Q. When I send email, I'd like to have my email address displayed along with just my first name, instead of my full name. How can I do that?
A. You didn't mention which email program you're using, but if you're using Outlook Express, to change the name that appears in the "From:" field of your outgoing mail, click Tools > Accounts > Mail tab.
Click (select) your mail account, then click the Properties button that appears to the right. Select the General tab and under "User Information," locate the line that says "Name" and replace what appears there with your first name. Click OK, then close the accounts window. The new settings will take effect the next time you compose a message.
If you're using Eudora, click Tools > Options > Getting Started and change the name that appears in the "Real Name" field. Click OK when you're finished.
Q. Is there any way to alphabetize the icons that appear on the Quick Launch bar?
A. I can help you with this one, but if you're going to follow up by asking me how to alphabetize your sock drawer, that's where I draw the line. To alphabetize the little icons on your Quick Launch bar (to the right of the Start button), all you have to do is disable the bar, then enable it again. To do that, right-click anywhere on the Taskbar that appears at the bottom of your screen, select Toolbars, and remove the checkmark beside Quick Launch. Then, repeat these steps and replace the check mark. That's all there is to it.
Q. I'm currently using Windows XP Home version, but I've been told I should upgrade to XP Professional. What do you think?
A. Windows XP comes in two flavors, Home and Professional. When all is said and done, there's not a great deal of difference between the way the two operating systems look or behave.
Windows XP Professional includes all the features of Windows XP Home, plus a backup program, a higher-level of security when it comes to networking, multi-language support, and a few other advanced features.
If you have XP Home and decide its networking features aren't powerful enough for your needs, upgrading to XP Pro makes sense, but for most average users, XP Home should fill the bill very nicely. If you do upgrade to XP Pro, it installs over XP Home, so you shouldn't experience any difficulties. The reverse does not hold true, however: If you're using XP Pro, you cannot install XP Home over it -- though I don't know why anybody would want to downgrade from Pro to Home. It's true what they say, "You can't go Home."
Q. I uninstalled some programs, but their icons still remain on my Windows Desktop. How can I remove them?
A. What you're experiencing is called the DIOBTML Syndrome, which is shorthand for "the dance is over but the melody lingers on." Tidying up your Desktop by removing icons is a quick and easy process. Select an icon you want to delete by placing your mouse cursor on it, right-click, and select "Delete." You will be asked if you really want to send it to the Recycle Bin. If you're sure, click "Yes," and it will vaporize before your eyes as it moves to the Recycle Bin.
If you ever change your mind about something you banish to the Recycle Bin, double-click the Recycle Bin icon on your Desktop. When the contents of the Recycle Bin are displayed, right-click the item you would like to retrieve and select Restore. It will instantly be returned to its original location.
Mr. Modem's Sites of the Week:
Sell Your Cell
Do you have an old cell phone and you're not sure what to do with it? If so, visit this site, find your phone on the list and follow the instructions to turn it in for cash. Be sure to delete any telephone numbers stored in your phone's speed-dial directory memory. Consult your phone manual for specific instructions.
Ever wonder what new features search-engine extraordinaire Google is working on? Google Labs showcases a gaggle of goodies that aren't quite ready to be released to the general public, but here you can try them out and offer your feedback. Have fun!
Though it sounds like an adult-oriented Web site, it's not. This site provides access to a database of discount codes that stores ask for when you check out. Whenever I see those codes, I wonder which customers are using them and how much of a discount they're receiving while saps like me are paying full freight. Here you'll learn the inside skinny for sites ranging from Amazon.com to 1-800-FLOWERS to WineEnthusiast.com. Select an online retailer from the drop-down menu and you'll see the Code and the discount. Sure it's naughty, but it's also kinda nice.
(For prompt, personal answers to your computer questions, subscribe to Mr. Modem's weekly newsletter at www.MrModem.com. Read Mr. Modem's column each month in "Smart Computing" magazine. For a free issue, visit www.MrModem.com and click the "Smart Computing/Mr. Modem" logo.)