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Planning Retirement Online

You can do IT in later life

January 2007

You can do IT is a regular feature of aimed at trying to help laterlife visitors make the most of Information Technology on or off the web. 

Jackie Sherman who runs the You can do IT Question & Answer section is an IT trainer and author. Jackie has spent her career in education and specialises in teaching IT to adults. Her courses for adults include such topics as MS Office, the Internet, e-mail and basic web page authoring.  

Jackie has also written several books - you can find more details about these by clicking here. Jackie has also been running a course specifically for over 50s.

Via Jackie aims to particularly help those new to IT and the web to build up knowledge and confidence, so no question is too basic. At the same time she will cover Q&As for the more experienced user. 

So if you would like to ask a question of Jackie, or if you have discovered something which may be of interest to others in making the most of the web, then she would love to hear about that too. Why not email her

January 2007

Now is the time for New Year resolutions, so here are four things you should plan to do regularly this year.

System Restore

If you are running a Windows computer that has an operating system such as XP on it, Microsoft offers a really useful utility – system restore. This is a point you can set to which your system will be restored if something goes wrong later. This can easily happen if you install new software or pick up a virus that causes damage and prevents your machine from working properly.

To set this restore point, go to the Start menu, click Help and Support and select "undo changes with System Restore." You can also find it from Start - All Programs – Accessories - System Tools. You will now be able to click the option to set a restore point. The current date and time will be set automatically when you create it, or you can give it a name.

If the worst happens, start your computer in safe mode and go to the System Restore menu. You will now be able to restore your machine back to the point when it was functioning normally.

Cleanup and Defragmenter

We all install software we don't use any more, or uninstall programs and move files around on the hard disk that leave gaps. So it is a good idea to clean up the disk on a regular basis.

Open My Computer on the desktop, right click the C: drive and select Properties. On the General tab, click the Disk Cleanup button. Temporary files you do not need will be removed, and you can also clean up other parts of the system if you click the More Options tab.

To sort out gaps on the hard disk, go to Start - All Programs - Accessories, select System Tools and then click Disk Defragmenter. This will analyse the disk and then carry out a clean-up.


Anti-virus Software/Ads/Spyware

Sadly, the facts of life on the Internet are such that you simply cannot ignore harmful programs. The only way to be safe on the Net is to install, run and regularly update software that checks for viruses or spyware.

One way to make sure you have safe programs it to install them from the ComputerActive website. Search for security software, download it and make sure you set it to update regularly.

Some of the programs are time-limited demos so you will have to keep re-installing them. You might prefer to use a mixture of free software such as AVG Anti-Virus, Spybot, Ad-Aware or Microsoft Windows Defender.

Email Management

Today is the day to start organising your messages properly. There are three golden rules:


1. Delete unwanted messages. If they have attachments or information in them that you want to keep, store this sensibly so that you can remove the message itself. For information – set up a Word document, spreadsheet or other storage system or add contact details to your email Address Book. Attachments should be saved into suitable folders – open the message's File menu and select Save Attachments. Locate a suitable target folder and your attachments will be saved without you needing to open them.

2. Set up Inbox and Sent folders and subfolders. For messages on the same topic, I tend to name the incoming mail subfolder normally and add the word "out" to the Sent subfolder. To make a folder, click the Inbox or Sent folder in the Folders List, right click or open the File menu and select New Folder. Once you have given the folder a name, you can drag appropriate messages out of the main folders into these subfolders.

3. Set up a Rule to move new messages into subfolders automatically. You will know when new messages arrive as a (1) will appear next to the name of the subfolder. To set up a rule: go to Tools – Message Rules – Mail. Click New and follow these steps:
a. Box 1: click the From, Subject or To option.
b. Box 2 – click the Move option. You could also use a rule to delete unwanted messages.
c. Box 3 – click the underlined link and specify the wording to be checked when the message arrives (e.g. From "Woolworths") and the folder to move the message to (e.g. Woolworths shopping).
d. Box 4 – give the message a name.



4. The rule will now be applied whenever you receive messages.
5. If you change your mind, open the Message Rules dialogue box and delete or edit the named rule.


View previous editions of YoucandoIT for more useful Questions and Answers

For a wealth of books on the web and IT generally, visit Amazon and under the books section select Computers and Internet.

Don't forget to visit the general laterlife features section called laterlife interest


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