Ask a Windows Expert – Week 1

ask-windows-expert-logoIt’s time to answer all those questions that have been popping up on MTE’s inbox. Today, there are a lot of questions and, unfortunately, we don’t have the time to answer them all. All the Windows questions were excellent, and we’ve done our best to answer them in the most concise manner possible. Let’s go on, shall we?

NOTE: Some of the questions will be rephrased and will not appear exactly as they were written in MTE’s inbox, for the sake of simplifying the query and giving as much space as possible to the answer. If you believe your answer was not adequately answered, go ahead and leave a comment at the bottom. We’ll get to you ASAP.

Q: How can I run anti-malware and anti-virus tools when my PC’s infected with something that just won’t allow any of these tools to run?

A: That’s a very good question, especially since there’s been a ton of malware recently that disables your antivirus solutions and leaves you shooting bullets in the dark. Here’s the trick, though: Most viruses and malware that enter your computer assume you use a mainstream antivirus solution, like ESET NOD32 or BitDefender. Try something like Malwarebytes and you’ll notice a difference. The program is subtle enough and doesn’t tell viruses: “Hey, I’m coming after you!” Instead, it just silently goes through your computer and plucks out anything screwing it up. Download Malwarebytes here. Hopefully, this will help you combat your issue. Best of luck!

Q: What are the best free hard drive backup/imaging utilities?

A: It’s great that you asked! I personally think everyone who has sensitive data must back it up at least once a month. Windows 7 already contains integrated backup solutions and disaster recovery, but if you don’t have a taste for what MS has to offer, you can always use other third-party solutions like Paragon Backup & Recovery. EaseUS has a free backup program as well, and it’s coming up from under the woodwork lately. Give both a try and see which one accommodates your needs better.

Q: What screen resolution do I need to see everything on web pages? In a lot of the web pages I see everything, except for certain elements (like “Send Payment”).

A: The vast majority of websites on the web evolve along with the computers that visit them. As technology has evolved, so has the “standard minimum resolution” of computers. Newer websites take advantage of higher screen resolutions on computers. If you are using an older rig, you’re probably not going to see a complete page without zooming out or scrolling left and right. As of 2012, the minimum standard resolution a computer should use to see the web well is 1280×1024. You can probably still get away with 1024×768, but I highly recommend going higher in the spectrum. If your computer isn’t compatible with either of these resolutions, or you still have problems viewing the full page after you changed the resolution, try holding “Ctrl” on your keyboard and pressing “-” to zoom out. Alternatively, you can hold “Ctrl” and rotate your mouse wheel to zoom out or in.

Q: How do I sort my “All Programs” submenu in my “Start” menu alphabetically?

A: Windows 7 does this by default already, so I’m going to assume you’re using an older version of MS Windows. In XP, try right-clicking on any folder in your programs menu and click “Sort by Name.” That’s it! In Vista, you can configure this through your Control Panel. Just follow this path:

Control Panel -> Appearance and Personalization -> Taskbar and Start Menu -> Customize the Start Menu -> Sort “All Programs” Menu by Name.

You might notice you can’t do this in Windows XP, but there’s a simple registry hack to do this. Just go to this path in your registry: 

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\MenuOrder

Once there, delete the “MenuOrder” key. If you don’t know how to do this, I suggest you read the TTG registry tutorial. It will teach you everything you need to know. Don’t forget to back up the registry before you start!

Q: I just switched to Windows Live Mail and noticed that I can’t send a page in an email. How do I do this? I’m using Windows 7.

A: I’m assuming you are attempting to send the page through Internet Explorer. The lack of this option is due to the fact you haven’t selected a default mail provider through IE. Once you place WLM as the default email provider through IE, you’ll have the option back.

To do this, click your “Start” menu and click “Default Programs.” Once in that window, click “Set program access and computer defaults.” Select “Custom” and click “Choose a default email program.”  Choose “Windows Live Mail.” Once finished, make sure that you select “Internet Explorer” when clicking “Choose a default web browser.” Once you’re done, click “OK.”

Open up Internet Explorer, navigate to a page and try the “send page by mail” option again. This usually does the trick and fixes any issue. Remember to do this every time you switch to a new email program. The “send link by mail” option should also work after these fixes. If it doesn’t, let me know through the comments section and I’ll work with you to solve the problem.

If you asked a question and it wasn’t answered here, it could be one of three reasons:

  • Relevance: Your question needs to be totally relevant to the Windows operating system.
  • Detail: Try to include as much detail as you can, such as the Windows version + service pack you’re using.
  • Other Reasons: For some unfortunate reason, we couldn’t include your question in this edition. We’ll try our best effort to include the question in the next edition.

If you have questions you think might fit well with MTE’s next edition of “Ask a Windows Expert,” send us an email at windows-help [at] maketecheasier.com. Leave comments only to discuss the questions presented here. If you want to ask a question, use the aforementioned email address.