Q. I took 117 photos with my Kodak digital camera while on vacation. But when I tried to download the photos from the camera's SD memory card to my PC using a card reader, I got a "parameter error" message after 17 photos. I had the same problem when I used a different card reader. What should I do now?
John Shovelin, Maple Grove
A. Your SD card sounds like the problem; but before fixing it, try saving your photos another way. Leave the SD card in your camera, connect the camera to the PC with its USB cord and try copying the photos to the PC. If it works and your pictures are safe on the PC, reformat the SD card with Windows Explorer (highlight the SD card, right-click it and choose "format"). Then take a few trial photos and see whether your card reader can transfer all of them to the PC.
Q. I have two hard drives in my computer - the one from my old PC and the drive that came installed on my new computer. How can I convert the Microsoft Works files on my old drive to the file formats used by the Microsoft Word and Excel programs on my new PC?
Marion Hendel, Golden Valley
A. There are several techniques available to convert the Works files, some free and some not. When choosing a conversion method, be sure to pay attention to which versions of Works, Word and Excel it can handle.
For converting Works files to Word files, see the Microsoft Web pages at or .
For converting Works files to Excel files, see the Microsoft page at , the About.com explanation at or R&L Software at .
Q. I have an old Gateway PC, monitor and keyboard I would like to donate. Can you suggest some places that accept old PCs?
Jeff Bata, Plymouth
A. Here's a list:
- The Twin Cities Free Market helps with donations.
- The St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Stores in Minneapolis and St. Paul accepts newer computer models. Call Larry Clemens, 651-336-5360.
- The Salvation Army accepts donations; call 612-332-5855 during daytime hours.
- Recycles.org acts as a middleman for donations. You tell them specifics on your computer, and they'll find a nonprofit that needs it.
Steve Alexander covers technology for the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, MN.
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