TouchStoneSoftware| Monthly Newsletter
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TouchStoneSoftware Monthly Newsletter, Issue #2

Welcome to the second edition of the TouchStoneSoftware Monthly Newsletter. You are receiving this newsletter because you are a BIOS Update customer. Since the last issue we have received an abundance of positive feedback, so we’re confident you will enjoy this month’s edition.

We would like to acknowledge Mr. Richard Bilger of Walker, MN as the iPod Shuffle winner from the June Newsletter. Mr. Bilger had sent us an inquiry regarding a problem he was having with the Symantec Installer. We will share our reply with all readers in the Q&A section of this newsletter. Happy listening, Richard!

We will continue to offer a free iPod Shuffle to the reader that offers the best suggested topic or technical question for our August edition. Please see the details of the contest in the right column.

If you feel that you don’t want to receive this newsletter on a monthly basis, that’s no problem. There’s an unsubscribe link at the bottom of the newsletter.

General Computer Tech Tips
Restoring Missing Desktop Icons

Have you recently purchased a new computer or installed Windows and noticed that your My Computer icon and/or other Windows icons have gone missing?  You can restore your My Computer, My Documents, My Network Places, and Internet Explorer icons by following these quick and easy steps:

  1. Right-click on your desktop and select Properties to bring up Display Properties.
  2. » Windows 2000 / XP: Click on the Desktop tab, and then click on Customize Desktop.
    » Windows Vista:
    Click on Customize Desktop Icons in the top right hand corner.
  3. Place a check in the appropriate box for either: My Computer, My Documents, My Network Places or Internet Explorer.  Click OK to apply the changes.
Your icons should be back on the desktop now.

Windows XP/Vista Related Tech Tips
Resizing Internet Explorer Windows

Have you clicked on a link or tried to open up Internet Explorer and it opens in a small window which you then have to resize? Here are a couple of tips to make that window open to its full size.

Sometimes Internet Explorer (IE) can forget the settings for its window size and decide to open in an annoying small window. If you close all other IE windows that might be open, resize the small window (do not maximize) and then close it. IE is supposed to remember that it was resized when you next open it. Sometimes it goes right ahead and opens in a small window again. In that case, there are several methods to try:
  • Resize (with only one window open) and then close by clicking the X in the upper right corner while holding down the Shift key.
  • If resizing does not work, your next step is to try the 2 window method:
    1. Open a single IE window (which is probably not the size you want)
    2. Now open a secondary IE window by either right-clicking or shift-clicking on any link in the open IE window
    3. Resize this second window to the size that you like
    4. Close this resized window by clicking the X in the upper right corner while holding down the Shift key
    5. Resize the still open original window as desired
    6. Close this window by clicking the X in the upper right corner while holding down the Shift key
If you do not mind always having maximized IE windows, another approach is to edit the IE shortcut.
  1. Right-click on the shortcut that you use for IE and choose properties in the context menu.
  2. In the drop-down menu for "Run" select "Maximized" (Secondary IE windows will not inherit this setting).

Your Internet Explorer window will no longer default as a small window.

Windows Registry Related Tech Tips
Solving a problem with removing programs from Windows

Occasionally, even though you have deleted a program from your computer it still shows upin your "Add/Remove Programs". When you try to remove the program, the result is often anerror message. The following steps will show you how to remove these leftover programsfrom your list of "Currently Installed Programs."

Here is how you can find it:
  1. Back up your registry before beginning since you will be making changes to yoursystem registry.
  2. Go to Add/Remove Programs through the Control Panel. Write down the name or names of any programs that have been deleted yet remain on this list.
  3. Click Start and then Run. In the field labeled "Open:" type regedit and hit Enter.
  4. Navigate to:
  5. Look for the folders with the names of the programs you want to delete. Right click each of these folders and then click Delete. If you receive a message asking "Are You Sure You Want to Delete" click Yes.
  6. When you have deleted all the folders of the programs you wish to remove, close the Registry Editor.
Perform a Registry Scan now

Driver Related Tech Tips
Roll back to a stable device driver

Occasionally the new version of a device driver can make your system unstable. When this happens, you can roll back to the previous driver by doing the following:
  1. Right-click My Computer and select Properties to bring up System Properties.
  2. Select the Hardware tab and click the Device Manager button.
  3. Double-click on the problematic device.
  4. Click the Driver tab.
  5. Click the Roll Back Driver button.
  6. Restart your system and it will begin using the previous driver for that device.

Advanced User Tech Tips
Preventing an automatic reboot after service pack installation

Windows XP Pro Users:

Since Microsoft released Windows XP Service Pack 2, the company has emphasized that you should enable Automatic Updates on your computer. Usually these updates need to restart the computer to complete the installation. With Service Pack 1 and any previous updates, automatic updates would not restart your computer automatically. With Service Pack 2, this is not the case, and it has caused problems for people that don’t autosave their work.

