Expert Computing Advice – January 2013 (Part 2)

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How do I stop the Windows 8 Messaging app from putting notifications on my screen. I want to use the old Windows Messenger client, but I now get duplicate messages in the form of pop-ups from the built-in app.

Multiple notifications

Multiple notifications

To stop these pop-ups head to the Start screen and start up the Messaging app by clicking on its tile. Now bring up the Charms and select Settings, then Permissions. Here you can disable the notifications function. Once you’ve done this, the app will no longer send you the pop-up messages and you can continue to use the classic Windows Messenger app uninterrupted.

Black borders on monitor

l’ve recently bought a 24in monitor for my PC, which I’m using via an HDMI connection. When I plug it in I get a 1920x1080 image on the screen, but it has a large black border around the edges. How can I get rid of this?

It sounds as though you’re using an AMD Radeon graphics card and the picture is being automatically scaled for a TV. To fix the problem, right-click the desktop and select ‘Catalyst Control Center’. If this option doesn’t appear then you may need to install the latest graphics driver software, which can be downloaded from

Black borders on monitor

Black borders on monitor

Select ‘My Digital Flat-panels’ in the Catalyst Control Center, then choose ‘Scaling Options (Digital Flat-Panel)’. Move the slider from Underscan to Overscan to remove the black borders from your screen.

Large file problem

l’m trying to copy a 4.5GB file on to the memory card in my Google Android smartphone, but it’s not working. All other files seem to copy correctly, but this one appears to be too large for the card, even though there’s plenty of free storage space. Can you help?

Large file problem

Large file problem

This problem is caused not by your memory card running out of space, but by a limitation on the maximum size of a file. It’s imposed by the FAT32 system typically used when formatting memory cards.

You may find that copying the same large file works when using the phone’s internal memory rather than the card, but if you want to use the card for files larger than 4GB it’s going to have to use an alternative file system to FAT32.

Microsoft’s exFAT system is designed with this in mind, and in theory can cope with any file size up to 144,100,000GB.

The exFAT file system has been adopted by many, but not all, Android phones. If your phone supports exFAT you can format the card to use the system on your PC using a card reader. The phone will then be able to store and read files larger than 4GB.

The Samsung Galaxy S III is an example of a phone that supports the exFAT file system as standard. The exFAT format is also supported by PCs and laptops running Windows XP and Mac OS X 10.6.5 or later, and therefore presents a useful solution for transferring large files between desktop and mobile platforms.

Quick tip: shut down Windows 8 faster

With the Start Menu missing from Windows 8, the familiar method of shutting down by clicking the Start button and selecting Shut down is also absent. The most obvious, but also somewhat laborious, method is to bring up the Charms, click the power icon and then select Shut down.

If you’re looking at the desktop you may find it quicker to click the taskbar and press Alt, F4 to bring up a Shut down menu. However, if this simply isn’t quick enough, you can create your own Shut down button by creating a shortcut.

Open File Explorer and pick a folder where you would like to store your shortcut. Right click in the file pane and select New, Shortcut. In the ‘Type the location of the item:’ field enter shutdown /s /t 0, then click Next. Name this shortcut Shut down and click Finish.

You can right-click your shortcut and select ‘Pin to Start’ to make it appear on the Start page and/or ‘Pin to Taskbar’ to make it appear as a button on your taskbar. Be careful, though, as clicking this shortcut will effect an immediate Shut down, with no chance to back out.

You can create variations on the button by using various options with the Shut down command. These include, among others, /r to restart instead of shutting down, /g to restart with all your current applications reloaded, /h to hibernate the PC and /hybrid to prepare the system for fast startup.

If you like, you can change the icon to something prettier by right-clicking it and selecting Properties, then going to the Shortcut tab and clicking Change icon, ignoring any warning messages that may pop up.

Tech jargon buster

VIRTUAL PC: In effect a software version of a physical PC which is able to run its own operating system and applications. Typically, a virtual PC will boot up in its own window and is often used to run a different OS to that installed on the host PC. You could use a virtual PC to try out a version of say, Linux, without having to install It on your main system.

Microsoft’s free Virtual PC works in versions of Windows up to and including Windows 7, but has been superseded in Windows 8 by the faster and more robust Hyper-V system. This is incompatible with other virtualisation software.

FAT32: A file system introduced by Microsoft in 1996 and commonly used to store information on lower-capacity disks and memory cards. Its key advantage is that almost all OSes and devices can read the format, but it’s limited in that no single file can exceed 4GB.

SDHC/SDXC: Secure Digital High Capacity and Secure Digital extended Capacity are designations given to larger-capacity SD memory cards and can apply to full-size, mini- and micro-SD variations.

SDHC cards support capacities up to 32GB and are formatted with the FAT32 file system, while SDXC cards can theoretically support up to 2TB - although 128GB versions are the largest currently available. These use the exFAT file system and also enable greater data-transfer speeds. You can manually reformat an SDXC card to use FAT32 if necessary.

It’s important to note the distinction between these card formats as not all devices can handle SDHC or SDXC cards. You should therefore check your device compatibility prior to purchase.

PNY - 32GB Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Class 10 Memory Card

PNY - 32GB Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Class 10 Memory Card

Charms: Windows 8 brings with it a raft of new interface features, one of which is the use of Charms. Usually hidden from view, the Charms slide on to the screen when you swipe a finger inwards from the right side of the screen, place your mouse pointer in the top-right corner or press Windows, C on the keyboard.

This column of monochromatic icons consists of a selection of context-sensitive icons, which provide quick access to functions and settings relevant to what you’re currently doing on your PC.

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