IT & Techno help, hints & tips!

Thought I would start a new thread on all things techy, computer or otherwise!

Mt first question, can someone explain the difference between iPods and MP3 players, and how you get the music on to them ( I asume via a computer, CD & cable etc) I have iTunes and some Mac software on my Laptop somewhere......

Ta very much!


Techno Geek and Techno luddite!

52 Replies

  • hi kate

    the best i can answer to this is :

    an ipod is just a type of MP3 player and therfore it is not really that different an ipod is just apples own brand - personally i brought my first ipod last month and love it, its much more up to date nad more advanced.

    putting music on to it -

    MP3 player - you should just be able to plug the mp3 player into the laptop and transfere music files over

    with an Ipod you need to have downloaded itunes and you then impport music from your laptop into itunes or download from the itunes website nad then sync your ipod in and transfere the music

    i had lots of help from my mates - its a lot easier than it sounds

    hope this help

    lauren xx

  • excuse my ignorance to all things techno but what is a dongle and how does it work etc. I havent got a clue dont even own an ipod. Thanks guys lv kat Xx

  • Luddite stuff.................Thanks Lil Tinx, I assume I can bung a music CD in the laptop and transfer the music from the CD to the MP3 / iPod??

    Geek stuff............ newly learnt!

    Kat, A Dongle is a small device like a USB memory pen in shape (the O2 one is) which is a Mobile Broadband USB Modem. It is a bit like a mobile phone as it has its own 07.... number. it is so you can use the internet anywhere that has a mobile coverage ( eg O2 mobile networks or whatever network you choose.) You can have contract ones where you pay a set amount a month, usefull if you use it all the time when away from an office ( eg you could sit in a field and surf the net!) or mine which you can pay as you go, at £2 a day, £7:50 a week or £15 a month for up to a certain mb or Gb in that period only . The dongle cost £29 - other network dongles and costs will vary.

    The only downside is that you pay for that day only or that week! If you don't use it all up it isn't tranferable.

    Does that explain it??


  • hi kate

    Thank you for that i feel enlightened! :-) im such a techno novice its not funny!! My computer is stuck in the dark ages but hasnt got the memory for any gadgets etc lol! Im gonna invest in a new laptop when i have saved up some pennies so may invest in a dongle too at that point! They sound rather handy! :-)

    Once you have learnt how to use am ipod or mp3 player you will have to share your wisdom with us technophobics :-)

    Hope your doing ok hon. Speak soon lotsa lv kat Xx

  • Hey kate its quite simple to put a CD into something like itunes once you place the CD in your computer/laptop itunes will automatically prompt you and ask if you would like to 'rip' music to itunes. Then the music can be synced to an ipod, Its quite simple when you get the hang of it.

    Before I had an ipod I had an mp3 player I would use windows media player to 'sync' music to my mp3 player in the same way as itunes. Itunes is just the apllication you need if you have an ipod.



  • hi kate

    thats ok, im glad to be of help !

    You sure can - i think clare22 has explained it best so i wont say any more

    just if you need any more technical advice - i might be able to help - im reasonably good with that sort of stuff - feel free to message me with any quries

    lauren x

  • I have audio books on my i-Pod that I bought and downloaded from i-Tunes. A godsend when I had that awful bronchitis and couldn't be bothered picking up a book or magazine. Soothing voices in my ear. I had an eclectic mix - Duncan Bannatyne , PG Wodehouse, Dylan Thomas, Michael Palin, NIck Hornby and others.

    I also bought a Glenn Harrold - Create Unlimited Financial Abundance by hypnotherapy. Nodded off to sleep listening to that one and no financial abundance on the horizon yet. LOL

    Have a great time with your discoveries, Kate.

    PS Podcasts are good for free entertainment.

  • I-tunes can be frustrating at times,Apples software updates have an annoying habit of removing album artwork at random or ""creating"" 20 copies of REM,s Accelerate album and putting Allison Goldfrapps Seventh Tree album artwork on them all !!??The I-tunes library does contain a lot of good educational podcasts for free-lots of nature and science ones-enjoy!

  • Thanks for your help with iPods etc.... will add one to my wish list.

    I am quite good with computers and software etc can sort out most computer issues at home and at work ( administrator rights permitting! LOL) but it is the gadgets that confuddle me ........... There are so many things that do all sorts.

    I prefer single task objects like a plain mobile phone, a digital camera and none of the fancy combined stuff! LOL


  • Help!

