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Planning Retirement Online

You can do IT in later life - 54

June 2005 

Getting the most from your computerYou 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. 

Amazon book - Basic Computer Skills Made Simple: XP Version  Jackie has also written the two books shown here - you can find more details about these by clicking on the cover images above. 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, why not email her

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




June 2005

This month, I am going to explore some of the options that you may not have discovered but that may be needed in case of emergency or when things are not working properly.

Internet Explorer


From the Tools menu, open Internet Options. This window has a number of tabs: General, Security, Privacy, Content, Connections, Programs and Advanced.

Click the Advanced tab and then click in a box to add or remove any of the features e.g. to show pictures on web pages, reuse the same window when opening new web pages, or play animations or sounds in web pages. Click Apply to establish the new settings.



Internet options


On the General tab, you can delete temporary files, change the Home Page (the one that opens on every internet session) to a preferred starting point and delete the display of pages you have visited in the past (the History).

The Program tab is very useful when you want to restore an association with a preferred e-mail system, if the link has been lost. (You will know this has happened when you try to send e-mails via a web page link and the correct e-mail message window does not open.)



Internet options, cookies


Privacy is the tab to click if you are ever asked to “enable cookies”. Move the slider up or down to block different levels of cookies and use the Edit or Advanced buttons to make detailed changes.

Connections allows you to change the default dial-up connection if you have more than one ISP installed on your computer and you want to change the number you dial automatically.

Outlook Express:


Open the Tools – Options menu in this program to allow you to change some of the annoying settings you may be struggling with.

General is where to set your start-up folder as the Inbox or to play sounds when messages arrive.

Receipts is helpful if you want to know that someone has read your message (or at least downloaded it) or you want to take off this setting if it appears on all your messages.

  Email options

Click on the Send tab if you find copies of your messages are not being saved into your Sent Items folder. You can also check the boxes to enter people’s addresses into your Address Book automatically after replying, or recall them quickly when typing their addresses into the To: box.

Connection is the tab for making sure the machine hangs up after sending/receiving messages rather than staying connected.

If you write with different “hats” on, or always add lots of details at the end of messages such as your postal address and telephone number, click Signatures. Set up a named message ending and then add this to appropriate messages when composing by selecting the signature from the Insert menu.


There are a large number of tabs in the Tools - Options window for this program and you will need to take some time to browse through them all. For example: do you want a drawing canvas appearing in Word, white letters on a blue background, or your measurements in inches rather than centimetres? These are all offered on the General tab. If you would like to create a backup copy for every document – go to the Save tab. And if you would like to set up your system to save documents directly into a named folder – simply modify the File locations.

Other Programs: Spend five minutes looking at the Tools – Options menus within any program you use often. You will be delighted to learn how easy it is to change settings, and if things go wrong – turn here first to see which checkbox has a tick in it you can remove.


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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