Thursday, July 24, 2014

How to change your Yahoo! security questions

Yahoo! sometimes uses security questions to verify your identity when you are attempting to access your Yahoo! account.  Security questions can be a good safety measure for your account, but over time the answers may change, or you may just want to use different questions.  Changing your security questions for your Yahoo! account is very easy to do.

First, you'll need to log into Yahoo! Mail.  Once you've logged in, hover over the gear icon in the upper right corner of the Yahoo! Mail page, and select Account Info. (You may be prompted to enter your password again.)  Then click on the Update password-reset info link.

Scroll down to the Secret Questions section and click the link labeled Change questions and answers.  There will be two questions to choose.  (Once you click the link, you won't be able to see what your current questions are.)  For each one, select a question from the drop-down list, then type the answer in the space beneath it.  Answers will not be case sensitive.  Once you have finished, click the Save link underneath the questions.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

How to edit an email address on a Ricoh MP series copier

If you have an email address stored on your Ricoh MP series copier/scanner and you need to change it, you can do so easily by following the steps below.  (Note that for Ricoh MP series copiers with reduced-size touch screens like the MP 301, or without a touch screen like the MP 2500, the steps will vary slightly.)

- Press the User Tools/Counter button (the User Tools button on larger models)
- Select System Settings
- Select the Administrator Tools tab (the Administrator Tools box on smaller models)
- Select Address Book Management
- Select the user whose email address needs to be changed
- Select the Email tab
- Make the necessary changes to the email address and select OK
- Select OK again to save the changes

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

How to replace staples in a Ricoh copier

The instructions for installing staples in a Ricoh copier vary depending on the exact finisher model your copier has, and the type of staples you are installing (corner staples vs. saddle-stitch staples).  In some finishers, the staple cartridge is located in a different place than in other finishers, but you can always find it by looking for the green handle.

Different finishers use different types of staples, and the size and shape of the cartridges for each one may vary.  In general, these are the common steps for replacing staples in a Ricoh copier:

- Open the finisher front door/cover
- Remove the staple cartridge by the green handle
- Push in on the two sides of the cartridge to pop the top of the cartridge up
- Remove the empty white paper container
- Install the new staples in the direction of the arrow
- Push down on the top of the cartridge so it snaps into place
- Pull out the strip of tape around the staples
- Reinstall the cartridge into the finisher, so it snaps into place
- Close the finisher door

The steps above are for installing Type K staples.  For other types of staples, the steps may vary slightly, but they will be very similar.

Friday, July 18, 2014

How to change your default printer in Windows XP

In Windows, you can have a printer set as the default printer -- the printer that Windows will automatically choose when you print, unless you specify something different.  It's very easy to change your default printer, and you can do it at any time.

To change your default printer, first you'll need to open the Printers and Faxes application in the Control Panel.  On some Windows XP computers, this app can be accessed directly from the Start menu.  If you see Printers and Faxes on your Start menu, just click on it -- if you don't see it, click on Settings and see if it pops up.

If you can't find Printers and Faxes on your Start menu, click on Run on the Start menu and type "control" and then press <ENTER> or click OK.  The Control Panel will appear; double click on Printers and Faxes.

In the Printers and Faxes window, you'll see a list of all your printers and fax machines that are installed on the computer.  One of these devices will have a circle next to the name, with a check mark in the circle.  This device is currently set as your default printer.

To set a different device as the default printer, right click on the printer you want.  When the menu pops up, select Set as Default Printer.  The circle and check mark should move to that printer, and that one is now your default printer.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

How to send a fax from a Ricoh copier

These instructions will walk you through how to send a fax using a Ricoh copier or multifunction printer.  The steps are meant for any Ricoh copiers with a touch screen; for copiers that don't have a touch screen (such as the MP 161 or MP 2500) the steps will vary slightly.

- Plug an active fax line into the LINE port on the back side of the copier, if it's not already connected.
- Press the Facsimile button (or select Facsimile on the Home screen).
- Select the fax destination from the preset list shown on the screen, or enter the fax number manually using the number pad.
- Place your document(s) in the document feeder (face up) or on the glass (face down).
- Press the Start button.

If you want to send an email fax, you can find instructions for setting that up here:

- How to set up email faxing from a Ricoh MP series copier

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

How to disable the Auto Delete function on a Ricoh copier's Document Server

On Ricoh Aficio MP series copiers that come with the Document Server feature, the Document Server is by default set to delete any documents you store there after 3 days (excluding documents that you've set a password for).  In order to use the Document Server for more long-term storage, you will need to disable the Auto Delete function.  The steps below will walk you through how to do that.

These steps will work for any Ricoh Aficio MP series copier that has the "normal" touch screen.  For copiers with the smaller touch screen, such as the MP 301 or the MP C305, the steps will vary slightly, but will be similar.  For copiers without a touch screen, like the MP 201 or MP 2500, the steps will be different, but the general concept is the same.

