Trails End Computer Club

Bulletin for the week of DECEMBER 8, 2013

WEEKLY MEETINGS
EACH Wednesday 

Program or Lesson 9:30 - 10:30 AM
One on One Help 10:30-?
In the Library


SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS:

If you would like to meet in a small group to discuss special computer related subjects or form a Special Interest Group lets discuss it.

Our bulletin is also available on line by visiting tecc.apcug.org and clicking on bulletin.


Our weekly program or lesson is intended
to be of interest to all computer users.
Following the program an allotment of time will
be available for one on one help to those
who want a better understanding of something done
 during the presentation.

Upcoming Events

Wednesday DECEMBER 11, 2013 Meeting
 9:15 AM Set up your computer
 9:30 AM Lesson #1 Cut or Copy and Paste.
10:30 AM One on One help


How to Find a Lost Document


and Other Filing Tips

By Nancy DeMarte, 1st Vice President, Sarasota PC Users Group, FL

August 2013 issue, PC Monitor     

www.spcug.org          ndemarte (at) Verizon.net

I suppose you’re thinking this could never happen…until it does. You have a large number of folders full of documents and photos on your computer. One day you need to find a letter that you wrote and saved a week ago, but can’t remember what name you gave it or which folder you saved it in. Here are some ways to find that document:

Look in your Recent Documents list: Open Word 2010 or 2007 and click File, and you will see a list of documents you opened recently. If you haven’t opened more than about 20 documents since you saved the letter, it will be on the list. If you find the letter, you can open it from the Recent Documents list. But before you do that, it’s a good idea to take note of its “path,” so you’ll know exactly where it’s stored. The path of a document file in Word 2010 is shown below its name in the Recent Documents list. It is represented by a string of folders, starting with the largest folder, My Documents, and ending with the sub-folder in which the document is stored. As shown, the path for this article is “My Documents\1 SPCUG\Office Talk Column\ Files and Folders.” In Word 2007, the path is missing in the Recent Documents view, but with a few steps, you can find it. Open Word 2007 and click the Office button to open the Recent Documents list. Click a recent document to open it. Then click Office button – Save As. In this window the path of the document appears in the address bar across the top. The last folder in the string of folders is where the document is stored.

You can keep or “pin” any Recent Document to the list for easy future access by clicking the pushpin icon next to it. You can also right click a recent document in Word 2010 and select “Remove from list.” Recent files lists exist in most 2007 and 2010 Office programs.

Search your computer: In Windows 7, click the Start button at the left end of the taskbar, then type in the search box one or more words which you guess are part of your lost letter’s name. If your guess is correct, the letter should appear in the Files list and can be opened from there. Sometimes, however, a Windows 7 search does not find files stored too deeply in sub-folders. Windows 8 offers a more targeted search. Open the Charms from the Start Screen and click the category of item you’re looking for, such as Mail or, in this case, Files. Then type your search words in the Search box. This tool searches inside all levels of sub-folders in the category and returns a list of possibilities. It searches not only file names, but also the body of the document.

Make use of File Views: The contents of any folder on the computer can be viewed in various ways, but some views fit certain kinds of files better than others. It’s easiest to find a document in a file list using the Details view, which is a list which includes File Name, Date Modified, File Type, and Size. A photo is best viewed as an Icon or Tile, which shows a thumbnail of the photo, its name, and file size. To change the view of a file list in Windows 7, open a folder, then click the Views icon at the right end of the menu bar. By moving the slider, you can preview how different views affect your list before making your selection.

If your letter does not appear in Recent Documents and is not found with a Search, you can open My Documents and scroll to the bottom of the list of folders to see unfiled documents. If it isn’t there, then open a sub-folder where you guess it might be. Set the view to Details, and sort the list by Date Modified, which will put recently opened files at the top of the list. To sort, click the heading of the Date Modified column. Reverse the sort order by clicking the heading again. File names sort alphabetically; dates chronologically.

Add folders to your Favorites: Much like the Favorite websites list you keep in your Internet browser, Windows provides a convenient spot for you to park folders that you open frequently. Open Libraries. In the Explorer Window, at the top of the navigation pane on the left, you’ll see a section called Favorites. A few folders are listed there by default, but you can customize this list with your own folders. I keep my SIG Schedules and Office Talk Column folders there because I open them frequently, and because opening a Favorite folder takes only one click. To add a folder to Favorites, make it visible in the main Explorer window (but don’t open it), then click and drag it left onto the word Favorites, or use Copy and Paste. A Favorite folder is synchronized with the original one. Whenever you make a change to files in the original folder, the change will also appear in the Favorites version and vice versa.

File Management is one of the most difficult skills to master in a Windows environment. And each new version of Windows changes the system just enough to cause confusion.

The more you understand how files and folders are stored and organized on your computer, the more control you’ll have of your documents and other important files. You won’t have many lost documents, either.


Network Debugging

  1. By Dick Maybach, member, Brookdale Computer Users’ Group, NJ

  2. August 2013 issue, BUG Bytes       www.bcug.com           n2nd (at) charter.net

When your network acts up, the first issue you must resolve is whether this is your problem or belongs to your Internet Service Provider (ISP). If it's yours and you have an ISP technician come to your house, you'll pay a non-trivial service charge. Conversely, if it's your ISP's problem, you don't want to spend time chasing non-existent problems and perhaps replacing perfectly good network components.

Perform some preventive maintenance. This is your most important step, and it consists of recording the network connection information. If you have a router, download its manual from the manufacturer's Web site, and print it. Log into the router, access the screen that shows the Internet connection information, either record the parameters or print a screen-shot. The screen-shot below shows an example.

