WorldStart Tips

Selected Tips from WorldStart are reproduced with permission.
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Questions and Answers (Last revised 5/17/12. Latest additions immediately below.)

Inverse File Selection (86)
The POST (85)
Windows XP Run Commands (84)

What does the End key do? (83)
Crate (82)
Space Shift Navigation (81)
Instant Properties (80)
Copy as Path (79)
Backing Up the Registry (78)
No to All (77)
OverType! (76)
Definition - Cookies (75)
But can I even run Windows 7? (74)
What's that File - PPS? (73)
Funny Word Time! -- Boolean (72)
Task Manager NOW! (71)
What is the F-key? F9 through F12 (Extended) (70)
What is the F-key? F5 through F8 (Extended) (69)
What is the F-key? F1 through F4 (Extended!) (68)
What is the F-key? F9 through F12 (67)
What is the F-key? F5 through F8 (66)
What is the F-key? F1 through F4 (65)
Win-D, a.k.a. Windows D (64)
Worms and Viruses (63)

Run with Vista (62)
Deleting IE 7 Cookies (61)
More on Vista's Snipping Tool (60)
Vista Auto-Defrag (59)
All about WiFi (58)
Handling open programs (57)
Maximize it Already! (56.)
Tab the Space (55)
Proper removal of Flash Drive (54)
Vista Program Compatibility: An Update (53)
XP SP3 Support (52)
Internet Access at a hotel/motel (51)
E-mail Recall (50)
Vista Disk Cleanup (49)
Hidden Features in Google (48)
Timely Defrags (47)
Print Screen Button and Screen Shots (46)
How to clean that keyboard (45)
Vista's Microsoft Management Console (MMC) (44)
Send it later (43)
How can I test my microphone to make sure it's working properly? (42)
Last Known Good Configuration (41)
Vista Startup Sounds (40)
Reformatting Your Hard Drive (39)
Vista Photo Gallery (38)
See Your Programs in One Continuous List (37)
Create Your Own Stationery in Outlook Express (36)
All You Ever Wanted to Know About MP4 (35)
Seeing Blue in MS-Word (34)
Vista Program Compatibility (33)
Changing Vista's Desktop setup (32)
Vista System Restore (31)
Full Path  (A Video Tip) (30)
"Cannot Delete File" error message (29)
Vista Icons (28)
Personalizing Windows Vista (27)
Proper Removal of Your Flash Drive (26)
Document That Problem (25)
Daylight Savings Time and your computer (24)
Rearranging MS Office toolbar buttons or menus (23)
Viruses, Worms and Scams (22)
Enter Info Into Multiple Cells Simultaneously (21)
Bring up all open programs and select the one desired (20)
How to take a screenshot (19)
Locating and saving files in Outlook Express (18)
Using the Menu Key (17)
Increasing the font size in MS Office documents (16)
Rearrange the order of programs under the Start menu (15)
All About Megapixels (14)
Eliminating the Big Red "X" (13)
Does your system operation seem sluggish? (12)
Forward Politely- Always Use BCC! (11)
What has your PC been doing automatically? (10)
Alphabetize (sort) those programs (9)
Dealing with the option to report errors to Microsoft (8)
Let's go over some basic definitions (7)
Finding Your MS Product Codes (6)
Computer Sluggish at Startup? (5)
Windows Clipboard (4)
Email Etiquette (3)
Full Screen Fun (2)
Backup Your Data (1)

86. File Selection
Have you ever needed to select *most* of the files in a folder using Windows Explorer? Maybe you’re copying them to a floppy, moving them to new home, or doing some other type of exciting file management activity.

In any case, it can be a hassle since most of us just select up to the first file we don’t want, do whatever it was we were going to do with the files, then move on to the next section.

Here’s a better way!

First, select the files you DON’T want. If there are multiple files that you don’t want, hold down your Ctrl key as you select the files. I know, it sounds like I’ve finally lost it, but stick with me here.

Next, go to the Edit menu and select ” Invert Selection ” from the menu.

The files you selected previously are now deselected and everything else is selected. It’s almost like magic, isn’t it?

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85. The POST
Have you ever wondered what your computer goes through when it’s booting up each time you restart your computer? Sometimes computers will start up so quickly, but other times, they drag, don’t they? Well, every time a computer is booting up, it has to go through what is called a POST test. POST stands for Power On Self Test and it’s just a little personal start up test for every computer to make sure it meets all of the system requirements, etc.

There are actually 10 steps in the POST, with the first one testing the power supply to make sure the computer is turned on and that it meets its reset signal. The second step checks to make sure the CPU (Central Processing Unit) can execute instructions. The next two steps are used to ensure that the BIOS are readable.

Again, the next two steps are devoted to the CMOS (Complementary Metal-Oxide Semiconductor) to make sure they are readable. The seventh step tests the CPU to make sure it can read all the different forms of memory, like the memory controller, the memory bus and the memory module. Next, your computer’s memory is tested to make sure it is operational and that it can be read and written, as well as, capable of containing the POST code. The last two steps deal with the I/O bus and controller. They need to be accessible and be able to write and read from the video system and to read all of the video RAM.

If your computer happens to fail any of these steps, an irregular POST will be recorded. The irregular test is known to you by a beep code and it may often result in you having to restart your computer.

There you have it, the basic steps to a system start up test. At least you now know what your computer goes through while starting up and you have an idea of what might be going wrong if your computer ever fails a proper boot up.

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84. Windows XP Run Commands
Skip the navigating and just type in what you’re looking for! Windows Vista and 7 users can do this already, but if you’re still using Windows XP, these commands might come in handy!

Just click Start>Run, type one of these commands in the box and hit OK.

Calc – Calculator

Charmap – Character Map (for special characters)

Cleanmgr – Disk Cleanup

Clipbrd – Windows clipboard viewer

Control – Displays the Control Panel

Netstat – Displays all active network connections

Regedit – Registry Editor

Taskmgr – Task manager

Give ‘em a try today!

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83. What does the "End" Key do?
The End key can actually do different things, depending on the program you're using it with. Its main use though, is to help you get from the top of a page to the bottom quickly. For example, let's say you're browsing the Internet for some FAQs on a specific topic. You find a great Web site that will help you out, but your question is answered clear at the bottom of the page. Do you sit there and scroll all the way to the bottom? Well, you shouldn't! Instead, use the End key.

Hit it once and you'll be whisked away to the bottom of the Web page. This will also work in some documents. However, there it may have to be used in conjunction with the Ctrl key (Ctrl+End) Also, if you're working with some shorter text, the End key sometimes takes you the end of a line, which is also helpful and a much faster way of doing things.

The End key is located in the little section of keys to the left of the number pad on your keyboard. It's right under the Home key and right in between the Delete key and the Page Down key. It can be found on any PC keyboard and on some Macintosh extended keyboards. It really is a great use of a key, so go try it out!

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82. Crate
At one time or another, many of us need to share a file or two with somebody, and often the attachment size limits put in place by most email providers make this task difficult, if not impossible. As we all know, file sizes have been increasing steadily for quite some time. Even a regular PDF document or a PowerPoint presentation can easily surpass 10-20 MB nowadays. There are many file sharing services online that will gladly host your file online for free, but what if you don't want your file to be stored forever? Especially in the case of a personal document.

Crate is a website that lets you upload and share files, which remain on the internet for exactly 30 minutes. I chose to share this website because it has no banner ads or any of the assorted spam elements. Also, since the file remains on the servers for only 30 minutes, you have fewer worries about your personal information being exposed to some of the other dangers of the internet. If you choose, you have the option of extending this time limit, by signing up for an account. However, if your intention is to share the file for the predetermined time, there is no need to sign up.

The process is virtually done in one click. You drag and drop the file on top of the "crate" on the main page and it starts uploading the file right away. The process is usually rather quick, but ultimately depends on your internet connection and the size of the file. As soon as the file is uploaded, a link is generated which you can share with anyone you want.

This generated link as I mentioned previously, is valid for thirty minutes, but can be extended by signing up for an account, which is a very easy process and gives you the ability to keep track of all your uploads and various files that you have shared.

Crate is perfect for those moments where a quick temporary file upload is required. You can find it here.

For sharing large files online, you may also want to take a look at GE.TT.

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81 Space Shift Navigation
Sounds like a cool new form of space travel, doesn't it? Unfortunately, (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) it's just a trick to make navigating pages in your web browser a little easier.

So, instead of using the Page Up and Page Down keys all the way on the other side of your keyboard, do this:

    Press your Space Bar to go a page down.

    Press Shift+Space Bar to go a page up.

Quick navigation, without traveling all over the place! Give it a try!

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80. Instant Properties
Here's a quickie way to view the properties of a file or program.

If you need to get the properties for something (like an icon, for instance), just hold down your ALT key and double-click it .

Instant properties!

Try it with "My Computer" or one of your regular desktop icons.

And yes, I know that you can also right-click an item and select "Properties" from the resulting menu. I just thought this was cooler.

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79. Copy As Path
Everyone knows that right-clicking on a file or a folder usually brings up a menu with basic choices, like “Open” or “Copy”. For those that crave a little more out of their right-clicks, however, might I suggest holding the Shift key when you right click? In Windows Vista and 7 the usual menu that pops up will now include an option called “Copy as Path”. This actually copies the entire path of the file or folder to your clipboard, and allows you to paste it wherever you want.

This is useful for when you've located a file in Explorer and you want to upload it to a Web site. So, instead of taking the time to browse for the file on the site, you can just copy and paste its path directly.

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78. Backing Up the Registry

If you're planning on messing with your Windows Registry, it's probably a good idea to back it up first!

Here's how:

1. Click Start /Run and type in "regedit" (no quotes). (If you're in Windows Vista or 7, just type it into the search box.)

2. Next, click the File menu, then " Export".

3. Select a location from the resulting box and give your backup registry a

name. Something like:


Just a quick note: By default, Windows backs up the registry when you shut down your machine. The above is probably best used for those (like myself) who like to tinker with registry settings.

Now, how to restore the registry you just backed up...

First, if Windows gets an error when loading your registry, it will automatically revert to its backup, so it should never give you any kind of trouble loading.

OK, but what do you do if you've been playing around in your registry and have *really* messed stuff up?

Click the Registry menu (in the Registry Editor) and select Import Registry . Then just point the computer to your back up file.

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77. No To All
Have you ever been doing something in Windows that involved multiple files? If so, you've probably come across a message similar to this at one time or another.

Notice how there's an option for “Yes to All”, but no button for “No to All”? What gives? I'm not going to be sitting here rapidly clicking “No” all night, am I?

Well, the good news is that if you find yourself in this situation, all you need to do to get “No to All” is hold the Shift key when you click “No”.

It's that easy! Just make sure you know what you're saying no to in the first place!

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76. OverType!
Have you ever gone back to change a thing or two while typing and instead of moving the text to the right to accommodate the space, the text was overwritten? You probably ended up having to re-type an entire paragraph because of it. You were a victim of the Insert key!

Somehow during the course of your typing, a stray finger accidentally tapped the Insert key. Normally, you can squeeze words between other words with no problem.Tap that Insert key, and you'll overwrite instead of insert. Next time that happens, just tap the Insert key again to get back to normal.

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75. Definition - Cookies
When you hear the term "cookies" applied to the internet, it's generally not in reference to the gooey chocolate chip variety. A cookie used on the internet is basically a small text file that is placed on your hard drive by a web server. They are used to keep track of various aspects of your travels through the site in question.

They can be used to keep track of passwords, shopping patterns, what type of pages you like, your preferences for that particular site, and more.

For example, if you've ever "joined" any kind of site that requires a login and password, you've probably noticed a "click here to remember your login information" checkbox (not all sites have it, but most do). The site remembers this info by using cookies.

Another example would be a site that you can customize to your liking. If you have a site that "remembers" what type of news, sports ,weather or other preferences you like, they are probably using cookies to do this.

The disadvantage of course is that these sites get a little bit of information about you, especially how you are moving through the site. Remember: A cookie by itself can't read (or damage) your hard drive. They only way a site gets personal information about you is if YOU provide it.

OK, I may take a little heat for this, but my personal recommendation is not to worry too much about cookies. In general they are more helpful than harmful. If you're worried about your privacy, don't give out any personal information. It's that simple!

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74.But can I even run Windows 7?
Those of you out there that are planning on upgrading to Windows 7 may want to pay special attention to today's tip. We learned about the system requirements for Microsoft's upcoming upgrade awhile back, but what if you're still unsure as to whether or not your PC can handle it?

That's where this no-frills, free download from the folks at Microsoft comes in. It's called the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor. It's still in the beta stage right now, but from what I experienced, it works just fine.

Simply download the program and follow the prompts. In a couple of minutes (or more, depending on your system) you'll be given a generated report on what requirements your computer meets or falls short of. No more wondering, folks! This handy little app will do it for you and then let you know what needs to be upgraded to accommodate Windows 7 when it releases this Fall.

Check it out here.

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73. What's that File - PPS?
You could say that I'm a bit of a connoisseur when it comes to e-mail. I get literally hundreds, sometimes thousands of e-mails per day depending on the scenario, so I've seen all kinds of attachments, subjects and the like.

One attachment in particular has always put me off, though. The PPS file.

What is this file, anyway?

A PPS file is actually a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation or slideshow. Just like slideshows past, it is nothing more than a series of pictures, only a PPS is conveniently packaged into one file for easy viewing. Problem is: What if I don't have MS PowerPoint on my computer?

Rest easy, you can download a PowerPoint viewer here, which will allow you to look at PPS files,without actually owning the software!

As always, make sure that you've got all of your virus definitions up to date and you scan everything that comes down the pipeline to your inbox. It's always better to be safe than sorry!

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72. Funny Word Time! -- Boolean
There's something about learning a funny technological word that brings out the geek in everyone! Today's subject is one that will help everyone work more efficiently while searching on the Internet. It's called “Boolean”.

Say you're looking for a specific thing on the web, but every time you search it seems as though there are too many results, and to go through all of them would take hours! Boolean operators can streamline this process; giving you a more refined search. Here are a few to try out:

Yes, putting quotes around your search terms looks for the words or phrase exactly as typed. If you put in “Granola Bars” the sites returned will have only those words in their exact order. This is my favorite one to use when I'm looking for a specific file or subject and want to skip all the browsing around.

The operator “and” is used to combine search terms so that information is only retrieved if all terms occur in the same document. So if you're looking for “Doctors and Lawyers”, type in that phrase, and what will be returned are documents with both keywords in them.

“Not” prevents retrieval of documents in which specified terms occur together. This operator is also good to use when a keyword has multiple meanings. So the search “milk not butter” will find documents where “milk” occurs but “butter” doesn't.

"Or" combines keywords so the retrieved documents contain any or all of the keywords. Most search engines don't need this though, as they assume this as the operator being used already.

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71. Task Manager NOW!
I'm impatient sometimes, and being the technologically-minded individual I am, I find my patience tried and tired-out everyday working on and around computers. This means that anytime I find even the simplest tip, trick or solution to make computer life easier, I just have to share it with all of you!

So, say you want to open the task manager, but you don't even want the hassle of CTRL+ALT+Delete. What does one do? Simple! Just hit CTRL+Shift+Esc and bypass the whole thing! This command immediately opens up the task manager with no fuss and no muss! Get straight to the heart of the problem, quick!

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70. What is the F-key? F9 through F12 (Extended)
Our romp through form and function is nearing it's end, and we have but four remaining F-Keys to discuss. The ALT, CTRL and Shift combinations haven't really added a whole lot of usefulness as far as I can tell, but we'd better finish this off with F9 through F12, just to be thorough! Remember: The F-keys are not a curse word, but a row of keys at the top of your keyboard ranging from F1 through F12.