Once you’ve scheduled Automatic Updates to be installed (by default at 03:00 AM), if the update requires restart, Windows will notify you that it needs to restart. If you are not logged in and do not restart within 5 minutes, Windows will automatically restart your computer.

Documents you left open and did not save will be lost, downloads you started that have not finished will be terminated, and even hard disk maintenance (like a hard drive defragmentation) will be terminated.

Windows XP Pro users can tell Windows never to restart the computer automatically. To do that, follow these steps:
  1. In the Start Menu go to Run type “gpedit.msc” and press Enter
  2. A Group Policy editor will open.
    In this window navigate to:
    Computer Configuration -> Administrative Template -> Windows Components -> Windows Update
  3. Double click on No auto-restart for scheduled Automatic Updates installations
  4. In the settings window choose Enabled and click OK
  5. Close Group Policy Editor
The next time Windows updates your system it will not restart the computer automatically, but will notify you that restart is needed in order to finish the installation.

Windows Home Users:
  • Go to registry editor and navigate to the following registry key:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \Software\Policies \Microsoft\Windows \WindowsUpdate\AU
  • Change the “NoAutoRebootWithLoggedOnUsers” DWord value to the required number.

    0 = False (Allow auto-reboot)
    1 = True (Disallow auto-reboot)

We are using Windows XP Professional on a company laptop. I installed some software on an IBM laptop (Sling Box). The software works fine but now every time I right-click on the mouse (such as right-clicking the trash can icon on the desktop) the Symantec Installer process starts and tells me to insert the disk to continue. We have to click Cancel twice to stop the process then the original action (right-clicking the icon) proceeds as if nothing was wrong. This is a very irritating interruption and happens all the time. Do you know anything about this issue and how to fix it?

- Richard Bilger, Walker, MN

Norton is notorious for deeply embedding their products into the operating system.  They have actually gone as far as creating a stand alone removal tool that will scan your PC and remove any and all of the products.  You can find the tool here:

[ Download and run the Norton Removal Tool ]

Once you have done that the problem should be fixed. It’s up to you to choose to install the Symantec product again.
I have Windows XP as the operating system on my PC. I have heard there is a way to Flush DNS records, but beyond using the Start menu. I don't know how to accomplish this. Could you step me through it, please?

- D. Sivacek, Weyers Cave, VA

That’s a good question, and we have an easy solution for you:
  1. Go to Start -> Run
  2. A dialog box will open, in the box type: CMD and click OK
  3. This will bring up what looks like a DOS window.  When that pops up type in:
    IPCONFIG/FLUSHDNS and then hit Enter
That should do the trick!
I have about 3,000 deleted items in my "deleted box" in Outlook Express; Windows XP.

I would like to save about a third of these. How do I "select" the two thirds that I want to delete without the utility selecting all the items in the folder for deletion?  

- E.Frimpong, Ilford, UK

Thank you for the question.
  1. Select the first email you want to "delete" on your list.
  2. Hold down the Shift key.
  3. Select the last email you want to "delete" on your list.
  4. Once these emails are highlighted, you can hit the Delete key to permanently delete these emails.
The Shift key will work for selecting multiple rows/columns in most programs. To skip around and highlight a message here and there, you can use the Ctrl Key.

BeInSync Product Review

Backup and file synchronization service

People who work both at home and at the office know how much of a pain it can be to keep track of the documents that you use. Using a USB stick to copy files to and from the hard disk presents the danger of overwriting a new file with an old file.

There are a few remote control applications currently available such as GoToMyPC or Laplink. These services can be expensive and they do not solve the problems with duplicate documents.

BeInSync from Phoenix Technologies automatically synchronizes your files, bookmarks and even your Windows desktop on up to 5 different machines. If a file is updated on one system, it is automatically updated on the others. If you make changes to your desktop on one system, then the other systems will automatically make that change.

Setting up the application is easy to do. Just install a small application on one system. Set the same application up on one or two other systems. Then just log in with the same username and password. After that, the system will automatically synchronize all of your chosen items.

Synchronization happens as soon as the file is changed, as long as all of the systems remain online - around the clock. When you change a file, the change will take place on your other systems in a matter of minutes. All of the data being transferred is encrypted. You do not need to be concerned about accidentally deleting files.

BeInSync will make a local backup each time you change or delete a file and a box will pop up asking you which version you would like to keep.

If you need to access your data from a PC that doesn't have BeInSync installed on it, all you need to do is visit the BeInSync website and log in with your credentials.

You can download BeInSync and use it free for 14 days. The cost is $59.95 for an entire year, about $5.00 a month.

