MORE ON DIAL-UP AUTODISCONNECT
Hello Rick, I was interested to read the query
regarding Auto Disconnect with Firefox. I use Internet Explorer but my Auto
Disconnect prompt stopped appearing a couple of years ago. I looked everywhere
to try and reinstate it and also posted a query on a forum but nobody came up
with an answer. I have Windows XP SP2; I wonder if you might have the solution.
A. The Auto Disconnect
option is buried deep inside XP’s modem settings, I think it unlikely that you
would have turned it off intentionally so I’m guessing it was the work of an update, or my preferred explanations for unexplained PC maladies, Gremlins or evil spirits. Anyway, to
switch it back on go to Start > Control Panel and double-click to open
Internet Options then select the Connections tab. Next highlight your dial-up
connection, click the Settings button then the Advanced button and uncheck the
items ‘Disconnect if Idle’ and ‘Disconnect when connection may no longer be
needed’. Keep clicking OK to exit the dialogue boxes and it’s done.
EMAIL ATTACHMENTS WON’T OPEN ANYMORE
Dear Rick, I have been using Outlook Express on
a Windows 98 PC since 1999. Recently I
have been unable to open email attachments. Clicking on the icon has no effect. I haven't been able to find anything on the OE
Tools menu or Help and I have not (knowingly) "fiddled" with
anything. Can you give me some guidance on the management of email attachments?
A. The usual reason for an email attachment refusing to
open is a change to Outlook Express security settings. There was a bit of a
kafuffle last year when Microsoft released Service Pack 2 for Windows XP. This
included a patch to switch off the automatic opening of attachments, which at
the time was a major factor in the spread of viruses and worms. I suspect seomthing similar
has happened to you, though normally in place of the attachment icon
there’s a message that says ‘OE has remove access to the following unsafe
attachment’. Nevertheless, this should be the first thing to check so go to
Tools > Options, select the Security tab and make sure that ‘Do not allow attachments to be saved or
opened…’ is unchecked. Click OK and try again.
If that doesn't work
there are a couple of other things to check. Some Firewalls can block
email attachments, so try switching yours off temporarily; you can usually do
this from the program’s System Tray icon (next to the clock). Otherwise there
may be a problem with OE so backup all of your mail folders by using the change
Store folder facility on Tools > Options > Maintenance. You should then
uninstall and then re-install Internet Explorer from your Windows CD (OE is a
component of IE) then update to the latest version from the MS website
VETERANS AND VIRUSES
I am teaching computer
studies to a group of elderly people at my local U3A (University of the
third-age). There are six ancient computers in the room and none is connected
to the Internet nor has a virus checker.
I have been instructed to ban the use of work saved on floppies and
subsequently used on students' own computers in their homes, which may or may
not be connected to the Internet. There
is one computer in the main office, which is connected but not by broadband. Is
it possible to bring in a virus and infect the main system?
A. No PC
is safe and in years past viruses did indeed use floppy discs as a means of
moving from one PC to another but these days the medium of choice is the
Internet. Of course it is possible for an infected email or web page to be
copied to a floppy and from there transferred to another PC but I think it
highly unlikely, more so given the age of the machines concerned. Nevertheless,
the risk exists so why not install a freebie anti-virus program, something
like AntiVir Personal Edition Classic, which is compatible with all versions of
Windows from Win 95 onwards, should do the trick. As for the PC in the office,
unless it is connected to your machines on a network then it is at no risk
whatsoever from any floppy borne viral infections that may find their way onto
your PCs. In any case it should have anti-virus software installed and hopefully
a firewall as well.
EMAILS BLOCKED BY ISP
Rick, I have recently changed to Broadband from Dial-up. I wish to keep my
original email address Wanadoo but my new ISP seems to block my sending new
emails or replies from my Wanadoo address. I can receive all emails OK. I
cannot change my broadband ISP as my local exchange doesn’t seem to allow other
ISP's in. Is there any way that I can overcome this 'blockage' and still use my
Wanadoo address as my default?