Without any further hesitation a-here-we-go!

Note: Do not expect all of these key combinations to work. Some of them may be program specific, or obsolete. If you're slamming the keys in frustration and nothing is happening, move on! :)


(Note: These combinations apply to MS Word and other programs)

Shift + F9 = Switch between field code and it's result

CTRL + F9 = Insert and empty field

CTRL + Shift + F9 = Unlink a field

ALT + F9 = Switch between all field codes and their results


(Note: Yet another MS Word situation)

Shift + F10 =Displays the shortcut menu

CTRL + F10 = Maximizes the document window

CTRL + Shift + F10 = Activates the ruler (Non-functional for me)

ALT + F10 = Maximizes the program window


Shift + F11 = Go to previous field (MS Word)

CTRL + F11 = Lock a field

CTRL+ Shift+ F11 = Unlock a field

ALT + F11 = Display Microsoft Visual Basic Code

ALT + SHIFT + F11 = Display Microsoft Visual Studio Code


Shift + F12 = Choose the Save Command (MS Word)

CTRL + F12 = Choose the Open Command

CTRL+ Shift+ F12 = Choose the Print Command

Once again, there are many more shortcuts to be had outside of what I've listed here. A lot of other programs, like Photoshop, use combination functions all the time! It's all a matter of experimentation and remembering to save your work first! I hope you've enjoyed our trip down F-key lane. Rest assured that there are more fun and functional shortcuts and tips from me in the future. Until then, be safe, save often and don't be afraid of your computer!

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69. What is the F-key? F5 through F8 (Extended)
Welcome back to another exciting edition of “What the F-key?” Today our special guest stars are F5 through F8. Let's give them a warm round of applause! Just to recap, the function keys are the line of “F” keys going across the top of your keyboard going from F1 to F12. As before, we'll be covering the ALT, CTRL and Shift functions of these keys to see what they do.

Note: Do not expect all of these key combinations to work. Some of them may be program specific, or obsolete. If you're slamming the keys and nothing is happening, move on! :)


Shift + F5 = Move to a previous revision (MS Word)

CTRL + F5 = Unconditional Refresh (Refreshes Internet Explorer from Internet, not cache)

ALT + F5 = Closes the Word Program (although nothing happened for me)

CTRL + F5 = Restore document window size (Apparently not functional)


Shift + F6 = Program specific. Experiment at your own risk, and don't forget to save your work first!

CTRL + F6 = Cycles forwards between open windows within a program

CTRL + Shift + F6 = Cycles backwards between open windows within a program


Shift + F7 = Opens the Thesaurus command in MS Word.

CTRL + F7 = Program specific. Experiment with this one, but save your work first!

CTRL + Shift + F7 = Updates linked information in a Word document.

ALT + F7 = Finds the next misspelling or grammatical error.


Shift + F8 = Shrink current selection (MS Word)

CTRL + F8 = Program specific. In Microsoft Project it resizes the project window.

Alt + F8 = Opens the macro menu (MS Word)

There are many more shortcuts to be had outside of what I've listed here. A lot of programs, like Adobe Photoshop, use combination functions all the time! It's all a matter of experimentation and remembering to save your work first!

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68. What the F-key? F1 through F4 (Extended!)
As promised I'm back with more function keys! This time we'll be talking about extended combinations like ALT, CTRL and Shift, and how they alter each F-key's function. Just to recap, the function keys are the line of “F” keys going across the top of your keyboard going from F1 to F12.

Today we'll be covering F1 through F4.

Note: Do not expect all of these key combinations to work. Some of them may be program specific, or obsolete. If you're slamming the keys and nothing is happening, move on! :)


Shift + F1 = This reveals the formatting of the current document (MS Word)

ALT + F1 = Go to next field

ALT + Shift + F1 = Go to previous field

CTRL + ALT + F1 = Display Microsoft System Info (Does not appear to work under Windows Vista)

CTRL + Shift + F1 = Change the font (Does not appear to work under Windows Vista)


Shift + F2 = Copy Text

CTRL + F2 = Print preview command (MS Word)

ALT + Shift + F2 = Save command (MS Word)

CTRL + ALT + F2 = Open command (MS Word)


Shift + F3 = Changes text case (MS Word)

CTRL + F3 = Program specific. Experiment with this one, but save your work first!

ALT + F3 = Creates a building block (MS Word)


Shift + F4 = Repeat a find or Go To action (MS Word)

CTRL + F4 = Close the active window (MS Word)

Alt + F4 = Close the active program. If no programs are open you can shut your computer down with this combination!

Not quite as much functionality as I was expecting. Maybe the next set of F-keys will give us something a bit more substantial! Stay tuned!

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67. What is the F-key? Just to refresh: F9 through F12
Function keys are pretty versatile, but some only have purpose specific to the program that's running at the time. They're mainly used as shortcuts or in conjunction with the CTRL, ALT, and Shift keys. We'll talk about that soon.

For now, here are the basics of function keys F9 – F12.


Another program-specific function key, I just call it “lazy”, though... Well, if you're using MS Word the F9 key will update the selected field, so that's one thing it can do!


This key is used to access the Menu Bar in programs (File, Edit, View, Etc.). Good for zapping up there if you need to access some of the menu functions.


Is used in Internet Explorer to toggle the full screen view, also known as “KIOSK” mode.


Another “lazy” key, although some individual programs may have functions assigned to it. In MS Word this can be used as the “Save As” command.

And there you have it! I feel pretty functional, personally, but next time around we'll extend the use of the F-keys to include the ALT, CTRL and Shift commands!

Woo! Exciting!

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66. What is the F-key? F5 through F8
In part 2 of “What the F-key?” we'll be covering Function Keys F5 through F8. Some useful ideas here for function keys, folks! Just to recap let's discuss what F-keys are used for:

Function keys have many, many uses, some of which are specific to the program that's running at the time. They're mainly used as shortcuts or in conjunction with the CTRL, ALT, and Shift keys, which I'll cover in a later article.

Continuing on, here are the basics of function keys F5 – F8.


Refresh key. Use this key to reload a web page or refresh your desktop. This is a good one for both the Internet (good for Ebay bid battles) and apparent computer freezes which you can read about here.


Cycles the cursor from field to field in the active program. In MS Word you can use this F-key to go to the next pane or frame.


This F-key is program-specific. Experiment in different programs to see what it can do, but remember to save your work first!


This key is used to boot Windows in Safe Mode. Read about Safe Mode here.

We're almost done, everyone! Check back for the exciting conclusion of “What is the F-key?”. Same Worldstart time, same Worldstart channel!

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65. What is the F-key? F1 through F4
See that line of keys ranging from F1 to F12 at the top of your keyboard? Wonder what all of 'em do? Yeah, so do I, and that's why today we're going to take a trip down funky f-key lane to discover the fun of Function Keys!

Function keys have many, many uses, some of which are specific to the program that's running at the time. They're mainly used as shortcuts or in conjunction with the CTRL, ALT, and Shift keys, which I'll get more into in another article.

For now, here are the basics of function keys F1 – F4.


Typically pressing this brings up the help file for the program you're currently in. To test this, go ahead and left click on a blank area of your desktop, then press F1. The help file should spring to life, offering it's bounty of knowledge!


This F-key is used to rename stuff. Click on a file or folder and strike the F2 key; you'll be able to rename it with ease! This is a good one to know if you're zipping through a bunch of files you're archiving and you have a specific naming convention in mind. Click the file, press F2 and rename it! - wash, rinse, repeat!


Used to bring up the search function in Windows, but varies for other programs. Great for Internet Explorer and Firefox users who want to find a specific word or phrase on a web page with ease!


In Internet Explorer the F4 key opens the address bar. Even though I said I wouldn't be mentioning any extra key commands until later, I must mention that pressing ALT + F4 will close any active program. Careful with this one!

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64. Win-D, a.k.a Windows D
So, say you're like me and have a billion and a half windows open all at once. Now, say you would like to access your desktop to open yet another program, but don't want to bother minimizing each and every window one at a time. You could click the "Show Desktop" icon, sure, but that would require moving your mouse, wouldn't it? I say forget that! Let keyboard shortcuts rule the day!

Take the work out of minimization by using the "Win-D" method. Simply hold the Windows key (the one with the little Windows logo) on your keyboard in conjunction with the letter D and *poof!* you're Samantha Stevens from Bewitched! Want them to come back? use the same key combo and everything is back where it once was!

Now that's some pretty neat stuff right there!

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63. Worms and Viruses
I got a question the other day from a reader wanting to know what the difference between a worm and a virus. So, without further adieu, here we go!

Viruses are self-replicating programs that embed themselves into other programs, or even the operating system, and use the host to carry out its function. Unless it attaches itself to an email, a virus stays put on the victim's computer.

A worm is also a computer program that makes copies of itself. They spread from computer to computer (instead of file to file), infecting whole systems, using up resources in the affected computer, and causing heaps of damage. Worms penetrate the computer's memory from a network, find network addresses of other computers, then send their own copies to these addresses. Once launched, a worm can email itself to everyone in an address book or launch a trojan horse.

So, worms are designed to spread out to many computers while viruses generally stay put. Worms take over your computer while viruses destroy files.

Regardless of the differences, though, they are both destructive to your system.

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62. Run With Vista
Are you now using the Windows Vista operating system? If so, are you getting a little frustrated with being away from everything you knew in XP? I mean, going from XP to Vista is an extreme change and it can be very difficult getting used to all the new features. I know I felt that way when I first started working with Vista. I was so used to XP and I just felt like the two operating systems were like day and night.

But, if you look past all that confusion, you'll find that there are a few things you can do with Vista to bring back the comfort of XP. (I'm not even kidding!) As a matter of fact, I'm going to tell you how to do one of those right now. In Windows XP, a function I always use a lot is the Run command. It's just an easy feature to work with and it gets me where I need to go. Now, as I'm sure you've noticed, Vista doesn't offer the Run command. Or, does it?!

To get the Run option back for yourself, right click on the Start button in Vista and choose Properties. Make sure you're under the Start Menu tab and then click on the Customize button. Scroll down near the bottom of that list and checkmark the box that says "Run command." Once you've done that, click OK. In the next window, click Apply, then OK again. Now, go and click your Start button. What do you see? Yep, the Run command is back and ready for some action. Yes!

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61. Deleting IE 7 Cookies
Lately, several of you have been asking about deleting cookies in Windows Vista and while that's a valid question, I think we all may be a little confused about the whole thing. For starters, cookies don't really lie within your operating system, rather they come from your Web browser. So, even if you're using the operating system of Vista, your cookies are still stored in whichever browser you use, such as Internet Explorer or Firefox. (Also, just to make sure we're all on the same page here, if you're not familiar with cookies, you can read all about them here). Okay, with all that taken care of, let's continue!

From all of your questions about cookies in Vista, I've come to the conclusion that you're really asking about cookies in Internet Explorer 7. Vista comes with IE 7 as the default Web browser, so if you're new to using that, let's go over how you can delete cookies from there. To begin, go to Start, Control Panel and double click on the Internet Options icon to open the Internet Properties box. (You need to be in the classic view for this to work. To get there, just click on the Classic View link on the left hand side of the Control Panel window).

Once you're there, look for the Browsing History section and hit the Delete button. Another window with several options will then come up for you. Click on the Delete Cookies button to get rid of all your stored cookie files. You will then be asked if you're sure you want to delete your cookies, so when you're ready, just hit Yes. Next, hit the Close button and then the OK button to close everything out. That's all you have to do. All of your cookies will be gone for good (that is, until you make new ones!) Either way, this is a good thing to do on a regular basis, just to make sure the information you put on the Internet is kept as safe as possible!

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60. More on Vista's Snipping Tool
As you may recall, last week, I wrote an article about the Snipping Tool found in the operating system of Windows Vista. After it was featured in the newsletter, I received several e-mails with complaints of it not working. I didn't understand why that would be happening, because when I tried it out, it worked just fine. Well, I got to searching around on the Web and I came across something I was not aware of when I wrote the tip. And I'm positive it's the answer to all of your Snipping Tool problems. Let's check it out!

To be able to use the Snipping Tool feature in Vista, you have to change some of your settings. Luckily, it's very easy to do, so let's get right to it! To begin, go to Start, Control Panel and click on the Programs link. Then under the Programs and Features section, click on the option that says "Turn Windows features on or off." Once you do that, a new window will appear with a list of all the features Vista has to offer. You'll see all kinds of things and some of them will be checked, while others are left alone.

Go ahead and scroll down until you find the Tablet PC Optional Components feature. Make sure that box is checked and then click OK. In order to be able to use the Snipping Tool, you must have that feature enabled. Otherwise, you won't be able to find it on your computer, which is the problem most of you e-mailed me about. I do apologize for not looking into this before, but hopefully you've got everything fixed now and you can start snipping away. Have fun, my friends!

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59.Vista Auto-Defrag
Are you a Windows Vista user? If so, have you run a defrag on your system lately? As you may remember, awhile back, I told you how to run a defrag with the Vista operating system and at that time, I failed to mention anything about the automatic defrag feature. So, I figured today would be as good a time as any to do so. As a Vista user, you may have run into a few of the functions that Microsoft has controlled for you, including the auto-defrag. I don't know about you, but I want my control back. Keep reading to find out how you can get it!

By default, the disk defrag feature in Vista is set up to defrag your system approximately every four times you restart your computer. It just starts on its own, no matter what you're working on or what you're doing on your computer at the time. As you can imagine, that slows your computer down quite a bit, let alone how annoying it becomes! So, if you'd like to speed your system back up by turning the auto-defrag feature off, here's how you can do it.

First, double click on the Computer icon on your desktop. Once there, right click on your C: drive and choose Properties. Next, hit the Tools tab and then select the option that says "Defragment Now." (I know that may sound like the opposite of what you should be doing, but stick with me. It will all work out in the end!) Lastly, uncheck the box that says "Run on a schedule." That will stop all the scheduled defrags from running and from here on out, you can run the defrag whenever it's convenient for you. Just don't forget to do it!

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58. All about WiFi
I received an e-mail the other day from a reader asking for some basic information about the term "WiFi." After reading it, I immediately went to our archives, because I thought for sure we had done a tip on that in the past. Well, come to find out, we have done a few things on WiFi, but we've never covered just the basics of it. As soon as I realized that, I knew I had to take care of it right away. So, that's exactly what we're going to do today. We're going to get down to the nitty gritty of WiFi, so if you're up for the ride, let's get going!

To begin, WiFi is short for Wireless Fidelity and the term is always used in conjunction with any 802.11 wireless network. That can be 802.11b, 802.11a, dual-band and so on. There are several devices that work within a WiFi range, including computers, digital cameras, music players, cell phones and even TVs. For example, if your computer is WiFi enabled, you are able to connect to the Internet from any WiFi access point, often called hotspots (usually found in airports, coffee shops, etc. and are free to the public). The WiFi technology also allows for peer-to-peer connectivity, which enables multiple users to connect with each other. And that's just one other awesome feature WiFi has to offer!

The WiFi term is credited to the WiFi Alliance company and they strive to make as many products "WiFi Certified" as possible. If a product is "WiFi Certified," that means it can operate with any other device of its kind. For example, if you have a WiFi enabled computer that you purchased from the Dell company and a WiFi digital camera you bought from Kodak, you'll still be able to use both of those together. As long as they're both "WiFi Certified," they are interoperable. The WiFi technology has grown a lot in the past couple of years and as you can probably tell from what I've told you today, it's only getting better. Now, you can consider yourself a WiFi expert. Go and tell all your friends!

