Computers User's Tips

Here are some great tips on using different applications and improving your pc's performance. If you have something you'd like to share, please email to us. We'd be happy to include it here. Thanks!  Note of caution: Some of these tips may require deleting files or uploading programs and applications to your computer. Do so carefully!  We are not responsible for anything that may result by executing the advise listed below.  You do so at your own risk.  We offer expert assistance if you want is to do this for you (for a fee). Thank you!

Keyboard Stop Working on Your Laptop?  Try shutting it down, unplug it (if plugged into an outlet), remove battery and wait a few minute then reinsert battery, plug it back into the wall (if applicable), then turn on laptop. It should resolve problem.  If this doesn’t work, check your Device Manager to see if there are any yellow exclamation points (!) next to any devices. If there are, you might have a hardware/driver issue that may require the help of an expert computer technician.  

Stop Auto Reboot - Ever walk away from your computer while it’s on, to return and find it has rebooted? This can be very annoying and you could lose some valuable work and time. To stop this from happening, there is a easy and quick fix:

Vista - In Vista, click Start, type Windows Update, and then hit Enter. Click the 'Change Settings' option at left. Change the setting to 'Download updates but let me choose whether to install them'. Click OK.

XP - Go to Control Panel. Select AUTOMATIC UPDATES. Change the setting to 'Download updates but let me choose whether to install them'. Click OK.

That's all there is to it. The next time you get updates, you will see a notification in the task bar (at the bottom right on most computers). Click on it to install updates. And don't forget to do this since might be important security patches. Or you will also see a notification to install updates when you shut down your computer (install updates and turn off computer).

Large file extension list and file types resource website.  A huge file extension list including easy-to-understand descriptions and associated applications. Quickly search by extension, view common and most popular file extensions, and click to extension categories including audio and music files, multimedia, graphic and image file types and others. Get it here

Audio & Video Tools:

Windows Media Player - The Windows Media Player allows you to play Windows Media, .avi video, and .wav sound files, and more along with streaming media necessary for movie trailers. The latest Windows Media Player can be downloaded free from

RealPlayer - To listen to RealAudio or view RealVideo, you'll need the latest version of the RealPlayer. The latest Real Player can be downloaded free from

QuickTime - QuickTime is an essential tool to view computer formatted media in the .mov format. Quick Time can be downloaded for free from Apple.

Macromedia Flash - We recommend downloading this free from Macromedia. Macromedia's Flash Player is the leading rich client for Internet content and applications across the broadest range of platforms.

Macromedia Shockwave - With Macromedia Shockwave Player, you can enjoy multimedia games, learning applications, and product demonstrations on the Web, using exciting new 3D technology.

Windows XP PowerToys and Add-ins

PowerToys and Add-ins provide fun and functionality to your computer running Windows XP. You can find PowerToys or Add-ins that let you create great photo stories, make movies like a pro, play games on a Tablet PC, and more. get them here

Stop Windows Messenger from Auto-Starting

Simply delete the following Registry Key:


REMEMBER TO: Make a backup of your registry file before altering it.

Lost Your Windows Product ID?

The Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder is a freeware utility that retrieves your Product Key (CD key) used to install Windows or Office from your registry. It has the options to copy the key to clipboard, save it to a text file, or print it for safekeeping. It works on Windows 95, 98, ME, NT4, 2000, XP, Server 2003, Office 97 and Office XP. Unfortunately, it does not appear to support Office 2000. The Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder is available here or at:

Change Drive Letters in Windows XP

Windows XP makes it fairly easy to change drive letters, as long as you're not trying to change the boot drive. Launch Control Panel from the Start menu, and double-click Administrative Tools. Double-click the Computer Management applet. Once it starts up, select Disk Management in the Storage section. You should now see a list of the fixed and removable disk drives on your system. Don't attempt any changes on the fixed disks.

To swap DVD drives D: and E:, right-click E: and choose Change Drive Letter and Paths from the pop-up menu. Click the Change button and select an otherwise unused drive letter, like R. Click OK and answer Yes when prompted to confirm. Repeat this technique to assign the current D: drive to use the letter E, and then one more time to change the original E: drive from R: to D:. You have now swapped drive letters; your new external drive is D:, and the old drive is E:.