Yes and yes… Some ISPs take the fairly understandable view that they would
rather you didn’t use their connection to send emails bearing the imprint of
another ISP, yet there is usually no restriction on downloading emails from as
many email mailboxes as you like. In short it’s not a problem and all you have
to do is make a small configuration change to Outlook Express. Open OE and go
to Tools > Accounts, select your default ISP, click the Properties button
then select the Servers tab. Make a note of the entry in the ‘Outgoing mail
(SMTP)’ box, it’s usually something like ‘smtp.myisp.net’. Don’t change
anything. Click Cancel to take you back to the Accounts box and highlight your
Wanadoo entry, click the Properties button, select the Servers tab. Make a note
of the entry in the SMTP box (just in case something goes wrong..) then replace
it with the entry from your default ISP. Click OK and exit the boxes. Basically
what you are doing is leaving the incoming mail setting as is, so IE checks all
of your various mailboxes, but all outgoing mail is now sent through your
default ISP, so you can now send and receive from all of your accounts.
NOISE - CAN IT BE MUTED?
Rick, there used to be a very small piece of software that stops the modem
noise when I dial up. Is it still around please?
You shouldn’t need to install any extra software. Some modems have a volume
control and you can usually find this by going to Start > Control Panel >
Phone & Modem Option sand click on the modem icon then the Properties
button. In Windows 98 the route is Start > Settings > Control Panel >
Modems, select your modem then click Properties. If there’s a volume control it
will be on the General tab, if not there’s something else you can try. This
involve entering an ‘AT’ command (AT means ‘attention’), which lets you
directly control various modem functions. Follow the same route to your Modem’s
Properties dialogue box (see above) click the Advanced tab. In the box under
‘Extra Initialization Commands’ enter ‘ATM0’ (without the quotes and that’s a
zero not an ‘o’), click OK then OK again to exit the dialogue boxes. This
should work on most dial-up modems but if neither of these solutions work
you’ll just have to remember to mute the sound when you log on.
Rick, I have built my own PC and taken the opportunity to change to Firefox as
my default browser. I am using a dialup connection. The problems is that when I
have finished browsing with Firefox and close it down, I get the expected
prompt about closing 2 tabs, but I do not get the Autodisconnect prompt asking
me if I want to stay online or disconnect.
Is there a setting in Firefox that will correct this? I do get the Autodisconnect
prompt if I just use Outlook Express and then close that down.
A. The short and unfortunate
answer is that Firefox does not have the facility to Autodisconnect when you
exit the program. It’s not really Mozilla’s fault, Internet Explorer and OE are
tightly integrated with Windows and make use of internal ‘switches’ that are
unavailable to third-party programs. There used to be a couple of utilities
that would trick Windows into disconnecting when Firefox was closed but they
were a bit buggy and have since disappeared. I am afraid that you will just
have to live with it and disconnect manually from the connection icon in the
System Tray and just hope that someone comes up with a solution.
Rick, do the various web blocking programs like Net Nanny, Cybersitter,
We-Blocker work with Mozilla Firefox, the information on the manufacturers web
sites is not very clear.
A. It’s a mixed picture, due
to the differences in the way these programs work. I am fairly sure Net Nanny is for Internet Explorer
only, at; Cyber Patrol is listed as Firefox friendly and Cyber Sitter and We
Blocker also appear to work with any browser but as you say, the web sites are
not especially informative on this matter. However, before you try a commercial
program why not give a freeware web content filter a go? It’s called Naomi it
works with Firefox and it has received a lot of good reviews, you’ll find a
link to the download at: http://www.radiance.m6.net/
can you help me with a problem? My 3.2GHz AMD Athlon PC running XP with 1Gb RAM
256Mb graphics and 200Gb hard drive freezes on games. After playing for 10 minutes
or so the computer will either lockup or crash. DVD copying, playing movies and
all other applications function fine. I am at my wits end as my children keep
buying new games only for them to crash.
It sounds like a classic case of overheating. Fast action games really push a
CPU to its limits whereas the other applications you mention are less
demanding. The core temperature of AMD processors shouldn’t rise above 70
degrees Centigrade and ideally should be a lot lower. Any higher and you risk
shortening the life of the CPU and if it strays above 100 degrees then damage
will almost certainly occur. Most motherboards allow you to check CPU
temperature from the BIOS program, though this doesn’t really tell you much as
it’s not under any strain. A better solution is to use a freeware utility like
Motherboard Monitor, which displays the temperature whilst the CPU is running
overheating is a problem then the first thing to do is check the condition of
the CPU and power supply fans; make sure they are operating properly and all
ventilation slots and cooling fans are clear and free of fluff and dust. It’s
possible the CPU fan wasn’t installed properly -- there should be a layer of
thermal compound between the fan’s heat sink and the top of the CPU. Sometimes
this is too thin or it hasn’t been applied. Otherwise the fan may be the wrong
sort for your CPU. If the PC is still under warranty then I would have a word
with the manufacturers, otherwise you can try upgrading to a more efficient fan
or heat sink or install an additional cooling fan.
