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Solutions: It's time for Vista Service Pack 1

Note to Windows Vista users: The long-awaited Windows Vista Service Pack 1 has been released. It will be pushed out through Windows Update over the next month. But if you want to install the update immediately, you may download it from the Windows Download Center at www.microsoft.com/downloads. Scroll down and click on the Windows Vista Service Pack 1 link under New Downloads. Make sure you follow the directions carefully along with all the recommended precautions, such as backups.

Q. Could you elaborate on the device described as having the ability to read data from the hard drive of a nonfunctioning computer? When I ask at the store for a "disk caddy," I get a blank look or an offer to sell me a wheeled device for storing my data disks.

A. They would also be known as "disk enclosures." They come in two sizes: A 3.5 size for disks typically found in desktops and a 2.5 size for the smaller disks found in laptops. Most of the enclosures have a standard IDE interface, but some of the newer hard drives have a SATA (serial ATA) interface and you will need to buy a SATA-based enclosure or get an IDE/SATA converter. If you're not sure which interface your hard drive has, bring it with you and ask for help.

Q. In your March 10 column you referred to the "Tools" section of Windows Defender. When I opened that file (C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Microsoft\Windows Defender) all I see are three files, none of which contains "Tools." What am I doing wrong?

A. The "Tools" section is within the Defender program. You'll need to run the program: Click Start, point to All Programs, and then click Windows Defender. From the program, click Tools and then click Software Explorer. For more information on Windows Defender and Software Explorer and the other utilities it includes, visit www.microsoft.com/athome security/spyware/software/support/howto/softwareexplorer.mspx.

Q. When I try to uncheck "read only" in properties per your instructions March 17, I get a message, "Error occurred applying attributes. Access denied." How do I get around this?

A. If you are trying to make this change on the CD/DVD files, it will not work. The answer was given in the context of once the files were copied to the hard drive.

Q. I recently bought a computer with Vista. I was attempting to empty the Recycle Bin, when I clicked on "Delete Recycle Bin" by mistake. Would you please tell me how to get it back?

A. Deleting the Recycle Bin is something new in Vista. I said new, not improved. I feel it is confusing and unnecessary to offer this option in the right-click menu. Here's how you get it back: Click the Vista button (formerly Start) and then Control Panel. Click Appearance and Personalization. Click Personalization (in the white section), then on the left under Tasks, click Change Desktop Icons. The Recycle Bin is probably unchecked. Check it and then click OK. You're back in business.

Send questions to personaltech@sptimes.com or Personal Tech, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. Questions are answered only in this column.

Solutions: It's time for Vista Service Pack 1 03/30/08 [Last modified: Monday, May 12, 2008 5:01pm]
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