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Turning Off Filters In Outlook 2003 

by on April 30, 2007

An Into Tomorrow listener submitted the following question!

Q: I use Outlook 2003 and when I delete an item I used to be able to go into my deleted items folder and get the email but for some reason now most of the emails are not there. I have noticed that in the upper right corner where it shows that I am in the deleted folder and it also shows “Filter Applied”. I am wondering how that got there and if that is causing my deleted items folder to show nothing in it.

A: In Outlook, Filters customize your view so that the emails you are looking at in any given folder are only those that adhere to the rules of the filter applied. For instance, if you search for email messages that contain the word Cat in the Subject field, the filter will only display email with the word Cat in the Subject field and hide all of the other messages from view. Outlook contains some commonly used filters under View > Current View and it is quite easy to turn those on accidentally, which could be the root of your problem.

If you have a filter that is not allowing all of the email in your Deleted Items folder to be displayed:
While you are in the Deleted Items folder click on View > Arrange By > Custom
When the Customize View window opens, click on the Filter button
When the Filter window opens, simply click on Clear All.

This will remove all of the filter criteria that had been set up on this mailbox, therefore all of the mail messages currently in the Deleted Items folder should appear. This is also the easiest way to remove multiple filters from a mailbox.


What Makes The BSOD (Blue Screen Of Death) Appear 

by on April 26, 2007

Q: What is the run command that makes the BSOD (Blue Screen Of Death) appear?

A: The infamous Blue Screen of Death (BSOD), common to Microsoft Operating Systems, is a stop error which occurs when the Operating System encounters a critical error and cannot continue running. When this happens, Windows performs a Memory Dump saving whatever was in memory at the moment when the error occurred to a file on the computer’s hard drive.

Technically, there is no run command that will make the BSOD appear at will, however, there is a way to modify Windows (NT, 2000, and 2003) to allow you to view a memory dump by performing a few keystrokes. This technique will allow you to see some of the information that would normally appear on a BSOD with information that would be written to the accompanying memory dump while the system is still running. It can be used to help troubleshoot system hangs or freezes that may or may not normally result in a BSOD.

You can enable this function by making some changes to the Windows Registry. Microsoft’s Tech Net database has an article that walks you through the process of enabling this function in Windows. If you are uncomfortable with editing the Windows Registry you may want to seek the help of a more experienced Windows user or an IT professional to avoid damaging the Registry.

For fun you can also download the Sysinternals BlueScreen Screensaver which mimics the authentic Windows BSOD using information from the system it is running on.


VHS To DVD Converter 

by on April 25, 2007

Q: Is there a device that I can use to record VHS tapes to DVD?

A: There are several devices that will allow you to convert your VHS tapes to DVDs. The easiest way to convert you VHS tapes to DVD would be to purchase a DVD Recorder/VCR Combo. Essentially this is a console that has a VHS VCR and integrated DVD recorder. It will allow you to copy materials from your existing VHS cassettes to blank DVDs without purchasing any additional equipment or software. Please note that there are DVD/VCR Combos that have simply a DVD player and do not have the ability to record DVDs. Please make sure that the device you choose is capable of recording to blank DVD media. Read the rest of this entry »


Resize Images For Email 

by on April 24, 2007

Q: Is there a way, using Windows XP, that I can reduce the size of saved pictures so that when I send them via e-mail they wont be too large?

A: There are multiple ways to reduce the size of saved images in Windows XP, but the best method to use is determined by the photo itself.

If you have a large photo that you need to send via email there are several things to consider:

  1. Is the image raw or compressed?
  2. Was the image captured at such a high resolution that it may be difficult for the recipient to see the full picture?
  3. Does the recipient need to see everything that is in the picture?

If the picture you are sending via email was extracted from a digital camera, it may be uncompressed. Many digital cameras shoot in RAW format, which means that they save all of the information captured by the camera into the photo file, and there is no image compression. Typically digital camera files are saved as TIFF files (*.tif). A very quick way to reduce the size of a TIFF image is to convert it into a format with compression. By doing this, the image quality will be reduced enough to lower the file size without compromising the aesthetics of the picture. The easiest way to do this in Windows XP would be to use Microsoft Paint to open your picture and save it as a JPEG, which is the most popular form of compressed image.

