QI downloaded a free book from iTunes just for fun, but I can't seem to open it on my computer. Is there a way to read it on my PC?
LAURIE HAUGE, MINNEAPOLIS
AApple designed your iTunes electronic book to be readable only on its iBooks software, which so far is available only for the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. But there is free software that will unlock your iTunes book so you can read it on your PC.
Note: There's nothing illegal here. If you've paid for an e-book, you should be able to read it on your computer if you want to.
Apple doesn't make that easy, however. It encodes its iTunes books in a format called ePub, which is an international standard for electronic books. Normally, an ePub file could opened by many different compatible programs. But, because e-books from iTunes (even free ones) are copy-protected with Apple's "digital rights management" (DRM) software, other ePub-compatible programs can't open them.
However, a free program called Requiem (tinyurl.com/89pnsyw) automatically removes the DRM software from books you have downloaded from iTunes (it will also eliminate DRM from iTunes songs.) Requiem downloads as a Zip file, which is compressed to download faster. That means you have to click its folder to "unpack" it; then click on the Requiem.exe file. Be sure to read the accompanying README file. (If Windows wants to know how to open the README file, click "Select the program from a list" and click OK. Then click on the icon for your Web browser.)
Once you've run Requiem, use your mouse to drag the DRM-free book from iTunes to your Windows desktop. Then download the free Calibre e-book reading software at tinyurl.com/y9kv9r8. Use Calibre to open the e-book file on your desktop (click Add Books, select Desktop and click your book's icon.)
I tried this with two free e-books from iTunes, "The Beatles Yellow Submarine" and "Middle School: Get Me Out of Here!," and it works.
QI have two older laptops with 40-gigabyte and 100-gigabyte hard drives. Can I remove these drives and use them as external storage devices, like a flash drive?
JOSEPH QUINN, MINNEAPOLIS
AYes, you can convert your old internal PC hard drives into external drives for $30 to $40 each (the cost of an enclosure for the drive and a connecting cord to link it to a newer computer.) You can follow the instructions at tinyurl.com/c25eqa9. But I question whether it's worth the effort. You can buy a new external hard drive with 10 times as much capacity as your 100-gigabyte drive for about $100.