Q. I accidentally closed my Contacts list in Outlook Express that used to appear on the left side of the screen. How can I get it back?
A. Very easily. First, launch Outlook Express and click View > Layout. Place a check mark in front of Contacts, and click OK. Your Contacts list will reappear. If you would like to make it disappear again in the future, click the little “X” in the upper right-hand corner of the Contacts list window.
Q. When I delete files and folders from my computer, they do not show up in the Recycle Bin, so I don’t have a second chance at restoring them if I delete something by mistake. Can you help me with this?
A. The default setting for Windows is for deleted items to move to the Recycle Bin, so at some point that setting must have been changed on your computer. You can change it back by right-clicking the Recycle Bin icon on your Desktop, then selecting Properties.
In the Recycle Bin Properties dialog box, look for the option, “Do not move files to the Recycle Bin. Remove files immediately when deleted." Remove the check mark that appears to the left of that setting, followed by OK to save the setting.
Q. Thanks to your recommendation, I use the Mozilla Firefox browser and I love it. I understand that I can change the default search engine from Google to Yahoo or something else. If that’s true, can you explain how to do that?
A. In the upper right-hand corner of every Firefox window is a search bar that, by default, invites you search Google. You can use the Firefox Search bar to type in a key word or key phrase and search Google, without having to actually go to the Google (www.google.com) Web site.
If you’re not ga-ga over Google and would prefer to use the Firefox Search bar with another search engine, you can easily replace Google. Simply click the “G” in Google or the tiny down arrow that appears at the base of the “G,” which will display a drop-down list of other search engines you can use. By default, Firefox offers Amazon.com, Creative Commons, Dictionary.com, eBay, Google, and Yahoo. Just click to select any of them. Firefox will continue to use your selection until you select something else.
Mr. Modem’s Geekspeak of the Week:
Within the context of a computer’s operating system (such as Windows), the kernel is the first section of the operating system to load into memory (RAM). The kernel is responsible for disk-drive, file, memory, and processing management functions, among other things. If you place your ear in close proximity to your computer, you can occasionally hear the kernel loading into memory. That sound is known as a “kernel clink.”
Mr. Modem's Sites of the Week:
Before you buy a product, look it up on ePinions, a comparison-shopping Web site that compiles the opinions and experiences (the good, bad, and ugly) of real-life consumers about all sorts of products and services. ePinions covers millions of products and services in more than 30 different categories. In addition to detailed product reviews, you can peruse buying guides (“What should I consider when buying a pet piranha?”) and “how-to” guides (“How do I perform my own appendectomy?”) Once ePinions helps you decide what you want to purchase, you’ll find pricing and availability options through a list of rated online merchants.
Seinfeld’s Dictionary of Terms and Phrases
If you’re a fan of the Seinfeld sitcom, here you’ll find definitions of terms and punch lines ranging from “anti-dentite,” to “re-gifting,” to the classic, "Yada, Yada, Yada."
Mr. Modem provides prompt, personal answers to computer and Internet questions by email, plus easy-to-use PC tips, including Windows Vista, for subscribers of his weekly computer-help newsletter. For more information, to view a sample issue, or to subscribe, visit www.MrModem.com.