TIPS -- SCRATCH THE ITCH!
Rick, I have been following your articles for years and would like to thank you
for teaching me so much, and easing my whole experience with my computer. I
have Windows XP Home Edition and amongst other things I use Tweak UI to disable
Balloon Tips in the Start Menu. It is
really irritating to be told for the 1000th time what a program is and does.
This is fine but it doesn't appear to work for the icons in Quick Launch. Is there a way of scratching this particular
itch as well?
There is and you can even write your own little messages. They’re actually
called ‘Tooltips’ and they’re very easy to get at. There’s two parts to the
label that appears when you hover your mouse pointer over a Quick Launch icon,
the top line is the title and you can change it, but not get rid of it
altogether. The text underneath you can do what you like with; so let’s get
started. Right-click on the offending icon and select Properties. The name of
the icon appears in the box at the top of the General tab and this must contain
at least one character. The Tooltip text that’s underneath can be found on the
Shortcut tab, in the Comment box and you can delete the lot, or put in
something more to your liking.
BAN ON OE ADDRESS BOOK
Rick, I have tried to export my Outlook Express Address Book with a remarkable
lack of success. After highlighting the list of addresses on OE, I am offered a
choice of two places to which to export them, both of which I have tried -
repeatedly - and though I get an icon on my desktop - several in fact - I
cannot then find the list of addresses which I have apparently exported.
is no way for me to choose the program or file I wish to use other than the two
offered even though it is listed in my documents. I still cannot find it! I use
Outlook express on my Dell computer with an XP Home edition which I have had
for about 18 months, and used all the menus I can find that seem pertinent, though
I do find at my age that ‘Americanese’ can be difficult to understand.
you choose to export the Address Book from the Address Book window do not
select the Address Book (WAB) option as this restricts you to the proprietary
and somewhat messy Windows Address Book file format. If you want to be able to
open and read your Address Book in a word processor the trick is to convert it
into a text file. This menu will also let you export your Address Book as a
comma separated value (*.csv) text file, which most other email programs can
read (including OE) so you can easily transfer your Address Book, with all of
its formatting, from one PC to another.
To Export the Address Book
as a plain text file on the Address Book window go to File > Export >
Other Address Book, click ‘Text File (Comma Separated Value)’ then the Export
button, give the address book a name. Now click the Browse button and a Save As
window opens, choose the folder the file will be save in (usually My
Documents), then click the drop down menu arrow on the Save As Type box at the
bottom and select Text (*.txt), click OK, tick the boxes for the items you want
to included then click Finish and its done.
EMAIL STILL BEING SENT
I have a query about e-mails (OE6 and AVG) and I am sure that you will have the
answer. Recently I sent a message out
but realised that the attachment was making it very VERY slow to send so I
disconnected and deleted the message or so I thought. The next time I logged on
the system immediately tried to send the deleted message (AVG E mail scanner
bar appeared “sending message to…). I again disconnected and tried to find the
message but was unable to do so. Once
again as soon as I reconnected off it went again. After 13 minutes only 75% had
been sent. Where was this message and how, if at all, can one delete such
unsent or only partially sent and supposedly cancelled messages?
A. The AVG email scanner
doesn’t actually store or send messages; it simply gives them the once over,
checking for viruses and worms when you click the Outlook Express Send/Receive
button. The only place this message can be coming from would be the Outlook
Express Outbox and since it hasn’t been sent it should still be there and every
time you open OE or click Send/Receive it has another go at sending it. To stop
this happening you need to open your Outbox folder icon, double-click on the
message and you can then delete or change the attachment and try again.
ERROR MESSAGE WON’T GO AWAY
Hi Rick, I just cannot get
rid of an annoying error message that appears when I start up. It says: ‘At least one service or driver failed during
system start up’. The problem appears to
relate to a file called "eplpdx01.dll", which belongs to my Epson
printer. I have tried uninstalling, and re-installing the printer software and
I have even updated from the Epson website. This problem has dumbfounded an experienced
colleague and a solution would be very welcome.
