Jewish World Review March 5, 2004 / 11 Adar, 5764


Dropping check puts an end to Money troubles; cursor arrow is "nervous"; must maximize Internet Explorer every time

By James Coates

http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | (KRT) Q. Ever since I opened the Microsoft Money Express personal finance software, it has been automatically running every time I reboot or switch on my computer.

The program is not listed in the Startup folder with the other stuff that runs at bootup without asking. So where does it come from, and how can I stop it?

Doug Sky@rogers.com

A. The trick is to look in the system tray collection of tiny icons in the lower right-hand screen and find the one that looks like a blue circle with a big white M for Money stamped on it. Give this icon a single right-click, and you'll get a little pop-up box with several options, including the one to automatically load the software at bootup. Just remove the check mark from that option, and the uninvited intrusions will stop.

The latest versions of Money please some customers with this auto-start feature because it allows folks with online banking accounts and stock portfolios to get an instant readout of checking balances and stock values at the start of every session.

Q. I have a problem on my Dell computer that I've never seen discussed in your column. The mouse cursor arrow is "nervous." It will not hold still while moving it. The most frequent problem is during games like Free Cell and Solitaire when we are trying to move cards. Sometimes it has a mind of its own and completely disappears from the screen.

I would guess that it is some virus except for the fact that we have Norton AntiVirus and keep it up to date and also scan the files. It picks up nothing. It is very annoying when it wanders around. Do you have any suggestion on how to fix it?

Margaret Hubert@pacbell.net

A. We'll assume that your antivirus software does, indeed, make you immune to various programs, including so-called jokeware. Folks sometimes send to other folks these small programs that run in the background and do things like mess up cursors.

That leaves three possible fixes, Ms. H. — mechanical, settings or drivers.

Mice based on the traditional rubber ball on the bottom can pick up dirt and grease that blocks the signals sent to the computer as the rodent moves. You will find a small door on the back that can be opened to look for hairs on the shiny roller bars. Make sure they are clean and wash the ball with mild soapy water and dry it off. I'd venture 80 percent of mouse misbehavior stems from dirty innards.

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Second, check the mouse settings to make sure they aren't too fast or too sensitive, which also could produce nervous rodent symptoms. Click on Start and go to Control Panels and open the one for mouse. There you will find a number of settings that might be changed to mend your maladroit mouse.

The first thing is to change the mouse speed to make it slower. Next, look for commands to make the mouse disappear while typing and turn them off. There also are sensitivity settings for the scrolling wheel that should be set to be less precise.

Finally, you might restore the drivers Windows uses for the mouse in the fairly unlikely event this software was corrupted. In Windows 98 and ME, right-click on the My Computer icon and then select Properties and open the Device Manager tab. In Windows XP, you first click on the Hardware tab and then find Device Manager.

Now scroll through the list of peripherals you'll be given and pick the mouse. Then select the refresh or restore command in the same display to reload the drivers.

Q. Every time I open my Microsoft Internet Explorer program, it comes up in a small window in the middle of the page that I must maximize in order to view Web sites on a full screen.

How can I get the program to open the way I want it to start out instead of this irritating tiny window that I must change every time?

Elizabeth Millsap @aol.com

A. A fix is a snap, but it can sound a tad confusing, I fear. This problem is fairly common with the Microsoft Internet Explorer Web browser if a user goes to a Web site that resizes the window. If that resized window is the last one you close, the software will become stuck at that setting.

So here is the fix:

The size settings are handled by a pair of icons in the upper-right corner of the window of each program. These icons are pretty counterintuitive, but I'll fix that with a clearly written bit of advice.

When the display shows a large window being covered by a smaller window, it means that the window is wide open. When the display shows a large window completely opened, it means that the current window is the smaller one.

Even though it all seems downside up, all you need to do to change the display is to open Internet Explorer and then click on the icon at the extreme corner on the left side of the window for the program. Look for a command called Size and select it. You will be able to use the up/down and left/right cursor keys to expand the window until it fills the screen.

When it is set as you like, close the program. You need to close the window that you have resized without clicking on the maximize icon in order to make the change stick.

Now your browser will open as large as you like every time you run it, as long as you don't repeat the mistake of closing the browser when it is in a smaller window set by another Web site. (For some reason, you usually need to use the Size command and cursor arrows rather than dragging the corners with a mouse to perform this fix.)

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James Coates is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune. Let us know what you think of this column by clicking here.

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