Computer Interactive - Tips and Tricks

Now that I have a stockpile of emails, from various readers I thought some of the tips and tweaks that I sent them may be useful for the rest of you, so over the next couple of months I will put the best ones here.

A very concerned mother asked me, about how she could restrict what times her son could actually use their computer, as he was known for staying up late surfing the web until the early hours of the morning, to the extent his school work was starting to suffer.

Unfortunately, there is no way currently that I know to force a user to log off after a certain time period, however there is a simple little trick that you can use to restrict the times that they can actually log on and use the computer.

Open a command prompt by clicking START/Accessories/Command Prompt; this will bring up a little black window with a flashing cursor. Using the following net user commands in the examples below will restrict log on times:

net user mum / time: all (so mum can always log on any time or day)

net user dad / time:M-F 8am-5pm (dad only has access during working week)

net user son / time: M - 7pm-9pm;T-T,2pm-3pm; F,18:00-22:00 (son can only log on Monday evening and during lunchtimes through the week, with extended time on Friday night)

net user teenager / time: M-F 10am-10pm (teenager can log on anytime after 10 in the morning and before 10 at night)

Remember to use this tip you need to have everyone in the house with there own log on account. And sorry in advance to all the youngsters this will effect. But mother warned you :)

A friend of mine telephoned me, and started to rant on about those annoying cartoon characters that are meant to help you, but instead had caused him to lose many hours of work and wanted to know if you could kill it for good. That annoying animated paperclip in Microsoft Office 2000 or XP also prevents your mouse clicks until it is closed.

To totally kill the paperclip Click START/Control Panel/Add Remove Programs.

Then locate the Microsoft Office XP or Office 2000 package in the list of installed programs, highlight it and click Change.

When the setup window appears, click Add or Remove Features.

Under Office XP look for Office Shared Features category and remove the tick next to Office Assistant, under Office 2000 Click the + plus sign next to Office Tools and then Click the box next to Office Assistant.

Choose Not Available from the menu that next appears.

Now Click Update Now and you done, no more stupid characters popping up.

A gentleman rang me to ask if there was a way he could show all his travel pictures on his computer screen at a dinner party he was having, he explained that he did not want to bore them with an out and out slide show but to have it playing in the background as a sort of talking point. As I explained to him the easiest way was to make his own screen saver, as it was relatively simple.

Firstly put all the pictures you want to use into a new folder either on the Desktop or in your My Pictures folder. (I prefer to use the desktop, as it is easier access)

Right Mouse Click any empty area on the desktop and then CLICK Properties from the menu that appears.

On the new Window that appears CLICK on the Screen Saver Tab at the top.

You will notice just below and to the left of where the computer monitor is displayed is a drop down menu, CLICK on the arrow and scroll down until you find MY Pictures Slideshow and CLICK on it

Now change the Wait time on that screen to 5 minuets.

The default location value is the My Pictures folder, the problem with this is it will show all of your pictures in that folder and you might have a few you don’t want people talking about.  So now Click on the Settings button.

Now Click on the browse button in the new menu, and scroll to the top and Click on Desktop, find the folder you created earlier Click on it then CLICK OK

And you’re done, your very own screen saver, there are a few other options you will see, don’t be afraid to experiment.

As always if you need any help with any computer or network problems please send an email to

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or telephone 660565738 / 965482238 and ask for Darren.

If I can help solve your problem over the telephone its only cost you the price of a telephone call.


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