Computer Group


The Computer Group meets on the first Friday of each month (except August) at 2.30pm at

Chiltern Room
Chinnor Village Centre
High Street
OX39 4DH                                      

The Group meets jointly with other local U3As under the leadership of Chinnor U3A. It is a self interest group with the topics decided by the participants, and tuition provided by the more experienced members. Topics can range from advice on selection of equipment and software through basic techniques to advice and problem-solving. The meetings are not hands-on training sessions as such, but tutors will work with individuals and the group as required.

The Clinics provide a forum where you can raise any computing issues you may have in the hope that the combined experience of the group will be able to help. Of course, pressing issues can be raised at the end of any meeting.



An attendance fee of £2.00 is levied on the day to cover the room rental.


Next Events 

Clinic & Security 6 Oct 2017 14.30 hrs Chinnor Village Centre, High Street, Chinnor
Linux- Geoff Parkes 3 Nov 2017 14.30 hrs Chinnor Village Centre, High Street, Chinnor
Raspberry Pi - Robin PW 1 Dec 2017 14.30 hrs Chinnor Village Centre, High Street, Chinnor
VBA & Office 5 Jan 2018 14.30 hrs Chinnor Village Centre, High Street, Chinnor
Clinic & iPad / iPhone 2 Feb 2018 14.30 hrs Chinnor Village Centre, High Street, Chinnor
Computer Shop - Gary 2 Mar 2018 14.30 hrs Chinnor Village Centre, High Street, Chinnor
Sandbox , Virtual Machines - Chas 6 Apr 2018 14.30 hrs Chinnor Village Centre, High Street, Chinnor
tba 4 May 2018 14.30 hrs Chinnor Village Centre, High Street, Chinnor
Clinic & networks, Communications 1 Jun 2018 14.30 hrs Chinnor Village Centre, High Street, Chinnor


Group Notice 

Friday 6th October 2017 - Clinic 

Chinnor Village Centre: 2.30 pm, Chiltern Room

As always cliinics are an open forum where any issues can be raised or knowledge passed on.
As a theme we can look at the perennial threats from malware etc, etc.

Molly recently pointed out an infection with Ccleaner. It only affected the 32bit version of CCleaner. If you are running 64bit it wouldn’t have been a risk. Always good to keep it up to date though.

I am in the process of migrating to Gmail from Windows live mail. Any tips from Gmail users would be welcome.

Why is six afraid of seven?  Answer on Friday.

Robin PW

Message from Molly

I have just been looking at the June issue of “U3A Signpost” and there were a couple of warnings noted. Perhaps these may be of interest to the members.  The link to “U3ASignpost” is               


Free lunch? Probably no such thing. In their need to collect information about you (for 'Big Data' purposes) software houses/advertisers are now bundling "helpful toolbars and programs" in with their FREE software. We are advised by Len Smith that Techsmith's free version of their very useful "Replay Media Capture" now contains malware or has it bundled alongside.

It may be possible to do a 'selective' install to avoid the nasty bits, but don't count on it. With massive cheap storage now available and artificial intelligence algorithms on the way, everyone is frantically harvesting as many email addresses and related information as possible. BE ON YOUR GUARD.

Computer Groups: Further to the warning about 'data-gathering' by secretive use of so-called helpful toolbars - this interesting 7-minute video is worth watching. IBM Watson

In the presentation editor Tom Holloway gave to the Brisbane International conference, he expressed the opinion that artificial intelligence, plus 'big data' plus the purchasing power of the corporate companies was cause for concern, and he pointed out that this concern was shared by others in a position to know more on the subject. As an example please see this Guardian article reporting on a talk by Bill Gates ...

Computing Guides

I recently received an email with the following info that you might appreciate.

I wrote some computing guides as follow-ups to my group sessions. I have been surprised at the numbers of visits from other U3A’s who are using them as standalone guides. They seem to be meeting a need, still attracting just over 300 visits each month after two years of use. Members of your computing group, may find them of interest.