Bought a new evga e-Geforce 6200 AGP 256MB 8x video graphics card. Loaded Windows XP Home SE, and everything looked fine until I loaded video card drivers. Desktop looked okay, but when I selected 'start' at bottom left, display was garbled. Same with many of the programs, too.  I tried accessing website for new drivers, but nothing worked.  Is the video card bad or is there something I'm missing?

Good question! You're right, evga didn't have updated drivers for this card on their website, and in fact, said to use drivers that came with card. There is a possibility that the video card has some bad memory on it, but before you go thru the trouble of replacing the card, try this.  If your motherboard had VIA chipset on it, go to:  What we found is that even though your motherboard is new, the 4in1 drivers were outdated.  At top of page, select Drivers, then Microsoft Windows.  Then select Windows XP, then Chipset or Platform drivers.  This will take you to Via Hyperion 4in1 drivers. Download this file, extract and install. You won't need to remove any previously installed drivers, as this will overwrite them. After you install, reboot computer and problem should be gone. If not, try for what they call 'reference drivers' for this card. If that fails, call evga's tech support for further information.  Also, offers a community bulletin board with faq on program issues, esp. specific games & program fixes.  For nVidia driver issues access here (

Having a problem with Outlook loading normally? I did!  Seems that everything on my computer was loading/running with no problem...and then out of the blue, Outlook took FOREVER to load?  Why? It seems that the problem occurs when you disable Windows Messenger.  Now, I've never disable Windows Messenger (to my knowledge), but I figure that a recent program I loaded did it for me. Anyway, after looking around Internet for an answer, I found one.  Do the following:

RUN gpedit.msc


computer configuration/

administrative templates/

windows components/

windows messenger

SELECT Properties, then:

set first item on "disabled" (disabling an disabled function = enabled)

Apply and Save, then reload Outlook.  It should load normally at this point.

If that didn't work, try this (do so at your own risk, since you will be editing your registry file. Make a back up first to be on the safe side:

Here is another way to fix the slow loading in Outlook Express.

Sometimes removing or disabling Windows (or MSN) Messenger causes Outlook Express to open slowly. This will shown by an entry in the system error log: The server {FB7199AB-79BF-11D2-8D94-0000F875C541} did not register with DCOM within the required timeout.

To fix this, run Regedit (Start > Run) and navigate to this key:





In the right-hand pane, double-click on the (Default) value and delete whatever is entered there, leaving it blank. Click OK. Now perform exactly the same step with the key directly underneath, namely





Once both (Default) values are empty, Outlook Express will open normally.


Disabling Blue Screen Of Death Auto-Reboot in Windows XP

When you are running Windows XP, you may have noticed that every so often (rarely) that Windows reboots without you asking it to. This tends to be caused by a Blue Screen error. If you want to see what this error is, you will have to check the error log list because Windows reboots too quickly for you to read what happened. Well with this tip you can disable the Auto-Reboot so you can finally read, and see the blue screen error.

Go to Start -> Control Panel -> System

Go to Advanced

Under the Startup and Recovery section, click Settings...

Under System Failure un-check "Automatically restart"

Create Bootable CD or Floppy

Here are a few options available for free:

Knoppix - KNOPPIX is a bootable CD with a collection of GNU/Linux software, automatic hardware detection, and support for many graphics cards, sound cards, SCSI and USB devices and other peripherals. KNOPPIX can be used as a Linux demo, educational CD, rescue system, or adapted and used as a platform for commercial software product demos. It is not necessary to install anything on a hard disk. Due to on-the-fly decompression, the CD can have up to 2 GB of executable software installed on it.

BartPE - Bart's PE Builder helps you build a "BartPE" (Bart Preinstalled Environment) bootable Windows CD-Rom or DVD from the original Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 installation/setup CD, very suitable for PC maintenance tasks. It will give you a complete Win32 environment with network support, a graphical user interface (800x600) and FAT/NTFS/CDFS filesystem support. Very handy for burn-in testing systems with no OS, rescuing files to a network share, virus scan and so on.  This will replace any Dos bootdisk in no time!

MenuetOS - OS called MenuetOS that fits on a floppy disk.   MenuetOS is an Operating System for the PC written entirely in 32bit assembly language, and released under the GPL. It supports 32 bit x86 assembly programming since this allows for smaller, faster and less resource hungry applications to be created.