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57. Handling open programs
Let's say you have about four different programs running on your PC all at the same time. For instance, maybe you have your e-mail up and running, a Web browser window open, a Word document ready for review and your music player playing your favorite song. With all of that going on, have you ever wondered if there was a quick way to pull each of those programs up as you need them, without the rest of them getting in your way? For example, maybe you're working on your Word document, but you want to bring your music player up to change songs. So, how can you do that quickly and painlessly?

Well, all you have to do is press Alt + Tab together one time. Once you do that, it will bring up a little box that has all of your open programs listed. Then while continuing to hold the Alt key down, just press the Tab key to scroll your way across the programs. Highlight the one you want and then release the Alt key to pull that program up. Want to change programs again? Just repeat the process as many times as you need. It's so simple and it also helps you to keep track of everything you have running on your PC at one time. Pretty cool, huh? Give it a try today!

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56. Maximize It Already!
When you open your Web browser, does it sometimes open in a smaller window than you'd like? If that happens, are you constantly going up to the Maximize button and making the screen larger? It's happened to me before and let me tell you, it gets old real quick. So, what can you do about it? Well, allow me to give you a couple options. Read on!

In Internet Explorer, open a new window and for now, make sure it's a smaller size than you actually want it to be. Then go to each corner and use your mouse to drag the sides out to a size you prefer. Just drag the window until it fills your screen. (Don't use the Maximize button for this one). When you've found a size that suits you, close the window. Now, whenever you open a new window in IE, it will appear as the full size you've been waiting for. How cool is that?!

Here's another rule you can go by: if you're using several browser windows at once, whenever you close the very last one, make sure it's in its maximized size. Internet Explorer works through the last window you close. So, if you closed a window that was the right size for you, the next one you open will be the exact same size. Either way you choose to go, you're guaranteed to always have a full screen browser. I'm lovin' it, aren't you?!

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55. Tab the Space
Here's a fun little quick tip for you! Do you often sign up for certain things online? You know, anything that requires you to choose a username and password or even fill in some of your personal information (name, address, phone number, etc.?) Well, when you're filling out those forms, do you have to use your mouse to go through most of it? Don't you get tired of going back and forth between your keyboard and mouse? I know I do!

Well, today, I'm here to show you a trick that will change that forever. All you have to do is use the Tab key and the Spacebar on your keyboard. When you're filling out a form that asks for your name, address, etc., you can use the Tab key to go from one line to the next. For example, if you're done filling in your name, hit the Tab key and your mouse cursor will automatically go down to the next line, which is probably where your address goes. You can do that throughout the whole form!

Now, do you ever come across something that requires you to checkmark some of those little boxes? For instance, when a form asks you if you're male or female or how about when you're changing the settings in your Web browser or e-mail program. Whenever you have to check a box, just hit the Spacebar. If you want to uncheck a box, hit the Spacebar again. It's that easy! With the Tab and Spacebar keys, you can fly through any form you have to fill out or any settings you have to set. Sounds good to me. Give it a shot!

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54. Proper Removal of Flash Drive
Are you one of the many who use a flash drive these days? I mean, really, how can you resist? They are so simple to use and just as convenient as can be. So, tell me, when you go to remove your flash drive from the USB port it's in, how do you do it? Do you just yank it out and then go on with your day? If you do, that's not really the proper way to do it and if you keep doing it that way, you could end up ruining your flash drive. Well, lucky for you, I have come bearing instructions on how to properly remove a flash drive from your computer!

There are actually a couple different ways you can do it. I suggest you read through them and choose the one you feel the most comfortable with. The first one has a few less steps than the second, so we'll start there. When you're ready to take your flash drive out, double click on the My Computer icon on your desktop and find the drive your flash drive is listed under. (It will usually be listed under a "Removable Disk" letter). Right click on that drive and choose Eject. You can then remove the flash drive with no risk of ruining anything.

The second way is to use your Safely Remove Hardware icon, located in your bottom system tray. Double click on that icon (it's a little green arrow with a little gray disk underneath it). Highlight the choice that says "USB Mass Storage Device" and click on the Stop button. Next, find the entry for your flash drive and click on it so that it's highlighted. Click OK. You will then see a little pop up window in the bottom corner of your screen, telling you it's now safe to remove the hardware. Once you see that, you can remove the flash drive and go on your way. As you can see, both ways are very easy to do, but in order to keep your flash drive safe, you need to make sure you do at least one of them!

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53. Vista Program Compatibility: An Update
As you may remember, last week, I wrote an article about the Windows Vista Program Compatibility Wizard you can use if you're having trouble getting some of your programs to work on your Vista computer. (If you missed out on that tip, you can read it right here). After it appeared in the newsletter, I received several e-mails and even a few phone calls with questions about it. It seemed like a lot of you were having trouble finding the feature, so I thought I'd take some time today to clear all of that up. Here we go!

After so many of you told me you couldn't find the Program Compatibility Wizard, I got to thinking that maybe it wasn't available with every edition of Vista. I tested the tip on a Vista Home Basic computer and it worked just fine, so I thought maybe it wouldn't work for everyone. I thought that was strange, but I know it has happened with other things, so it was possible. But then I started researching it a little more and luckily, that's not the case at all. Keep reading as we solve this mystery!

In order to find the Program Compatibility Wizard, you have to be in a certain Control Panel view. In Vista, there is a Control Panel Home view and a Classic view and you must be in the Control Panel Home view to find the Wizard. If you happen to be in the Classic view, you won't be able to find it. So, to check on that, go to Start, Control Panel and look in the top left hand corner. You will see a dot next to whichever view you're in. If you're not in the right one, simply click on Control Panel Home and you'll be taken to the correct spot. You can then go to Programs and click on the option that says "Use an older program with this version of Windows." Then just follow along with the wizard and you'll be all set. I hope this clears up all of the confusion!

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52. XP SP3 Support
I'm sure every single one of you know about the Windows XP Service Pack 3 update, right? We here at WorldStart have gotten a lot of phone calls and e-mails about the release in the last week or so. Your comments range from how smoothly the install went to how the Service Pack completely crashed your computer and so on.

Now, I don't want to scare you with horror stories of XP SP3 failed installs, but it's important to realize that problems do occur. Microsoft tries very hard to make sure the install of any update or Service Pack goes smoothly for all computers, but with Windows installed on millions of computers worldwide, it becomes a difficult challenge. So, the question is: “What do you do if your Windows XP SP3 install fails?”

First of all, don't panic! The worst thing you can do in a situation like that is to just start clicking away, trying to fix a problem you don't know very much about. If you do that, you could cause even more damage to your system, which will make it harder to repair.

If you come across a problem, there is help available! Microsoft doesn't advertise it, but they do offer free chat, e-mail and phone support for issues such as this. That's right, you can call Microsoft directly if you have any trouble with your XP SP3 install.

Here's the telephone number you can use to contact Microsoft for free XP SP3 support: 866-234-6020.

For other types of support, click here as well. Until next time, stay safe out there, my friends!

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51. Internet Access at a hotel/motel
Q. My family and I are going on vacation in a few weeks and we'll be staying in a hotel the whole time. I'd like to take my laptop with me, but I'm not sure if I'll have access to the Internet at the hotel or not. How can I find out? Or, what do I need to do to be able to connect while I'm in my room? Please explain it to me!

A. That's an excellent question! With summertime just around the corner, I'm sure a lot of you will be going on vacation and in this day and age, it's just common procedure to take your computer with you. I mean, you never know when you could need it while you're gone. Maybe you need to stay caught up on your e-mail or perhaps you'll need it to look up driving directions or the location of a restaurant. Either way, to accomplish any of that, you will need an Internet connection. And if you're staying in a hotel, you just might be in luck!

These days, most hotel chains offer Internet access as an "extra" right along with the indoor pool and HBO channels you're used to getting. It's really not hard at all to find a hotel that has some sort of Internet hookup available. So, how do you find out if a hotel has the Internet or not? Well, the easiest thing to do is look on their Web site. If a hotel provides Internet access, it will most likely be highlighted under their Features and Amenities list. For example, I recently stayed at a Best Western and they had all the information I needed to know right on their Web site. Or, you can simply call the hotel for information as well.

Most hotels have either high-speed or wireless Internet. If they offer high-speed Internet (the most common), you should be able to get what you need right at the front desk when you arrive. They will give you the correct cords you need to connect to the Internet in your room. If the hotel has wireless Internet, there should be a WiFi access point right in your room. Of course, your computer will need to be set up for a wireless connection, but most newer computers come that way anyway. Either way, once you have everything set up, you can start surfing the Web with ease!

Again, before you leave for your trip, you'll definitely want to get as much information about the hotel's connections as possible. You'll need to know what type of Internet they offer, where the access points are, if you have to do anything special to get online, how easy (or hard) it is to connect and so on. I'm just saying you should prepare yourself as much as you can so that nothing surprises you once you get to the hotel. Like I said before, you can get all of that information from the hotel's Web site or by calling them on the phone.

Another thing you need to check on is if the hotel charges you to use their Internet access or not. Unfortunately, some hotels do and it can add up quickly. If they do charge you, you'll need to find out if it's an hourly or daily rate, if you pay in advance or when you check out, etc. If you're aware of the costs, you can limit your Internet use during your stay or maybe even choose another hotel that offers it for free. Finding out all of that information before you leave for your trip will really help cut down on your costs.

You should also keep in mind that a lot of hotels have computers in their lobby for their guests to use. If you think you can get by with using one of those, you won't even need to drag your laptop along or worry about paying even more just to use the Internet. That's definitely something you'll want to check on before you leave as well. Every hotel is different, but if you do your homework, you'll be able to find one that meets your Internet needs perfectly. If it's absolutely necessary to have the Internet while you're on vacation, I recommend following these pointers and doing it right. Now, go on and have a good time!

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50. E-mail Recall
We've all done it before. We prepare an e-mail message and we're 100 percent sure it's ready to be sent off, but as soon as we click the Send button, we realize we made a big mistake! Either you addressed it to the wrong person, you forgot some important information or you forgot to make some minor corrections. Whatever the case may be, you're probably wondering if there's any way you can recall that e-mail and try again, right?

Well, to be honest, there really isn't. Unfortunately, in most e-mail programs, once the e-mail is sent, there's no way to retrieve it again. There's no way to do it in Outlook Express or any of the more popular Web based e-mail clients, such as Yahoo!, Hotmail, Gmail or AOL. The only program that allows it is Microsoft Outlook. If you're one of the lucky ones who uses Outlook, you can read here for instructions on how to do that.

As for the rest of us, what can we do? First off, forget about getting the e-mail back, because it's just not going to happen. Once it's sent, it's gone. There are a few things you can do to prevent it from ever happening again though. One of the best things to do is address the e-mail last. Go ahead and type out your e-mail first and put the recipient's e-mail address on the To: line last. Your e-mail program won't send the e-mail without an address, so once you see that, it will make you think harder about who you're sending it to. Also, that may lead you to look over the e-mail one more time to make sure it's error free. So, even though you can't get certain e-mails back, you can keep yourself from making the same mistake twice. Thank goodness!

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49. Vista Disk Cleanup
I've been using Windows Vista since it first came out and I think I'm close to using up all my disk space. Can you please tell me how I can clear up some of that space? I haven't quite figured out how to do it in Vista yet. Thanks so much for your help!

A: Oh, I'm so glad you asked! We've preached and preached on this topic for Windows XP, so there's no reason why we shouldn't do the same for Windows Vista. The disk cleanup process is a little bit different with the Vista operating system, so it's really no surprise that you're having a hard time finding it. I'm sure you're not the only one either. So, if you need to free up some of your disk space on your Vista computer, keep reading, because that's exactly what I'm going to teach you how to do today!

We all know that hard drive capacities are growing more and more everyday, but that doesn't mean we're still limited on the storage space we have. Most people think that if they have a large hard drive capacity, they won't have to worry about running out of room. Well, that's just not the case! It really comes down to the more space you have, the less time you'll spend cleaning it out, which can lead to major build up. Your data will just continue to pile up and once you do finally run out of room, it will take you forever to get the job done.

Yes, you can try doing frequent clean ups, like deleting unused files and uninstalling unnecessary programs, but what if all of that isn't enough? After so much time, doing those things just won't cut it. And that's when the Vista Disk Cleanup comes into play. Just like in XP, the Disk Cleanup will help you free up your disk space so that you won't reach the point of having no storage room left at all. This process is very easy to do with Vista, because it allows you to search for the files that are safe to erase and it lets you make the final decision on what goes and what stays. Here's how to use it!

First, right click on the Computer icon on your desktop and choose Properties. Next, click on the General tab and then hit the Disk Cleanup button. A window will then come up asking you what you'd like to remove, etc. Just choose what you'd like to delete and press OK. Like I said before, you have the final say on what is deleted and what's not. You gotta love that!

There is also a More Options button you can use if you want to clean up some files from other users on your computer. For example, if you want to clear out some of the files your children put on your PC, you can do that here. Note: Keep in mind that you may be asked for your Administrator password before you can begin this though. Once you're all set, you can choose between two other options.

The first is the Programs and Features choice. This one allows you to uninstall programs you no longer need on your computer. With this, you can also see the size of each program, which is nice, because you can really see what's weighing your storage space down. The second option is System Restore and Shadow Copies. This one allows you to remove all your restore points (except for the most recent ones) and any backup images you may have on your hard drive. Getting rid of that old data will really free up a lot of your space.

That's all you have to do to enjoy more storage space again. So, if you haven't done a Disk Cleanup in awhile, I recommend doing it very soon. It won't hurt, I promise!

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48. Hidden Features in Google
I saw something online the other day about some hidden features in Google. Do you know anything about this? If so, what's it referring to? I would love to know!

A: Well, I'm not sure where you got your information, but I do have some Google secrets of my own that I can show you. My source for this is actually from one of WorldStart's message board posts by user "dolphina," so here's a big thank you to them! The post included a link to a Google video you could watch that showed exactly how to do all of the "hidden features" on your own. I watched the video through a couple times and then tried a few of them on my own. And let me tell you, they are awesome! If you're an avid Google searcher, you're going to love what these features bring to the table. So, without further ado, let's see what we've got!

1.) Display the Current Local Time Anywhere - If you're interested in what time it is in different cities around the world, this is the perfect search tool for you. With this feature, you can find the local time for any major city anywhere around the world. To do this, go to Google's Web site ( and in the search box, type "time in city name." For example, if you wanted to get the time for Madrid, Spain, you would type in "Time in Madrid." I just did it and right now, as I write this, it is 3:48 p.m. Now, what's even better is that it will give you the time for any other cities around the world by that name as well. For my search, I found out there is a Madrid, Iowa and it is 9:48 a.m. there right now. How cool is that?!

2.) Currency Converter - The next "hidden feature" allows you to use the built in currency converter to look up the current exchange rates for any city in the world. For example, let's say you wanted to find the exchange rate for a U.S. dollar to a British pound. To do that, just type in something like "5.99 usd in gbp." By doing that, you'll learn that $5.99 in U.S. dollars is 2.89022919 British pounds. (Note: You'll want to leave the dollar sign ($) out or you won't get the results you're looking for). Now, if you don't know the abbreviations for all the currencies, you can type something like "Currency of France in American Money" instead. That search will show you that 1 Euro equals 1.4448 U.S. dollars. Awesome!

3.) Find Documents of the Specified Type - With Google, you can search for up to 12 different file formats right from your Web browser. Wow! Those formats include MS Office, PDFs, Lotus files and so on. If you want to search for a specific one, just type "filetype:[extension]" into the search box. For example, if you wanted to find an MS Word document on a certain dog breed, you would just type in the dog breed, followed by "filetype:doc." You can do that for any subject and for any file type. Oh yeah!

