QI work for a nonprofit that gets donated computers. I have to install dial-up modems and get rid of the network software, but the Add/Remove feature in Windows doesn't do a very good job of getting rid of those old connection settings. Do you have any advice?
ANetwork preferences can wind up buried deep in the registry, Windows' all-purpose repository of system data, and the built-in Add/Remove feature often leaves those remnants intact.
Uninstaller programs such as Symantec's Norton CleanSweep seem to work best when installed before any other programs are added. Employing them after network information has been hidden in the dark recesses of the registry is like putting a coat of primer down after the kitchen has been painted.
The solution is to use a specialized registry-cleanup utility to dive into the registry and fix things. The best I know is RegClean, a free program that has garnered a 93 percent approval rating at Download.com (www.download.com); another free utility, EasyCleaner (www.toniarts.com/ecleane.htm), is also developing a solid reputation.
I want to use my Windows XP computer to give my grandchildren a CD with all the pictures I have collected -- you know, just have them pop it in and run the show.
Apple users have a free, built-in program called iPhoto that allows them to do just that. In the Windows world, however, you will need to buy a separate application to help manage photo collections. A lot of expensive programs do this, and much more; Jasc's $49 After Shot (www.jasc.com/products/aftershot), however, will fit your needs nicely.
It includes a "Create a Slide Show" feature that will burn the photos onto a CD using XP's own CD-recording tools. Then you'll need to copy a playback utility, called "player.exe," to the CD.
When your grandchildren receive the CD, all they'll have to do is insert the CD and click on the file called "player" to run the slide show.
-- John Gilroy
John Gilroy of Item Inc. is heard on WAMU's "The Computer Guys" at 1 p.m. on the first Tuesday of the month. Send your questions to him in care of The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071 or via e-mail to email@example.com.