    Does anyone know what the purpose is of the 'Virtual Store' on Windoze Vista Please???

    It is located as follows....

    Computer> Vista OS(C:) > Users > Owner > AppData > Local > Virual Store

    and has Programm files, Program Data and Windows files in it?

    When I download and update some of my software, it dumps copies of some of the software files in it, such as my mapping and biological recording software.

    Sometimes these copies are the most recent date, sometimes not and the originals are the most recent. I am wary of copying accross cos it would be HUGE mess if it didn't work - the files contain the names and taxonomic hierarchy of every, animal, plant, moss, fungus, bug, worm, gnat , amoeba (perhaps not) in the UK.

    Currently my biological recording software is refusing to give me a list of beetles ( the critters are in the database - an Access 97 based application) despite me updating with the patches and reconfiguring numerous times!!

    Could the virtual store have a hand in the problem????

    Thanks in advance!

    A Fraggled Ecologist!

  • Okay, this might get a bit technical. I'll try and keep things understandable.

    The VirtualStore folder is part of Vista's security measures. Under Windows XP, no program is meant to store data in the ""Program Files"" folder after it is installed - it is meant to keep all your data, configuration files and so forth in a folder of its own in your Documents & Settings folder, which enables computers with multiple users to have different settings for each user in each application. However, a lot of older software wasn't set up like this, so Windows XP was happy to allow this old software to store config and data in the Program Files folder. Unfortunately, a lot of spyware and viruses took advantage of this.

    With Vista, Microsoft decided that - under normal circumstances - nothing was to be written to the Program Files folder outside of installing new software. But this meant that older software simply wouldn't work. The solution was the VirtualStore.

    The VirtualStore creates ""copies"" of any older software that expects to be able to write to the Program Files folder. They're not really copies, but pointers to the Program Files folder. Thus, any program that needs to write stuff to the program files folder will write stuff here instead, and because the rest of the folder appears to be the same as it installed in Program Files, the program works fine. And viruses and the like which expect to be in the Program Files folder find that they aren't really, and don't work any more. Simple!!

    Still with me?

    Unfortunately, some old software doesn't work using VirtualStore. The only way around it is to change the settings in the software that's causing the problems (if you can change them) so that they aren't attempting to save anything to the Program Files folder. If you can't change these settings, and the program doesn't work, then you've encountered one of the pieces of software that unfortunately won't work with Vista.

    Any other questions - and reading this far I'm sure you'll have some! - let me know.

  • Thanks Steve,

    That makes sense. Not sure if I can alter any settings but I am assured the software is Vista Compatible and keeps being updated every few months etc.

    Also, that is why I can't update some of my software direct to the programme files on the c drive - I have to save to my docs then copy and over right, though I can download the patch files to download cache in the programme files.

    Other people must be using it OK.

    I am sure it isn't causing my AWOL beetle problem but will look at it further .... have emailed them, am on first name terms with them anyway.

    Oh, BTW the software is called MapMate



  • All I can think of re: your beetles is that maybe the data file is in a different folder in Program File to the program that needs to access it. One program can't access the contents of a different program's Program Files folder, if you see what I mean!

  • I hope not cos they should be in the same access file as all the other critters!

    They are technically there cos I can enter ladybird records into the database buy when I want to browse the list of beetles in the software, I can't.

    The Taxa file as it is called along with the Taxa library file are both in the prog files & the virtual store.

    Thanks anyway, trying all options!

  • I've gone and done something very stupid. I've forgotten my iPod touch's password. Don't wanna loose all my music etc, anyone know what to do?

  • re: i-pod touch

    I'd contact Apple Store or look up site -

  • Bad news, Vicky. The only way to recover a lost password is to restore the iPod back to its factory status. You'll lose everything that is stored on it, unless you've got a backup in iTunes.

  • Hahaha! That's what you get for trying to stop me using it :P

  • hi all

    Ive just bought myself a vodafone dongle from phones4you today it came with a free laptop as i needed one of them too! Its not exactly as small as i wanted but it'll play dvds and cds etc so should keep me entertained when im costafied my question is i booted it up and went through all the startup procedure etc and put the dongle into it everything seemed successful but i cant get onto the net yet is it just a case of waiting a few days till i can use the dongle or is there a prob with it as it wont let me on the net at all yet and i cant use windows vista word processor etc till its been confirmed on net for some reason.