To quickly save a TIFF as a JPEG:

  1. Click on “Start” > “Programs” > “Accessories” > “Paint”
  2. Click on “File” > “Open” and open the image you need to edit
  3. Click on “File” > “Save As…” and when the Save As window appears, edit the file name (to avoid confusion), and change the Save As Type to JPEG
  4. When you are ready click “Save” to save the file.
  5. To compare the size of the new file to the old file, “right click” on each of them and choose “Properties”. You will see the difference in file size.

As digital cameras get more and more complex and accurate, the pictures that they produce get larger and larger in dimensions as well as in file size. One of the easiest ways to reduce the file size of an image is to reduce the dimensions of the image. In Windows XP, the easiest way to accomplish this is to install a free add-on from Microsoft named Image Resizer. When you install this program, it places an option to “Resize Pictures” when you “right-click” on any image that you would like to resize.

Microsoft has provided a tutorial on using Image Resizer.

Sometimes images contain too much unnecessary information and need to be cropped. If a photo is taken and the subject is small, in a group, or far away, it may need to be cropped. By cropping a photo you immediately reduce the image size and allow other viewers to focus on the subject you intend for them to focus on. This is a relatively easy technique to learn and is used by professional photographers and graphic artists. There are several free software packages that will allow you to edit and crop images available today including Picasa from Google and Corel Snapfire.


Shut Down Computers At Night 

by on April 22, 2007

Q: I have multiple computers with printers attached to each. I am wondering if I should turn them off at night?

A: Many people think that turning on and off their computers will wear out the computer due to the electrical surge and/or the spin up of the hard drive. While computers have very few moving parts (fans and hard drives) leaving them on when you don’t need them is a bad idea. Monitors are your biggest problem though as they use up the most electricity and the light sources in them can only last for so long. So anytime you walk away from your computer you should hit the power button on your monitor or at least set your power settings so that if your computer is not used for 5 minutes the monitor turns off.

The next thing we need to realize is that computers have electrical current running though them when the power is on and the fans and hard drives are spinning whenever the computer is on. At some point something is going to fail just due to age and the longer you keep your computer on when you are not using it the sooner that will happen. So your best bet is to turn off your computer and all peripherals when you are not using them. Some people even suggest unplugging any peripherals, even down to cell phone chargers, because as long as they are plugged in they are using some electricity.

The next thing you will want to do is make sure you are not using a screen saver. Most people don’t realize that screen savers usually make your computer work harder than you ever make it work therefore using more electricity. So you will want to remove your screen saver and just have it display a black screen, which will make your computer last a little bit longer and use a lot less electricity.

This question came just in time for Earth Day (Sunday April 22, 2007) and this was a great question. Do your part to save some electricity and have your computer last longer.


Dropped Laptop 

by on April 17, 2007

Q: I just dropped my laptop about 3 feet onto a hardwood floor and now it is not working. What can I do to try to fix it myself?

A: Unfortunately if you dropped your laptop and you are looking for help it probably means you already tried to turn it on and nothing happened. There are a few things you can look at and try to do so we will discuss them here to try and help you get your laptop up and running without contacting a professional. Read the rest of this entry »


Copy My Favorites In IE To A New Computer 

by on April 10, 2007

Q: I need a way to move my favorites from one computer (Windows XP Media) to my new computer (Windows XP Pro).

A: The good news is that the process of saving your favorites/bookmarks in IE is simple and so is getting them into your new computer.

If you are using IE 7+ you will want to click on the favorites add button, where you would add a new favorite (This is the yellow star with the green plus). You will get a drop down and you will notice that you have an option of “Import and Export…”.

If you are using IE 6 or older then you want to click on the “File” menu and if you look down near the bottom of the drop down you will see “Import and Export…”.

If you click on “Import and Export…” you can then easily walk though the wizard that Microsoft provides for you to save your favorites. I would suggest making sure you pay attention to where you save the file that will be exported; you might want to just put it on your Desktop since you will want to e-mail it to yourself to get it on your new computer.

Now once you have the file on your new computer, emailing as an attachment is probably the easiest way, then you will want to, on the new computer, go to “Import and Export…” where you will want to select import. You will have to find the file and import it and then you will be all done!