4.) Site Specific Search - This feature works perfectly when you want to search through a Web site that doesn't have a search engine included. To do this, you just need to type in a subject, followed by the Web site's URL. For example, you could type in "" You can do that for whatever topic you're interested in and for any site you like to visit on a regular basis!

5.) Four Day Weather Forecast - With this Google secret, you can search for the weather forecast for any city around the world. Let's say you're planning a trip to London, England. In that case, go to Google and type in "weather London." I just did that and I can tell you that it is 63° F and mostly cloudy there right now. Your search results will also give you the next four day's worth of weather. On Sunday, it's supposed to be 55 and mostly cloudy. You can do this for any city, anywhere!

6.) Google Calculator - Did you know that Google has a built in calculator? Well, now you do and you can start using it right away! With it, you can actually solve basic to advanced math problems. How great is that?! If you have a math problem that you just cannot solve (maybe you're helping your children or grandchildren with their homework), go to Google and type it in. Just for an example, here's an easy one: "2 + 3." Type that in and your answer will be revealed as "2 + 3 = 5." You can enter in any math equation, no matter how easy or how hard it is!

That's all I have for you today, but I'm sure there are several other Google secrets to be found. You just have to play around with the search engine to see what you can come up with. Hopefully the above six features will get you started though! If you want to see the full Google video about their "hidden features," you can do so right here. Watching it will give you some more ideas of what you can search for as well. Now, go on and have fun with these. What will Google think of next?!

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47. Timely Defrags
First of all, if you're not sure what defragmentation means, please read here before you continue on with this tip. Then once you have the basics down, please read on! Alright, so it seems like I've had a lot of people ask me lately how often they should defrag their computer. That's a legit question and since so many of you want to know, I'm not going to waste any more time before I tell you. This is some very important information, so please keep reading if you care about your computer even in the least bit. Here we go!

Basically, how often you should defrag your computer depends on what you use your PC for. If you only use it for a few simple tasks, you probably won't need to run the defrag as often. On the other hand, if you use your computer for some major duties, you'll need to run it more. For example, maybe you only use your computer to send and receive e-mails, play a few games here and there, create a few Word documents or to just simply surf the Web. If that's the case, you can probably get by with defragging once a month or so. But, if you use your computer to play games all day long, download all kinds of music, videos and movies or if you create high-end graphics, you should defrag at least once a week.

Again, it all just depends on what you do with your PC. If you run it really hard most of the time, there will be a lot more data stored in your system that will need to be defragged. That way, everything will be neatly organized and ready for your next endeavor. All in all, the more you defrag, the longer your hard drive will function in top speed for you. Otherwise, it could run ragged and really start to bog you down too. One last thing: Just in case you're not sure how to get to the defrag window, go to Start, All Programs, Accessories, System Tools, Disk Defragmenter. Now you have no excuses left for not running your defrag. Get it done!

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46. Print Screen Button and Screen Shots
Q: How do I take a screen shot like the ones in your newsletter?

A: I get email everyday asking that very question. So, here ya go!

You just tap the PrtScn (print screen) button. The real function of this key is to make a "snapshot" of your screen. If you have some imaging software (or a good word processor), you can then paste it into there and crop, etc. In fact, this is how we do our snappy screen shots.

Here's how:

To capture the whole screen, just hit the Print Screen (it might say Prt Sc ) button on your keyboard.

Then, open your imaging software (and a blank page, if you need to - it will depend on your software) and select your "Paste" command (usually Ctrl+V ).

This should paste an image of your computer screen into the document you're working on. You can also paste the image into a word processing program like MS Word or WordPerfect if you don't have imaging software. (With Word 2000 and newer, you might need to have the program open before your hit Prt Sc for the screenshot to go to the clipboard).

If you would like to capture only the current window, hold down the ALT button while you press the Print Screen button.

Soon you'll be a screenshot master.

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45. How to clean that keyboard
Q: My keyboard needs cleaned so bad! Can you give me a guide on how to get the job done right?

A: Excellent question! Have you been noticing a lot of dust and dirt (or maybe even some food pieces) stuck between the keys on your keyboard? Has it been bothering you? Would you like to clean it all out? If so, just follow these four steps for basic keyboard cleaning and you'll have your keyboard looking shiny and new again in no time!

First of all, you'll want to turn off your computer and unplug your keyboard.

1.) Turn your keyboard over and try to shake out any dust, dirt, food, etc. particles that you can.

2.) It is suggested to get a can of compressed air and spray it over the keys to remove any extra debris that may be lying in between the cracks. Compressed air should be available at any computer or photo store. Also, you can read here for some tips on buying the right kind of canned air.

3.) Take a slightly damp cloth and run it over the keys to remove any fingerprints and any other dirt that might be settling in on your keys.

4.) Take your vacuum's dusting brush attachment and set it on a low mode. Just run it over the keyboard to make sure all remaining particles of dust, dirt, food, etc. are removed.

Now, if you need to do a more serious cleaning because you have sticky keys or your keyboard is just so filthy, you can't stand it, take caution and follow the rest of these steps (continued from the steps mentioned above).

First, make sure you keep track of where the keys are placed on your keyboard so that you're able to put them back on in the right order. You may want to draw yourself a picture of some sort to keep track of them as well.

Now, using a small screwdriver, carefully remove all of the smaller keys. You're not going to want to take off the larger keys, like the Space bar, Shift, Enter or Tab, because those are extremely difficult to get back on.

Next, go back to using your compressed air to clean out all of the leftover dirt that is refusing to budge. If you have any stains underneath the keys, use the damp cloth like before to get rid of those as well. Once you've got it cleaned like you want it, put the keys back in their places. Each of them should snap right back on, but be careful while doing this. Also, test each key as you go, just to make sure they're working. When you're all finished, plug your keyboard back in and try out all of the keys to make sure everything is back to normal and working the way you want it to.

Note: Please remember that the second set of steps should only be used if your keyboard is extremely dirty or clogged. You need to take special precaution when using those methods.

Welcome to clean keyboard land!

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44. Vista's Microsoft Management Console (MMC)
Q. I just recently started using Windows Vista and I've noticed that there are some programs running that don't really need to be, but I can't figure out how to turn them off. I know you've discussed this topic for Windows XP before, but how do we do it in Vista? Please help!

A. What an excellent question! And it couldn't have come at a better time. Just the other day, one of my co-workers here at WorldStart, who happens to use a Windows Vista computer, asked me that same exact question. I must admit that I'm not using Vista yet, so I didn't know what to tell her at first. But, I promised to do some research and let her know. Then I go to my e-mail and I see this question in my Inbox. How perfect! So, I figured I'd go ahead and write a tip on this to help all of you out, as well as, my co-worker, all at the same time. I just love it when it works out like that. Here we go!

To begin, all computers have what are called services and those are basically special programs that take care of all the different functions your computer has to deal with in order to run properly. Some of those services are put in place to support some of the other programs on your computer, but in reality, a lot of them are unnecessary. Some of them sort of just sit there and take up space, which is quite annoying when you think about it. I'm sure Microsoft had good reasoning for putting those services in place, but when it comes down to it, you don't really need all of them running all the time. I mean, most of them run the entire time you have your computer turned on and that's just not necessary!

So, if you think there are some services running on your computer that you don't really need (like the person who asked this question), luckily, there is an easy way to turn them off. Windows Vista has a utility called the Microsoft Management Console (MMC), which is what you can use to turn off all those unwanted services. Keep going to learn all about it and find out how you can start using it today!

To open the MMC, click on the Start button and in the search box below it, type in "services.msc." When your results show up, scroll through and click on the one that simply says Services. A new window (it's called the Service Console) will then open for you and you will be able to see all of the services you have running at the present time. There's a lot of them, huh?!

As you can see, the Service Console gives you a lot of information about each service. It also allows you to sort through the services by the titles of Description, Status and Startup Type. If you want to learn more about a specific service, just click on it and a detailed description will then pop up on the left hand side that you can read through. (Note: In order to see the description, you need to be in the Extended mode, so keep that in mind!)

I highly suggest that you read through each of the services before you start closing them down. Like I said before, some of these services support other programs on your computer that you may use on a regular basis, so you'll definitely want to do your homework on each one before you disable them. You may even want to do a little further research on the ones you're not 100 percent positive about, just to be sure you're disabling the right services, etc. Then once you've decided which ones you don't need, just simply right click on the service name and hit Stop.

That's all there is to it. It's a pretty easy process to go through thanks to the MMC, so just take your time and be sure you're turning off what you really want to. If you do that, you'll be good to go from now on!

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43. Send It Later
Have you ever had the need to just send it later? What am I talking about? Well, e-mails of course! Sometimes situations occur where you need to type an e-mail out right away, but it doesn't actually need to be sent out until a later time. This happens to me all the time. I want to make sure I write the e-mail as soon as possible to ensure that I get all my thoughts written down, but the recipient doesn't really need to see the e-mail until a day or so later.

So, what can you do? Well, the simple answer is you can just send the e-mail at a later date and lucky for all of us, Outlook Express makes this possible. Go ahead and compose your e-mail just like you normally would and when you're done, go to File and choose the Send Later option. Now, this will place the e-mail in your Outbox and it will be sent the next time you hit the Send/Receive button. So, if you don't want it sent until the next day, it's important that you don't click that Send/Receive button again until sometime the next day.

I wasn't able to find an option like this for other e-mail programs, but that doesn't mean you're left out! You can still create a draft version of the e-mail and save it until you want to send it. This is even sometimes a better way to do things, because it allows you to send the e-mail on whatever day you want. For directions on how to do this, click here. Either way you do it, you've got some choices and it doesn't get any better than that when it comes to e-mail, now does it?!

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42. How can I test my microphone to make sure it's working properly?
Q. How can I test my microphone to make sure it's working properly?

A. That's a great question and I'm so glad you asked! So, if you want to test either a recently purchased external microphone or if you want to test one you already have (external or internal), this is the tip for you! It's a good idea to test your microphone hardware every once in awhile just so you can be sure that everything is working properly. Also, if you use your mic quite often, this is even more important for you.

Alright, let's get started! For Windows XP, make sure your external microphone is plugged in and ready to go (if you have an internal one, you should be set to go). When you're ready, click on Start, All Programs, Accessories, Entertainment, Volume Control. The Master Volume box will come up and you will want to go to the Options menu at the top and choose Properties.

Now, choose the radio button that says Recording and click OK. Another window will appear and you'll just want to make sure the Microphone channel is selected. Go ahead and move the mic volume slider to around the middle section, just so it's placed in that general area. Now, just leave that box open.

Next, we're going to need to go into the Control Panel, so click on Start, Control Panel and click on the Sounds, Speech and Audio Devices link. Choose Sounds and Audio Devices and click on the Voice tab. Now, under the Voice recording area, click on the Test Hardware button and the testing will begin.

The Sound Hardware Test Wizard will then come up. Just click on the Next button and wait for the wizard to complete the tests of the sound hardware. This could take a couple minutes or so. When that is done, the Microphone Test window will come up on your screen. Now, go ahead and speak into your mic or you can just tap it lightly if you wish. The Recording Volume slider should move up and down in response to the sound you are making through your microphone. When you're all done testing your mic, just click on Finish and the wizard will close.

Just in case this happens to you, while you're using the wizard, an alert box may pop up telling you that the "Run a DLL as an App" program is blocked and it will ask you if you want to unblock it. You can if you want, but it is not necessary to unblock it for the mic test to function correctly.

Also, just in case you were wondering, you can follow similar instructions for older versions of Windows as well. The only difference may be that you'll go to Start, Programs, Accessories, Entertainment and choose Sound Recorder instead of Volume Control. From there on out, the above directions are very similar and you will be fine if you just follow them. Happy mic testing!

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41. Last Known Good Configuration
Q. Can you please explain what the Last Known Good Configuration is? I'm not quite understanding it. Thank you so much!

A. That is an excellent question and I'm so glad you asked! Shawn (our tech support guy) was telling me about this the other day and we both thought it would be a very good idea to run a tip on it. Then I got this question in my e-mail and I thought, "Perfect!" So, here it goes.

Let me first give you a basic definition of this feature. I think that will really help you begin to understand its concept. The Last Known Good Configuration is basically a copy of a computer's hardware configuration and its driver settings. It is taken from the system's registry readings when a computer has a good, clean boot up. This copy is made for whenever a computer fails to boot up successfully. When that happens, the system's operating system is able to pull up the good copy and perform a successful startup.

The Last Known Good Configuration feature is available for any Windows operating system from NT on. Also, if your computer does happen to have some problems during its boot up, Windows will detect that and it will actually add the copy of your last successful boot to your startup menu. That way, you can go and access it from that point and start your boot up correctly again.

This feature is mostly helpful after new drivers or devices are installed on your system. If either of those had an error while the install was in process, you can still go back and get a clean boot. One more thing: every time your computer boots up correctly, the Last Known Good Configuration record is replaced with the newest one. That way, you have the most recent successful boot for your computer to start with.

Okay, so now that all of that is out of the way, are you wondering how you can actually use this on your own computer? I thought you might. For this, I'm going to use an example. Let's say you just installed a new driver on your system. It seems like the installation was done right, but for some reason, your computer will not start up like it usually does. Well, this is exactly where the Last Known Good Configuration feature comes in handy.

To start your computer using the Last Known Good Configuration that your computer has on record, simply start up your computer like normal and when you see the "Please select the operating system to start" message come up, hit the F8 key on your keyboard. Next, the Windows Advanced Options menu will appear and you can use your keyboard's arrow keys to scroll down to the "Last Known Good Configuration (your most recent settings that worked)" option. Once you've got it highlighted, press the Enter key on your keyboard.

Your computer will then boot up successfully and you'll be able to look into what caused the problem in the first place. Now, keep in mind that the Last Known Good Configuration feature does not automatically fix the problems you were having. It will only get your computer started so you can troubleshoot the rest of the problem on your own. Either way, it's an easy way to combat your computer startup troubles. You can't complain about that, now can you?!

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40. Vista Startup Sounds
So, tell me, are you a new Windows Vista user? Or maybe you've been using it for awhile now. Either way, do you like the way the Vista operating system sounds when you boot up your computer. You know, it plays that little song for you. All the Windows operating systems do it, but that doesn't necessarily mean we have to like it, right? Well, if you're one that doesn't care for the whole intro song type of thing, there is a way you can shut it off. Want to know how? Then read on!

Now, before I go any further, I want you all to know that you're very lucky when it comes to this kind of thing, because originally, there was no way to turn this sound off in earlier versions of Windows. But, now with Vista, there is, so we might as well take advantage of it, don't you think?! Alright, to turn off the startup sounds that Vista makes, click on your Start button and in the search box below it, type in the word "sound" to create a search query for it.

When your results come up, find the one that simply says "Sound" and click on it. Next, choose the Sounds tab. From there, look to the bottom of the box and uncheck the option that says "Play Windows Startup Sound." When you're finished, click Apply and then OK. That's all there is to it! Once you do this, you won't have to hear all those "sometimes annoying" sounds that play while your operating system is starting up. How great is that? Give it a try today!

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39. Reformatting Your Hard Drive
Q: I've been told that I need to reformat my hard drive, but I'm not sure where to start. What are the basic steps for reformatting a computer?

A: What a great question! This is one that I've been getting a lot of lately too. Basically, anyone who uses a computer on a regular basis will come across this at one point or another, so it's good to know the basic details about getting the job done. When we use our computers, we expect everything to run smoothly and properly, but sometimes that's just not the case, now is it? Unfortunately, the time comes when we need to start over fresh with our PCs and that's where reformatting comes into play.

