The mystery of meandering icons

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

Q. I used to have all my icons displayed on the right side of my screen. Now, for some unknown reason, they all appear on the left side of the screen. I’ve dragged them back to the right side several times, but they keep going back to the left. Can you help, Mr. M?

A. This is a fairly common problem caused by a Desktop setting called Auto Arrange. To resolve it, right-click a blank area on your Windows Desktop and click “Arrange Icons By” or “View > Arrange Icons” in Windows 7. When the sub-menu appears, remove the check mark beside the “Auto Arrange” setting. You will then be able to arrange your Desktop icons as you wish.

I keep mine set to the “Align to Grid” option. In that way I can arrange icons wherever I want them, but they will align to a preconfigured grid pattern and thus remain neat and tidy. And we all know that neatness and tidiness count.

Q. How do I show more than one window when I'm online?

A. To open additional windows so you can view multiple Web pages simultaneously, the specific steps depend on your browser, but generally CTRL + N will open a new browser window. When the new window opens, type in or paste a URL (Web site address), press ENTER, and you will then be able to navigate to another Web page. You can continue to press CTRL + N to open as many new windows as you wish.

If you’re using a browser with a tabbed interface, which would include most current browsers, press CTRL + T to open a new tab within which you can navigate to another or additional sites. Even easier, in many browsers simply hold down the SHIFT key while clicking a link on a Web page and it will automatically open in a new window.

Q. I print a lot of lengthy documents. When I click PRINT, the first page prints first and I then have to manually sort the pages to get them in the right order. How can I print the last page first so they will be sorted correctly coming out of the printer?

A. The precise location of that setting will vary depending on the printer, but with a little exploration, you should be able to find it without any problem.

Start by going to your Control Panel and double-click to open the Printers icon. It might say “Printers and Faxes” or “Printers and Other Hardware.” It will not say “Aardvarks and Avocados.” Within that folder, right-click the icon for your printer and select Properties > General tab > Printing Preferences. This is the area where you will generally find the setting that specifies printing pages first-to-last or last-to-first. It might be under a section titled “Page Order,” but just take a good look around and you will find it. Click OK after making the appropriate selection.

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Four-Word Film Reviews
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Guess the Show Name
A goofy site in which your assignment is to think of the name of a TV show or movie, then answer a series of Yes/No questions. The ultimate objective is for the site to guess the name of the show or movie that you have in mind. Not exactly life-altering, but amusing nonetheless.

Mr. Modem publishes "Ask Mr. Modem!” each week, featuring PC tips, tricks, and plain-English answers to your questions by email. For more information, visit