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Planning Retirement Online

You can do IT in later life

August 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



 AUGUST 2007


Q: I was recently sent an attached file created using a program I do not have on my computer. Is there any way to open and view the file without having to buy the actual program?


A: It is quite common for this to happen, and there are two possible answers:

a. Get hold of a "viewer" that will allow you to view the file. For example, if you go to  and click on Browse for Downloads – Home & Office, you will find viewers for Word, Excel and PowerPoint so you can read any of these Microsoft Office files.

b. Save the attachment onto your computer and then right click its filename after opening My Documents. Click the link to Open with and then find a relevant program, or try one or two until the file is revealed. (For example, if you are sent a CSV file, this can be opened using Excel.) Some programs will be listed in the window or you can browse through all your program files after selecting Choose Program. If you will always want to open such files with the chosen program, click the checkbox Always use the select program……that allows you to set this as the default opening program and you won't need to go through the selection routine again.




Q: I have spent ages on the telephone trying to get some technical help from the ISP providing my broadband service. Is there one I can switch to that provides a free help desk?


A: At the current time, the only broadband provider offering this service that I can find is Waitrose. If any readers know of others – please let me know and I will publish their details.



Q: I have installed a number of updates recently, but one or two are not what I wanted. Can I control what is installed without missing out on important programs and fixes?



A: You can turn off updates altogether, but it is much better to let your computer download them automatically and then tell you that they are there. You can then identify which ones to install. Control updates by going to Start – Control Panel and clicking Security Centre. On the main page, click the link to Manage security settings for Automatic Updates.

In the window that will open, click in the checkbox to Download updates for me, but let me choose when to install them.

You can then take control without missing out. After clicking OK you will be back in the main window, and will see that the Automatic Updates section is now coloured yellow and will say Check settings rather than ON.


Q: I am thinking of changing ISP to a cheaper one with a cap of 5GB per month. I mainly use my computer for emails and web browsing, so will that be enough?

A: It is very hard to know exactly how much you are downloading when you are on the internet, so perhaps it is a good idea to use a free monitor for a few months to see exactly what you do use, so that you can decide which cap will fit. One known as NetMeter is available from .

Once installed, double click to open the meter or right click the icon and select Totals to see all the statistics.



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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