- Press the User Tools/Counter button (or the User Tools button, on high volume copiers)
- On the screen, select System Settings
- Select the Administrator Tools tab
- Scroll down until you see the setting labeled "Auto Delete File in Document Server" and select it
- Select Off
- Select OK

Instead of turning the Auto Delete feature completely off, you can set it for a specific number of days if you prefer.  After that many days have passed since the document was scanned in, it will be deleted from the Document Server.  Note that these changes do not affect documents that have already been scanned in, so any documents in the Document Server before you turn off the Auto Delete function will still be deleted after 3 days.

Monday, July 14, 2014

How to Set up a Wireless Router

Wireless routers are an integral part of many home and office networks. Many routers come with an installation CD that walks you through the setup process, but even without this CD, setting up a wireless router for the first time can be accomplished easily. Follow the steps below to install your wireless router.

• Find a good location

Picking the right location for your router isn't just a matter of clearing a space on your desk for it. Take into consideration where in your home or office the other wireless devices that will be connecting to this router are going to be used, and try to find a central location so that the router's broadcast signal can reach all of the devices.

Also take into account electronic devices that can cause interference with your wireless signal.  Avoid placing the router near microwaves, cordless phones, and other devices that use radio waves to communicate.

• Turn on your computer and modem

If your router is going to be connected to a PC by a cable, turn that computer on first and wait for it to boot up. Also turn on your digital modem, analog modem, or other device that you use to get Internet access.

• Connect any necessary cables

Now connect your wireless router's power cable, as well as any other cables that will be hooked up, such as an Ethernet cable connecting the router to one of your PCs.

• Turn on the router

Once everything is hooked up, turn the router on and give it a minute or so to fully boot up. Depending on the individual router, you should see its lights start to flash or remain on for the various connections.

• Set up an encryption key

Your router is now broadcasting its signal and is ready to be found by your wireless computers. If you have a computer connected to the router by a cable, open up the web browser on that computer and type in your router's default IP address (often, this will be 192.168.1.1 or 192.168.0.1). If you're asked to log in, enter the default username and password, which can be found in the router's documentation.

Once you've logged in to the router's software, find the section for security or encryption and set up WEP, WPA, or WPA2, depending on which protocols your wireless devices are compatible with. You can enter your own encryption key or use the default one provided, but be sure to write this key down. Also write down the default SSID (network name) that can be found on the router's status page.  If you want to change the network name, now is a good time to do so, before you've connected all of your wireless devices.

• Enter the encryption key on your wireless devices

On any devices that will be connecting to your router, find your wireless network from the list of available networks and open up that connection's properties. In the box for security or encryption keys, enter the passcode that you chose and save the settings. If there is an option to automatically connect to this network, check it. Now connect to the network to verify that you can establish the connection. Repeat this procedure on each of your laptops and other wireless devices.

• Set up security features

Once your devices are connected to your network, set up any additional security features you might want to use, such as MAC address filtering, Internet access restriction, or parental controls. It's a good idea to also change the router's default username and password so that anyone outside your network can't access your router's settings. (Write the new username and password down as well.)

Your router should now be fully set up and ready for use. Routers typically don't require a lot of maintenance once they are up and running; the only thing you might have to do is occasionally reset the router (by turning it off, waiting a minute or so, and turning it back on) if you lose your Internet connection or the router starts to act erratically.

Keep all of the information you've written down -- encryption key, router password, etc. -- in a safe place that is easily accessible. If you get a new computer or wireless device, you'll have to enter the encryption key on that device so that it can connect to your network. On a PC, this process can be automated by using the Windows Network Setup Wizard and saving the settings to a flash drive.

(Originally published on Helium.com, January 2011 -- updated from its original form)

Friday, July 11, 2014

How to restore an HP LaserJet Enterprise 600 M601 / M602 / M603 back to factory default settings

If you need to restore your HP LaserJet M601, M602, or M603 printer back to its factory default state, follow the instructions below.  NOTE:  By performing this operation, your printer will lose saved settings and data.

- Press OK to bring up the main menu
- Scroll down to Administration
- Press OK
- Scroll down to General Settings
- Press OK
- Scroll down to Restore Factory Settings
- Press OK

Here you will be presented with the different options for erasing all or some of the printer's memory and settings.  You can choose from All, Calibration, Digital Send, General, Print, or Security.  To choose one of the options, scroll down so it is highlighted and press OK.  A check mark will appear next to that item.

