Nominate the programs
By George Skarbek - 3rd May 2005

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Computer Guide

Q: I have been trying to clean up my start-up routine in XP. When I go to run, MSCONFIG, start-up, I never know which of the files listed is critical and which is not required. If I try to deselect some of them, next time I start up, XP sends me into restricted start-up mode and asks me to reset all the start-up programs. How do I clean up my start-up routine and have it operate normally in the revised set-up?

A: Knowing what programs are essential requires a lot of experience in computers. For Windows to run, you do not need any of them, as none are critical, but some should always be left to start automatically. I recommend you allow your anti-virus to start. If you have a firewall, it should also start automatically.

To find which programs are needed can be hard to guess, but sites such as list some programs that you can check.

The Ultimate Troubleshooter is a program from that identifies unnecessary programs and instructs how to remove them.

Removing the tick will not uninstall the programs but just prevents them from starting automatically and you can start them manually later. After using MSCONFIG, just ignore the warning message that will appear after a reboot and tick "Do not display configuration warning again".

Q: Can I prevent email addresses being automatically added to my Contact list in Outlook Express?

A: In Outlook Express, click on Tools, Options, then click on the Send tab and then remove the tick from "Automatically put people I reply to in my Address Book". This will stop this from happening, but then you will have to manually remove any contacts that you are not likely to use in the future.


Q: I occasionally need to use characters not on my keyboard or (apparently) in my language set. I specify Australian English as my language for Word. I believe there are combinations available that enable one to use symbols such as the pound sterling sign, or the acute, grave, and circumflex actions for French, or the umlaut for German. Is there a publication or an internet source that can supply the combinations?

A: To enter these special symbols you must hold the Alt key down while you enter a number on the numeric keypad (not on the numbers at the top of the keyboard). To enter the pound sign (£) use Alt + 156. The Euro symbol (€) is Alt + 0128. For the other symbols you can insert using the Alt + number keys, visit

To look at the book, Computer Guide, based on these columns click here