They can be accesses through Google via Ravenshead U3A. When on the web page go to groups and then select computing group. On the right hand side of the computer group page is a link to the guides.

The guides can be accessed directly at 

Robin PW


Colin found this explanation of how the internet works

Dorrie discovered this while she was away:

Google VIBER and find out about it. If you have an iPhone, smartphone, blackberry or android, providing the person you are calling also has it, your calls and texts are free. A bit like Skype but this is an anytime thing - the other person does not have to be sitting in front of their computer.

Alternatives to Microsoft Word

At a recent computer group meeting Molly gave a clear demonstration of some of Microsoft Word's capabilities with Tables, Columns, art, etc..  At the end I gave a brief overview of some alternatives and I thought I should outline them again here.

MS Word is a very capable and comprehensive word processor. For some, it may be like learning to drive on a Ferrari when a Ford Prefect might be a better choice. It can also be heavy work for older hardware.

If you don’t want to purchase the latest version of Office (which includes Word) every few years but people are always sending you Word documents then the answer is to install the free Office (inc Word ) viewer from Microsoft. Just enter “Office Viewer” into Google and follow the link. Once the viewer is installed, double clicking on an office document will open it for viewing but not editing.

Microsoft XP, Vista, 7 etc all come with two text editing programs already installed. Just click successively on Start, - All Programs, - Accessories and then either “Textpad” or “Wordpad”.
Textpad is very simple and is equivalent to the old IBM golfball typewriter in capability. Its files are of the form “MyDocName.txt”. This email is written in .txt format.
Wordpad has all the features most of us want, most of the time, but none of the frills such as columns, macros, styles, merge, wordart, etc. The Wordpad with Win 7 does appear to offer more than the XP offering. Its files are of the form “MyDocName.rtf”. .rtf is Rich Text Format. This is a more versatile method of storing the text and so the files will be bigger. .rtf was devised by Microsoft but the specification is open so others have produced word processing programs that use this format to the full. Jarte and Abiword are two such programs available for free. Textilus is an excellent .rtf word processor for the iPad (69p)

If you occasionally need more than .rtf can provide then Libreoffice is available. Think of it as equivalent to Office 2003. This can read and write word compatible files (documents) and is free. It includes spreadsheet, presentation (powerpoint). graphics capabilities but it is big and will load an old computer.

This note was just to point out that Office is not compulsory, even if most folk tend to want to go with the flow and like to keep up with the latest offerings. Also you can always ask Office users to send stuff to you in .rtf form.

Separately I was asked about renaming USB sticks so that they are identified by something meaningful rather than just G: or similar. First insert the USB stick into the computer, and dismiss the option menu that appears eventually. Click Start, then My Computer (Computer) and then right click on the icon for the removable device that appears after the hard drive icons. Left click on the Rename option in the option list that appears and enter the name you wish to give the USB Stick.

Regards, Robin PW

Rescue Disk

I have attached a document (click here) that describes how to produce a rescue disk that can do several things including make a compressed image of your current system so that you can always return the system to what it was on the day you took the image. You should have backed up your personal data separately, but if not your rescue disk will allow you to access and copy files on your hard drive. The best time to take a system image is when the computer is new or has a new software installation.


Useful CDs

I have burned 2 CDs which may be borrowed individually or together for those that want to try them out.  The CDs can be copied from the web and burned to cd if you wish.

They are:

1 Boot ‘n Nuke – for wiping your hard drive of all data.

2. Parted Magic – A recovery disc that includes several tools including Clonezilla for disc or partition imaging.

Both are started by booting from the DVD drive

 The Group does not meet in August




























































 Joining the Group 

If you wish to join us, please contact:

(for Haddenham U3A members) Eileen Monks on 01844 216033 or

(Group Organiser) Robin Preston-Whyte at or on 01844 350382