Houston We Have a Problem 09



Houston We Have A Problem 078, 07/11/09


Addressing the Past

I've bought a Samsung netbook, to use away from home. It has Windows XP with Outlook Express.  My home PC has Vista with Windows Mail. I want to copy my Contacts list into the netbook, but the formats are different. Is there a simple way of achieving this?

Rick Pearce


On the Vista PC open Windows Mail and on the File menu select Export > Windows Contacts then CSV (comma Separated value). Click Export, give the ‘.csv’ file a name and select a location (a USB memory stick, for example), tick the items you want to transfer and click Finish. Pop the memory stick into your XP computer, open Outlook Express and go to File > Import >other Address Book, Text File (Comma Separated Value), click Import, use the Browse button to locate the .csv file on the memory stick then Open > Next. Confirm the items you want to import are ticked and click Finish. By the way,  .csv is a plain text file format that’s recognised by most email programs.


Called to Account

I am having a problem with Outlook Express. It works okay except that I cannot access my Accounts details. If I click on Tools, the heading for Accounts is simply not there, even in greyed out form. I have looked for help in various magazines and spent time on the Microsoft website with no luck. I get the impression that I'm not alone, can you help?

W. George Preston, by email


That’s a weird one and there are no mechanisms in OE that I’m aware of that can make Accounts disappear, though it is possible from the Windows Registry. This is documented in a Microsoft Knowledgebase article (http://tinyurl.com/6xce8b), presumably as a security measure, and if you backtrack on the steps involved, and the named key is present, change the value from 1 to zero and Accounts should return, just don’t ask me how it happened… 



Crawling Explorer

Internet Explorer 8 was installed automatically on both my desktop and laptop. Within a few days both machines slowed down to a crawl. After I uninstalled IE8, both machines went back to their normal speed. Is this a common problem with IE8? Is Microsoft aware of any issues with IE8?

Chris Snailham, by email


This browser update seems to have caused more than the usual number of problems and the slow down is often caused by a conflict between IE8 and the Spybot Search & Destroy Immunization plug-in, which generates a very large list of blocked websites. Microsoft are a aware of the problem so if you have Spybot on your PC there is a fix, contained in Cumulative Security Update KB969897, which you will find at http://tinyurl.com/mxc6sd.



Swydd Sillafa Atalfa I Mewn Cymraeg

The spellchecker in Microsoft Office is driving me mad. It insists in defaulting into Welsh and nothing I do will make it stay in UK English mode. Is there a solution?

Cassius Chanides, by email


I was amazed to discover that you are not alone and a fair number of Office users have been suffering from this rather strange problem. In most cases it can be fixed by going into the Office Tools Language options (Start > Programs > Microsoft Office > Office Tools > Language Settings), select the Enabled Languages tab, select English and click OK. A warning message advising you of the changes that will occur should appear, click Continue and reboot the PC. The other possibility is that Welsh has somehow crept into Windows Language options, which you will find in Control Panel on the Start menu. If any options, other than English (UK) are displayed on the Language tab, remove them. Once again you have to reboot for the change to take effect. In a couple of cases I’ve come across the problem persisted and the only thing that worked was to remove and reinstall Office.


Adapting to Change

I have a new Dell computer, which is great, but although I also bought a new printer I wanted to be able to use my old one as well. I just can't find an adapter that I can plug in to enable me to use my HP DeskJet into a USB port. The parallel plug is smaller than the standard ones. It seems such a waste not to be able to use a perfectly good printer with a supply of cartridges. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Di Buckley, by email


USB to parallel port cable adaptors are available for less than £20 (try Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/tyu2q). However, all of the adaptors I’m aware of are fitted with the standard 36-in Centronics plug. By the sound of it your printer has a mini Centronics connector – HP are one of the few manufacturers to use them – in which case you will also need a Centronics to mini Centronics adaptor. These are not so easy to find but I did manage to track one down on the Pixmania website (http://tinyurl.com/mwjug8) for £4.79 (excluding postage). One last thing, make sure that a suitable driver is available for your printer before shelling out on the cables and adaptor, many older printers are not compatible with Vista and now Windows 7.



A Moving Story

Somehow I have managed to fix the Outlook Express screen in the bottom right hand corner of my laptop. As soon as I start it up all I can see is the top left hand corner of the OE window in the bottom right hand bottom corner. I have tried dragging it back but it will only move further to right hand corner and not back to left hand side

Tony Saunders, by email


You should be able to get it back onto the screen with the Windows Move commands. Make sure the OE titlebar is selected then press Alt + Spacebar + M and use the cursor arrow keys to shift the window.




© R. Maybury 2009 2109


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