the physical consequences of ageing
are. What young people think it’s like
to age and what they assume will be of
use to older people is far removed from
the actuality. E
Even Doro, who market
phones for older people, don’t get it
right, including stuff older people
won’t need but o
omitting high-contrast
screens, large fon
fonts and loud ringtones.
So manufactu
manufacturers – get radical and
involve older people in
phone design.
A Wilkinson
system, you may like the attached mistake
– “Brexit means Wrexham” – which I
photographed from The Andrew Marr
Show last year (see image below left).
Allan Hailstone
Loyal moaners will drive up
prices for all
People who complain about having to pay
higher broadband prices because they are
‘loyal’ are missing the wider point (News,
Issue 500, page 7). All businesses need
to attract new customers, and therefore
offer very attractive introductory deals.
Once this period ends, the ‘normal’ price
kicks in. The more new customers a
business gets, the lower it can keep prices
overall, including for existing customers.
It’s absurd to say, as Citizens Advice
does, that customers are being penalised
for loyalty. They are simply being asked to
pay the standard rate, without the
sweetener of a beginner’s discount. If you
ban that, then you’re forcing companies
to completely rework their business
model. This will lead to higher prices for
all customers – old and new.
One last thing: all ‘loyal’ customers
should remember that they were new
once, and would have received a discount
for the first few months. They can’t
expect that price to continue forever that’s what makes it a discount after all!
Jeffrey Gallagher
Don’t abandon Vista users
I am emailing you to inform you of my
great disappointment experienced after
reading the ‘Good Riddance to Vista, say
readers’ article in Issue 499 (page 8).
While I appreciate that Windows Vista
has never been that popular an operating
system compared with XP and 7, it has
served many of us perfectly well since its
introduction. It always seemed to me that
7 was more of an update to Vista (a bit
like Windows 10 now updates to different
builds) rather than an entirely new system.
We have four Vista notebooks that are
performing as well as they’ve ever done.
Now, though – as Computeractive has
pointed out – they are unsafe and
abandoned by Microsoft. Unfortunately,
Windows 7 PCs are no longer available to
buy and as good as our notebooks are, it
would probably not be sensible to
Sorry Ken, 2017’s tech is much
better than 1998’s
Ken Rigsby’s Final
Straw columns have
me laughing and ranting in
equal measure. He is
certainly thought-provoking.
But I think he was
protesting too much in Issue
500’s column, where he
named five things that are
worse in 2017 than in 1998,
when Computeractive launched.
In fact, I think all five things he
nominated are areas where technology
has actually improved. Let’s start
with knobs, as Ken did. He lamented
the passing of twiddly knobs for
changing settings on monitors. But to
my eyes they always looked ugly. Much
better to have onscreen icons that do
the same job.
Next up, printers. Now Ken may have
a point that replacing cartridges is
expensive, but in general printers are
immeasurably better than they were. I
had one in my home in the late
Nineties and it was almost as large as a
bin lorry, and twice as noisy.
Ken also moans that you can’t repair
modern devices like phone and tablets.
Well, how often do they
actually need repairing?
Clumsy folks may look at
their cracked screen and
disagree, but they really need
to treat their devices more
As for his complaint that
there’s nothing available to
watch online, I have two
words for him: ‘You’ and ‘Tube’. Or
maybe ‘Net’ and ‘Flix’ (or is that one
word?). Ken’s implied solution that we
should be able to download whatever
we want, regardless of copyright law,
would lead to the death of the creative
And that just leaves social media,
which I fear Ken completely
misunderstands. Contrary to received
wisdom, the popularity of Facebook
and Twitter means that people actually
meet in the flesh more often because
they have more ways of setting up
these meetings.
So Ken, leave the 20th century
behind, and join the rest of us here in
the 21st!
Frances Holland
The Star Letter writer wins a Computeractive mug!
upgrade to Windows 7. Windows 10 is
definitely not a viable option.
As I can’t be the only reader finding
themselves in this situation, I am
contacting you to ask that you don’t
abandon us – or at least not yet! For the
magazine to demonstrate such care and
consideration would be absolutely
wonderful and really, really helpful.
Bryan Webb
CA says We promise not to leave Vista
users high and dry, and will continue to
provide advice, particularly on ways to
use it safely now that Microsoft has
ended support. That said, Windows 7 is
the oldest operating system we can
responsibly encourage readers to use.
Microsoft has promised to support it
until 2020 (see the company’s Windows
‘lifecycle’ at
Sorry Facebook,
we don’t love you
Tech companies are full of themselves,
aren’t they? I refer to Facebook’s Justin
Osofsky, who you quote as saying that
“we’ll continue to work hard to live up to
the high standards people rightly expect
of Facebook”. He’s responding to the
company’s seeming inability to remove
obscene content when told about it
(News, Issue 500, page 6). I hate to break
this to Mr Osofsky, but people don’t
hold Facebook in high regard as they
do other institutions, like the BBC, the
monarchy or the NHS. People simply use
it as a way to share photos, write drivel
and ‘like’ anything. If Facebook went
bust overnight, nobody would mourn it.
Another service would spring up, and
people would simply start using that.
Jeremy Crowther
10 - 23 May 2017 13
Is copper wiring
slowing my
I have BT Infinity broadband,
which is meant to give me up to
38Mbps. However, despite BT
saying I can get the full speed, the most I
can get is around 4Mbps. Is it the old
copper wire to my property that’s the
problem? What do you suggest I do?
Godfrey Swan
It’s hard for us to know what’s
causing Godfrey’s broadband
problems, but it could be the
copper wiring. Ofcom told us that he
should contact BT so that Openreach,
which is responsible for the UK’s
broadband network, can test his lines. It
may be able to replace the copper wires if
they turn out to be faulty, but there’s a
risk he’ll be charged for the work so he
needs to check this beforehand.
If Godfrey’s not happy with how BT
handles his complaint, he should ask the
company for a deadlock letter, which will
explain what it has done to try to fix
the problem. Armed with this Godfrey
can escalate his complaint to the
Communications Ombudsman for
review (
Another cause of Godfrey’s problems
could be electrical interference
from other devices in his
home, but BT isn’t legally
required to fix this.
Does my warranty apply to a
replacement laptop?
If I get a replacement laptop,
how long should it last?
Amazon has refused to help
with a faulty laptop it replaced ‘as new’
11 months ago, saying that it’s out of
warranty. I believe that because it was
a new replacement I should still have
a 12-month warranty and six years
protection under the Consumer Rights
Act (CRA). Am I correct?
John Watch
John’s fully entitled to seek
redress under the CRA, but
he’s not entirely correct about
what his rights are. Warranties don’t
start anew with a repair or replacement,
unless the manufacturer or retailer
agreed this. If they did, customers could
continuously use their warranties before
they ran out to replace their devices,
never again having to buy a new one.
However, he’s right to say that he has
six years protection under the CRA
(five years in Scotland). This period
began with his original purchase, so
he has around five years left.
It’s important to remember that the
six-year rule doesn’t mean you’re
automatically entitled to a refund
during this period, even for items that
stop working. This is because the law
works on the principle of how long
goods are ‘reasonably expected’ to last.
For example, the manufacturer of the
hard drive in the laptop may only
guarantee a life span of three years.
In such cases, customers wouldn’t have
a case for a refund.
Another aspect to factor in is the ‘as
new’ wording. This indicates that the
laptop wasn’t new but refurbished.
While it still has to be ‘fit for purpose’,
and have a life span at least as long as
the time left for the faulty product, it
won’t be expected to last as long as a
brand new laptop. You should bear this
in mind when browsing for items in
Amazon’s Certified Refurbished section
(, which sells
goods “that are as good as new, with
no visible cosmetic
imperfections when
held 12 inches away”.
Are warranties valid on second-hand goods?
I bought a second-hand
Samsung Galaxy S6 phone from
an eBay seller, which he
claimed was only three months
old. If something goes wrong is
the phone’s warranty still valid??
Jim Burchall
This depends on
whether the warranty is
transferable. Normally, a
warranty is a contract between
the original buyer and the
14 10 – 23 May 2017
manufacturer, but Jim could get round
this by pretending to be the original
purchaser, and supplying copies of
the original receipt or invoice. He
should of course get permission
from the seller to do this.
However, before doing this we’d
advise Jim to contact Samsung
with the phone’s IMEI number, so
it ccan tell him where and when
the phone was first sold. He’ll
then know whether the seller told
him the true age of the phone. If it
turns out to be older
than three months, he
may want to claim a refund. If the seller
refuses, Jim should use PayPal’s Buyer
Protection, which lasts for 180 days from
purchase. If the phone develops a fault,
Jim has the right to seek redress against
the seller using the Consumer Rights
Act. Jim has owned the phone for only
three weeks, so he wouldn’t have to
prove a fault is inherent
– it would be up to the
seller to disprove this.
Contact us so we can investigate your case
Write: Consumeractive, Computeractive, 30 Cleveland Street, London W1T 4JD
Please include both your phone number and address.
Unfortunately, we can’t reply to all your letters.
We sstand up for your legal rights
How can I get my laptop back?
An Asus laptop I bought from an
online computer retailer for
£1,000 in November 2016 was
faulty from the start and was sent back to
Asus for a repair. But when it came back
the fault hadn’t been fixed. The shop said
it had tested it and couldn’t find a fault,
but again sent it back to Asus. Two months
later I’ve still not got it back. Can you help?
Jenny Prentiss
This retailer has been promising
Jenny her laptop for weeks now,
so it’s time to focus our attention
on alternative solutions for redress. Jenny
paid using PayPal, so we’ve advised her to
check whether she’s still within the 180
days offered by its Buyer Protection
scheme ( If she
is, we believe she has the right to make a
claim for a full refund – because
the laptop is faulty and therefore
‘significantly not as described’.
PayPal’s scheme isn’t statutory
law and each case is investigated on
an individual basis, but if it turns
her down all is not lost. She could
try contacting alternative dispute
resolution services such as the
Consumer Ombudsman (www. and
the Retail Ombudsman (www. These will
try to reach a resolution between the
consumer and the company and can
bring pressure on retailers, but they
don’t have any legal powers.
Jenny’s final resort is the small claims
court, but she should first discuss her
case with Citizens Advice. In the
Sign up for product recalls
By law retailers and manufacturers have to
publicise any product recalls, but unless you
check their websites regularly or it makes
national headlines these are easy to miss. It’s
clearly a serious problem because customers return only 10 to
20 per cent of recalled products. To increase awareness, the
Retail Ombudsman has set up UK Recall (
uk), a free service that emails you info on recalls and safety
notices for electrical devices. To use it, simply register your
device by clicking a category.
To see what’s been recalled recently click the top-right Menu
button (three horizontal lines), then ‘Search Recall List’. You can
filter the results by product type and brand name. At the bottom
of the home page, under the ‘Quick Links’ heading, is a very
useful link: ‘Manufacturer & retailer contact details’. Click this for
phone numbers, physical addresses and email addresses
UK Recall works only for safety-related recalls and
warnings, of which there are around 400 in the UK every
year, not for details about faulty items that aren’t dangerous.
To receive these messages we recommend registering with
the manufacturer directly (see
box opposite). If a manufacturer
admits an inherent fault you’ve
still got protection under The
Sale of Goods (for goods bought
before October 2015), or the
Consumer Rights Act.
meantime, we’ll try to contact the retailer
and ask it to deal with Jenny’s
case more professionally.
We’ll update you in a
later issue.
Where to register your product
Western Digital
10 – 23 May 2017 15
Protect Your Tech
Scams and threats to avoid, plus new security tools
‘System Update’ apps with spyware
What’s the threat?
Android apps that claim to
provide access to updates for the
operating system, but actually
send your location to hackers.
Researchers at US security
company Zscaler discovered that
an app called System Update
installed the SMSVova spyware on
to phones and tablets. Worryingly,
the app had lurked unnoticed in
Google’s Play store since 2014, being
downloaded between 1 and 5 million
times. Google has now removed it, but
hasn’t commented on why it wasn’t
detected earlier.
After being downloaded the app
showed the message “Unfortunately,
Update Service has stopped”, and hid
its icon from the screen. But this
disguised its real intention, which was
to find the last known location of the user,
and read text messages sent by hackers.
What should you do?
While this particular app is no longer
a threat, it serves as a reminder to be
careful when browsing the Play store.
Read Zscaler’s blog (
24152) for advice on identifying the telltale signs that an app is dangerous.
Researchers became suspicious after
New tools
As recently as the late 1980s coal
miners were taking canaries down pits
to warn them about carbon-monoxide
poisoning. The modern computing
equivalent are Canary ‘tokens’, which
are PC files that detect when someone
has opened a Word document or folder
on your PC, and tell you by email. It
might be vital sign that a hacker has
infiltrated your PC.
To set this up visit the URL above,
then click the ‘Select your token’
dropdown menu. To be alerted when a
Word document is opened, you first
need to create it. Click ‘Microsoft Word
Document’ in the menu, add your
email address and a reminder note,
then click ‘Create my Canarytoken’.
Download the document, write in it,
then save when finished. It’s a similar
process for folders, except that you
16 10 - 23 May 2017
reading reviews for the app,
most of which gave it one star.
Many said it didn’t do what it
promised, and instead slowed
their device. They also noticed
that the app’s page on the Play
store was very amateurish, with
no proper description and blank
screenshots (see image). The fact
that the app hadn’t been updated
since 2014 was the clinching proof.
Of all the clues that all is not well,
user reviews are the most important.
One-star ratings by themselves aren’t
enough of a reason to ignore an app,
because users may simply be rejecting
it through personal taste. More
revealing are reviews that lambast the
app for failing to do what it claims to.
These often indicate that the app is
malicious, and should be avoided.
Ignore speeding-fine email
have to download a ZIP file, then
extract its contents and place them in
the folder you want to protect.
If you receive an email warning
(see screenshot), click the ‘More info
on this token’ link at the bottom for
further details, including the location
of the trespasser.
I’ve always considered myself careful
driver, and I’m certainly no ‘boy
racer’. So I was shocked to receive an
email from ‘West Yorkshire Police’
about a speeding offence. The scam
is quite clever because it doesn’t say
that you’ve been speeding, but that
someone driving your old car has
been. The scammers want to exploit
your fear of being considered guilty
of a crime you didn’t commit. I could
tell it was a scam, and ignored the
link asking me to download the
‘Notice of Intended Prosecution’. I
saw online that it had been reported
Warren Matthews
Warn your fellow readers about scams at
Best Free Software
Jane Hoskyn recommends new programs that won’t cost you anything
Thunderbird 52
What you need:Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8/8.1 or 10
We know from your feedback that you like email programs
(clients) that you can install on your PC for managing
multiple email accounts – without always needing to be
online. And Thunderbird 52 (its first big release in a year) is
the best client around. Version 52 makes your security top
priority. It now blocks photos, adverts and other ‘remote
content’ in emails by default. It’s also much easier to use,
thanks to a new Folder Pane Toolbar and an Events sidebar
that you previously had to install an extension to get.
Thunderbird now integrates with Twitter so you can send
and receive Direct Messages, as well as offering smoother
integration with Office and LibreOffice. It’s not cosying up to
all third-party tools, however – it’s finally ditched support for
Yahoo Messenger.
Thunderbird 52 comes in installable and portable versions,
but only the installable program is hosted by Thunderbird’s
creator Mozilla. Click Free Download to get the junk-free
installer. During setup, click ‘Skip this and use my existing
email’, then log into your email service (for example
or Gmail). By default, Thunderbird uses the IMAP method of
importing emails and stores them on a secure server. This is
much faster than the alternative, POP3. Microsoft doesn’t
support IMAP, so you will need to select POP3 if you use
Outlook or Hotmail.
If you’re running Windows XP or Vista, use the portable
version of Thunderbird 52. It was created by PortableApps
with the approval of Mozilla, and is safe to download via
SourceForge (
1 Thunderbird now blocks
remote content. Click Options
then ‘Show remote content…’
to unblock it in that email,
or ‘Edit remote…’ to change
default settings.
18 10 - 23 May 2017
2 To make your folders easier
to browse, click the menu
icon (three lines) then
Options then tick Folder Pane
Toolbar. Click All Folders to
open the dropdown menu.
3 The Events calendar is now
built in. Click the tiny arrow to
open a month view. To toggle
the sidebar on and off, click
Today Pane. To remove it for
good, click Disable.
4 To switch to offline mode,
which lets you write and
manage emails but not
send or receive them, click
the three lines, File, Offline,
then tick Work Offline.
We tell you what software to use
What can I use instead
of Picasa?
System Font Size Changer
What you need: Windows 7, 8/8.1 or 10
Microsoft has now deprived Windows 10 users of the option to
make error messages, title bars and other desktop text bigger,
bolder and easier to read. This new portable program gives you
back control, and it works on Windows 7 and 8/8.1 too. The first
time you run it, click Export to back up your current settings in
case you decide to undo your changes later. Click a text type
then use the slider to enlarge it. You can also tick B to make the
text bold. There’s no preview, but you can get an idea from our
screenshot. We selected Tooltip then set the slider as far as it
would go, so the ‘Minimise’ tooltip is now much bigger.
Window Detective 3.3
I always used the desktop version of Picasa for
organising my digital photos. I liked that it
displayed photos in a simple way, by date and
place, and also let me create slideshows. But since reinstalling Windows 10 I find I can no longer download it
and can’t find a suitable replacement. Can you help?
Michael Elliott
You can still get the installable version of Picasa
from mirror sites such as FileHippo (www.snipca.
com/24158) - but these often bundle junk in their
installers, and Google no longer supports Picasa. We’ve seen
a few unofficial “Picasa” apps for Windows 10, but they tend
to disappear quite quickly.
Google wants you to move on to Google Photos (https:// In fact, your Picasa photos have
probably been backed up to Google Photos already. You may
find that impertinent, but do give Google Photos a try. It’s a
convenient way to automatically back up unlimited photos
for free then view them on whatever PC, laptop or tablet
you happen to be using. You can create albums and turn
them into slideshows.
However, Google Photos only works online – there’s no
installable desktop version. And while its automatic sorting
and searching are great, it doesn’t let you rearrange photos
manually. For that, you’ll need FastStone Image Viewer
( Import photos from any source,
then drag them around into any order you want. It
integrates with Explorer, so you can switch to a list view
then click the column headings to order photos according
to filename, size, format, date and so on. It also lets you
rename and convert multiple photos at once; tag them with
keywords for easier organising; crop and edit them; and
create contact sheets and slideshows.
Do you need our advice on what software to use?
Just email us at
What you need: Windows 7, 8/8.1 or 10
This open-source program looks like yet another Task Manager
alternative, with a tree-style list of running processes and
Windows services, but its aim is different. Rather than weeding
out memory hogs, it lets you customise the default behaviour
and appearance of processes. For example, you set a program to
always open on top, in the same position on screen and in a
certain-sized window. The list contains dozens of processes
– right down to tiny adverts on Chrome web pages. Right-click
any to investigate and customise it. Window Detective 3.3 adds
advanced search tools and ‘Pick window’, a target icon that you
drag on to any process to edit its properties. The installer is
junk-free, but will install an updated version of Visual C++
Redistributable, Microsoft’s programming environment.
The Complete
Guide to KODI
This is a must-have
manual for anyone who
uses the most exciting
software of 2017
Buy it now at
10 - 23 May 2017 19
New products tested by our experts
PC ❘ £850 from Box
Box Cube Panther i5
Good enough, with room for more
We’ve seen quite a number of PCs
recently that give you no-compromise,
up-to-date, all-round performance for
nearer £800 than the traditional £999
mark – a trend we very much welcome.
Here’s another. It’s available in various
configurations, but the one we tested is
based on two relatively new processors
– Intel’s Kaby Lake i5-7500 quad-core
and Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1060 graphics
card (pictured below – see our review,
Issue 492) For most users, the
combination leaves little to be desired.
Speedy processor,
great graphics and
expansion potential
Let’s start from the outside. This PC is
designated ‘Esports-ready’, which means
it can run games that appeal to people
who take their gaming pretty seriously. In
our tests, less demanding 3D games ran
smoothly right up to 4K resolution on the
highest quality settings, while even the
most ambitious were playable in Full HD
without too many compromises.
This 3GB version of the GTX 1060 will
also help graphics programs such as
photo and video editors, if they’re
designed to take advantage of it. If you
really don’t feel the need, though,
Box will knock £40 off
the price to downgrade
the graphics card to a
1050Ti, which is still
enough to ensure
everything runs smoothly.
This actually comes with
more of its own memory
(4GB), which just goes
to show how confusing
things can get when
manufacturers try to offer
benefits for every possible
price bracket.
id-range processor
The i5-7500 is a mid-range
that’s good enough to keep up with the
GTX 1060 and make general Windows 10
tasks feel fast. A sensible 8GB of memory
is fitted to keep it fed with data. This
memory is the fast DDR4 type, which
means doubling it to 16GB costs a fairly
hefty £60 extra. You might want to
consider that upgrade if you often edit
big files or run several demanding
programs at once, but for serious creative
work there’s a limit to what you can
expect from the i5-7500 anyway, so you
might need to think about spending
more. For most of us, though, the Panther
will manage quite nicely as it is.
If you want to upgrade later, there’s
some scope for that. As standard, you
get a 1TB hard drive that comes with
8GB of solid-state storage, known as a
hybrid drive or SSHD, making it a little
bit faster than usual but nowhere near as
speedy as an SSD. Two M.2 slots on the
motherboard, though, are ready to take
the very fastest SSDs whenever you’re
ready to add them, and there are also
plenty of bays for conventional SATA
3.7GHz Intel i5-7500 quad-core processor • 8GB
memory • 3GB GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card •
1GB hybrid drive • 4x USB 3.0 • 4x USB 2.0 • USB
3.1 Type-C • PS/2 port • Gigabit Ethernet • HDMI
port • DisplayPort • DVI port • Windows 10 Home •
493x215x426mm (HxWxD) • Two-year warranty
20 10 - 23 May 2017
You can feast your eyes on all this – as
well as the Asus B250-Plus motherboard
– through the side window of the chunky
case, bathed in red LED light. Otherwise,
the least said about the Corsair Carbide
Spec-03 case the better – the front
reminded us of Tom Hardy’s character
Bane in The Dark Knight Rises Batman
film, which is not what you want every
time you sit down in your study – but it’s
generally adequate.
