Tech tips: Error messages

It can be exceptionally frustrating trying to perform a task with your computer, only to be rebuffed by an error message.

Error messages are often caused by an incorrect action, hence reattempting the task correctly resolves the issue. Some errors are caused by underlying issues that must be dealt with before you are able to successfully complete your desired task.

Geoff Yeend, of Matamata, regularly encounters an error message in Windows Vista when he clicks a hyperlink in any email he receives. It reads: "This file does not have a program associated with it for performing this action. Create an association in the Set Associations control panel."

Windows Vista did an admirable job of determining the proper program to open a file with but it wasn't perfect. The system automatically creates file associations between specific extensions and programs. You can modify or change these to create your own associations.

Click on the "Start" button, select "Control Panel" and then "Programs". Click on "Default Programs," and choose "Associate a file type or protocol with a program", then wait a few minutes for the file extension list to populate, as the system searches for all file extensions on your computer. Browse the list to find the file extension you want to create an association for, in your case ‘.url'. Click on the file extension, and choose "Change". Click on the arrow to expand your program selection, and if you do not see the program you want to use, click "Browse" to find the program. Click on the program you wish to be associated with the file extension, then click "OK" to save the association.

If this solution doesn't work, set Internet Explorer as your default browser in the "custom" section of "Set Program Access and Computer Defaults" and then restart your computer.

David Hallett is the Chief Nerd of Need A Nerd in the Waikato. Need A Nerd can be reached on 0800 633 326 (NEED A NERD). To ask a question email and be in with a chance to win Norton 360 Version 6 by Symantec ($129 for three PCs).