To look at the book, Computer Guide, based on these columns click here
Q: What would you recommend as the best value-for-money virus protection for a home computer (broadband)?
A: My clear recommendation for the best-value protection is AVG Anti-Virus from Grisoft. It is free for home users. What is more, it is a good product, is frequently updated, has automatic updates of the anti-virus signatures and naturally provides real-time scanning of files and email.
See: free.grisoft.com/freeweb.php/doc/2/ for details and to download it.
Q: When I add a new Favorite to my current list in Internet Explorer it goes to the bottom. I can manually move it by going into Organise Favorites but is there a way to have them automatically sorted?
A: There is and I receive regular questions about this. It's so simple that most users miss it. Just right-click on the list of Favorites and select Sort by Name from the pop-up menu that appears.
Alternatively, if you wish to move a Favorite up or down the list, right-click on your selection and simply move it up or down as required.
Q: Does Windows XP Home Edition SP2 have a back-up utility? If so, how can I access it (it doesn't appear to be in System Tools). Also, does Windows XP Home Edition SP2 have a utility for creating a ghost image of the hard disk, or do I need to get third-party software?
A: The back-up utility is not included in the default installation of Windows XP Home Edition and therefore does not appear on any menus. However, it is on the XP CD and can be easily installed. To me this seems a surprising omission as even an average back-up program is better than none at all. Perhaps the research at Microsoft showed that only a tiny percentage of users would use it so they did not install it automatically.
To install it, insert the XP CD and then use Windows Explorer to navigate to the folder called Valueadd\Msft\Ntbackup and then double-click the Ntbackup.msi file. This will start a wizard that installs back-up software.
Microsoft has documentation of how to use this back-up software.
There is no software in XP that will allow you to create an image of your system and you will have to use some third-party software such as Ghost, Drive Image or Acronis. All are very good programs. Be aware that to create an image of drive C an image cannot be placed on the same hard disk.
You must have a separate partition but preferably another hard disk, internal or external USB, a network drive or a DVD. Although placing images on another partition gives some protection, a total failure of the hard disk will mean the loss of all data, including the image file.
Q: I am using Outlook XP with a contact list imported from an old computer which had Outlook 2000. The address list was sorted by surnames on the previous list and on Outlook XP it is sorted via the first names. I cannot work out how to change the order back to surname order.
A: To fix this sorting problem start Outlook then from Tools, E-mail accounts click on View or change existing directories or address books. Click Next, then select Outlook Address Book, and click on Change. There you will have the option of selecting the sorting by either the surname or first name. The changes will take place after you restart Outlook.
Q: I have Outlook.pst and Archive.pst files. How do they relate to each other, and which is the email message back-up?
A: Both contain some mail but the Archive.pst is a back-up of old sent and deleted mail, old tasks, old calendar entries etc. To back up your current mail you should back up the Outlook.pst file.
Archive.pst is created automatically by Outlook itself. At regular intervals, usually every 14 days, Outlook will move some of the old mail and other items to the Archive.pst file. Typically, Calendar entries are moved when they are six months old, and deleted mail is processed after two months, but these times can be set to whatever period you like. Note that Inbox and Contacts are not processed automatically.