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Help File: Small DVR hard drives; an uninstalled Windows program won't go away

Sunday, February 14, 2010; G04

Q: We like our Fios digital video recorder at home, but it can only store 20 hours of high-definition recordings. Does Verizon plan to upgrade its DVRs?

A: Verizon's $15.99-and-up high-definition video recorders include a 160-gigabyte hard drive. Verizon spokesman Harry Mitchell said the company is "working on increasing the capacity this year."

Verizon's chief rival, Comcast, rents DVRs with the same limited storage. Publicist Alana Davis defended their 20 hours of high-def recording as "industry standard" but otherwise echoed Verizon's words: "We're looking to expand that capacity in the near future."

The situation is a little better with satellite-TV vendors. DirecTV advertises its high-def DVR as offering "two times" the capacity of cable units; spokesman Robert Mercer said they store "up to 100 hours" of HD video but didn't cite a capacity in gigabytes.

Dish Network touts 30 hours and 55 hours of HD recording (320 and 500 GB, respectively) on its DVRs and allows users to augment that capacity with external hard drives.

Considering that 500-gigabyte hard drives sell for under $100, you'd think that these TV services could offer more capacity. Consider this yet another reason to unlock the market for subscription-TV hardware.

I thought I yanked a program on my XP computer, but it still appears in the Add or Remove Programs list.

A Microsoft tech-support article (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/314481) explains how to fix this issue. Unfortunately, the remedy requires finding and removing an entry in the Registry, the massive, perplexing database that governs too much of Windows. Consider this yet another reason for Microsoft to retire the Registry.

Rob Pegoraro attempts to untangle computing conundrums and errant electronics each week. Send questions to The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071 or robp@washpost.com. Visit http://voices.washingtonpost.com/fasterforwardfor his Faster Forward blog.

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