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WHAT ARE the prospects for DVD-ram? In my case, it will allow me to store high-resolution photos in multiple versions as I edit them, without filling my hard disk in a few weeks.

But only a couple of DVD-ram drives are on the market, and they are expensive and need an SCSI adapter. All this is in contrast to DVD-rom drives, which are now commonly bundled with new PCs with no SCSI. Are DVD-rams a safe buy? Will it be long before they are available more cheaply?

The current situation is almost a replay of what happened with CD technology. CD-rom readers became widely available long before drives capable of writing them, and when they did appear they were very expensive. The technology used to create a CD (or DVD) at your desk is radically different from a factory-pressed one, and makes the write-capable drives much more complex than those that just read.

There are, in fact, two rival standards; DVD-ram and DVD-RW. You are probably better off with some of the removable storage devices based on hard-disk technology, such as Iomega's Jaz and Syquest's Sparq, which can store at least 1Gb of data. These can read and write as fast as a typical hard disk (DVD-ram is unlikely to match this write speed) and cost around pounds 200.

IS THERE a short cut for creating new folders in Windows Explorer?

This takes several mouse clicks. You have to pull down the File menu, select the New submenu, and select Folder. You can also create folders by right-clicking in Windows Explorer's Contents panel and selecting the Folder command from the New submenu.

Both these tasks can be time consuming. But you can quickly create folders from Windows Explorer or My Computer with the keystroke combination [Alt] F+W+F. Just press [Alt] F, then W, and then F again. It may sound awkward, but it's handy once you're used to it.

Daniel Robinson is technical editor of `PC Direct' magazine

Send questions to Helpline, Network, The Independent, One Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL or e-mail to network@ independent. co.uk with Helpline in the subject field

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