I too can
remember OC71s. You are not alone… I recently installed Microsoft Defender and it’s
evidently working fine but it is generating sometimes up to a dozen Restore Points every day. What
gives? This must be pointlessly absorbing lots of disc space.
Defender/Scan/, create a new REG-DWORD Key called ‘DisableRestorePoint’ and set
it to True.
A. This question pops up a
lot and illustrates the fact that a lot of broadband users make the mistake of
trying to save a few bob by opting for a ‘capped’ broadband package. Whilst
it’s true they suit some people I suspect a lot of users quickly regret having
a limit on their downloads, and worry about the cost of they stray over top.
There are plenty of download monitors to choose from but the Tautology Bandwidth Meter
is one of the few I’m aware of that will definitely work with Windows 98 (and
2000 and XP) and it provides the user with a lot of information about their
connection, plus the all important logs and reports, so you can keep an eye on
are my Firefox Bookmarks?
Rick, I have recently started using Mozilla Firefox. When electing to bookmark
a page, the Bookmarks folder is the default save location. Having saved some
pages in the Bookmarks folder, I now cannot find them or a folder named
Bookmarks. I'm obviously doing something wrong or looking in the wrong place.
How do I find them?
I am a tad confused because a drop-down list of your Bookmarks should appear
when you click Bookmarks on the menu Toolbar. They can also be permanently
displayed in a side window by pressing Ctrl + B. Normally there is no need to
worry about the whereabouts of Firefox’s Bookmarks folder but for the record
they’re stored as an HTML file (bookmarks.html), which you will find in:
and Settings\<yourname>\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\default
case it’s not there, and there is a bug that can make the bookmarks and
bookmarks toolbar disappear, you will find a set of backups in the same
location, in a folder called bookmarkbackups. To reinstate them simply rename
one of the backups ‘bookmarks.html and copy it into the default Profiles
Firefox has a very good
assortment of bookmark tools and this is on the Bookmarks list, just click
Manage Bookmarks. In addition to numerous sorting options there’s a set of
Import/Export functions on the File menu, for transferring or copying your bookmarks to another folder.
TO WORD CONVERTER
Dear Rick, I'm trying to convert many
files from MS Works version 2.0a (in Windows 3.1) to MS Word 2003 Service
Pack 2. I was unsuccessful at finding a tool on your site that would
convert these files. I would appreciate it if you would let me
know if such a utility exists.
There are so many different types of file converters, dealing with an almost
limitless permutation of file formats that I would need to start a new website
to cope with them all (now there’s a thought…).
Fortunately your conversion
problem shouldn’t be too difficult to solve, and it will be a lot easier if you
still have the Works installation disc. The trick is to install and run the
program on a PC then open the files you want to convert and export or save them
in a format that can be easily read by Word 2003, like plain text (.txt) or
rich text format (.rtf). Failing that
there are a number of commercial programs worth investigating, have a look at ABC Amber Text
Converter, which I suspect will do the job, though the compatibility list
only goes back to Works 3. If anyone has some specific advice or
recommendations for reading or converting Works 2.00a files I’ll be happy to
pass them on.
Alarm, Alarming CLI Message
Zone Alarm keeps telling me that a ‘CLI’ is trying to access the Internet.
Whether I confirm or deny, nothing seems to change. I have XP. Should I worry?
A. CLI or Command
Line Interface is a DOS-like text based set of instructions that programs use
to communicate or control other programs or hardware devices. More information
would have been useful but my guess is this is evidence of a something on your
PC trying to access the Internet to check for updates and so on. There’s also a
small possibility it could be a virus or malware, but providing your anti-virus
scanner is up to date, and you regularly scan your PC with something like AdAware,
Defender or Spybot the chances of infection are low. The offending item can
probably be found on the Startup list (type ‘msconfig’ in Run in the Start
menu). Deselect anything you are not sure of reboot and see if the message
persists. Many of the deslected items can be left that way, most of them are
just wasting resources but to be on the safe side you can check the items on
the Startup menu against the list on
the Sysinfo website.
