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Start menu stopped by missing files

By JOHN TORRO

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 14, 2001


Q. When I click Start and go to Programs, my Directories are gone. The file is empty! How can I get them back?

A. Assuming you are not using the Microsoft Zero Administration Kit, or ZAK, where the Programs items are kept on a network server that may have lost connectivity, check your C:\Windows\Start Menu\Programs folder. This is where the directories and shortcuts are for the Programs menu. If they are missing, check the recycle bin (right-click, Explore) to see if they were accidentally deleted. Another option may be to boot to a DOS prompt (hold Ctrl key while Windows 98 boots and choose DOS prompt). Run ScanReg to verify your registries' integrity. You also are given the option to restore a previous registry at the end of the scan. Use this to restore the registry from a date that the system was known to be working correctly.

Printing e-mail, continued

Q. Last week, you presented a rather convoluted technique to print e-mails without headers and addresses. How about just highlighting the text you wish to print, then selecting File/Print/Selection?

A. Rest assured that I always look for the easiest way out and your suggestion would seem to be it . . . but it doesn't work. Sure, the selected text will print, but all the addresses in the address line also print, and this is what the reader was trying to avoid.

We received a number of messages from readers regarding the same question about printing an e-mail from Outlook Express without all the addresses in the address line also printing. A possible source of confusion was that the word "printing" was inadvertently omitted from the question, though the answer remains the same.

Windows 98 boot error

Q. When I boot Windows 98, I get this message: "Run time error 62 Input Past end of file."

A. This error message is a Visual Basic program error message. To find which program is causing the problem, go to Start, Programs, Accessories, System Tools, System Information. Click Tools from the menu bar and select System Configuration Utility (or click Start, Run, enter MSCONFIG and press Enter as a shortcut to this utility). Choose the Selective Startup option and try disabling each of the six Start-up areas one at a time, starting with the Load Startup Group items. Reboot and see if you still get the error message. If not, run the MSCONFIG program again and click the appropriate tab of whichever startup group is currently disabled (after re-enabling it). Here you need to selectively disable the individual start-up components, reboot and observe the operation until you find the culprit. Once you do, make sure you re-enable the Normal Startup option in MSCONFIG and disable the offending program permanently by once again going through whichever tab interface it was originally accessed and unselecting the individual item.

Reading e-mail with Preview Pane

Q. I followed your recommendation for removing the Show Preview Pane option in Outlook Express (Solutions, April 23), but now I can't figure out how to open my messages.

A. The easiest way is to double-click on the message. You also can right-click the message and select Open, and finally you can click File, Open from the menu bar. However, this brings up another issue that I failed to mention in my original answer. Most e-mail programs have a feature that automatically opens up the next e-mail message once you delete or move the current message to another folder. This is not always a good idea. Microsoft Outlook has an option that can be set to control this action, but Outlook Express 5.5 does not. In this case, I recommend deleting junk mail first before opening any of the remaining messages.

Corrections

The free program NISTIME-32BIT.EXE to synchronize a PC's time over the Internet, mentioned in an April 2 item, will work with dial-up modems as well as cable/DSL connections. See the National Institute of Standards and Technology's Web site (www.boulder.nist.gov/timefreq/service/time-computer.html) for details.

* * *

The Web address for downloadable boot disks, www.bootdisk.com, was incorrect in the Windows tip in last week's Solutions column.

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