Hard Drive Tips

Always back up. Keep current copies of important data off site.  Always quit your programs before shutting down your computer to avoid data loss and program corruption.  Directory damage can be caused by turning off peripheral devices (printer, scanner, etc.) while computer is on or when drive is active. Test your back up before reformatting a hard drive. If you use tapes, be sure you're familiar with the backup software before archiving important data. If the hard drive is operating, do not move or jar your computer/drive. Always use a padded container when transporting a hard drive.  If shipping a drive, use original container or pad drive with at least 3" of packing (foam, bubble, peanuts, or other cushion material), and make sure no part of the drive touches the box. Do not block airflow or put external drives on carpet. This can create static electricity and could not only damage the drive but cause a fire. Generally, if you're comfortable, the climate should be okay for the drive.  Allow the drive to warm up to room temperature if previously in a very cold environment. Use high quality surge protectors or line conditioners on all computer equipment.

Microsoft Critical Patches.

With the continuous security issues and vulnerability of Windows, it's necessary to check Microsoft's web site for operating system and program updates.  Make it a habit to check at least once a week.  BE CAREFUL not to fall prey to emails that states it has "attached" files with MS fixes or patches. Use your operating system's link "Windows Updates" to access Microsoft's web site only.  Software fixes address a wide range of products.

When was the last time you lost  important data?

Maybe it's time to consider an online file and storage backup service. This special report from Unicom Computers presents an overview of 13 different companies offering a valuable service. Some offer free trial periods so you can experiment with what works best for you. Sleep at night

Open In New Window While Browsing On Internet

Have you ever been at a site and saw a link you wanted to follow?  Almost clicking the link, you then decide to finish looking through the web page you're currently on, but would like to click on the link without loosing your place. What should you do?

Next time you're faced with the question above, right-click the link you want to follow and select "Open in New Window" from the resulting menu (you can also hold down the SHIFT key while you left-click). A new browser window will open and display the new page.    I use this trick all the time when using a search engine. I'll do the "Open in a new window" trick each time I see a link that looks interesting. Sometimes I'll get pretty deep into that site, and would have to back out quite a ways, which can be

annoying.  Since the rest of your search results ready and waiting for you  when you're finished exploring a link, simply close that page and you're right back to the search engine, and you know exactly where you left off.

Back up all your files from Outlook Express, follow these instructions:

1, To save your account settings you need to back up a registry key, do this by clicking 'start' then 'run', type regedit in the box, hit 'ok'. Using the folder list on the left hand side navigate your way to find this key and highlight it by clicking on 'Accounts':

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Account Manager\Accounts

Click on 'File' and select 'export' save this file as 'accounts' on to a floppy disk. When you have finished installing windows xp chuck the floppy in the drive and double click 'accounts' to import the key back to the registry.

2, To make a backup copy of your e-mail message folder in Outlook Express, follow these steps:

Start Outlook Express.

On the 'Tools' menu, click 'Options'.

On the 'Maintenance' tab, click 'Store Folder', click to select the path, press CTRL+C to copy the path, click 'Cancel', and then click 'Cancel' again to close the dialog box.

Click 'Start', click 'Run', click in the 'Open' box, press CTRL+V, and then click 'OK'.

On the 'Edit' menu, click 'Select All'.

On the 'Edit' menu, click 'Copy'.

Paste the files into another folder, burn on to a CD if you have a writer.

When your installation of Win XP is complete restore or import your e-mail message folder back into Outlook Express, follow these steps:

On the 'File' menu, point to 'Import', and then click 'Messages'.

In the 'Select an e-mail program to import from' box, click 'Microsoft Outlook Express', and then click 'Next'.

Click 'Import mail from an OE store directory', and then click 'OK'.

Click 'Browse', and then point to the folder that includes the files you exported in the last bit.

Click 'All folders', click 'Next', and then click 'Finish'.


More than 512MB Memory Work-around for Windows 95 & 98.  "Out of Memory" Error Message.

If you install more than 512MB of memory, and you are running Windows 95 thru Millennium, you will get an "Out of Memory" Error Message.  A special THANK YOU to Jay Bachman for this tip on how to fix the problem!

