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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.

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

View previous editions of YoucandoIT for more useful Questions and Answers


November 2010

Conflicting software

Q: I want to try out a new virus checker without having to uninstall my current one. Is there a way to disable it but keep it still available, if I decide to switch back to the old one after the trial? I know that having two virus checkers running at the same time can cause a conflict.


A: What you need to do is open up the list of programs on your Start menu and temporarily disable the virus checker you want to block. To do this:
1. Go to Start – Run.
2. Type msconfig in the box and click OK. This takes you to the system configuration utility.
3. In the window, click the Services tab. You will now see a list of all the programs that normally start automatically.


4. Take off the green tick in the box for any programs you want to block and click OK.
5. Don't worry if you are warned about this, simply accept the new settings and restart your machine.
6. In the system tray, you will probably still see the old virus checker icon but it will now have a cross on it to show it is not running.

If, after time, you want to reinstate a program you blocked, repeat the msconfig steps and replace the tick in the box.



Downloading updates

Q: I have set updates to be installed automatically but I realise I don't want to change my browser to a newer one or install some of the other programs that are offered. Is there a way to check the programs before they are installed?

A: You can select a setting in your Automatic Updates program that will still download them but will need your confirmation before they are installed.

To change the settings, go to Control Panel – Automatic Updates and click in the radio button next to "Download updates for me, but let me choose when to install them".


Next time programs are ready, you will be offered a link to the download centre. If you choose the Customised setting (rather than Express), you will be able to browse through the list of all downloads ready to install. Any you don't want, click to take off the tick against their name and they will not be installed with the others.



Printer ink

Q: I am getting fed up with my printer as it keeps showing my ink cartridges need changing when they are still half full. Can I stop this happening?

A: With most makes of printer, there is an optical level sensor on each cartridge that is read by the machine. If the ink drops below a certain level, the empty cartridge case will allow light through and this will be picked up. The machine will then believe the cartridge is empty. To block this reflection and carry on printing, stretch a piece of black, electrician's tape across the edge of the cartridge – over the hills and ridges there. You should now find you can continue using the cartridge until it really runs out. However, check regularly and replace before this happens as running on a completely empty cartridge could damage your printer.

I haven't tested this yet, but there are lots of people on various Web forums who swear it works. To see where to put the tape - or how else to disable your own make of printer if it uses a different system - search for "disable cartridge level sensor" and you should get lots of useful advice.

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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