Computer Guide

A tick in Excel
by George Skarbek - 4th April 2006
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Q. Despite looking up the website as listed in your previous query on this subject, I cannot insert a tick into Excel. Could you help please?

A. The method is the same as in Word. Click on Insert, Symbol and as in Word you must select the Wingdings 2 font as other fonts do not include the tick symbol.


Q. I have Windows XP SP2 with Norton Firewall 2005 updated. It stops me using Outlook Express and has to be disabled to update the AVG virus program. If I delete the Norton Firewall and activate the Microsoft firewall, would you consider this adequate protection?

A. Yes, I believe that with SP2 the Microsoft firewall is very good and unless you have some special requirements there is no need for additional firewall software. You can test your Microsoft firewall and Norton by going to a very reputable site that will probe your firewall and list all vulnerabilities. That site is the Gibson Research Corporation at From there locate and click on the ShieldsUP! option and then run both the File Sharing and Common Ports tests. There are other sites that offer to test your firewall but as some also sell firewall software, they may give alarmist reports in technical language designed to frighten the user that there may be a serious breach of security in order to sell software, because fear sells. A typical example may be a warning about ICMP protocol. This is used mainly for diagnostics and nobody can possibly access your computer via this protocol. Also be aware that the firewall is just to prevent humans from gaining access to your computer. A firewall will not prevent spam, trojans and viruses. For the latter you must use some anti-virus software and keep it current.

Q. I run WinXP Pro. I also run a McAfee firewall. Whenever I boot up my computer Firewall alerts me of the following programs trying to communicate: Application Layer Gateway Services v5.1.2; Generic Host Process for Win32 Services. I always block them. What will happen if I do not block them?

A. There is no need to block these programs as they are an integral part of Windows XP. Unlike Windows 98, XP runs many required services in the background and you can view these by opening the Task Manager. The Task Manager can be opened by many methods, such as a right-click on the task bar and selecting it. Then click on the processes tab to see what is active. Unless you really know what you are doing, it is best not to stop any of these. Consult for one of the reference sites that explain what these programs do. You will find that the Generic host is also a part of Windows and should be allowed to run.

Q. I have a problem opening email attachments that have been created in Microsoft Works and have the file extension ****.wps. I have checked in Settings/Control Panel/Folder Options/File Types but that file type is not included in the list. When I try to open it I get a message saying: "This file does not have a program associated with it for performing this action." My computer operating system is MS Windows XP Professional. Can you tell me how I get my computer to open a file with this extension?

A. The WPS extension is created by the Microsoft Works word processor. You can open these files with Microsoft Word. If you do not have Word, then ask your sender to save the file in some other format that you are able to read, such as RTF (Rich Text Format) that can be read by WordPad.

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