"Out of Memory" Error Messages with Large Amounts of RAM Installed

The information in this article applies to: Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition

Microsoft Windows 98 Second Edition

Microsoft Windows 98

Microsoft Windows 95

This article was previously published under Q253912

If this article does not describe your hardware-related issue, please see the following Microsoft Web site to view more articles about hardware:


If a computer that is running any of the versions of Windows that are listed above contains more than 512 megabytes (for example, 768 megabytes) of physical memory (RAM), you may experience one or more of the following symptoms: You may be unable to open an MS-DOS session (or command prompt) while Windows is running. Attempts to do so may generate the following error message:

There is not enough memory available to run this program.

Quit one or more programs, and then try again.

The computer may stop responding (hang) while Windows is starting, or halt and display the following error message:

Insufficient memory to initialize windows. Quit one or more memory-resident programs or remove unnecessary utilities from your Config.sys and Autoexec.bat files, and restart your computer.


The Windows 32-bit protected-mode cache driver (Vcache) determines the maximum cache size based on the amount of RAM that is present when Windows starts. Vcache then reserves enough memory addresses to permit it to access a cache of the maximum size so that it can increase the cache to that size if needed. These addresses are allocated in a range of virtual addresses from 0xC0000000 through 0xFFFFFFFF (3 to 4 gigabytes) known as the system arena.

On computers with large amounts of RAM, the maximum cache size can be large enough that Vcache consumes all of the addresses in the system arena, leaving no virtual memory addresses available for other functions such as opening an MS-DOS prompt (creating a new virtual machine).


To work around this problem, use one of the following methods:

1) Use the MaxFileCache setting in the System.ini file to reduce the maximum amount of memory that Vcache uses to 512 megabytes (524,288 KB) or less. For additional information about how to use the MaxFileCache setting, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base: 108079 32-Bit File Access Maximum Cache Size

2) Use the System Configuration utility to limit the amount of memory that Windows uses to 512 megabytes (MB) or less.For additional information about how to use the System Configuration utility, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base: 181966 System Configuration Utility Advanced Troubleshooting Settings

3) Reduce the amount of memory that is installed in your computer to 512 MB or less.


Microsoft has confirmed that this is a problem in the Microsoft products that are listed at the beginning of this article.


Vcache is limited internally to a maximum cache size of 800 MB.

This problem may occur more readily with Advanced Graphics Port (AGP) video adapters because the AGP aperture is also mapped to addresses in the system arena. For example, if Vcache is using a maximum cache size of 800 MB and an AGP video adapter has a 128-MB aperture mapped, there is very little address space remaining for the other system code and data that must occupy this range of virtual addresses.

Last Reviewed:



kbDiskMemory kberrmsg kbprb KB253912

You’ve Got Spam: How to "Can" Unwanted Email

Do you receive lots of junk email messages from people you don't know? It's no surprise if you do. As more people use email, marketers are increasingly using email messages to pitch their products and services. Some consumers find unsolicited commercial email - also known as "spam" - annoying and time consuming; others have lost money to bogus offers that arrived in their email in-box.  The FTC provides a website to assist you in reporting these sites. Can it here

See More Web Page with Internet Explorer

If you'd like to see more web page with less MS Internet Explorer toolbars, here's a little trick.  Hit the F11 key when you’re on a web page. It'll put you into "full screen" mode. Go back to normal mode by hitting F11 again. An issue some have with full screen mode is the absence of things like your address or menu bar. In this case, you can. Simply right-click a blank area of the toolbar. A menu will pop-up to allow adding an address bar, menu bar, and any other Explorer bars you want.  Since it's in full screen mode, you won't be able to squeeze too many of these extra little bars in, but at least you can get the essentials.  You can even get less Explorer toolbar at the top of your page.  Right-click the toolbar and select "Autohide" from the resulting menu (same one as mentioned above). Now, when you move your mouse away, the toolbar disappears. Move your mouse back to the top and the toolbar re-appears.

To transfer either Records (vinyl) or Cassette Tapes to CD's:

1) You need to have a tape deck to play the Tape (preferably a Stereo Component Tape Deck). OR a Turntable of some variety to play the record. Any device you use to play the original Music or Voice playback will need an Audio out or aux out port and Cable. This is to get the music into your PC.

