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Questions & Answers




An important note on our Windows 7 Plain & Simple book.

A few people have experienced a problem with the binding of the book, where pages might fall out when the book is fully opened. Microsoft Press and the printer have been alerted. If you do have a problem with the book's binding, contact Microsoft Press at

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions submitted by our readers, together with the answers we supplied. Please note that our answers are responses to particular problems on specific computers and operating systems. We provide them only as suggestions to help you find your own solutions to similar problems.

Any changes to your computer system can potentially cause additional, and sometimes severe, problems. Before you try to fix a problem, always do the following:

1. Back up your files. (OK, you know that you should routinely back up your files but if, like most of us, you just haven't gotten around to it, do it now)! If you've done it recently, update your backup before you try to fix a problem. Make sure your backups will be available if your computer stops working.

2. Check with your computer and program documentation (including updates on the manufacturer's Web sites) to see whether what you're dealing with is a known problem with a recommended fix.

3. Carefully identify the problem, determining whether it's a hardware problem (computer, monitor, mouse, etc.) or a software problem (operating system, programs).

4. Ask yourself whether you have the expertise to take care of the problem. If you're not sure, consult with someone who has more knowledge and experience working with computer problems.

5. Double-check any information that tells you to modify the system Registry. Do not make any changes to the system Registry unless you know exactly what you're doing and have received detailed instructions from a reliable source. If you do edit the Registry, make sure you back it up first.

6. Allow enough time to fix the problem--it will almost certainly take more time than you originally thought!

If all these cautions haven't scared you away, then you're ready to try to fix your computer problem. Just remember that you're doing this work at your own risk! If you make matters worse, you can only blame yourself (although you have our permission to curse your computer, the manufacturer, and the people who wrote the software).

Windows XP

Windows XP Screen Saver

Q. I have a screen saver program I used in a previous version of Windows, but I can't get it to run on Windows XP. I've installed it, but it doesn't show up in my list of screen savers. How can I get it to run?

A. You might be able to get it to run, but Windows XP has a very high level of security, and earlier screen savers often violated security requirements. Therefore, Windows XP won't allow those types of screen savers to run. However, your installed screen saver should at least appear in the list of screen savers. If it's a true screen saver, it should have the file extension .scr. (If extensions aren't displayed, look in the Customizing Your Folders task in our XP book for information about displaying extensions in the window).

If the installed screen saver doesn't have the .scr extension, make a copy of the file in the same folder, and then rename it with the .scr extension. (For example, if the screen saver is named "myscreensaver.exe," rename the copied file "myscreensaver.scr.") Now copy this file and paste it into the folder C:\WINDOWS\system32.

It should now appear in your list of screen savers, and you can try to run it.

CAUTION: Viruses are often found in files that have the .scr file extension. Don't use any screen saver program whose source you're not sure of.

Windows XP DVD Recording

Q. I want to archive my pictures onto a DVD. When I try copying the files to my disc drive, it doesn't work. What's wrong?

A. First, make sure that you have a DVD drive and not just a CD drive. You must have a DVD drive that can write to DVD discs. If you do have this type of drive, your computer should have come with DVD recording software. Windows does write directly to CDs but not to DVDs--you need to use the proper DVD software. If you don't have the recording software installed on your computer, check the discs that came with your computer (or with your DVD drive, if you bought it separately) and see whether there is a recording program that you need to install.

Windows XP Desktop Background

Q. I keep a large volume of pictures in the My Pictures folder. When I want to change the background picture for my Desktop, I find that all my pictures are listed in a list that is so long, it's unmanageable. How can I delete pictures from the list without actually deleting them from my computer?

A. Windows lists all the picture files in your My Pictures folder, even if they are contained in their own folders. To remove pictures from the Background list, you need to move the folders and/or pictures from the My Pictures folder into another location. For example, I keep a folder called “Pix” on my C: drive for most of my pictures. See the Organizing Your Files task in our XP book for information about moving folders and files, and the Customizing Your Folders task for information about customizing a folder for pictures.

Windows Disk Formatting

Q. I right-clicked a disk drive in My Computer to format a disk, but there was no Format command on the shortcut menu. How can I format that disk?

A. If the shortcut menu doesn't display a Format command, you're probably trying to format a disk that cannot be formatted by Windows XP--a non-rewritable CD, for example. If the disk uses a proprietary type of system or has a special connection, you'll need to use the utilities that came with the disk. To determine the problem, if your computer has a floppy disk drive, right-click the A: drive icon in My Computer and see whether the Format command is present on the shortcut menu. If it is, you'll know the problem is specific to the drive and that you're unable to format the disk in Windows. Also, if you're working in a corporate environment, check with the system administrator to see whether security settings have been made to prevent you from formatting any disks.

Windows XP Fax Service

Q. I use the Fax Service that comes with Windows XP, but I need to send more than one document in a single fax. How can I do this?