In this case, all the parameters are the defaults and are restored if you press the router's reset button. (Don't do this if you don't have to, as you will have to enter your Wi-Fi name and password.) Most ISPs are set up so that home customers can use their router default settings, but this is not true for commercial customers. If you maintain a business network, be careful to examine all the set-up pages and record everything. Repeat this for any other routers, Wireless Access Points (WAPs), and switches on your network. If you have no router, record the same information from the Network Manager of the PC connected to the ISP's Wide Area Network (WAN) modem. For Windows 7, click the Windows button, type “net”, and select the Network Sharing Center. Select Local Area Connection and click the Details button. The next screen-shot is for a PC connected to the ISP's WAN modem through a router.

If your network does include a router, you should record this information for at least one of your PCs and keep it with the other material. Finally, power on all the computers in your network and use Zenmap (discussed in my July article, available at www.bcug.com) to record your internal network connections. (Since all you need is the connection information, a ping scan is sufficient.) Put all this material into a folder and save it someplace where you can find it.

If a problem develops, you'll do one or more of the following, depending on the symptoms.

Check the PC's network connection. If the Ethernet cable is disconnected or if you lose the wireless signal, there will usually be a notice to that effect on your desktop. To be sure, move the pointer over the network icon, although some operating systems require that you make a left- or right-click on it. These or course are your problems. Correct them before you try to continue.

Reset the ISP's modem and your router. If every computer in your network loses Internet access, check whether a transient problem on the ISP's network has confused the WAN modem. In my experience, this is by far the most common Internet access problem. Unplug the power cord from it and, if you have one, from your router. (It would be prudent to tag these cords before you unplug them to be sure you plug them back into the right box. Otherwise, you may find yourself down among the dust-bunnies trying to decide which wall-wart belongs to the modem.) Wait about half a minute, and then restore power to the WAN modem. After a minute or so, the indicator lamps will settle down, and when they do, restore power to your router. If this doesn't help, your ISP may be experiencing a longer outage. Find something else to do for an hour or so, and give their technicians a chance to restore service.

Connect a PC directly to the ISP's modem. If the above doesn't help, consult your network records and connect a PC directly to the ISP's WAN modem. If you normally connect with a router, the PC should be set up the same way the router was. If you can now access the Internet, the problem is in your home network; if you can't, it's time to call the ISP's help line.

Test the local network. Reconnect the network and boot all the computers on it. As each one comes up, check that it reports a normal network connection, either wired or wireless as appropriate. Probe the network with Zenmap, or a similar tool, and check the results with your records. The IP addresses of each computer will most likely be different, but they should all be present. If Zenmap shows no network, suspect the PC running Zenmap or the router or switch to which it's connected. If just one PC is missing, its connection is a problem. This could be a disconnected cable, a malfunctioning network or Wi-Fi card, or an incorrect configuration. Pull the entire length of the cable out where you can see it and look at it closely. Most Ethernet cables have flimsy plastic locking tabs, and these are easily broken. Unless you have a crimping tool to replace connectors, the only reliable repair is to replace the problem cable. Check the network configuration against the records you took above.

Conduct a Wi-Fi survey. If you lose Wi-Fi connectivity, you must check that. All operating systems have wireless managers that display the available wireless signals and a crude estimate of their signal strengths. If you can see your signal, and it is the strongest one, you should be able to establish a circuit. If you are getting continuous requests for a password, check that your PC hasn't locked onto a neighbor's encrypted signal. If the PC is a laptop, move it near the wireless access point, and try to establish a link there, but this isn't practical with a desktop. Free Wi-Fi analysis software is available for all platforms, and the screen-shot below shows one of these, inSSIDer for Home, available for Windows, Android, and the Mac at http://www.metageek.net/products/inssider/. Please note that Microsoft has not approved this program, but Metageek has other similar products for sale, so I think the risk is not great.

Our own Wi-Fi has the name or Service Set Identifier (SSID) louise, and we have two wireless access points, one operating on channel 11 and the other on channel 4. Although there is another channel-11 signal, it is 33 dB lower. (That is, it's power is 1/2000 that of louise. At the location where I made this measurement, the power of channel-4 louise is adequate, but this isn't true throughout the house, which is why we added the second WAP. (Some of the signal powers in the list are below -90 dBm, and hence don't appear on the plot.) As the plot suggests, wife signals spread two channels above and below their assigned channel, so moving your signal by just one channel number may not change anything. With this information, you can pick a good channel, and perhaps reduce the interference to your signal. Other possible solutions are a directional antenna, a second WAP (or perhaps a better location for the present one), or running a cable. In the example here, there are no 5-GHz signals, so that too offers a possibility.

Check Internet speed. If you can connect to the Internet but it seems slow, use your browser to search for “internet speed test”. You will find many sites; www.speedtest.net seems to be good. Our own ISP's speed varies greatly with the time of day, sometimes by a factor of 1000 or more. (Tonight, it's 41 Mbits/s download and a tenth of that for uploads. You will seldom approach these in actual use, since the limiting factor is usually the site with which you're communicating.) The most effective solution to this rush-hour traffic problem is to find something else to do for a few hours.

Again, your most important diagnostic tool is preparation. It's difficult to repair an ailing network if you don't know how it operates when it's healthy. You should download the test software now and become familiar with it, because once your network chokes, downloading may not be possible, and staring at the terse diagnostics provided by your operating system usually provides few clues about where to begin.


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