On the outside, there aren’t a great
many USB sockets, but one is Type-C,
handy for the new generation of devices.
A basic 802.11n Wi-Fi card is included to
avoid taking up a port, although you’d
want a faster option if you were going to
rely on Wi-Fi full-time rather than a
wired Gigabit Ethernet connection.
VERDICT: For the money, this is a very
practical, all-round, workand-play PC with lots of
expansion options
Enigma K2 £800 Has 16GB
of memory and an SSD, but
the GTX 1060 comes with a
slower i5-7400 processor
and no M.2 or USB Type-C
LAPTOP ❘ £575 from Dell
Dell Vostro 5468
Computeractive 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 and Web User and the
websites Expert Reviews (www. and Alphr (www. This means we can test
thousands of products before choosing
the most relevant for Computeractive.
Dull but worthy
A laptop, when
en it comes down to it, is a
laptop. It has
as a processor, some memory
and storage, a screen and a keyboard,
and probably
ly some ports to plug things
into, assuming
ng it’s not made by
Apple. But that’s
hat’s not good enough for
marketing people. Marketing people
have to decide
de who they want
to sell it to, and
dress it up
The Vostro
5468, for example,
ness’. That
is for ‘business’.
isted on the part of
means it’s listed
te where all the prices
Dell’s website
exclude VAT, leaving you to multiply
them by 1.2 in your head while
wondering when someone at Dell will
twig that most self-employed people
aren’t registered for VAT and this is just as
annoying for them as everyone else. (The
price we’ve shown above includes the
tax, as always.)
It also means the Vostro 5000 series is
designed to look as boring as possible. In
this, Dell has definitely succeeded. Some
laptops nowadays have almost no border
around the screen. The Vostro has enough
space to attach your sticky notes. Rival
‘ultra-portables’ come in a slim wedge
shape. So does the Vostro, until you
realise the wedge shape is just design
illusion on a plastic slab that’s nearly 2cm
thick all the way from back to front. It
weighs 1.66kg, about 40 per cent more
than Dell’s XPS 13, for example.
The Vostro does provide a slightly larger
screen, at 14in, but the resolution is a
coarse 1366x768 pixels, which doesn’t fit
very much into the screen, and we
weren’t impressed with its brightness or
contrast. Inside is a decent Kaby Lake
i5-7200U processor, giving about half the
performance of a mid-range i5 desktop
PC. Meanwhile, the integrated Intel HD
Graphics 620 can just about attempt
simple 3D games, but that won’t interest
you as a business person.
A business-like slab
of a laptop that zips
along nicely
Dell describes the Vostro as “Everything
you need, nothing you don’t”. To be
honest, you probably don’t need a VGA
port, which connects to the kind of
monitors and projectors you’d find lying
around an abandoned Cold War bunker.
But you might need more room for
photos and videos than you’ll find on
the 256GB SSD, although it does keep
Windows 10 Pro zipping along nicely.
You might also need the battery to last
more than the five hours 40 minutes it
achieved in our video-playback test. Still,
we’ve seen worse, and you do get three
USB 3.0 ports and an SD card reader.
2.5GHz Intel Core i7-7200U dual-core processor •
8GB memory • 256GB SSD • 14in 1366x768-pixel
screen • Webcam • 802.11ac Wi-Fi • Bluetooth 4.2 •
3x USB 3.0 ports • SD card reader • Windows 10 Pro
• 18.5x320x240mm (HxWxD) • 1.66kg • One-year
Our writers follow strict guidelines to
ensure the reviews are fair and
impartial. The manufacturer has no
involvement in our tests.
We award every product
that gets five stars our
BUY IT! Buy It! stamp of approval.
★★★★★ It means we were
extremely impressed by the product,
and we think you will be too.
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.
Our reviews contain a link to the best
price we found online at the time of press.
VERDICT: You get a good spec for the
money and a nice solid keyboard, but
the dull screen and bulky case make
the Vostro hard to love
UX310UA £750 With the same
processor and 256GB SSD,
this has a super-sharp
screen and weighs less –
but it does cost more
10 - 23 May 2017 21
PC MONITOR ❘ £344 from Scan
Iiyama ProLite
oLite XUB2792
A middling monitor
Do I really need...
The cloud?
Wh does it do?
While the smallest screens (on
smartphones) have got much
sharper in recent years, the biggest
(on 27in-plus desktop PC monitors)
have lagged behind. You can now
buy 4K or Ultra HD (UHD) screens,
ull HD
with twice the resolution of Full
out the
both across and down, for about
same price as this monitor, but you’d
have to spend more for the bestt
picture quality in that format. The most
comfortable way to use UHD’s 3840x2160
aling so
pixels is to adjust Windows’ scaling
me size,
that everything appears the same
but significantly sharper.
It’s a tidy, modern
monitor, but colours
lack accuracy
The ProLite XUB2792 takes a different
approach, offering a halfway-house
resolution of 2560x1440 pixels. That
means you can fit in more work (or more
option palettes in the programs you use)
at the expense of everything appearing
slightly smaller. For most people’s eyesight
strength, this is an effective setup. You’ll
miss the crispness of 4K if you are
accustomed to it, but you’d have to put
your face pretty close to the glass to really
notice the pixels.
Very narrow bezels around the screen
give this monitor a tidy, modern look,
and its plastic stand feels stable. There’s a
generous 130mm of height adjustment,
and you can rotate the screen into
portrait mode too. The simple menus
make it easy to tweak the picture, and
FreeSync is supported for gamers who
have recent AMD graphics cards.
The screen showed good brightness
levels and contrast in our tests, but colour
accuracy wasn’t particularly good out of
27in IPS LCD • 2560x1440-pixel resolution •
1x DisplayPort • 1x DVI port • 1 x HDMI port • 2x USB
3.0 ports • 2W stereo speakers • 397x611x230mm
(HxWxD) • Two-year warranty
22 10 – 23 May 2017
‘Th cloud’ is just a way to describe
keeping your digital files on a remote
server (see image) that’s owned and
maintained by someone else, typically
a bi
big company like Microsoft or Google.
Now that the internet is just about
it’s increasingly
feasible to access
everything online
rather than from a
PC hard drive.
Why would I want it?
the box. Nor could we improve things
much by fiddling with the settings. The
backlight was as much as 14 per cent
dimmer in the corners than the centre,
which is less consistent than we’d have
hoped. As a result, we couldn’t
recommend this screen for serious photo
or video editing, although it would be
quite acceptable for other purposes.
There are cheaper 27in monitors with
this resolution, including Iiyama’s own
ProLite B2783QSU (£279 from Amazon, see our review,
Issue 474). That model has a similarly
adjustable stand and gave us better colour
accuracy, but viewing angles were
narrower, with the image darkening
when seen from off centre, and moving
objects such as the cursor showed
noticeable ghosting.
So the well-made ProLite XUB2792
doesn’t entirely fail to justify its price,
but nor does it feel like a great way to
spend your money.
VERDICT: The narrow bezel, solid
build quality and range of adjustment
are impressive, but we’d want a better
picture for the money
The stand lacks adjustability and it’s too
slow for gamers, but
this 2560x1440 screen
is decent and very
reasonably priced
Many of us use more than one
computer these days, and if you’re out
and about with one and you realise you
need a file that’s on another, you’re
stuck. Using the cloud means you
can access your files from anywhere,
even using someone else’s computer.
It also means they won’t disappear if
you have a burst pipe in your study or
the cat knocks your coffee over your
laptop. Services like Google Photos (see
screenshot below) and Apple iCloud
make it all so easy you can forget about
it, while the likes of Dropbox bridge the
gap between conventional PC storage
and the cloud. If you can manage with
the cloud alone and not store files on
your hard drive, you could choose a
cheaper PC with just a small, fast SSD
and save money.
What’s the catch?
If you work with very large files and
need to access them quickly, the cloud
may not be so practical or cost-effective
(most services charge extra beyond a
few gigabytes). If you have files in the
cloud, you should
still back them
up, because
services can fail.
So can I do without it?
Increasingly, you’ll be using the cloud
whether you choose to or not, as more
everyday services are based on it. But
not many PC users are ready to give up
physical storage just yet.
TABLET ❘ £600 from John Lewis
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 9.7
The best new Android tablet
Let’s be honest: Android has never
worked as well as Apple’s iOS on tablets.
On phones, they’re pretty much
neck-and-neck. Bump up the screen size,
and iOS apps – the ones Apple gives you
free, like GarageBand and iMovie; the
important ones like Microsoft Word and
Excel; and the 700,000-odd App Store
apps specifically made for iPad – feel
comfortable. Android apps often feel
awkward, and may not work smoothly.
So an Android tablet needs to work
hard to compete for your money. Now, it’s
18 months since we tested Samsung’s
Galaxy Tab S2 (see our review, Issue 462).
Back then, it cost £400, while Apple’s
rival was the iPad Air 2 at £399. Today,
the iPad 9.7in costs just £339. And here’s
the Galaxy Tab S3 for a colossal £600.
One of the best
screens we’ve ever
seen, but it’s pricey
Give it a chance, though. The Tab S3,
which runs Android 7.0 (Nougat), makes
a good first impression. Its glass rear
feels a little odd compared to the usual
metal, and quickly picks up scuffs and
fingerprints, but it’s undeniably classy,
available in silver or a proper jet black.
When we tested the iPad 9.7in (see Issue
500) we were disappointed to find its LCD
panel, although excellent, was slightly
downgraded from the iPad Air 2.
Samsung has gone the other way,
equipping the S3 with one of the best
screens we’ve ever seen. It’s
AMOLED, so colours look
wonderful, and the brightness has
been bumped up.
Even better, the range of tones it
can reproduce has been expanded to
support HDR (high dynamic range)
content, which makes TV pictures
look more ‘real’. There isn’t much
available in HDR yet, but there will
be. The resolution, unchanged at
2048x1536 pixels, looks very sharp
and easily matches the iPad’s. The
only catch is that while Apple uses
highly effective glare reduction, the
Tab S3’s screen seems designed to
maximise reflections. So although
the backlighting is bright enough to
use outdoors, you may be plagued
by reflections.
Nevertheless, its impressive
features take the Tab S3 into the
realm of Apple’s pricier option, the
9.7in iPad Pro. The Pro, which starts
at £549, also supports Apple’s Pencil
stylus (an extra £99). The S3 supports
Samsung’s S Pen (included in the box).
Both tablets have 32GB of storage as
standard, but Samsung’s has a slot for a
microSD card to add more; with Apple,
you have to pay an extra £90 up front
for 128GB.
The Tab S3’s Snapdragon 820 processor
only matches the regular iPad 9.7in for
general performance, falling well behind
in graphics, while the iPad Pro is streets
ahead. Battery life was shorter with the
S3 than the S2 in our video-playback test,
at 11 hours 43 minutes, but that’s still
over two hours longer than an iPad lasts.
Both iPads match the quality of the S3’s
cameras, all have a fingerprint sensor in
their Home button, and all have a quad
speaker system. Neither Apple nor
Samsung includes a keyboard – Apple’s
will cost you £149, Samsung’s £109.
Snapdragon 820 quad-core processor • 32GB
flash storage
storag • 9.7in 2048x1536-pixel screen •
13-megapi rear camera • 5-megapixel webcam
• 802.11ac Wi-Fi • Bluetooth 4.2 • Android 7.0 •
(HxWxD) • 429g • Two-year
If you want a premium tablet, then, the
Galaxy Tab S3 works out slightly cheaper
than the 9.7in iPad Pro, but its hardware
falls short, and the iPad’s software is still
better. The S3’s screen and stylus beat the
iPad 9.7in, but the iPad is more than good
enough for most people, and costs £170
less even if you stump up for 128GB of
storage. You can use a variety of styluses
with it, just not Apple’s posh one. Overall,
Samsung has made a good effort here,
but Apple offers the better deals.
VERDICT: This is a great Android tablet,
albeit rather pricey. For once, Apple’s
iPad looks better value
Pixel C £480 It lacks a
smart stylus, but this
slightly larger Android
tablet is excellent and
comes with 64GB
for less
10 – 23 May 2017 23
PHONE ❘ £549 from Huawei Vmall
Huawei P10
Two cameras, but is it too pricey?
Huawei’s P9 (see our review, Issue 476)
was notable for introducing the concept
of a dual camera that offers two lenses
that work together to provide a range of
focal lengths. This means no more fuzzy
digital zoom or faking the kind of
background blur that can be produced by
a full-size camera with a wide-angle lens.
Apple then followed suit with the dual
camera in the iPhone 7 Plus.
The P9’s successor still has the dual
camera, and as before it works very well,
though it’s relatively weak in low light.
Everything else has changed. The new
case has a matt rear panel, which is less
5.1in 1920x1080-pixel screen • 20-megapixel
and 12-megapixel rear cameras • 8-megapixel
front camera • 64GB flash storage • MicroSD card
slot • 802.11ac Wi-Fi • Bluetooth 4.2 • 3G/4G •
145x69x6.98mm (HxWxD) • 145g • One-year
prone to scuffing, and the fingerprint
sensor has moved to the front, not a
change we particularly welcome. It comes
in eight colours, and looks great. The Full
HD display provides top-notch contrast
and colour, and for an AMOLED screen
it’s bright, too.
Inside is a Kirin 960 processor that
copes effortlessly with advanced 3D
games as well as general multi-tasking
and web browsing. In our video-playback
test, the battery lasted 13 hours 12
minutes, not particularly impressive but
adequate. The latest Android 7.0 Nougat
comes installed, although Huawei’s
version has a few ill-judged modifications
to the way apps and notifications appear.
The P10 is a lovely phone, but at £100
more than the P9 it’s quite pricey. If you
want to spend even more, there’s a bigger
P10 Plus, while the P10 Lite costs under
£300 but omits the dual camera.
VERDICT: Huawei has definitely
improved on the P9’s design and
features, but the significantly higher
price tag isn’t so appealing
el £599
is is a
Despite its bland design, this
great phone with a superb screen
and the best single camera around
PHONE ❘ £250 from Carphone Warehouse
Motorola Moto G5 Plus
A less exciting sequel
The story so far: Motorola made a brilliant
budget smartphone called the Moto G.
Lenovo bought the company and kept
updating the Moto G, and it continued to
beat every rival low-cost model. Then, a
couple of months ago, the Moto G5 came
out, and you can read our review in Issue
500. But in short, we were unimpressed.
So can the G5 Plus – which runs Android
7.0 Nougat – win us back? It has a slightly
bigger screen than the G5, but smaller
than last year’s G4. Its splash-resistant
metal-and-plastic case (in grey or gold) is
slimmer, but the rear camera sticks out.
That’s because it’s a superior component,
5.2in 1920x1080-pixel screen • 12-megapixel rear
camera • 5-megapixel front camera • 32GB flash
storage • microSD card slot • 802.11ac Wi-Fi
• Bluetooth 4.2 • 3G/4G • 150x74x7.7mm (HxWxD)
• 155g • One-year warranty
24 10 – 23 May 2017
similar to the one in Samsung’s Galaxy
S7. Unlike dual camera phones, it doesn’t
have a longer telephoto or fake depth of
field, but it takes strikingly good pictures.
In fact, you’d have to buy the exorbitantly
expensive Google Pixel phone to get more
impressive shots from a phone.
While the G5 has a fingerprint sensor
in its Home button, it lacks the NFC chip
to support digital payment. The Plus adds
this. It also has a faster processor, fixing
one of our biggest complaints about the
G5, and its battery lasts longer, playing
our video test for 13 hours 13 minutes.
But its screen is even duller, covering only
74 per cent of the sRGB colour range (the
smaller G5 screen managed 86 per cent).
Even Lenovo’s cheaper P2 looks more
vibrant. It’s a disappointment that once
again means the Moto G5 Plus isn’t quite
what we’d have hoped for.
RDICT: Overall the G5 Plus isn’t ou
first choice, but the camera might well
persuade keen snappers to part with a
reasonable £250
£200 Its camera is average,
but this phone offers an
incredible 29-hour battery
m John Lewis
HOME ASSISTANT ❘ £129 from
Google Home
Ask me anything
New to the UK, this is Google’s rivall to
the Amazon Echo (see our review, Issue
487), a web-connected home assistant
tant (or
smart speaker) that listens for voice
commands and gives you instant
responses. We prefer the Home’s look,
which resembles a large air freshener
ner (by
contrast the Echo looks like the monolith
from 2001: A Space Odyssey), and the
fabric-covered base – with coloured
replacements available – is a nice touch.
More importantly, it’s 20 quid cheaper.
Cheaper than the
Echo, with better sound
and more potential
Like the Echo, Google Home has
indicator lights on top and a touch
surface that you can use to control the
volume or play/pause your music
without having to ask. You can also give
a long press to tell the device to listen
without having to shout ‘OK Google’,
although that’s generally easier. Much
like the personal assistant on an Apple or
Android phone, the Google Assistant can
answer questions like ‘What’s the square
root of 729?’, ‘Will it rain today?’ or
‘What are the Premier League scores?’.
Being so easy and constantly available,
without having to get anything out or
turn it on, makes this
quite habit-forming. You can also play
music from internet services like Google
Play Music and Spotify through the
speaker just by asking for a track.
Where it gets interesting, though, is
when you link Google Home to other
devices. If you have a Chromecast audio
or video dongle (from £25) or a Smart
TV with Chromecast built in, you can
stop flipping through menus and operate
it by voice. For example, ‘Play The
Crown from Netflix’. If you don’t have
subscription services, it also works with
BBC iPlayer. Buy a ‘smart’ lightbulb and
you can dim it or change its colour just
by asking. If you use IFTTT (see www. 24154) to automate things,
you can work that too.
Like Echo, Google Home sends all your
commands to a remote server for
processing, but doesn’t record anything
until you say the magic words ‘OK
Google’. Then your requests are logged
and can be used for marketing purposes,
much like when you search for ‘socks’
at and adverts for socks
then pop up everywhere. It can also
learn about your calendar and email
contacts. If you enable third-party
services, they’ll see your data too. But
you can choose what permissions to
grant Google Home, so if you don’t
want to use a particular kind of service,
you don’t have to. There’s also a mute
button that turns the mic off.
There’s been at least one case in the
US where police asked Amazon to
release details from a suspect’s Echo. In
the UK, the Government could order
Amazon or Google to retain records of
everyone’s activities, although it insists
it’s only interested in metadata (who
you contacted and when) rather than
content (what you asked for).
Some services do require fees.
Accessing your YouTube ‘watch later’
list, for example, requires a YouTube
Red subscription, which doesn’t yet exist
in the UK. The overall range of compatible
products and services isn’t as wide as
We’d still pick Google Home over Echo,
though, because it’s cheaper, the speaker
is superior, and Google seems better
placed to offer an all-encompassing
service than Amazon, which tends to
focus on selling you things.
802.11ac Wi-Fi • Far-field microphones • Speaker •
Mains adapter • Requires Android 4.2 or iOS 8
or higher device for Google Home app •
143x96x96mm (HxWxD) • 477g • One-year
VERDICT: Not everyone will need
or want one, but Google Home is
surprisingly useful, especially if fiddling
with screens and menus isn’t your thing
ALTERNATIVE: Amazon Echo Dot £50
This smaller, cheaper unit offers the
same features as the
Echo, but you need
to connect it to your
own speakers
10 - 23 May 2017 25
MESH ROUTER ❘ £220 from Amazon
Devolo GigaGate
Cheaper wider Wi-Fi
Mesh routers are the new solution to poor
Wi-Fi reception, and every networking
company under the sun is launching its
own version. They all work in a similar
way. You cable one mesh router to your
existing one, and it communicates
directly with your PCs and devices and
also with one or more ‘satellite’ routers
dotted around the house. They deliver the
same signal strength to PCs and devices
near to them.
Compared with BT’s dishes (see our
review, Issue 496) or Netgear’s vases (see
Issue 498), Devolo’s shiny black boxes
look less like crockery and more like
routers, with only a slanted shape to
suggest they’re a bit more futuristic. As
ly g
with Netgear’s
Orbi sy
system, yo
you only
two as standard (the base and the
satellite), but that’s reflected in
the relatively low price. We
found the GigaGate easy to set
up, and as with other mesh
systems, all you need is a spare
Ethernet port on your
broadband router and a mains
socket nearby, as well as a mains socket
for the satellite router.
There are compromises, though. While
both of the Orbi units have four Gigabit
Ethernet ports, the GigaGate boxes have
just one, plus four 100Mbps Ethernet
ports on the satellite. That’s as fast as
most broadband connections go, but it
doesn’t give you the headroom of Gigabit.
And for wireless devices, the satellite only
creates a 2.4GHz Wi-Fi network, with no
5GHz band for 802.11ac devices that
could use it to work faster.
In our tests, this didn’t seem to be a
problem: copying a collection of photos
via the satellite (placed in a far corner of
our house) was actually slightly faster
than with a 5GHz wireless extender, and
large video files transferred only slightly
slower. Your results will vary, and if you
have a lot of 2.4GHz traffic (including
interference from your neighbours’
Wi-Fi), the GigaGate won’t be the fastest
option for wireless connections at a
distance. A PC connected via Ethernet
should get excellent speeds, though.
If you’re thinking of buying a mesh
router, wait for our upcoming reviews of
systems from Linksys and Google.
VERDICT: It’s not the best if a very fast
wireless connection is a priority, but
otherwise the GigaGate is a good deal
Home Wi-Fi £300 To cover
more corners or for 5GHz
everywhere, BT’s three
dishes could be worth
the extra money
Two-router mesh network • Supports 802.11n and
802.11ac (satellite 2.4GHz only) • Optional Cockpit app
requires Windows XP or OS X 10.6 or higher
• 140x150x30mm • Three-year warranty
We solve your buying dilemmas
Would an Asus VivoBook suit my needs?