Rick, further to the recent BootLog query, concerning the failure to open
pictures in emails. I have a similar problem; I have received a number of
emails containing pictures, which I then forwarded to friends. They received
the emails ok but the pictures were empty boxes containing a red X. The
pictures were contained within the email and not attachments. I would be
grateful for any advice on this matter.
A. The red X or placeholder
where the picture should be is normally due to a security setting in OE -- at
the recipients end -- which prevents the picture being displayed in case it
contains malicious code. The way to switch that off is to go to Tools >
Options, select the Security tab and make sure that ‘Do not allow attachments
to be saved…’ and ‘Block images and other external content…’ are both
unchecked. As for the image appearing in the body of the email, that’s down to
you. Go to Tools > Options and click the Send tab, then the HTML settings
button and uncheck the item ‘Send pictures with messages’.
LOST ADMINISTRATOR PASSWORD
Dear Boot Log, I have a laptop and it is loaded with Windows XP Pro. I can
log in and get to Administrator level, and then I am asked for a password, I
cannot remember it. At this point I am stuck. The program allows me to go no
further and turn off is the only function available. Is there a method of
finding the missing password and gaining entry into the machine and its
This is a hardy perennial and one we’ve dealt with before but since several readers
have written in with this one recently, following what appears to be a minor
outbreak of amnesia, we’ll run through some of the steps you can take.
first, if you have set a password for Windows XP for heaven’s sake write it
down somewhere and keep it in a safe place. You don’t have to commit the actual
password to paper, devise a simple code or a few words that will help jog your
memory. Alternatively follow the steps in Windows Help (keyword search Password
Reset) to create a Password Recovery disc.
Password protection is fairly strong and the techniques used to recover or
reset a lost password all involve a certain amount risk (but not too much…) so
before you start make sure you try every possible combination you can think of.
You should also make backups of all irreplaceable files, assuming that you can
still log in as a Guest or another user, and have access to your files.
If you don’t mind paying for
your forgetfulness then there are plenty of online services that will help you
recover your password. Try Password-
Reset, which involves downloading a small utility to create a bootable
disc. It displays your old password and lets you change it to something more
memorable; this costs $20. The free alternative is to download a compact
version of the Linux operating system called Astrumi,
which you also copy to disc and use to boot your PC, this includes a password
reset utility called nt-pass
CAMERA AS WEBCAM
Rick, Is it possible to use my digital camera as a webcam? I have a cheap web
cam but the images are too fuzzy.
A. It depends. This feature
is built into a fair few digital still cameras (DSC), using the USB link cable
-- the one used to transfer images to the PC -- as a direct video feed. If
yours has this feature it will be explained in the manual. Otherwise it may be
possible to jury-rig something, if your DSC has a video output, and a live
image can be displayed on a TV screen or video monitor, in which case you will
need to add a video input adaptor to your PC. These come in the form of USB
module, or an input on a video card. However, although the results are likely
to be a lot better than your current setup, I suspect it will be easier and
cheaper to invest in a better quality webcam.
IS INTERNET EXPLORER THROBBING?
Rick, my ISP has changed recently; I now have a new Home page -- no problem
there -- but something else has happened. I do not know the real purpose of the
black rectangle in the top right corner with the Windows icon; I have always
assumed that when the logo spins something was going on and you are supposed to
wait until it finished moving.
the change quite frequently the world just doesn't stop turning. Getting
fidgety I found I could still email and use the Internet and when I went back
to the home page there it was, still spinning. Please can you tell me what the
heck it is? I asked a "Guru"
and got a brush off, told what does it matter?
Perhaps it does though!
like your new set ups very straightforward and I always find something of
interest. Many thanks.
