Ask Rick Maybury 2014



Ask Rick 318 19/07/14


Live Duplicates

Recently I opened Windows Live Mail to check my messages and to my amazement my inbox indicated that I had received 393 emails overnight!  On closer examination, I discovered that they were copies of all of the messages received over the past year or so and which remained undeleted in my inbox. I would appreciate your comments as to how this duplication might have arisen.

David I’Anson, by email


Only 393 emails in a year! I will not ask how you manage to keep your inbox so trim, but message duplication happens lot and will be familiar to many long-time uses of Microsoft email programs. It can also happen if there is a glitch at your Internet provider, but it sounds as though your problem is due to a relatively straightforward configuration issue. I suspect that WLM has been set to store copies of downloaded messages on your ISP’s mailsever. To disable it go to Accounts > Properties > Advanced tab and uncheck ‘Leave a copy of message on server’ and click OK. Other reasons this can happen include checking for messages too frequently; if so increasing the interval to at least 15 minutes can help (WLM Menu > Options > Mail). Security programs with an email scanning feature can also be responsible, check what happens when the feature is switched off. If your email service has a webmail facility (i.e. you can access your messages from the ISP’s website) empty your webmail inbox, and if all else fails, delete your email account in WLM then recreate it  (stored messages in your inbox will not be deleted). 



Floppies Dropped?

When I started out on computers I used floppy discs for my backups. I have now moved on to other devices. But when I tried to check one of my old floppy discs recently a message popped up to say that access to them had been deleted by Microsoft. How can I get over this problem?

Nevil Williams, by email


This has nothing to do with Microsoft and 3.5-inch floppy discs and even the long obsolete 5.25-inch type -- that really were floppy -- can be read by all current Windows PCs, with the right hardware and software. That error message points to a problem with corrupted data on the disc or a fault with the drive or connecting cables. You can easily eliminate the latter with an external floppy drive that plugs into a spare USB port. These are widely available online for less than £10 (see Amazon, ebay etc). If the discs are unreadable I am afraid that the prognosis is poor; floppies were unreliable even when new, but you might be lucky and retrieve some files using a data recovery tool like PC Inspector, free from



Don’t Be Square

I have an Olympus Stylus u840 camera and I was able to print direct to my old Cannon Pixma printer, which I have now replaced with an HP Photosmart HP5524. I cannot connect the camera to the printer, as the USB port will not accept the normal flat USB plug. Is there an adaptor and if so, can I print straight from the camera?

Ted Robinson, by email


Most printers have a square or Type B USB socket specifically to stop them being connected to anything other than PCs. Adaptors are available but if you try to connect your camera to the printer you risk damaging one or both devices, so please do not try it! There is another way to transfer images to this printer without going through a PC, and it can read memory cards but only SD types. Unfortunately your camera uses an XD card, but there is a workaround. All you need is a Micro SD card (maximum 2Gb) and an SD to XD card adaptor, also known as an MASD-1. These sell for under £5.00 online and you use it in exactly the same way as an XD card. When you want to print from it take the card it out of the MASD-1 and pop it into an SD adaptor, which is normally with micro SD cards.



Hotspot Safety

With reference to your recent item about kerb crawlers piggybacking BT Wi-Fi hotspots, we stay at another house from time to time and would like to access the Internet and our emails. There is no broadband connection but, presumably, since we are BT customers we could use one of their Wi-Fi, Openzone or FON hotspots? Can you tell me which of these, if any, is secure?

J.C by email


BT operated and affiliated public hotspots use the same encryption systems as domestic wireless networks so in that regard they are no safer and have the same vulnerabilities. On a more general note, no publicly accessible wi-fi hotspot can be deemed entirely secure. One of the less well-publicised threats is the so-called 'evil twin'. These are fake hotspots, designed to look and behave like the real thing, and they allow the operator to harvest logon information for secure websites and even hack into your computer without you knowing anything about it. Public hotspots are fine for general web browsing -- finding out train times and so on -- but it would be unwise to use them for sending or receiving personal or private information, and never use them for any sort of financial transaction or indeed anything that involves divulging passwords or PINs.



Shared Interests

Both my wife and I have separate Gmail accounts. When we travel we only take one laptop. When logging in to Gmail, only my account comes up and it is impossible to delete my name and access my wife's account. There must be a way?

Keith Atkinson, by email


Yes, and you can easily access multiple Gmail accounts but you have to sign out of your account first. This option is on the tiny drop-down menu, next to your email address in the top right hand corner of your browser window. Click Sign Out, a blank logon box appears and your wife can enter her details. It is a good idea to uncheck the ‘Stay signed in’ box on a shared PC and this also stops Gmail from automatically logging in to your account when it is opened.




© R. Maybury 2014 3006

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