Category Archives: Troubleshooting

Recovering a Toshiba Notebook into Factory Settings: A Visual Guide

How to perform a simple drag using trackpad

Apple Macbook Pro (Early 2008) 17" Trackpad

Image via Wikipedia

Using trackpad may be more difficult to use and handle for some people. Even though it has some buttons for left and right clicks including drag and scroll, the mouse offers more freedom and flexibility. It is because people feel it more natural as they move their hand rather than finger around. However, trackpad also offers similar functionality as the mouse.

There are three ways people perform a drag on the trackpad.

A. Press and hold then slide

This procedure may require two fingers working at the same time. One finger needs an effort to press one of its buttons.

  1. Point into the item you wish to move or drag
  2. Press and hold the left trackpad button.
  3. As you hold down that button, move the cursor into preferred location.
  4. Release trackpad button.

B. Tap, tap then slide

This method is what I prefer to use. It only requires one finger. To do this:

  1. Point into the item you wish to move or drag.
  2. Lift your finger shortly then tap twice in succession.
  3. Instead of releasing your finger on the second tap from the trackpad, slide your finger towards the position where you want to move that item.
  4. Release.

C. Push then slide

If you are working with Mac notebooks, this method is the most convenient since the entire trackpad is a button.

  • Simply point into the item, push and slide your finger into the direction where you want to move that item then release.

What if I reach the edge of the trackpad?

Simply retain your finger into that position until the mouse pointer (supposed to be trackpad pointer) reaches its position then release. The pointer will continue moving even though your finger has stopped moving. It will work as long as you have not yet released your finger from the trackpad.

What if the pointer stopped moving when my finger reached its edge?

Your trackpad may not support continuous dragging. However, you may change a setting in your Control Panel to enable continuous dragging.

To enable continuous dragging,

  1. Simply search for Mouse in the Start Menu.
  2. Click Mouse to open the program.
  3. You will see an option usually a tab dedicated by your manufacturer. Click it to open. Some may see a settings button for trackpad. Click it to open.
  4. Find the option for Continuous Dragging or something similar and enable it by placing a check mark next to it.
  5. Click OK to save changes.

What I can’t find the setting customised for my trackpad?

A. Install software and drivers for your trackpad

If you can’t find any customised setting for your trackpad, the software designed by manufacturer for your trackpad is not yet installed. To install this,

  1. Go to Start – Windows Update
  2. Click Check for Updates
  3. Choose Optional Updates
  4. Look for the trackpad driver update and put a check mark next to it.
  5. Click Install.
  6. Your computer will download and install updates including your trackpad software.
  7. You will be prompted to restart. Select Restart Now to apply changes.

B. Repeat your preferred dragging method.

If everything above still won’t work, simply repeat the method you usually use or use another method.

How to fix Super Zoom Problem on iOS devices

The answer is simple. Simply use your three fingers to double tap on the screen.

Having accidentally turned on an accessibility option in the settings menu is the cause of the problem. The screen can be zoomed in for one to easily read screen contents. However, we may accidentally zoom in its screen in a way that you can’t navigate and use it that the text and screen contents are actually very large.

To fix it, simply follow the recommendation from its settings menu:

“To zoom, double tap with three fingers.”

Just use that method to zoom in and out.

Can’t create a free iTunes account? There’s a solution for that!

App store countdown xacti med

Image by willc2 via Flickr

Have an iOS device but can’t get apps from its wide variety of 800,000 and counting apps to choose from the App Store?

There’s a solution for that. iTunes requires a credit card for a user to create an iTunes account to buy apps; however, free apps don’t need credit cards for a purchase to be taken place. Around 40% of the apps available in the App Store are free (9to5mac.com). That’s around (several) free apps available. So why not maximize your iOS device with that potential?

But why can’t I create that free account in the first place?

Apple has taken a marketing strategy to encourage users to buy apps from its store. Apple does this by hiding or moving its free account creation somewhere else.

Here’s why it don’t show up:

  1. Open iTunes application. If you don’t have iTunes installed, simply visit iTunes download then hit the download button.
  2.  Select iTunes Store on the left hand side of the display.
  3.  Click Sign In button on the upper right hand side of the display.
  4. Select ‘I don’t have an account’.
  5. Enter some personal user information then click Next.
  6. On the top of the display you see only three payment options namely Visa, MasterCard and American Express. Some may see different.

The fourth or last option which NONE is hidden.

So, how can I make the “None” option show up?