A. Fax Service does not support this. What you can do is combine several documents into a single document, such as a Word document (use the Insert command so that the original documents aren't changed), and then fax that document. Another alternative is to set the scheduling for multiple faxes so that they will be sent in quick succession.

Word 2003

Word Envelope Formatting

Q. I'm using Word to print addresses on envelopes. However, I want the font to be fancier than the default font. How do I make another font the default font so that I don't have to change the font each time I use the Envelopes And Labels dialog box?

A. You need to change the Envelope Address and Envelope Return styles in your template to specify the font and font size you want. See one of our Word or Office books for details about modifying styles in a template.

Word Formatting of Scanned Page

Q. I have a scanned page of a document that I want to format. How do I change the formatting--the font and line spacing, for example?

A. Sorry! You can't change the layout of a scanned page--the scanned file is merely a picture of the page and can't be modified in terms of changing line spacing or font. It can be edited only as any other picture can be edited--that is, by adding lines and so on.

To manipulate the content of a scanned page, you need to use a program with optical character recognition (OCR), which examines the scanned page and turns it into a digital text page. Once it's been transformed, you can then edit the content as you would any text document. Microsoft Office includes an OCR program for conversion of scanned images. Many scanners include OCR software, and there are other products you can buy that do this.

Word Text Recovery

Q. I accidentally opened an important document, typed text that replaced the existing text, and then saved the document. How do I recover the text of the original document?

A. If you typed over existing text and then saved the document, the new content replaces the old in the saved document, and, unfortunately, you cannot recover the original content. The AutoRecovery file is also overwritten when you save the document. However, there are a couple of caveats to this.

If you're using the Versions feature, you can open a previous version of the document.

If you routinely back up your documents, you can recover the original document from the backup copy.

Word Calculations

Q. I write scientific articles and use mathematical equations extensively. How do I get Word to calculate values from these equations?

A. You can't. Word is a presentation program, not a mathematical program. You can use the Equation Editor in Word to create and display an equation, but the equation does not calculate values. Use Excel to make your calculations, and then paste the results into Word.

You can, however, do some math in a Word table: totaling rows using functions such as sum, product, max, min, average, mod, and so on. It's best to use these functions when you're creating a template that will be used over and over again, whereas a one-use calculation would be better done in Excel, with the results then copied into Word.

Word Formatting

Q. I have a group of documents I want to combine and reformat so that I can use them as reports. However, when I try this, my report layout--the margin settings and other formatting--are seriously disrupted. How can I get the content of these documents into my report layout without having to continuously reformat the report?

A. The main control for any layout is the template. The template controls page orientation, margins, and so on. It also contains the paragraph styles that control the layout and font of your paragraphs. You need to make whatever changes you want to the template, and then apply this template to your new documents.

There are two types of templates in Word: a global template and a document-specific template. The standard global template, whose formatting normally applies to all your documents, is the template. A document-specific template is one you create to define your own styles. Take a look in our Word 2002 book for the Customizing a Template and Designing a Template tasks for instructions on creating your own template. Make sure you add all the formatting you want--set the margins to the desired widths, check the page orientation, define your own Normal style, add any headers and footers--and then save the template using an appropriate name such as Make sure you save it as a template (.dot), not as a document (.doc).

Theoretically, all you need to do now is attach the new template to your existing document by choosing Templates And Add-Ins from the Tools menu , and, in the dialog box, selecting the check box to automatically update the styles. However, this is where you might encounter problems. If the original document doesn't conform to your report document layout after you've attached your new template, try the following:

1. In Word, open the report document you want to convert.

2. Press Ctrl+A to select all the content in your document.

3. Press Ctrl+C to copy all the content.

4. In Word, start a new, blank document based on your newly created template, click anywhere inside the document, and press Ctrl+V to paste all the content into it.

5. When you see the Paste Options smart tag at the end of the text you pasted, click it to open the menu, and then choose Match Destination Formatting.

6. Save your new document, using a unique name, and then take a look at it. It should have pretty much the formatting you want.  However, you might need to tweak it a bit by changing or adding a few styles to get it exactly the way you want.

Outlook Express

Outlook Express Drafts

Q. I have several messages in the Drafts folder in Outlook Express. How did they get there, and how do I send them?

A. Outlook Express places a message in the Drafts folder when you save the message but don't send it. If the window in which you composed the message is still open, simply click the Send button to send the message. If the window isn't open, double-click the message in the Drafts folder list to open the window, and then click the Send button.

Outlook Express Printing

Q. When I print an e-mail from Outlook Express, the place at the top of the page where my name should be just says "Main Identity." How do I get my name there instead?