A. It’s not one I’ve come
across before either but I have managed to find a couple of references to this
problem and like other faults of this type it looks as though the trick is to
start over with a clean slate. My guess is something went wrong with the first
installation but even after you uninstalled the printer some files and Registry
entries were left behind, and these are fouling up the re-installation.
Begin by uninstalling all of the software that came with your printer
from Add/Remove Programs in Control Panel and you might as well do the same
with any other printers that you may once have had and are no longer using.
After that it is important to reboot the PC to give the System files a chance
to refresh. Next give the Registry the once-over with the freeware Cleaner utility in
RegSeeker and don’t forget to reboot again afterwards.
Check Device Manager
(Winkey + Break) for any references to printer drivers, remove any than you
find then go to Search on the Start menu and make sure there are no traces of
eplpdx01.dll lurking anywhere on your system. Open Windows Explorer and look
for any folders with Epson in the name and delete them (assuming that you have
no other Epson devices on your PC). Check also the Startup list on the
Configuration utility (type ‘msconfig’, without quotes, in Run on the Start
menu) and deselect any items with Epson in the name. Finally reboot again and
then try reinstalling the printer using the most recent software and drivers
that you downloaded from the Epson website.
Rick, my computer runs XP Home Edition and the automatic storing of emails in
Outlook Express has been giving me problems. I simply cannot read the stored
DBX files. On opening said files they are in a format I can't decipher. Is
there any way I can prevent the files from changing to DBX, and to leave them
in the format that they arrived?
A. No, my guess is Microsoft
was trying to be clever with Outlook Express and email store files are
encrypted. The idea seems to be that messages can only be read using Outlook
Express. It probably seemed like a good idea at the time and it makes it
difficult for PC users to migrate to other email programs but there’s no
obvious benefit for the user and the encryption does nothing for privacy, as
.dbx files can be easily opened in a variety of ways. If storing your emails in
a plain text format is important to you then I suggest that you switch to
another email client and I recommend Thunderbird, which comes from the same
stable as Firefox and you can quickly import all of your messages and settings
MULTIPLE EMAILS IN OUTLOOK EXPRESS
Rick, as a user of Outlook Express, I have been trying to print several emails
at once. If you hold down the shift key
to highlight several and then either right click or use the print button to
print, you only get the one email printing. Is there any way to send them all
to the print spool at once and therefore save a lot of time and effort?
Unfortunately there is no multiple messages printing facility in Outlook
Express, but I do know of an obscure feature that does something very similar.
It’s called Combine and Decode and it creates a single email or text file out
of two or more email messages, which you can print as one document. To use it
open the message folder where the emails are stored then holding down the Ctrl
key highlight the ones you want to print. Next go to the Message menu and
select Combine and Decode. A message box opens and you can change the order of
the messages. When you are happy with it click OK and a single email window
opens showing the first message. Go to the File menu, select Save As and save
it either as a text file (*.txt) or email message file (*.eml) in the location
of your choice. If you save it as a text file you can open, edit and print it
in Word; if you’ve saved it as an email file just click on it and it will open
and you can print it out.
GRAMMAR CHECKERS GOOD?
Rick, a few years ago I used a program called, something like 'Grammatic'. As I remember it was a sort of combined
grammar checker and editor (it suggested better ways of expressing the thought,
cutting out passives and clichés etc.). Have you come across anything like it?
Can you suggest a modern version? I use XP Pro.
I am probably not the best person to ask and I am in awe of those who know their
way around the maze of rules that govern English grammar. Nevertheless I have
done a little research and it seems the experts are generally quite dismissive
of computerised grammar tools, and the grammar checker in Microsoft Word comes
in for a lot of stick.
hunted high and low for your long lost program and I suspect you are referring
to Grammatik from Novell software. This was incorporated into PerfectWorks in
1995 and then taken over by Corel, after which it seems to have disappeared
without trace, though it might be possible to still find a copy; try a search
There are a number of modern
equivalents and the best known appear to be Stylewriter and Grammar Slammer,
but as I say, I am no expert and I’m more than happy to pass on recommendations
from more knowledgeable BootLoggers.
