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Last Updated: Friday, 4 November 2005, 17:20 GMT
Click Tips
Rob Freeman
By Rob Freeman
Click tip-ster

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

Ronald, from the Philippines, wanted to know:

If my system crashes, and I need to re-install Windows XP, will Microsoft re-activate the new install?

Activation is Microsoft's way of making sure you have a valid copy of Windows XP; without it, XP only works for a month and then stops working.

To activate, you type in the Product Key code which is on a sticker on the side of your computer or, if you bought a boxed copy of XP from a shop, in the box. Every one of those numbers should be different, so it's easy to tell if someone pirates a copy.

If you do need to re-install XP, if you are using the same computer, you can just re-enter your code go on to the Internet and Windows will be automatically activated. This should be what applies to you, Ronald.

If you do not have an internet connection handy you will be able to phone up and someone on the phone will give you the activation code there. However, there are a couple of other scenarios I want to make you aware of.

If you have bought a completely new computer, or if you have made substantial upgrades to your old one, maybe you needed to replace broken components, or upgrade the graphics card, you may have to ring Microsoft to re-activate Windows XP.

There is one very important exception, which counts if you have bought a computer with Windows already installed, and that is probably most XP users. That copy is only valid for use on that computer alone.

According to Microsoft's rules, you are not allowed to transfer that copy of Windows over to a new computer, even if you're not using the old one anymore.

Gayathri Eswar, from Oman, contacted us to ask:

My query is regarding sites which promise to donate some food or money for every time we click, like The Hunger Site or Stop The Hunger. How can I check the veracity of these claims? Obviously many of us who use the internet would love to click if it can help someone, but at the same time would not like to waste time every day in a worthless effort.

There is nothing dodgy about the sites you mention, if that is what you mean, but neither of them are non-profit organisations. Have a look closely at the site and you will also find that Stop The Hunger exists solely to aid hunger in the United States.

However, the amount that gets given on each click is so small that you could click every day for a year and still not give as much money to charity as you would have if you just donated a couple of hours' pay.

That is not to say they are bad deals. There is a family of these sites and my favourite is The Rain Forest Site.

Finally, a quick look back at something we covered a few weeks ago: download accelerators.

I want to mention one more accelerator product, because of who made it - Google. You can look at it via the link on the right-hand side of this page.

I say look and not use, because at the moment Google's tool is still in development and they are not taking any more testers at the moment. The frustrating point about this product from a dial-up point of view is that it is a web accelerator for people with broadband.

Surely if you have got broadband you do not need an even faster connection? Yeah, well I thought that too.

But Google explicitly states that the web accelerator is unlikely to make much improvement for a narrowband connection, even if you could run it on your computer which, of course at the moment, you cannot.

Security worries may be the reason there are no new users, because the application speeds up web pages, by downloading them via Google's own servers, and that, in theory, enables Google to gather more data about what you are surfing and when.

It is what Google might do with that information that worries people. However development is reportedly still ongoing. So watch this space.

If you have any questions or queries, please visit "Contact us" (link on the top right-hand side of this page) to get in touch.

Click Online is broadcast on BBC News 24: Saturday at 2030, Sunday at 0430 and 1630, and on Monday at 0030. A short version is also shown on BBC Two: Saturday at 0645 and BBC One: Sunday at 0745 . Also BBC World.

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