BOOT CAMP 330 (15/06/04)




It should come as no surprise that more than three quarters of the emails and letters sent to Faqs! Facts! Fax! concern Windows and the three most popular applications for a PC, namely emailing, web surfing and word processing. That’s the cue for the annual Boot Camp Top Tips roundup and we’ll kick off this short series with the world’s most popular email program, our old friend Outlook Express, specifically version 6, though most tips also work with v5.


We still get a lot of enquiries about a sudden inability to open attachments in Outlook Express. This usually follows the installation of a Microsoft update or Service Pack, which changes OE’s security settings to prevent the automatic opening of potentially virus-laden emails. To restore the function and access those attachments go to Tools > Options and the Security tab, deselect the item ‘Do not allow attachments to be saved or opened…’.  Just be careful what you open!


You can set OE to automatically reply to emails when you are away from home or out of the office. Go to Create Mail and in the New Message window compose your auto reply message e.g. ‘I will be out of the office until Tuesday…’ then go to Save As and save it as a .txt file in My Documents. (If you save it as an *.eml file your reply will appear as an attachment email). Now go to Tools > Message Rules > Mail and click New. In the Conditions box select ‘For All Messages’ (or select a Condition to selectively respond to senders by name, email address, subject etc.) then in the Actions box select ‘Reply with message’. In the Actions box click the underlined ‘message’ select your reply message in My Documents and click OK. Remember this only works if your PC is left switched on and OE is set to automatically retrieve messages at preset intervals, and avoid using it if you receive a lot of junk email as you will only be confirming to spammers that your email address is valid and active.


We are often asked how to send batches of identical emails, without the other recipient’s addresses being shown. Simply add the addresses on your mailing list to the BCC (Blind Carbon Copy) line in the Address Book window when you click on the ‘To’ or ‘Cc’ line in the message window. 


Outlook Express doesn’t have a facility to archive emails but here’s a simple workaround. Select all of the messages that you want to store, either singly, by holding down the Ctrl key or in blocks by holding down Shift and using cursor down (selects one at a time) or Shift plus Page Down (selects a page at a time) then right click into a highlighted message or block and select Forward as Attachment. A new message window opens, give it a name in the Subject line, click Save As on the File menu and save it in a Folder of your choosing. If you need to access any or all of the archived messages just click on the saved *.eml file and it will open an OE email window from where you can read the messages or drag and drop them back into an OE mail folder.


The appearance of your Outlook Express mailboxes can be easily customised by adding, removing or changing the position of columns and adding or removing toolbar icons. If you would like to check the size of each email, or see when they were sent, for example, go to View > Columns and tick the items ‘Size’ and ‘Sent’. If you want to change the column order, to move the position of Priority or Received etc. simply click and hold on the label at the top of each column and drag it to its new location.


You can change the Toolbar by right-clicking in an empty area of the toolbar. Select Views Bar and you’ll see a new drop down menu that lets you blank out all read messages for any selected mailbox. If you select Customize from the Toolbar right-click menu you’ll see a selection of extra toolbar buttons. The Inbox and Copy To button can be quite handy or you can remove any buttons that you do not use.


If you haven’t already done so disable OE’s Preview Pane (View > Layout, uncheck ‘Show Preview Pane). This is a potential security loophole that automatically opens email messages and could expose your PC to any viruses or worms that might be lurking inside attachments.


You should make a backup of your Address Book, in case of a crash or you want to transfer it to another PC.  Go to File > Export > Address Book, select ‘Text File (comma separated values)’, click the Export button, give it a name and use the Browse button to save it in a folder of your choice, click Next then Finish. To Import your Address Book into another copy of OE transfer the file to the PC in question (it’s usually small enough to fit onto a floppy) and in OE go to File > Import > Other Address Book > Text File (comma separated values), use the Browse button to locate the file then click Next and Finish. Incidentally, you can open edit the Address Book file in Word or WordPad by changing the *.csv extension to *.txt. (See also Tip of the Week).


Next week – Top Tips part 2, Internet Explorer





Data file – usually containing a photograph or text document but sometimes a worm or virus – sent with an email message



Text file where items of information – i.e. names, addresses, telephone numbers etc -- are separated by commas



A type of virus, often hidden inside an email attachment that once activated will replicate and attach itself to emails, which it sends out to the contacts listed in the PC owner’s Address Book




You can print all or part of the contents of your Address Book in three different styles. Open the Address Book by clicking the Toolbar icon, if you only want to print selected entries click the ones you want include by holding down the Ctrl key, if there’s a lot of them hold down Shift and use the cursor keys or the Page Down key. When you have made your selection, or if you want to print them all click the Print button and choose the style (Memo – all information, Business Card – names, email address and phone number or Phone List – phone numbers only).  If you right-click on your printer and select Properties or Preferences you may be able to change the size of the printout, to fit your organiser or address book for example, otherwise click the Print button.

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Boot Camp Index















Top Tips Index

Windows XP

Windows Vista

Internet & Email

Microsoft Word

Folders & Files

Desktop Mouse & Keyboard

Crash Bang Wallop!

Privacy & Security

Imaging Scanning & Printing

Power, Safety & Comfort

Tools & Utilities

Sound Advice

Display & screen

Fun & Games

Windows 95/98/SE/ME






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