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Planning Retirement Online

You can do IT in later life

  Getting the most from your computer  

You can do IT is a regular feature of aimed at trying to help laterlife visitors make the most of Information Technology on or off the web.     

Jackie Sherman who runs the You can do IT Question & Answer section is an IT trainer and author. Jackie has spent her career in education and specialises in teaching IT to adults. Her courses for adults include such topics as MS Office, the Internet, e-mail and basic web page authoring.  

Basic Computer Skills Made Simple Essential Computing Skills Jackie has also written the four books shown here - you can find more details about these by clicking on the cover images above. Jackie has also been running a course specifically for over 50s.  



Everyday Computer Activities Via Jackie aims to particularly help those new to IT and the web to build up knowledge and confidence, so no question is too basic. At the same time she will cover Q&As for the more experienced user. 

So if you would like to ask a question of Jackie, why not email her



Or if you have discovered something which may be of interest to others in making the most of the web, then she would love to hear about that too



February 2010


Printer problems

Q: I have installed a "compatible" ink cartridge and now find it is not being recognised. Is there a way to sort this out?

A: Each printer is very different, but it is always useful to know how to get to the printer settings. For compatible ink problems, if you play around with these you may find, for example that taking off the Enable Status Monitor will allow you to print.

To get to the settings:

1. Go to Printers and Faxes, usually via the Control Panel
2. Right click the printer concerned and select Properties.
3. One of the tabs will be labelled something like Maintenance. Here you can check print head alignment, clean the nozzle and carry out other procedures.
4. For my Canon printer, I can click the View Printer Status button and find the Enable link from the Options menu.
5. Other tabs will allow you to print a test page or check colour settings.

printer settings


New browsers

Q: I have been told that some of the latest browsers are better than Internet Explorer (IE), but I am afraid of installing one of these in case it doesn't suit me. Can you offer any advice?

A: Fortunately, browsers are just like other software – you can install them and then uninstall them later if you want to go back to the original program. You can also have several running on your computer at the same time, so you don't need to take off IE first.

I suggest you find a new browser such as Chrome (Google), Firefox or Opera and download and install them following the instructions. Then carry out some search activities with the new browser. If it suits, set it as your "default". To do this for Chrome, for example:

1. Open the browser
2. Go to Tools –Options – Basic
3. In the default browser section, click "Make Google Chrome my default browser".
4. Then click Close.

If you later change your mind, start up IE and it will tell you that it is no longer your default browser. When it asks if you want to set it as your default, click Yes.

It is easy to uninstall an unwanted browser via the Control Panel:

1. Go to Control Panel – Add or Remove Programs
2. When the list of programs is loaded, run down until you reach the unwanted browser.
3. Click the Change/Remove button and confirm that you want it removed.

You can also go to Start – All Programs and click the Uninstall option in the named browser folder.



Missing Shortcuts

Q: I used to have a separate Office toolbar that offered shortcuts to some of my most popular programs, but this has disappeared. Can I get it back again?

A: The Microsoft Office Shortcut Bar should be listed as one of the options in the Microsoft Office Tools folder. This is usually listed under the Start – All Programs menu or located via C:/Program files. Once launched, it should reappear each time you start up your computer.

If it is too stubborn and refuses to start up automatically, select it and pin it to your Start menu or make a shortcut to it on your desktop so you can click it anytime to get it back again.

Office toolbar


View previous editions of YoucandoIT for more useful Questions and Answers

For a wealth of books on the web and IT generally, visit Amazon and under the books section select Computers and Internet.

Don't forget to visit the general laterlife features section called laterlife interest


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