A video of grandson gets lost in Windows

Ask Jim

Plugged In

November 02, 2006|By Jim Coates | Jim Coates,Chicago Tribune

I did a very foolish thing by ignoring a warning message when moving personal data files using Windows Explorer to new folders.

I had originally saved digital camera video clips in folders under My Videos. They have .mov extensions, and I use QuickTime to view them. I have attached an example file.

This file of a treasured video clip stopped working after I set up new folders and transferred them into those new folders (here is where I ignored the warning that they may not be playable).

Now when I try to play them, I receive a message: "The movie file Dec242004A.mov cannot be found. Without this file the movie cannot play properly."

The data appears to be intact, as a size is indicated. These are videos of my grandson's first Christmas, first time sitting up, etc., so I really hope that you can help.

- Bob Forman@comcast.net

This may be a tough problem to fix, but I can definitely show you how to find out if all is lost or if, as I suspect, the icons that deliver that error message got misnamed and no longer point to the actual files they are supposed to represent.

Somehow, your Apple QuickTime format .mov movies got renamed as Windows format AVIs and now end in .avi. Specifically, the icon on your Christmas Eve movie that you sent me is named Dec242004A.avi instead of DEC242004A.mov.

It would be great if you can fix this by renaming the icons to change them back from .avi to the .mov in which they were created. So try renaming the icon by giving it a right-click and picking Rename. Be sure to change only .avi to .mov. If that works and you get that precious video clip back, hurrah. If not, read on. Actually I want you and the rest of the world to read on anyway.

Whenever a Windows user encounters problems with icons not pointing to the correct file or extension, the most effective fix is to use the Windows Search tool to find all of the files by that name no matter where they might be lost on the computer. So click on Start and then select the Search option.

Usually this would be done by using as a search term *.mov. The asterisk before the extension name is a wild-card command that will return a list of all of the .mov files on the computer.

In your case, you could also type in Dec232004A, and the search engine will find both that bum icon and the correct .mov file wherever it got shunted.

I have been with AOL since its beginning, and now I would like to break free from it and use my broadband service exclusively.

However, after being with AOL for so many years, my address book is valuable to me and also quite large. Is there any way I can take the AOL address book to Outlook?

What about my long list of AOL favorites? Would I have to copy them, one by one, to my new browser? Breaking up with AOL is hard to do! Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

- Terry Suchma@aol.com

Despite criticism and complaints for more than a decade, AOL continues to do everything it can to retain its users as customers. And that policy probably will remain as the company pushes to sell its AOL Broadband service, where customers get Internet connections for someplace else and just use the AOL software as before the switch.

This competitive tactic has proved to be bread and butter for a company called Connected Software Inc. that sells a $25 program that will do what AOL won't and move all your AOL stuff to Microsoft Outlook or Outlook Express. This includes Internet Favorites, your contact list, your buddy list and all of your AOL e-mail, including new messages, sent messages and even the spam folder. The software has become popular and enjoys a good reputation among reviewers, this one included. The software, called ePreserver, is at www.connectedsw.com/.

You still have a problem in that all those contacts acquired over the years won't know that you've switched e-mail addresses.

The fix here, such as there can be a fix, is to use Outlook Express to set up and send a group mailing broadcast to each and every person in your address book. Don't do this more than once because your friends might get irked and include you in their spam filters.


Jim Coates writes for the Chicago Tribune.

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