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Technology Tips

I use Mozilla/Thunderbird/Outlook for my email. How do I backup my mailbox?

  • Outlook 2003: Refer to Microsoft's help support page on backing up Outlook 2003 settings. Click here.

  • Outlook 2000: Refer to Microsoft's help support page on backing up or moving Outlook 2000. Click here.

  • Outlook 98: Microsoft has a page that helps you backup your e-mail and settings. Click here.

  • Outlook Express 5.0 to 6.0: How to backup your address book in OE 5. Click here.

  • Mozilla Thunderbird: Backup your email and settings by making a backup copy of your "Profile directories". This will backup email, contacts, favorites and cookies. These directories can be found here:
    C:\Documents and Settings\[Log-in Name]\Application Data\Mozilla\Profiles\

I use a PalmPilot and the Palm Desktop application ... how do I make a back up of my calendar and address book in the Palm Desktop?
Make a backup copy of the entire folder in this location ->
/Program Files/palmOne/”yourprofilename”

I think my PC may be infected with spyware or malware .. what should I do?
Malware Remediation Ideas to try before rebuilding PC: ; ; ; and Microsoft's new Malware Remove Tool. If you don't run these two "free" tools regularly, you should: Lavasoft's Ad-Aware and Spybot Search & Destroy

I hold a lot of teleconferences for my clients. Do you know of an inexpensive way to record these phone calls in .MP3 format?
This process requires both hardware and software but it doesn't cost much ($40) and there's no charge for recording the calls - just an initial outlay of $40. The MP3 files can then be posted to your site for retrieval by your clients.


  • There are many programs out there that record audio/line-in to your PC. Too many to mention - but here are two very strong candidates I use. Both can be used to record live audio: convert tapes and records into digital recordings or CDs. Audacity also allows you to cut, copy, splice, and mix sounds together.

  • Download Winamp: an excellent all around audio/video player/recorder.

  • Download Audacity®: free, open source software for recording and editing sounds. It is available for Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows and GNU/Linux. Download Audacity : also download the optional LAME MP3 encoder (same download page) - Allows Audacity to export MP3 files. You'll probably want this. Audacity even comes with FAQs plus online Tutorials on basic and advanced topics.

  • There are thousands of other free and open source software packages, including the email program I recommend - Thunderbird. is also a very respectable office suite.


Konexx Model 100: Phone to PC recorder - only $39.99 and free shipping from I've used a similar device for years without any problems. And, you can't beat this price. Enables your cassette recorder, PC sound card, any mic jack, etc. to interface with your phone. FYI: All sides of the conversation are recorded at equal volume levels. And, this does not require a power source.

Try this on your own or call me - that's what I get paid for

Do you know of any software that does advanced graphics and photo editing like Photoshop but is less expensive?
GIMP is the GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is a freely distributed piece of software for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring. It works on almost all operating systems, and in many languages. An enormous user community exists and many online tutorials available. I highly recommend it.

What program do you use for FTP?
FileZilla is a fast and reliable FTP client with lots of useful features and an intuitive interface. While you're at check out what else is available. is the world's largest Open Source software development web site, hosting more than 100,000 projects and over 1,000,000 registered users.

Which anti-virus and firewall software do you use?
I've used Norton Antivirus and Internet Security without incident for years and dabbled with the free versions of ZoneAlarm and AVG Anti-Virus. If you're looking for a cheap (free) solution, ZoneAlarm for your firewall and AVG for virus protection are a tough combination to beat.

Recently, I've switched to AVG's Total Internet Protection Suite for a number reasons:

  • Integrated Package: firewall/anti-virus/anti-spyware/anti-spam protection in a simple to train and integrated package

  • Performance: AVG doesn't cause a performance impact on my PCs; I noticed the difference immediately - wow!

  • Cost: AVG deserves my money since I've used their free virus software for so many years. But, seriously, they're an award winning vendor year after year and typically only $60-70 for a 2-year license - that's tough to beat and more than fair. Buy and download from their site directly and you can be up and running in a few minutes. All products can be downloaded from their site and you can easily install and try them for free for 30-days. Alternatively, Amazon sells AVG products for a little less if you don't mind having to wait for the CD to arrive in the mail. I prefer to download directly because I want it now and I want their latest and greatest.