2) You need to have a Soundcard (some PC's have the sound Chips built into their motherboards) that has an Audio IN Port. This is a must have to be able to do this job! (SoundBlaster Live Value Cards will do this and they go for around $39.00) You may also need an adapter to change the cable end from your tape deck into the proper plug-in for your soundcard.

3) You need to get a software program that allows you to a) Record the original audio and b) hopefully to edit the sound quality (clean up the hissing). Some software programs will do it all including burning the Audio CD as well. You can get a trial or freeware software program that will record and edit your original music at or

Just do a search for audio transfer or audio recording programs (or some such heading). Of course, then you will have to burn the CD yourself, so you had better practice up....GOOD LUCK!


Some systems also have a "line in" port that is the same size as a stereo headphone plug.. you can adapt your earphone from the original player to this .. probably get the adaptor at a "Radio Shack" or "Circuit City" or similar stores. Tell them you want to "patch" from a stereo "headphone plug" to the "line in" on your computer.

 Once you can "feed" the computer from this source then you can use some programs to record "burn" a cd by selecting "line in" as source .. of material, data in your "Nero" or other program.  I am sure somewhere there is a step by step to this procedure. If I come cross it I will post.

Then any media device.. phonograph, tape player, etc with an stereo earphone plug can be hooked direct to your PC and it would be found on "Line In" as source.

 If your older phonograph for vinyl records has the larger headphone plug the same stores should be able to provide an adapter from those to the "line in" plug.

Recovering space on your hard drive.  Listed below are some of the files you might want to find and remove to clear out some junk and help Windows get back up to speed.  These files are safe to remove. To find these files or folders, go to 'start' then 'search'.  Use the asterisk '*' in front of the file type or name you are searching for, and this will find the files with the extension for the file(s) you want.  An example would be:  *.bak.   If you have partitioned your hard drive, be sure to search all your drives.  Once the search is finished you can delete the files easily by highlighting them all and then hit the 'del' or 'delete' key. If you hold the 'shift' key down while you hit 'delete' the files will be removed completely without sending them to the 'recycle bin' first. If you aren't sure about a specific file, here is a website that can help, called FILExt.  Go there first if you aren't sure.

Files to look for:

.tmp - The .tmp files are mostly junk left behind when you instal a new program, the installer should remove them when finished but they are often untidy and leave things behind.

.gid - The .gid files are created when you access help from a program or windows, if a program needs one it just creates a new one, so no problems there.

.chk - The .chk files are made by Scan Disk when it finds odd bits of files during a scan, they are pretty useless unless you have a major problem with a disk and take it to a data recovery specialist, 9 times out of 10 they will be rubbish to them too.

.~?? - Any file that starts with a tilde (~) is another form of the .tmp file basically, the ?? will search for any file type that starts with the ~.

.bak - These are back-up files made by windows and some applications, these can normally be gotten rid of with no trouble as the programs will just make new ones if needed. Occaisionally you may need these if something goes wrong with a program and it wants to restore itself from a back-up, you could save them to a floppy or CD-R if you want to be 100% sure.

.old - Pretty much the same as .bak though not much ever requires these to recover. Some system files may be used here, so be careful with deleting any of these.

Bad clusters on your hard drive? This may or may not be fixable. It really depends on how bad and how many of the clusters are bad. But a low level format could help, or it may just prolong the agony.  What you need to do is run a partition removal debug script on the hard drive. This will ERASE EVERYTHING on the hard drive, so backup your data first or its gone. You will need a windows 98 or ME boot disk on floppy for this to tool to work. Debug Script. This is just a basic run through of debug. After you do the debug then you need to reboot and run fdisk and reboot and format the hard drive. If these steps don't work then you will probably need to replace your drive. Get it here