When you reformat, you usually start with your hard drive. That is where most of your information lies, so if you wipe the slate clean with that, your computer will be like brand new. Some people even do this on a regular basis, which isn't a bad idea, but it's not necessary either. Also, some newer computers come with a boot disk or installation CD that is intended to help with the reformat process. They are specially made to help bring your computer back to the shape it was in when you first bought it. Reformatting is the best choice if you're having trouble with programs crashing without any explanation or if you've just run out of troubleshooting ideas.

There are five steps in the reformatting process and I will go over the very basics of them for you right now. So, if your computer is in need of a fresh start, listen up!

1.) The first thing you need to do is back up your files. Not only should you back up your data files, but any program files, application files, software pieces, your favorites, e-mails, etc. Back up anything you want saved and will use at a later time. If you don't think you'll need certain files, get rid of them before you start. There's no use backing up items you won't need. Just go through and do a quick clean up and then back up what you have left. You can read here for some additional help with this.

2.) The next thing you should do is create a boot disk (if your computer didn't come with one, as I mentioned above). Either make a bootable floppy disk or a CD; whichever will work best for your computer. When you're done, test it to make sure it's going to work for you. You'll want to be sure of this before you move on to the next step. If you're not sure what a bootable disk is, read here for some help.

3.) Now, the process gets a little more involved. The third step is to partition and reformat your hard drive. Partitioning is separating your hard drive into different areas, so you can store your information in a more reasonable matter. Reformatting the hard drive basically clears off any existing data (hence, the back up). This process wipes everything from each partition you created and it then prepares it to receive new information. Read this tip for some more help with this.

4.) Okay, the hardest part is over and once you get past this step, you're home free! The next thing you need to do is just reinstall everything. The first thing to reinstall is your operating system. You should have an installation CD that came with your computer that you can use to do this. You can then put all of your files, programs, etc. back on your PC. Once you have all of that done, you can start finding your favorite Web sites again and get back to normal.

5.) Now, this is the easiest step, I promise! All you have to do from here on out is enjoy your new hard drive! With everything restored and freshly put in place, you can use your computer with the freedom you had when you brought it home for the first time. You should now be able to use all of your programs with ease and with no hold ups. Now, doesn't that sound wonderful?!

I know I only went over the basic instructions on what to do and you still may not know how to go about doing everything, but there are several helpful tutorials available on the Internet that can give you additional help if you need it. Just do a search with your favorite search engine and you'll be all set. Reformatting is a tedious procedure, but when you're done, you'll be glad you took the time to do it!

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38. Vista Photo Gallery
Q. What can you tell me about the Photo Gallery feature that comes with Windows Vista? I haven't gotten Vista yet, but this is one of the features I'm interested in learning more about before making the switch. Any information you have would be greatly appreciated!

A. Ah, yes, the Photo Gallery. This is actually one of the new features that caught my eye when I first started researching the new operating system of Windows Vista as well. Awhile back, I quickly mentioned the Photo Gallery in an overview tip I did on some of Vista's new features, but I didn't go into much detail. So, what do you say we take care of that today?! Listen up, because here comes some great Photo Gallery information that you can really put to good use!

Basically, with the Photo Gallery, you can easily organize, find and enjoy your photos (and videos!) right from your Vista computer. With the new Photo Gallery process, acquiring and importing your photos and videos has never been easier. This new program is more flexible than ever as well. For example, you can even launch any other photo and video applications you've used in the past right into the Photo Gallery. So, if what you're worried about is getting used to something completely new, you can ease your way in by using your old programs until you get acquainted with Vista's version. Cool, huh?!

To get to the Photo Gallery, just go to Start, Windows Photo Gallery. A new window will open and any photos you already have on your computer will show up. Across the top, there's a toolbar you can use to work with your photos and or videos. On the left hand side, you'll see all the navigation you need to get started, along with all the organizational tools you can use to keep all your files right where you want them. There's also a sliding bar you can use to resize your photos at any time or you can start up a slideshow with just a single click.

The Photo Gallery also comes with all the basic photo editing tools you'll need to make your pictures as good as they can be. You can crop your photos, remove red eye and so on. Plus, if you make a mistake, you can easily undo any of the changes you've made. You can then go right back to your original image and start over.

Even more, printing your photos is extremely easy with the Vista Photo Gallery. You can print them via any local printer with the Photo Print Wizard or you can even use the online printing option. The online version will send your photos to a retail photo finisher where they will print your images in a professional like manner. And one more thing: If you combine the works of the Photo Gallery and the Windows Movie Maker, you can use your photos and videos to create a home video with special effects and transitions. How awesome is that?!

Now, going back to the organization feature of Photo Gallery (which I'm sure a lot of you are interested in), the coolest thing you can do is apply tags to your photos. Those tags then help you to find your photo and video files in mere seconds. You can add the tags in when you first import a photo or you can wait and tag several photos together at once. Along with that, you can use the Info Pane to add special information about your photos and videos. For example, you can put in information like the file name, the date it was taken, you can rate it, etc. It couldn't be easier!

That is just a sample of everything you can do with Photo Gallery. You can do slideshows, create your own screensavers, make your own home movies and so on. And the best part? All of this and so much more can be found in one, easy to access program. If you have Windows Vista (any of the versions), you can start using the Photo Gallery today. I've given you an overview, so now it's your turn to go and check it out for yourself. It's one of the best features you'll find in Vista and I highly recommend that you go and give it a try.

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37. See Your Programs in One Continuous List
Q. When I go to my programs list, it tends to take up my whole screen. Is there any way I can make them into a list or do anything different with them? Please help, it's driving me crazy!

A. Back by popular demand! I've been getting several questions about this lately, so here you go!

Ah, yes, I've run into this problem before as well. First of all, I didn't have this problem with Windows 98 or ME, because they both showed all my programs in a list form, but with Windows XP, it was much different. All I wanted was a list like in the last century. What could I do? Well, lucky for me (and for you!), I have discovered this remedy.

1.) Right click your Start button and choose Properties.

2.) Select the Start Menu tab and then, next to the Start Menu radio button, click the Customize button.

3.) Next, click the Advanced tab and scroll down to the box marked Scroll Programs and check it.

4.) Hit OK and then OK again.

So, from now on, when you go to Start, All Programs, you'll get a long list instead of gobs and gobs of programs that take up your whole computer screen.

Also, if you're like me and have a ton of programs, you may want to organize them into folders, such as "Music," "Games," etc. This will help out with your programs list as well. For more on how to do this, check out this tip. Enjoy!

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36. Create your own stationery in Outlook Express
Q. The other day, you wrote a tip on how we can use our own pictures to create new stationery choices in Outlook Express. I've been trying to do that for the last couple of days, but I'm not able to get it going right. Can you please give us a few more instructions on how to do this? Thank you!

A. I sure can! Yes, as you may remember, the other day (on Tuesday to be exact), I wrote a tip on adding your own pictures to your stationery choices in various e-mail programs. Well, ever since, I have been getting non-stop e-mails and phone calls from some of you who seem to be having trouble getting it to work in Outlook Express. And I figured instead of answering your questions individually, I'd just write a whole new tip about it. So, here's to fixing your OE stationery blues!

In Outlook Express, go to Tools, Options and click on the Compose tab. From there, click on the Create New button located under the Stationery section. The Stationery Setup Wizard will then appear. Hit Next to get started. The first thing you'll want to do is click the Browse button and find the picture you want to add. Once you find it, select it and click the Open button. That picture will then show up in the Preview box.

You'll then want to adjust it so it will look the way you want it to in your actual e-mail. You can position it to the top, center or bottom and to the left, center or right. You can then either tile it vertically, horizontally, on the entire page or not at all. Then if you want to add some more color to your background, checkmark the color box and then choose the one you like the best.

Now, every time you make a change, it will show up in the Preview box, so you'll know right away if you like it or not. And if you don't, just keep experimenting until you find a combination you think your recipients will enjoy. I personally like to put my picture as a top border around my e-mail. It just gives the e-mail enough extra jazz, but it doesn't overdo it. You can certainly do whatever you want, but that's what I usually do.

When you're all done with that, hit the Next button to continue. The next section deals with the font you'd like to use with your new stationery. This is the actual font that will show up as you type out the e-mail you're going to send. Just use the drop down menus to choose your font style, the text size and if you want it to be in color or not. You can checkmark either bold or italic if you want as well. You can see what it will look like in the Preview box for this one too. When you're all done, hit the Next button.

You can now choose your margins. Use the up and down arrows to set your margins for the left side and the top of your e-mail. Again, you can see the changes you're making in the Preview box, so you'll know if it looks appropriate or not. Click Next again when you're finished with that. The last step is to choose a name for your new stationery creation. Just type in a name in the open box. I named mine "My Picture Stationery." Click Finish when you're done with that.

When you're ready to send an e-mail with your new stationery included, hit the drop down arrow on the Create Mail button and choose Select Stationery. You can then find yours in the list. Select it and click OK. A new e-mail will then be created with your new stationery inserted. Doesn't that look pretty?! And hey, if you don't like it, you can always go back to the wizard and redo it. It's not difficult at all. Here's a small sample of what mine looks like:

I just used a picture of a flower I really like and some nice green colored font to match it. I'm going to use this to send a simple "Hello!" e-mail to some of my friends and family members I haven't talked to in awhile. I hope they'll like it, but I have a good feeling they will. Now that you've got yours done, who are you going to send an e-mail to? Or maybe you're going to create some more stationery of your own. Either way, have fun with this one. It's too good to pass up!

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35. All You Ever Wanted to Know About MP4
Q: Can you explain to me what an MP4 is? I've obviously heard of MP3, but now there's an MP4?! I'm so lost and confused. Please help!

A: Yes, there is. I know, isn't it amazing how fast the world of technology develops? It seems like we get caught up on one thing and the next day, there's something new to learn about. I mean, we shouldn't complain, because all of the technology we're surrounded by is what keeps some of us going each day, but it definitely is a little hard to stay on top of everything that comes about.

But even though understanding everything gets a little difficult sometimes, it's not impossible. I promise that after today, you will fully understand one more computer term and you will be able to check it off your "find out what this is" list! Alright, let's get right into it!

To start with a quick definition, MP4 files are compressed video files. Their main purpose is to make video files much smaller so that they are easier to work with and support. Video files used to be very big in size and they were very difficult to work with. But now, the same files are compressed with the same material and they go by the new name of MP4s.

MP4 files work very similarly to MP3 files in that they are compressed files that do not affect the quality of sound. (In case you're not sure, MP3s are music and audio files, so an MP4 is just taking that to the next level with videos). The term MP4 is also known as MPEG-4 AVC, which stands for advanced video coding. Now, if you're still not sure how the whole MP4 technology works, make sure you keep reading, because it's going to get even more interesting, I promise!

Since MP4s deal mostly with video files, they are a little more complex than the MP3 music and audio files. But, they are still able to be compressed by using special coding procedures. For example, certain aspects of the files are minimized. Those are usually the temporal and spatial redundancies. The motion and intra estimations of the frequencies are usually transformed as well. And last, but not least, the file goes through a lot of compression and decompression, which is referred to as codec.

Now, I'm sure you're probably wondering if there's such a thing as an MP4 player, right? Well, yes there is. It works just like any other media player. You can purchase the device at any regular electronics store and you then just hook it up to your computer or television. It really is that easy, even if it doesn't seem like it!

Of course, as with everything else, the MP4 technology has its ups and downs. Let's start with the advantages. MP4s are able to produce videos with a DVD quality at a rate of 1 Mbps or less with a broadband Internet connection. (That's blazing fast!) So, if you were to get an MP4 player, you could get your videos and watch them in a matter of seconds. MP4 players can also play older MP formats, including MP3 audio files.

As for the disadvantages, there will more than likely be several piracy issues within the MP4 technology. The MP3 format went through this as well. As you may already know, there are pirated versions of movies on the Internet that are ready for download at any time. So, with MP4s mainly dealing with videos, the piracy problems are sure to get out of hand as this technology becomes more and more popular. Just keep an eye out for that!

So, there it is. The MP4 technology explained for you in as simple of terms as I could come up with. I do hope you have a better understanding of this now and who knows, maybe you'll be the next person to start MP4ing around!

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34. Seeing Blue in MS-Word
Are you one of the many people who find it easier to read light printing on a dark background?

Would you like to see the "light" in MS Word?

Word has the option of setting your screen to display a blue background with white lettering!

Now, I don't mean actually changing the text to white and the background to blue. No, this setting in Word makes the color change for easy reading on the monitor, without messing with the printing of the document. This means the good news is that while you get to see things a little easier, you don't have to spend a lot of time setting everything back to black and white in order to print it.

To make the change, simply go to the Tools menu, Options choice.

Then in the General tab, check the box for Blue background, White text.

That's it. Now you should see blue, which is certainly better than feeling blue, don't you think?!

P.S. - If you don't like the change or it isn't helping, simply go back in and uncheck the box!

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33. Vista Program Compatibility
I'm going to take a guess and bet that most of you who have upgraded to Windows Vista are having a little trouble getting your older programs to work. Am I right? You know, programs that worked fine for you with Windows XP (or even older versions of Windows) just don't work so well anymore. So, is there anything you can do to get the programs you love back up and running with your new Vista PC?

Well, as a matter of fact, there is. Microsoft is good at making sure all of that is covered. They have integrated what is called a Program Compatibility Wizard into Vista. So, if you have an older program that is not working with the new operating system, you can run it through this wizard to simulate earlier versions of Windows to try and get it to work again. To get to the wizard, just go to Start, Control Panel and click on Programs. Next, click on the option that says "Use an older program with this version of Windows" and the wizard will open.

You can then just go through the steps and see if the program will actually work with Vista. Now, most of the programs that worked with XP also work with Vista, but you may have some trouble with a lot of the older programs. Also, you shouldn't use the wizard with any older antivirus programs, disk utilities or other system programs. Doing that could cause some security holes or even data loss. So, if you feel like you're in a rut with getting your programs to work with your new Vista computer, give this wizard a try. You never know what it could do for you!

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32. Changing Vista's Desktop setup
Q: I just upgraded to Windows Vista and although I really like the 3D desktop, there are some features I'd just like to turn off. How can I do that? Please help!

A: Here's WorldStart to the rescue again! I've heard so many varying views about the new operating system of Windows Vista that it's not even funny anymore. Some people hate it, some people love it and others just ride along in the middle. Yes, Vista comes with a lot of brand new features and although it would be in Microsoft's best interest if everyone fell head over heels in love with them, but that's just not very realistic.

So, if you want to change your Vista computer around a little, have at it! Now, as the person who asked today's question stated, one of the new features in Vista is the 3D desktop. And while it's cool to look at sometimes, it can also be a little overwhelming. The 3D desktop has to do with Vista's appearance and performance and all the other Windows versions allowed you to make some changes within those realms, so why would Vista be any different? Come along with me as we make your Vista desktop all that you want it to be!

First, right click on the Computer icon on your desktop and choose Properties. From there, click on the Advanced System Settings link that is located off to the left side of the dialogue box. Once you click that, you will be asked if you're sure you want to continue on (since they're advanced settings and all). Just click Continue and go on. Next, choose the Advanced tab and then hit the Settings button. From there, you want to be under the Visual Effects tab.

