Sharing Outlook Express
Dear Rick, is there any way I can share Outlook Express
between two PCs? I'm running Windows XP
Media on both machines. I've managed to
set them up to share Word, Excel and Pictures, but failed to get Outlook
Express to share as the spare PC didn't pick up my account, folders or address
book from the main PC. If I set up my
account on the spare PC as well, won't it I end up with two different versions
of my own inbox?
A. The trick is to set up duplicate Outlook Express accounts
on both PCs, however, as you suggest, if left in the default settings you would
end up with your messages being split between the two computers because whichever
one was in use would download all the emails from the server. The solution is to
set one or both email programs to leave the messages on the server for the
If you can designate one of your PCs as the main PC, where
all email messages are to be stored then you only have to disable this feature
on the second PC. If both PCs have equal status and you want to be able to
receive all emails on both of them then you need to set both PCs to leave all messages
on the server and either delete them manually, or set OE to do it automatically
after a preset period.
You will find all of these options in OE by
going to Tools > Accounts and highlight the first account on the list (if
you have more than one), click the Properties button and select the Advanced
tab. Under Delivery select or deselect ‘Leave a copy of message on server…’ as
appropriate, and if necessary configure automatic deletion by checking the
item: ‘Remove form server after X days’, and setting the days value as
Hi Rick, I can't control my mouse any more! It’s the same
with the touchpad. The pointer is just jumping all over the screen. It is OK
for a minute or so and then just goes haywire. I have changed the mouse but
it's still going mad. Any suggestions please as to why this is happening?
A. You would think a problem like this would be
easy to solve but so many things can affect mouse movement that it can be a
nightmare to track down. However, the fact that it is affecting both the
touchpad and an external mouse helps to narrow the field a little.
place to start is to give the PC a thorough clean by running a full scan with
your anti-virus program, then a session with a couple of Malware cleaners, like
and SpyBot (both free). It’s probably not that but it’s one thing less to
worry about. Next, if the problem occurred all of a sudden and up to that point
it was working normally, try to remember if you had recently installed any new
software. If so try uninstalling it. Otherwise if you can remember when it
started use System Restore to reset the machine to a time before it happened.
but not least, try reinstalling or updating the mouse driver. Go to Device
Manager and remove the existing driver then reboot and Windows will replace it
when you reboot. Visit the manufacturer’s website to see if there’s a newer or
Cramming More onto CDs
Hi Rick, following your past advice I have used Total
Recorder (an excellent program) to record plays etc from BBC archives. Now I
want to transfer them to CDs so I can play them in the car on long journeys.
However I can only get 80 minutes worth on a 700 meg CD, regardless of whether
they are in MP3 or .Wav format. Is there any way of compressing them to get
more on the CD or can you suggest another solution?
A. Obviously there’s nothing you can do about the amount of
data you can get on a CD, that’s physically limited to 650 or 700Mb, but it’s
how the data is used that counts. If you use the audio files to create an audio
CD then you will be limited to the 80 minute playback time, but if the files
you record are compressed MP3 files, then the potential playing time is equal
to the sum of the playing times of all of the tracks you can get on the disc.
For example, you could get 350 x 2Mb tracks on a 700Mb
blank, which, depending on the compression levels and for the sake of argument,
could last for 3 minutes each, giving a theoretical running time of 1050
minutes, or over 17 hours.
However the latter scenario is only possible
when the playback device can read MP3 files, so I have to ask, does your car
stereo have that capability? From what you say it would seem that it does,
therefore you must be using a very high compression setting indeed to create
the MP3 files. You need to delve into the program’s configuration menu and
reduce the level, typically to 96kbs for speech, and 128kbs for music.
Incidentally, I’m now recommending Audacity
as the best all-round audio editor and recorder and MP3 encoder, and MP3 My MP3
Recorder as a basic MP3 recorder.
Li-Ion for Canon?
Hi Rick, I was wondering if there is a replacement
Lithium-Ion battery for the Canon UC9 Hi8 camcorder? At the time I purchased
this excellent video camera only NiCad rechargeables were available. Can you
help or advise?