Your computer won't handle Windows XP or certain software applications. When it's time to make a worthwhile upgrade, you may find your computer can't handle it. Maybe the microprocessor is too old. Perhaps you don't have enough memory, or your hard drive is too slow. This could be a problem with Windows XP, or demanding applications such as games.  Let's look at Windows XP. Microsoft has hawked successive Windows systems as "exciting," "fun" and "absolutely necessary" for years. Operating systems are never exciting or fun; they are the digital equivalent of a carpenter's toolbox. And upgrades rarely have been absolutely necessary.  However, Windows XP takes reliability to a whole new level. I would argue that it is necessary if you're using Windows ME, 98 or 95. Those operating systems were based on DOS, and are much more crash-prone than XP. If you're thinking of moving up, I'd encourage you to do so.  But Windows XP needs a more powerful microprocessor and additional memory. Some pieces of equipment will not run on XP. You can use Microsoft's Upgrade Advisor to check your computer's compatibility.  If your computer cannot handle XP, consider buying a new one. You'll be amazed at how infrequently XP crashes. The same is true for hot new programs. If you really want them, and they won't run on your old machine, consider a new computer.  If you're using Windows 2000, the upgrade is not as crucial, since Windows XP was developed from Windows 2000. However, XP will run many consumer programs that 2000 will not. So if that's important to you, take a look at XP. Your computer should be able to handle XP if it's running 2000.

If you boot up, and the computer cannot find the C: drive, you might have a bad hard drive.  If you have another computer, swap hard drives to diagnose the problem. If your computer boots with the other drive, yours is probably bad.  Sometimes, a reboot will work. Your drive might have enough life to spin up occasionally. If this works, transfer your data to another drive, pronto.  According to techie lore, you can seal a nonworking drive in a bag and put it in a freezer overnight. That could shrink things enough to free them up. I've used this trick a few times and it's worth a try.  A regular backup regimen will save you in case of hard-drive failure, assuming you aren't backing up to the same hard drive. If the drive is dead and you don't have a backup, a computer shop may be able to save your data.  Hard drives are cheap. You can get a replacement for less than $100. Get one boxed for retail, which will include instructions and any hardware needed.  Your hard drive is in the front of your machine. It will be about the size of a paperback book and is probably held in by four screws, two on each side. Power and ribbon cables connect to the back.  Put the new drive in and install it as the master. Reconfigure the old drive as the slave. The instructions that come with the new drive should explain that. Boot the computer and install Windows on the new drive. If you're lucky, the computer will see the old drive (it will be D:). You can then transfer your data to the new drive.   Replacing a hard drive is more difficult than the other operations. However, if you pay to have the work done, it may not be cost effective. You might be better off buying a new machine. So if you are adventuresome, and you have the time, changing the hard drive may be worthwhile.

If you regularly get the "Blue Screen of Death," you may have a random access memory (RAM) problem. Note the message on the blue screen, especially the numbers. Check it in Microsoft's Help and Support Knowledge Base. Also, put it in a search engine and check the Internet. Assuming you can diagnose it, a memory problem is easy to fix. If you can't find the diagnosis information you need online, you can try swapping out memory sticks from another computer. But that memory must be the same type. If all else fails, take the old memory to a computer store. The people there may be willing to test it. Sticks of memory go in slots near the microprocessor. They're about four inches long. Remove the old memory and match it at the store. Memory prices are all over the map, depending on type and speed. Be sure you get the same type.  Unplug your computer before removing and installing memory. When you press the new memory into the slot, you will probably have to use some force. The clips on each end will snap into place when the memory is seated properly.

Wondering what all those things are on your startup lists, what they're for and if you really need them or not? Using up precious resources and memory, programs won't run correctly?  Here's a link to very resourceful web page that will help answer these, and more, questions.  Find out here

Let's say you have a video camera and would like to put your tapes onto CD. Perhaps you are thinking of purchasing a DVD burner and you want to make DVDs of you tape. In either case, the place to go to learn about video CDs or DVDs is VCDHelp. Here you'll find guides to help you make VCDs and DVDs and how to locate and use the necessary software and hardware tools. Click here to go to VCDHelp.

Would you like to get the latest consumer news? We all need to determine the best prices for the best quality of goods. There are a number of consumer magazines and web sites available, Consumer Reports being the most famous, but we're somewhat partial to Consumer World. You'll find information about products as well as the latest news at this site. To see what you think, click here to go to the site.

Do you work with MP3 files? Simple MP3 Maker is a free CD Ripper, MP3/Audio Encoder, MP3/Audio Player and MP3/Audio Decoder . Click here to download.

