Let it go: Windows XP is not coming back

Ask Mr. Modem

Q. I am debating about buying a new laptop with Windows 8. I know that some people don’t like Windows 8. Do you think Microsoft will keep this format in the future or will it go back to something like XP or the Windows 7 format? How do you feel about Windows 8?

A. I think Windows 8 is fine. I like the touchscreen interface, which is what it was designed for, though it certainly can be used with a traditional mouse and keyboard. Historically, whenever a new operating system makes its debut, there are people who like it and people who don’t like it. I call it the Broccoli Syndrome.

Microsoft is not going to return to an older format because a few people complain, however. Windows 9 is already in the works and will be the next step in the evolution of Windows, but it isn’t going to revert back to something akin to Windows 3.1, 98, XP or even Windows 7. Time and technology move ahead with us or without us.

When Windows 98 was released eons ago, there were some people who hated it because it represented such a big change from the previous version. The same thing occurred when XP replaced Windows 98. Over time people settled down and became comfortable with the new operating system and that will happen with Windows 8, as well. Then, when Windows 9 is released, the Broccoli Syndrome will return. If you decide that you do not want Windows 8, you can still purchase Windows 7 on amazon.com or from other retailers.

Q. Is there a limit to how many times I can use my Windows 7 Recovery Disk to format my hard drive?

A. There is no limit, so you can use your Recovery Disk until the cows come home – if you are, indeed, expecting bovine visitors. Doing so will not damage the Recovery Disk so there is nothing to be concerned about as far as over-using it.

Q. How do I delete all data from a flash drive so that I can put new information on it?

A. Formatting a flash drive will wipe all data off the drive. If that’s what you would like to do, start by inserting the flash drive into a USB port on your computer. Click Computer (depending on your version of Windows), then right-click your flash drive icon and select Format.

You will see the capacity of the drive and various bits of technical information nobody ever pays attention to. You might want to consider changing the Volume Label, which is the name that will appear next to the drive letter for your flash drive. I like to name my flash drives something short like “Morry” or “Edith,” but other people prefer something more descriptive, such as MP3Files or WorkDocs. You don’t have to change the Volume Label at all, if you prefer to leave things as they are.

Remove the check mark beside the Quick Format box, then click Start to format your flash drive. The formatting process will probably take a few minutes and you may see a green progress bar. Once formatting is complete, your flash drive will be squeaky clean and devoid of all data that it previously contained.

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


Though it sounds like an adult-oriented Web site, it is not. This site provides access to a database of discount codes that are available to shoppers when placing an online order. Select an online store from the drop-down menu and you will see the code and the discount. Sure it’s naughty, but it’s also kind of nice. A similar site that I have used successfully a number of times is Retailmenot.com


The Labyrinth

If you are a student of Medieval Studies – and who among us isn’t? – you won’t want to miss this. Sponsored by Georgetown University, The Labyrinth provides free access to a plethora of resources, including connections to databases, services, texts and images around the world. Each user will be able to find an Ariadne’s Thread through the maze of information on the Web. (As we all know, Ariadne was the daughter of King Minos of Crete. Minos had Daedalus build a Labyrinth, which was a house of winding passages. So who is Daedalus? Yes, it’s THAT Daedalus, the father of Icarus, uncle of Perdix and Iapyx, of course.)


Twisted Questions

Would you rather die by a boulder falling on you, falling off a mountain, or getting hit by a meteor? Or let’s say you’re standing on a stage in front of a huge audience, about to play a lengthy violin solo. The problem is, you don’t know how to play the violin. What do you do? Described as a “playground for the mind,” this site asks bizarre, occasionally troubling questions and invites your input and participation. Some questions may occasionally be a bit on the coarse side, so be forewarned.


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