A. What you need to do is change the default name in Outlook Express. Do the following to change the name:

1. With Outlook Express running, point to Identities on the File menu, and choose Manage Identities from the submenu.

2. In the Manage Identities dialog box, with Main Identity selected, click the Properties button.

3. In the Identities Properties dialog box, type your name to replace "Main Identity."

4. Click OK, and then click Close. Your name should now appear instead of "Main Identity."

Outlook Express Picture Blocking

Q. When I receive pictures in an e-mail, I am sometimes notified that some of the pictures have been blocked. This doesn't happen with all the pictures--just some of them. How do I stop these pictures from being blocked?

A. This is a security setting whose purpose is to eliminate certain tricks used by e-mail spammers to verify your e-mail address. The blocked pictures are the ones that you need to download from a server or Web site. Many spammers can get your e-mail address when your computer downloads these pictures.

If you don't want Outlook Express to block pictures, you need to tell it so. Depending on the version of Outlook Express you have, there are different ways to handle this. However, with a bit of experimentation, you should be able to fix this if you want to.

Try this: In Outlook Express, choose Options from the Tools menu, and, in the Options dialog box, click the Security tab. Look for items that restrict your access, and make your changes there. (This might be your security zone, or you might see a check box to prevent downloading pictures.) Click OK; then close and restart Outlook Express, and see if this changes what is downloaded.

Be aware, though, that if you do make these changes, you're probably exposing yourself to increased amounts of unwelcome spam mail.

Outlook Express Accounts

Q. When I compose an e-mail, I notice that one of the accounts on the drop-down list of accounts in the From line is no longer valid. How do I delete that account from the From line?

A. The From line appears only when you have two or more accounts set up in Outlook Express. When an account is no longer valid, you can remove it from Outlook Express. When there is only one account left, there will be no From line appearing in your message.

To remove the invalid e-mail account, do the following:

1. In Outlook Express, choose Accounts from the Tools menu.

2. In the Internet Accounts dialog box, click the Mail tab.

3. Click the invalid account to select it.

4. Click the Remove button.

5. Click Yes when you're asked to confirm the deletion of the account.

6. Click the Close button to close the Internet Accounts dialog box.

7. Start a new message, and note that the invalid account is no longer listed in the From drop-down list, or, if there is now only one account, that there is no From line in the message header.

Outlook Express Archiving

Q. I want to save certain e-mails so that I don't lose them. I've tried dragging them from Outlook Express to the My Documents folder, but this doesn't work. How can I save my messages?

A. Outlook Express uses a special file to contain your e-mail messages. The file works like a database in that each message is one discrete section of information in the file. When you retrieve that section of the file, Outlook Express makes it into a readable message.

There are a few ways you can preserve your messages.

One way is to manually copy your messages. To do this, click the message you want to save, click in the Preview pane, press Ctrl+A to select the entire message, and then press Ctrl+C to copy it. Click in the word processing program where you want to keep the message (for example, Word or WordPad), and press Ctrl+P to paste the message. Repeat the process for all the messages you want to save.

Another way to do this is to double-click the message, and, in the message window, choose Save As from the File menu. In the Save Message As dialog box, choose a file type you want to use (for example, HTML or Text File), navigate to where you want to save the message, and click Save. Repeat this process for all the messages you want to save.

Yet another way is to archive, or copy, the entire folder. To do this, you'll need to locate the mail file. Once you've copied it, you can import it into any Outlook Express program to read all the messages. However, this process is a bit complex. The easiest way to do it is as follows:

1. Choose Options from the Tools menu, and, on the Maintenance tab, click the Store Folder button.

2. Note the location where your folder is stored, and click Cancel.

3. Use the My Computer window to navigate to that location, and find the file you want--for example, Inbox.dbx.

4. Copy this file into another location, and all your messages in the Inbox are archived.

5. If you later want access to your archived messages, you need to import them from your archive back into Outlook Express. To do so, rename the file, point to Import on the File menu, and choose Messages. Step through the Outlook Express Import wizard to import the file and restore the messages

Troubleshooting Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional Web content

Q. I have your Troubleshooting Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional book. It tells me that I can find additional content on the Microsoft Press Web site, but when I enter the Web address, the page can't be found. How do I get that content?

A. Just as so many things change on the Internet, Microsoft has reorganized its Web site since we wrote that book. To find the information you want, go to

Internet Explorer 6

Internet Explorer 6 History

Q. I don't want Internet Explorer to reveal the sites that I've visited. Right now, all someone has to do to check on my visits is click the History button on the Standard Buttons toolbar. How do I keep Internet Explorer from remembering my viewing habits?

A. Privacy is privacy, so we won't ask why you want to keep your visits secret. To clear your latest history, choose Internet Options from Internet Explorer's Tools menu, and, on the General tab, use the Clear History button to manually delete the list. If you want to always prevent Internet Explorer from remembering any history, set Days To Keep Pages In History to zero, and click OK. Be aware, however, that if you're accessing the Internet from a corporate network, the network administrator might be using tools to record all your visits--and there's no way you can turn that tracking off.

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