I like that AVG and ZoneAlarm offer free and excellent product versions to the general public so that folks who need this software can get it - it's in everyone's best interest really so that problems don't spread across the Net - but few companies take this route.

You can't go wrong by downloading AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition - an award winning solution which, unbelievably is still free - one of the most popular solutions to provide basic security protection on home and non-commercial PCs. It's my new top recommendation - but consider getting AVG's Internet Security package (~$70 for 2-years).

What software do you use and consider "essential"?
In case you didn't read the questions above:

  • FTP: FileZilla is a fast and reliable FTP client with lots of useful features and an intuitive interface.

  • Email: There are only two products worth looking at: Mozilla Thunderbird (free); and Microsoft Outlook (info, where to buy). Both are solid e-mail packages. My preference is Thunderbird for price, ease of use and added value features. Additionally, if you install some of the add-ons for Thunderbird, you'll have some strong contact and calendar management features.

  • PIM (personal information management): I like the Palm; they're cheap and the desktop software is really excellent for contacts, calendar, to dos, and even expenses. Even if you don't go with the device, the desktop software can be downloaded for free from their site: But, get an inexpensive Palm Pilot and then you'll have instant-on access to all your critical stuff wherever you are. I think they're under $100 now - you can't beat that (where to buy). Palm setup, synching, backing up and restoring are pretty easy when compared to other software backups - so I continue to like them. Not convinced? I would only recommend one other that gets high marks - and if you need something a little more sophisticated: ACT! ((info, where to buy).

  • VoIP or Internet Phone Calls: Do yourself a favor and try. Skype is in a class by itself. I use Skype-in and Skype-out daily - I absolutely and thoroughly impresseded.

  • Zipping (compressing) files: I use FilZip. It's a great, and free, file zipping program.

  • Screen Snapshots and Quick Editing: I haven't found anything to beat MWSnap. MWSnap is a small yet powerful Windows program for snapping (capturing) images from selected parts of the screen. Current version is capable of capturing the whole desktop, a highlighted window, an active menu, a control, or a fixed or free rectangular part of the screen. It even has a zoom and color picker!

    My PC is sluggish. Is there any maintenance I can perform myself?
    I try to do this about once a month or whenever things start slowing down:

    Steps below are to clear the cache memory and allocate the system files on the system for more space.

    Delete *.tmp and *.chk files

    • Click on Start | Find | Files or Folders

    • Type *.tmp in the Name field

    • Confirm the local drive is selected in the Look in field

    • Click on Find Now

    • Click on Edit | Select All to highlight the search results

    • Click on File | Delete to delete the files

    • Click on Yes to confirm sending the files to the Recycle Bin

    • Click on Start | Find | Files or Folders

    • Type *.chk in the Name field

    • Confirm the local drive is selected in the Look in field

    • Click on Find Now

    • Click on Edit | Select All to highlight the search results

    • Click on File | Delete to delete the files

    • Click on Yes to confirm sending the files to the Recycle Bin

    • Click on File | Close to exit

    • Double-click on the Recycle Bin

    • Click on File | Empty Recycle Bin to purge the files

    Delete Temporary Internet files
    • Open Internet Explorer | Click on TOOLS | Internet Options

    • Click on Delete Files in the Temporary Internet files box

    • Click on the Clear History

    Run Scan Disk
    • Open "My Computer"

    • Right click on the local hard drive

    • Click on Properties

    • Select the Tools Tab

    • Click on the Check Now Button in the Dialog box

    • Confirm the Automatically fix errors box is not checked

    • Click on OK

    • Click on Close twice when it completes to close and exit Scan Disk

    Perform Disk Clean Up
    • Click Start | Programs | Accessories | System Tools | Disk Cleanup

    • Select (C:) and click on OK (it will take 5 - 10 minutes before the scan is finished)

    • Select the following file types: Temporary Internet Files, Recycle Bin, Temporary Files, Temporary Offline Files, and Compress old files

    • Click on OK

    • Click on Yes when prompted to confirm

    Defragment the hard drive
    • Click on Start | Programs | Accessories | System Tools | Disk Defragmenter

    • Confirm the local hard drive is selected and click on OK

    • Click on Start regardless of any system messages saying to do otherwise (Allow up to 2 hours for it to run)

    • Click on Yes when prompted to quit Disk Defragmenter

    • Reboot the computer

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