Once you're there, you will see three options at the top of the window. They are: "Let Windows choose," "Adjust for best appearance," "Adjust for best performance" and "Custom." Below those options, you will see a list of settings. The list is pretty long, so it may take you awhile to scroll through them all. As you look through them, you may want to start picking and choosing the ones you want to keep on your computer. Think about each one and picture in your mind what it would do to your PC. Here are some of the settings you have to choose from:

Animate controls and elements inside windows

Animate windows when minimizing and maximizing

Enable desktop composition

Fade or slide menus into view

Fade out menu items after clicking

Show shadows under menus

Show shadows under mouse pointer

Slide taskbar buttons

Smooth scroll list boxes

Okay, I think you get the picture. There's so much to choose from. Alright, now, let's go over a couple of the options I mentioned above again. If you click on the first one (Let Windows choose), the Windows operating system will choose what it thinks are the best choices for your computer. Now, this may be a good choice, but it still may leave you wanting more (or less) from your desktop experience.

On the other hand, if you click on the Custom choice, you can make your own decisions. You can just check or uncheck certain settings and everything will come out just the way you want it. I think this is the best option for anyone who likes to do things on their own. That's why I told you to really pay attention to the options in the list as you're reading through them. If you picture in your mind what a certain setting will do to your computer, you'll have a better reason for choosing what you choose.

When you're all done customizing your 3D desktop, just click the OK button and they will all be saved. You can then go and test your new settings out. See how everything changed? Do you like it? Not so sure? Either way, you now know how easy it is to change these settings and you can go back time and time again until you have everything set perfectly for your Vista experience. Have fun!

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31. Vista System Restore
Are you one of the many computer users who went from using Windows XP to Windows Vista? It seems to be "the thing to do" these days, but let's be honest here. Are you having trouble finding some of the things you absolutely loved using in XP? How about the system restore feature, for example? I know that's one of my favorites, but it's so difficult to find in Vista. Well, today I'm going to give you the lowdown on how you can easily find it and start using it once again!

To get to the system restore window, right click on the Computer icon on your desktop and choose Properties. From there, click on the System Protection link on the left hand side. Another box will come up asking you if you want to continue on or cancel. Click Continue and then make sure you're under the System Protection tab. At the top of the window, there's a link you can click on to learn about how much disk space you need to do a system restore, etc. You can do that if you'd like or you can just move on.

To do an actual system restore, just click on the System Restore button and go through the process. Or, if you'd like to create your own restore point, click on the Create button. Type in a few key words for the point you'd like to go back to and then hit Create again. Go through the steps and you'll be all set. In the middle of the window, you're able to see all of the restores you've done in the past. So, if this is your first time, you'll see all of them the next time you go in to do a system restore. When you're all done, click OK and you'll be good to go. So, from now on, you don't have to worry about not being able to find the system restore option in Windows Vista. Just refer back to this tip for the scoop!

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30. Full Path (A Video Tip)
We all do it. Yes, we all work with the components that make up our My Computer folder quite often, don't we? I mean, it holds all the drives we need to look at and just about everything else that we use on a regular basis. So, tell me, do you ever get lost when you're using it? I mean, there's so many parts to it. Sometimes it's hard to tell whether you're coming or going. So, wouldn't it be nice to be able to see the full path for whatever you're working in first hand? I thought you might like that idea. To find out how to do that, just click on the link!

Or, if you would just like to read today's tip, you can do that as well, here:

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29. "Cannot Delete File" error message
Q. Sometimes when I try to delete a file from my computer, it comes up with a "Cannot Delete File" error. Why does this happen and is there any way I can get around it? Please help!

A: Worry no more! I can help, I can help! And believe me, I feel your pain. I often get that same error message and let me tell you, it ranks pretty high on my chart as one of the most frustrating things that could possibly happen with my computer. And guessing by the tone of the question, I'm thinking several of you have had this problem as well.

Well, you've come to the right place, because I'm going to show you how you can actually get rid of the files your computer deems undeleteable. Now, before I go on, I want to make sure everyone's on the same page. The "Cannot Delete File" error often shows up when you're trying to delete certain files off of your computer. It could be a document or a picture, a music file or even a saved e-mail. Whatever it is, for some reason, this error occurs more often than we'd all like.

This error can pop up under several different circumstances as well. Sometimes the message may tell you that it cannot delete the file because there's not enough free disk space. Other times, it will tell you that another person or program is using the file and you have to close any applications that may be accessing it. Well, a lot of times, none of the scenarios make any sense. So, more often than not, you're left sitting there thinking, "What am I supposed to do now"? Here are some instructions on how to get past that pesky little error message. If you follow them exactly, the file you want to delete really will be deleted by the time you're finished. Here we go!

1.) First, you need to find the location of the file you're trying to delete, as well as, the file's name. For example, maybe you're trying to delete a file called "mywork.txt" and it's located in your My Documents folder. (The location for that would then be C:\Documents and Settings\Your Name\My Documents. You must find the exact and full location of the file for this to work). Write both of these down on a piece of paper and keep it close to you.

2.) Next, go to Start, Turn Off Computer and choose Restart.

3.) When your computer starts to boot back up, continuously hit the F8 key on your keyboard until the Advanced Boot Options Menu comes up.

4.) From that menu, select the Safe Mode with Command Prompt choice and then log in normally to your local administrator account.

5.) In the command prompt box, you're going to use the letters "cd" (it stands for change directory) with the location of your file that you wrote down earlier. You'll also need to put quotation marks around the location. So, with my example from up above, you would type in cd "C:\Documents and Settings\Your Name\My Documents." You don't put quotes around the cd part, just the location.

6.) The next command you need to type in is the delete command, which is "del." You'll need to do this with the file name that you want to delete. With my example above, you would type in del mywork.txt. You don't use quotation marks for this part.

Once you have all that done, the file should be gone. You can go back to your initial location to make sure, but it should be deleted for good. If all goes well, you won't ever have to worry about that darn file again. This is just an easy way to be rid of all those files that your computer tells you it cannot delete. You can't beat that feeling of happiness, can you?!

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28. Vista Icons
Okay, I have one more Windows Vista tip for you this week! I couldn't resist putting this one in the newsletter, because I have a feeling it's something you new Vista users have been struggling with for awhile now. So, what am I going to talk about today? Well, as you might have guessed from the title, it's going to be all about the Vista icons.

Ever since you upgraded to Vista, you've probably noticed that the icons on your desktop are a little bigger than the earlier versions of Windows ever had. You've probably noticed that the text that comes along with those icons is larger as well. Or, who knows, maybe neither of them are big enough to meet your preferences. So, how can you change them? Allow me to fill you in on a little Vista secret!

First, right click on your desktop and go to View. Once the pull over menu appears, you'll see the first three choices of Large, Medium and Classic Icons. Your icons right now are probably set on Medium, so if you want to make them smaller or larger, choose either Larger or Classic. Just click on your choice and the icons will automatically change for you. Now, I will tell you that the Larger choice makes the icons very big and they will take up most of your desktop space, but if that's how you like it, go for it. The Classic choice will make your icons the size they were in XP. So, the choice is yours, but at least you now know how to modify them when you're looking for a change!

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27. Personalizing Windows Vista
Can you give me some basic directions on how to personalize my Windows Vista? I'm talking about the desktop wallpaper, screensavers, etc. Vista's layout seems to be a lot different and I can't quite figure out how to do it. Please help!

Excellent question! This is one of the things I've been wanting to check out myself ever since we got a Vista machine here in the office. This is also the perfect question for today, because I wanted to lighten things up in this issue of the newsletter. The last few days' Q&A questions have been rather lengthy and I wanted to slip something a little less serious into today's.

So, if you are now using Windows Vista and you're having trouble figuring out how to personalize it with your own wallpaper, etc., here are some simple instructions for you on how to do it. It's not as hard as it may seem either. So, let's get started!

To get to the options window, right click on your desktop and choose Personalize. You will then have several different settings to choose from. For this tip, I'm only going to go over Window Color and Appearance, Desktop Background and Screensaver. The others (Sounds, Mouse Pointers, Theme and Display Settings) are pretty much the same as they were in Windows XP.

Window Color and Appearance: For this one, you can choose a solid color for your window color. This is the color you'll see when you open any new window. There are several color options to choose from, including blue, teal, red, pink and a frost (white) color. If you're not happy with any of those, you can click on the Color Mixer to make your own combination. Once you're done, click OK and your new color will take over. If you don't like it, just go back and choose another one until you find the right one for you.

Desktop Background: This is for your computer's desktop wallpaper. When you get to this screen, you have several options to choose from. There is Windows Wallpaper, Pictures, Sample Pictures, Public Pictures and Solid Colors. The Windows Wallpaper has several different customized pictures. You know, they're the ones that already come with your computer. There are some really neat ones, so just browse through them and see if there's any you like. For Pictures and Public Pictures, you can insert your own photo in to be used for your background. Just hit the Browse button, find the picture you want to use and select it. These new wallpaper choices will come up automatically, as soon as you click on them once.

There are also some Sample Pictures to choose from or if you just want a solid color, choose Solid Colors. There are several very nice colors to choose from, if that's what you prefer. Once you choose the background you want, you can pick to have it stretched, tiled or centered on your desktop. Just click the appropriate button at the bottom of the window and click OK when you're all done. I personally like the orangish/yellowish daisies picture from Windows. It lights up my screen!

Screensaver: This works pretty much like the older versions of Windows, but there are some different choices in Vista. Use the drop down menu to see all of the selections and just click the one you want to use. I really like the bubbles. They just float across your screen and they're so vivid looking! There are other choices, like using your own photos and even a marine aquarium as well. You can also choose how much wait time you want before your screensaver kicks on. Mine's set at 10 minutes, but you can wait as long or as little as you'd like. You can also click the Preview button to see what your new screensaver will look like. If you don't like, choose a new one before you click that OK button.

One more thing: To navigate back and forth between these different screens, just use the back arrow button located in the upper left hand corner of the Personalize window. That way, you don't have to keep right clicking on your desktop each time you want to change something.

Once you get your new Vista computer looking the way you want it, you'll be so much happier. I know it's a slow process to get things back to a normal way for yourself, but as I'm sure you can already see, it's worth taking the time to get things perfect for your new computer. Happy personalizing!

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26. Proper Removal of Your Flash Drive
Are you one of the many who use a flash drive these days? I mean, really, how can you resist? They are so simple to use and just as convenient as can be. So, tell me, when you go to remove your flash drive from the USB port it's in, how do you do it? Do you just yank it out of there and go on with your day? If you do, that's not really the proper way to do it and if you keep doing it that way, you could end up ruining your flash drive. Well, lucky for you, I have come bearing instructions on how to properly remove a flash drive from your computer.

There are actually a couple different ways you can do this. I suggest that you read through them and choose the one that you feel the most comfortable with. The first one has a few less steps than the second, so we'll start there. When you're ready to take your flash drive out, double click on the My Computer icon on your desktop and find the drive that your flash drive is listed under. (It will usually be listed under a "Removable Disk" letter). Right click on that drive and choose Eject. You can then remove the flash drive with no risks of ruining anything.

The second way is to use your Safely Remove Hardware icon, located in your bottom system tray. Double click on that icon (it's a little green arrow with a little gray disk underneath it). Highlight the choice that says "USB Mass Storage Device" and click on the Stop button. Next, find the entry for your flash drive and click on it so it's highlighted. Click OK. You will then see a little pop up window in the bottom of your screen telling you that it's now safe to remove the hardware. Once you see that, you can remove the flash drive and go on your way. As you can see, both ways are very easy to do, but you need to make sure you do at least one of them, in order to keep your flash drive safe!

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25. Document That Problem
Have you ever run into a problem with your computer that happened to bring up an error message? I'm sure you have. You're really lucky if you've never had to deal with that. Well, when that happens, wouldn't it be nice if you could just capture that error message and send it to someone else so they could help you figure out what's wrong? It sure would save me quite a few times! Well, lucky for us all, there's a way. Here's how!

Find the Print Screen and Alt buttons on your keyboard and you'll be all set. The PrtScr button is located on the right hand side of your keyboard right next to the Scroll Lock key. (It's also right beside the F12 key on most keyboards). If you hit the Alt and PrtScr keys at the same time, your computer will take a "snapshot" of the active window (which would be the error message). Now, if you want to get a shot of the whole screen, push the Shift key along with the PrtScr key and you'll have it.

Once you have that image captured, you can go and paste it in another program and then send it to your "computer expert" for advice. You can put it in MS Word, Notepad, Wordpad or even in an e-mail. It's up to you. Once you have the program you want to put it in open, just hit Ctrl + V to paste the screenshot (or go to Edit, Paste). Along with the image, you can type out a description of what you were doing when the problem occurred. That will especially help if you're sending it to someone else to look at. With both the screenshot and the description, they should be able to lead you in the right direction to get things fixed. Having all of that information documented helps if you have to call on some professional tech support as well. You gotta love that!

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24. Daylight Savings Time and your computer
Q: I've been hearing a lot lately about how the Daylight Savings Time is going to change this year. With all the rumors running around, I'm beginning to worry about how my computer will react to the change. Can you provide any insight on that?

A: I sure can! The new Daylight Savings Time change is right around the corner and I've been getting several e-mails about it in the last couple of weeks. Even Chad, our tech support guru, told me that I should do an article on this subject. It's good that you all have asked about it, because it's very important to know what types of things will be affected when the time change does come.

First of all, just in case you haven't heard, the new Daylight Savings Time (in the U.S.) will start on March 11, 2007 and extend through November 4, 2007. Between the two, there is a four week difference in the times and that's quite a big change for all of us to endure. But, don't worry, it should all come through as painless as can be.

Okay, back to the question at hand. Will the time change affect your computer? Well, there are a couple of things that could happen when all of this hits. First, it's possible that your computer's time zones will be off target during the extended four week period. It's also possible that some of your software programs, etc. will run into some problems. Now, it's not guaranteed that you will have any problems once March 11th comes around, but it's better to be safe than sorry.

So, to ensure that you won't have any trouble, Microsoft is suggesting that everyone updates their Windows operating system. It's important that you update any calendar programs you have on your computer as well. To help with all of this, Microsoft has put together a Daylight Savings Time Update Guide, which makes it very easy to get all the updates you need for your computer. All you have to do is answer a few questions and then run a quick download of the Update Guide. It will run exactly for the type of system you have, which will allow you to combat any problems in the future.

Before you begin with the Update Guide, make sure you have the JavaScript on your computer enabled. To do this in Internet Explorer, go to Tools, Internet Options and click on the Security tab. Next, click on the Custom Level button and scroll down to the Scripting section. For JavaScript, click Enable under "Active Scripting." Click OK twice. In Firefox, go to Tools, Options and click on the Web Features icon. Check the box that says "Enable JavaScript." Click OK when you're done.

Alright, once you have all that done, navigate your way to the Guide by clicking here. Answer the first question (whether you're a home user, etc.) and click Next. The next question asks you for your operating system type. Select the one that fits yours and click Next. (Note: If you're not sure on all the components of this, right click on the My Computer icon on your desktop and choose Properties. From there, you will be able to see what version of Windows you have and if you have any extra features or not).

The next part is the actual download. Just click on the Download button to begin. Click Run and then Run again. Then just let the install go and click Next when it's finished. You can then choose which program you want to run the update on and click Next again. Click Next once more to begin the update process. Let the update run and just follow any more directions it gives you. When it's all complete, your computer will be fully updated and ready for the new Daylight Savings Time. If you want to update more than one program, just run the download again.

Now, if you have upgraded to Windows Vista, chances are, you won't be affected by the time change. You can still run through the Update Guide if you want to confirm it, but it may just not be necessary for you. Also, if you have the Automatic Updates feature turned on for your computer, you may not need to worry about running the Update Guide either. You can always do it just to make sure, but it will probably just come in your regular updates like normal.

Either way, this is a great tool to use to ensure that you and your computer will be safe when the new Daylight Savings Time comes along. You can't complain about that!