Rick, a simple question for you, I have Avast! anti virus, Spybot, AdAware, MS Antispyware,
Spyware Blaster and Peer Guardian all running behind a hardware Firewall
(Belkin router). When I write them all down it seems like solid line of
defence. In fact I used to run a software Firewall as well but I thought that
this was probably overkill, and running one on top of all the other programs
would be too great a drain on system resources, so I uninstalled it. Now I'm
having second thoughts - should I go for the full on belt and braces approach
and reinstall it? Great site by the way - I have followed your columns since
early on in the Connected days and learnt so much.
A. Thanks for that and I
guess we’ve all learned a lot in the last few years, including that you can’t
have enough protection. Personally I feel a lot safer behind a decent software
firewall. Hardware firewalls are good at blocking inbound attacks on your PC
and protecting a network from hackers but they’re rarely any good at stopping
viruses, worms, trojans and malware which might sneak through your defences
from making an outbound connection. They also let you keep tabs on legitimate
programs attempting to make use of your Internet connection, without asking
your permission. A good software firewall will do all this, as well as provide
protection from hackers and in general they do not consume a lot of resources
so you shouldn’t notice any extra strain on your system.
REINSTALLING WINDOWS - THE LAST
Dear Rick, my 2-year-old computer
has started misbehaving. I can no
longer watch DVDs as the computer can't 'see' anything in the CD drive; Autorun
no longer works for CDs; there is no defrag option under accessories - system
tools, my broadband connection drops and I have to reboot to get it going
again; etc., etc. I have backed up
everything that I can think off as well as making 10 pages of notes of network
settings for my external modem, wireless router, email settings etc. Is there anything else I should do before
re-installing Windows? Is that my best
option? Thank you for (in my case) nearly 10 years worth of advice - you have
taught me all I know about PC's, including building my own web site which
amazed SO many people!
A. Whoa there! From the age
of your machine I’m guessing you are using Windows XP and although your system
sounds as though it has its fair share of problems there’s a couple of things
you can try before doing something as drastic as a complete re-install. Firstly
I would try using the System Restore facility, which will wind back the clock
to an earlier time when hopefully your PC was behaving itself. To use System
Restore go to Start > Programs > Accessories > System Tools, click the
System Restore icon and from the dialogue box that appears select Restore my PC
to an earlier time, click Next, select a date from the calendar and follow the
prompts. The alternative is to try a ‘Repair Install’, which should preserve all
of your applications and data but replace all of the parts of Windows that
could be causing the problems. There’s a simple step-by-step guide to both
System Restore and Repair Install in Boot Camps 334 and 336. Thanks for the
support by the way and don’t forget to tell your friends about BootLog!
KEEPING IT PRIVATE
Dear Rick, how do I give an
individual file or folder a password to prevent casual snooping in Windows XP?
A. There are two fairly simple
methods. The first requires that your hard disc has been formatted using NTFS
(virtually all XP computers are) and that your PC is set up so that you have to
enter a password to logon to your account. All you have to do is right-click on
the folder in question, select Properties then the Sharing tab and check the
box ‘Make this folder Private’ then click Apply. If you logon without a
password you will be asked to create one and you will have to use this in
future to logon to your PC.
The second method can be used in
both Windows ME and XP and makes use of the built-in file compression utility.
It can be used on any file system (FAT32 and NTFS) but the disadvantage is that
the file has to be uncompressed before it can be modified, so it is better
suited to files that do not need to be accessed very often. It’s also worth
noting that the list of files inside a compressed folder will still be visible
to anyone who cares to look.
To use the compression utility open Windows
Explorer or My Computer and select the location where you want the compressed
folder to be then go to File > New > Compressed (zipped) Folder. Give it
a name and press Enter. To assign a password to the folder double click the
file icon to open it then go to the File menu and select Add a Password, enter
the password, confirm it then click OK.
Don’t forget you can also password
protect Word documents, the option is on the Save As box under Tools >
General Options, and you can also hide private folders on your PC by using the
Hidden attribute (right-click folder select Properties and General tab), though
this only works if ‘Do not show Hidden files and folders has been enabled in
Windows Explorer’s Folder Options > View option has been enabled. You could
always ‘bury’ your private folders,
just give it a teccy sounding name (e.g. filesys789) move it to an out of the way
location several layers deep inside your Windows folder. Just don’t forget the
name or where it’s kept…
PICTURES IN EMAILS -- CAN THEY BE
Dear Rick - on sending pictures
either as a picture attachment or as a file attachment to an email, the picture
also appears as a huge image in the main body of the email. I'm sure there is a very simple solution to
avoid this? Whatever it is I can't fid it anywhere. Can you help please?