I’m planning to buy a new
laptop, and it’s been suggested
that the 15in Asus VivoBook
Pro N552VX would fit my criteria. I’ve
checked my Computeractive back issues
but you don’t seem to have covered
these models. Any advice?
Paul Dixon
We don’t review every laptop
because some differ only in
small ways. For example,
while we haven’t tested the Asus
26 10 – 23 May 2017
VivoBook Pro N552VX, we did review its
close cousin the N552VW (Issue 480,
pictured). These models look identical, so
what we said about build q
ty should
apply, along with our caveat
at that it’s
quite heavy.
The model we tested had
an i7 processor, while the
N552VX comes with an i5
(£725 from Ebuyer www.snipca.
com/24213), which is slower
er but
generally fine. The i5-6300U is from
Intel’s sixth generation, but the new
Kaby Lake processors are only slightly
faster. Unlike our pricier high-res
model, this one has a standard Full HD
screen. Asus reckons it covers the full
but we’ve found this claim
sRGB range, bu
optimistic. The Nvidia GTX 950M
to be optimi
graphics card in the N552VX is
quite old,
d, and less powerful than
the 96
960 in the N552VW
we tes
Do you need advice on what you should buy?
Email us at
SMART THERMOSTAT ❘ £179 from Tado
Tado Radiator Thermostat
Control your heating from your phone
The idea of a room thermostat that you
control from an app was made popular
by Nest (now owned by Google), but it
has several competitors, including Tado.
Its Smart Thermostat, which wirelessly
controls your boiler, costs around £188
( But if you
want to get started with central heating
automation even more simply, this Smart
Radiator Thermostat can be used with or
without the room thermostat and is
easier to install yourself.
Tells your boiler
when to turn off hot
water, so it could pay
for itself in a year
The Tado Radiator Thermostat sells
for £59, about twice the price of
conventional programmable versions
such as the Pegler Terrier i-temp (www., which doesn’t
connect to an app. Tado’s futuristically
plain white unit won’t connect to an app
either until you add the Internet Bridge
v3, a small box that translates the
low-power radio network used by Tado’s
accessories into standard Wi-Fi signals for
your home router.
A kit with two valves and the Bridge
costs £179, or you can rent it from Tado
for £5.99 a month, reduced to £3.99 for
the first 12 months (you have to sign up
for a full year). A new feature of the
Bridge v3 is compatibility with Apple’s
HomeKit, but the only other third-party
systems supported so far are Amazon
Echo and IFTTT, so if you want to create
an integrated home-automation setup the
options are limited. We didn’t try this,
but if you do have an Echo, shouting
“Alexa, turn the heating down” is quite
appealing. If you have a Google Home
(see page 25), you’d need to fiddle about
with IFTTT to get this working.
The Radiator Thermostat comes in two
versions: with the valve sticking out
horizontally or vertically. When mounted
horizontally the subtle built-in white LED
appears sideways and shows the current
temperature. In the app, you allocate each
Radiator Thermostat to a ‘zone’ in your
home, which is handy if you have a big
Most radiators nowadays already have
thermostatic valves fitted. These consist
of two parts: the valve itself, which
stops hot water coming in, and the
head, which controls when that
happens. The Tado gadget just replaces
the head, and comes with adapters for
all common valves (pictured). Unless
your central-heating system is ancient,
you should be able to pop off an
28 10 – 23 May 2017
room with two radiators, or a radiator
and a Smart Thermostat. Then you tell it
what temperature you want in that zone
at what times. You can also turn the
Radiator Thermostat to change the
temperature, then in the app set how
long such changes will last.
Most cunningly, the app knows where
your smartphone is, so when you’re out it
can turn off your Radiator Thermostats.
As long as no radiator is demanding hot
water, your boiler will stop producing it
and spending your money. You can add
other family members’ phones too. Tado
reckons this could mean the setup pays
for itself within a year.
Radiator thermostats and Internet Bridge • LED
display • Fits M30x1.5 thread; adapters supplied
for others • Requires 2x AA batteries (supplied) •
78x52x52mm (HxWxD) • Two-year warranty
VERDICT: It could offer more features,
and for several rooms it gets pricey,
but automating individual radiators is a
good approach to heating control
existing thermostatic head and pop the
Tado on, without having to drain the
system. If you don’t feel confident
about doing this, though, Tado will
send a plumber to fit it for an extra
£50, which seems quite reasonable.
Evohome from £249 Radiator
thermostats only work with
the pricier central unit, but this
system is more powerful
PRINTER ❘ £155 from Printerbase
Brother MFC-J5730DW
A4 printer with A3 on the side
Sitting squarely in the
middle of Brother’s latest
multi-function printer
(MFP) range, this feels like
a step up from a basic
home inkjet printer to
something more officeorientated. You get two
250-sheet paper trays as
standard, so you can
handle different sizes,
qualities or colours at the
same time, and there’s an
extra feed at the back.
These are usually just for one sheet at a
time, but Brother’s takes 100.
All the inputs can handle paper sizes
up to A3 (twice as big as A4). When you
print A4, it goes sideways, with the long
side feeding into the print mechanism,
which not only helps to print quickly but
also seems to make less noise. You just
have to get used to slotting the paper in
this way round. The MFC-J5730DW can
automatically print both sides of the
paper (duplex) if required.
A quick, versatile,
accurate printer with a
so-so scanner
The scanner on top only handles A4,
but comes with a 50-sheet automatic
document feeder (ADF) for quick
scanning or copying of long documents.
It’s all controlled from a large colour
touchscreen accompanied by telephonestyle buttons, which you can use to
send faxes, if you have a nearby
telephone socket.
Ethernet, USB and Wi-Fi are all built
in, with support for AirPrint from Apple
devices and Mopria from Android.
There’s also a socket for a USB stick, but
4800x1200dpi maximum print resolution •
1200x2400dpi maximum scan resolution • 9.3cm
colour touchscreen • Ethernet • USB • 802.11n Wi-Fi
• 374x530x398mm (HxWxD) • 20.6kg • One-year
The Computeractive
Products we would like to see
no SD card slot, and you can only print
photos, not documents, from this.
Our black text document printed at
16.5 pages per minute (ppm), which is
very good for an inkjet printer, and even
complex colour graphics managed
10.8ppm. Scanning was also fast, at
seven seconds for an A4 page at a crisp
300dpi, enabling us to complete 10 A4
photocopies in one minute, although
colour doubled that time.
So far, so impressive, but quality wasn’t
so consistent. Black text looked fairly
sharp, and colour documents were
accurate, but the scanner didn’t handle
colour so well, and this was reflected in
colour copying too. Dark areas got
particularly muddy.
That’s a shame, because otherwise
this is a good deal. Not only are stores
discounting the MFC-J5730DW to a very
reasonable price, but Brother’s new
higher-capacity ink cartridges bring
running costs down to a very competitive
4.5p per colour page.
In the old days, when something didn’t
work as expected, your computer
would show a little box saying so. It
still happens in Windows occasionally,
but surely a little artificial intelligence
would be helpful these days. However,
it’s more common for things to just
not happen. You select Wi-Fi, but five
minutes later your phone’s still using
mobile data. Did you fail to log in? Too
many people trying to connect? You
click a video in your web browser, but
get a rotating circle. Has the internet
gone down? Is it just that site?
Software is pretty clever these days,
and it has access to a huge amount
of information. Instead of you trying
to figure out what went wrong, why
can’t Alexa, Cortana or Siri do it? Rather
than showing you the spinning wheel
forever, they could pop up to say:
“I’m trying to load that video, but the
server isn’t responding. Your internet
connection is fine. You’ve
had this problem on this
site before. Should I try
refreshing the page? ”
Of course, it would be
even better if things just
worked. But at least the
tech could be on our side.
24 May
Venturer PrimePro 12TS
Windows 10 tablet for
VERDICT: If scanning had been better
we may have given this full marks
because it’s still a good all-round MFP
ALTERNATIVE: HP OfficeJet Pro 8720
£170 This decent
printer is worth
considering, but
it lacks the A3
HP Pavilion Wave
An i5 PC that looks like no other
These and much more…
Subscribe to Computeractive at
10 - 23 May 2017 29
Buy It
Find out what other products we liked.
Buy our new 2016 Back Issue CD:
£15 from
Our pick of products that have won the Buy It award
Dell Inspiron 15 5000
Apple iPad 9.7in
Now updated with Intel’s seventhgeneration processors, this laptop ((not the
2-in-1 version) now edges the ZenBook
below and starts at just £449, but
mid-range configurations with SSD and
AMD R7 graphics are the best choice.
Teaming Intel’s latest i5 processor with
a Radeon RX 460 graphics card, this
delivers great all-round performance
and adequate gaming, helped by a fast
M.2 SSD plus a generous 2TB hard drive
and 16GB of memory.
The replacement for the iPad Air 2 is
slightly bulkier and has a downgraded
screen but remains the best mid-sized
tablet, with a sensible 32GB of storage.
You’ll need the £549 iPad Pro if you
want to use the Pencil stylus (£99).
If you want something sleeker, this offers
basic performance in a superbly slim and
light metal case. £600 from
ALTERNATIVE: Chillblast Fusion
Hubble For advanced performance, this
overclocked Kaby Lake i5 PC comes
with a GTX 1060 graphics card. £1,000
ALTERNATIVE: iPad Mini 4 The smaller
7.9in iPad is excellent, but Apple’s
decision to sell it only with a huge 128GB
makes it unreasonably expensive. £419
Apple iPhone SE
Motorola Moto G4
£699 from
Tested: Issue 459
Samsung Galaxy Tab
b S3 9.7
£812 from
ed: Issue 497
£600 from
Tested: Issue 501
£340 from
Tested: Issue 474
g’ss new
w mid-sized tablet
et has a
wonderful HDR screen and comes with
a pen included, unlike Apple’s iPad Pro.
But its processor isn’t the fastest and it’s
disappointingly expensive, especially
compared to the £339 iPad 9.7in.
It may be
b Apple’
Apple’s ‘budget’
ud t’ phone,
ho but
the smaller SE beats most others in the
market with top-end processing power,
a great screen and camera, fingerprint
recognition and Apple Pay. You should
consider paying £439 for the 64GB
model, though.
ALTERNATIVE: Google Pixel C It lacks
a smart stylus, but this slightly larger
Android tablet is excellent and comes
with 64GB for less. £538 from
ALTERNATIVE: iPhone 6s A bigger
screen, better camera and 3D Touch
justify the price, but as with the SE the
64GB model (£619) is the best choice.
£499 from
30 10 - 23 May 2017
£339 from
Tested: Issue 500
£139 from
Tested: Issue 479
With an attractive 5.5in screen, an
excellent 13-megapixel camera, a 13hour battery and decent performance,
the G4 is the best budget option.
ALTERNATIVE: Samsung Galaxy S7
Restoring the microSD slot to allow
extra storage makes this an even
better top-end phone than the S6,
with a fantastic screen and camera and
incredible 18-hour battery life. £428
Buy It
Amazon Kindle (2016)
Kaspersky Internet
Security 2017
Serif Affinity Photo
Kaspersky Internet Security 2017 has won
our past eight antivirus tests. Compatible
with Windows 10, the 2017 edition is
available at an exclusive reader discount
on our Software Store. Go to the link
above for a one-year, one-device licence
or buy a two-year, three-device licence for
just £39.99.
Designed for both full-time professional
image retouchers and the rest of us
keen amateurs, this is a beautifully
designed and comprehensive program
for both Windows and Mac users,
although so far it performs better on
ed: Issue 483
£19.95 from
Tested: Issue 493
£49 from
Tested: Issue 498
Here: All copy copied
and pasted from issue
azon’s basic ebook reader is now
good enough to be our first choice. It’s
plasticky, but slim and lightweight, with
a decent 4GB storage and good battery
life. Consider the £110 Paperwhite if you
want backlighting or (for £60 extra) 3G.
Glo HD
Competing with Amazon’s
the Kindle Kindle
a clear
7.8in screenlighting.
and is comfortable
£130 from to
read. £190 from
£214 from
Tested: Issue 468
ALTERNATIVE: Avast Free Antivirus
Almost as good as Kaspersky, but
sometimes blocks legitimate software.
Free from
ALTERNATIVE: Xara Photo & Graphic
Designer 365 For all-round design
and drawing plus photo filters, this
affordable app has a lot to offer.
£50 from
Synology RT1900ac
Synology DS216j
£145 from
Tested: Issue 474
£140 from
Tested: Issue 449
Here: All copy copied
and pasted from issue
It comes with no extras, such as
built-in speakers or a USB hub, but
this 2560x1440 panel gives you a full
27in screen with excellent contrast and
colour accuracy at a very reasonable
price. It’s a little laggy for gamers, but
there’s no ghosting on motion.
If you’re looking to upgrade an outdated
Here: All copy copied
router, there are lots of dual-band
and pasted
models to from
choose from.
one suits
all broadband
that don’t require
and has
of options,
has plenty
as sharing
of options,
a connected
such asprinter
connected printer or storage.
ALTERNATIVE: Dell UltraSharp U2414H
This 1920x1080, 24in screen has a
stand that can switch to portrait mode.
Colour accuracy is excellent. £210
£199 from
Not quite as fast, but this or the D9 (with
ADSL modem built in) is a simple and
capable router with a stylish design.
32 10 - 23 May 2017
The DS215j has now been replaced by
this similar two-drive NAS enclosure
with a slightly faster processor. With
good setup software and lots of features,
its only flaw is that installation is a little
fiddly. A great choice for network storage.
Synology DS416j Synology’s fast and
flexible four-bay NAS has also been
updated. £256 from www.snipca.
TP-Link AV1200 Powerline
Wi-Fi Kit WPA8730
Xara Web Designer
Premium 365
£125 from
Tested: Issue 495
HomePlug adapters use your mains
wiring to extend your network where
Wi-Fi won’t reach. This kit provides
Wi-Fi at the far end too, so phones and
tablets can connect as well as PCs and
other Ethernet-equipped devices.
1000HD Gigabit Starter Kit Fast (speeds
of up to 1000Mbps), much cheaper and
very easy to set up, but the lack of a
passthrough socket is frustrating.
£22 from
Canon Pixma MG5750
£68 from
Tested: Issue 470
You don’t get many frills, but this
compact all-in-one printer/scanner
includes all the essentials, like Wi-Fi
and printing both sides of the paper
(duplex), at a reasonable price. It’s
fairly quick, running costs are better
than average, and the five-ink system
ensures photos and black text both
come out looking great.
For more business-type tasks, this
all-in-one has automatic paper feed
for the scanner and the ability to print
occasional A3 pages. £170 from
£70 from
Tested: Issue 453
This visual web-design program makes
creating sites more like laying out a
document than writing HTML code, and
sites can be responsive, meaning they
look right on both big and small screens
without extra work. A basic version is
also available for half the price.
ALTERNATIVE: Incomedia WebSite X5
v12 Evolution It may feel a little basic,
but this straightforward program outputs
efficient HTML code and responsive pages.
£50 from
Samsung 960 Pro 512GB
£318 from
Tested: Issue 491
Made for the fast M.2 interface that’s
increasingly common inside PCs, this is
not a cheap option, but if you want an
SSD you want speed, and this has it in
spades. Samsung’s 850 Evo (£150 for
500GB) is a good budget choice.
UV400 480GB Much slower, but still
faster than a hard drive, this gives you
more GB per pound. £140 from
Win 1 of 3
Pinnacle Studio 20
Exciting features in the latest
version of Corel’s Pinnacle
Studio Ultimate include
360-degree video editing,
Easy Track Transparency,
Motion Tracking and Mosaic Blur. You
can also enjoy Multi-Camera Editing
and Stop Motion Animation, plus more
than 2,000 effects and templates.
Winners can get the free update to
version 20.5, which contains extra
features including Split Screen video,
template creation, and more. To enter
this competition, email your address to with ‘pinnacle’ in
the subject line by midnight 23 May.
Pinnacle Studio 20.5 is available in
three versions - standard (£39.95),
Plus (£59.95) and Ultimate (£74.95) all available to buy from www. For more information
follow @corelsoftware on Twitter.
Y-cam Day/Night
£130 from
Tested: Issue 483
Smaller and simpler than rivals, this
all-in-one 720p HD Wi-Fi camera is
triggered by motion. Play back or watch
live remotely from your iOS or Android
phone or tablet. A week’s cloud storage
is free, upgradable to 30 days for £3.99
per month.
Batteries, which last months, make
these cameras (the price is for two)
very practical. Cloud storage beyond
a week costs extra. £250 from
10 - 23 May 2017 33
& LL
Is K
su E
e E
50 P T
Workshops & Tips
Edited by Sherwin Coelho
14 pages of easy-to-follow workshopss and expert tips
35 Share your PC screen
with other people
38 Control Kodi from
your tablet
40 Make your own music
for free
42 Track UK flights from
your iPad
43 Readers’ Tips
44 Phone & Tablet Tips
46 Make Windows Better
47 Make Office Better
48 Secret Tips For...
Share your PC screen
with other people
What you need: Blizz; Windows 7, 8 or 10; Android or iOS (phone or tablet)
Time required: 35 minutes
eamViewer, our favourite
program for remotely
accessing other PCs, has
launched Blizz. This free PC
program lets you share
whatever you do on your PC
with up to 10 people, making
it perfect for free video chats
with the whole family, wherever
they live. It’s also a great way
for people to help each other
when trying to fix tech
problems, and for sharing
files quickly.
STEP To install Blizz, go to, click the
green Download Now button, then run the setup file.
You’ll see the program’s main interface, with options to
‘Share screen’ 1 , and start a video 2 or audio call 3 . You’ll also
see your Meeting ID 4 , which others need to remotely view
your PC. It’s a good idea to create an account, so click Sign In 5
then, if you have one, log in using your TeamViewer account. If
not, click Sign Up to create an account. Finally, click the link in
the email you receive to activate your account.
STEP To share your desktop activity with others, click ‘Share
screen’. The Blizz panel will pop up – click and drag it
to reposition it on your screen. It contains your Meeting
ID 1 . The ‘Screen sharing’ section 2 displays your desktop (what
the others will see). To invite people, click ‘Copy to clipboard’ 3 .
This copies a message that includes a link to install Blizz and
your Meeting ID. Paste this into an email and send it. Recipients
will need to install the program, enter your Meeting ID, then
click Join.
10 - 23 May 2017 35
STEP They’ll now see whatever you do on your PC in real-
time in a new window on their PC. By default, they
can remotely control your PC. You’ll see their name(s)
added at the top right as they join the group. Click their
dropdown menu 1 to see options. Click ‘Add contact’ 2 to add
that person to your Blizz contact list. They’ll then see a contact
request from you which they need to accept. In this menu, you
can also revoke remote access 3 , or remove the ability for them
to draw on your screen 4 (see Step 5) by unticking those options.
Click ‘Remove participant’ 5 to expel them from the group.
STEP By default, participants can see everything that
happens on your screen. To restrict this, move your
cursor to the screen-sharing window, click the
‘Presenting applicant’ dropdown menu 1 , then click to select
the items you want them to see. For example, if you only select
Desktop 2 and Chrome 3 , the group will only see what you do
on your desktop and within Chrome. The rest of the time they
will see a blank screen in their window. This is useful because
if, for example, you check your emails within Outlook, they
won’t be able to read them.
STEP As well as sharing your screen, you or any participant
can draw on your screen. You can then save this as an
image - useful if you want to highlight a specific item.
To do this, click the Whiteboard slider 1 to turn it on.
You’ll see various tools, including pen, highlighter, eraser and
text box 2 that you and group members can use. To save any
drawn marks as an image, click Save 3 , then name it and save
the image on your PC. Alternatively, click Clear 4 to remove
all marks on your desktop. Turn the Whiteboard slider off
when you’ve finished.
36 10 - 23 May 2017
STEP You can also share what you do on your PC with
Android or iOS devices (phone or tablet). You need to
send the email from Step 2. The recipient will see the
option to install the Blizz app (Android;
iOS In the app, they need to enter
your Meeting ID, then tap Join. They’ll now see whatever you do
on your screen on their device 1 . Group members connected
via mobile devices won’t be able to control your PC or draw
marks on your screen, but they can use the chat icon 2 to give
feedback, which you’ll see at the bottom of your Blizz panel.
Share your PC screen with other people
STEP Other useful features include the ability to transfer
files (documents or photos) to any group member
using a PC. To do that, click to expand the ‘File box’
dropdown menu 1 . Drag and drop any file into this window 2
and it will instantly appear on the other PC. The recipient will
need to double-click the file to download it to their desktop.
You can follow their download progress 3 . There doesn’t
seem to be a limit on the file size, but you can only send one
file at a time. Close the Blizz panel, then click ‘End meeting’
when you’ve finished.
STEP The program also lets you make free video and audio
conference calls. We’ll explain how to make a video
call, but the process is the same for audio calls. First, if
it doesn’t have one built in, ensure you have a webcam
connected to your PC. Now open Blizz on your PC, then click
the ‘Video call’ button on the main screen. Your webcam will
switch on 1 . Click the ‘Invite participants’ button 2 to see three
options. ‘Call contacts’ 3 lets you call any contact you’ve already
added (see Step 3). ‘Copy to clipboard’ 4 sends them a link to
install Blizz and join your video call.
STEP Recipients using a PC will see the option to
accept the call 1 and respond via video 2 . If
they don’t answer within 30 seconds 3 , the
call will terminate (click Cancel to end the call before
this). Once they answer, you’ll both see each other
(much like a Skype call) and you’ll see the option to
invite more people to the call (maximum is 10).
Click ‘Share screen’ if you want to show the other
person(s) your screen as you’re video chatting.
Recipients on phones and tablets will need to select
the Blizz app after tapping the invitation link in their
email. You can change your microphone and speaker
volume levels using the sliders on the right. To end
the call, click the red X icon at the top, then click
‘End meeting’.
STEP Open Blizz on your PC, click the Settings
icon 1 , then click Options 2 . The Profile tab
lets you change your name (as seen by other
group members), email address and password 3 .