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23. Rearranging MS Office toolbar buttons or menus
Have you ever found yourself wishing your toolbar buttons or menus were in a different order?

Maybe their current order just doesn't work efficiently for you, or maybe you're used to some other program and would like to make a smooth transition to your new habitat.

Whatever the case may be, if you're looking for a way to quickly rearrange the "furniture" (that is, the menus and buttons), then I've got the tip for you.

First hold down the Alt key.

Now, using the mouse, click-hold-and-drag the menu name or button to its new location.

You should notice that the pointer becomes a vertical bar showing you exactly where the button or menu will be located.

When it's positioned as you wish, simply release the mouse button.

Voila! You can't make rearranging any easier than that!

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22. Viruses, Worms and Scams
Q. Many times I have found myself questioning an e-mail. Should I open it or not, etc. Can you please give me some more information on e-mail security?

A: Sure thing, that's no problem at all! Everyday thousands of viruses, worms and scams travel through the Internet. They also travel through electronic mail, or of course, as we know it, e-mail. Every e-mail user should know the basics of protecting themselves from a virus or a scam on the Internet. Knowing the basics will decrease your chances of receiving one of these nasty intrusions.

The first rule of e-mail security is to make sure you only open e-mail from recipients that you know very well. If you get an e-mail from a business, corporation or organization, keep in mind that you should only receive an e-mail from a place like that if you had contacted them first. If you did not contact them, then by all means, don’t open the e-mail!

I recently received an e-mail from Microsoft with a subject line of “Use this Patch Immediately!” Microsoft will not contact you about patches or anything else, unless you contact them first. This “patch,” which was attached to the e-mail, could have very well been a virus or a worm.

One of the new techniques of spam senders is pretending to be someone else sending the message. The message I received from Microsoft was not from Microsoft at all, but instead, it was from someone who changed the recipient e-mail to, which is not legit.

Also, take note that if you receive an e-mail from a bank requesting your information over the Internet, do not give it to them. There was a Bank of America e-mail scam going around the Internet recently. It was one where a link took you to a site that “looked” like Bank of America's official Web site requesting your information, but it was really someone pretending to be the bank. It is always safer to visit your bank and ask them about the e-mail.

The most common scam to receive today is the Nigerian e-mail scam. This involves an e-mail telling you that someone found a large amount of money that “belongs” to you. However, they have to get this money into the United States for you, so they request that you send them money to assist them in their work. Never send money to anyone you don’t know, especially if you receive an e-mail from a suspicious person.

So, there you have it, a little more information on e-mail security and ways to stay protected.

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21. Enter Info Into Multiple Cells Simultaneously
Ever have the same info to enter into multiple cells in MS Excel?

What did you do? Did you type the data into one cell then copy and paste it everywhere else in the worksheet?

A bit of a pain wasn't it?

How about a way to get the data into all those cells simultaneously? A method that doesn't require all the copy / paste stuff?

It sounded like a good idea to me too, so here's what I found.

To enter the same data into multiple cells, (even non-adjacent cells) simply select the cells while holding down the Ctrl key.

With all the cells still selected, it's time to type your data. But wait! Be sure that you do NOT hit the Enter key. Move out of the cells with the arrow keys or use the mouse to click elsewhere.

The trick to getting the data into all the cells is in the big finish.

When the data is typed, all you have to do to enter it into all the selected cells simultaneously is to hit Ctrl + Enter.


That's all it took to avoid a whole lot of copy / paste time. A little Ctrl with your Enter key and you've mastered the art of putting data into many cells instead of just one.

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20. Bring up all open programs and select the one desired
Say you have about four different programs running on your PC at the same time. You have your e-mail up and running, a Web browser window open, a Word document ready for review and your music player playing your favorite song. With all of that going on, have you ever wondered if there was a quick way to view all of those programs and then pull up the one you want right then and there?

Well, you're in luck. All you have to do is press Alt + Tab and it will bring up all of the programs you have open. Just continue to press the Tab key to scroll your way across the programs, highlight the one you want and then release the ALT key to bring up the one you chose. Want to change programs again? Just repeat the process. It's so simple and it also helps you to keep track of everything you have running.

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19. How to take a screenshot
You just tap the PrtScr (print screen) button. The real function of this key is to make a "snapshot" of your screen. If you have some imaging software (or a good word processor), you can then paste your shot into that and crop, etc. In fact, this is how we do our snappy screen shots.

Here's how: To capture the whole screen, just hit the Print Screen (it might say Prt Sc ) button on your keyboard. It's located right above the Insert, Home and Page Up keys.

Then, open your imaging software (and a blank page, if you need to, it will depend on your software) and select your "Paste" command (usually Ctrl+V ).

This should paste an image of your computer screen into the document you're working on. You can also paste the image into a word processing program like MS Word or WordPerfect if you don't have imaging software. (With Word 2000 and newer, you might need to have the program open before you hit Prt Scr for the screenshot to go to the clipboard).

If you would like to capture only the current window, hold down the ALT button while you press the Print Screen button.

Soon you'll be a screenshot master.

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18. Locating and saving files in Outlook Express
The biggest trick (problem) is figuring out where your particular e-mail program keeps all your messages. Outlook Express uses small databases to store your information. Once you figure out where those databases are, you can copy them, back them up or do whatever else to it that your little heart desires.

If you are running a newer version of Outlook Express, it's fairly easy to figure out where your e-mail databases are. Just hit the Tools menu, Options. On the screen that pops up, click the Maintenance tab, then click the Store Folder button. Outlook Express will show you where it's keeping your e-mail databases.

Note that you can also change this location should you want it to be easier to find. I keep mine in a folder named "outlook express" in the "My Documents" folder. That way, all I have to do it back up my "My Documents" folder and I automatically have my e-mail backed up.

If you don't have that option, don't worry. Outlook Express usually keeps your e-mail database(s) in the following location:

C:\Windows\Application data\Microsoft\Outlook Express

If you have your computer set up for multiple users, your Outlook Express mail is probably in:

C:\Windows\Application data\Identities\ID NUMBER\Microsoft\Outlook Express

Note that the "ID NUMBER" folder above will probably be a folder that uses an alphanumeric code for its name.

If for some reason you don't see the Outlook Express folder in the above location, right-click your Start button, select Find (or Search) and enter *.dbx in the Named field (make sure you select your C: drive from the "look in" drop down box). This will bring up these "dbx" files, which live in the folder you're looking for. Note that on some older versions of Outlook Express, these may have been "mbx" files, so if you can't find *.dbx files, try *.mbx .

Once you've located these files, keep in mind that all of this information may not fit onto a floppy. You may need either a zip disk or a CD-R for storage. My e-mail files are 246 MB in size!

As for getting the e-mail restored, just copy and paste it back into whatever directory it's stored in on the new (or newly formatted) computer. If for some reason your information doesn't seem to transfer, despite being in the folder, delete your Local Folders folder (on the new machine / install) and restart Outlook Express. That should do it.

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17. Using the Menu Key
I made a new friend today. It was there all along and I never noticed it on the right side of my keyboard between the Window Key and the Control Key. I don't even know its name, so I call it the Menu Key. Why? Because when you press it, it opens up a drop down menu for whatever program you're in. The menu includes all the information you would see if you right clicked, so I guess you could also call it the Right-Click Key.

So, next time you're typing away and need an edit menu or some other feature that you normally right-click to get, just head down to the Menu Key. Pretty soon it'll be your friend too.

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16. Increasing the font size in MS Office documents
Something unusual happened to me the other day. While researching for an MS Office tip, I did a search through the Office Assistant and had quite a surprise when the information window opened.

What I got was this: The titles are legible, but for the rest, it's quite a struggle.

The window was normal size, it was only the informational text that was way too small.

Thinking that this could easily happen to someone else, it seemed that this was a situation we should discuss, so we all will know the solution.

After I recovered from my initial bewilderment, I dug through my mental archives for a way to increase text size and came up with a very quick fix.

First, click into the informational size of the help window.

Now, while holding down the Ctrl key, spin the scroll wheel on your mouse. If nothing happens, then scroll in the other direction.

You should find that the text size increases to normal and you can get the information you need without a magnifying glass.

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15. Rearrange the order of programs under the Start menu
Q: I would like to rearrange the order of my programs under the Start menu. How can I do this?

A: I get e-mails all the time from readers who want to change the order of the programs in their Programs menu (Start button, Programs). You'll be glad to know it's as easy as drag and drop.

Here's how:

1. Click the Start button, Programs.

2. Once you're in the programs menu, click and hold the icon next to the item you would like to move.

3. While holding the mouse button down, move the item up or down the menu. You'll see a black line showing where you can drop the item as you move it.

If this doesn't work, you probably don't have active desktop installed (in other words, you gotta have IE 4.0 or better).

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14. All About Megapixels
We've been getting a lot of questions about megapixels (MP) lately. Stuff like, "How many do I need"? and "Will my photos be sharper with more"? and "Will more megapixels improve the quality of my images"?

Well, here's the scoop!

First, how they are determined...

So, you've found a camera that has 5.0 megapixels and you're wondering exactly how they arrived at that number. Did they just grab it out of the digital ether, or is there some math you're missin' out on?

Well, the term "megapixel" simply means 1 million pixels. So, that means a 5 MP camera can capture five million pixels at its highest quality setting. The more of these pixels you capture, the larger you can print your image. Stop and re-read that last sentence! It's the main reason for wanting more megapixels.

Alright then, how many MP are you going to need to print the size photos you want to print? Well, it depends on how large you want to print and at what resolution. Now, stick with me here.

For the most part, photo-quality ink jet printers do well with 200 DPI, although 300 DPI is usually considered "photo quality." I can almost never tell the difference. I've seen "OK" results at lower resolutions than mentioned above, but 200 DPI or better always makes a nice print for me. So, we'll use that number as the minimum and plug it into the following equation:

In order to print a 4x6 at 200 DPI, you need to take the length and multiply it by the resolution, then do the same with the width. Next multiply those results. Don't worry, this is much easier than it sounds:

4 (width) x 200 (resolution) = 800
6 (length) x 200 (resolution) = 1200

Those are your minimum width and length pixel counts. To print a 200 DPI photo quality 4x6, you would need an image that was 800 x 1200 pixels. Now, to determine how many MP this is:

800 x 1200 = 960,000 - Round up to 1,000,000

Not too bad. Now we know a 1 MP camera can make a good 4x6 print at 200 DPI. Now, if you want a 300 DPI print, you'll find after re-running the numbers, you'll need a 2.1 MP camera to do the same job! Goes up fast, doesn't it?

Here are some charts to save you some number crunching:

200 DPI:
3x5 0.6 MP
4x6 1 MP
5x7 1.4 MP
8x10 3.2 MP
11x14 6.2 MP

300 DPI:
3x5 1.4 MP
4x6 2.1 MP
5x7 3.2 MP
8x10 7.2 MP
11x14 13.7 MP

Also, keep this in mind:

300 DPI is generally considered photo quality. If you go higher than that, it's not really going to make any difference once the results are printed.

So, if you only print 4x6 photos, a 2.1 MP camera is all you'll need (only 1MP if 200 DPI works for you).

Here's an example to illustrate this. Let's say you take the same photo with both a 2.1 MP camera and a 8MP camera. Now, you go home and make a 4x6 from each camera. Guess what? You won't be able to tell the difference. And any differences you could detect are probably due to sensor and lens differences. Heck, it's possible the 2.1 MP camera would give you better results if it had a better image sensor and lens than the 8MP camera!

You see, megapixels alone don't determine quality and sharpness. They're simply a measure of resolution—how many dots make up your image. Picture quality and sharpness are determined by the quality of your sensor and lens.

For instance, you can go out and buy that new 8MP camera. Sure, it's going to capture high resolution images, but if the lens is of poor quality, all you'll end up with is high resolution images that are not overly sharp and have no fine detail. If the lens isn't capturing fine detail, you can bet your sensor won't either.

In addition to the lens, the sensor must be of good quality. I saw a 6 MP camera where the lenses were good (it was an SLR), but the sensor left a lot to be desired. No matter what steps were taken, we just couldn't get a high level of detail out of that camera. I've seen 2.1 MP cameras that did a much better job.

Your best bet to ensure you have a good lens and sensor is to stick with name brand cameras. I like Canon, Nikon and Olympus myself. You may see an off-brand with the same MP count for a lot less, but it may—probably does—lack in these other areas. Try to find online reviews of the camera if you have any questions about it. I like dpreview:

Anyhow, I hope this helps demystify megapixels for you.

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13. Eliminating the big red "X"
Q: I use Outlook Express and when I receive e-mails with pictures included, all I can see is a big red X. How can I fix it?
A: If all you see is a red X where your pictures should be, you're probably pretty annoyed, huh? Well, help is here! If you use Outlook Express, the reason your pictures are being blocked is because of a security feature that OE offers. They block your pictures because they don't want unscrupulous senders tracking whether or not you've opened your e-mail. Unfortunately, the security often blocks what you want to see, like your pictures!

To see your pictures, simply click on Tools, then Options and then choose the Security tab.

Proceed to uncheck the "Block images and other external content in the HTML e-mail" box. Click OK.

While viewing your e-mail may take slightly while longer with this option, you'll be able to see all those beautiful pictures that your family and friends send you. Just make sure that you keep an eye out for unusual e-mail messages or unknown sources.

Yahoo! e-mail users can use this tip to view pictures. Now, go look at those pictures!

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12. Does your system operation seem sluggish?
Q: My system seems sluggish. I know it has to do with all the programs that sit in my system tray, but how can I keep these programs from running at startup?

A: I hate it when I install programs and they insist on starting when I boot the computer. You know the drill. You install something and it places an icon in your system tray.

All those little icons you see in your system tray represent programs that are RUNNING. If a bunch of stuff loads when you start your computer, you may be maxing out your system before you launch your first regular program. So, if you find your computer getting progressively slower as you add more software, it could be that these system tray icons are, at least partially, at fault.

In addition, programs running in your system tray can cause any (or all) of the following problems:

- Sluggish system speed

- Frequent lockups / illegal operations

- Software install problems

- Difficulty in running some programs

The more of these programs you have running, the more likely it is that you're going to see one or more of the problems mentioned above. Granted, System Tray programs are not the only cause for the conditions mentioned above, but they are the first place to look.

So, how do you keep all these unwanted programs at bay?

1. Click Start and select Run...

2. Next, type in: msconfig. Then hit OK.

3. The System Configuration Utility should run (please note that not all computers have it installed -see note below).

4. Click the Startup tab.

5. You'll see a listing of all the stuff that starts itself when your computer does. Just uncheck the programs you don't want to load and leave the rest alone.

Note - If you don't have msconfig on your system (win 95 / 2000 doesn't) then check out Startup Control Panel at:

It does basically the same thing.

Once you get msconfig or the program above running, you'll probably see more stuff than you bargained for. I would advise exercising caution while unchecking, especially if you're not sure about what program(s) you're suppressing. Stuff like Scan Registry and System Tray are probably best left alone. If you see stuff that you recognize as being non-essential software, than uncheck it. This is one of those do at your own risk things.

If you're not sure which program is being referred to, look at the path. Sometimes the folder just before the ".exe" file can give you a clue as to what program you're dealing with.

For example, if I see something like: C:\program files\real\realplayer.exe

I can guess the program in question is the ever annoying Real Player.

In general, don't disable stuff that starts like this: C:\Windows

Or stuff like this: SysTray.exe

These are more likely to be important system files and programs. You may find that your computer won't run without them and you'll have to go into Safe mode to get things working again.