A. No problem, the option to
include an image in the body of an email is tucked away on one of Outlook
Express’s configuration menus. On the main OE window go to Tools > Options
and select the Send tab. Under ‘Mail Sending Format’ you can either select
Plain Text, and this will stop it happening, or if you prefer to leave it on
HTML (this means you can use different fonts and formatting in your message (bold,
italic, underline, change font size etc.) then click the HTML Setting button
and deselect the item ‘Send Pictures with Messages’.
OUTLOOK EXPRESS SPELLCHECKER AGAIN
I have Windows XP and OE 6.
Microsoft Works is included but the Spell-check is greyed out in Outlook
Express. How can I make Spell-check available please?
A. This is an old chestnut and in
most cases the missing OE spell check is due to users not realising that in
order for it to work they must have MS Office, Word or Works installed on their
PCs. The alternative is to use a freeware utility called Spell Check, which adds the
functionality but in your case it looks as though something has gone wrong,
probably with the Windows Registry so try this fix. Before you start, however,
set a new Restore Point, the procedure is quite safe but it’s better to be safe
Step one is to open Windows
Explorer and go to C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Proof (where
C: is the drive used by Windows) and rename the file ‘CSAPI3T1.dll’ to
CSAPI3T1.old. Next pop in your Windows XP installation disc or make a note of
where the Windows installation files are stored on your PC and go to Run on the
Start menu, type ‘msconfig’ (without the quotes) then on the General tab click
the Expand File button.
In the File to Restore box
enter ‘CSAPI3T1.dll’ (no quotes again) and in the Restore From box type ‘X:\i386
\CSAPI3T1.DL_’ (where ‘X’ is the letter for your CD-Rom drive or the folder
location where your XP files are stored). In the ‘Save File in’ box enter
‘C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Proof’ then click on the Expand
button. Now all you have to go back to C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft
Shared\Proof’ again and rename the file from CSAPI3T1.DL_ to CSAPI3T1.dll.
Lastly in OE go to Tools > Options, select the Spelling tab and make sure
‘Always check spelling before sending’ is checked. Exit OE then Windows and
reboot and give it a try. Whew!
ICS ICON IS MISSING
Hi Rick, after installing Internet
Connection Sharing in Windows ME the ICS icon automatically appears in the
taskbar. From there, by right-clicking and using options, you can remove
it. Is there any way, apart from uninstalling
and re-installing ICS, to get the icon back?
A. There is but I had to do a fair
amount of digging around to find it... The solution is to go to Start >
Settings > Control panel and double-click the Internet Options icon. Select
the Connections tab and click the Sharing button and under ‘Settings’ check the
item ‘Show icon on taskbar’.
RESTORING WINDOWS 98
Hello Mr. Maybury, can you please
tell me whether it is possible to restore a Windows 98 to its original
operating state? Whilst trying to get it going after I had moved house, I
uninstalled everything possible in a fit of desperation! I have the original
discs which are "Application CD, Version 1,5”, "System CD, Version
5,4" and a disc simply titled "Microsoft Windows 98”. As you can probably
already tell, I am not an advanced user and it just seems a pity to me to have
to dispose of a system which otherwise appears to work quite well.
A. Unlike Windows XP there is no
‘repair’ install option in Win 98 though I have successfully managed to
reinstall Windows several times over an existing installation simply by booting
from the Windows CD (the Microsoft Windows 98 CD). It’s by no means guaranteed
but if it works it has the advantage preserving all of your existing programs
and data. I would only try this if you have either backed up all irreplaceable
data, or do not mind loosing it. Otherwise I suggest a fresh install and the
full procedure is outlined in Boot Camp 99. Don’t forget you will need the
Product Key that should have been supplied with your Windows disc otherwise
it’s a no-go.