A. Sadly no, you are stuck with old style Nicad,
or possibly Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMh) replacements, as they share similar
electrical characteristics. Lithium-Ion on the other hand is a whole new
ball-game, requiring a much more sophisticated charger.
Apart from anything
else the camcorder’s power management system wouldn’t be able to cope with
Li-Ion’s very different discharge curve, so the battery meter would give
spurious results. The good news is that Nicads
(and NiMh) packs are still available from suppliers like Keene and will
continue to be so for some time. They’re also cheaper and last longer than
Li-ion batteries, which few users realise start to degrade from the day
they’re made, and rarely make it past their fifth birthday.
Hi Rick, I want to
put a couple of items back into the 'Current' section of the Notification area
- can you help?
in the Notification area or System Tray can only be put there by the programs
they relate to, however, my guess is you have set Windows to automatically hide
icons for programs that you do not use very often, or at all.
what's lurking behind the scenes by right-clicking on the Taskbar, select
Properties then the Start Menu tab. At the bottom click on the Customize
buttons and this will display a list of all icons that can appear in the System
Tray. You can control their behaviour by right clicking on each one and
selecting an option from the drop-down menu.
Windows 98 Startup Disc
Hi Rick, I have an old laptop, which ran Windows 95 for more
years and miles than I care to
remember. With a little project in mind decided to upgrade
to Windows 98. I managed to kill 95 in doing this then found that my old
Startup Disc that I used to enable the CD for installing doesn't work. I used
it lots of times for desktops but this was the first time I tried it on a
Can you advise me if its possible to get a temporary set up
so that I can get my Windows 98 CD to load?
A. Assuming that the floppy disc drive on your
old laptop is working then your old startup disc is probably just worn out, or
faulty. This isn’t a problem, you can easily create another one if you or
someone you knows has a working Windows 98 PC, if not you can download the
necessary files from the web. Try Bootdisk.com,
which has free copies of all Windows and DOS boot discs, with instructions on
how to use them.
Hi Rick, trying to delete a lot of pictures by selecting
whilst holding the 'Ctrl' button down and then sending the selection to the
recycle bin I seem to be getting loads of copies of my pictures, at the latest
count sometimes up to ''78 copies of copy of 2007.02.jpg' for instance. The selected files do get to the
Deleted Items and disappear when cleared out but there still seem to be even
more copies HELP!
Roy Angel, Staines
A. We’ve all done it, and it’s not a fault or a
bug, just a slippery mouse or jittery finger. My own tactics to avoid this
happening, or at least, limit the damage, is to only use that technique –
clicking on files individually with the mouse – on relatively small batches of
files, no more than ten or so at a time. When I need to delete large blocks of
files I use the keyboard. If you hold down the Shift key you can highlight one
file at a time using the up/down cursor keys, or whole pages of files, using
Page Up/Down. If there are any files in the highlighted block you do not want
to delete then you can pick them out by holding down the Ctrl key and de-select
them using the mouse.
Hi Rick, are there any articles available to help me set up
Skype on my laptop, or is it a matter of just following instructions?
A. It sounds as though you are looking for trouble but I
think you will find that installing Skype is a relatively painless business.
The only things to watch out for are your firewall, which might object, or ask
your permission for Skype to use your Internet connection, and connecting and
configuring your laptop’s audio connections.
If you do run into difficulty you can be pretty
sure you’re not alone, and that someone somewhere has come up with a fix and
the natural place to start is Skype’s own Help
pages, User Guides, Knowledgebase and Forums. There are also plenty of independent
Skype Helpsites to choose from so you
can be fairly sure that one way or another the answer is out there.
Minimize to Taskbar Not Working
Hi there Rick, I wonder if you can help with this one? I'm
running XP on laptop which in general performs very well. Sadly, recently if I minimise a page using the
"-" gadget on top right, it fails to materialise on the task bar at
the bottom of the screen and so cannot be retrieved. I can manage by reducing the size of the window each time, but
it's a bit messy.
Any ideas for a cure please?