  1. Open iTunes application.
  2. Select iTunes Store on the left hand side of the display.
  3. This time, instead of clicking the Sign Up button, look for the Top Free Apps on the right hand side of the display. If you can’t see it, scroll down to see more.
  4. Choose from one of the free apps then click the free button.
  5. You will be presented with the Sign Up dialog box.
  6. Select ‘I don’t have an account’.
  7. Enter some personal user information then click Next.
  8. On the top of the display you will now see four payment options namely Visa, MasterCard, and American Express as well as NONE. Some may see different. Choose none.
  9. Continue entering some information on the required fields.
  10. When done, click Create Account. You have successfully created your iTunes account.

Activate your account

9. Go to your email client or website where you have entered your email address during the account creation.
10. Enter your log-in information.
11. Open your inbox and locate the email Apple has sent you. If you can’t find that email, it is either that email has not arrived yet or it was moved to the spam folder.
11. Open that verification email.
12. Simply click on the verification link found in the email. You will be redirected to another site.
13. On that site, enter your log-in information you have just entered during the registration process then click Verify.
14. You will be redirected to iTunes.
15. Log-in to iTunes if you are not logged in yet.

And you’re done.

With your new account, you now have access to 120,000 free apps available through the App Store. Just choose the app you like then click the Free button. iTunes will automatically download the app for you and is ready for syncing for your device.

What if I would like to buy an app?

If you find any app you would like to pay for, just enter your payment method in the Account Settings. It is found by clicking your email address on the upper right hand of the iTunes Store window.

Does your mobile phone always connect to the internet unnecessarily?

Five Mobile Systems

Image by carnero.cc via Flickr

[Content needs verification.]

Incurring unwanted prepaid/postpaid credits due to unnecessary internet connection is one of most people’s headaches. Most smartphones’ applications connect to the internet to retrieve or send information without requesting user’s approval. Some of these activities include push email, push notifications, location tracking, email fetching and messenger/social updates. Every connection attempt takes toll on credits as well as battery life.

How should it be done?

If you don’t need internet connectivity temporarily, you can disable your device from connecting unnecessarily with a simple hack. You can enable it later if you need internet connectivity and then disable it when you’re done.

Simply change your Access Point Name by adding or removing a character from the predefined access point string.

For example, if your access point name is “http.globe.com.ph“, simply delete the last character or add something into it. The resulting string will be “http.globe.com.p” or “http.globe.com.php“. This way, an error will occur when an app attempts to connect thus preventing unnecessary and unattended internet connection. It is recommended to add a letter instead if you tend to forget which letter you have removed.

You can locate this setting by going into Internet connectivity settings of your device. The location of this setting vary from one device operating system to another.

For iOS users:

    1. Go to Settings, General, Network, Internet Settings
    2. Remove the last character from the access point string or add something into it.

If you want to save power and extend battery, you may turn off 3G. Most phone calls and text messages can still work without 3G turned on.

If you want to connect to the internet, go to that setting and add the letter or character that you have removed. Turn on 3G to enable faster web browsing as well.

For Symbian users:

    1. Go to the settings menu
    2. Choose Connectivity, then Destinations, Internet, (access point)
    3. Select Access Point Name
    4. 4. Remove the last letter of the access point or add something into it.
    5. 5. Select Ok.

If you have a different phone, please refer to your manufacturer’s manual.

How to repair Windows 7 and Vista startup problems

Heading out to a computer repair shop because your computer won’t start?

You might be waiting for some time due to long queue of those who have the same problem as you. Not this time, because you are the only repair crew for now. Just sit in front of your computer and let yourself perform some simple tricks that will make your machine humming smoothly again.

 Snapshot was taken last April 30, 2011.

Does your computer disobey your order of turning on your computer by displaying a protest screen? I mean the ‘blue screen of death’?

If yes, there are different problems associated with it whether these are hardware related problems or software related problems. You need a technician for hardware related problems, but you may need yourself for software related problems.

Create a Windows Rescue Disk

If you have your original Windows installation disk or if your recovery options are stored on a recovery partition, then you can start repairing your computer. If you don’t, you need to create a rescue/recovery disk first from another computer running the same Windows operating system as yours.

    1. Simply type Create Windows Recovery Disk on the Start Menu or
    2. Go to Start – All Programs – Maintenance – Create Windows Recovery Disc
    3. Insert a blank disc into the disk drive on your computer. You can use either a CD or a DVD.
    4. Choose your Disk Drive on which you will burn your recovery data. Some computers have more than one disk recorders. Choosing the wrong one will result in an error.
    5. Click Next to start the burning process.
    6. When the burning process is complete click Finish and you may remove the disk from its drive.

To repair your computer using a Recovery Disk or Windows Installation Disk

    1. Insert your recovery disk into the disk drive.
    2. Restart your computer from the CD or DVD. Press the Boot From button (ESC, Del, F12, etc.) as indicated by the BIOS display then select CD/DVD/BD.
    3. Proceed with the process below.

