Houston We Have a Problem 09



Ask Rick/Houston 059, 27/06/09


BlackBerry Way

I have a BlackBerry Curve, which mostly meets my emailing needs on the hoof but I have recently acquired an Acer netbook, so now I am wondering if it’s possible to hook it up to the BlackBerry and use it to connect to the Internet, instead of going to the expense of buying a 3G dongle?

James Lee, by email


It can be done, providing your netbook is running Windows XP, but it can be an expensive way of accessing the Internet. The trick is to fool your PC into thinking the BlackBerry is an external modem. You have to install the BlackBerry Desktop Manager software on the PC and fiddle around with Windows dial-up networking settings. It’s a bit of a palaver but there’s detailed instructions for Windows XP, 2000 and Vista on the Vodafone BlackBerry forum at: http://tinyurl.com/mzyo4d.


The downside is that you are going to use a lot more data surfing the web though your PC, compared with the BlackBerry. Depending on your tariff, it could end up costing you a lot more than a basic pay-as-you-go (PAYG) mobile broadband deal. There’s some great offers at the moment, in fact Three are giving away USB dongles, all you pay is the £4.95 post and packing. There’s no contract, just buy a 1Gb data package as and when you need it. You’ll find details of the offer at: http://www.3dongle4free.co.uk/



Duplicate Emails Duplicate Emails

I have an annoying problem with my Outlook Express emails, which arrive in duplicate.

G. Pascall, via email


First check that you haven’t set OE to leave copies of your emails on your ISP’s sever computer. Go to Tools > Accounts, click on your Account name then Properties button and select the Advanced tab. Under Delivery make sure that ‘Leave a copy of message…’ is unchecked. The other possibility is a corrupt file called pop3uidl.dbx, which lives in your message folder and its job is to check for duplicates. It’s easily fixed; all you have to do is delete the rogue file it and OE will automatically install a shiny new version the next time it opens. Start by closing OE then go to Search on the Start menu, select All Files and Folders and in the All or part of the filename box type ‘pop3uidl.dbx’ then Search. When it has found the file right-click on it, select Rename and change the .dbx extension to .old (so it is now called Pop3uidl.old), press Enter, close Windows explorer and that should do the trick.



Custom Annoyance

Every time I open Internet Explorer 7 a page appears that says ‘ Customise Your Settings' and it has to be deleted each time. The page itself is frozen so cannot be used anyway.  How can I delete it permanently?  Nothing too complicated please!

Liz Derbyshire


This has been annoying a lot of users after they’ve upgraded to the latest version of Internet Explorer. It's often caused by an incorrect Registry key (the large database that control Windows) and it makes IE think that it is the first time it has been launched every time IE is opened, or the initial setup process wasn't completed. There's a couple of fixes, and the quickest and simplest one is to download a small freeware tool called RunOnce Remover, which you will find at: http://tinyurl.com/dmouou. The alternative is to edit the Registry. It's not difficult but novices avert your eyes, and if you do attempt it you must set a new System Restore point first then follow the steps to the letter.


Here's what you do. Go to Run on the Start menu and type 'regedit' (without the quotes) then click OK. Work your way to the following key then double click on it:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main. Scroll down the list in the right-hand pane and look for RunOnceHasShown. Double click on it and in the Value Data box enter 1 then click OK. Repeat the procedure for the next entry, which should be RunOnceComplete. That's it. Exit Regedit and you shouldn't be bothered again.



Spanish Plea

We live in a small mountain village in Spain and my wife and I run a small B&B. Six months ago my old laptop started to play up and I was advised to get a new one. The PCs I could find here had Spanish operating systems, they were expensive and I speak very little Spanish so I asked a visiting friend to bring one from England, a Packard Bell model, which came pre loaded with Vista Home Basic, and that’s where my problems began.


Some of my very old programs do not run under Vista but worst of all my Skype phone just wont work. I contacted the manufacturer and they tell me it’s not Vista compatible, and I just can’t get a reply of any sort from either Packard Bell or the retailer. Is it possible to convert this machine to XP Pro? I have searched the Internet and I am now totally confused.

Ken Silverlock, by email


It might be possible and installing XP certainly isn’t difficult. Just pop in a ‘Retail’ XP installation disc (not one that came with another PC), reboot the machine and follow the instructions. However, finding the right drivers for your machine could be a problem. Drivers are the small programs and data files that allow the operating system (Windows) to communicate with and control the various bits of hardware in your computer. Therefore, the first thing to do is check to see if a full set of XP drivers are available for your particular model from the Packard Bell website, if not then you are stuck. There may be alternative drivers available but they are likely to be difficult to find, or require some expertise to use.


In the end I think it would be a lot simpler to stick with Vista and just buy a new Skype phone. They’re not expensive these days, I’ve seen them selling for under £10 online, and there are workarounds and fixes for most Vista software compatibility problems.





© R. Maybury 2009 1205


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