Q: What to do before installing software?

A: It's a good idea to do an extra round of the usual maintenance tasks. Think of it like vacuuming the carpet before moving in a new couch. It's going to be easier now than afterwards. In this case, it may also prevent some common annoying installation problems. Check that your anti-virus and anti-spy-ware program definitions are current and scan your computer to make sure it's clean. Following the carpet analogy, cleaning up the mess once the couch is in the room will only take longer. Of course, you'll want to scan any download for viruses or spy-ware before opening or installing it.  Second, if you haven't done so in the last week or so, run Disk Clean (or ScanDisk for older Windows versions) and follow it up with Disk Defragment. This will make more disk space available and arrange it in larger, uninterrupted chunks.  Now that you have all the usual cleanup done, you'll want to set a Restore Point. This way, if something goes wrong during the installation, you can tell your computer to put things back to the way they were in this squeaky clean moment. I wish I could set a "Cleaned up" restore point for my living room, but this is where the couch analogy falls apart.  To set a Restore Point, XP users can go to the Start menu, All Programs. In the Accessories group of programs, go to System Tools, and choose System Restore.  The System Restore Window will open. Choose Create a Restore Point and click Next to follow the Wizard through the process.  Give it a name that you will recognize later on, like preDownload1, replacing "Download1" with the name of the program you're installing.  You're almost ready to start that installation. Power down and reboot your PC, and then turn off all your unnecessary running programs. I mean all of them, including all the programs in your startup menu and your screensaver. Before removing items from the Startup menu, I'd recommend taking a notepad and writing down the file names of what had been running. This lets you put 1 or 2 of them right back in the starting lineup if you notice problems with other programs after your new installation. To shut down your screensaver, right-click on your desktop and choose Properties. Under the Screen Saver tab, choose None. Click Apply, then OK.  Finally, while you're installing your new program, take the time to read each window of text carefully before clicking OK or making choices. I don't want to tell you how many calls we get each week about easily-prevented installation problems. Usually, it's someone who installed the extra demo or trial-period software rather than the official program they bought. Sometimes, they installed both but the intended program won't open without the installation code for the demo software. So if you're offered demo software along with a program, I'd suggest you only install the program you bought. The other big cause for down-the-road problems is not writing down serial numbers or registration info exactly (case-sensitive, dashes or spaces, etc.) as you go. You may need them to re-install that program onto a new PC later, for example
Q: Tired of squinting when you read your email? Maybe someone sent you something that's just too difficult to read "as is".  Looking for a quick way to make the font larger without making the change permanent?

A: In MS Outlook, as well as Outlook Express, you will be happy to find that the Ctrl key combined with the scroll wheel will enlarge (and shrink) the email text that you're trying to read.  All you need to do is to place your mouse pointer over the email body, hold down the Ctrl key and spin the wheel.  Almost as a bonus, you'll find that it works with both in the Preview Pane and in the email when fully opened.  You must be warned  - this works on the text of the email you received, not the pictures. You will find that pictures stay as sent. This means that if the text you're trying to enlarge is a part of a picture in the email then you're out of luck - this won't do the trick.
Q: You�ve just got a second hard drive. How do I move programs over to it?

A: First off, the better way to go is to leave your programs on the C drive and move documents, pictures, and music files over to the new drive. These files can take up a lot of space, especially WAV, MP3, and JPGs. This also protects your data files in case something happened to the operating system or your C drive.  If you really want your programs on the new drive, you'll need to uninstall from the C drive and re-install on the new one. That can get tedious and you run the risk of errors since some files (like DLLs) get written to the C drive even if the program is on the other drive.  As for HOW to move music files and such, just drag and drop from one drive to the other
Q: I downloaded a bunch of icons, but how do I change the icons on my desktop?

A: There's not a whole lot to it. Just Right Click the folder you want to change and choose Properties. Now choose the Customize Tab, and select the Change Icon button.  A window will appear showing a lot of different icons to choose from. The standard icons are in your System32\SHELL32.dll folder, but you can have icons in other folders. Just click Browse and navigate to the other folder that you put the icons in.  Find one you like, select it and choose OK. Click OK again to finalize the change
Q: When you go to Start then "Run"  my computer doesn't have Run. What do to do?

A: The good news is that you can control what items show up in your XP Start Menu.  Just right click the Start button and choose "Properties". Next click the "Customize" button then the "Advanced" tab. Under "Start Menu Items" you'll see a big list of features that you can customize. Scroll down to "Run Command" and check it off.
Click OK then OK again. Now hit the Start button. There it is, the Run box just waiting for you to use. For more on the Run Command
Q: You lose your dial up connection each time you send an email using Outlook Express. How to fix this?

A: OE can be set to hang up after it sends or receives email. This is a great feature if you have limited monthly hours online, but can be really annoying if you decide to check your mail while your surfin' the web. Fortunately this feature can be turned on or off.  Go to Tools / Options, then click the "Connections" tab.  If you want Outlook Express to hang up after sending or checking mail, check the box. If you DON'T want it to hang up after, just uncheck the box. NOTE: If you are someone who downloads their email then reads it offline (hang up after receiving), keep in mind that this can cause you to get a red X where a graphic should be.  Since pictures load from the server, you must be online when reading or printing to get the pictures.
Q. What do you do toSelect It All?

A. Have you ever wanted to highlight a complete document or page all at once instead of dragging your mouse all the way from the bottom to the top of the page just so you can copy and paste it somewhere else? If it is two pages or more, it can get redundant to use your mouse for all of the text. Even then, sometimes your finger slips off the mouse and you have to start all over again. If you're tired of all that nonsense, you can select all of the text on a page all at one time. All you have to do is select it all! There are two ways you can do this. One is going to the Edit menu in whatever program you're working in (a Web page, MS Word, etc) and choose Select All. That will highlight the complete page of text, pictures, etc. Then you can just copy and paste the material wherever you want it. The job will be done much faster than using your mouse! The other way to select it all is by using Ctrl + A. This keyboard shortcut will do the exact same thing. Just click once on the page you want to copy, press Ctrl and A at the same time and poof, it's done!
Q. What is Quick Launch?

A. The space where the icons sit in the bottom left side of your desktop (right next to the Start button) is called the Quick Launch Toolbar. You can put an icon there for any program that you go to regularly, so it will open much quicker. Otherwise, you have to go to your Start menu and search through all of your Programs or find where it's located on your desktop. Sometimes that can take much longer than you would like, so putting an icon right at the bottom of your screen helps you to find the program much quicker and the quick launch makes it easier to get going on your daily computer activities. To put a new icon in your toolbar, find the program in your Start menu or on your desktop and just simply drag and drop it into the quick launch area. Once you do that, a new icon will automatically be created for quicker access. To get rid of an icon, just right click on it and select Delete and then Yes.
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