Houston We Have a Problem… 023 24/02/07


Backing Up Outlook Messages

A few weeks ago you showed how to back up and restore messages in Outlook Express.  Would it be possible for you to provide similar information for those of us using Microsoft Outlook?  

Bill Stephenson, by email


No problem, and it is even easier because Outlook messages and contacts details are stored in one file, called Outlook.pst. Outlook has it’s own Export facility, which you will find on the File menu. This lets you copy selected folders to a new location on your hard drive and from there you can copy them to a CD for safe keeping, or transfer to a new PC. Use the Import command on Outlook’s File menu to restore the data.


Alternatively just copy the Outlook.pst file to a CD. In Windows XP you will find it in: C:\Documents and Settings\<yourname>\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook. To restore it, or move it to another computer first rename the existing outlook.pst folder to outlook.old then copy your backup file into the same location.


Incidentally a few readers had problems seeing their emails after moving the Outlook Express store folder. The solution is to go to the View menu then Current View and make sure 'Show All Messages' is checked, also ensure that none of the other Current View 'Hide' options are ticked. Several readers also asked about how to import messages from the Store folder. The correct procedure is to go to File > Import > Messages > Microsoft Outlook Express 6 > Next > Import from OE Store Directory > OK >
Browse -- navigate your way to your Message Store Folder, highlight it and follow the prompts.



Phone Calls disconnect Broadband

My BT Broadband disconnects each time a phone call is received or made. BT is unable to fix it, contenting themselves with assuring me that the line is okay.  What can I do to resolve the problem?

Phil Thompson 


BT may well be right and the problem is at your end. Have you fitted ‘microfilters’ to all of the devices connected to your telephone line? That includes any other PCs with dial-up modems, fax machine, extension bells and your Sky box, if you have one. Microfilters have also been known to be faulty.


Another possibility is that you have exceeded the REN (Ringer Equivalence Number). Every device connected to the line should have a sticker on the underside with a REN number and if they add up to more than 4 you may have a problem. See what happens if you unplug everything except your broadband modem and your main phone. If your REN is higher than 4 you could try using a 'booster', which increases your line’s REN from 4 to 11, Maplin Electronics sell one for £40 (http://tinyurl.com/2g9p6m). Otherwise permanently disconnect something or get a second line. Finally, if you have Call Waiting ask BT to switch it off and see if that makes a difference.



Are Faulty DVDs Recoverable?

I use a Sony DVD recorder to record horse races from the television on to its hard drive (HDD), before burning them on to a blank re-writeable DVD, which can be replayed on a laptop. Occasionally (and infuriatingly) the dubbing element jams and renders the DVD unplayable. The display reads ‘Disc error.  Cannot display titles for this disc’, and the laptop reads the disc as blank. Is the material already recorded on the DVD retrievable, or has it gone for good?

Ian Lamont, by email


The data is almost certainly there but it sounds as though there’s a problem with the compilation of the disc’s Table of Contents or ‘TOC’ file. If this is corrupt the disc is effectively unplayable by any normal means, though it may be possible to recover a recording using specialist software. If it has been happening on the same disc then there’s a good chance it is faulty, so stop using it. You could also try switching to another brand, and if your recorder’s drive hasn’t been cleaned recently treat it to a run-through with a good quality cleaning kit.



IPod Running out of Steam

I have a 1-gigabyte iPod. The battery keeps running out after about 6 hours (instead of the predicted 14 hours) forcing me to recharge it more often than I would like. Is there anything I can do?

Richard Briggs, by email


The running times quoted for rechargeable gadgets are famously optimistic and rarely reflect real world conditions. As a rule of thumb if you divide the manufacturer’s figure by two you won’t be disappointed... Rechargeable batteries, especially lithium ion types, start to deteriorate from the day they are made and their capacity can fall by as much as 50 percent with as little as 2 – 3 years of use. Replacement batteries for the iPod, which has had its fair share of battery problems, are widely available and sensibly priced DIY kits are available for those whose warranties have expired, and are handy with a screwdriver.





© R. Maybury 2007 0502


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