Click the Meeting tab 4 , then untick ‘Share
computer sounds and music’ if you don’t want
others to hear anything from your PC. The ‘Audio
conferencing’ and Video tabs 5 let you tweak your
speakers, microphone and webcam settings. The
‘Custom invitation’ tab lets you change the message
that others see when you send them an invite (see
Steps 2 and 8). ●
10 - 23 May 2017 37
Control Kodi from your tablet
What you need: Windows 7 to 10; Android phone or tablet; iPhone or iPad
Time required: 20 minutes
n our cover feature in Issue
498, we explained why the
latest version of Kodi
(Krypton) is the best free
media player for watching
films and listening to music.
There’s an easy way to
navigate Kodi and control
playback on your PC using
free remote-control apps on
your phone or tablet. We’ll
show you which Kodi settings
you need to tweak on your PC
to make this work, and how
to get the most out of the
Android and iOS apps.
STEP By default, the Kodi PC program
( doesn’t
let you remotely control it. To
enable this, open Kodi, click the cog
(settings) icon at the top left, then the
‘Service settings’ tile on the right.
Next, click the cog icon to switch it to
Standard 1 . Click Control 2 , then click
the slider beside ‘Allow remote control
via HTTP’ 3 to switch it on. Turn on the
‘Allow remote control from application
on other systems’ slider 4 .
STEP Now install the ‘Kore, Official Remote for
Kodi’ Android app (
24179). If you use an iPhone or iPad, skip
to Step 7. Open the app, tap Next and you’ll see a
‘Searching for media centers on your local
network’ message. After a few seconds, you may
see a ‘No media center found’ message 1 . If so, go
to Step 3. If you see an ‘All done! - Your media
center is configured’ message, tap Finish and go
to Step 5.
38 10 – 23 May 2017
STEP The ‘No media center found’ message means you have to configure
the Kodi app on your phone or tablet. To do that, return to Kodi on
your PC, click the cog icon at the top left, then ‘System information’
at the bottom. Here, you’ll see your PC’s IP address 1 , along with info
about your operating system 2 and ‘System CPU usage’ 3 .
STEP Now return to the ‘No
media center found’
message in the Kodi
app and tap Next at the
bottom right. You’ll see a
‘Manual configuration’ screen
with four blank fields. Type
kodi in the ‘Media center
name’ field 1 . Type your PC’s
IP address (from Step 3) in the
Address field 2 , type kodi in
both the username and
passwords fields below 3 ,
then tap Test 4 . You will now
see a message saying ‘All done!
– Your media center is
configured’. Tap Finish.
STEP You’ll now see a
section on the left
with options. Tap
Remote to control Kodi on
your PC using the buttons on
the app. Tap the back button 1
to go to the previous screen in
Kodi. Use the arrow buttons 2
to navigate menus and the
middle button to select
something. The icons at the
bottom 3 let you access films,
TV shows, music and photos.
If you lose your way, tap the
Home button 4 to return to
Kodi’s main screen.
STEP If you’re playing a film or music track,
you’ll see its title 1 , along with another
playback control section. Repeatedly tap
the rewind or fast-forward icons 2 to increase the
speed, then tap the play/pause button 3 . Tap the
power icon 4 for options to remotely reboot or
shut down your PC. Tap the three dots 5 , then tap
‘Add ons’ to see all the add-ons you’ve installed in
Kodi on your PC.
STEP The best free app for controlling Kodi from your iPhone or
iPad is ‘Sybu for Kodi and XBMC’ (
When you first open it, the app will attempt to connect to
Kodi on your PC. If it fails to find Kodi, you’ll see a setup screen,
where you’ll need to enter your details (as in Step 4), then tap Done.
Within a few seconds you’ll see a remote-control interface. Click the
circular arrow 1 to go to the previous screen on your PC. Use the
arrow buttons 2 to navigate menus and tap OK to make a selection.
If you’re playing a film or music, you’ll see a scrubber bar 3 and
volume dial 4 . Tap the power button 5 for options to remotely shut
down or reboot your PC. ●
10 – 23 May 2017 39
Make your own music for free
What you need: Magix Music Maker; Any Windows version (XP to 10)
Time required: 40 minutes
agix Music Maker
has been a popular
music-creation program for
over 20 years. Until recently
it cost £45, but is now free.
It offers a huge selection of
virtual instruments and
vocal loops that you can
combine as multiple studio
tracks to create your own
piece of music, even if you
don’t play an instrument or
write music. We’ll show you
how to use its brilliant tools
to create your own tunes in
under an hour.
STEP To install the program, go to www.snipca.
com/24137, scroll down, click the
‘Download now’ button on the left, then
‘Start download’ on the following page. Open the
downloaded setup file, click Yes, then when you see
the setup screen, select Standard 1 , tick the T&Cs 2 ,
then click Continue 3 . The program will now begin
installing (it can take about 10-15 minutes). After
that’s done, you’ll be prompted to restart your PC.
Open Magix Music Maker when your PC restarts.
STEP Before you start recording, it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself
with the program. Select ‘Create new project’ on the Welcome
screen, then click OK. The main window has four sections. In the
bottom left you’ll see a keyboard selected 1 . In the top right, you’ll see a list
of instruments 2 . Double-click any instrument to see a library of its loops
below 3 – click one to listen to it. Double-click a loop to add it to the main
editing window 4 . Press your spacebar at any time to listen to your
composition as it develops.
STEP Click and drag the right-hand marker of the
40 10 - 23 May 2017
yellow bar 1 to set the duration of your
music. To extend a track on your timeline,
move your cursor to its right-hand edge until your
cursor turns into a double-headed arrow 2 , then
click and drag it to the right. To delete a track, click
to select it, then click the cross icon 3 . Similarly, you
can split a track by selecting it, moving the red
marker 4 to the splitting point, then clicking the
scissors icon 5 . You can now edit each split section
independently. Press Ctrl+Z to undo any changes.
Use the playback controls 6 to play your track.
STEP A track’s Solo button
STEP To change the volume of a track, click it and you’ll see an orange
line 1 . Click and drag the line’s central marker 2 up or down to
change the volume. To create a fade-in effect, click the marker at
the start of the track, then move it to the right. To fade out, click the marker
at the end of the track 3 and move it to the left. To see more or less detail,
click the zoom icons 4 and use the scroll bar to navigate along the track 5 .
1 lets you listen only
to that track, while its Mute button 2
silences it. To record a track of your own,
click the Keyboard tab at the bottom left to play the
virtual keyboard. When you’re ready to play, press
the Record button 3 . Your track will start playing
and whatever you play will be recorded in a separate
track 4 . Click Stop 5 when you’ve finished. With
the correct connections you can also record actual
instruments using this program.
STEP It’s a good idea to periodically save your work.
To do that, click the floppy-disc icon 1 , name your
composition 2 , choose where you want to save it on
your PC, then click Save 3 . To continue editing this project,
reopen the program, select ‘Load project’ on the Welcome
screen, then click the folder icon. Alternatively, click the ‘Load
project’ icon 4 . Select your project file, then click Open. Your
editing window will appear exactly how you last saved it.
STEP There are various ways to save your music
as an audio file. To do that, click File 1 , then move
your cursor to Export 2 . You’ll see several audio-file
format options, including Windows Media Audio and WAV.
Choose WAV 3 because it offers the best audio quality. By
default, the program saves the file in the [Your User Name]>My
Documents>MAGIX>Music Maker folder. However, you can
change this location by clicking the folder icon at the top right.
Click OK to begin exporting your arrangement as an audio file.
You’ll see a confirmation message when that’s done. ●
10 - 23 May 2017 41
Track UK flights
from your iPad
What you need: iPad Time required: 15 minutes
n Issue 500, we recommended
the free Airspace Explorer app
for iPad (see Best New Apps, page
44), which lets you monitor
flights from any UK airport in
real time. The app plots flight
paths on a virtual map and
provides comprehensive flight
data about the airline, type of
aircraft, and estimated arrival
and departures times. It also has
a 3D mode that lets you view
aircraft flying at different
STEP Install the app (, open it,
then tap Allow. Next, tap the X icon at the top right to
close the NATS (National Air Traffic Services) web page
and return to the app. Using the pinch-out gesture on the map,
zoom in until you see aircraft icons 1 . Tap the three lines at the
top right to reveal the app’s dashboard, then tap Airport to list
all the UK’s airports alphabetically. Tap an airport of choice,
then ‘Inbound flights’ or ‘Outbound flights’ 2 . Tap any flight 3
to see the flight path (as a green line) on the map 4 .
1 to see its flight path and
flight data on the right, including the airline, aircraft
type, point of departure, destination, length of the trip
(in miles), its airspeed, altitude, and scheduled (and estimated)
departure and arrival times. You can also tap helicopters 2 and
charter flights 3 for any available info on those (though this
data is usually more limited). Swipe right 4 to see photos of the
flight (if available). Some flights offer a 3D option at the bottom
right. Tap this to see a 3D model that you can zoom into and out
of from any angle. Swipe right again to see the aircraft’s length,
height and wingspan in metres.
STEP You can also tap a plane
STEP The app has other useful features. This slider
1 lets you
see flights within a certain altitude range. Tap the
Location icon 2 to see flights going over your current
location. Next, tap the 3D button (which then switches to 2D 3 ),
to see a bird’s-eye three-dimensional view of flights that you
can zoom in and out of. As in 2D mode, tap the planes to see
flight data in the right-hand pane 4 .
24 May
Download best new themes for Windows 10
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Make your Recycle Bin unhackable
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42 10 - 23 May 2017
Readers’ Tips
Handy hints and tips from your fellow readers
Email us your tips:
Make your most-used programs easily accessible
A few days ago, I decided to update my
PC and saw a message asking me to
install the Windows 10 Creators Update.
I was initially sceptical, but I followed
the Workshop in Issue 500 (on page 40)
about the safety measures to take before
installing the Creators Update, so I
decided to give it a go. My PC was
updated after a few hours and
everything went pretty smoothly.
However, I noticed that whenever I
right-clicked an image, then moved my
cursor to ‘Open with’, the right-click
menu list didn’t display IrfanView and
PicPick – the programs I use to edit my
photos and screenshots. Instead, it only
showed me Microsoft’s default
programs – Photos, Paint and Paint 3D.
Thankfully, I remember helping a friend
add programs to this context menu.
Terry wins a copy of our 2016 Back Issue CD
Right-click any photo, move your
cursor to ‘Open with’, then click
‘Choose another app’. Scroll to the
bottom of the window that opens, click
‘More apps’, scroll to the bottom again,
then click ‘Look for another app on this
PC’ (see screenshot). Now open your
C Drive, go to the Program Files or
Program Files (x86) folder, open the
folder of the program you want to add
(IrfanView or PicPick, in my case), click
to select its setup file, then click OK. In
future, whenever you right-click an
image, then move your cursor to ‘Open
with’, you’ll now see this program in
your menu.
Terry Monkwell
Buy it on Amazon
Fix your touchpad
I have a Lenovo ThinkPad laptop
that runs Windows 10. Recently, my
touchpad stopped working. I could see
my cursor on screen but it wouldn’t move
when I placed my finger on my touchpad.
My laptop has a small pointer stick (called
AccuPoint) between the G, H and B keys.
I could move my cursor using this and
make selections by pressing Enter or by
pressing the button at the top left of my
touchpad. I think I accidentally pressed
something that set AccuPoint as my
default navigation tool instead of my
touchpad. I researched how rectify this.
Press the Start button, type mouse
settings, then press Enter. Next, click the
‘Additional mouse options’ link at the top
right. Now click the Advanced tab, the
‘Advanced feature settings’ button at the
bottom, then click the Device Select tab.
Here, untick Use AccuPoint, tick Use
Touch Pad (see screenshot), click Apply,
then click OK.
Sam Drummond
I recently came across a new
Chrome extension called Email
This. It’s a great tool if you like to save
long articles to read later, as I do. It emails
you the text and images of any article that
you come across online. You can then
read this at your convenience.
To install the extension, go to, click ‘Add to
Chrome’, then click ‘Add extension’.
Now type your email address in the field
provided, then click ‘Get started’. Finally,
open the email address you typed, then
click ‘Confirm my email’. Now, whenever
you come across an interesting article
online, click the yellow ‘et’ extension in
your toolbar. You’ll instantly get an email
of the entire article. You can also rightclick the links of any articles, then click
Email This to get them emailed to you.
Sue Reed
My new Windows 10 PC didn’t
come with Microsoft Office, so I
now use LibreOffice (www.libreoffice.
org) instead. My wife uses Word on her
laptop. Even though I can open
documents she sends me, she can’t
access my LibreOffice Writer documents.
Thankfully, I found a way to save Writer
files in Word’s default ‘.docx’ format, so
she can access them.
To do that, click Tools at the top,
then click Options at the bottom.
Now, expand the Load/Save option on
the left, select General, click the
‘Always save as dropdown menu’
and click ‘Microsoft Word 2007-2013
XML’ (see screenshot above), then
click OK. Now your documents
will be saved in Word’s ‘.docx’ format
by default.
Ash Singh
Email favourite articles to
yourself with one click
Make LibreOffice documents
compatible with Microsoft Office
10 – 23 May 2017 43
Phone and Tablet Tips
Avoid parking
Google has updated its
Maps app with a feature
that lets you save where
you parked your car and how long you
can park there. This can help you avoid
parking tickets. Announcing the feature
in its blog (,
Google said that “if you connect to your
car using USB audio or Bluetooth, your
parking spot will be automatically added
to the map when you disconnect and
exit the vehicle”.
If your car doesn’t have USB audio or
Bluetooth, open Google Maps (default on
Brilliant things to do on your device
Android; iOS
after parking your car. You should now
see your current location as a blue dot on
the map. Tap the dot to see a menu at the
bottom, then tap ‘Save your parking’.
You’ll see an option called ‘Parking
location’. Tap it to see more information
(see screenshot below left).
Here, you can change your location by
tapping the ‘Change location’ link,
moving the red pinhead icon to where
you parked, then tapping OK. Tap
‘Parking location’ again, then type any
parking notes and add your remaining
parking time by moving the hours and
minutes slider. You can add photos of
your car if you want. You’ll now see
a reminder notification 15 minutes
before your parking time expires.
Digitise photos faster
than ever
In Issue 491, page 40,
we showed you how
to digitise your old
printed photos using Google’s
PhotoScan app. The app takes four
images in the background, removes
any photo glare, then displays one
digital photo that you can save to
Google Photos. This can be timeconsuming if you’re digitising many
The app has now been updated with
a new anti-glare mode that lets you
digitise your photos with one tap. It’s
Best New Apps
Yahoo Mail
The latest update to the Yahoo Mail app
has added support for Gmail, Outlook and
AOL accounts. You’ll see the option to add
these accounts
when you
install the app.
It gives you 1TB
of free onlinestorage space
and you can
customise what
swiping across
emails does
(delete, archive,
move, etc.).
44 10 - 23 May 2017
also ideal for saving documents and
photos. You can use both methods and
see which one produces better results.
We found that the method explained in
the Workshop produced better results
when scanning glossy photos, whereas
the anti-glare mode was better for
scanning paper photos and documents.
Install and open the app (Android; iOS www. If you use Google
Photos (Android;
iOS, you can
launch PhotoScan by tapping the three
What you should install this fortnight
iMovie & GarageBand
Free iMovie:
Apple has made its video- and music-editing
apps completely free. Previously, they were
only free if you bought an iPhone or iPad
after 1 September 2013. If you had an older
device, GarageBand was £3.99 and iMovie
£12.99. We’ll show you how to use iMovie in
the next issue.
Microsoft Flow
Windows Phone:
In Issue 491, we showed you how to use
Flow, Microsoft’s new automated tasks
service – see the Workshop on page 38. It
is now available
on Windows
Phones. You
can use it to
upload photos
to OneDrive, get
notifications from
specific Outlook
recipients and
get daily weather
lines at the top left, then tapping ‘Scan
photos’. To use the anti-glare mode, tap
the anti-glare icon (see screenshot left),
position your device’s camera over the
photo, then tap the shutter icon to take
your photo.
When you’ve finished, tap the photo
icon at the bottom right to see all the
photos you took. Tap Save All if you’re
happy with your photos. Alternatively,
tap and hold any photo, tap to select the
others you want, then tap Save.
Stabilise shaky videos
Taking videos with an unsteady
hand or while walking around
can cause jerks and movement
within your footage. To remedy this,
Google has updated its Photos app with a
new feature that lets you stabilise shaky
videos you’ve uploaded to the service.
default format, so you can adjust
the text, font, page colours and
read it on any Kindle app or device.
First install and open the Kindle
app (,
then log in with the Amazon
account you use on your Kindle
device. You’ll see the Kindle
ebooks you’ve bought.
You now need to add the ‘Send to
Kindle’ feature to Safari. Open
Safari, then tap the Share icon at
the top right. You’ll see two rows of
icons. Swipe to the extreme right of
the top row, tap More, scroll to the
bottom, tap the ‘Send to Kindle’
slider to turn it on, then tap Done.
In future, to save an article in
Safari to your Kindle, tap the share
icon, swipe across the top row, tap
the ‘Send to Kindle’ icon (see screenshot),
then tap Send. You’ll see a message saying
it’s saved to your Kindle library.
Games With Kids
What to play together on your phone and tablet
AGES 0 5
Peppa Pig Goes around the World
If you haven’t set Google Photos to
automatically upload the videos you take,
then ensure you’ve installed the Google
Photos app (Android
24219; iOS and
log into your account. Now navigate to
your Gallery app, tap to select your videos,
tap the share icon, then select the Photos
app and wait until they’ve been uploaded.
After that’s done, open Google Photos,
select the video you want to stabilise,
then tap the pen-shaped icon at the
bottom. After a few seconds, you’ll see
the option to Stabilise and Rotate your
video (see screenshot). Tap Stabilise and
wait until that’s done. How long this
takes will depend on the length of your
video and how unsteady it is. Play your
video to watch it, then tap Save to save it.
Send web articles to your Kindle
You can now save to your Kindle
articles you like while browsing
the web on Safari (Apple’s
browser). They are saved to Kindle’s
£2.99 (Android)
£2.99 (iOS)
Your child won’t need to be a Peppa Pig fan
to be entertained by these games and
activities. Our favourites include playing
hide-and-seek with monkeys and parrots,
counting penguins in the South Pole and
tapping to find rare lizards in the desert.
AGES 6 10
Cut the Rope: Magic*
Free (Android)
Free (iOS)
In this popular puzzle game, containing
160 levels, your child helps Om Nom
the frog get the candybar by cutting
ropes at the right time. It’s a great way
for young children to learn basic concepts
of physics.
AGES 11 16
Top Gear: Donut Dash*
Free (Android)
Free (iOS)
Here’s a fun way for youngsters to pretend
to get behind the wheels of the vehicles
featured on Top Gear. The challenge is to
stay within the circular track and perform
‘donuts’ – putting the car into a circular spin
– to destroy incoming vehicles.
*Contains in-app purchases
10 - 23 May 2017 45
Make Windows Better
Hide files and folders
There’s an easy way to hide files
and folders in Windows 10. This is
a good method to protect
sensitive content from prying eyes. To do
this, navigate to the location of the file/
folder within File Explorer, right-click the
item you want to hide, then click
Properties. Now tick Hidden at the
bottom, then click Apply. If you’re hiding
a folder, you’ll see a pop-up window.
Select ‘Apply changes to this folder,
subfolder and files’ (see screenshot
below), then click OK twice.
This file/folder now won’t be visible
within File Explorer. To see it, click the
View tab at the top, then tick ‘Hidden
items’ in the ‘Show/hide’ section. If
you want to make the file/folder visible
again, right-click it, click Properties,
untick Hidden, click Apply, then click
OK twice.
Expert tips for every program
WINDOWS 7, 8, 10
Schedule your PC to shut down at
midnight when you’re not using it
It’s straightforward to
make your PC shut
down automatically at
midnight when you’re
not using it. To do this,
you’ll need to set up a
new task in Task
Scheduler. Press
the Windows key,
type task scheduler,
then click the option to
open it. Click Create
Task on the right. In the
window that opens,
name the task ‘Shutdown’. At the
bottom, select ‘Run whether user is
logged on or not’, tick ‘Run with
highest privileges’, select your
Windows version in the ‘Configure for’
dropdown menu at the bottom right,
then click OK twice.
Next, click the Triggers tab at the
top, then click New at the bottom.
In the window that opens, select Daily
on the right, set the time to 00:00:00,
then click OK. Now click the Actions
tab, then click New at the bottom. In
the ‘Programs/script’ field type
shutdown, type /S /F in the ‘Add
arguments’ field, then click OK.
Here, ‘/S’ is the shutdown PC
command and ‘/F’ is the command
to force-close programs running in
the background.
Next, click the Conditions tab, tick
the first two boxes in the Idle and
Power sections (see screenshot), then
click the Settings tab. Here, tick ‘If the
task fails, restart every 30 minutes’,
then click OK. Finally, click OK, type
your Windows user account password,
then click OK again. Your PC will now
automatically shut down at midnight
unless you’re using it.
Uninstall space-hogging
programs and apps quickly
It’s useful to know which
programs and apps are
consuming the most storage
space on your PC. To do that, right-click
the Windows button at the bottom
left of your PC, then click ‘Apps and
Features’ at the top. You’ll see a list of all
the apps installed on your PC. Here, click
the ‘Sort by’ dropdown menu and select
Size, then click the ‘Filter by’ dropdown
menu and select This PC (see screenshot
above right). You’ll see a list of all the
apps and programs that consume the
most space. To uninstall the ones you
don’t need, click to select them, then
click Uninstall.
46 10 - 23 May 2017
See apps you’ve installed on
other PCs
If you have more than one
Windows 10 PC you can see
which apps you have installed on
your other PCs – if you use the same
Microsoft account to log into them. To do
this, open the Windows Store by clicking
its icon at the bottom of your screen.
Next, click your user account icon
at the top right, then click My Library.