BeInSync also provides the most trusted online backup for protecting your valuable data, relying on storage facilities operated by Amazon.Since BeInSync is so easy to use and affordable, the days of using your USB stick to shuttle files back and forth between PC’s are over!

Try BeInSync for Free

Firefox To Be Offered On Mobile Devices
Windows XP SP3 Rolling Out This Week
Samsung Offers Alternative To Hard Disk Drive
First iPhone 3G Reviews
Which Browser Is Most Secure?

Monthly Contest

Do you have a computer question that you would like answered? Do you have a tech related topic that you would like us to research and write about? If so, we want to hear from you!

The subscriber with the best question or topic suggested for our August issue will win a free iPod Shuffle. Just visit the form below to contact us.

Enter Now!

XP/Vista Shortcuts

Here are a few interesting shortcuts you can use if you have a Microsoft keyboard:

These shortcuts will involve using the Windows Logo Key (between Ctrl and Alt on your keyboard)

Windows XP + Vista
Windows Key+F:
Search for a file or folder
Windows Key+BREAK key:
Display the System Properties dialog box
Vista Shortcuts
Windows Key + TAB: Cycle through programs on the taskbar by using Windows Flip 3-D
Windows Key+Any Number Key:
Open the Quick Launch shortcut that is in the position that corresponds to the number. For example, Windows key +1 to launch the first shortcut in the Quick Launch menu.

Quote of the Month

"There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home."

- Ken Olsen, 1977
President, Digital Equipment


Browser Add-on of the Month

GooglePreview for Firefox:

GooglePreview is a very useful add-on for Firefox users that use Google or Yahoo! for their internet searching needs. This add-on will provide a thumbnail preview of the webpage for each search result. With GooglePreview you never have to guess what’s behind the link. Gone are the days where you have to blindly open up a webpage….it’s like Caller ID for the internet!

GooglePreview for IE:

Internet ExplorerThere’s also a toolbar edition for Internet Explorer users: GooglePreviewIE

GooglePreview was created by Edward Ackroyd

Site of the Month

Techie Site of the Month: is news, tips and views into Windows Vista. This project is a joint effort between SheTech and Company and acclaimed technical author Ed Tittel. is styled after the Windows Vista look and feel, precisely because it is a web site devoted to tips, tricks and tweaks to help Vista users make the most of their operating system.

Fun Site of the Month

Pandora Radio is the personalized internet radio service that helps you find new music based on your old and current favorites. Just drop the name of one of your favorite songs or artists into Pandora and it will quickly scan its entire world of analyzed music to find songs with interesting musical similarities to your choice. Pandora Radio is Free and easy to use.

Vocab Test

Flash Memory

Flash memory is a type of memory that has widespread usage among many of our common electronic devices like digital cameras, mobile phones, MP3 players, and game consoles. Flash memory is a type of electrically erasable programmable read-only memory (EEPROM). The term “flash” comes from how the memory is designed. Memory cells can be erased in a single action or a “flash”. We have been using flash technology here with BIOS Updating for over a decade. When the BIOS needs to be updated the flash memory can be written in blocks, rather than bytes, which makes it easier to update the chip.

Flash memory is non-volatile, which means that no power is needed to maintain the information on the chip. Flash memory offers fast read access times. Combine that with the fact that there aren’t any moving parts that could potentially break after being dropped or jarred and it makes flash memory ideal for portable devices.

In the future we’ll see flash memory being used to replace traditional hard drives in PCs and notebooks due to better reliability and lower power consumption.

Stat of the Month

Preliminary Q1 2008 Worldwide PC Shipment Estimate

Q1 2008 Market
Hewlett-Packard 18.9%
Dell 15.4%
Acer 9.7%
Lenovo 6.9%
Toshiba 4.4%
Others 44.7%

*Source: iSuppli June 2008

Google Tip

Did you know that when performing a Google search you can limit your results so you receive better information?

This can be done by using the minus sign (-) to limit search results. For example, if you were doing a search for chocolate chip cookies and didn’t want the results to return any information about toll house cookies, using the minus sign (-) will get you better results.
Type: chocolate chip cookies –toll house
This will exclude any references to toll house cookies and will provide you with the streamlined results you were looking for.

Another quick trick allows you to search for a specific topic within a specific website. Let’s say you wanted information about the Buick Open from the General Motors website. A quick way to perform a search would be to type the URL for General Motors, followed by the keyword Buick Open.
Type: Buick Open
Performing a search with this method will only return information about the Buick Open that General Motors has on their corporate website.

Want to Write?

Would you be interested in being a contributor to our future newsletters? If you are a technically minded person and you're looking for a platform to express yourself, our Newsletter is the perfect place to share your knowledge. Just email us and let us know what you want to write about.


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