Finally, note that unchecking this stuff doesn't remove it from your system. The idea behind having these programs start when the computer does is to give you fast, easy access to them. However, having too many of these programs running at the same time can hit you hard in the system resources department. I personally make sure anything I don't need isn't running. If I need it, I'll click on it's shortcut.

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11. Forward Politely - Always Use BCC!
As we mention often, if you are sending email to several people, be considerate and use the Blind Carbon Copy feature. This keeps the various recipients secret and secure.

When you go to create an email in Outlook Express, click on View, then check All Headers.

You should now see "BCC" under "To" and "CC".

If you are composing a new message in Netscape Mail 7, just click the arrow in the "To:" box and a drop-down menu will appear. Choose "Bcc:" to make the address next to it a blind copy.

Do this for every address you want kept secret.

As I mention whenever we run a BCC tip, AOL users can put (parentheses) around the addresses in the "Copy to" section of the email

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10.What has your PC been doing automatically?
Sometimes, it's just easier to schedule tasks to happen when you're not using your computer, especially routine PC maintenance jobs. Don't remember what you've instructed your PC to do on its own? Want to see if those tasks are actually being performed or if your PC was turned off at the scheduled time? XP users, just look at the Scheduled Task log!

Go to the Start menu and hold the mouse over All Programs.

From the list of programs, choose Accessories, then System Tools, then Scheduled Tasks.

The Scheduled Tasks window will appear, listing all of your scheduled tasks, when they will next occur, and when they last occurred! You can even add new tasks to the schedule from this point by clicking the Add Scheduled Task icon.

Isn't it nice that you can make sure your PC is behaving itself when you're not looking?

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9. Alphabetize (sort) those programs
Q: I wish there was a way to alphabetize all the programs under Start/Programs. Can you help?

A: Well, save your wishes for something good, because you can! Here's how:

1. Click the Start button, Programs. Highlight any program group (i.e. menu item) that's listed there.

2. Now, just right-click and select Sort by name from the resulting menu.

That's it. Remember that you can still drag and drop program groups around if you want to manually specify which ones sit at the top of the list.

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8. Dealing with the option to report errors to Microsoft
Q: Every time I have a problem with this one program, a little window pops up and asks me to report the error to Microsoft. How do I stop this?

A: To get rid of that pesky request from Uncle Bill, right-click the My Computer icon on your desktop and choose Properties.

In the System Properties window that appears, go to the Advanced tab and click Error Reporting.

You have a few options. You could Disable error reporting. This will make any crashing program's window simply close itself. Poof! No explanation of what happened.

You could also click But Notify Me When Critical Errors Occur, but it might be even safer (and less confusing down the road) if you select Enable Error Reporting and Choose Programs to exclude only your commonly crashing program.

Click OK until you're back to your desktop, and that error reporting window shouldn't bother you when using that particularly touchy program any longer!

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7. Let's go over some basic definitions
I'm sure you've come across words and acronyms on the Internet whose meanings you don't know. You may even see them every day but find your eyes glazing over with indifference to their definitions. If you plan on building your own website, then it would be helpful to know what some of this stuff means. For example, do you know what "www" and "com" in the following web address stand for?

I'm not going to get technical with the explanations. You just need the gist of it, otherwise you may end up with the TMI Blues. TMI = Too Much Information

Okay, here we go:

Internet – a networking infrastructure (a really humongous infrastructure) where any computer can communicate with any other computer, as long as they are both connected to the Internet.

WWW – World Wide Web. Not the same as the Internet. It's the way to access the information on the Internet. It's like your secret password decoder ring that allows you to tap into the info on the Internet and interprets it into a format that you understand.

HTTP – Hyper Text Transfer Protocol. It's an agreed-upon method for formatting and transmitting messages on the WWW.

HTML – Hyper Text Markup Language. It's the language used to build websites. Next time you are on a website, go to your browsers menu and choose View, then Source. A window will open showing you the html that is used to put that site together. It's not very exciting to look at unless you're a programmer and like that kind of thing ;-)

FTP – File Transfer Protocol. When your site is complete, this is what you will use to transfer your web pages to a server so they can be accessed by the Internet.

Domain Extensions that are available to the public:

.com = commercial

Worldstart uses a .com extension ( ) because we are a commercial business.

.net = network

.org = organization

.info = information

.biz = business

.name = name

.pro = professional

Last week, I looked up the domain I wanted which was and it was already taken. I chose to alter the name a bit and see what else was available. However, I could have kept the ‘lilydog' and looked to see if a different extension such as ‘' or ‘' was a possibility.

The following extensions are not available to the public. You have to be a part of that specific institution in order to use its particular domain extension.

.gov = government

.mil = military

.edu = education

.aero = aerospace

.coop = cooperatives

.museum = museums

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6. Finding Your MS Product Codes

Warning: This tip accesses the registry and MUST be used with extreme care!

Ever notice how Microsoft likes to put "product keys" on all their software? Well, what do you do if you've lost yours and you need re-install the software? I suppose you could call Microsoft and ask them for help. Yeah right!

Here's another solution: If the program is still on your machine (or at least still has entries in your registry), there may be hope. The info you need may be tucked away in the Windows Registry ! This doesn't always work, but it's worth a shot:

1. Click the Start button, Run . Type in regedit and click OK . Your registry editor program will start.

2. Next, head to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\software\Microsoft . Make sure you open (double-click) the Microsoft folder.

3. Now, scroll down to the program you want to re-install. Double-click its folder and look for another folder called "Current Version."

4. Double-click that and look for an entry for " ProductKey " or " ProductId " in the right windowpane. If you find it, you've found your code!

It can be a bit of a pain to hunt through the registry like this, but at least you don't have to buy the software again!

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5. Computer Sluggish at Startup?

I hate it when programs insist on starting when I boot the computer. You know the drill. You install something, and it places an icon in your system tray.

All those little icons you see in your system tray represent programs that are RUNNING. If a bunch of stuff loads when you start your computer, you may be maxing out your system before you launch your first regular program. So, if your computer is getting progressively slower as you add more software, it could be that these system tray icons are, at least partially, at fault.

In addition, programs running in your system tray can cause any (or all) of the following problems:

- Sluggish system speed
- Frequent lockups / illegal operations
- Software install problems
- Difficulty in running some programs

The more of these programs you have running, the more likely that you'll see one or more of the problems mentioned above. Granted, System Tray programs are not the only cause for the conditions mentioned above, but they are the first place to look.

So, how do you keep all these unwanted programs at bay?

1. Click the Start button and select Run.

2. Next, type in: msconfig

Then hit OK.

3. The System Configuration Utility should run (please note that not all computers have it installed -see note below).

4. Click the Startup tab .

5. You'll see a listing of all the stuff that starts itself when your computer does. Just uncheck the programs you don't want to load and leave the rest alone.

Note - If you don't have msconfig on your system (win 95 / 2000 doesn't) then check out Startup Control Panel at:

It does basically the same thing.

Once you get msconfig or the program above running, you'll probably see more stuff than you bargained for. I would advise exercising caution while unchecking, especially if you're not sure about what program(s) you're suppressing. Stuff like Scan Registry and System tray are probably best left alone. If you see stuff that you recognize as being non-essential software, than uncheck it. This is one of those do at your own risk things - for sure.

If you're not sure which program is being referred to, look at the path. Sometimes the folder just before the ".exe" file can give you a clue as to what program you're dealing with.

For example, if I see something like: C:\program files\real\realplayer.exe

I can guess the program in question is the ever annoying Real Player.

In general, don't disable stuff that starts like this: C:\Windows\

Or stuff like this: SysTray.exe

These are more likely to be important system files and programs. You may find that your computer won't run without them and you'll have to go into Safe mode to get things working again.

Finally, note that unchecking this stuff doesn't remove it. The idea behind having these programs start when the computer does is to give you fast, easy access to them. However, having too many of these programs running at once can hit you hard in the system resources department. I personally make sure anything I don't need isn't running. If I need it, I'll click on its shortcut.

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4. Windows Clipboard
Q: What is the Windows Clipboard?

A: The Windows clipboard is used to temporarily store stuff. This "stuff" can come in the form of just about anything. Images, files, documents, etc. - they can all be placed on the clipboard. Once something has been copied to the clipboard, it can be pasted into another location.

The clipboard isn't a program you can actually access and play with. It's a built-in windows component that works transparently. When you copy or cut, the info is put onto this clipboard. When you paste, the information that's on the clipboard is put into whatever it is you're working on.

For instance, if I have some information on a web page that I want to put into a word processing document, this is what I'd do:

1. I highlight and copy (CTRL-C) the text from the web page. When I do this, the text is placed on the clipboard.

2. Now, I open my word processor (MS Word 2000 and up must be open before you copy). Right now, the info is still sitting on the clipboard and can be pasted into my word processor or any other program that can handle text.

3. OK, now I right-click a blank area of my word processing document and choose Paste from the resulting menu (or just use CTRL-V) . This will take the info that's currently sitting on the clipboard (in this case, the web page text) and attempt to put it into my word processing document.

I say "attempt to put the info on the clipboard into the word processor" because sometimes the info that's on your clipboard is not compatible with the program you're using. For example, if you try to paste a picture into notepad, that just isn't going to work.

For example, let's say you were working on a report in MS Word and you want to quote some information you uncovered on the web. Rather than printing out the web page and re-typing the block of text you would like to quote, you can highlight the text on the webpage and copy it to the clipboard (highlight by holding down your left mouse button and dragging it over the section of text you would like to have. Copy it by right-clicking that section of text and selecting Copy from the menu that pops up).

Now, head back to MS Word and position the cursor where you would like to insert the text. Hit CRTL-V (or click the Edit menu, Paste ), and presto, the web page text you copied has now been pasted into your Word doc.

Oh, for more on Copy & Paste head to:

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3. Email Etiquette
Sending e-mail that's looks good is a reflection of your professionalism. An e-mail that is properly written not only makes you look good, but is easier for your recipients to read which will win you lots of points with that individual. Finally, if you send an e-mail that looks good, you also look like you know your way around the computer and the Internet.

Here are some tips to writing a winning e-mail:


2. use punctuation its hard to read stuff that doesn't have any commas capital letters periods or apostrophes

3. Usee yur spall chacker. Its annyang to try to reede constent spalling misstakes.

4. When forwarding an e-mail to someone, copy and paste what you want to send into a new e-mail then send it off. This is especially true if you had to dig through tons of "layers" to actually get to the message of the e-mail.

5. Be courteous enough to use BCC (Blind Carbon Copy) when forwarding an email to everyone in your address book. You don't want to send your friends' addresses around the net. We sent a tip out on how to do this back on 5/27/2004.

6. Avoid embedding sounds or using "stationary" in your messages. I know it's cute and we're guilty of showing you how to do it, but they take longer to download and can be annoying to your recipient. Additionally, when your recipient responds to your e-mail, they may have to re-format their text (especially color ) in order for it to be readable.

7. Remember that attachments over 50k are annoyingly long to download, possibly causing your recipient's connection to "time-out", or the email could even be blocked. Try to keep those files manageable!

8. Re-read your e-mail message before you send it out. I don't know how many times I thought I had everything just right then found something that was way out of place when I re-read the document.

9. When replying to a message, don't quote back the entire message if you are just responding to one or two points. Just include what you are responding to.

10. Finally, don't use short hand. Stuff like "r u going to stp by ltr" can be hard to read. Don't B lzy, typ the whole wrd.

Well, I guess that's about it. I know that I occasionally commit an e-mail transgression (I think we all do), but maybe these guidelines will help everyone communicate a little better. Remember, these are just suggested guidelines. Most of our readers live in free countries, so email any way you want.

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2. Full Screen Fun
If you would like to see more web page and less web browser toolbars, here's a little trick you'll like. Hit the F11 key. It will put you into "full screen" mode. Hit F11 again to go back to normal mode. This works with IE, Netscape, and Opera.

OK, many of you are sitting there thinking, yeah, I know all about that one. Well, here's a bonus!

One complaint people tend to have with full screen mode is that you don't have stuff like your address or menu bar. Well, with Internet Explorer, you can actually have your digital cake and eat it too!

Just right-click a blank area of the toolbar. A menu will pop up that lets you add your address bar, menu bar, and any other Explorer bars you feel the need to have.

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.

The above is all well and good, but what if you want even less Explorer toolbar at the top of your page?

Simply 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. Kinda like magic.

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1. Back Up Your Data
Just about everybody has important data on their hard drive, from digital pictures to important documents, emails, earmarked websites the list goes on and on. In my experience people are pretty lax about backing up their PCs, and I think this really is an area that deserves attention. With a good back up set you can bounce back from a fatal hard drive crash and be up and running with all the your pictures, documents, downloads, email and favorites before you know it. Having important files stored on removable media is also a good safety precaution in case you get a virus or trojan horse.

There are a couple of different ways to back up important data, from the casual copy and paste to running complicated scheduled backups. There is no wrong way, as long you have a copy of everything you need.

You can save the data on a couple of different types of media (floppy, ZIP, CD-R/RW, DVD+R/RW, Flash memory, even DAT drives) but for home use I really recommend either CDs or DVDs, floppies are just to small, Zips, although bigger than floppies are still small (100-200MB), and they're old and kind of expensive. Flash memory can store data, but it's not really something you want to save data to and store away unless there is no other option. DAT tapes are more for the corporate end of things and are overkill in most homes. CDs are cheap, hold a lot of data, work on any PC and are easy to store.

If you use CD-RW, or DVD-RW you can actually save money by setting up a "round robin" with your backups. To do this, you need at least 3-4 of the same backup set, take the oldest and erase it. Now use the blank disk for the new backup, the next time you do a backup use the oldest disk in the set and so on and so forth.

As for the methods of backing up, I find it's easiest when all my intended files and folders are organized in structured manner and not scattered all over my hard drive. This is a good way to insure that you don't forget anything important by hunting for a bunch of individual files. An easy way to stay organized is to create a descriptively labeled folder structure and try to be diligent about saving your data to it's designed folder.

Another good practice is to test your backups. Don't just take the burning software's word for it. After a backup, explore the disk and randomly go through files and open them up to make sure that they're complete and not corrupt. Learn from my experience; waiting for a complete system failure is not a good time to check the validity of your backups! This is a good way to get yourself in a lot of trouble— I know if didn't back up the pictures or movies of our kids, I wouldn't be able to live with myself.

Once you have all your ducks in a row, it's time to back up. There are also a number of ways to do this. The easiest is to open your burning program, select data CD, and go through the folder, then explorer, and grab the folders you want to back up. When you select a folder, you should see it in the "burn" selection window. When you're done with your backup selection, choose "burn".

If you have Windows XP, you have the luxury of being able to open up the blank CD or DVD in Windows Explorer and copying and pasting the desired folders right onto the disk and select "Write files to CD". Windows will do the rest for you. This is nice, but I personally still like to use my third-party software.

Most burning software has its own backup service, and there are a number of third-party backup titles out there. The nice thing about these types of software is the options, like compression, backup jobs, and incremental backups. These are nice features especially when you have some backups that you want to insure are up to date. For instance, you can create a "Back up Set" which is basically a saved and named list of folders and files that you want backed up. This makes the whole process so easy—you can create a backup set and once a week or so your can run it and it will either create a new back up or save just the changes to the backup. These are two options that are usually found in backup programs. If you use "backup sets", it's important to keep the files organized, and in all the correct folders. You can also schedule Backup Jobs, which are basically backup sets that are scheduled to run at predetermined times, and intervals (i.e. once a week Friday at 6:00).

As PCs become a bigger part of peoples' lives the information being stored on the PCs is becoming more important. Performing backups is essential for protecting your data.

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