By Richard Sherman
Senior Wire 

Print spoolers and other baffling tech marvels

Ask Mr. Modem


Q. When I try to print certain photos, I get an error message that tells me that Windows cannot connect with my printer and that I need to restart the spooler. What the heck is a spooler and how do I restart it?

A. Spooler alert! A print spooler is software that temporarily stores print jobs on your computer’s hard drive or in memory (RAM) until the printer is ready to print them. Think of it as a print queue. The way a print spooler is typically restarted is to restart the computer. That clears the queue and resets it.

To manually restart the spooler, be sure you are logged into your Administrator account in Windows, then go to your Control Panel and click System and Maintenance, then click Administrative Tools.

Next, double-click Services. If you are prompted for an Administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation. Right-click the Print Spooler service, then click Properties. On the General tab, next to Startup Type, make sure that Automatic is selected.

If the service is not already running, under Service status, click Start, then click OK. If you are prompted for an Administrator password or confirmation yet again (enough is enough!), type the password or provide confirmation.

It is certainly possible that the problem you are experiencing has to do with the source files (photos) and not your computer/printer and if that’s the case, that would be beyond your control. If your printer works fine for just about everything other than a few specific photos, chances are it’s the photo files that are the culprit.

Q. I had Hotmail which then changed into and in the process, all my Contacts were lost. I called Microsoft but they have done absolutely nothing to help me. Is there any way I can get my Contacts back?

A. Gosh, Microsoft wasn’t responsive to your phone calls? How unusual. I sure miss the old days, back when I had Bill Gates on speed dial. He would answer the phone and I’d say, “Is Ali Gator there?” Oh, how we would laugh. But I digress...

I can’t promise the following will work, but it has worked for some individuals who had a similar unpleasant experience: First, log into your account and click the drop-down arrow next to Outlook in the upper left-hand corner. You will see options to Choose, People, Calendar or OneDrive. Select People.

Click the drop-down arrow next to Manage at the top of the page and select Restore Deleted Contacts. If there are deleted contacts that Outlook can restore, you can restore all of them or select individual contacts. After making your selection, choose Restore. If the cybergods are smiling upon you, your selected contact(s) should reappear in your Contact list.

Q. A few months ago I changed my Start menu in Windows XP to display the Classic Windows Start menu. I now want to change it back to the default but I can’t remember how I changed it in the first place. Can you point me in the right direction?

A. Right-click the Start button and select Properties. That will display the Taskbar and Start Menu Properties screen. Select the Start Menu tab where you can then choose between the XP-style Start menu or the Classic Start menu, as well as a button to make additional customized changes, if you wish. I prefer the Classic Start menu, but try them both and use whichever one tickles your digital fancy.

Mr. Modem’s DME (Don’t Miss ’Em) sites of the month

I Fix It

iFixit is a global community of people helping each other repair things. It is heralded as “The free repair guide for everything, written by everyone.” If you enjoy repairing things yourself or if you are willing to share your knowledge, you won’t want to miss this site. The Guides section has its own featured items and categories of different things you can find repair guides for, such as iPhone and iPad repair, gaming device repair, cars, trucks, phone repair, cameras, household items, appliances and electronics to name just a few. I checked, and parking tickets are not among the items the site’s contributors will fix. Pity.

Perils at the Great Falls

When you arrive at the site you will notice the river water is flowing and there are markers floating like buoys. Click each marker to view an interesting, educational river fact. After you have examined all the markers, you can scroll down and read the article. As you read you will encounter photos of the river with even more markers offering additional information.


If you would like a YouTube video to start playing at a precise point in the video, this site will allow you to type in the time, then create a URL for that designated starting point.


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