If your computer came with a recovery partition,

    1. Restart your computer then press F8 repeatedly until Windows boot options appear.
    2. Select Repair your Computer then press Enter.
    3. Proceed with the process below.

To repair Windows startup problem,

4. The system will discover which operating system you are using and which location it is installed.
5. Select Startup Repair from the list.
6. The system will now detect any problem which prevents your system from starting properly.
7. If the setup finds any problem, it will replace missing, corrupted or modified system files which are necessary in starting Windows.
8. When the process is complete, click Finish.
9. Select Restart button to test whether everything is fine.
10. When your computer starts successfully, you may now remove the disk and store it in a safe location.

You may also be informed that setup did not discover any problems. If the above process did not work, then it is time to consult a technician or call customer support from your machine’s manufacturer.

Why do we get less formatted capacity than expected?

Transcend USB flash drive

Image via Wikipedia

The answer is simple. The “lost space” is reserved for the file system as well as the device’s operating system/device information if it exists.

When we buy a data device (a USB Flash drive for example), we expect that it can hold as much data as the design data capacity printed on its label and packaging. After some time upon opening its packaging, we get disappointed that it can’t hold as much data as we expect them to be. In the end, we might have regretted that we might have bought another one.

What formatted capacity will I get from buying a 2GB storage device?

From my experience, buying a 2GB USB Flash Drive won’t give you a full 2.00 GB of free storage, but instead, will give you 1.86GB worth of data storage when formatted with System 32 file system. Some of us might thinking that the manufacturers might be tricking by not giving us a device our money is worth for; however, most of us accept this fact and mind nothing about it.

Is it possible to get that full capacity?

If you think getting that full capacity is possible, its possible. However, it will be just a plain unallocated space and will be unusable by any system. Moreover, it’s useless unless it is formatted.

Therefore, manufacturers are deceiving me?

Nope. No company has ever sold a data storage device that has exactly the same formatted capacity as the printed capacity on its label and packaging. If they do, they might be deceiving you. Most data storage manufacturers actually ship their products and devices with exactly the same number of bytes present on their device as indicated on its label and packaging. Manufacturers know and accept the fact that its actual formatted capacity is less than what is advertised. Here is a description Apple indicated on its iPhone website:

** 1GB = 1 billion bytes; actual formatted capacity less.

I understand, what will they do with that missing space?

As what is said in the beginning of this article, here are the following reasons why that “missing space” is reserved.

A. It is reserved for file system that device is formatted with.

A file system use indexes where they store information where your files and folders are located in a disk or drive. It also serves like a card catalog inside a library. You use it to locate books and information easily by going directly into its designated shelf and location. If you remove the card catalogs or computer-catalogs inside a library, you will have difficulty in finding a particular book by manually looking at every book present in a library. Plus, it’s a time-consuming behavior. Same applies to a disk without a file system or catalog system.

B. It is also where some manufacturer and device information is stored.

Some of its stored data include the manufacturer name, product type, kind, model, part number, serial number, hardware id, and a lot more. Windows and any other operating systems use this information to determine which device drivers and services are to be launched. Once a communication between your device and the computer is established, you can read, write, modify any of its contents and format it. Manufacturers also use this information for verification that their software designed for that device will work perfectly with your device. If any of these information is not present or read properly. Windows will report a “USB device not recognized.” error message.

C. Is is where the device operating system, system files and reserved space are stored.

If your device is designed primarily for storing data only and nothing else, most probably is that it doesn’t a reserved operating systems. These data storage devices include some USB Flash Disk, CD, DVD, BD, Hard disk, SSD, memory cards, memory sticks and picture cards but they still possess other reasons above. Data storage devices that come with an operating system include mobile phones, portable media players and other gadgets. So, having an 8 GB capacity iPod Touch will leave you with 6.5 GB remaining free space while having a 32 or 64 GB of it will leave you 29 and 59 GB of free space respectively because iOS is reserved has reserved some space besides reasons above. Manufacturers store data in this location because it is secure and cannot be deleted or modified easily in case the user formats or erases the disk.

D. Other manufacturer reasons

Some manufacturers have other reasons why they reserve some of your disk’s capacity. One reason is for recovery space partition. You will not see that recovery partition appearing in your Explorer or Finder window because the manufacturer don’t want you to make changes into it. Even it does not show up, it occupies your hard drive capacity. This recovery partition is very essential especially when something goes wrong with your computer. You can make a fresh install of your operating system from it or use it to restore it to its out-of-the-box factory default.

These are my ideas and opinions on why we don't get a full formatted capacity
from our devices. If there's something wrong with it, please feel free to leave
a comment anonymously.