Q: My Web browser is not showing the images on certain Web sites. How can I fix this?
The problem with image display could be caused by a number of things. If you use firewall software on your computer, make sure it is not set to block images from certain Web sites.
Old temporary Internet files clogging up the works might be an issue, so try emptying your browser's cache file; there should be an “empty cache” or “clear cache” option in the program's menus.
While you are in your browser's settings area, check to make sure the program is set to load images automatically and that certain Web sites aren't on a block list. Most browsers also have a reset option somewhere in the menus, like under “Internet Options.” Choosing to reset the browser might clear up the problem, but it also deletes saved passwords, cookies and records of your surfing history.
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Microsoft has instructions for resetting Internet Explorer 7 at support.microsoft.com/kb/
Q: I'm planning on reformatting and erasing the hard drive in my old computer before I give it to a friend, but I can't find the original Windows discs that came with it. I don't want to pass along a machine with no operating system on it, so what can I do?
It is a good idea to wipe your data and reformat the hard drive before someone else starts using the computer. You still have a couple of options even if you can't find the Windows system software discs to reinstall the operating system.
If you don't mind spending money, you can buy a version of Windows that is compatible with the computer's hardware. Microsoft still sells Windows XP, and you can find it on sites like Amazon or in stores like Best Buy. This can cost up to $200 for new software, though. If Windows XP is too demanding for your old hardware, you can usually find older versions of Windows on eBay (where Windows XP often turns up as well).
If you and your friend do not want to spend a lot of money, putting the Linux operating system on the old PC is a much less expensive option. Many versions of Linux have a graphical point-and-click interface these days, but they still may have a learning curve for new users.
There are several versions or “distributions” of a free operating system, Linux, available online; you can find many at www.linux.com/download_linux. Ubuntu Linux is considered one of the more user-friendly versions of the operating system, and you can download a copy at www.ubuntu.com, burn it to a CD and install it if the PC meets Ubuntu's hardware requirements.