Ask Rick 2009 & Houston We Have a Problem 09



Ask Rick 023, 06/02/09


Outlook Express Multiple Messages

I've used Outlook Express for some years now and never had a problem until about three weeks ago. It has now decided to transmit some messages to addresses several times; sometimes the recipient will get 10 or more copies of the same message.  My friends are not amused! There doesn't seem to be a pattern although I have a suspicion that messages containing PowerPoint presentations get picked more often for the multiple treatments. I hope you don't get 10 copies of this message.

Bernard Rollingson, by email


No, just the one, which means we can discount one possibility, which is your Anti-Virus program’s email scanner. If that were to blame I would expect it to affect every outgoing message. Nevertheless, it’s still worth temporarily disabling it, just to make sure. PowerPoint attachments may provide a clue to another possibility. Outlook Express has a facility to split emails with large attachments into multiple messages. To see if that’s to blame go to Tools > Accounts highlight your account and click Properties then select the Advanced tab and uncheck ‘Break apart messages larger than’. If it is already unchecked I have one other thing to try. Outlook Express can get really cranky when message folders get too full or contain corrupted messages. In the left hand pane create a new message folder, call it ‘Inback’ or something similar then drag and drop the contents of your Inbox into it. Next Delete the Inbox and restart OE and a new empty Inbox will be created. If it is still misbehaving repeat the exercise with the Outbox and Deleted Items folders.  



Adapting to Change

I purchased two USB to PS/2 adaptors so that I could use the USB keyboard and mouse, which came with a new PC, to be used also on my old PC. The adaptors just do not work. When I returned them to the shop, the chap said he had heard that they didn't work for the mouse, but he didn't know why.  I used to use one keyboard and mouse to service two PCs via a Belkin 2-port KVM switch. Now I can't do that anymore and I’ve been unable to find another source of USB to PS/2 adapters.

Brian Spriggs, by email


These adaptors do work but it depends on the mouse. The problem is PS/2 and USB are technically very different and the fact that some interchangeability is possible never ceases to amaze me. Keyboards and older USB ‘rolling ball’ type mice are usually okay with this arrangement but more up to date optical models don’t seem to get on, probably because they rely on drivers that only recognise mouse connections through a USB port. I have seen dual-mode USB/PS/2 KVM (Keyboard, Video, Mouse) switches but they tend to be rather expensive, costing £100 or more. The solution is to standardise on USB connections. Unless your second PC is more than five or six years old, say, it should have at least two USB ports, if not extra ports can be easily added using a plug-in card or an external hub and USB mouse drivers are still available for Windows 98.   



Cheque This Out

For my sins I am the Treasurer of several voluntary societies. Consequently I write a fair few cheques to pay up member’s expenses etc. Is there any program available that would let me print up these cheques, this would I feel look more professional than my scruffy writing.

M.F.Fawcett, by email


A lot depends on your printer and whether or not it can handle small cheque-sized pieces of paper. Most do, as cheques are roughly the same size as envelopes but consult the manual to make sure. If not you may be able to order sheets of printable blank cheques from your bank.


Either way it should be possible to set up a printing template using your word processor, though I suspect it will take a fair amount of trial and error, so practice the layout and placement on photocopied cheque blanks. If you are using Word go to File > New, select Template and click New Document, Make sure you view the page in Web or Print Layout mode.


There are a fair number of commercial cheque printing programs on the market, and ready-made templates for Word and Excel. Not having used any of them I can’t make any recommendations but here’s a few sites to investigate, and if anyone has any other suggestions please feel free to pitch in on the Comments box.



Attached to Google

I have Windows XP and I have installed Lumix View from the disc supplied with my Panasonic Lumix digital camera. The program allows me to view photos when the camera is connected. However, if f I attempt to email a photo an Outlook Express box pops up.  This would be okay if I still used Outlook Express for emails, but since changing ISP, I now use Google Mail. No matter what I do I cannot get the photos transferred to GMail. I am a not particularly computer literate OAP  --some excuse! Any ideas, and solutions I can understand?  

Adrian Markley


GMail uses your web browser to send and receive emails, which is fine, except that programs like Lumix View are designed to communicate with email 'client' programs such as Outlook Express. I have two workarounds, download your pictures onto your PC then you can send them with emails by clicking the ‘Attach a file’ link on a new message Windows, though be aware that unlike OE they’re not compressed so unless you reduce the size of the image you can end up sending very large files. Alternatively, set OE as your default email client, using your Google Mail account. There's full details of how to do that at: Don't worry, you can still use GMail as before but any program that wants to use an email client can now do so.





© R. Maybury 2009 1201


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