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Issue #29: February 7, 2008

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Q: I recently installed a Nero 7 program and now when I open a photo (jpeg etc.), it opens with the Nero picture viewer, which I don’t want.  How do I get it to default back to the Microsoft picture viewer program when I open a picture?

– John G.
Shalimar, FL

A: This is a file association problem, similar to what I wrote about in my Jan 10th column. It appears that in your case, Nero has hijacked the file extensions for pictures on your computer, and associated them with its own program.

Fixing the problem is relatively simple, but you must do this for each of the file types you want to repair.  Let’s start with .jpg.  Open Windows Explorer and navigate to any .jpg image on your computer.  Right-click the file, and from the context menu, click “Open With…” and in the slide-off menu, click “Choose Program…”.  In the dialog that comes up, select the program you want from the list , then turn on “Always use the selected program to open this kind of file” and click “OK”.  You can change associations for any type of file this way and it’s easy to make a mistake, so be careful!

Q: Just before Christmas, I bought a new Sony Vaio VGN-Fz240E laptop computer with the standard Lithium Ion battery.  I have been shutting it down with a fully charged battery.  Regardless of whether I shut her down by sleep, hibernation or complete shut down mode, she loses 13 to 15 % of the battery charge in a 24 hour period. So realistically, if I do not use the computer for a week, the battery is dead.  Is this normal for a brand new battery?

– Alan R.
Bluewater Bay, FL

A: Great question, Alan. Battery life is an important factor in the choosing of almost any portable electronic device, and even more so with a laptop, because you can lose hours worth of work if your battery dies unexpectedly.  You should be aware however, that putting electricity into a battery is not an absolute.  It’s not like putting gasoline into a car, for example.  Gasoline is a known quantity, and baring any leaks or evaporation, you have a pretty good idea of how much you’ll get back out.  Rechargeable batteries are different.  Even if there’s no “leak,” rechargeable batteries do not hold their charge indefinitely.  They begin losing power the moment you take them off the charger, and their capacity diminishes as they age.  The Windows battery meter feature also does not provide an absolutely accurate state of your battery.  It is merely a guide to alert you when you need to recharge your system.

Now that I’ve said all that, let me add that a 15% loss of power in 24 hours does sound like a lot.  I suggest you run an unscientific test by leaving it off and unplugged for a few days straight.  It’s normal for the battery to be down some, but it shouldn’t be dead.  If it is, you probably have a good cause to get the battery replaced under warranty.

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