When I first installed my Epson printer, I could open a window and see the amount of copies to be printed, the amount of ink I had left and so forth.

Now the printer is on a mission of its own when I use it. Any suggestions for trying to remedy the problem?

-Robert Branch

Montclair, N.J.

You’re not alone in thinking your computer ate the user-friendly software that comes bundled with printers. The problem lies within the printing module built into Windows XP designed to work with any manufacturer’s printer.

The Windows XP printing module replaces the interface from the manufacturer with Windows’ own routine. This display hides the link to the proper software with a button that either reads Properties or Options depending upon what sort of job is underway – photo, Word document, etc.

Find that button and it brings up the detailed printer interface – from Epson, in your case – that shows things like how much ink is left in each cartridge, what quality of paper is being used and how many copies are desired.

I want to remove all the Web sites I have visited lately that are listed under the Google search box’s tiny arrow. They have been there since the computer was new and no matter what I have tried they remain visible. Can you help?

– Leonard Schoonover

The fix sounds strange but it works every time. The trick is to open the Google search page and then click on the first item in the list of past search terms that drops down. Now hit the delete key followed by the down arrow key to the next item, followed by the delete key and then down arrow and so forth. This will scroll down through each item and delete it for good.

To anticipate some confusion: People who added the Google toolbar to their browsers at http://toolbar.google.com need to click on the Options button to the right of the search box. You can select boxes to either stop keeping histories or to erase them at the end of each session.

Got a question on personal technology? Send a note to Jim Coates at [email protected] Questions can be answered only through this column.

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