Q: Do you know of any way to adjust the highlighting that Vista applies to selected files and applications? The blue-green shade used to...

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Q: Do you know of any way to adjust the highlighting that Vista applies to selected files and applications? The blue-green shade used to indicate selected items is often so pale I cannot tell what has been selected. Nothing in the configuration settings changes the shade or color that is applied, and I have had no luck finding anything in the help menus, Microsoft’s Knowledge Base or the Microsoft news groups.

B. Gavin

A: The quick and simple fix is to choose “configure Vista” to use the Windows Classic color scheme.

Go to the control panel and choose “Personalization.” In the dialogue box that pops up, choose “Theme.” Finally, where you see the theme specified as Windows Vista, change it to Windows Classic. Once the change is made, you’ll see highlights in a much stronger color.

I have found that Vista looks quite a bit different on different computers. Vista employs a more subtle color scheme than previous versions of Windows, and it looks better on some systems than others. Fortunately, if it doesn’t look great on your computer, you can revert to the previous color scheme.

Q: Recently I’ve helped friends resuscitate a couple of old inkjet printers that hadn’t been used for several years. The results have been mixed. Is there any rule of thumb for the minimum frequency an inkjet printer should be used to prevent the cartridges and print-heads from drying out and becoming totally unusable? I’m trying to remember to run my new personal inkjet at least once a week (I normally use a black-and-white laser). I realize that this may vary greatly between models and types of print-heads.

Mark McCormack

A: Inkjet printers could be a worthy symbol of our throwaway society. They’re sold so cheaply because the real money is in the “consumables,” especially the ink. As a result, most users aren’t tempted to store an inkjet printer for several years. After all, it’s so cheap to buy a newer, higher-resolution printer.

The general wisdom is that if you’re going to store an inkjet printer for a long time, you should remove the ink cartridges. If you hope to reuse the cartridges, store them in an upright position and wrapped in an airtight plastic bag. Printer and ink should be stored at normal room temperature.

Don’t be surprised, however, if some ink in those printer heads dries up and clogs the works. The two biggest manufacturers, Hewlett-Packard and Epson, typically include head-cleaning utilities with their printers. But there is no utility or hardware for actually flushing ink out of the print head. If the dried ink can’t be cleared using the built-in utility, your only recourse is to replace the print head … or the printer.

I agree with your strategy of running a page every week or so just to keep things moving.

Questions for Patrick Marshall may be sent by e-mail to pmarshall@seattletimes.com or pgmarshall@pgmarshall.net, or by mail at Q&A/Technology, The Seattle Times, P.O. Box 70, Seattle, WA 98111. More columns at www.seattletimes.com/columnists.