Q. I'm sure you've covered this before, but can you explain how to enable the firewall feature of Windows XP?

A. Windows XP provides a measure of Internet security in the form of a firewall.

Its formal name is the Internet Connection Firewall or ICF. This feature monitors data flowing into and out of your computer and provides protection from unauthorized access to computers directly connected to the Internet, whether by dial-up connection or LAN (Local Area Network), such as cable or DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) connection.

To enable ICF using Windows' Network Setup Wizard, go to your Control Panel, double-click Network and Internet Connections, then click Setup. The firewall is enabled when you choose the appropriate connection in the wizard that indicates that your computer is connected directly to the Internet.

To configure the firewall manually, follow these steps:

1. Log into XP with an owner/administrator account.

2. Click Start > Control Panel, and double-click the Network Connections icon.

3. Click to select the connection you want to protect. For example, if you're using Earthlink as your ISP, select the Earthlink icon. In the left window, under Network Tasks, click "change settings of this connection," followed by the Properties button.

4. Click the Advanced tab and place a check mark in the box under "Internet Connection Firewall," followed by OK. If you leave it unchecked, the firewall is disabled.

To view a visual walk-through of the above process, visit Microsoft’s “Using Windows Firewall” article at http://tinyurl.com/hyenk.

Q. I'm using Outlook Express 6. The area on the left side of the screen has vanished. It used to show a list of folders, like the Sent message folder and some folders that I had created myself. Could I have accidentally deleted all of them? Help!

A. No, it's highly unlikely that you deleted the folders. Instead, the folder list feature was probably accidentally turned off. You can quickly turn it back on by clicking View > Layout. Place a check mark in front of "Folder List," followed by OK. Presto! The folders list will return to the left side of your screen, just as you remember it.

Mr. Modem's Sites of the Week:

Airline Seating

If flying today makes you long for the comfort that canned sardines enjoy, the SeatGuru can help. Here you'll find seating diagrams for most airplanes so you can select the best seat possible. Also included are reviews and rankings of the best and worst seats on most major airlines. Trivia Alert: According to the airline industry, most "air rage" incidents occur when the thoughtless lout in the seat ahead of you slams back his or her seat to a quasi-reclining position. Keep that in mind the next time you're inclined to recline.


Cancer Monthly

Created by volunteers whose lives were forever changed by cancer, this site explains in easy-to-understand language, not only the many cancer-treatment options available, but it also provides treatment results. The stated purpose of this online resource is to provide information to help others make informed treatment decisions in concert with their healthcare professionals.


Guinness Site of World Records

As a child, few books were more compelling to me than the Guinness Book of World Records. It will probably come as no surprise that the legendary book of astonishing facts and feats has an online home, as well. As is the book, the Guinness Web site is segregated into categories such as The Human Body, Science & Tech and Sports & Games. Visitors can search for a particular world record or just casually browse the awe-inspiring, jaw-dropping subject matter (with photos) that makes The Guinness Book such a great read.


Mr. Modem’s weekly computer-help newsletter provides prompt, personal answers to your computer and Internet questions by email, plus easy-to-use computer tips, including Windows Vista! For more information or to subscribe, visit www.MrModem.com.

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