    Thanks peeps im a total technophobe! :-) xx

  • I'll add a caveat here before I start - I absolutely hate Phones4U with a passion. I went in there once to get a headphone adaptor for my old Sony Ericsson, only for the bloke who dealt with it to tell me that my phone was ""really old"" (I'd had it less than a year) and try and sell me a new one. I walked straight out of the store, and will never visit one again.

    Right, having said that, two issues to answer:

    1) Windows Vista doesn't have a built-in word processor, so I reckon that what you've got is a 90-day trial of Office 2007. This will only work when it has been activated over the Internet, and will stop working 90 days later unless you pay silly money for it. Try for a free word processor package instead.

    2) The dongle should work immediately after leaving the shop. Chances are, the rep at Phones4U hasn't activated it properly. If it still isn't working by tomorrow morning, take it back (along with the laptop) and get them to try it for you.

    On a final note, I don't usually recommend free-laptop deals because they tie you in to a high-monthly-rate contract for 18 months, by which time you've spent enough money to have bought your own choice of laptop and a cheaper dongle from somewhere else. However, they are still cheaper than buying a laptop on credit, so they represent good value if you can't afford to buy a new laptop outright.

  • Hello KitKat,

    Does it not have MS Works? Sometimes they load that as standard unless you purchase MS Office... which is around £80 or so for the home & student edition... but it is very different to XP!

    Does it have some blurb with it to say what is loaded?

    Have a browse at c drive and programme files or just your start menu & all programmes to see what it has. (I alwasy have a good poke around the c drive...)

    Dongles, I had to load mine twice. though I uninstalled then reinstalled .... If you can manage that, you should be OK. Go to Start menu, all progs, see where your dongle stuff is, click and hopefully there is an uninstall ...... but only if your confident.... perhaps better to go back to shop.!

    Good luck


  • *IT bod with pained expression*

    Please DON'T go poking around in your C:\ drive or Program Files folders if you don't know what you're doing. It can cause untold problems, none of which will be covered by any kind of warranty.

  • Sorry Steve,

    I only look and don't interfere with things! Just my curious mind to see what is loaded.

    Please don't poke other peeps unless you really know what you are doing.

    I will add, my current computer probs are nothing to do with me playing around with the c drive!


  • I bought myself a new laptop two weeks ago. really hate vista, it doesn't like lotus smatsuite, which I have used since windows 95. It does come with MS Works, so may try that, and yes the 90day over price trail of other MS office packages. Moving my email and internet (Thunderbird and Firefox) was easier than expected, and works perfectly. and i can recomend the openoffice software, I know people who use it, and swear by it.

    Vista has a different layout to all previous versions of windows, and finding the settings in the control panel was difficult until i put it into classic mode, leave things as they were, XP was perfect, correction is perfect.

  • thanks steve, kate and chris

    Omg that sounds complex for me the biggest technophobe! :-s

    I bought it as a package thing monthly payment of 30 quid for dongle free laptop as couldnt really afford to buy laptop separatly so it seemed a good deal. Its still a good deal if things work as they're supposed to. I was told all software comes with the laptop so was expecting it to be good to go-nothing on it software wise at the moment so im confused. I'll have a proper look tomorrow and see whats what! Dongle not working just yet either so not sure if that'll work properly tomorrow too but will let you all know. God i hate technology! Its ok when stuffs all set up ready but im rubbish when anything actually needs setting up!

    Thanks for the help tho peeps! Xx

  • Woody - I share your pain. My current laptop in on the verge of death (the processor is dying, so it's definitely terminal) and any new laptop I buy will have Vista on it. I too have been using Lotus WordPro as my word processor-of-choice since 1996, and it won't work with Vista (the reason is what I was explaining in my post to Kate Moss further down the page). I still don't really know what to do with all of my files :(

  • I've found a major fault with the iPod Touch. with all the older ones, you can have them showing as E Drives, this one you can't. Which has meant I've had to go and sit through hours of flamin papers to try and figure out how to back it up before I reset it! Grrrr!

  • peaksteve, lotus wordpro will work and 123, its only lotus approach database that I want that doesn't, damn as thats what I used for invoicing my customers with. I can still use the desktop for that i guess.

    Another piece of software I wanted was the Timex Trainer, it records all the data from my GPS watch that I run with £180 worth of GPS,HRM, and data recorder, and nothing to upload it to, won't even install, and no sight of a fix, no wonder we all hate Mr Gates, life was so simple under DOS, well maybe not for some judging by the OP.

