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Last Updated: Friday, 12 November, 2004, 17:56 GMT
Click Tips
Rob Freeman
By Rob Freeman
Click tip-ster

Rob Freeman, Click Online's very own Mr Fixit, troubleshoots your PC problems.

One aspect of upgrading to Windows XP, which can complicate the install process, is having to activate the software directly with Microsoft.

Previous versions of Windows have not needed this and this is why, according to that company, so many pirate versions exist.

Tenny, from the Sultanate of Oman, e-mailed to say:

My Pentium III system has crashed and I have to buy a new system. A few weeks before the crash I had activated Windows XP with Microsoft. If I buy a brand new PC, will I be able to activate my existing Windows XP on it?

I will go through two scenarios.

If you decided to re-install XP and you have not made any major changes to your hardware, you should just be able to re-enter your activation code again.

But if you have bought a completely new computer you will need to follow the instructions for telephone activation, and you will need to explain to Microsoft that you are transferring XP onto a new computer.

The key thing to remember is that your copy of XP will only work on one computer at once.

If you did start to use the old machine again, Windows will not function on it, and you would need to buy another copy.

Now to clear up a couple of issues from an episode a few weeks ago, where we were talking about external disk caddies.

These fascinated a few of you, who wanted to know where you could buy them.

We are not allowed to make that sort of recommendation here at the BBC, but I would say pester your local computer shop or buy or borrow a computer magazine and visit some of the websites which advertise there.

Jenny Holdt in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, thought the whole thing was a bit complicated and wondered if a flash memory drive was better.

I have a flash drive which plugs straight into any USB 1 or 2 port straight out of the box. It survives heat, dust and downpours and being dropped! Why would anyone go to the hassle and inconvenience of carrying around an external drive to share files between computers?

I love flash disks, but they are limited so far in the amount they can hold, usually one or two gigs, and they are expensive.

A small external HD can cost much less, but store over 40 GB.

So Jenny, you are absolutely right; it is just that currently external discs still offer better value for money.

One viewer saw a caddy which was big enough to take a CD drive, and e-mailed me straight away to demand why I had not showed it a week earlier, as he had just bought a smaller model and could have done with the extra space for a DVD drive.

Allan Weaver, from Shropshire, England, said:

I also discovered both my main computer and my laptop only have USB 1. I was able to get a USB 2 card for the tower, but cannot find a way to update the laptop. Is it possible?

The best thing for your laptop is to buy a PCMCIA card (PC Card) adaptor for USB2.

You will not be able to upgrade the internal device though, but it does mean you get a few additional ports.

If you have any questions or queries, please visit our "Contact us" page to get in touch.

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