Glad you like the changes, and stay tuned for more developments. The spinning
or animated log is know as a ‘Throbber’ in the trade and its original purpose
was to let you know that data was being transferred -- web page loading, email
being sent or received and so on. It had some meaning in past when we were all
using slow dial-up connections but these days it’s little more than a
decoration, or advertising opportunity, as in your case, when the standard
Windows logo is replaced with one from an ISP or manufacturer.
The point is the information
you see on most web pages doesn’t just come from one site anymore, once the
main part of the page has loaded bits and pieces can still be coming in from
time, especially if the secondary servers are busy, so although the page is
being displayed data is still being exchanged, so the Throbber keeps on
throbbing. Just ignore it, but if it offends you there are ways and means of
creating your own, or choosing from ready-made ones using a trialware utility
like Theme Manager.
JOB ATTACK, IS THERE A SOLUTION?
can I track down the source of a ‘Joe Jobbing’ attack? Someone is sending
emails using random addresses at my own domain and deliberately to non-existent
email addresses so that I receive numerous failed mail delivery reports. It is
a complete waste of time of course and difficult to filter out particularly as
I have a catchall email account for the particular domain.
have looked at the incoming mails but they do not seem to have any information
/ headers that would indicate the route.
My email provider says they can do nothing. Apart from that should we
not be pressing for it to be made illegal or impossible to send mails from
domains owned by others?
Joe Jobbing attacks have been around for years, and now seem to be on the
increase. It’s usually malicious, designed to bring down your website by
blocking it with unwanted, in what is known as a Denial of Service’ attack. At
the same time it can cripple you email system, flooding it with fake spam and
returned messages, though it sounds as though you have got off quite lightly.
There’s are several possibilities; someone may be targeting your business, or
perhaps the attack has been clumsily implemented and your domain name is close
to that of the real victim, and you are getting the fallout. If you suspect
that you are the intended victim, and you know who is responsible then you
should alert the police, otherwise all you can do is monitor the email headers,
to see if there’s any sort of patterns in the Return Path data (right-click
email, select Properties then the Details tab).
However, I fear that they’ll
yield little or no useful information, as the messages are almost certainly coming
from hijacked PC and spoofed addresses.
Stopping these messages if it is a random attack can
be incredibly difficult as they mostly sent from abroad, in countries where what
little legislation exists, is difficult if not impossible to enforce. It is quite
possible the messages will eventually peter out, and you should be able to filter
out the majority of them using your email program’s Rules to only let through
specific names in the 'To' line. Otherwise a decent Spam Filter should be able to
pre-sort your messages and automatically delete the crud before it gets
anywhere near your PC.
IMAGES IN EMAIL
receive a regular weekly newsletter from our Head Office. For the first
time ever I have not been able to open the column of pictures on the right of
the page due to annoying little boxes with a red x. I know what they are
for, and have been into both Outlook tools, options etc. to allow pictures to
be shown, as indeed they are in any of my other messages. I have checked
the permissions, privacy etc. in IE 6 and every other conceivable thing I
can think of. There was no problem with last week’s edition of same
Newsletter. Any ideas as to why this particular message is causing
trouble? I am a fairly experienced computer user but this has me
beat! Thanks for any help you can give.
A. As Mr Sherlock Holmes once pointed out, ‘...when you have eliminated
the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth’. In
your case, since you have done just about everything that I would have
suggested all that remains is the probability that the email itself is faulty.
The red ‘X’ or ‘Placeholder’ indicates that the image wasn’t correctly loaded
into the message by whoever sent it. If the next edition of the email displays
as normal that’s your explanation, if you can’t wait why not ask Head Office if
there was a problem, or ask a colleague if they received their newsletter
SIGN OF THE GIFT HORSE
Rick, my bank is now going to offer its online customers a free copy of
F-Secure in an effort to improve security. As a reader of your articles I
already use products such as AVG, Zone Alarm and AdAware. Will F-secure be
compatible with these products if I install this as well? If there were to be a
conflict would you advise switching or remaining with the defences I have?
