Hi Rick, 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.

Dave Harris.


A. Good to hear from another old-timer, and in case anyone is wondering the OC71 was an early germanium transistor, familiar to electronics hobbyists in the 60s and 70s. Ah, those were the days; you could build just about anything with a few OC71s from amplifiers to metal detectors. That reminds me I keep meaning to put together some web pages on electronics projects, I’ve got some really great gadgets in my files for anyone who still knows how to use a soldering iron…


But back to Defender and you are not a lone, quite a few people have noticed this behaviour. In some cases it seems to have happened following the installation of IE7. Defender is still in its Beta testing phase and Microsoft haven’t said much, at least not publicly, so there’s a suspicion it’s a bug and unlikely to be fixed until the next release of the Defender ‘engine’, and there’s no telling when that will be. You needn’t worry too much about wasting disc space, you can control the amount used by going to System Properties (Winkey + Break, select System Restore tab, click Settings button) and old RPs are simply overwritten. As far as I can see it’s doing no harm but if you want to do something about it there is a Registry fix, which you try entirely at your own risk (and assuming you know what you are doing!).


Open the Registry editor and make your way to: 

HKLM/Software/Microsoft/Windows Defender/Scan/, create a new REG-DWORD Key called ‘DisableRestorePoint’ and set it to True.



Download Monitor for Windows 98

Hello Rick, my broadband contract limits me to 2GB’s worth of downloads a month I would like to check my monthly usage. Can you recommend any freeware that will do this on Windows 98?

Bryan Lewis


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 your usage.



Where are my Firefox Bookmarks?

Hello 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?

Brian Robinson


A. 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: 

C:\Documents and Settings\<yourname>\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\default

In 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 folder.


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.




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.

Patrick Menconi


A. 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.



Zone Alarm, Alarming CLI Message

Rick, 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?

Chris Myers


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.  




Hi 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.

Howard Galloway


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’.




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 facilities?

Albert Smith. 


A. 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.


But 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.


XP 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




Dear 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.




Dear 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.


Since 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!


I like your new set ups very straightforward and I always find something of interest. Many thanks.

Leslie Pollard


A. 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 other sources -- animated ads, cookies, JavaScript, and this can go on for some 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. 




How 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.


I 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?

Ian Sweetland


A. 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. 




I 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.

Denise Neve


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 intact.




Hi 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?

Peter Shurrock


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!




Hi Rick, first 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?


I 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?


The 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!

Tom McCarter


A. 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.


You 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.




Hi 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 instead.


Attempting 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.


Is this one of those all too frequent MS launches of defective new software, which will work at some later stage?

Andrew Sheppard


A. 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.



How 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. 



A. 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 drive.


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.




Hi Rick, I wonder if you have come across the following problem or can offer any advice? Each 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.


We 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.

Cathy Winward


A. 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.




Rick, 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 cannot fulfil the message request…’. 


There 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?

John Cliff


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.




Hi 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 computer?

Terry Jones


A. 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! 




Hi 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 software?Florin Miltran


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 wireless networking




Dear 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?

Kate Osborne


A. 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.




Hello 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?

Richard Harris


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


[Home][Software][Archive][Top Tips][Glossary][Other Stuff]