Jewish World Review Nov. 19, 2003 / 24 Mar-Cheshvan, 5764


Clever trick speeds sending of group e-mail; getting rid of all temp files; problems adding new computer

By James Coates

http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | (KRT) Q. I really need to find a way to use the e-mail addresses that I have collected in Microsoft Outlook Express to send copies of a message to a large number of people using the blind carbon copy feature. Here is my problem. I saved the whole list of e-mail addresses running down a column in an Excel spreadsheet thinking that I could just copy it and then paste them in the BCC: or CC: line of the main message. But e-mail requires a semicolon to separate each address, so I get an error message when I try to send.

Also, if I upgrade to Outlook, will I be able to use all of the stuff I have in Outlook Express, including that e-mail list?

John Gardner, St. Louis

A. You taught me something, Mr. G. It had never occurred to me that I could take the e-mail addresses in that very slimmed-down Address Book in Outlook Express and copy them and then paste them in Excel to place one address in each cell running down a column. That's pretty innovative.

Now let me take the ball from here.

All you need to do is place a semicolon in the cell directly to the right of each e-mail address. To do this, put a semicolon in the top cell of that column to the right of the e-mail column. Now paint the second column down to the end of the address. Select Edit and Fill in the tool bar, and then select Down to fill every cell with a semicolon.

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Now paint those two columns rather than just the one. Type Control + C to copy them and then call up Outlook or Outlook Express and paste into the CC: or BCC: lines. The paste will place a semicolon after each address, thus doing the job you need of sending a note to a large number of folks in a fashion in which only the actual recipient appears in the To: line at the other end.

You will be happy to find that upgrading to business-strength Outlook from the Outlook Express included with Windows will offer you the option of importing that Outlook Express data into Outlook.

In Outlook there is a mail-merge tool that will handle those BCCs without any need to do your clever Excel workaround.

Q. I have been using Intel AnyPoint Wireless Adapters, and since I want to add another computer, I want to buy a new cable modem/DSL-based router supporting wireless 802.11b protocol. I have not been able to find out if the Intel Wireless AnyPoint Adapter supports 802.11b, and if I can use my existing investment with a new Linksys or Netgear wireless router. Please advise.

By the way, I use Windows 98 on all my networked PCs and laptop. I plan to add an NT machine as the main system to which I plan to connect the new wireless router.

Gokula Mishra, Naperville

A. Intel started its once-popular but now somewhat overshadowed AnyPoint Wireless Adapter product line using radio frequency signals and later switched to the dominant 802.11b in 2001. So if your product says it is Wireless II, it has the mojo you need, Mr. M.

Otherwise you'll need to buy new equipment to add the far superior 802.11 power to that hard-working network.

Even if you have the 802.11b version of AnyPoint, I want to caution you against trying to configure it with Windows NT 4 or lesser versions because of the difficulty finding drivers and making them work. It is far better to stick with the Windows 98SE that you know so well than to branch out to this difficult and increasingly obsolete business operating system. High-tech chat rooms and Google searches are filled with problem stories from folks who struggled to get NT working with this Intel offering.

Q. Here's a question that's been puzzling me for some time: I like to keep a clean hard drive so I periodically try to erase all temporary files by clicking Start and going to "find," then searching for "temporary" and selecting them all and deleting them. But I've noticed that this gets rid of only some of the temporary files. Others appear on non-related searches later on, and I don't know where they've been hiding or how to get rid of them in total. What's the story here?

Byron Naum, Columbus, Ohio

A. Your question surfaces frequently as budget-minded folks strive to conserve hard-drive real estate to avoid the need for costly replacements. And these folders called "temp" look like good targets for removal, but it's a false hope, I fear, Mr. N.

A great many programs create temp folders to handle bookkeeping chores such as storing data needed for a particular operation but not necessary afterward. Photo-manipulation programs, for example, sometimes store changing versions of a picture as temp files during a session. Most often these programs clear that kind of directory at the end of a session. So when you go to the trouble of seeking them out and deleting them, they just get recreated the next time the software is run, which is why you keep finding new ones during searches after you did a mass deletion.

Another use of temp files is during software installation, when potentially key components of the operating system get replaced with new ones. A temp set-aside lets one revert to working condition should an uninstall be needed. These usually are cleared afterward, but in any event they take up only a few kilobytes of space in most instances. Seeking them all out is akin to searching for peppercorns in a bag of coffee beans--more trouble that they are probably worth.

By far the biggest creator of temp files are the various Internet browsers that need to store elements of Web pages on a hard drive in order to keep things from becoming impossibly slow if every element needed to be freshly downloaded every time you did anything with a page. These temporary files can be photos, cookies, small applications for graphics, Java software elements and other such stuff that get used each time a page is recalled.

Here you can go to the Internet Options menu under the Tools heading in the Microsoft Internet Explorer. Click on the General tab and you will find a command to expand or contract the amount of disk space used to store these Internet temp files. In later editions of the browser, there is an option to move the temp files to any place desired on the computer, which lets some folks use a bit of an added hard drive to hold the temporary files instead of the main C: drive.

I sometimes wonder how much work time has been lost over the past decade as people tried to tweak their computers by removing stuff, only to find that the computer regenerates it each time the thing is run.

Let me add one big caveat. It is possible to trick browsers into storing potential catastrophic worms in temp files. Then if some curious soul gets to exploring the folder and clicks the booby-trapped icon, it can do great damage, up to and including corrupting the operating system.

I say let sleeping dogs and temp files lie. <

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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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