A. Obviously this kind of
proactive stance on security is to be encouraged. F-Secure software is very
good indeed and any of your Bank’s customers, foolish enough to be without
antivirus protection, would be well advised to take up the offer. However,
unless you are having problems with your present setup then I think you are
pretty well protected.
It is not a good idea to install two antivirus programs
on your PC; these applications contain ‘signature’ libraries, which are
segments of dormant virus code, and there is a very good chance that one AV
program will flag up virus alerts over the other ones signatures. By all means
switch, but uninstall AVG first. Similarly, you only want one Firewall on your
PC and Zone Alarm does a very good job, Remember the old maxim, if it ‘aint
broke, why fix it? By the way, there are usually no problems running two or
more Malware cleaners, in fact I use three, AdAware,
Spybot and Windows Defender, and they’re all free!
EMAILS ON TWO NETWORKED PCS
of all, congratulations on your ‘Bootlog’ site, which I have been using as my
home page since I found it! I find the
tips most interesting and extremely useful and so I wonder if you could solve a
couple of my problems?
have a Laptop and a PC on a home network and have no problem accessing the
Internet on either. However, if I retrieve my emails on one computer they don’t
appear on the other. Is this normal or is there a remedy, as I would like them
to appear on both?
second problem is that my mouse-pad doesn’t work. I usually use a remote mouse
in any case so it’s not a major problem but it would be nice if I could use
either method of navigation!
The email problem is simple to fix and it’s caused by both PCs being set to
download incoming messages from the server. This is a default setting for
Outlook Express so the first PC to connect will empty the mailbox. The simplest
thing to do is switch this off on one PC. The only point to watch out for it
that it will only pickup new messages that haven’t been downloaded by the other
PC. The alternative is to leave all incoming messages on your ISP’s server
computer, so they are available to both PCs, all of the time. Either way the
thing to do is open OE then go to Tools > Accounts, highlight your
Account(s) click Properties, and then select the Advanced tab. On one or both
PCs deselect ‘Leave a copy of message
on server’ option at the bottom on the other PC. If you set both PCs this way
you will need to set the ‘Remove from Server’ option to automatically delete
old messages after a preset period.
didn’t give me much to go on with the touch pad but in most cases it’s down to
a configuration setting or faulty driver. Check to see if there’s a touch pad
utility in All Programs or Control Panel, this might have an enable/disable
switch, or something that turns it off when you plug in a normal mouse. The
touch pad utility should launch automatically with Windows so it’s worth looking
at the Startup list (type ‘msconfig’ in Run on the Start menu). Try also
re-installing the driver, which should be included on one of the setup discs
that came with your computer. Otherwise it may be a hardware problem, in which
case it will need to be seen to by an expert.
DEFENDER LEFT ME DEFENCELESS?
Rick, last week a sub window appeared telling me that an updated version of
Microsoft AntiSpyware - the very competent
anti-malware software that I downloaded when you first mentioned
it - was available for download. I downloaded, and got Windows Defender
to update for new definitions does not appear to work. Also, I did receive an
automatic Windows Defender update, but was told that my device did not
recognise it, so that it could not be installed.
this one of those all too frequent MS launches of defective new software, which
will work at some later stage?
Windows Defender is Windows AntiSpyware, it’s essentially the same program but
with a new name and a few cosmetic tweaks. Normally the transition from
AntiSpyware to Defender should go smoothly but in your case it seems to have
got itself hung up so the easiest thing to do is uninstall everything and start
again. Got to Add/Remove Programs in Control Panel and see if AntiSpyware is
still there, if so remove it, if not locate Windows Defender and remove that
then go back to the Defender website and start over.
Do I Reinstall My System?
Hi Rick, I
have my Windows system up to date, I have all of your tweaks loaded; my
broadband is ok, so how can I save it all if I have reinstall? I do have a CD
Writer. I am new to all this so please make it basic.