- Scroll back up to Reset
- Press OK
- To confirm your choice, scroll down to Reset
- Press OK

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

How to change the toner on a Ricoh Aficio MP 4000 / MP 5000 / MP 4001 / MP 5001 copier

To install a new toner bottle (type MP 4500 toner) in a Ricoh MP 4000, 4001, 5000, or 5001 copier, follow these steps:

- Open the copier's front door
- Spin the green toner handle counter-clockwise 90 degrees
- Push down on the small green lever on the left side of the toner unit
- Slide the toner unit out using the green handle
- Remove the old toner bottle

- Gently rock the new toner bottle back and forth (horizontally) several times
- Unscrew the black cap from the new toner bottle
- Lay the new toner bottle on the toner tray, with the top of the bottle facing toward you (away from the copier)
- Push the toner unit all the way in using the green handle until it locks in place
- Turn the green toner handle clockwise 90 degrees until it snaps in place
- Close the copier's front door

Thursday, July 3, 2014

How to Check the Toner Levels in a Ricoh Printer

Ricoh printers (both monochrome and color) will display a message on the screen that tells you when the toner levels are getting low, and then another message when the toner is completely empty. On color printers, you'll see individual messages for the different colors, so you could have a message telling you that the cyan toner is completely out at the same that you have a message saying the yellow toner is getting low.

While these messages are useful, it can also be helpful to check the toner levels before they get to that point, for example if you are placing an order for supplies and you want to know what colors are getting close to needing to be replaced. There are different methods of checking the toner levels for different printer models, so depending on what kind of printer you have, use one of the methods specified below.

For multifunction printers (MFPs) that can also scan and copy, you can print out a configuration page that will display all sorts of system information, including the current toner levels. To print the config page, press the User Tools button on the operation panel, and then from the menu that appears on the touch screen, select Printer Features. Under the first tab, List/Test Print, there will be a box that says Configuration Page or Config Page -- touch that option, and the configuration page will begin to print out.  (On some models, it may print two pages). Toward the top of the config page will be a set of boxes, and the number of boxes that are filled in represents how much toner is left in the bottle or cartridge. For color printers, there will be a different set of boxes for each color.

On printers that don't scan or copy, you can also print out a configuration page, but the procedure is slightly different. These printers don't typically have a User Tools button (if they do, you can follow the procedure above) so press the Menu button instead and then scroll through the choices until you come to List/Test Print.  Press the OK button, then scroll down to the Config Page option and press OK again.  The printer will spit out a page or two of system information, as described above, including the estimated toner levels.

On newer model color MFPs (ones with a touch screen that's not monochrome), you can view the toner levels without having to print anything out.  When you are looking at the Copy screen, there are two buttons at the bottom of the screen -- System Status and Job List.  Touch System Status, and the machine will show the current toner levels, using the filled and empty box representation just like on the config page. (Newer black and white MFPs also have the System Status screen, but for the toner level it will only show if it's okay or low.)

Depending on if the option has been enabled or not, some newer Ricoh MFPs will even show you the toner levels on the screen without you having to do anything.  On these models (from the Aficio MP series) the toner levels will be represented graphically at the bottom of the copy, print, fax, and scan screens, as either vertical bars (for color machines and some black and white machines) or a horizontal drawing of a toner bottle (for other black and white machines).  This representation will change as the toner levels decrease.

(Originally published on Helium.com, June 2010, and updated since then)

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

How to enable or disable DHCP on a Linksys WRT54G Wireless Router

Like many wireless routers, the Linksys WRT54G serves double-duty as a DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) server.  The router controls which IP addresses are available for use on your local network, and it sets up and manages leases for those addresses.

To turn DHCP on or off for your WRT54G, log in to your router's web interface by typing the router's IP address (typically 192.168.1.1) into your web browser and then entering your username and password.  Once you've logged in, you should be looking at the Basic Setup page, under the Setup tab.

Most of your DHCP options are located on the bottom of that page.  By choosing Enable or Disable next to DHCP Server, you can turn the DHCP functions on or off.  (If you disable DHCP, you'll need to set up IP addresses for the each of the devices on your network manually.)  Below that, you can select the range of IP addresses to make available by designating a starting IP address and then choosing the maximum number of users you want to allow.

Whenever a computer requests an IP address from a DHCP server, the address is "leased" for a specific period of time.  Next to Client Lease Time, you can decide how long to make your leases, in minutes.  Leases are automatically extended as necessary, so the only thing this will really affect is network traffic if you have a lot of devices and short lease times.  By setting the lease time for zero, leases will be granted for 24 hours.

Any device that currently holds a DHCP lease is kept track of in the DHCP Clients Table.  To view this table and see what devices are on your network, go to the Status tab (last one on the right) and select the Local Network sub-heading.  Then click the gray button labeled DHCP Clients Table.  (This table can be a good network security tool, to make sure no unauthorized computers or other devices are accessing your network.)

When you click the button, a new window will open up with a list of devices that currently have active IP addresses through your DHCP server.  (Your router won't be on this list because it keeps a static IP address for itself.)  Any connected device with an IP address will be displayed, including smart phones, switches, and other network devices.  You may even find your video game system or television set-top box here.

