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The Cutting Edge / Focus on Technology | Tech Q&A

Notepad Feature Automatically Records Time, Date of Entries

May 04, 2000|JEFF LEVY

Question: I need to set up a log file to track certain events. I enter the date and time manually for each entry. Is there a way I can have the computer do this for me?

--Ralph H., Acton

Answer: If you don't mind using Notepad, you can create a log file that will date- and time-stamp each entry for you. Open Notepad and type .LOG. Make sure you include the period before the word LOG and that the word LOG is in upper case. Click on File and then Save As. Give the file a name and click on OK. Now, each time you open that Notepad file, Windows will enter a date and time stamp.

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Q: I am frequently called away from my desk at work. I don't want anyone to see my work while I'm away from my desk. Is there a way to keep prying eyes out of my computer?

--John C., Covina

A: You can set a password for your screen saver. Right-click the desktop and select Properties. Click the Screen Saver tab and then select Password Protected. Now click the Change button and enter a password twice. Click OK and you'll see a dialog box telling you the password has been changed. Click OK two more times. This will keep prying eyes out of your business. Even Ctrl+Alt+Del is disabled unless you enter the password. You'll need to use a password that you can remember.

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Q: Several of my co-workers have very attractive desktop "wallpaper" on their computer screens. How can I download pictures from the Internet and convert them to 'wallpaper" on my desktop?

--Kathleen O, North Hollywood

A: When you find an Internet image you like, right-click on that image and select Set as Wallpaper. Your Desktop will now carry that image. When you change to a new wallpaper image, the current image is lost. You can, however, save these images each time you make a change.

When you download and use an image for your wallpaper, a name is assigned to that image. Right-click on the Desktop and select Properties. On the Background tab you will see your current wallpaper image, along with a list of other available images. Your system will save downloaded images as Internet Explorer Wallpaper or Netscape Wallpaper, depending on which browser you use.

If you wish to save an image before downloading another, click on Browse and then scroll to the right. You will see files ending with the extension .BMP. Those are the wallpaper images. Highlight the Internet Explorer or Netscape Wallpaper file you wish to save. Right-click on the file, select Rename and simply type in a new name. Be sure to include the .BMP extension. The next image you save as wallpaper will now be named Internet Explorer Wallpaper or Netscape Wallpaper.

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Q: I've heard about Internet "cookies." What are they and should I be concerned about them?

--Larry S., Calabasas

A: Cookies are text files (cookie.txt) that are created on your hard drive as you go from place to place on the Internet. Web server computers can read these files and use the information contained in the cookie to learn about your Web browsing habits. Cookies also can remember passwords and allow you access to Web pages.

The idea of two-way communication between our computers and the Net is disturbing to some. Take a look at http://www.cookiecentral.com for a detailed explanation of cookies and how they are used. You also can look at http://www.privacy.net, where you can see what cookie information about your computer is out there.

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Q: I heard about a Windows Startup disk that can start Windows when the hard drive can't. My computer didn't come with a Startup disk. How can I get one?

--David D., Long Beach

A: You can create your own Startup disk for Windows. Double-click on My Computer and then on Add/Remove Programs. Click on the Startup Disk tab, place a new floppy disk in drive A: and click on Create Disk. Your Startup disk will be created. If your computer fails to load Windows, you can use the Startup disk to boot Windows. Using the Startup disk will provide access to your CD-ROM drive so that you can reload Windows to your hard drive.

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Q: Is there a difference between deleting a Desktop shortcut icon and a Desktop program folder?

--Roger R., Tarzana

A: Deleting a Desktop shortcut removes the shortcut from the Desktop. When you drag and drop a shortcut onto the Recycle Bin you will be asked if you want to delete that shortcut. If you drag and drop a Desktop program folder on the Recycle Bin, you will be warned that you are deleting a program folder and all its files.

In either case you can reclaim any icon you sent to the Recycle Bin. Double-click on the Recycle Bin and then highlight the item you wish to restore. Right-click on that item and select Restore.

You can empty the Recycle Bin by right-clicking on it and then selecting Empty Recycle Bin. Once you empty the Recycle Bin, deleted items can no longer be retrieved.

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Jeff Levy hosts the "On Computers" radio talk show from 9 a.m. to noon Sundays on KFI-AM (640). He can be reached at jefflevykfi@hotmail.com.

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