It didn’t use to be so bad in the early days, an hour or so spent re-installing
Windows then a couple of office apps and you’re back in business. These days we
tend to load a lot more software on our PCs, not to mention all of the little
utilities and tools, then there are all of the preferences and customisations
and on top of that you have tens and quite possibly hundreds of gigabytes of
data to worry about. With the best will in the world there’s no way you can
back up more than a fraction of it on a CD-R and even DVDs, with nearly 5Gb to
play with, aren’t going to make much of a dent in the data stored on a 200Gb
I gave up some time ago
trying to backup anything more than my daily WP output of documents and web
stuff on CDR but I’m really not worried about a total HDD failure and I can be
back up working again in less than five minutes, with minimal disruption. My
solution is a whole disc mirror or ‘clone’, with a weekly incremental backup to
keep it up to date. Hard drives are ridiculously cheap, especially when you
compare it to the cost of not being able to work, or lost data, so I suggest
that you install a second ‘slave’ drive, clone your system (Boot Camp 352) and
use a backup utility (the one built into Windows is fine -- see Boot Camp 376)
to keep it up to date.
BT BROADBAND SWITCHOFF
Rick, I wonder if you have come across the following problem or can offer any
day our BT broadband shuts down between 9 and 10 pm and we cannot use it until
next morning. I have spent over a week talking to various operators at the BT
helpdesk in India but I am getting nowhere.
have changed filters, unplugged the Sky box, downgraded back to IE6 but all to
no avail. BT say there is no line fault. We are getting desperate because we
cannot use our broadband and cannot find anyone in the organisation who can
help us. Our contract is only 6 months into its 12-month run and therefore we
cannot change suppliers. Any help/advice would be gratefully received.
BT comes in for a lot of stick, some of it deserved, but I don’t think they are
responsible for disconnecting you at such precise times and intervals. You have
carried out all of the standard checks, except one, and that’s to change the
modem cable. Yes, I know it seems unlikely but I would do it all the same, and
make sure it’s no more than a metre or so long, better yet buy a new one, rated
for ADSL. Old cables, especially long ones can have poor or intermittent
contacts and be susceptible to interference.
The regularity of the cut-off
strikes me as being very relevant. Are there any scheduled operations on the PC
timed to happen at 9pm, a backup program maybe. Can you connect using another
PC that would either eliminate or point to the PC being responsible? Are there
any other devices attached to the phone line that could be trying to use the
connection. The Sky box would be high on my list of suspected but you say
you’ve tried unplugging that; how about a fax machine, emailer, answering
machine, something exotic, maybe, like a home automation system, remote utility
meter reader? Disconnect the lot. Are there any other appliances in your home
that switch on at 9pm, a central heating boiler for example? Let me know how you get on, and if anyone
has any bright ideas please let me know and I’ll pass it on.
MAIL CLIENT ERROR MESSAGE
for about a month I have been getting an unwanted dialogue box appear about 5 minutes
after boot up (XP Home, SP2). The title
is "Microsoft Outlook". The
text in the box
is "Either there is no default mail client or the current mail client
the message request…’.
is a single (OK) button; on pressing this the box disappears apparently
harmlessly. I use Outlook Express, Spybot and Ad-Aware find nothing amiss. Recent changes include installation of
Norton Internet Security 2006, Adobe PDF Reader 7 and Canon's digital camera
suite. There is nothing obviously suspicious in the start-up list (though it
is amazingly extensive!). Any ideas or suggestions on how to trace the
originator of the dialogue box?
A. This error message is usually caused by a corrupt
Registry key and it happens when a program other than Outlook tries to retrieve
information from the Registry. To make it disappear you are going to have to
delve into the Registry, and although I caution against doing it if you are an
absolute novice, provided you take a few simple precautions, like setting a
System Restore Checkpoint, before you begin. The exact procedure is outlined in
Microsoft Knowledgebase article 813745. As for the Start
Up list, have a look at Boot Camps 355 to 358 ‘XP Tuning Tips’, for some
pointers on thinning out all of the unnecessary programs and Services that
start with Windows.