  • kit-kat, the easiest way to see what software you have is to press the windows key on the keyboard, or click on the widows icon in the bottom left of the screen, then click programs, everything should be there, if you MS Works, you will see an entry Microsoft Works, click that and you will then be shown a list of applications, including a little helpful one 'getting started'.

  • Woody - thanks for the info. Having safely avoided Vista for the time being, I was going by the info on the Lotus support site, which claims that SmartSuite doesn't work with Vista. Having said that, it also claims that Smart Suite doesn't work properly with XP either, so I should perhaps have realised that it wasn't entirely correct.

    The free Lotus Symphony - - can read most SmartSuite files, and is fully Vista compatible. I don't know whether it has a database or not, but it might be worth a try.

  • Vista & XP...... There are still some places offering laptops with XP on ( e.g. Netto one week) but I would be dubious about how good and how powerful the processor & memory are, but there may be some good deals out there. Apparently you can roll back a Visa Computer to XP. My work computer , new a few months ago, has XP on but on the tower, it has a Vista sticker (one of those flashy security ones)

    Another way to get an XP laptop is freecycle....... though you may have to clear up the computer quite bit, plus you don't really know what the computer may have been used for or have etc . Unless you are good at deep cleaning!

    Haven't used any of the Lotus suites before, though I do know that they are good.

    oh, bring back the days of DOS! LOL!


  • Peaksteve, the IBM support site says that Smartsuite will work on 32-bit Vista but not the 64-bit version.

    Was wondering about this last night as I occasionally use WordPro 97 - WordPro is better than Word for drawing diagrams. I suppose if you're ultra-geeky then installing a dual-boot between Vista and Windows XP (with XP on a partition of a Vista machine) might be an option to keep non-Vista compatible software running - that's more easily said than done of course :)!

  • Ginny, the lotus website is wrong, I tried to install Lotus Approach, and I got a warning message saying something about not being able to print multi cell documents, and thats a 32bit vista. I,m not saying it won't work completely, but that was what the lotus millenium setup warned.

    Kate, I wasn't joking about DOS, windows is basically just a program that runs on top of DOS, trust Mr Gates to write a GUI that makes like easy or complicated depending on your point of view, having said that I prefer windows to Mac OS. an alternative OS would be Linux, but thats a whole new ballgame.

  • Next time I'm looking for a laptop, remind me not to buy a Sony Vaio.

    Just past first year and thus out of guarantee, light patches on screen making reading difficult. Solution buy new screen. A few months later we notice the partitioned hard drive filling up like nobody's business. Delete all restore points and clean drive but doesn't solve the problem. Give it more memory. Almost at two year mark and the whole thing crashes. Good fortune to anticipate this happening and had backed up files to external hard drive and in belt and braces fashion sent copies to Google Docs.

    Laptop up and running with new hard drive, etc. Runs Vista instead of my trusty XP. Basically most software inputted from another laptop so now experiences a little mind confusion i.e. insides are that of a Sony Vaio but sometimes it thinks its a Toshiba.

    All well and good except the battery still needs renewed and the mains charger cable has a heatshrink sleeve as wearing away.

    PS DDs Mac-book is over four years old, used far more and still going strong. No repairs needed in all that time.

  • another great online backup, and auto sync, which I 've just started using is windows livemesh, its a beta site at the moment, but is due to replace its current foldershare site

  • grannymo, if you want to keep you computer free of lots of temporary files, and they soon mount up try this, I've used it for over 4 years now on my XP computer and put it on my two week old vista laptop now, what a surprise to how much it removed. computer feels more stable and faster again. It'll run at startup everytime, and does require confirmation on first use, but it detected my correct temp folder OK.


  • Thanks Chris, I'll try it.

    Laptop runs as two drives C and E and I'd CCleaner running. Ticked for no restore points be kept. Deleted all temp files, defragged etc but blooming drives just kept filling.

    We've kind of got around it by increasing the hardrive from 80 - 250 GBb. Will try the download too.


  • Thanks Chris, I'll try it.

    Laptop runs as two drives C and E and I'd CCleaner running. Ticked for no restore points be kept. Deleted all temp files, defragged etc but blooming drives just kept filling.

    We've kind of got around it by increasing the hardrive from 80 - 250 GBb. Will try the download too.


  • Hi all, I need some help, damn vista.

    I have an external maxtor HD that works fine under XP, and did work until yesterday under Vista. The mass storage device setting does pick it up, but it wont get displayed in my computer, and the diagnostics software downloaded from maxtor website says no usb drive detected.

    suggestion or even someone actually got around this problem.