PROTECT AND SURVIVE
Dear Rick, if I have Norton Anti
Virus and Firewall do you think I really need to install a separate
A. Yes I do, especially if
you use Internet Explorer for web browsing. It’s almost impossible not to get
infected with ‘malware’ when visiting websites and I strongly suggest that you
run a cleaner utility at least once a week. There’s no need to buy anything, in
fact be very careful about some of the offers that pop up on to your screen,
suggesting your PC may be infected. An alarming number of these ‘antispyware’
program actually carry their own malicious payload or generate ‘false
positives’ to scare you into buying them, there’s a list of rogue products on the
I suggest using AdAware, Spybot and MS AntiSpyware (the latter is for XP
computers only), they're all free and there are links to the download sites on
the BootLog Software page. Switching to the Firefox browser (also free) will greatly
reduce the chances of Malware getting into your computer since it is not being
targeted to anything like the same extent as IE, nevertheless, you should still
disinfect your PC on a regular basis.
ORGANISING OUTLOOK EXPRESS
Hello Rick, is there a way of
creating a selective or additional address book in Outlook Express or Word? I
find that my OE Address Book fills up with address data that may or may not be
useful or necessary at a later time but for the moment simply clogs up the
useful stuff and it's a pain in the neck fishing out the address that I need.
Lee St. Lawrence
A. Not as far as I am aware -- and if anyone does know of a solution please
let me know -- but you can easily tidy up your OE Address Book by ‘grouping’
your contacts (i.e. Office, Friends,
Family and so on). Just open the Address book and go to File > New Group,
give it a name, click the Select Members button and drag and drop your contacts
into the Members box then click OK.
EXPLORER HAS GONE WALKABOUT
Dear Rick, I hope you can
help me solve what is probably a common problem. Some time ago I inadvertently
damaged my Internet Explorer 6 and was unable to repair it as I kept being told
that I already had a more recent version of IE installed. In the end I gave up and installed Firefox
and Thunderbird, which work perfectly well. The only problem I have now is that
updates for XP Home SP2 are not possible because the Microsoft update site will
only work using IE. I have completely
removed IE6 using both Windows removal and subsequently System Mechanic. Help!
You run a great site, by the way!
A. Yes it happens, and there are several solutions. There’s an
alternative route to downloading IE6 on the Microsoft
web site that doesn’t seem to mind if you use Firefox. If you have your
original Windows installation disc you can install Internet Explorer from that,
it will be an old version so after its installed your first stop should be the
MS Update site to download the latest version, then you can get to work on the
Windows updates. If you haven’t got a Windows CD then you should be able to
find a copy of IE on one of those freebie Internet installation discs (but not
AOL). The last time I looked the Wanadoo disc had IE6, I don’t know if it has
any branding but you can easily removed using a couple of tricks mentioned in
an F!F!F! query in October
CLEAR BROWSER SEARCH HISTORY?
Hi Rick, is it possible to
clear the history of searches done in Google or Ask Jeeves? I use Secure IE as
my browser, I run CC, SpyBot and AdAware so it seems crazy to me that if anyone
double-clicks the Search box they can see all the searches I've ever done.
A. In fact this has nothing
to do with Google or Ask Jeeves, it’s your browser trying to be helpful by
speeding up the entry of previously used search terms and URLs with a feature
called AutoComplete. You can remove stored entries by right-clicking on them in
the drop-down menu or switch it off completely by going to Tools > Internet
Options. Select the Content tab and click AutoComplete, uncheck the option and
click Clear Forms to remove any remaining entries. By the way, if you have
installed the Google Toolbar this does store previously used search terms and
you can clear it by clicking the Google logo and on the drop-down menu select
Clear Search History
RANDOM BROADBAND DISCONNECTION
Hi Rick, I am on BT Broadband, Basic, which has served me
well and reliably. But just recently it has taken to disconnecting itself for
no obvious reason, sometimes after only half a minute or so, sometimes not for five
minutes, and nearly always when I am in the middle of something quite innocuous
(such as writing this). Any ideas? I
use Windows XP and regularly update with Norton Antivirus LiveUpdate software.
A. The possibilities are
many and various but since the connection was initially stable and has only
recently started to play up I would begin by checking out the wiring and
connections. ADSL filter boxes have a bit of a reputation for unreliability so
I would definitely change that. If that’s okay then swap the cable between your
modem and the phone socket, and if the problem persists check out the phone
socket, if moisture or dirt has got inside this can result in line noise or an
intermittent connection. You should also ask BT to carry out a line quality
check. If you have access to another PC it would be worth setting the
connection up on that machine and this will confirm (or refute) my suspicion
that the problem lies with the cables and boxes, rather than your PC.