Ask Rick 2009 & Houston We Have a Problem 09



Ask Rick 020, 26/01/09 & Houston 115, 31/01/09


Add-Ons Don’t Add Up

For some reason I keep getting an ‘Add-ons disabled’ message when I use Internet Explorer. I have tried to enable them again but without any luck. When I go to Tools then tab down to ‘Manage add-ons’ it is in a very light type, which will not respond to a right or left click.

Howard Llewellin, by email


Here are a couple of things to try. Internet Explorer can be set to run in a ‘safe’ mode with the Add-ons disabled. To see if this is the case go to Run on the Start menu and type ‘iexplore.exe’, and if the add-ons are active simply create a new shortcut to IE7. Otherwise open IE and go to Tools > Internet Options > Advanced and click the Reset button at the bottom.


Backing Up Outlook Express

I have an external hard drive attached to my PC and I use a backup program that’s set up to run every Sunday to backup my new and updated photo and music files (basically the contents of My Documents and ITunes). I am at a loss as to how I can include my emails. I use Outlook Express and have various folders set up within that containing about 1600 emails. There is ample room on the hard drive; I just don't know how to include them in the backup.

Martin Brown, by email


All of your emails are contained in a folder in C:\Documents and Settings\<yourname>\Application Data\Identities\{GUID}. GUID or Global Unique Identifier is a long string of characters, unique to your machine. Simply include the GUID folder on your backup schedule, and if you ever need to restore the email folders use OE’s Import function on the File menu.


Newsgroup Nuisances 

I would like to get into Newsgroups and have read your 1999 Boot Camp article, which is the best advice I can find and presumably still relevant 10 years on. However I am keen to avoid unwanted emails and I remember reading somewhere that you can make a minor change to your email address, which prevents Spam. I can't remember at what stage you do this however.

Julian Dipper, by email


Ten years ago things were very different. Back then Spam was a minor irritant and you could put your email address in a newsgroup posting. To prevent it being picked up by automated email harvesting programs all you had to do was leave out the @ symbol and replace it with the word ‘at’. Things have changed, though, and these days you would be unwise publish your email address anywhere on the Internet, in any form. Fortunately most newsgroups have their own secure members-only messaging systems so it shouldn’t be a problem.



eBay Go-Slow

My problem involves eBay. I have a dial-up computer, which is adequate for my needs. We are selling some of our household items before trying to downsize to a smaller property. However, I cannot get eBay’s picture upload to work, and have to use the Basic service instead, which takes a long time.

David Hawkins, by email


Your problem is simple, as is the solution. You are trying to use a web facility that’s optimised for a speedy broadband connection. I’m afraid that this and many other sites simply won’t work with dial-up. They use systems that rely upon rapid responses from your PC and fast data throughput; when it comes through at a snail’s pace they become impatient and may stop working altogether. The answer is to upgrade to broadband, and providing your new home is in a broadband service area there’s no reason why you cannot take your subscription with you when you move. 



HD on Freeview

When HD transmissions become available on Freeview, will current tuners be able to receive the signals or will it be necessary to buy a new set top box, or TV, if your TV has a built in tuner?

Alan Chevin, by email


I’m afraid that you will need a new set-top box and I doubt very much that any current TVs with built-in Freeview tuners can be upgraded. While you are at it I would also budget for a new TV, if you want to get the full HD experience. ‘HD Ready’ isn’t really good enough; this just means the TV has a socket that allows it to connect to an HD box or video recorder. If you want to watch HD TV in all its glory then you need a set that can display 1080 picture lines. It’s not all bad news though and until recently they were quite expensive but prices are tumbling, and I suspect they still have a way to go so unless you are desperate to jump onto the HD bandwagon it’s worth waiting a few months for prices to settle down.



The Family Way

My wife and I each have our own Vista computers, connected to the Internet wirelessly. We have separate email addresses, independently set up on each computer, but we use the same provider so our addresses have different prefixes, i.e. Stephen@…  and Julie@... The problem is that whoever logs on first, usually me, receives all the emails and has to Forward them to the other when they are logged on. Is there any way, other than using a different provider, to ensure that the emails go to the correct computer?

Stephen Wade


No problem, in Windows Mail on both PCs go to Tools > Accounts > Properties > Advanced and tick the box next to: Leave a copy of message on Server’. You should also set it automatically delete messages from server after 2 or 3 days. As an added refinement you can avoid seeing your wife’s messages, and vice-versa, by setting up ‘Rules’ on both computers (Tools > Message Rules) that automatically deletes, or moves a message to the Deleted Items folder, if it is addressed to the other person.




© R. Maybury 2009 0501


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