Computing questions including iTunes, Windows . . . more

With the launch today of the new Windows, it is time to answer some reader mail.

With the launch today of the new Windows, it is time to answer some reader mail.

Q. Is there a great and easy way to back up my iTunes music?

I am scared to death to lose it all.

A. You should be. The best way to back it up of course is to back up your entire hard drive to an external drive. And actually do it regularly.

If you cannot or won’t do that, you can use a product designed for this. I use CopyTrans ( that will back up my library any time I wish.

It has lots of other features that will back up and recover iTunes music including recovering your entire iTunes library if you lose your hard drive and all you have is your iPod. I love this tool. Just use it. All the software in the world won’t save you if you won’t use it.

Q. If I purchase a new laptop for my son with the eye he takes it to college in the fall, is it best to pay extra for the higher resolution screen? Does it make that much difference?

A. Heck yes.

With screen size fixed, the more you can fit on it, the better. I would certainly pay for a one-level upgrade in the screen for sure.

I personally do not like glossy screens but I do like the matte LCD screens in higher resolutions. Make sure you shop around various manufacturers and don’t buy the first thing you see.

Q. I have been having real issues with playing video on my Windows XP computer.

I keep running into codec errors and things that will not play. Is there a better player out there?

A. First thing I would do is download and install the latest Windows Media Player.

Then I would go to Majorgeeks ( and download the full K-Lite Codec kit for Windows. (Type Codec in the search box.) Just be very careful on that site what you download.

The download link is in the middle of the page at the top.

Install the codec pack and you should be all set. If that does not work try an upgrade to your DVD playing software.

Q. Is there any problem with the AC adapters for laptops that are not made by the computer manufacturers instead of the generic ones that are available online from China?

I can save about $80 and I am trying to understand the difference. Have you used them?

A. Yes.

Most of them that I have used are fine.

You can save significant money, often enough to order two and have a spare and still save 50 per cent off the manufacturer price.

Or, you can order a used manufacturer model from eBay and also save significant money.

Either way, I would not hesitate to use the online sales channel for AC adapters.

Q. I dropped my laptop on the edge of one of the sides. When I turn it on, half of the screen shows up and half doesn’t. But it appears to work other than that. I can see the image faintly on the screen that is burned out though. Is it the screen?

A. It is dangerous to diagnose over the Web but you could need a screen, an inverter, a backlight or all three. You may be able to connect an external monitor to your laptop and use it normally, which is a good way to test if the computer is working other than the screen.

Look on eBay for a screen at a reasonable price but you may also need a backlight.

James Derk is owner of CyberDads, a computer repair firm and a tech columnist for Scripps Howard News Service. His e-mail address is

Just Posted

UFA donates $500,000 to Olds College

Money will go towards an innovation lab and “smart farm”

More police presence in Red Deer’s downtown starts this month

“We recognize… that citizens are concerned about safety,” said Mayor Veer

Red Deer RCMP look for fraud suspect

Purse stolen from fitness locker

One strong wind leaves years of replanting work for Red Deer parks staff

High visibility boulevards already replanted, neighbourhood work starts next year

Red Deer-area indigenous filmmakers invited to apply for $20,000 grant

Storyhive launches Indigenous Storyteller Edition

WATCH: Make-A-Wish grants Star Wars loving teen’s wish

The Make-A-Wish Foundation granted Anakin Suerink’s wish in Red Deer Saturday afternoon

Montreal Alouettes defensive lineman Woody Baron co-authors children’s book

TORONTO — Woody Baron finds the spectre of tangling with a hulking… Continue reading

Sundin not surprised Leafs asking stars to take less money to stay together

TORONTO — Mats Sundin isn’t surprised the Toronto Maple Leafs are asking… Continue reading

Anywhere but Washington: Why DC stories rarely film in DC

WASHINGTON — It’s a hobby among District of Columbia locals: Picking apart… Continue reading

‘Halloween’ scares up $77.5 million in ticket sales

LOS ANGELES — Forty years after he first appeared in theatres, Michael… Continue reading

iPhone XR makes the right trade-offs for a cheaper price

NEW YORK — Apple offers you a simple trade-off with its new… Continue reading

BMW to recall 1.6 million vehicles worldwide over fire risk

FRANKFURT — Automaker BMW says it is expanding a recall to cover… Continue reading

Calgary awaits federal financing on 2026, Notley suggests IOC could pay more

CALGARY — With the clock ticking towards a Calgary vote on hosting… Continue reading

Toronto Mayor John Tory cruises to victory; tech issues extend voting elsewhere

Toronto Mayor John Tory easily won re-election on Monday after a spirited… Continue reading

Most Read