You’ll see some of the apps and games
you’ve installed on other PCs. Click ‘Show
all’ to see all of them (see screenshot).
Click the download icon to download the
app to your device. You won’t be charged
to install apps that you’ve bought on
another PC.
Make Office Better
Expert tips for every program
Add a table of contents to your documents quickly
If your document contains
several chapters or topic
headings across many pages,
then it’s a good idea to insert a table of
contents at the start. Creating this
manually is time consuming. Instead
you should use Word’s built-in ‘Table of
Contents’ feature.
To do this, highlight the first chapter
title/heading in your document, click
the Home tab, then select one of the
Heading styles at the top right. Repeat
this for the rest of the headings. Next,
click the References tab, click the ‘Table
Sway now lets you add audio
recordings to your online
presentations. The feature is only
available when using Sway in Microsoft
Edge, Chrome or Firefox. To use it, go to, click ‘Sign in’ at the top
right, then log in with your Microsoft
account. You’ll see your presentations.
Select one or click Create New.
Click the Cards tab at the top left,
then the Audio tile on the left. Next,
click Record on the right, then Allow
to let your browser access your PC’s
microphone. You’ll now see a countdown
timer at the bottom of your screen. After
it counts down from three whatever you
say will be recorded. You’ll see the option
to pause or stop the recording. After you
stop it, you’ll see a slider at the bottom
that lets you play back your recording (see
screenshot below). Click ‘Add to Sway’ if
you’re happy with it. Alternatively, click
Re-record, or the bin icon to discard it.
OneNote is a great tool for
organising your life by creating
quick to-do lists. One of its most
useful features is the option to add
helpful symbols to items in your lists that
show their status. These include blank
checkboxes for tasks still to be carried
out, ticked checkboxes for completed
tasks, star icons for important tasks,
and question marks for items you’re
uncertain about (see screenshot right).
The quickest way to add these symbols
is by using keyboard shortcuts. These
shortcuts work in the OneNote program,
its Windows 10 app and on the website
First highlight list items you want to
add the formatting symbols to. Press
Ctrl+1 to add empty checkboxes beside
those items you’ve highlighted. Press the
same shortcut again and the boxes will be
ticked. Press Ctrl+2 to add star icons and
Ctrl+3 to add question marks.
Add audio recordings to
your presentations
of Contents’ dropdown menu at the
top left, then select one of the table
styles from the list.
To customise your contents, click
the ‘Table of Contents’ dropdown
menu again, then click ‘Insert Table
of Contents’ at the bottom. In the
window that opens (see screenshot),
you’ll see options to display page
numbers and align them to the right.
Click the ‘Tab leader’ and Formats
dropdown menus and select the styles
you want. When you’re happy, click OK,
then Yes to add it to the first page of
your document.
If you make any changes to your
document, you can update this table
by clicking the References tab, then
clicking Update Table at the top left.
You’ll see two options – ‘Update page
numbers only’ and ‘Update entire table’.
Select the one you want, then click OK.
Add status symbols to your
to-do lists
Save Outlook items on your
desktop for quick access
If there’s an email you refer to
often, you can save this to your
desktop for quick access. To do
this, click Restore (middle button in the
top-right corner) to reduce the size of the
Outlook window. Now drag the email you
want from your Outlook inbox list to
your desktop.
It will appear as a small mail-style
icon with its email subject line. You can
rename it by right-clicking the icon, then
clicking Rename. Clicking any of these
icons on your desktop opens the mail in
Outlook. As well as emails, you can also
drag calendar events, notes and contacts
to your desktop for quick access.
10 – 23 May 2017 47
Secret Tips For…
Convert a PDF back to a Word
document without flaws
The best way to convert a PDF back to
Word is by using Nitro’s PDF converter
( because it will
keep all the formatting.
Go to the website and you’ll see Nitro’s
‘PDF to Word Converter’ tool on the left.
By default, it’s set to convert PDFs to
Word documents. Click Word and choose
either Excel or PowerPoint in the
dropdown menu if you prefer.
Next click ‘Select your file’, navigate to
the PDF you want to convert and select it,
enter your email address in the ‘Email
converted file to’ box, then
click Convert Now (see
screenshot right). After a
few seconds you should see
a pop-up with a green tick
to indicate the process has
completed. Ignore the Try
Free button and click the
‘X’ (top right) to close it.
After a few minutes, you
should receive an email
from Nitro Cloud with an
orange ‘Download the
Nitro’s handy tool will
convert any PDF to a
Word document and keep
formatting intact
Extract images from a PDF, edit scanned text,
make a PDF of a web page, and convert PDFs
to Word documents
document’ button. Click this to download
your converted Word document with the
formatting of the original PDF preserved.
Our ever-vigilant Gmail account filter
actually sent Nitro’s email to our spam
folder, so be sure to check there if the
email doesn’t appear in your inbox
within 15 minutes.
Extract embedded photos
Sometimes it’s not the words on a PDF
you’re interested in, it’s the images. If so,
the easiest way to extract them is by
using the free online tool Smallpdf
( Go to the website,
click the ‘PDF to JPG’ tile
(far right of top row), click
‘Choose file’, navigate to
the PDF you want to
extract the images from
then click Open. Once the
PDF has been uploaded,
click ‘Extract single
images’, then click Choose
Option (see screenshot
above). You’ll see a
Processing message. Once
the process is complete the
page will refresh. Click
‘Download as ZIP’ to
download the images as
a ZIP file.
Save a web page as a PDF
If you want to save an entire web page,
one handy way is to turn it into a PDF.
In Chrome and Edge, go to the web
page you want to convert, click the
Settings icon (the three dots at the top
right), then Print. In Edge’s menu,
48 10 – 23 May 2017
select ‘Microsoft Print to PDF’ in the
Printer dropdown menu then Print. In
Chrome’s menu, click ‘Save as PDF’,
then click Save. Another menu will
then appear where you can select
where you want to save the PDF. Once
you’ve made your selection, type a
file name, then click Save.
Firefox users should use the PDF
Mage extension (
24236). Go to the URL, click the ‘Add
to Firefox’ button, then Install. Click
the PDF Mage icon whenever you
want to save a web page. Click the
Download icon to save it to your PC
(see screenshot).
Extract all images from a PDF using the free
online tool SmallPDFs
Edit text on a scanned PDF
The one limitation of PDF-to-Word
converters like Nitro is that they won’t
convert a PDF that wasn’t originally
created in Word – for example, scanned
files. If you find the file you converted
with Nitro isn’t editable (ie you can’t
add or delete text) you can extract its
text using OCR (Optical Character
Recognition) software.
Google Drive is one of the best free
OCR options. Open Google Drive (www., log in with your
details, then click New, ‘File upload’,
navigate to the PDF, then click Open.
After a few seconds you’ll see a message
at the bottom-right saying
‘1 upload complete’. Next, click Recent
(on the left), then right-click the PDF
you just uploaded (it should be the first in
the list). Click ‘Open with’, then select
Google Docs (see screenshot below).
After about 30 seconds you’ll see all of
the text from the PDF (though you’ll lose
much of the formatting).
To open this in Word, click File,
‘Download as’, ‘Microsoft Word (.docx)’,
then select ‘Open with Microsoft Word’
and click OK in the pop-up box.
Upload and open a PDF in Google Docs to
extract its text
Next issue Secret Tips For… Kdenlive
What’s All the Fuss About...
Google AutoDraw
Can’t draw, won’t draw? No matter. Google can come to the rescue
What is it?
A new website that tries to guess what
you’re drawing, then turns it into a
professional version, transforming your
rough scribbles into art.
How does it do that?
By using what’s behind so many great
websites at the moment: machine
learning. The more pictures that
AutoDraw sees, the more accurate
its guesses become – using artificial
intelligence only, rather than human. It’s
the latest addition to Google’s brilliant
collection of AI Experiments (https://
What if I can’t draw?
That doesn’t matter. Just go to www. (on your PC, phone or
tablet) and start doodling on screen
with your mouse or (if you have a
touchscreen) your finger. We drew a
cat, as you can see in Screenshot 1.
AutoDraw will try to identify what’s in
AutoDraw even converts crazy squiggles into
pretty patterns
your picture, and suggest options along
the top. Our drawing of a cat was so bad
that AutoDraw first thought it was a
pineapple, then a bucket of paint.
Did it guess right eventually?
Yes, as soon as we added whiskers. It
suggested several cat images, including
the one we chose (see Screenshot 2).
Can I get more creative with it?
Absolutely. As you draw you can add
elements from the left-hand menu,
including text, shapes, and colours. To
remove AutoDraw’s suggestions, simply
click the second pencil icon down (called
‘Draw’), then change the thickness by
moving the black slider at the top.
it into an email and send it.
What can I use the image for?
Anything you like – there’s no copyright.
Our moggy image, for example, would
make a lovely image for a newsletter
about your pet cat (should you ever feel
the need to write one).
Who created the images?
Some of them were made by designers,
illustrators and artists (see www., who teamed
up with Google. Their suggestions in
AutoDraw are marked with a gold star
(submit your own at www.snipca.
com/24117). Others appear to have come
from Google’s ‘Quick, Draw!’ database.
What if I just draw random
What’s that?
That won’t beat AutoDraw. We unleashed
our inner toddler on it, scrawling all over
the screen, expecting to crash the site or
have it identified as a bowl of spaghetti.
Instead it calmly suggested several pretty
patterns, including the one on the left.
It’s another example of how computers
can learn to recognise drawings. Visit and
you’ll be asked to sketch something in
under 20 seconds. The AI powering the
website guesses what you’re drawing, as
though it’s playing Pictionary with you.
Can I download the images?
What else can Google’s AI do?
Yes – both your drawing and AutoDraw’s,
as a PNG file. Click the top-left menu
button (three horizontal lines), then
select Download. This menu also lets
you share the image. Click Share, then
choose whether to post the image
on Twitter, Facebook or Google+.
Alternatively, click the Copy Link button
to copy a URL of the drawing, then paste
It can translate an object into another
language simply by recognising a photo
of it – visit, then
click ‘Launch Experiment’ at the top
right. Equally impressive is Birds Sounds
(, a tool that
categorises thousands of noises made by
our feathered friends. They are definitely
the most interesting tweets on the web.
10 – 23 May 2017 49
Windows 10
You don’t have to be a ‘Creator’ (whatever that is) to enjoy
the latest Windows 10 update. Jonathan Parkyn and
Daniel Booth explain how to install the best update ever,
and reveal its superb new tools
hen Microsoft launched
Windows 10, its goal for the
operating system was to
continue to develop and
improve, with big updates to come
• Install the Creators Update
automatically or manually, fixing
problems along the way
• Postpone the update until a more
convenient time
• Discover what’s new in the redesigned
Settings app
• Lock your PC when you move away
from it
• Create 3D objects using the new
Paint 3D app
50 10 – 23 May 2017
regularly. Gone are the days of minor
updates while we had to wait for the next
version number. Instead, as Microsoft has
now confirmed (see News, page 6), we’re
going to get two major updates a year,
with the company supporting each one
for 18 months.
The third of these for Windows 10,
following 2015’s November Update and
last summer’s Anniversary Update, is the
Creators Update. And, yes, there’s
officially no apostrophe in Creators – it
bugs us too, so we’re just going to refer to
it as CU from here on (and send Microsoft
a copy of Fowler’s Modern English Usage).
As with its predecessors, the CU is free
for existing Windows 10 users and brings
a number of key changes and features.
For the most part, the news is good – we
think this collection of tweaks and tools
amounts to the best ever update to
Windows. It feels like Windows 10 has
finally come of age.
But first, you need to install it without
problems, so that’s how we’ll start this
feature. Doing this automatically is
quicker than manually, but we explain
both in detail, as well as new ways to
delay the update until you are ready.
Then we’ll move on to the excellent
new features, many of which you’d never
stumble upon through everyday use.
Of course, the best laid plans of
Microsoft and men often go awry. If you
have any trouble with the CU please
email our Problems Solved team
(, and
they’ll consider it for future publication.
But in the meantime, there are lots of
new tricks to learn. Let’s get creative.
Windows 10 Creators Update
The ‘normal’ way to get the CU is via
Windows Update. In theory, it should
just download automatically like any
other update. However, Microsoft is
releasing it via another of its phased
rollouts, meaning that, in practice, it
could be months before you actually
receive it. Thankfully, there are ways to
hurry things along.
Click Start, Settings, ‘Update &
security’, Windows Update, then click
‘Check for updates’. You may need to
install multiple unrelated updates before
your PC is able to receive the CU itself, so
install any updates found and restart as
needed, then open Windows Update
again and repeat the process.
If you see this pop-up message, the CU is
almost ready to install on your PC
If you see a message under the ‘Check
for updates’ button saying ‘Good news!
The Windows 10 Creators Update is on its
way’, click ‘Yes, show me how’. This will
register your interest with Microsoft, and
the update should be delivered sooner.
When Microsoft decides your PC is
ready to receive the CU, you’ll see a
pop-up message saying ‘New Windows
features are almost here’ (see screenshot
above). Click ‘Review settings’ and you’ll
see a page headed ‘Choose privacy
settings for your device’ (see screenshot
below). Select your preferences carefully
here, then click Accept. On the ‘Thank
you’ screen that appears, click OK.
The CU will now download in the
If you don’t want your computer to
suddenly start installing the CU when
you’re in the middle of something
important, one option is to click Start,
Settings, ‘Update & security’, Windows
Update, then click ‘Restart options’ to
schedule a specific day and time you want
the update to occur. Alternatively, click
‘Change active hours’ in the Windows
Update settings to specify a period of time
(up to 12 hours) each day when you don’t
want to be interrupted by update nags.
If your PC is connected via Wi-Fi (rather
than a wired Ethernet connection), you
can delay the CU indefinitely by clicking
Try running Windows’
built-in troubleshooter
to fix Windows
Update errors
background. When it’s ready to install
you’ll see a message in Windows Update
saying that ‘A restart is required to finish
installing the following updates: Feature
update to Windows 10, version 1703’.
Click ‘Restart now’.
Fix failed updates
With the Creators Update, you choose all your
privacy options up front
Start, Settings, Network & Internet,
WiFi, then switching on ‘Set as metered
One final option, new in this update,
is to ‘snooze’ it for three days. If you’re
using your PC when the CU is ready to
install, you’ll see a pop-up box with three
options: ‘Restart now’, ‘Pick a time’ and
Snooze (see screenshot). Choose Snooze
and Windows will hide the message. You
can hit Snooze indefinitely, effectively
never having to restart your computer.
However, for security reasons, we suggest
you restart your PC and finish installing
updates at the earliest convenient time.
If you don’t see any of the above
messages or you receive error messages in
Windows Update, you may need to repair
Windows Update itself. Click Start, type
trouble, click the Troubleshooting link,
then click ‘Fix problems with Windows
Update’ under ‘System and Security’. Click
Advanced (see screenshot above), make
sure the ‘Apply repairs automatically’
box is ticked, then click Next. Click ‘Try
troubleshooting as an administrator’ if
prompted. If any problems are detected,
the troubleshooter will try to resolve them.
At this point you should check you
have enough free hard-drive space to
install the update. You’ll need around
10GB, so if you’re running low on space,
remove some unwanted files or programs
to make more room.
Try running Windows Update again.
If it’s still showing errors, you could try
resetting Windows Update components,
as outlined at
But the process is tricky, so it might be
easier to use one of the manual upgrade
methods outlined on the next page.
10 – 23 May 2017 51
Download CU directly
You can bypass Windows Update entirely
by downloading the CU directly from
Microsoft. Go to
and click the blue ‘Update now’ button
to download Microsoft’s Update Assistant
tool. Save the exe file, run it then click
Update Now (see screenshot below).
The tool will check that your PC is
compatible and download the CU in the
background. You can carry on working
while it does but, be warned, the update
will eventually restart your PC, once the
download is complete. If you’d rather
postpone the installation, click ‘Cancel
update’ and re-run the Update Assistant
at a later time. Be aware that if you
upgrade manually using this method or
the alternative below, you’ll be prompted
to ‘Choose privacy settings for your
device’ after the installation is complete.
accept the terms, then on the ‘What do
you want to do?’ screen, select ‘Upgrade
this PC now’, click Next, then follow the
onscreen instructions.
The Media Creation tool can also be
used to download the CU to a USB stick
to install on another PC. Insert a drive
with a minimum of 4GB of space, select
‘Create installation media’ from the
Media Creation tool’s options, then follow
the onscreen instructions.
Download CU as an ISO file
The Update Assistant tool is the easiest way
to upgrade to the CU manually
Some readers have told us that they
receive error messages when upgrading
via Microsoft’s Update Assistant, so if
that doesn’t work, you can try using
Microsoft’s Media Creation tool instead,
which effectively downloads an ISO file
of the latest version of Windows to your
PC. Visit again,
but this time, scroll down and click the
blue ‘Download tool now’ button (see
screenshot below). Save and run the file,
Click ‘Download tool now’ to get Microsoft’s
Media Creation tool
Restore your defaults
Once you’ve installed the CU, you may
hit a few teething problems, although
we experienced fewer than with last
year’s Anniversary Update. But one thing
we noticed is that installing the CU can
reset some of your default programs to
Microsoft’s own apps.
To fix this annoyance, click Start,
Settings, Apps, then ‘Default apps’.
Now click the icon under the category
you want to change back and select the
program you want from the list that
Troubleshoot Windows
problems post-update
We’ll provide more in-depth advice
on troubleshooting Windows 10 CU
problems in upcoming issues. But,
until then, it’s worth knowing that
Microsoft has moved Windows’ built-in
troubleshooting tools.
If you are experiencing problems,
your first port of call should now be
Start, Settings, ‘Update & security’,
then Troubleshoot. Here, you’ll find
automatic tools for diagnosing and fixing
anything from audio problems to blue
screens of death. Having everything in
one place (see screenshot left) makes
a lot more sense.
Roll back to the previous version
Windows’ troubleshooting tools are now all
grouped together in the Settings app
52 10 – 23 May 2017
If you’re unhappy with the CU for any
reason, you can easily restore your PC to
how it was before installation, but only
if you do so within 10 days. Click Start,
Settings, ‘Update & security’, Recovery,
click ‘Get started’ under ‘Go back to the
previous version of Windows 10’ (see
screenshot above right) then follow the
onscreen prompts.
If you find Windows no longer starts
properly, keep restarting your PC until
you see a blue ‘Choose an option’ screen.
Click Troubleshoot, Advanced Options,
Click ‘Get started’ to revert to the previous
version of Windows 10 within 10 days of
installing the CU
‘Go back to the previous version of
Windows 10’, then follow the prompts.
If you can’t reach the ‘Choose an
option’ screen this way, you may need
to boot from a recovery drive (if you
haven’t created one, you’ll have to do so
on another PC). To do this, insert a 1GB
(minimum) USB stick into your PC,
click Start, type recovery drive, then
click ‘Create a recovery drive’. Untick the
‘Back up system files to the recovery
drive’ option, then click Next. Select your
drive and complete the process. Finally,
insert the USB stick into your other PC
to boot it up.
Windows 10 Creators Update
No update to Windows, Android or iOS
is complete these days without new
emojis – those cartoon-like characters
that express feelings, ideas and
actions. The Creators Update adds 770,
including an astonishing 323 illustrating
every conceivable type of multi-racial
relationship (see them all at www.snipca.
com/24138). Most are easy to decipher,
but a few may leave you baffled. Can you
guess what these are meant to show
(answers at the bottom of the page)?
The Snipping Tool has
a new Mode menu to
make it easier to take
Filter harmful ‘blue light’
There’s some evidence that the blue light
emitted by screens can disrupt sleep
patterns, keeping you awake at night.
Phone and tablet manufacturers like
Apple and Google have addressed this
problem by adding options that turn off
blue light. Microsoft has now caught up
by adding a ‘Night light’ mode which
means you no longer need to use the
Use the streamlined
Settings app
One of the big annoyances we’ve
experienced with Windows 10 is that
there are two ways to make changes: via
the Settings app and the Control Panel.
With the CU, Microsoft has revamped
the Settings app to make it more useful,
thereby reducing dependency on the
Control Panel.
In fact, Microsoft has made it harder to
find the Control Panel. Right-click the
Start menu icon and you’ll only see a link
to Settings, not the Control Panel. Once
you open the Settings app, though, you’ll
see that it looks neater, and has two
new sections: Gaming and Apps (see
screenshot below). The latter now gives
you direct access to controls that used to
be hidden away in the System section.
Microsoft has also tweaked the layout
of some of these settings. For example,
selecting System, then Display lets you
change the resolution of your screen
without first having to click ‘Advanced
display settings’ (see screenshot above
right). Selecting Devices now shows
you all connected devices (including
The new Settings app has an improved layout
and makes it easier to find the options you need
A neater Display settings section makes it
quicker to make basic changes
Bluetooth) in one place.
While we welcome these changes, they
don’t go far enough. For some tweaks you
will still need the Control Panel. For
example, if you want to set Chrome as
your default browser, you have to do
more than confirm this in the Settings
app. You also have go to the Control Panel
and use the Set Default Programs option.
Take better screenshots
The Windows 10 Snipping Tool was
always an excellent way to capture
screenshots, but it’s now gained a Mode
button (see screenshot above right) that
replaces the small dropdown menu that
appeared when you clicked the down
arrow next to New. From the Mode menu,
you can select the type of screenshot
you want: Free-form Snip, Rectangular
Snip, Window Snip or Full-Screen Snip.
It’s a minor change, but it makes the
tool easier to use. Alternatively, there’s a
new screenshot shortcut. Simply press
Windows+Shift+S, select part of the
screen, then copy it to your clipboard.
Use the ‘Colour temperature’ slider to change
the tone of your screen in the evening
Windows 10’s built-in malware
protection, Windows Defender, has
been replaced by the Windows
Defender Security Centre, which is
accessible via Settings, then ‘Update
& Security’. While this makes it easier
to manage your security settings, we’d
still advise against relying on Defender.
