The Digital Life, Houston We Have a Problem, 084 24/05/08


Pushing the Envelope

Is there anyway of changing the default positions that Microsoft Word prints addresses on to envelopes?

Going through Tools > Letters & Mailings > Envelopes and Labels I always have to go to Options to reposition the address into an acceptable position. It’s time consuming and frustrating, or shouldn't I care where it puts it?

Chris Edwards, Shrewsbury


Of course you should care and changing the default envelope style or position is actually quite easy, but you won’t find out how to do it in Word Help (or if it is, it is very well hidden…) The trick is open a blank document, call it Envelope1, say, then open Envelopes and Labels, type in your address and use Options to change the style and layout then click Add to Document and Save. The document now becomes your default and by calling it and selecting Envelopes and Labels up you can print that address on an envelope in your preferred style whenever you need.



Stubborn Files

I have been trying to clean up my image files before starting to scan in my slide collection. After copying pictures to an external drive I end up with some files missing because one or more of the copied are notified as corrupt and I find that I can't go in and copy them again. So the question is, how do get I rid of corrupt files or directories?

Stewart Campbell


If file corruption is occurring on a regular basis then this might be an early warning sign that there’s something wrong with your drive or filing system. At your earliest opportunity run the Windows Error Checking utility (Checkdisk), which you will find by right-clicking on the drive icon in Windows Explorer or My Computer, select Properties then Tools and under Error Checking, click the Check Now button.


Sometimes, and often for no apparent good reason, files, and not just corrupt ones, stubbornly refuse to go away. Those familiar with the old ways can resort to antique operating systems like DOS or boot their computer using a Linux Live CD. But there is an easier way and that’s to use a little freeware utility called Unlocker (http://tinyurl.com/6k3c34). Unlocker bypasses most of the restrictions and protective measures imposed by Windows, and it does a good job of zapping corrupted files as well, but be warned, it’s a weapon of last resort, so use it wisely!



Slow Attchaments

I use Outlook Express running in Windows XP to send and receive emails. The problem is, when I send photos as an attachment it takes forever, maybe 5 minutes to transmit 2 photos. I would like to send batches of 8 or 10 but it just can't handle it. I am sure there is an easy answer, but what is it?

Robert Sim, by email



My guess is that you are sending full size image files, straight from your camera, which can be several megabytes each. The solution is to reduce the size of the image file by compressing the data. Windows has this facility built in, so the next time you want to send one or more photographs, open your My Pictures folder, or wherever your images are stored, and right-click on the photo you want to send. If there's more than one hold down the Ctrl key and make your selections. Now release the Ctrl key, right click on one of the highlighted files and select Send To > Mail Recipient. In Windows XP you have the option to 'Make my pictures smaller', click OK and a new message window opens with the picture(s) attached. In Windows Vista you have an option to choose between several image sizes, 640 x 480 is quite good enough for most people but you can experiment. When you have made your selection click OK and once again a new message windows opens with the images attached.



Import Ban

As a member of a business network I receive emails from associates all over the world as a feature of our mass e-mail facility but I am only interested in those from the UK. Is there any way I can block messages from countries other than UK?

G.H.Dimmock, by email


In Outlook express you can create a Rule to delete emails where sender’s address in the ‘From’ line contains a top-level domain code, like .ng or .ro (Nigeria and Romania – both major sources of Spam). You can also set up a Rule to automatically delete messages that use foreign character sets; see PCTopTIps (http://tinyurl.com/6e5vea) for instructions. It’s even easier in Windows Mail in Vista as this has ready-made rules for blocking foreign emails in Junk E-mail Options on the Tools menu.


However, Rules are not very flexible and cannot cope when the message originates from a .com address. You shouldn’t block those as they can be from someone in the UK, so a few foreign emails are always going to slip through the net but a good Spam Filter, like MailWasher  (free, link to download at: http://tinyurl.com/2tnq4k) should keep them to a minimum.






© R. Maybury 2008 0505


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