Fast, faster, fastest. Internet connections: they're all about speed. If you want practical info on Broadband Internet connections, Windows, overclocking, patches and registry tweaks that enhance your connection speed, and more, you'll find it at Calling itself "the Broadband Source," this site has a little bit of everything dedicated to connection speed. A large section of the site is given over to cable modem and DSL technology and stresses improving TCP/IP performance over high speed/latency networks. If speed is what you need, click here.

Do you enjoy video gaming? If so, the Patches Scrolls site may be what you're looking for. The site describes itself as "the Internet's premier source for bug-free gaming experiences. Here you can find almost every patch for Macintosh and AMIGA and Windows-PC and Linux." If you're having a problem with a favorite game, this site is worth checking out for game enhancements and bug fixes. Click here for the site.

If you want to have replies to your Outlook Express messages sent to some address other than the one you used to send the messages, you can change the reply address. To do this, choose Tools|Accounts. When Internet Accounts opens, click the Mail tab. Select the account name you're interested in modifying and click Properties.  With the Properties dialog box opens, click the General tab (if necessary). Click in the "Replay address" entry box and type in the reply address that you want to use and click OK. Back in Internet Accounts, click Close. Any mail generated by a recipient clicking Reply will go to your specified Reply address.

If You're Having Problems With Scan Disk and Defrag Your Hard Drive, Try This...

Starting your computer in safe mode simply means that all the extra programs that normally run in the background are bypassed and only the bare essentials are loaded.  The scandisk and defrag will run much faster in safe mode without having to restart each time one of those programs writes to the disk.  It helps also if you turn off your screen saver till you're done.

To start in safe mode, click on the "start" button and click "shut down".

Click on "restart" and hold down the "ctrl" key while the computer restarts.  (on some, you need to use the "f8" key)  Keep holding the key down until the menu comes up that asks you to choose the type of start up you want.  The one you want is plain "safe mode", usually #3.  You will type in the number and hit "enter".

When it finishes loading, your colors and your desktop will look strange, don't worry, that's normal.

Now click on "start">"programs">"accessories">"system tools">"disk defragmenter".

It will ask which disk to defragment if you have more than one, just choose your main hard drive, usually called "C".  Then hit "ok" to start it.

If it's never been done, then it will still take a while, even in safe mode, so be patient.

When it's done, close the defragmenter and go back to "system tools" and do the "scan disk".  Also do a "disk clean-up" if you haven't done that.

When you're all done just click on "start">"shut down">"restart".  Your computer should now start back in the normal mode.

Now that the back-log is taken care of, you can set up the maintenance wizard to run these on a regular schedule to keep your computer running at it's best.

Note: Run the "Scandisk" BEFORE you run the defrag because if you have errors on your hard drive, defrag will keep restarting. Errors on your hard drive are most commonly caused when you have to manually shut down your puter instead of using the normal shut down procedures. When you run the scandisk, make sure the box is checked that says "automatically fix errors. You should always run scandisk first, then defrag.

Filtering Spam in Outlook Express

An easy way to filter spam in Outlook Express is to use Outlook Express' message filtering. To check this out, choose File|Folders|New. Select Local Folders and type "Spam" into the "Folder name" entry box. Click OK to continue.

Now choose Tools|Message Rules|Mail. Click New and then select the check box labeled "Where the To line contains people". Next, select the check box labeled "Move it to the

specified folder".

Next, under Rule Description, click "Contains People" and then type in your e-mail address and click Add. Now click Options and select the radio button labeled "Message does

not contain the people below" and click OK.  

Back in the New Mail Rule dialog, click "specified" under "Rule Description" and double-click your Spam folder. Now, click OK to close the dialog box. In Message Rules again, click OK to close the dialog and record your new rule.

Outlook Express will now send all e-mail that arrives without your e-mail address in the To box to the Spam folder where you can check to see if you need it.

Printing from Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 - When you want to print a web page from Microsoft Internet Explorer 6, you may have some problems with some pages if you print the background. If you print to a black and white printer, you'll almost always have trouble with the background.

To turn off background printing in IE 6, choose Tools|Internet Options. When the dialog box opens, click the Advanced tab. Scroll down to Printing and deselect the check box labeled "Print background colors and images". Click OK to close the dialog box and save you selection.

