Dale Dietrich
friedman: always supply your comparative advantage
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Category — windows xp

How to Get Rid of the Annoying Warning Message When Opening Attachments in Outlook 2007

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grayed-out and checked 'Always ask before opening this type of file' box

If the warning above annoys you as much as it does me whenever you open an attachment in Office 2007, here’s how to get rid of it.

The Problem

Microsoft has understandably made security a cornerstone of its recent software releases. Each time you attempt to open a possibly malicious attachment in Outlook 2007, a warning dialogue box like the one above appears. It presents an always-checked, always-grayed-out box that reads: ‘Always ask before opening this type of file’.

Because Word, Excel, PDF and other document types can contain malicious code, you should, as the box warns, only open attachments from trustworthy sources. But, if you have a modern Anti-Virus program such as AVG or Microsoft’s Security Essentials (both of which are free), attachments in your emails should already be checked for malicious code. When this is the case, this warning dialogue box is an unnecessary interruption that becomes increasingly annoying if, like me, you receive emails with attachments many times a day.

The Solution in  Windows 7

Warning: You should only do this if you have anti-virus software installed on your computer that checks for, and quarantines, all emails that contain attachments with malicious code. And, as the warning says, you should never open attachments from anyone that you don’t know and trust! 

OK, you’ve been duly warned. Here’s how to do it:

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How to Upgrade to Apache 2.2.10 with Windows XP

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apache http server logo For weeks now I have had a persistent problem with my wishhh.com service. It was taking an inordinate amount of time to connect to the service (sometimes as much as 2 minutes or more). After ruling out every possible issue, I decided to upgrade my Apache server to the latest release (version 2.2.10). I’m delighted that the upgrade solved my problem.

I had installed Apache server three years also and made only a few changes to its configuration files since. Being a bit rusty, I searched for an online ‘how-to’ upgrade guide. The only guide I found was Evaria.com’s upgrade tutorial here. It was helpful but a little bit for my tastes. I followed that tutorial and took notes along the way. This post fleshes out the details a bit further.

Note: This post describes my upgrade from Apache version 2.0.54 to the latest version 2.2.10 (as of December 1, 2008). If you are upgrading from a different version, you’ll need to make adjustments to the instructions below to reflect your specific circumstance. If needed, you can view my server specs at the end of this post for.

Before you Begin

  • Gather Your Info: Information on the latest version of Apache HTTP Server can be found  here
  • Download the Package: Before de-installing your current version, be sure have the latest version at the ready. You can download it from one of the mirror sites linked into here.  I downloaded this ‘Win32 Binary without crypto (no mod_ssl)’ .msi installation file was: 

          apache_2.2.10-win32-x86-no_ssl.msi

  • Upgrade Info: Basic upgrade information can be found here. Unfortunately, I could not find step-by-step upgrade instructions on the apache.org site -  hence this post.

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Give your PC a Check-up with Microsoft’s PC Advisor

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Microsoft PC AdvisorHere’s another Paul Thurrott tip from the Windows Weekly 81 podcast (also discussed on his blog here).

Microsoft’s free PC Advisor (download here) falls into the ‘does no harm and just might help’ category. I would recommend it to friends and family who find their computer is having problems. Hey, it can’t hurt.

I downloaded it (here) and installed it all of my Vista 64 and XP machines. I run a pretty tight ship so I wasn’t expecting much. As you can see from the pictures below, it recommended I take certain actions to speed up my PC, clean things up, update software etc.

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Simple, Free Group File Renaming with Ant Renamer

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ant renamer during This tip comes from Paul Thurrott on the Windows Weekly 76 podcast (available here).

How I long for the old days of DOS commands. It was so easy in those days to rename groups of files. X-Tree was (and still is) my all time favourite Swiss-army knife utility for the PC for this kind of thing. Though the developers tried, X-Tree never made the move from DOS to Windows successfully.

The Problem – Cryptic Digital Camera File Names

The most common need for file renaming these days is to properly name digital photos. My Cannon Elf creates thousands of .jpg files that look like this: IMG_1894.jpg. What the heck is that? I want to rename groups of photos by the event they depict (eg: Dad’s 77th Birthday 1.jpg).  While there are ways of renaming groups of files in Windows Explorer (see here for example) the method is painful and error prone – I screwed up many a photo file name using this method.

The Easy and Free Solution – Ante Renamer

Along comes the free utility, Ant Renamer – available for download here. In seconds it can rename dozens/hundreds of IMG_### files, for example, to appropriate names reflecting the occasion they represent. It works in both Vista and Windows XP.

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No Crapware on a Mac

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Stuffed Mac Ad Paul Thurrott makes a very good point in the latest Windows Weekly podcast (Episode 74 at time index 50:10). It hadn’t occurred to me until he mentioned it, but there is no crapware installed on a Mac. He makes the very good point that part of XP’s and Vista’s negative reputation is due to the fact that Microsoft has no control over how the OS is tuned or what crapware hardware manufacturers like Dell, HP etc. install on Windows machines.

Every time I set up a new PC (whether for myself or for friends and family), I spend hours removing the inevitable crapware. This is such an endemic problem that there are third party crapware removal tools like The PC Decrapifier available to assist with the problem. Most new PCs come with the CPU-cycle-sucking McAffee or Norton anti-virus software which also needs to be removed but which can’t be fully removed without registry editing skills (I recommend the free version of AVG). To make things worse, with most every peripheral my family and friends purchase, they inevitably install the crapware that comes with it, which almost never needs to be installed for the peripheral to function. Most of these ridiculously unnecessary programs sit in the system tray, always turned on, never needed,  constantly sucking more and more life out of their poor XP or Vista OSs.

When I look back on my recent Mac Mini and iMac setup experiences, it was a delight turning them on and not having to deal with crapware – not having to deal with system performance degradation from the unnecessary use of system cycles – not having to uninstall anything. That’s how a users first experience with a computer should be.

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Make ‘Folders View’ the Windows Explorer Default in Windows XP

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Windows XP Windows Explorer Folders View   Windows XP Windows Explorer Default View
(click images for larger views)

From the launch of Windows XP in October of 2001 until two days ago I have been frustrated by the fact that, unlike every version of Windows, Windows Explorer could not be set to open in ‘folders view’ (pictured on the left above) by default. Instead the default view has been the wholly useless and very frustrating ‘common tasks view’ pictured on the right above. Fortunately Windows Explorer in Vista doesn’t saddle the user with the same issue.

I must have clicked on the “Folders” button (circled in red in the right picture above) many thousands of times over the last 7.5 years to get Windows Explorer to show me the directory tree in ‘folders view’ (the left pain in the left picture above). I had searched for a solution to this at least a dozen times in the intervening years. I finally found an easy solution.

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