It came bottom in our Antivirus Group
Test in January (see Issue 493),
allowing a shocking 10 of the 84 threats
we unleashed on it to infect our test
PC. However, Defender does now
offer the option to revert your PC to its
factory settings - it’s called the Fresh
Start tool.
1 Woman bowing, 2 Woman getting face massage, 3 Man gesturing ‘not OK’, 4 Female teacher, 5 Suited man levitating
10 – 23 May 2017 53
Back Issue CD
M 20ES
Buy it now from Amazon at
or search for ‘computeractive cd’ on Amazon
You can still buy our 2015 CD at
Windows 10 Creators Update
fiddly on-screen menus built into some
new monitors.
Go to Settings, System, Display, click
the ‘Night light settings’ link, then the
‘Schedule night light’ option. By default,
‘Night light’ is set to turn on at sunset and
off at sunrise (automatically adjusting
according to the time of year, location
and time zone). This is the best option
and the one that we recommend using.
Alternatively, you can simply set your
own times.
You can use the ‘Colour temperature at
night’ slider to change the tint of your
screen (see screenshot on page 54). The
further left you slide this the more yellow
(and ‘warmer’) it looks. Move to the right
and it becomes bluer (and ‘colder’).
Somewhere in the middle should be
ideal for most people.
Read ebooks in EPUB format
Windows 10 (specifically Microsoft’s
Edge browser) now has built-in support
for ebooks in the EPUB format. Both
books with and without digital-rights
management (DRM) are supported,
letting you read any ebook that you’ve
bought. Microsoft has also added a textto-voice option, although the robotic
narration feels far from natural.
Another useful feature is Edge’s new
taskbar Jump List, giving you fast access
to recent documents and popular
commands. Simply right-click the Edge
icon and choose to open a New window
or New InPrivate window.
There are improvements under the
surface, too. Microsoft has redesigned the
browser so that it’s less likely to crash,
and is more compatible with HTML5
content. It actively blocks Flash by default
– similar to Google Chrome.
Secure your PC when you
walk away from your desk
If your PC is Bluetooth-enabled, you can
pair it with your smartphone to make
Windows 10 automatically lock your
computer when you walk away from
it. The Dynamic Lock tool works by
searching for any paired devices within
range. To unlock it, you’ll need to enter
your Microsoft login details.
See web page previews
in Edge
Many people found Edge too basic when
Windows 10 launched, but Microsoft has
slowly fleshed out its browser. With the
CU, Edge now gets a preview bar that
displays web pages you have open, which
makes it much easier to switch between
them. Simply click the arrow at the end
of the tab bar (see screenshot below) to
expand the ‘Preview’ view. From here,
you can click the web-page thumbnail
you want to visit next.
Tick this option to let Windows 10 lock your
PC when you’re away from it
Enable it by going to Settings,
Accounts, ‘Sign-in options’ then ticking
the ‘Allow Windows to detect when
you’re away and automatically lock the
device’ option (see screenshot above).
Click this arrow in Edge to see previews of the web pages you have open
You can create folders of apps on the Start
menu and see thumbnail views of their icons
Navigate the registry
more easily
The Registry Editor now has an address
bar, letting you copy and paste a registry
entry address to jump straight to the area
of interest, rather than having to search
for it or navigate through each section
(always a laborious process).
Place your apps in
Start menu folders
Windows 10 may have brought back the
Start menu, but it didn’t make it any
easier to organise. The CU addresses this
oversight. It lets you drag and drop ‘Live’
tiles on top of each other to create handy
folders that contain multiple apps. Each
folder shows a thumbnail view of its
contents (Photos, Skype and Edge in our
screenshot above). Select the folder to
expand it and view individual program
tiles. This feels like a feature that should
have been there from the start.
PowerShell replaces the
Command Prompt
If you right-click the Start menu in
the CU, you’ll only see options to
launch PowerShell (regular mode and
administrator mode). That’s because
the Command Prompt option has been
removed. PowerShell is a more advanced
command-line tool, capable of doing
PowerShell replaces Command Prompt in
Windows 10 Creators Update
10 – 23 May 2017 55
Windows 10 Creators Update
Create cats, dogs or anything you like in the new Paint 3D app
much more than Command Prompt.
However, Microsoft says it will keep
Command Prompt as an option for as
long as people want to use it. Open it by
typing command prompt into the Start
Create objects in 3D
When announcing the Creators Update
last autumn Microsoft made much of the
new Paint 3D app, which accompanies
the long-standing Paint program.
Professional designers will find it too
basic, but for most of us it’s a fun, easy
way to design 3D objects (see screenshot
above). To get it from the Windows Store
visit (or open
the Windows Store app and type paint
3D). You can make your own objects from
scratch, or play around with existing
models from Microsoft’s Remix 3D site
You don’t have to hit Num Lock
to sleep. You can also turn the volume
up or down. More importantly, Microsoft
is opening up Cortana to other app
developers, so you’ll soon also be able to
use your voice to control their apps.
Cortana also gets a full-screen mode. If
you haven’t used your PC for 10 seconds
or longer, saying “Hey Cortana” brings it
up in full-screen mode, letting you read
its responses from further away as you
carry out household tasks, for example.
Unfortunately, for those who don’t like
Cortana, Microsoft hasn’t brought back
the option to disable it completely, which
was in the first version of Windows 10 in
2015. Alas, nor can you force Cortana to
search the web using Google, only Bing,
Microsoft’s rival search engine.
Unlock the virtual touchpad
Trying to use Windows 10 on a
touchscreen device can be tricky because
the icons you need to tap are often too
small. The CU provides a virtual touchpad
to help overcome this. Tap and hold the
taskbar, then select ‘Show touchpad
button’. This puts a small touchpad
icon in the notification area next to the
clock. Tap this, and the virtual mousepad
will pop up. Use the main area to move
the mouse cursor, and the buttons
underneath for left and right clicks
(see screenshot below left).
Share text messages using
Once ‘SMS sync’ is enabled, you can use
Microsoft’s Skype app to respond to any
text message. It sounds great, but at the
moment the option only works if you
have a Windows 10 Phone running the
latest Skype Preview. We expect this
feature to make it to Android devices, but
iOS users are likely to be left out in the
cold because Apple’s operating system is
more restrictive.
Reclaim hard-drive space
If you use a PIN to log into Windows,
you no longer need to press the Num
Lock key beforehand. Windows 10 now
assumes that anything typed in the PIN
box are numbers. It’s a little touch, but a
nice one all the same.
Use new voice commands
Using voice commands you can now tell
Cortana, Microsoft’s personal assistant,
to turn off, restart, lock or put your PC
Turn on ‘Storage sense’ then choose which
options to turn on to free up space
Microsoft’s virtual touchpad makes Windows
10 easier to use on touchscreens
If your hard drive is running out of space,
use the new Storage Sense feature to
automatically delete temporary files that
your apps aren’t using, and remove items
that have been in your recycle bin for
more than 30 days. To turn it on go, to
Settings, System, Storage then click the
‘Storage sense’ slider. Next, click ‘Change
how we free up space’ and tweak the
options (see screenshot above).
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56 10 – 23 May 2017
Help With Hobbies
Coin collecting
£ £
If the new one pound coin has whetted your appetite
for coin collecting, Mike Plant explains how to build
your collection without raiding your piggy bank
Catalogue your collection
OpenNumismat (
23988) is a handy free database program
designed to help coin collectors create
and organise a catalogue of their
collection. Click the ‘Download
OpenNumismat 1.5.3 for Windows’
link (at time of writing) to download it,
then install it using the onscreen
When you open it for the first time
you’ll see the program window is titled
‘demo – OpenNumismat’. This doesn’t
mean the program is for demonstration
purposes only, rather that a few coins
have been loaded into the database to
illustrate how it works. We suggest you
don’t use this database and instead
create a blank one of your own. To do so,
click File, New, enter a name for your
database, specify a folder to save it to,
then click Save. The listed coins will be
removed and the window will adopt the
name you chose.
To add the coins in your collection,
click the green ‘+’ button, then enter as
much information as you can. Click the
various tabs to add even more data and
I enjoyed your Geocaching guide (Issue
499). I’d encourage your readers to
increase the number of caches in their
area by adding more themselves.
Simply work out where you want to
hide it, then get the GPS coordinates of
the location. I use a GPS device, but the
Compass app on an iPhone (tap
Settings, Location Services, Compass,
then tick ‘While Using the app’ first), or
the GPS Coordinates app on Android
( also work.
Then go to
and follow the instructions.
Albert Fuller
Send your own tips covering any of
our past Help With Hobbies pages to
use the image tab to save photos. Click
Save once you’ve finished.
Your coin will now appear in the main
database. To choose which columns
appear in the table, click List, then ‘Select
columns’. Here, we found it useful to
tick Image, so that our photos appeared
in the table.
Get evaluations from
fellow enthusiasts
Coin Community (www.coincommunity.
com) is a US-based coin enthusiasts’
website, but it isn’t limited to US coins.
In fact, its UK-specific forum page
( has hundreds
of posts from people who want help
identifying and valuing old coins. You
need to register (click Register Now in the
yellow box) to post comments, but not if
you just want to read existing posts.
Log coins still in circulation
The Check Your Change app for Android
( provides
information about all UK coins currently
in circulation (388 at the time of writing),
including the new 12-sided £1 coin.
The first time you use the app you’ll be
asked to give permission for the app to
access the photos and files on your
device. This is necessary for it to work
properly, but access is limited to the files
created by the app. Once installed, tap
any of the values along the top (from
1p to £2) to see all coins in that
denomination. Next, check your coin
collection. To enter the coins you have,
tap the coin in the app,
then the Got It icon (see
screenshot). To see
an overview of your
collection and
requirements, tap Back
to return to the main
menu, then tap either
Need or Got.
The Royal Mint’s Queen’s
Beasts Gold Proof Kilo Coin
can be yours for a mere
Keep track of which current UK coins you
have using the Check Your Change app
Buy from the Royal Mint
If you want to buy (or just savour) the
latest collectable coins, visit The Royal
Mint’s website (
As well as the new pound coin, you can
buy sets of collectable coins, including
the £49,995 Queen’s Beasts Gold Proof
Kilo Coin (,
pictured below).
Identify antique coins from
home and abroad
If you need to identify an antique UK
coin, CoinsGB ( is a
great place to start. Coins are listed by
monarch, so if your coin has a date on
it (or an identifiable monarch) you
should be able to find your coin
(or one very similar). Coincat (www. is an essential website
for identifying foreign coins. Its Image
Identifier section (www.snipca.
com/23993), containing photos of
coins, is a good place to start. Click
the relevant design type – from
Animals to Portraits – then move
through the countries to find
your coin.
10 – 23 May 2017 57
Share anything
your PCs
With the right tools you can wirelessly
share your mouse, hard drives, printers,
monitors and more between your PCs.
Jonathan Parkyn shows you how
f you have two or more PCs at home,
then it’s often useful to be able to
share stuff between them. Not just
your files, but also your mouse and
keyboard, storage space, printers and
more. You could always physically
unplug a device from one computer
and connect it to another, but this isn’t
always convenient.
Thankfully, wireless technology is
providing us with alternative ways to
share devices and resources between our
devices. The devices you want to share
don’t need to have built-in Wi-Fi, either.
Read on to find out which tools you
can use to bridge the gap between
multiple PCs.
Share your mouse, keyboard
and files
Once upon a time, if you wanted to
control two or more PCs with a single
mouse and keyboard, you’d need
something called a keyboard, video and
mouse (KVM) switch – a clunky device
requiring an obscene amount of cabling
that let you physically switch keyboard
Enter Mouse Without Borders’ security key
on all your PCs to share your mouse and
keyboard across them all
58 10 – 23 May 2017
and mouse control from one computer
to another. Nowadays, there’s a much
simpler – and less messy – way to achieve
the same thing. Developed by Microsoft’s
experimental Garage team, Mouse Without
Borders ( 23927) is a
free tool that shares a single keyboard
and mouse across up to four PCs on the
same wireless (or wired) network.
Download and install it on each of your
PCs, then click No when prompted on
your main computer (the one with the
mouse and keyboard you want to share)
to generate a security code (see screenshot
below left). Click Yes on the other PCs
and enter the code to link them all. In
practice, it works like extending your
desktop across multiple monitors – move
your cursor off the edge of one screen to
move it on to the next PC’s screen. Mouse
Without Borders even lets you copy and
paste text and files between PCs.
Share a hard drive
In Issue 497 (see page 60), we explained
how to set up a NAS device on your
network. But it’s actually possible to
share storage space between PCs without
one. If your router has a USB port, the
easiest way to share a hard drive
wirelessly is to plug the drive directly into
your router, at which point it will be made
available to every PC on your network. To
make it easier to access, you can map the
drive on each of your computers.
In Windows 10, open File Explorer,
then click This PC (or click Start, then
Computer in Windows 7), then click ‘Map
network drive’. Choose a drive letter, then
click Browse. Your router should be listed
Plug a hard drive into your router, then map it
as a network drive so your PCs can access it
here (see screenshot above). Click it, then
click the USB storage device, OK, then
Finish. A shortcut to your drive will now
appear under This PC in File Explorer. In
some cases, you may need to enter your
router’s admin username and password
to access the drive, but you can select
‘Remember my credentials’ so that you
don’t need to enter these every time.
Share your speakers
Want to listen to the sound from one PC
through the speakers of another? There
are several ways to do this. You could use
Windows 10’s built-in casting capabilities,
for example (see the following section).
Alternatively, try streaming it using the
free tool Stream What You Hear (SWYH,
Install it on the PC you want to stream
audio from. Right-click the tool’s icon in
the notification area (to the right of your
taskbar), click Tools, then HTTP Live
Streaming. A small window will open
Share a set of
speakers by
streaming sound
from one PC to
with a network address (see screenshot
above). Make a note of this, then open a
browser window on the PC you want to
play the audio on. Enter the network
address into the browser’s address bar
and playback controls will appear. Click
the play button to play the audio from the
other PC. There might be a slight delay,
but this is quite normal.
If one of your PCs has no DVD drive, simply
share another PC’s DVD drive with it
Share your display
The Anniversary Update for Windows 10
added a tool to share (or cast) whatever’s
on one PC’s screen to another. On the
computer you want to cast to, click Start,
Settings, System, then ‘Projecting to this
PC’. Select ‘Available anywhere’ from the
first dropdown menu, then select ‘First
time only’ from the second dropdown
(see black screenshot above right). On the
PC you’re casting from, click the Action
Centre icon (square speech bubble to the
right of the taskbar), then click Connect
(click Expand first if you don’t see the
Connect button). Your other PC should
show up in the device list. Click it, then
click Yes on the other PC when you see
the connection request.
If your PC doesn’t support Miracast,
you may see a warning that projecting
wirelessly won’t work in the ‘Projecting
to this PC’ setting. If this happens a free
Use Windows 10’s built-in screen-sharing tool
to project what’s on your screen to another PC
alternative would be a remote desktop
tool, such as TeamViewer (www.snipca.
com/23965). This provides full control of
one PC – including its screen – from
Share your DVD drive
You can wirelessly share a DVD drive –
even if it’s built into your PC. In Windows
10, open File Explorer, then This PC (or
click Start, Computer in Windows 7),
right-click your DVD drive’s icon and
select ‘Share with’, then ‘Advanced
sharing’. In the window that opens, click
Advanced Sharing. Tick the ‘Share this
folder’ box and type a name for your
Windows used to have a built-in
command-line tool that let you share
messages directly with other wired or
wireless PCs on your network. But from
Windows Vista onwards, Net Send was
removed and only Professional and
Enterprise editions of Windows now
support its replacement, msg.exe.
You can use Skype, WhatsApp or other
instant-messaging tools instead, but
these all use a server, meaning that your
messages aren’t sent directly between
your PCs, but uploaded to an online
service. You can use a direct messaging
tool instead, such as LAN Messenger
(free from
Install it on your PCs, then right-click the
notification-area icon (right of the taskbar)
and select Show LAN Messenger. Other
PCs on your network will be automatically
listed as contacts. Double-click a contact
and start typing your message.
drive under ‘Share name’ (see screenshot
above). Click Permissions and make sure
that Everyone is selected under ‘Group or
user names’, and that the Allow Read box
under ‘Permissions for everyone’ is
ticked. Click OK twice.
On the drive’s Sharing tab, you should
now see a Network Path listed. Note this
down then, on your other PC, open File
Explorer (or Computer) and type the
Network Path into the address bar, then
press Enter to access the drive. You may
be prompted to enter the username and
password for the PC with the built-in
drive. You can map the drive for quicker
access – see ‘Share a hard drive’ for
Share your printer and files
Anyone with a Wi-Fi-enabled printer will
already know the joys of printing wirelessly
from any device. But even older, wired
printers can print from other networked
PCs wirelessly. Windows makes this easy
by letting you set up a HomeGroup,
which also provides a safe, simple way to
share documents, music, photos and
other files over your home network.
Click Start on one of your PCs and type
home group, then press Enter. Click
‘Create a homegroup’ and follow the
steps, selecting when prompted which
types of file and device you’d like to share
(‘Printers & Devices’ is essential if you
want to share your printer) and noting
down the password provided.
Do the same on your other PCs,
entering the password from the first PC.
And that’s it. As long as the ‘host’ PC is
on, you’ll be able to select your USB
printer in the Print window, even when
printing from another PC.
10 - 23 May 2017 59
Where to find free
Not so long ago the best way to listen to entire
books was to watch Jackanory. But now, as
Mike Plant explains, there are loads of online
libraries bursting with free audiobooks
he business of downloading free
ebooks is something we’ve
covered many times. But what if
you prefer to listen to great
literature? Audiobook services such as
Audible and Downpour (see box on page
61) would have you believe the only way
to listen to audiobooks on your PC is by
paying them a monthly subscription.
But here we’ll explain how to download
hundreds of audiobooks for free, and
tell you about the apps and programs
you’ll need to listen to them on your PC,
tablet and phone.
the green Download button on the left
next to ‘Whole book (zip file)’. Once the
file has downloaded, we suggest you
move it to a dedicated audiobooks folder
on your PC. We created a folder called
Audiobooks within Windows’ Music
folder. If you prefer you can stream
audiobooks by clicking the play button
next to each chapter.
We like LibriVox because its
library is well stocked with classics –
such as The Adventures of Huckleberry
Finn (see screenshot below) – with each
book narrated by a volunteer reader. Go
to and click
Catalog under Listen to browse available
audiobooks and search by author,
title and genre.
To download a title, click it, then click
Project Gutenberg
Though better known for its vast
library of free ebooks, Project Gutenberg
also offers an excellent choice of free
books you can listen to. To skip straight
to the audiobooks read by real people
(rather than by a robotically voiced
computer program) go to www.snipca.
com/24189. Our only disappointment
is that some audiobooks change the
narrator from one chapter to the
next, making the listening experience
To download entire audiobooks as one
file, click the audiobook you want, then
scroll to the bottom of the list. Click More
Files, then click the zipped MP3 file for
In LibriVox click the green Download button,
or click the play button to stream a chapter
To get an entire audiobook in Project
Gutenberg download its ‘’ file
Where to find free audiobooks
60 10 - 23 May 2017
that title (see screenshot below left).
Audiobooks can take an hour or two to
download, which is due to the site’s slow
servers, rather than large file sizes. If you
don’t want to wait that long (or if the full
download fails), you can download the
books one chapter at a time by clicking
the Audio Book Index link (usually at the
top of each book’s file list). When the
contents page for the book opens, click
the MP3 file for each chapter to download
them individually.
Loyal Books
Click the ‘Top 100’ tab on the
left to see the site’s most popular books.
Alternatively, use the genre tabs below to
narrow your search. Once you’ve found
what you want, click it, then click MP3
Download on the right. This downloads
all chapters of that book as a single
ZIP file (again, this can take a couple
of hours). To download each chapter
individually, click the ‘(download)’ link
to the right of each listed chapter.
Play audiobooks in Windows
To listen to your favourite audiobook on
your PC try using one of our favourite
media players, VLC (
24195), which plays audiobooks just as
well as it plays your music.
If your audiobook comprises multiple
files, add them to a playlist so that they
play in the correct order. To do this, click
View, Playlist, then drag the audiobook
files from your Audiobooks folder in
Windows Explorer into the empty pane
in VLC (see screenshot above). You can
In VLC, create a playlist of the downloaded
chapter files of your audiobook
drag the files into the correct order if
Windows 10 users can try the new
Booxio app (,
which organises your audiobooks into
a library. To add your audiobooks,
click the three horizontal dots at the
bottom right, click ‘add book’ (see
screenshot below), then navigate to
your audiobooks folder.
Windows 10 app Booxio arranges your
audiobooks into a neat library
Audiobooks on your
tablet and phone
If you like to listen to your audiobooks
while you’re out and about, you should
download them to your phone or tablet.
One way to do this is to connect your
tablet or phone to your PC, transfer your
audiobooks, then play them using apps
like Smart Audiobook Player (www. for Android or
MP3 Audiobook Player (www.snipca.
com/24199) for iOS. However, it’s easier
to use the free LibriVox app (Android: and iOS: www.
The app lets you download audiobooks
from the LibriVox library. You’ll have to
put up with a few adverts unless you buy
the ad-free LibriVox Supporter version
for 99p. To search LibriVox’s titles by
genre, tap the small arrow to the right of
Recent (see screenshot above right), then
Genres and pick the genre you want.
Once you’ve found a book to download,
tap it, tap the three vertical dots at the top
right, then Download. To see all the
audiobooks you’ve downloaded, tap the
arrow next to Recent again, but this time
choose Downloaded in the list.
Tap this arrow then Downloaded to see the
titles you’ve added to your phone or tablet
Download new bestsellers from
your local library
One limitation common to all the
websites we’ve covered is that the
audiobooks are limited to out-ofcopyright classics. That’s because spoken
versions of a book are subject to the
same copyright laws as their paper and
electronic counterparts. For current
bestselling books, try your local library.
OverDrive is an online service used
by thousands of libraries all over the
world to share ebooks and audiobooks.
