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Software hiccups, tips to make a difference

Running two antivirus or Internet security programs at the same time may make your computer feel really slow or broken. Although some antivirus installers will force you to uninstall the competition, others won’t. So take the time to uninstall what you currently have before you install the replacement. It can become much harder after the fact, especially if the computer is freezing up before you can even get into the Programs control panel.

Office 2007 and later includes a new Word and Excel file format that can confuse people who have older versions of those products. Users of older versions of Word and Excel can get a converter from Microsoft, but you can make their day easier by saving your files with a different file type using File, Save As, and changing the format choice to Word 97-2003(4).

IE 9, Microsoft’s latest version of Internet Explorer for Vista or Windows 7 breaks functionality on some web sites. Luckily, IE 9 has a compatibility view mode that you can turn on with the Compatibility View button in the right part of the address bar. Try it before you think that something is wrong with your computer.

The recycle bin is just that, a place to throw things away. It shouldn’t be used to store things, especially if you delete files located on another computer in your local network. Those deleted files don’t go into your trashcan and they don’t go into the other computer’s trash either. Consider making a folder like that catchall bowl in the kitchen for things you might want back. Then, clean it out occasionally, and empty out your real recycle bin on a regular basis.

And, learn how to get the dust out of your computer. Even a thin blanket of dust can make a really good insulator on those cooling fins, preventing your computer from cooling enough when you are working it hard. If a computer overheats, it usually shuts off but you might start blaming software, when it is just overly “insulated.”