You can view each device's name, IP address, MAC address, and lease expiration time.  The entries are listed in order of IP address, and by checking the lease times, you can see how long each device has been connected.  (Though if the lease has been renewed, you won't be able to see that information.)  Click the Refresh button at the top right to refresh the list if you've had it open for a while.

If you do find a device on this list that shouldn't be accessing your network, you can take away its IP address by putting a check in the box next to its lease expiration time and clicking Delete.  While monitoring this list is a good security policy, you should also be taking other measures to secure your network, such as disabling SSID broadcasting, enabling MAC address filtering, and using WEP, WPA, or WPA2.

(Originally published on Helium.com, October 2010)

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

How to Fix a Slow Computer

There is nothing more frustrating than a slow computer.  Whether it's trying to load a web page, open a folder, or even just shut down, a computer that runs like molasses can really try your patience.

Computers can be slow for many different reasons, and it can sometimes be difficult to figure out why.  But by using the tips below, you can troubleshoot your slow computer and hopefully get it running up to speed again.

- For slow web browsers

Just about every web browser uses add-ons, plug-ins, or other piggyback programs that add functionality or offer other advantages.  However, these add-ons can sometimes drag your browser's performance down, and occasionally even slow it to a crawl.  If your web browser is slow, disable all of your add-ons and see if you notice a difference in speed.  If so, enable the add-ons one by one until you can figure out which one is causing the bottleneck, then give it the axe.  Google's toolbar add-on is notorious for bogging down web browsers.

If your browser still seems slow, you may want to try a different browser altogether.  Chrome and Opera are two alternative browsers that are both free to download.  Try one or both of them, and see if they are faster than what you're using now.

- For slow startup

Many programs will try to configure themselves to launch when Windows boots up.  For some programs, this can be a nice feature, but for others it's just a waste of memory and system resources.  The more programs you have set to load on startup, the slower your system will run.

There are two main places to check to see which programs automatically run every time you turn your PC on.  The first is the Windows Startup folder, which you can view from the Start menu (Start > All Programs > Startup).  If you see any programs in this folder that you don't want to run automatically, just delete them.  Their shortcut will be deleted from the Startup folder, but the program itself will remain installed.

Another, more comprehensive, place to look is the System Configuration Utility.  Type "msconfig" into the Run bar or Search bar and when the application opens up, go to the Startup tab.  The programs here will be listed with abbreviated names, but you should be able to get a good sense of what each one is.  Many files listed here can safely be unchecked, such as GoogleUpdate or AdobeARM -- just be careful not to uncheck critical system files.  Once you've made your changes, click Apply or OK, and the next time you turn your computer on, those programs you selected won't start up.  You should notice a difference in startup time, and hopefully in general system performance as well.

- For slow speeds during normal operation

If you notice your computer slowing down suddenly during use, it could be any number of programs causing the drop in performance.  Look in the Task Manager to see which programs or services are eating up your resources; scan the "CPU" and "Mem Usage" columns and look for files with much higher numbers than the programs above and below them.  (To open the Task Manager, right click on an empty area of the taskbar and select Task Manager.)

Anti-virus or anti-spyware programs can bog your system down periodically.  You'll notice a drop in performance if either of these applications is running a scan or downloading updates.  One way to combat this slowness is to schedule scans and updates for times when you don't use your computer, such as late at night or early in the morning.  The same can be done with Windows' automatic updates, which also account for occasional drops in performance.

If the files you're seeing in the Task Manager are a different type of program, check that program's preferences or options to see if it has any settings for automatic updates or other functions that would cause it to use up resources when you're not using it.  Some programs also stay resident in memory even after they've been closed, which means the memory that they claimed can't be reallocated to another program.  If you see files in the Task Manager for a program that you've already shut down, highlight those files and click End Process to free up that memory.

- For slow hard drives

Hard drives come in varying speeds, and even a fast hard drive can get bogged down as it starts to get close to maximum capacity.  Run a disk cleanup program like CCleaner to erase all of those unnecessary temporary files, setup files, and cookies that can slowly take over your hard drive.  Windows even comes with its own utility, aptly named Disk Cleanup, that will do an adequate job of erasing unneeded files.

Videos, pictures, and songs are notorious for taking up space.  If possible, offload your media files onto a DVD, CD, or external hard drive to free up space on your main drive.  You can also go into the Control Panel and, using the Add or Remove Programs applet, delete old programs that you no longer use.

Once you've freed up some hard drive space, run the Windows Disk Defragmenter (or another defragmenting program) to reorganize your drive and make some sense out of all that mess.  Your hard drive will now be more streamlined and have better access times, which means better performance.

(Originally posted on Helium.com, January 2011)