The not-so-peculiar case of the missing recycling bin

Ask Mr. Modem

Q. Without warning, my Recycle Bin disappeared. Do you have any idea where it went or how I can get it back?

A. Computers do things like this periodically just to let us know who is really in charge. There are several things you can try to return your Recycle Bin to the Desktop: In Windows Vista and 7, click Start > Search and type in “recycle bin.” From the search results, click Show or Hide Common Icons on the Desktop. In the Desktop Icons section, place a check mark next to Recycle Bin, then Apply > OK. You will also note the option to Restore Default.

In Windows XP, right click your Desktop and choose Properties > Desktop tab > Customize Desktop button. In the middle of the Desktop Items dialog box you will see several icons. Click the one for the Recycle Bin, then click the Restore Default button. Click OK and your Recycle Bin should be back to its full and upright position on the Desktop.

If it isn’t, don’t abandon hope. Instead, right-click an empty area of your Taskbar. From the menu that appears, click Toolbars > Desktop. The word Desktop will then appear at the end of your Taskbar, with a double arrow beside it. Right-click the arrows and you will see an option for the Recycle Bin. Drag and drop that Recycle Bin item to your Desktop, which will resolve the problem.

Q. I am using Windows 7 and cannot figure out how to change to single clicking. Can you help?

A. To change settings so instead of having to double-click anything, you can single-click, in the Start > Search field type “folder options,” then click the search result. In the Folder Options dialog box that appears, select “Single-Click to Open an Item (Point to Select)” from the Click Items as Follows section. Click the Apply > OK to save your changes and exit. Your mouse will now be happy to respond to your single-clicks instead of double-clicks.

I would suggest saving these instructions should you decide that single-clicking is not for you. Many people try it but ultimately find it confusing because they are so accustomed to double-clicking certain items. But give it a try and see what you think.

Q. My computer shows time in the 1:30 PM format. I prefer the military version of time, that being 13:30. How can I change that? I’m using Windows XP.

A. To display military time, go to your Control Panel > Regional and Language Options > Customize button > Time tab and choose HH:mm:ss from the drop-down menu. Click Apply > OK to save and exit.

Q. How can I change the default font in Word 2007?

A. Open a new Word document, then click Font in the Font group and choose the font style and size that you want to use as your default. Click Default and a dialog box will open and ask if you want to make the change to all new documents based on the Normal template. You do, so click OK. Close then reopen Word and enjoy your new default font.

Mr. Modem's DME (Don't miss 'em) sites of the month

100 Most Beautiful English Words

Words are my life, tragic as that may be, but I was most impressed by the number of words on this list that were new to me. All words are mellifluous (which is also on the list) and roll off the tongue. The site, courtesy of, presents an excellent opportunity to improve one’s vocabulary, as well.

Pocket Calculator Show

The ‘70s and ‘80s introduced the world to a variety of new consumer electronic products such as pocket calculators, the Walkman, boom boxes and other aural annoyances. This site celebrates those gadgets, so if you want to reminisce about the good old days or check out the primitive “high-tech” devices we once used, this site is a hoot.

Twisted Sifter

This is a picture-of-the-day site with a twist: Every day at 5 p.m. (Eastern), the site posts the most stunning image encountered during that day. There are a number of navigation options: You can scroll down the page and click whatever images tickle your fancy, or you have the option of using the navigation strip at the top of the page with its various sections. You also have the option of checking out whatever is being featured in the rotating selection of featured articles. The only thing I would steer clear of are the links at the bottom of the pages of picture sets because they tend to link to other Web sites, some of which may be offensive and some of which are questionable at best. Stick with Twisted Sifter and you won’t go wrong.