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E-mail program shares spellchecker with other software

© St. Petersburg Times
published February 10, 2003

Q. In Windows XP, whenever I click on Spelling I get: "An error occurred while spelling was being checked." I have tried clicking Tools, Options and Spelling, checking all boxes. No help. I have also tried Tools, Options, General and tried to make "This application the default mail handler." It won't respond. How do I get my spellcheck to work?

A. It sounds as if you're using Outlook Express. Outlook Express doesn't come with a spellchecker. It depends on sharing the spellchecker installed with other products (Office, Works). If you have either of these products, reinstall the spellchecker tool.

Hung up on Internet Explorer

Q. I have had a problem with Internet Explorer (Windows 98 SE). When I enter text into a form on a Web page, such as a Google, IE hangs for about 30 seconds. The browser just goes dead for 30 seconds, then responds to whatever menu items or buttons I've clicked while it was hanging. I have the Google extension in my toolbar. When I enter my text into that box, the browser responds immediately.

I discovered this almost a year ago, while using IE 5. I'm up to IE 6.0 and the problem persists. The problem seems to be unrelated to ZoneAlarm. I have disabled my antivirus program, and this has no effect. I am considering upgrading to Windows XP in the hope that this will solve the problem. But I don't really have much confidence that this will work. I'd hate to have to wipe the disk and do a clean install to remove this problem because I have several years of customization, shortcuts and programs installed.

A. There are too many things going on here to try to pinpoint the problem. Try this: From the IE menu bar, click Tools, Internet Options. On the General tab under Temporary Internet Files, click the Delete button. Also click the Clear History button. Click the Content tab, then the Auto Complete button. Click the Clear Forms button.

If the problem persists, go back to this form and under the Use Auto Complete for option box clear the Web Addresses and Forms options.

I had a similar problem whenever I clicked the Address drop-down to select a URL in the address history. Following these steps cleared the problem. You also may want to consider removing the Google toolbar extension to see if that has any effect. Upgrading to Win XP is a long shot. I agree with you that that will not solve your problem. Good luck.

Upgrades and reactivation

Q. I use Windows XP Home Edition. I am going to replace the motherboard and processor but retain the hard drive and all other components. Will XP on that same drive recognize the new system or will I be forced to purchase another copy of XP, since it may see it as a different computer?

A. It will most likely see it as a different computer, and you will have to activate it again. I recommend that you apply Service Pack 1 before making the change. Windows XP SP1 will give you a three-day grace period to reactivate it. You'll probably need to do this over the phone by calling the number that pops up after your upgrades.

Windows File Manager

Q. I have Windows Me. I have an icon for a shortcut to WINFILE. This allows me to go to the files tree. My son has Windows XP. He does not have a WINFILE file in his operating system. How can I create a file like my WINFILE on his desktop? I find it very useful to have a file with C:\ root tree.

A. Windows File Manager is a 16-bit program included with Windows 95/98/Me for backward compatibility with earlier Windows-based programs and does not support long file names. So while it does have some nice features such as the multiple file windows, I'm not sure it's the best tool to use when exploring your file structures.

You can try to copy the Winfile.exe program to the target PC along with the supporting COMMCTRL.DLL, but I'd recommend against this for a number of reasons. A better solution would be to put a custom shortcut for Windows Explorer on the desktop with a parameter that opens it to file tree view at the C:\ level such as: EXPLORER /e.

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