Finding the Microsoft Internet Explorer Cookies - We have a friend who just installed Windows XP Home Edition after using Windows 98 for a long time. She says she used to know where the Microsoft Internet Explorer cookies were located, but now she can't find them.

In Windows 98 the cookies are located at c:\Windows\Cookies\. However, Windows XP is a different story because of the logon name requirement. Let's say your logon name is Eli. Your Microsoft Internet Explorer cookies are located at C:\Documents and Settings\Eli\Cookies

Opening Files in Microsoft Internet Explorer's Temp Folder - If you navigate to Temporary Internet Folders and double-click a file--perhaps a JPG file--you get a warning that running commands on the item may be unsafe. It isn't really unsafe and, if you want to open files in Temporary Internet Folders, you can instruct IE 6 to let you do it.

To do this, choose Tools|Internet Options. When the Internet Options dialog opens, Click the Security tab and then click Custom Level. Select the radio button labeled "Enable" under "Launching applications and files in an IFRAME". Click OK to close the Security dialog and then click OK again to close Internet Options and apply your new selection.

Disabling Animated Gifs In Microsoft Internet Explorer - If you find animated GIFs annoying, or if you just don't really feel a need for all that entertainment, you can turn off the animation in Microsoft Internet Explorer 6. To disable the animation, choose Tools/Internet Options. When the dialog box opens, deselect the "Play animations" check box and then click OK to close the dialog box and continue.From this point on, you will see only the first still frame of the animated picture.

Using BCC in Outlook Express 6 - You can use BCC (Blind Carbon Copy) to send e-mail to a group of people so that each recipient doesn't know there are other recipients. To do this, send e-mail to yourself with all the recipients listed in BCC.  Several people have pointed out that their copy of Outlook Express 6 has no BCC entry box. To display BCC choose View|All Headers. If you want to hide it again, repeat the process -- this is a toggle command.

Finding Domain Information - When you need to find out who owns a particular domain, or check on one of your own domains, you can visit the InterNIC site and use their Whois Search page. There are also some freeware programs around that will provide the information. We sometimes use WhoIs ULTRA from AnalogX.  You can get WhoIs ULTRA at the AnalogX site by clicking here.

There are times that you click a link and the page doesn't open. Don't give up too soon. We find that trying a link immediately after it fails often brings up the page. Even if you can't access a page immediately, you may be able to reach it later.  Don't assume that a page is down. It may be simply a case of an overworked web server. And sometimes the web is just too slow. When you try again, you may get a better route to the site.

Using JavaScript in Netscape 6 - There are certainly advantages to using JavaScript -- you can view all those cool displays. However, there are some disadvantages too in terms of web page speed and potentialinvasion. In Netscape 6, you can easily turn on or off JavaScript.  Just choose Edit|Preferences. When the Preferences dialog box opens, click Advanced and then select or deselect (depending on what you want to do) the check boxes labeled "Enable Java" and " Enable JavaScript for Navigator".  Click OK to close the dialog box and save your new preferences.

Pinging a URL - We often need to check a new web site. One way to do this is to ping the site. However, there are times when you can't access a new site using your current ISPs DNS. When this happens, you can try to ping with another DNS. The easiest way to do this is to visit a web site from which you can ping a new address. is a site that you can use to ping Internet addresses. You can also run a trace at this site. Go to the site by clicking here.

The HP Learning Center - When one of the most important names in American business offers you the chance to learn something, it's an opportunity that shouldn't be missed- especially when it is free. The HP (Hewlett-Packard) Learning Center is offering excellent online classes in business, software and technology, real estate, and personal skills improvement.  The tutorials are free, easy to follow and experienced instructors are available to help 24/7. Classes change monthly so you will always find something new.  So click on the link for the details and check it out for yourself. It's a visit you'll find worth your while. Click Here To Visit The HP Learning Center

Using the Outlook Express Preview Pane - Although the Outlook Express preview pane is very handy, in these days of e-mail virus contamination, many users believe that it's safer to do without the preview. To turn off the preview pane, choose View|Layout. When the dialog box opens, deselect the "Show preview pane" check box and click OK.  Now, you can look at the "From" information and decide whether to open an e-mail or just delete it.

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