Question:  Some of the e-mail I receive, the list of names at the top is almost longer than the message. How can I get rid of the names?

Answer: This is all a part of e-mail etiquette. When you send an e-mail to many people you have to treat it like a business letter. You CC: (carbon copy) people only if you want the people receiving to have a record of everyone it was sent to. When there is no need for the people you BCC: (blind carbon copy). No names will appear except the To: name. Keep in mind, if you are using your computer for a business, every time you CC: all your customers, you are giving out your customer list to everyone it was sent to. Not a good practice.

Question: Is there a way to filter my e-mail?

Answer: Yes, in most e-mail programs there are ways to filter, or stop receiving e-mail from people you don't want to get more stuff from. You can also route received mail to other folders. This is a big subject which covers several different e-mail programs and would be served better with a one on one session. One item I will bring up for those of you using outlook express. If you keep getting mail from someone you want to filter out, just open a message up, right click on the persons address in the From line. Click the right mouse button and left click on Block Sender. Now you won't get any more mail from that person.  Click here for information on setting up mail rules for Outlook Express.  Outlook rules are similar.

Question: What's the right way to setup Outlook Express to look like?

Answer: However you want. When I set it up for clients, I usually go to the View menu, click on Layout, and check Contacts, Folder Bar, Folder List, Status Bar, and Toolbar. I always uncheck Show Preview Pane. The reason for this is, not all functions are available, for instance you can't click on the persons name to add it to the Address Book, but more importantly, when you use the preview pane it basically opens the e-mail. If you receive an e-mail which has an attachment that you have heard contains a virus, the e-mail has already been opened. Of course you have antivirus software so that will probably take care of it but I still prefer not to use the preview pane.

Question: What is the Windows update item on the Tools Menu in Internet Explorer?

Answer: IMPORTANT: If your using Windows 98, click on the Tools menu in Internet Explorer and then Click on Windows Update. DO THIS ONCE A MONTH. This will keep Windows updated with the latest bug fixes and security updates. Windows ME and XP users need to make sure in Control Panel that Automatic Updates are setup so you don't have to do any of the following. After clicking on Windows Update, you will end up at the Microsoft update site. Click on Product Updates. It will take a little while and the site will look at your computer and give you a list of available updates. Make sure you download the Critical Updates. A Tip: Don't download the Critical Updates Notification under Recommended Updates. If you do, it will drive you nuts (for some of us that's a short trip) reminding there are available updates. Just update once a month, that should be sufficient.  When I wrote this FAQ, things were a little different.  Today, updates are very important and auto update should be on.  Microsoft keeps changing the update site, but basically it is important to do the updates.  Windows XP also has a validation feature to make sure you're not running a pirated version of the software.  If you get a version of Windows or Office for a very low price, chances are it is pirated and will not update.

Question: Why do I get a blank page when printing from Internet Explorer 5.5?

Answer: This is a known problem. Instead of clicking on the printer icon, go to the File menu, then click Print.

Question: What is a cookie?

Answer: A cookie is a text file that may be placed on your hard disk by a Web page server. IMPORTANT: Cookies cannot be used to execute code (run programs) or deliver viruses to your computer. Cookies are uniquely assigned to you, and can only be read by the Web server that issues the cookie to you. One of the primary purposes of cookies is to provide a convenience feature that you can use to save time. The purpose of a cookie is to tell the Web server that you have returned to a specific Web page. For example, if you personalize Web pages, or register for products or services, a cookie helps the Web page server to recall your specific information. This may be useful to simplify the process of recording your personal information, such as billing addresses, shipping addresses, and so on. When you visit the same Web site, the information you previously provided can be retrieved, so you can easily use the Web site features that you previously chose. For example: If you previously entered billing or shipping information for a purchase from a Web site, you may be able to use a password to automatically enter your information on an order form instead of having to enter this information again. A cookie can indicate that you previously selected one or more areas of interest you want to see each time you visit a Web site. For example, if you want to view only some types of news, you might select some types of news topics to view on a news-related Web site. Any of a large amount of automated services. Note that if you do not provide information to the Web server, a cookie is saved to your hard disk. You have the ability to accept or decline cookies. If you want to control which cookies you accept, you can configure your Internet Explorer to accept all cookies or to alert you every time a cookie is offered. You can then decide whether or not to accept the cookie. To do so, use the appropriate method: Internet Explorer 5 and 5.01 Click Tools, click Internet Options, and then click the Security tab. Click Internet, and then click Custom Level. Scroll down to Cookies, click the option you prefer, and then click OK. Internet Explorer 4.x Click View, click Internet Options, and then click the Advanced tab. Scroll down to the yellow exclamation icon under Security, choose the option you prefer for cookies, and then click OK. To view the cookies that you have accepted: Internet Explorer 5 and 5.01 Click Tools, and then click Internet Options. On the General Tab, click Settings, and then click View Files Internet Explorer 4.x Click View, and then click Internet Options. On the General tab, click Settings, and then click View Files. To view the code in a cookie, double-click the cookie to open it and view the string of text and numbers.

Question: What should I do if I get an Illegal operation message?

Answer: Shut down the program if you can. If you can't, hold down the Ctrl and Alt keys with your left hand, then tap the Delete key with your right hand. This will bring up the task Window. In the list, usually if a program is hung up, it will be the first one on the list and after the name of the program it will say the program is not responding. Make sure the program is highlighted, then click on the End Task button. This will bring up a new window which will ask if you want to wait or end the task, again, click on End Task. Sometimes if the program is finicky (is that a word?) you may have to do the Ctrl-Alt-Delete thing three times before the second window comes up. ALWAYS shut your computer down and re-start after an illegal operation. Things can be messed up in memory and even though for the time being it seems like everything is OK you should never take the chance and continue using the computer without restarting.

Question: Should I get programs to keep me from having computer crashes?

Answer: In my opinion, definitely not. I see many times when people are having problems with their computer locking up or doing strange things, the problem ends up being a program they installed which is going to make sure they don't have a computer crash. These programs, no matter how well intentioned, seem to cause a lot of problems themselves and in a couple of cases I've had, really messed up the computer. The best defense against problems is to have the system properly configured and make sure to run defrag and scandisk on a regular basis.

Please Note: All information provided in The Help Desk web site is in easy to understand terms, in my opinion only, and may not necessarily be the only accepted answers or advice.  I will not be responsible for any problems caused from anyone making any configuration or hardware changes to their computer system resulting from information obtained from this web site.  Please contact me prior to using any content from this web site.