Rick, I have just purchased a Dell Inspiron Laptop, and I have a car adapter
from my previous laptop, which was a Tiny. The Specs of the car adapter are:
Input 11.5-16V=6.3A, Output 19V, 3.16A. The Computer Specs show: Input 19V,
3.16A. Can you please advise me if I can safely use the car adapter with this
Possibly, maybe, but I definitely wouldn’t try it. To begin with there could be
differences in the wiring of the power plug, assuming that it fits the socket. If the polarity is reversed
for your Dell laptop there’s no telling how much damage it could do. Without
testing the adaptor on load there’s no way of knowing how high the output
voltage could go, and if it does zap your laptop, and it’s still under
warranty, you wouldn’t have a leg to stand on. My advice is don’t do it, it
might well work but it’s just not worth the risk, car adaptors cost a great
deal less than a trip to the repairers!
A PC TO A WI-FI NETWORK
Rick, I have a Dell D400 laptop and connect to the Internet through a Wi-Fi
router. Can I connect another computer (no Wi Fi adaptor) through the RJ45
connector, to share the Internet? Is it possible and will I need any extra
A. The short answers are yes and no. Providing the other PC is using
Windows XP all you have to do is plug it in, using a normal or ‘straight’ LAN
cable between it and the router. XP might try to configure itself, in which
case just follow the prompts, otherwise run the Network Connection Wizard,
which you will find in Control Panel. If you want to connect an older (Windows
9x) PC by cable to a Wi-Fi router have a look at Boot Camps 387 to 391 on
Rick, for the past couple of weeks everything on the desktop has been
"ghosting" - all the icons and the mouse pointer and hourglass. I
can't account for this, and whilst it is not causing any problems, nevertheless
it is an irritation. I tried System Restore, going back about one month, but
this didn't cure it. Have you an explanation, please, and if so how do I
rectify the problem?
There are three things to check, the monitor, the video adaptor and Windows settings.
If you have access to another monitor try plugging that in and see if it makes
a difference, if so it’s time for a new one. There are a number of things in
Windows that can affect the display so switch off all of the desktop display
gimmicks by pressing Winkey + Break (or right-click My Computer and select
Properties) to bring up the System Properties dialogue box. Click the Advanced
tab then click the Settings button under Performance and either deselect
everything (make a note of what’s checked in case this isn’t responsible), or
check ‘Adjust for Best Performance’.
If that doesn’t make a difference then
it’s the video adaptor. This may have its own set of adjustments, if so you’ll
find it by right-clicking the desktop, click Properties and the Display
Properties dialogue opens. Select the Settings tab and click the Advanced
buttons; the options vary so check to see if there’s anything related to
display performance. It’s possible there’s a driver problem, try updating it by
visiting the manufacturer’s website, after that I’m afraid the only thing left
is the video adaptor, which may be faulty.
HAPPENING TO ME?
Rick, I understand MS support for Windows ME will stop in July. I wish to
continue using it and I am concerned that if in the future I may need to
reinstall the OS how will I obtain all the updates that have already been issued.
Will the existing updates continue to be available or is there some way I can
keep a backup of all the updates up to the July 2006 deadline?
A. Good point, but I don’t
think you need to worry too much as although there will be no new security
updates after the 11th of July 2006, all of the ones published to date should
still be available from the MS archives for at least another year.
Nevertheless, it might be a good idea to plan ahead and one of the easiest ways
to protect yourself, assuming that your ME installation is working properly and you have good anti-virus and malware protection plus a strong Firewall, is
to 'clone’ the system, preferably onto a second backup drive. That way if you
suffer a catastrophic crash you can be up and running in as long as it takes to
switch the cables on the back of the drives. Drive cloning is easy, and drives
are really cheap -- 120Gb models are selling on line for less than £50! Take a
look at the simple to follow tutorial in Boot Camp 352