Computer Guide

Sorting Favourites
by George Skarbek - 25th April 2006

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Q: Despite looking in the help menu and asking my Microsoft consultant, I have not been able to find out how to put a long list of Favourites into alphabetical order.

A: This is easily done but there is a trap. To sort the Favourites just right-click on any of the Favourites and then from the pop-up menu click on Sort by Name. Some users have the Favourites panel always present on the left-hand side and this method does not work. The trap for these users is there is no Sort by Name option when they right-click. The way to bring it up is to open the Favourites from the toolbar where you have File, Edit, View and then Favourites.


Q: I want to make Microsoft Outlook start on boot-up. I have checked my MSCONFIG file in Start, Run and it is not there. How can I get it there?

A: Locate the file called Outlook.exe on your hard disk. The location varies depending on the version of Windows and Office. Then create a shortcut which you have to place it into: C:\Documents and Settings \Your Name\Start Menu\Programs \Startup if you are running XP. For Windows 98 users put the shortcut into: C:\Windows\Start Menu\ Programs\StartUp.


Q: I have a wireless notebook using a Netgear wireless ADSL modem router, which includes a firewall. I am running Windows XP, which includes a firewall. However, I read that the Windows firewall only has inbound protection and that one should have a firewall that provides outbound protection. So I installed the free version of the Zone Alarm firewall. For virus protection I have the free version of AVG. Do I really need all these firewalls? Should I have the Windows firewall on as well as the Zone Alarm? And what protection is the router firewall providing?

A: You do not need more than one firewall. In most cases new routers have a good firewall inbuilt in the silicon firmware and no software firewalls are required on your computer. This also frees up memory and marginally improves performance. To test your in-built firewall in the router, you should disable both the Windows and the Zone Alarm firewalls and visit a reputable site that will probe your computer for all weaknesses. One such site is the Gibson Research Corporation at http://www.grc.com  - from there locate and click on the ShieldsUP! option and then run both the File Sharing and Common Ports tests.

As for the outbound protection, I would not un-install Zone Alarm but prevent it from starting automatically by clicking on Start, Run and type MSCONFIG and removing the tick. Then every month or so run Zone Alarm via the menu. Note that you must always keep your anti-virus software current.


Q: When you download an update from Microsoft or any other program that doesn't let you designate where it goes, where do the updates go? I have my computer set for automatic updates. Windows downloads their updates/security files - where do these files go before they are installed?

A: Unlike other programs that you download and have the option of specifying where they go, most of the automatic patches modify programs in the Windows and associated folders. Due to this they are automatically deleted after installation and cannot be used for later patching. Microsoft checks your computer to see what programs require updates and selectively patches them. This is to prevent a user running a later patch before applying earlier essential upgrades.

Q: When I leave my computer for a few minutes and come back to it, I have to start it by pressing "Ctrl Alt Delete", which is of no use. What is wrong with the username and password screen coming up when you touch any key or move the mouse, instead of having to press "Ctrl Alt Delete" first?

A: This is an option most likely set in the screen saver that someone has set on your computer. I suggest that you alter the screen saver to one that does not incorporate this security. To alter the screen saver right-click on the desktop, select Properties and then the Screen Saver tab, and select a suitable one from the drop-down list. Then you can use Settings to modify your selection.

To look at the e-book in PDF format, Computer Guide, based on these columns click here