Patrick Marshall answers readers' questions. This week: transferring MP3s; Windows 7 freezing; a possible Google issue
Q: I am wondering how or if I can transfer MP3 files from Windows Media Player, where I have all my playlists, onto a flash drive to export them to another computer. My MP3 player stopped being recognized by my desk computer running Vista. I have tried looking online for any information on resolving this issue. Maybe it would be easier to purchase a new MP3 player but I don’t want to start all over again.
— Michael Dunn
A: You can just use Windows Explorer to copy the files to the flash drive. All you need to do is find out where those files are stored. To do so, go into Media Player and find your list of songs. Right-click on one of them and select “Properties.” You’ll then be able to see the path where the files are stored.
Q: My Hewlett-Packard computer running Windows 7 freezes in the middle of whatever I am typing. First the “hand” freezes; after a couple of seconds a circle surrounded by a black ring and a black line through the center appears. After several more seconds I can continue. Do you know the cause of it?
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— Howard Zeck
A: Unfortunately, there are quite a few potential causes. The first thing I’d check is the mouse. If it’s a wireless mouse it may be experiencing interference from another device. Or the mouse’s battery may be very low.
If that’s not the problem, troubleshooting gets a lot trickier. It sounds like something is draining your system resources, but what might it be? A virus or other malware? Or it could be a problem with a legitimate application.
Before doing anything else, I’d make sure my anti-virus program has recently done a complete scan, and I’d also run an anti-malware program.
If they don’t turn up anything, it’s time for the Task Manager. Click on the Processes tab to see what applications are running and how much memory they are consuming. The bad news is that the process names often aren’t revealing as to the applications they are associated with, so identifying the source of problem may also require some searching on the Internet. When you find the problem program, if it’s legitimate you’ll want to reinstall it.
Q: When I enter the first keystroke on the Comcast Infinity home page, be it a number or a letter, the history additive that Google has added to its software to “help” the user pick out a subject locks up the operation of the computer for up to a minute before it will allow anything else to happen. After a period of time, the computer will start to operate again so that the rest of the initial keystroke entry can be finished and the computer can do its thing.
Also, after transferring the computer screen to the first page of listings, standard computer operations can then take place. But, if for some reason one would have to go back to the home page, the same problem comes up again. Is there some way that the history section of Google can either be shut down or eliminated — because it does exactly nothing but take up disk space and aggravate me to no end?
— Scott McKie
A: I wouldn’t be too sure it’s the history function. It may the browser itself. If it were me, the first I’d do is to try it with a different browser. If that solves the problem either switch to using that browser or you could try reinstalling your current browser.
If that’s not the problem, try a different search engine. If that solves the problem I’d try uninstalling and then reinstalling the Google Toolbar.
Questions for Patrick Marshall may be sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, or by mail at Q&A/Technology, The Seattle Times, P.O. Box 70, Seattle, WA 98111. More columns at www.seattletimes.com/