A. I’ve come across this kind of thing a couple of
times and in both cases it was caused by a Registry error. Rather than run through
a manual repair you should pop along to the most excellent Kelly’s Korner website
and download a free VBS repair script called Desktop
Fixall and this should do the trick
Hi Rick, could you help me with a small problem with my
computer please? When I put a disc in my DVD-RAM drive the computer does not
pick up the disc, I have to go into My Computer and click DVD-RAM drive to open
the disc, this usually works all right but sometimes I miss some of the
information for installing a program and have a lot of messing about before the
program works properly. I bought this new computer in March 2006 and it has
always been this way, I had no problem with my last computer. Can you advise
how to fix this?
A. It sounds as though the AutoPlay function
hasn’t been configured, which is odd, because it’s normally set to work by
default. Anyway, to set it up right-click on the
drive icon in My Computer or Windows Explorer and select Properties then the
AutoPlay tab. All you have to do now is select the types of disc you want to
open automatically on the drop-down menu then use the ‘Actions list to specify
Dear Rick, on
opening an attachment to an email, I used the ‘Slide Show’ facility and, as
well as the photos sent to me, there appeared a series of about 30 pictures of
cats and kittens, etc. I had visited a cat website yesterday, and looked at one
of two images but made no attempt to save them.
disconcerting but, in the past, I have perused pictures of a more adult nature,
and it would be most serious if another person came across them.
A. The pictures you
are seeing are in your browser’s Temporary Internet Files or ‘cache’. The idea
is images and graphics from web pages are stored temporarily so if you visit
the page again it will appear to load much quicker. This was useful in the days
of dial-up Internet but it makes hardly any difference nowadays with broadband.
You can empty the cache and set the browser not to store files, or have them
automatically deleted after a preset period. In Internet Explorer go to Tools
> Internet Options and select the General tab. Under Temporary Internet
Files click the Settings button and change your preferences. For complete
privacy I suggest checking ‘Never’ and setting the disc space slider to 1 –
2Mb. Click OK, return to the General tab and under History and change ‘Days to
Keep…’ to zero and the cache memory will be emptied when you exit IE.
Firefox you will find a similar set of controls under Tools > Options >
You should also know that Windows stores details of every website you
every visited in a hidden and protected log file called index.dat, and the only
sure way to empty that is to use a utility like Crap Cleaner – there’s a link
to the download in the Software section of my PCTopTips website
Caret Browsing and Page Up/Down
While reading material on the internet my Page Up and Page
Down button on the keyboard
suddenly ceased to function, either on the special keypad or on the number key
pad. If I press Control End the keys work for a few times, the keys also work in
Word and in Excel
(thus I do not think it is a hardware fault). Can you help me restore the
function of the
By the sound of it the problem is only occurring in your web browser, which leads
me to suspect you have enabled an obscure feature in Firefox called ‘Caret
Browsing. Basically this is an Accessibility feature, for those who have
difficulty with the mouse and enabling it places a cursor on the screen, allowing
the user to navigate the page using the cursor keys. To toggle Caret Browsing
on and off simply hit the F7 key and click OK.
I have an Epson
Stylus Photo 750 printer and run Windows XP (SP2). Occasionally when trying to
print a document the printer churns out literally about 100 pages with just
some symbols at the top of each page. I
am unable to stop this process – just have to keep feeding the printer more
paper. I have tried opening the printer
window and deleting the documents queued for printing – but it makes no
difference. Also tried Ctrl Alt and Del
– to end printer – again no joy. Today
it happened when trying to print a web page – the printer was out of paper –
and when I refilled the paper feed the printer started churning out approx. 100
pages of hieroglyphics, which I couldn’t stop. Any idea of the cause – and a
A. This sort of
thing is often caused by a driver problem, or a problem with the application
you are printing from but the driver is the place to start so visit the Epson
website and download and install the latest XP version for your model and see
if that helps.
it happens again the thing to do is not to waste paper but to switch it off and
pull out the mains plug. Press the on switch on and off and this will have the
effect of clearing the printer’s internal memory then you can plug it back in
again switch on and start again.