To use it you need an OverDrive account
and your trusty library card.
To create an account, go to www., click ‘Sign up’ (at the
top right) and choose whether you want
to sign up using your existing library
card, Facebook or by entering your
details (using your library card speeds up
the process). Next, click ‘Find a library
near you’ at the top left (see screenshot
below) and enter the name of your
library or town. If your library is part of
the OverDrive service you’ll see it listed
on the left. Click it, then click ‘Visit
library website’.
When the website opens, click
Collections at the top left, then Available
Now (under Audiobooks) to see the
audiobooks that are available to borrow.
You can sort the list by subject and date
added. Once you find the book you want,
click Borrow and sign in using your
OverDrive account.
OverDrive lets you borrow audiobooks from
your local library
Price: £7.99 per month
(free 30-day trial)
Audible – Amazon’s audiobook service
– offers more than 200,000 titles,
from classics to the latest bestsellers.
Members are eligible for discounts
of up to 70 per cent and get one free
audiobook per month. Users can stream
or download books to any device using
the app. Audible’s main selling points
are the huge choice and the many
titles narrated by celebrities, including
Stephen Fry and Eddie Redmayne.
Price: $12.99 per month
Downpour is Audible’s chief rival and
offers a similar service, including its
very own celebrity readers. It’s worth
checking the prices on both services
before pitching your tent in either
camp. Disappointingly, some books on
Downpour are unavailable for download
in the UK, highlighting the company’s
US roots.
Subscription: N/A
Described as “a movie in your mind”,
GraphicAudio lets you listen to books
where each character is voiced by a
different actor. The effect is similar to a
radio play. Listen to a few free samples
at There’s
no subscription fee, with each book
priced individually.
To download OverDrive for PC, iOS and
Android go to
Scroll to the bottom of the page, then
click the relevant link for your device.
Once the app has installed, open it and
sign in. You’ll find all the audiobooks
you’ve borrowed listed in the Bookshelf
section of the app. OverDrive’s main
limitation is that the books you borrow
are subject to a lending period - just like a
normal library book. Once this period
has ended (usually after 14 days) the book
will be automatically deleted from your
device, but there’s nothing stopping you
from borrowing it again.
10 - 23 May 2017 61
Problems Solved
How do I restore my download choice?
When downloading audio files
I used to get a pop-up giving
me the option either to open
the clips in my audio editor or save
them. The box in question had a
tickbox to stop the computer asking for
similar files in the future. At some
point I accidentally ticked this box, so
it has permanently disappeared. That
means every file I click now
automatically saves. I actually found
the choice useful but I can find no way
of restoring it.
Phil Hughes
guess is that you are using IE8 (or
earlier) and you actually unticked this.
The File Download box can be
restored, but the method varies
according to the Windows version
you’re using. Ordinarily, we’d assume
at least Windows 7 but, as it seems like
you’re using an old version of IE, you
could still be on XP. If so, then restoring
this is straightforward. First, press
Windows key+E to open Windows
Explorer, then open the Tools menu
and choose Folder Options. Next, select
the File Types tab, then scroll through
the ‘Registered file types’ list to find
We don’t know which
and click the relevant audio file format,
version of Windows you’re
then click the Advanced button. In
using, nor which browser.
the Edit File Type box that appears, tick
However, from your description it
the ‘Confirm open after download’ box
sounds like you’re using a rather old
and then click OK (see screenshot),
version of Internet Explorer (IE),
followed by Close to dismiss both
because editions earlier than IE9
boxes. Restart IE, if necessary.
displayed a File Download box with
If you’re using Windows Vista or
Open and Cancel options. If you
later then a registry hack is required.
clicked Cancel, the file would
Be sure to back up before beginning,
download, while clicking Open opened then press Windows key+R, type
the file. It also had a tickbox labelled
regedit and press Enter. Now, in the
‘Always ask before opening this type
left-hand pane, navigate to the
of file’. This was ticked by default, and
following key: HKEY_CURRENT_
needed to remain so in order for the
box’s continued appearance. So, our
Next, in the righthand pane, look for
the entry that
matches the
relevant audio-file
type, then click it
and press the Delete
(Del) key on your
keyboard. Read the
confirmation box
carefully to check
that you’ve selected
the correct entry
and, when you’re
confident, click
Yes to confirm.
Now just restart
In older versions of Windows, such as XP, it is easy to restore
the File Download box via Folder Options
your PC.
64 10 – 23 May 2017
How do I unlock
my printer?
I have an Epson Stylus Photo
printer that was turning out
excellent prints until its own
software ‘locked’ it. Epson quoted a small
fortune to fix it, which I see as an insult.
Why has this happened? And is there any
way I can unlock it without paying?
Mike Wooldridge
Use the free SSC Service Utility to override
your Epson printer’s ’protection counter’
This happened because many
Epson printers have a built-in
‘protection counter’ that tracks
the number of pages printed before
stopping any more from being produced.
This, ostensibly, is because the devices
contain ink pads that can’t be replaced.
Further use, says Epson, might damage
the printer, so its solution is a costly
service — or the purchase of a new
printer. You can read Epson’s explanation
For a while the firm did offer a free
unlock tool but, because it maintains that
continued use risks permanent damage,
Epson has since replaced this with what
it calls the Maintenance Reset Utility
(MRU): this will unlock your printer for
an unspecified number of additional
prints. Download it directly from Epson’s
server, at, then
just choose Agree followed by OK.
MRU works only once per printer, so
eventually you’ll be back to square one. If
you’re willing to ignore Epson’s doommongering then a free tool called SSC
Service Utility (
will let you unlock it for good. First,
right-click the program’s taskbar icon,
point to ‘Protection counter’ and then
click ‘Clear counter overflow’ (see
screenshot). Then, right-click it again and
choose Extra, followed by ‘Soft reset’.
Our experts solve all your tech problems
Email us your problem and we’ll try to help:
Why is Malwarebytes quarantining IObit?
I have for a while been
running a corporate version
of Malwarebytes alongside
IObit’s Advanced SystemCare (ASC).
All has been well until recently when
Malwarebytes quarantined all the IObit
files, classifying them as potentially
unwanted programs (PUPs). Well over
1,000 files ended up in quarantine. I
have a desktop and two laptops and
unfortunately all three did the same.
When I move files out of quarantine,
they soon end up back there again. I
went to the Malwarebytes site where
it makes various allegations over
copyright of their virus database being
breached by IObit. This seems to be
something to do with it, and I’m piggy in
the middle. Do I now have to decide
which of the two products I use? Is there
a solution?
Norman Bailey
There’s a lot of history and no
little animosity between
Malwarebytes and IObit, dating
back to a 2009 episode when an
Malwarebytes can be told to stop treating
IObit as a PUP
employee of the former alleged that the
latter had used some of Malwarebytes’
virus definitions in various IObit tools.
That particular matter was resolved, with
IObit disabling the website that it blamed
for its tools containing definitions
identical to those found in Malwarebytes’
programs. However, similar allegations
have resurfaced several times since.
So, that’s some background. Whether
or not that has any bearing on your
current situation we can’t say for sure,
but what is certain is that Malwarebytes
has tightened its definition of PUPs
and that — at the time of writing — the
Will Linux save
my Vista PC from
the dump?
Having read Issue 498’s
Question of the Fortnight
(‘What should Windows Vista
users do now?’), it seems my mintcondition HP Vista laptop, with an
AMD Athlon 64 processor, 2GB
memory and 150GB hard drive, is
headed for the scrapheap. But I was
wondering if it would be saved by
Linux (or is it Ubuntu)? I’ve bought a
Windows 10 laptop, so my Vista laptop
is now spare — perhaps Linux would
get me some more internet-connected
life out of it? If so, where do I get Linux?
Peter Gore
company identifies ASC as a PUP. You can
read Malwarebytes’ definition of a PUP at, and the reasons
behind its tougher stance at www.snipca.
This is Malwarebytes’ judgement, so its
tool duly flags ASC as a PUP. But the key
word in PUP is ‘potentially’. ASC might
make changes to a system that, in the
estimation of Malwarebytes, ‘diminish
the user experience’ — but you might
disagree. Certainly, ASC is not itself
malware, but Malwarebytes does
currently label it a PUP.
Until this stance changes, assuming
you’re happy to continue using ASC, then
you’ll need to instruct Malwarebytes to
ignore it. To do this, first perform a scan
as normal, then remove the tick from
ASC and click Next. When prompted,
click Ignore Always (see screenshot), and
Malwarebytes will no longer pay any
attention to ASC’s presence.
Installing Linux
via Ubuntu could
give an old Vista
computer a new
lease of life
If you want to upgrade an
existing Vista setup, keeping
all your current settings and
so forth, then the only way to do so is via
either Windows 7, 8 or 8.1. However, if
you’re prepared to wipe everything then,
so long as the system is up to the job, you
can perform a clean install of Windows
10. Your HP laptop’s specs should be fine
for this.
However, you will need to buy
Windows 10 — and at a penny shy of £120
for the Home edition (www.snipca.
com/24063), you might consider it a bit
of an extravagance for a spare laptop.
Given that you’ll need to wipe the
machine regardless, you might
indeed want to give Linux a try first.
Unbuntu Desktop is the most popular
Linux ‘distribution’, and it’s a free
download from
(see screenshot). You can it install via
either a DVD or a USB stick. You’ll find
full instructions at www.snipca.
10 - 23 May 2017 65
Problems Solved
How do I change
my Facebook
email address?
I have the same problem as
David Miller in Issue 496’s
‘Problem of the Fortnight’,
in that I want to change my Gmail
address. However, I use the current
address to log into Facebook. Will I
be able to log into Facebook with the
new Gmail address?
James Thompson
You’ll still be able to log into
Facebook with the current
Gmail address because
that’s the one registered as your
primary Facebook address and, at
login, Facebook treats it only as a
username. However, assuming you
shut down this Gmail account then
you really should update Facebook
with the new address, or else you’ll
miss any Facebook emails and –
critically – also the ability to recover
your Facebook account should
something go wrong.
To do this you must add the new
Gmail address to Facebook, make it
your primary contact, and then
remove the old address. In Facebook,
begin by clicking the down-pointing
arrow at the top right and choosing
Settings. Then, to the right of
Contacts, click Edit. Next, click ‘Add
another email address or mobile
number’ (see screenshot), type the
new address and click Add. You’ll
need to click the confirmation link
that Facebook sends to this new
address. Do that, refresh the page,
select the new email address and
click Save Changes. If you want to
remove the old address, click Remove
and then click Save Changes.
Yo can add your new Gmail
G il address
your Facebook account in Settings
66 10 – 23 May 2017
What do I do about this troublesome
When I allow
Windows Update
to install
KB3184143 on my Windows
7 PC, I can no longer drag
and drop anything to my
USB-connected external
hard drive, because doing
so causes Windows
The Get Windows 10 app is now redundant and can be
Explorer to crash – saying
removed or hidden in Windows Update
it has a problem and needs
to restart. If I uninstall the
worry, because GWX is now redundant
update, drag-and-drop functions work
– meaning this update is similarly
again. Do you have any idea what’s going
useless. You can simply hide it to stop it
on, and what I should do?
being repeatedly installed. Click Start, All
Terry Delannoy Programs, Windows Update, then click
‘Check for updates’. Now right-click
KB3184143 is an update that
KB3184143 and choose ‘Hide update’
removes the unpopular Get
(see screenshot).
Windows 10 (GWX) app that
Incidentally, while GWX should no
Microsoft snuck on to millions of
longer be a bother, you can still remove it
Windows 7 PCs. We don’t know why
if you want. Return to Windows Update
the update is causing Windows Explorer
but this time click Installed Updates. Now
to crash but try installing it manually,
click in the search bar (at the top right)
by downloading KB3184143 directly
and type KB3035583. Now select the
from Microsoft’s server, via www.snipca.
update in the results list, click Uninstall
and follow the prompts. Restart your
If this doesn’t help then don’t
PC to finish.
How can I tell if
my laptop will
run Windows 10?
referring to a Get Windows 10 tool.
Checking the specs against Microsoft’s
requirements doesn’t seem a guaranteed
method. Is there a simple, reliable test?
Martin Rubenstein
Sadly, there’s no simple, reliable
test: even the compatibility
reports produced by the Get
Windows 10 app (when it existed) weren’t
completely reliable. However, as a rule of
thumb if a PC runs Windows 7,
then Windows 10 will probably
work too.
In your specific case, though,
Sony’s support pages make it
clear that the company does not
support and will not be
producing Windows 10 drivers
for your laptop model (www. That’s not
necessarily a problem, as
Windows 10’s own drivers will
very likely do the job, but
unfortunately we can be no
more or less confident than
Sony’s support pages make it clear it will not produce
Sony itself.
Windows 10 drivers for the Vaio VGN-AR630E
I installed Windows 7 on a Sony
Vaio VGN-AR630E laptop, which
originally ran Vista. I’m
considering Windows 10 but every online
article about compatibility is out of date,
How do I log into my router?
I sometimes see advice in
Computeractive that to log
into a router one needs to
type into the browser’s
address bar. When I do this I get a
message saying that the site can’t
be reached. I’ve tried it in different
browsers, and even tried adding the
‘http://’ part beforehand, as I see
this on other websites — but every
time it fails. What am I doing wrong,
and how do I log into my router?
Jack Jenkins
It depends on your specific
router. Many routers use as the address
for the login screen, but others use (and a few more use
different addresses).
To find the address of yours, first
press Windows key+R, then type
ncpa.cpl and press Enter. Next,
double-click the icon representing
your network connection, then
click the Details button. Your
router’s address is displayed by
the IPv4 Default Gateway heading
(see screenshot).
Typing this number into your
web browser’s address bar will
show the login page, but you still
need to log in. We can’t tell you the
username and password, but unless
you’ve changed them – and the
nature of your question suggests
that’s unlikely – then they’ll be the
defaults set by the manufacturer.
Typically, this will mean typing
admin for both, but that’s not
always the case. The default
password for a Sky router, for
instance, is ‘sky’. So, either check
the manual or, failing that, search
on Google for your router’s make
and model along with ‘default login’.
Find your router’s correct address in Network Connection
Details and use it to log into your router
How do I make my iPhone use the correct Outlook alias?
I bought an iPhone 7, to which
I’ve added both my Gmail
and Hotmail (
accounts. I initially thought everything
was working well but I recently
noticed that, when sending from my
Hotmail account, the iPhone’s Mail app
was actually using as the
domain. This means messages look as if
they’re coming from myemailaddress@ rather than I did
register the variant just to
secure it but don’t wish to use it. Sadly,
it seems my iPhone has other ideas! If I
tap the address in the composition
screen’s From field, the only other
option offered is my Gmail address. I
want to be able to send specifically
from my Hotmail address. Is this
possible, or doesn’t Apple want me to
for some reason?
Martin Harris
This isn’t Apple’s doing. It’s
down to the fact that you
added the account using the
iPhone Mail app’s wizard for Outlook.
com, rather than setting it up manually.
The app’s wizard accepts a hotmail.
com address as legitimate and directs you
to Microsoft’s authorisation page for the
password. At this point, Microsoft sent
your iPhone the information that the
wizard requires — but that included the variant of your email
address as the default sent-from address.
To fix it, launch Settings then tap Mail
followed by Accounts and then the
relevant Hotmail account (see screenshot
top). Now tap Account followed by the
address next to Email (which will
currently be the variant).
Next, tap Add Another Email and type
your full Hotmail email address, followed
by ‘return’. Now tap the new address to
set it as the
default and,
importantly, tap
Account (at the
top left, see
bottom) to go
back one screen
then tap Done.
You can manually
set your Hotmail or
Outlook address to
be your account’s
default choice
10 - 23 May 2017 67
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Problems Solved
Whatever happened to... bulletin boards?
Back in the mists of time I had
an Amstrad PC with a dial-up
modem. I used this
contraption to call other computers,
which allowed me to exchange
thoughts with other users. I vaguely
remember a cartoon dog being
somehow involved. Do you have any
idea what I’m talking about? They
weren’t websites, that’s for sure.
Whatever happened to them?
Gary Williams
You’re talking about bulletinboard systems (or BBSs). These
were the electronic equivalent
of the corkboard you might have in
your kitchen, where people pin all
manner of notes.
There was no single template for
what a BBS should be or look like, and
the bulk of them ran on enthusiasts’
own computers. These system
operators (or sysops) made their BBS
FidoNet was a popular bulletin board back in
the heyday of dial-up modems
accessible to other users, so people could
log on to read or leave messages. The BBS
heyday was during the time of dial-up
modems, rather than always-on
broadband connections, so access was
often restricted to the wee small hours –
typically coinciding with when the sysop
was in bed, so as not to interrupt his or
her own use of the modem.
The dog element of your memory is
almost certainly Fido, who was the
cartoon-canine mascot of FidoNet — the
name of what was surely the biggest
network of bulletin boards. As
mentioned, these boards thrived before
the internet as we know it. FidoNet
allowed the many thousands of
independent boards to interconnect, so
that users of one could interact with
those of another — saving users from
the trouble and considerable expense
of dialling into BBS modems that might
be on the other side of the world.
Technically, bulletin boards never
went away but interest in them waned
as the internet took off, with vast
numbers of new forums offering
opportunities for discussion. However,
a few enthusiasts keep the BBS spirit
alive, and you’ll find a list of active
services at
Even FidoNet has a website, at www., but it’s a moribund affair.
Want to know what happened to your
favourite program, website or technology?
Why can’t I play my second-hand games?
I bought two PC games from a
charity shop — FIFA 13 and
Football Manager 2014.
Installing FIFA required me to open an
account with something called Origin.
This asked for the key code for FIFA 13,
but then told me that my code had
already been used. Well, yes, it’s a
second-hand game! I couldn’t get any
further. I had the same problem with
Football Manager, though this was
through a service called Steam. What’s
this all about? These companies have
their money from the original buyer, who
passed them on to charity so that others
(me!) might benefit. Does this mean that
all second-hand PC games are useless?
Or is there a way around this?
Terry Chudley
It doesn’t mean that all secondhand games are useless but this
is an increasingly common
modern problem.
In both cases, the original buyer of
these games was sold what lawyers
would call a single-use, non-transferable
licence to play them. In English, that
Some games may
only be licensed for
the original buyer,
making them useless
to anyone picking
them up second-hand
means that once the key code is activated
(by either the Origin or Steam online
gaming service in this case), it is applied
to and forever associated with a
particular online account. The code is
good for only one use, and cannot be
transferred (or sold) to anyone else. Not
every PC games publisher operates this
way, but many now do.
That’s really all there is to it. So, even
though the previous owner was free to
pass on the physical game and packaging
to the charity shop, the licence will
remain forever tied to his or her online
account. If you knew the person and
could persuade them to give you access to
their account, you’d be able to play.
24 May
• Can I put a question mark in a
• Will a new graphics card fit in my
small PC?
• How do I help my mum’s typing?
...And many more
Subscribe to Computeractive
10 - 23 May 2017 69
Problems Solved
Reader Support
Having a problem with our recommended software or expert tips?
Email and we’ll do our best to help
Why won’t my laptop and phone
connect via Bluetooth?
Click this icon and
select Menubar
to restore
traditional menu
I tried to follow your instructions
regarding the transfer of files from
my PC to my phone via Bluetooth (Issue
500, page 46), but I couldn’t see the
‘Bluetooth and other device settings’
option when I typed Bluetooth into the
Start menu. I definitely switched on
Bluetooth on my phone, so it seems that
my laptop is to blame. Is this because my
laptop needs a driver or some kind of
Brian Watson
We contacted Brian for more details
regarding his computer and found
that his particular laptop (a Toshiba
model) didn’t have Bluetooth built in.
To check if your PC supports Bluetooth,
click Start, type device manager, then
press Enter. When the Device Manager
window opens you’ll see a list of all the
hardware on your computer. If it supports
Bluetooth, you’ll see an entry for it in this
list (see screenshot below). If in doubt,
you can check your computer’s specs on
the manufacturer’s website (Bluetooth
will be in a section called Connectivity,
Communications or similar).
If your computer doesn’t have
Bluetooth built in, you can add it easily
and cheaply. For example, this ASUS
Bluetooth adapter (www.snipca.
com/24241) costs just £10 from Amazon
and is fully compatible with Windows 10.
To transfer files between your phone
and your PC without spending money,
try using an online (cloud) storage
service such as OneDrive, Google Drive
or Dropbox. Once you’ve created an
account with one of these services, log
in on your PC and phone (all services
have a mobile app).
To move files from your PC to your
phone put them in the cloud-storage
folder of the service you have chosen.
To move a file from your phone to your
PC, select it on your phone using the
share button (usually three connected
dots on Android, and a square with an up
arrow in iOS) and share it to that same
cloud-storage folder.
Where have LibreOffice’s Undo
and Redo icons gone?
I have used the excellent LibreOffice
for years and installed the latest
version with the new ribbon, following
your tip (Issue 496, page 18). So far so
good, but where are the icons for Undo
and Redo? I have searched and can’t find
them. I know I can use the shortcuts
Ctrl+Z and Ctrl+Y but I wondered if the
icons have been removed?
Terry McGill
If you don’t see this entry for Bluetooth in
Device Manager your PC doesn’t support it
70 10 – 23 May 2017
The Undo and Redo icons are
still there, but they have been
hidden. To restore them you need to
make a few tweaks to LibreOffice’s new
Notebookbar. Click the small blackand-white icon to the left of File, then
Menubar (see screenshot above) to
access the traditional menu (featuring
File, Edit, View, Insert and so on). Next,
click View, Notebookbar and select
‘Contextual groups’ or ‘Contextual single’
(we suggest you try both to see which
you prefer). This will change the layout of
the Notebookbar ribbon and reinstate the
Undo and Redo icons.
How do I type into the
Start menu?
In your ‘Find your recently used files
faster’ feature (Issue 499, page 60)
you say to access a setting by clicking
the Start button, typing Start settings
then pressing Enter. I am assuming the
Start button is the white Windows-type
button in the bottom left of the screen?