  • Asked the one-who-knows these things.

    Have you dropped it recently? Possible to dislodge drive if really given a dunt. You could try it on another laptop or maybe check USB socket working with other USB device. Further than that can only suggest if the Maxtor actually lights up then its getting power but one or other USB socket may not be working properly.

    Meanwhile, I will just go and back up my files to something else just in case, LOL

    moira xx

  • moira

    Thanks 4 the ideas, but drive has not been moved, and it works on windows XP still. Anyway, I have solved the problem, only after formating the drive and having to replace all 106Gb of data. I didn't need to format the drive, the fault lay with Vista, it just didn't want to assign a drive letter to the drive, using the device manager, I corrected this, and all is OK now. Vista is really annoying me, XP never, ever did that. At least it now works, and I can do my system backups now to this drive, paragon drive backup express, creates a compressed drive image that you can restore should you get a problem, and restores using linux boot CD/DVD.

  • moira

    Thanks 4 the ideas, but drive has not been moved, and it works on windows XP still. Anyway, I have solved the problem, only after formating the drive and having to replace all 106Gb of data. I didn't need to format the drive, the fault lay with Vista, it just didn't want to assign a drive letter to the drive, using the device manager, I corrected this, and all is OK now. Vista is really annoying me, XP never, ever did that. At least it now works, and I can do my system backups now to this drive, paragon drive backup express, creates a compressed drive image that you can restore should you get a problem, and restores using linux boot CD/DVD.


  • Grr, anyone played around with windows 7 yet? Dad installed it and XP on his laptop, and says it is everything vista isn't.

  • Sorry Chris, out for the night shortly after posting last.

    Hubby says next time go to Control Panel, then System maintenance, then

    Administrative Tools, then Computer management, at Disk management, right click on drive to change name.

    He likes VIsta - I don't.


    PS I'm really missing XP's right click to resize photos instantly.

  • i miss XP's thumbnails image of photos.

    Moira, re:missing USB Drive, this appears very common, and a lot of the forums including microsofts own don't give a definative answer. I thought about it when doing my sunday morning bike ride, going up a 15% incline you tend to think of other things than the hill and pain.

  • Engaged tone

    You know when you phone someone and they're on the phone already to someone else and all you can hear is that 'phone engaged' sound?

    That's the sound my daft laptop is doing today whenever I put the sound on.

  • Moira, thats a strange one, but several options spring to mind, 1st would be driver corruption, but not easy to locate, system restore would be the easy option. 2nd and the thing I would try first is a full scan for a virus on the whole computer. 3rd and this may not be possible for you as i recall yo don't keep restore points, I would have done that.

    Oh, and the obvious, have you turned the computer off and restarted it. Solves over 90% of computer problems people phone tech support for.

    I know my daft laptop will not load my user profile sometimes, turn off and restart, everything OK then.


  • I assume you are on a broadband connection . It could be your modem ? Laptops have modems (for dial up connections) and perhaps it has come to life, best check for a rogue dialer though not sure if you can get one via broadband??

    Check in your settings and see what the modem is doing.

    Your laptop is trying to dial out I think!

    I used to get an engaged tone on my computer occasionally when still on Dial up.

    Just a though..,. perhaps more techie bods will have some other ideas.


  • Yes, kate, on broadband and wi fi. Three laptops on at present but only mine has this sound.

    I have done as woody-som suggests. Switched off and on again - still sounding odd. Then good scan of laptop. Turned up an obsolete bit for Shockwave programme in the registry - bit of a surprise as not shown on my usual registry scan before switching off last night.

  • Kates' suggestion of a dialler is another option, just because you have wi-fi don't rule out that, my desktop will try to use a dial-up connection for my broadband (pre wi-fi days) even when wi-fi connected. Something maybe trying to use the modem, or has initiated the modem, check under the network connections, or even device settings, to see if the mode is active, why not de-activate it, I presume you don't ever use it anyway.

  • Hi Moira

    Could you ask your hubby if it's possible to get vista to remember that you assigned a letter to the USB drive. I've not used the drive since last sunday, and just had to go through the whole process again.



    PS. Did you solve the noise on your laptop?

  • Hi Chris,

    Hubby having a look.

    Noise problem on my laptop is a bit strange. Follows our white cat sitting under the table beside the modem. Doesn't touch anything, just sits down. Cables are all against the wall anyway. Only after she's moved away, that the problem starts. Magnetic personality or too much static?

    Going to stop cat sitting under that table.


You may also like...