A reader called to say he had bought an external hard drive to hold his personal files because his C Drive was running out of space. He said, however, that after dragging the files onto the new drive there didnít seem to be any additional free space on his C Drive. |
What he didnít realize is that dragging files from disk to another does not physically move them — it simply copies them, leaving the originals in place. If you want to move them without having to subsequently delete the originals, hold down your SHIFT key while dragging.
Copying personal files to an external hard drive has become the cheapest and easiest way to make backups of your important data. Unlike having a drawer full of CDs that need individual labeling, and which donít allow for easy deleting and rewriting, an external hard drive can keep all your backups in one place with full delete and rewrite capabilities.
You can do the same thing with flash memory sticks on a smaller scale, but even they have become amazingly large in capacity — all the way up to 4 GB.
Multiple Hard Drives for Different Kinds of Files
External hard drives have become so reasonable in price that some folks have one just to hold their photos, another for their music files, and one for office documents. People with highly critical data even backup files to two or more hard drives, just for the extra protection they provide.
Speaking of data files, OpenOffice recently released Version 3, which can be freely downloaded from
www.openoffice.org. Like Microsoft Office, it does word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, drawings, and it even has a database utility which Microsoft only has in its most expensive version of Office.
A feature in OpenOffice 3 that I really like is its sliding scale zoom button at the lower right of a word processing document page, just like Microsoft Word has. If youíre buying a new computer, you donít need to pay hundreds of dollars for an office suite when OpenOffice is totally free.
Rotating a Picture
Another handy feature in both suites is the ability to rotate a picture within a document. Just click on the picture and then click the Rotate button in the Drawing Toolbar, whereupon youíll be able to grab a pictureís corner and rotate it to any angle you want. A rotated picture can then be copied and pasted into another document or attached to an e-mail without losing its rotated shape.
My favorite favorite program for rotating a picture, however, is Irfanview (free from www.irfanview.com). Open a picture in Irfanview and click on Image>Custom/Fine Rotation, whereupon you will be able to type in an angle from 1 to 360. If the angle doesnít look correct, do Ctrl+Z to undo the rotation and try another angle.
Irfanview is also my absolute favorite program for cropping and/or resizing a picture. To crop, draw a rectangle with your left mouse button depressed, followed by doing Edit>Cut and Edit>Paste. To resize, click Image>Resize/Resample and set your new dimensions.