But, when I click this, there’s nowhere
to type anything. How is my Windows
10 different from everyone else in the
David Wiltshire
You’ll be glad to know that your
copy of Windows 10 is the same as
everyone else’s and you’re not doing
anything wrong. When you click the Start
button (which is indeed the white button
with four squares at the bottom left)
simply start typing – there’s no search
box to click first. You’ll see that whatever
you type appears in a white box below
the Start menu.
Lowering the cost of printing...
We are a small, family owned and run company, specialising in photographic
consumables – and proud winners of multiple Good Service Awards.
We are located in Leamington Spa, in the heart of Warwickshire.
If you’re passing, please pop into our shop and meet Cooper – our office dog!
01926 339977
Ink Cartridges
We carry one of the largest ranges of printer ink cartridges
in the UK, with cartridges in stock for practically every inkjet
printer. We always stock Original cartridges, which are made
by your printer manufacturer, and in many cases we also
offer Compatible cartridges, which are usually made by a UK
company called Jet Tec. Using Jet Tec Compatibles is a way
of saving money, without compromising on the quality of
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Here are the results
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Ink Test
Pixma Pro 1
Set of 12
Colours 36ml each
Pixma Pro 10
Set of 10
Colours 14ml each
Pixma Pro 100
Fountain Pen Inks
£249.99 No.16 Set of 4
£21.99 No.16 Black 5.4ml
No.16 Colours 3.1ml each
No.16XL Set of 4
No.16XL Black 12.9ml
No.16XL Colours 6.5ml each
£99.99 Compatibles:
£10.99 No.16 Set of 4
No.16 Black 12ml
No.16 Colours 12ml each
Set of 8
Colours 13ml each
Pixma Pro 9000
Set of 8
Colours 14ml each
Set of 8
Colours 14ml each
Pixma Pro 9500
Set of 10
Colours 14ml each
Set of 10
Colours 14ml each
We carry a massive range of papers (sheets & rolls) at competitive
prices. Below are some examples of the selection we stock.
Photo Glossy 160gsm:
6x4 50 sheets +50 FREE
Photo Satin 200gsm:
6x4 100 sheets +100 FREE £9.99
A4 20 sheets
Photo Glossy 200gsm:
6x4 100 sheets +100 FREE £9.99
A4 20 sheets
Premium Pearl 270gsm:
6x4 50 sheets +50 FREE
A4 50 sheets
Premium Gloss 270gsm:
6x4 50 sheets OFFER
A3 25 sheets OFFER
A3+ 25 sheets OFFER
Smooth Pearl 310gsm:
6x4 100 sheets
7x5 100 sheets
A4 25 sheets
A4 100 sheets
A4 250 sheets
A3 25 sheets
A3+ 25 sheets
Smooth Gloss 310gsm:
6x4 100 sheets
7x5 100 sheets
A4 25 sheets
A4 100 sheets
A3 25 sheets
A3+ 25 sheets
Premium Matt Duo 200 gsm:
A4 50 sheets
Heavy Duo Matt 310gsm:
A4 50 sheets
£83.99 Daisy Inks
£10.99 Originals:
No.18 Set of 4
No.18 Black 5.2ml
No.18 Colours 3.3ml each
No.18XL Set of 4
No.18XL Black 11.5ml
£83.99 No.18XL Colours 6.6ml each
No.18 Set of 4
£27.99 No.18 Black 12ml
£3.99 No.18 Colours 12ml each
Elephant Inks
£107.99 No.24 Set of 6
£10.99 No.24 Colours 4.6ml each
No.24XL Set of 6
£44.99 No.24XL Colours 8.7ml each £14.99
£4.99 Compatibles:
No.24 Set of 6
More Canon Inks...
No.24 Black 7ml
No.24 Colours 7ml each
PGi520/CLi521 Set of 5 £49.99
PGi520 Black 19ml
£11.99 No.26
CLi521 Colours 9ml
£10.29 Polar Bear Inks
PGi525/CLi526 Set of 5 £49.99
PGi525 Black 19ml
£11.99 Originals:
CLi526 Colours 9ml
£10.29 No.26 Set of 4
PGi550/CLi551 Set of 5 £43.99 No.26 Black 6.2ml
Colours 4.5ml each
PGi550 Black 15ml
CLi551 Colours 7ml
£8.99 No.26XL Set of 4
Black 12.1ml
PGi550/CLi551XL Set of 5 £59.99 No.26XL Colours 9.7ml each £15.99
PGi550XL Black 22ml
CLi551XL Colours 11ml £11.99 Compatibles:
PG540 Black 8ml
£12.99 No.26 Set of 4
PG540XL Black 21ml
£19.99 No.26 Black 10ml
CL541 Colour 8ml
CL541XL Colour 15ml
PG545XL Black 15ml
£15.49 T0481-T0486
CL546XL Colour 13ml
£16.99 Seahorse Inks
PGi5 Black 27ml
£4.99 Set of 6
CLi8 Colours 13ml
£3.99 Colours 13ml each
PGi5/CLi8 Set of 5
£19.99 Compatibles:
PGi520 Black 19ml
£4.99 Set of 6
CLi521 Colours 9ml
£3.99 Colours 13ml each
PGi520/CLi521 Set of 5 £19.99
PGi525 Black 19ml
£4.99 T0541-T0549
CLi526 Colours 9ml
PGi525/CLi526 Set of 5 £19.99 Frog Inks
PGi550XL Black 25ml
£4.99 Originals:
CLi551XL Colours 12ml
£3.99 Set of 8
PGi550/CLi551XL Set of 5 £19.99 Colours 13ml each
BCi6 Colours 15ml
£2.99 Compatibles:
PG40 Black 28ml
£12.99 Set of 8
CL41 Colour 24ml
£16.99 Colours 13ml each
PG50 Black 28ml
CL51 Colour 24ml
£14.99 T0591-T0599
PG510 Black 11ml
£13.99 Lily Inks
CL511 Colour 11ml
PG512 Black 18ml
£13.99 Originals:
CL513 Colour 15ml
£15.99 Set of 8
PG540XL Black 21ml
£13.99 Colours 13ml each
CL541XL Colour 15ml
£14.99 Compatibles:
PG545XL Black 15ml
£11.99 Set of 8
PG546XL Black 21ml
£12.99 Colours 13ml each
Many more in stock!
Photo Papers
More Epson inks >>>
E&EO. Prices may be subject to change, but hopefully not!
PP-201 Plus Glossy II 275gsm:
6x4 50 sheets
7x5 20 sheets
A4 20 sheets
A3 20 sheets
A3+ 20 sheets
SG-201 Semi-Gloss 260gsm:
6x4 50 sheets
A4 20 sheets
A3 20 sheets
A3+ 20 sheets
Smooth Pearl 280gsm:
6x4 100 sheets
7x5 100 sheets
A4 50 sheets
A4 50 sheets
A3 50 sheets
A3+ 25 sheets
Oyster 271gsm:
6x4 100 sheets
7x5 100 sheets
A4 50 sheets
A3 25 sheets
A3+ 25 sheets
Gloss 271gsm:
6x4 100 sheets
7x5 100 sheets
A4 50 sheets
A3 25 sheets
A3+ 25 sheets
Double Sided Matt 250gsm:
A4 100 sheets
A3 50 sheets
Premium Gloss 255gsm:
6x4 40 sheets +40 FREE
7x5 30 sheets
A4 15 sheets +15 FREE
A3 20 sheets
A3+ 20 sheets OFFER
Ultra Gloss 300gsm:
6x4 50 sheets
7x5 50 sheets
A4 15 sheets
Premium Semi-Gloss 251gsm:
6x4 50 sheets
A4 20 sheets
A3 20 sheets
A3+ 20 sheets OFFER
Archival Matte 192gsm:
A4 50 sheets
A3 50 sheets
A3+ 50 sheets
Heavyweight Matte 167gsm:
A4 50 sheets
A3 50 sheets
A3+ 50 sheets
More Ink Cartridges...
Cheetah Inks
Set of 4
Black 7.4ml
Colours 5.5ml each
Set of 4
Black 7.4ml
Colours 5.5ml each
Owl Inks
Set of 6
Colours 11.1ml each
Set of 6
Colours 11.1ml each
Hummingbird Inks
Set of 6
Colours 7.4ml each
Set of 6
Colours 7.4ml each
Flamingo Inks
Set of 8
Colours 11.4ml each
Set of 8
Colours 11.4ml each
Husky Inks
Set of 8
Colours 11.4ml each
Set of 8
Colours 11.4ml each
Many more in stock!
No.300 Black 4ml
No.300 Colour 4ml
No.301 Black 3ml
No.301 Colour 3ml
No.302 Black 3.5ml
No.302 Colour 4ml
No.350 Black 4.5ml
No.351 Colour 3.5ml
No.363 Black 6ml
No.363 C/M/Y/PC/PM each £11.49
No.363 SET OF 6
No.364 Black 6ml
No.364 PB/C/M/Y 3ml each £7.99
No.364 SET OF 4
No.364XL Black 14ml
No.364XL PB/C/M/Y 6ml each £15.99
No.364XL SET OF 4
No.920XL SET OF 4
No.932XL SET OF 4
No.950XL SET OF 4
No.15 Black 46ml
No.21 Black 10ml
No.22 Colour 21ml
No.45 Black 45ml
No.56 Black 24ml
No.57 Colour 24ml
No.62XL Black 12ml
No.62XL Colour 12ml
No.78 Colour 36ml
No.110 Colour 12ml
No.300XL Black 18ml
No.300XL Colour 18ml
No.301XL Black 15ml
No.301XL Colour 18ml
No.337 Black 21ml
No.338 Black 21ml
No.339 Black 34ml
No.343 Colour 21ml
No.344 Colour 21ml
No.350XL Black 30ml
No.351XL Colour 20ml
No.363 SET OF 6
No.364 Black 10ml
No.364 Colours 5ml each
No.364 SET OF 4
No.364XL Black 18ml
No.364XL Colours 11ml each £4.29
No.364XL SET OF 4
Albums & Frames
We now stock a comprehensive range of frames, mounts, albums
and accessories. The full range can be viewed on our website,
with detailed close-up images of each product to help you
choose the perfect way to display your printed photographs.
Below is just a tiny sample of what we offer:
Grace Albums
Available in
or Blue.
Emilia Frames
Distressed wood
shabby chic
Blue or White.
Rio Frames
Handcrafted solid wood with
30mm wide profile, in four colours.
Over a dozen
designs in stock.
Available in
or Blue. Frisco Frames
Simple, basic design
in a huge
range of
sizes &
Memo Style Albums:
Grace 6x4 100 photos
Grace 6x4 200 photos
Grace 6x4 300 photos
Grace 7x5 100 photos
Grace 7x5 200 photos
Grace A4 100 photos
Grafton 6x4 200 photos
Grafton 7x5 200 photos £13.99
Baby 6x4 200 photos
Travel 6x4 200 photos
Traditional Style Albums:
Grace 29x32cm 100 pages £14.99
Grafton 29x32cm 100 pgs £14.99
Baby 29x32cm 100 pages £12.99
Photo Corners Pack of 250 £2.99
Photo Stickers Pack of 500 £1.99
Plastic Bevel, Glass Front:
Frisco 6x4 seven colours
Frisco 7x5 seven colours
Frisco 8x6 seven colours
Frisco 9x6 seven colours
Frisco 10x8 seven colours £3.79
Frisco 12x8 seven colours £4.59
Frisco A4 seven colours
Frisco A3 seven colours
Wood Bevel, Glass Front:
Emilia 6x4 two colours
Emilia 7x5 two colours
Emilia 8x6 two colours
Emilia 10x8 two colours
Emilia 12x8 two colours
Rio 6x4 four colours
Rio 7x5 four colours
Rio 8x6 four colours
Rio 10x8 four colours
Rio 12x8 four colours
USB Pen Drives
8GB: £3.29 16GB: £4.49
32GB: £7.99
Sandisk Blue
33X (5MB/s)
Sandisk Ultra
266X (40MB/s)
Sandisk Extreme
600X (90MB/s)
Compact Flash
Sandisk Ultra
333X (50MB/s)
Sandisk Extreme
800X (120MB/s)
128GB £94.99
Sandisk Ultra
320X (48MB/s)
Readers & Cases
Delkin USB2 Card Reader £9.99
Delkin USB3 Card Reader £19.99
Delkin SD Card (x8) Case £6.99
Delkin CF Card (x4) Case £6.99
Many more in stock!
BP-511 for Canon
LP-E6 for Canon
LP-E8 for Canon
LP-E12 for Canon
EN-EL3E for Nikon
NB-2L/LH for Canon
NB-6L for Canon
NB-10L for Canon
NP95 for Fuji
NPW126 for Fuji
EN-EL3e for Nikon
EN-EL14 for Nikon
EN-EL15 for Nikon
BLN-1 for Olympus
BLC12 for Panasonic
FW50 for Sony
BX-1 for Sony
AA 1300mAh (4)
AAA 1100mAh (4)
Screw-type Filters
46mm UV / Haze
49mm UV / Haze
52mm UV / Haze
55mm UV / Haze
58mm UV / Haze
62mm UV / Haze
67mm UV / Haze
72mm UV / Haze
77mm UV / Haze
Skylight Filters from:
Circular Polarising Filters from: £14.99
ND4 and ND8 Filters from: £11.99
P-Type Square Filters
49-82mm Adapter Rings
Filter Holder
ND2 Filter
ND2 Grad Filter
ND4 Filter
ND4 Grad Filter
£13.99 Telephone: 01926 339977 or 0800 1077 211 Premier Ink & Photographic 12 Longfield Road, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire CV31 1XB
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Jargon Buster
Bust more jargon in our A-Z book:
4K Video with a resolution of at
least 3840x2160 pixels.
EPUB A file format used by many
popular ebook readers.
LED Light-Emitting Diode. An
electronic device that emits light.
802.11ac A standard for wireless
networks that allows for higher
transfer speeds than 802.11n.
Ethernet A standard used
for almost all wired computer
Loops A set musical pattern that
repeats itself.
802.11n A standard for wireless
networks that allows for high
transfer speeds.
Extension A program that adds
extra features to your browser.
M.2 A standard specification for
internal PC expansion cards and
Factory settings The original
system state of an electronic
Machine learning The science of
teaching computers how to learn
by themselves.
False positive When antivirus
software wrongly detects malware.
Metadata A set of data that gives
information about a file.
FreeSync AMD’s tech for varying
the screen’s refresh rate.
MicroSD card A small type of
memory card. Can be converted to
SD size using an adapter.
Add-on A program that adds extra
features to your browser.
AMOLED Active-Matrix Organic
Light-Emitting Diode. An
alternative technology to LCD for
creating flat-panel displays.
Bandwidth A measure of how
much data can be transferred
through a connection at one time.
Blue light Light given off by PC
and phone screens. Can disrupt
sleep patterns.
Blue screen of death Technically
called a ‘Stop error’, this is shown
when your PC crashes.
Ghosting On screens, the
appearance of an offset second
image that’s a facsimile of the first.
GHz Gigahertz. A measure of
how many instructions a chip can
process per second.
Gigabit Ethernet A very fast
networking standard.
Browser hijackers Programs that
change your default browser and
search engine when you install them.
Graphics card A PC component
that produces the image on a
Cast To send content from your
PC to TV.
Hotspot A public area covered by
a Wi-Fi network that allows you to
access the internet.
Clean install An operating system
installation that overwrites all
other content on the hard drive.
Client A program used to access
and manage a user’s email.
DDR4 The newest, fastest type of
computer memory.
Depth of field The distance
between the closest and furthest
objects that appear acceptably
dpi Dots per inch. A measure of
printed image quality, or the size
an object will be shown on screen.
Driver A file that tells Windows how
to work with an external device.
DRM Digital Rights Management.
Software that limits the copying
of a file.
E2EE End-to-end encryption.
Ensures messages can be seen
only by the sender and recipient.
HTML5 The latest version of the
Hypertext Markup Language used
to create most web pages.
IMAP Internet Message Access
Protocol. A method for email that
lets the user manage messages
stored on a remote server.
IMEI number Integrated Mobile
Equipment Identity. A number
used to identify each smartphone.
IP address Internet Protocol
Address. A unique set of numbers
used to identify computers and
websites on the internet.
IPv4 Internet Protocol version 4.
Set of rules that govern the format
of data sent over the internet.
ISO file A type of image file that
contains all the data from a disc.
LCD Liquid crystal display. The
technology used to create almost
all flatscreen monitors.
Miracast A standard for connecting
a PC to a TV or monitor wirelessly.
Mirror site A website that contains
the same downloadable software
as others, so it’s available from
more than one place.
Modem A device that allows two
computers to communicate via a
phone line.
NAS Network-attached storage. A
hard drive attached to a network
that can be shared with other PCs.
NFC Near field communication.
Tech that lets two devices
communicate when touched
together or placed near.
OCR Optical character recognition.
The process by which printed text
is scanned and converted into
documents that can be edited.
Open source Software that can
be modified by anyone.
Pair (Bluetooth) To establish
a connection between two
Bluetooth devices.
POP3 Post Office Protocol 3. A
system for remotely accessing and
retrieving email from an ISP.
Refurbished A second-hand
device that has been repaired by
its manufacturer so it can be resold.
Remote content Parts of an email,
such as videos, downloaded from
the web when you open it.
Scaling How operating systems
display text from different programs
to make it readable on screen.
Scrubber bar Where you need
to move your cursor across a
segment of music to hear it.
SD card Secure Digital card. A
popular type of memory card.
Solid state A device that has no
internal moving parts.
Spyware Software installed
(surreptitiously) to monitor and
report back on a computer’s use.
sRGB A standard RGB colour
space for use on monitors,
printers and the internet.
SSD Solid-state drive. Storage
that, unlike a hard drive, uses no
moving parts.
Temporary file A file created by a
browser to store website data.
Tooltip A message that appears
when the cursor hovers over an
Trojan A malicious computer
program that’s disguised as a
different, harmless program.
USB 3.0 An even faster version of
the USB standard used to connect
devices to a computer.
USB Type-C A new connector that
you can plug in upside down.
VGA Video Graphics Array. A
standard socket for connecting a
monitor to a computer.
Virus definitions A database of
known viruses.
Programming environment Set
of processes and tools used to
create a program.
WAV file An audio file used for
recording music and other sounds.
PUP Potentially unwanted
Wireless extender A device that
boosts your Wi-Fi router’s range.
Quad core A computer that has
four processors on a single chip.
ZIP file A file that contains
compressed files.
10 – 23 May 2017 73
The Final Straw
This issue Ken Rigsby signals his frustration over…
Computeractive’s Mr Angry
Mobile not-spots
onfession time - I have a touring
caravan! Yep, I’m one of those
infuriating wide loads that delights
in hogging the motorway’s middle lane
for miles, before turning off to crawl at
20mph on a B road that lasts forever and
has no passing places. Be assured, I take
care to do this only during the warmer
months, ensuring that I ruin everyone
else’s holidays as well as my own.
Come summer, barely a weekend
passes without Mrs Rigsby instructing me
to attach our fibreglass box to the back of
our Mini. More often than not, she’ll
instruct me to drive to some out-of-theway beauty spot. It isn’t always Bangor,
but recently it was. Well, quite nearby
– and for a whole fortnight!
Beyond cities one’s
best hope of reaching
the outside world is a
phone box that smells
of urine
When we pitch our caravan I get busy
with the spirit level. That’s my personal
spirit level, incidentally. I need to ensure
that my blood-alcohol ratio is sufficiently
life-threatening to deal with all the pain
that I know lies ahead. Next, I have to
fiddle with the aerial to tune the telly in.
You’d have to ask Mrs Rigsby why we
drive hundreds of miles to watch
Coronation Street on a screen smaller
than a postage stamp, while squashed
together on a sofa.
Still, receiving a TV signal is usually
74 10 - 23 May 2017
pretty straightforward wherever we
are. But finding a mobile-broadband
signal for my smartphone and tablet in
the outskirts of Bangor? Not so much.
That’s because you really don’t have
to go too far off the UK’s beaten
tracks to find yourself in a place
where you’ll get funny looks
simply for enquiring about
the best spot for some hot
4G action.
That might come as a
surprise if most of your time
is spent living or working in
a city, or travelling the
country’s major roads and
rail routes. In fact, citydwellers might imagine that
mobile broadband is as
omnipresent as smog-tinged
air. This perception is fuelled
by the mobile networks, all of
whom use bold marketing
claims to big up their service
quality — “We reach up to 99
per cent of the population!”.
Such boasts aren’t outright
lies. However, 99 per cent of
the population is not the same as 99 per
cent of the landmass. Tens of millions of
people live in a much smaller number of
conurbations, well within reach of a
mobile mast. That’s just good business
sense. Profit-making companies will do
all they can to provide the best services
where the biggest profits are to be made.
Beyond the UK’s urban areas, though,
we’re actually a nation of mobile not-spots,
an island of 3G and 4G islands, where all
too often one’s best hope of contacting
the outside world is still a phone box that
smells faintly of urine. However, venture
into one of these cubicles nowadays and
you’re unlikely to find an actual phone. It
will have been replaced by a shelf full of
Jilly Cooper novels, humouring some
deluded parish councillor’s fantasy of
rekindling the lost spirit of community
by creating a minuscule library.
If you like to while away your holidays
with help from a bit of 4G broadband,
then keep your fingers crossed that you
don’t find yourself marooned in a mobile
not-spot. Because while the mobile
networks like to spend money advertising
“99 per cent population coverage”, they’re
evidently rather less concerned about
investing in the infrastructure needed to
make their services reach 99 per cent of
the actual country.
We ventured into Bangor itself for a
day, and had a lovely time - and I even
picked up a bit of mobile broadband. But,
back at our unconnected campsite, the
rest of my holiday was spent mushing my
brain with a dog-eared paperback copy
of The Man Who Made Husbands Jealous
that smelled a bit funny.
Where do you have signal problems?
Let us know at
Next issue Ken tries to permanently remove temporary files
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