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TouchStoneSoftware Monthly Newsletter, Issue #3

Welcome to the third edition of the TouchStoneSoftware Monthly Newsletter. You are receiving this newsletter because you are a BIOS Update customer. After the last two issues we have received many kind words and suggestions. We hope to continue to provide valuable content to our readers.

We would like to acknowledge Mr. David Knowles of Sevenoaks, Kent in the United Kingdom as the iPod Shuffle winner from the July Newsletter. Mr. Knowles had sent us an inquiry about how to back up his Email folders. This inquiry spawned an idea for a two part series explaining how to back up mail and migrate mail from one email client to another or one computer to another. We will share our reply with all readers in the Q&A section.

We will continue to offer a free iPod Shuffle to the reader that offers the best suggested topic or technical question for our September edition. Please see the details of the contest in the right column.

If you feel that you don’t want to receive this newsletter on a monthly basis, that’s no problem. There’s an unsubscribe link at the bottom of the newsletter.

General Computer Tech Tips
Excellent Method for Syncing Documents

Tired of carrying around your thumb drive? Have you modified one of your work documents and forgot to transfer it to your thumb drive? No longer will you have to be in that situation. With BeInSync, you can sync documents between your work and home PC’s. If you modify a document at work, the document on your home computer will automatically become modified as well. BeInSync also offers an online backup service. You can back up your important files online and you can access them from any computer by logging in with your username and password. Earlier this month PC World reviewed BeInSync and described it as having the “best file-sharing features” of any application they had tested. You can read the entire review by clicking the link below.

PCWorld Review

BeInSync offers a free trial. After the free trial you can become a subscriber for less then $5.00 a month.

Try BeInSync Free 14-Day Trial

Windows XP/Vista Related Tech Tips
Changing the Appearance of a Desktop Icon

Have you ever wanted to change an icon on your desktop to look like something else? For example, you can change a folder containing music files to look like a musical note instead of just a folder. The type of file you will need to customize is named an Icon File and the file extension is .ico. A quick Google search for “icon files” will return many sites that provide XP and Vista themed icons for free.

Changing the icon is quite simple to do:
  1. Right-click the folder or shortcut you want to customize and choose Properties.
  2. To change a folder icon click the Customize tab, then click Change Icon. To change a shortcut icon click the Shortcut tab, then click Change Icon.
  3. Browse through the shell32.dll icons and choose a new icon. If you want to use an icon that you had created or downloaded, just browse to that folder and choose the .ico file.
  4. Select the appropriate icon for the folder and click OK.

In Windows XP and Windows Vista you also have the option to choose a .gif or a .jpg for thumbnail views of the folder.

Windows Registry Related Tech Tips
Increase the Size of the Recently Opened Documents List

Did you know that you can increase the size of the recently used documents list in the start menu for Windows XP and Windows Vista? By default, Windows XP and Vista display the shortcuts of the last fifteen programs on recent documents list in start menu. You can increase the number of recently used documents by adding a new input value in the Windows registry. This tip will be very helpful for computer users that rely on the list of recently used documents to open files. This will eliminate the need of having to navigate through countless file folders.

To edit the computer registry, you should log onto your computer as a user with administrative rights. Follow the steps below to increase the recently opened documents list:

Here is how you can find it:
  1. Click Start button and choose Run.
  2. Type regedit in the box and then press Enter.
  3. Go to "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\
  4. In the left side panel, right click on the policies folder, select New and click Key.
  5. Name this key "Explorer". (You may already have a key named Explorer. If so, then just click it.)
  6. Right click on the Explorer folder, select New and click DWORD Value.
  7. Create a new DWORD Value with the name "MaxRecentDocs".
  8. In the right side panel, double click MaxRecentDocs and change the value to "30" (or whatever you want the value to be).
  9. Click OK.
  10. Close the Registry Editor and restart your computer to makes the changes go into effect.
If you ever wanted to disable this functionality, you can delete the “Explorer” key or change the MaxRecentDocs DWORD value back to 15.

Perform a Registry Scan now

Driver Related Tech Tips
Updating Drivers That Do Not Contain a Setup or Install File

Many people have been asking how to install drivers that do not contain a Setup or Install file.  If the file is not a single executable file, then most likely it will be a CAB file or a ZIP file.  In those cases, extract the file to a location on your hard drive. Then:
  1. Right-click My Computer.
  2. Choose Properties
  3. Choose Device Manager (In Windows 2000, you have to choose the Hardware tab first and then Device Manager). This will display a list of the devices that are on your computer.
  4. Right click on the device and click Properties.
  5. Choose Driver and click Update Driver.
  6. You will be asked to browse for the new driver, locate the folder you placed it in choose the appropriate file.

Advanced User Tech Tips
Locking Your Default Browser Homepage

Have you ever opened up Internet Explorer and your default homepage has magically changed? Never worry about a program or virus changing your homepage again. One of the sneaky ways that companies promote their software is to change your default homepage so each time you open Internet Explorer their website is first website you see. There are also many viruses that will modify your default homepage as part of their malicious behavior. Perhaps you may have encountered the About: Blank virus in the past. We have come up with a little tip that will eliminate this browser vulnerability.

We have two options available to you:

The first option is to download a zip file that contains two Registry Editor files. Simply double-click on the file and click Yes to make the changes automatically. One file will “lock” the homepage to your desired default homepage. The other file will reverse this change and “unlock” the homepage (default setting).

Download ZIP File

The second option is to manually make the registry entries yourself.

Add the following keys / values to lock your IE homepage:
  1. HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\ Internet Explorer\Control Panel "HomePage"=dword:00000001
  2. HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\
    Internet Explorer\Control Panel "HomePage"=dword:00000001
  3. HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\ CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer "NoSaveSettings"=dword:00000000
To remove the lock change:
  • [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\
    Internet Explorer\Control Panel] "HomePage"=dword:00000000
  • [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\
    Internet Explorer\Control Panel] "HomePage"=dword:00000000

I would like to make a backup of all of my emails. I currently use Outlook Express. Is this possible?

- David Knowles, Sevenoaks, Kent, UK

Yes it is, and it’s a lot easier than you would think. All of your emails are stored in one data file whether you use Outlook or Outlook Express. Outlook stores emails in .pst files and Outlook Express stores your emails in .dbx files.

If you are using Outlook, the default location for your emails will be C:\Documents and Settings\(Your Windows User Name)\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook. You will want to back up all .pst files that are in that folder.

If you are using Outlook Express, the default location for your emails will be C:\Documents and Settings\(Windows User Name)\Local Settings\Application Data\Identities\{Random Set of Numbers}\Microsoft\Outlook Express. That folder will contain all the .dbx files that you want to back up.

If and when a time comes that you need to restore your email or if you want to take your mail to a new or other computer, here is how to restore your messages:

Microsoft Outlook Instructions:

  1. Open Outlook and from the file menu select Import and Export, this will bring up the Import and Export Wizard.
  2. Select Import from another program or file and click Next.
  3. Select Personal Folder File (.pst) and click Next.
  4. Browse to whichever folder or disk you put the .pst file(s) on and click Next to complete the import wizard.
Microsoft Outlook Express Instructions:

  1. Open Outlook Express and from the file menu select Import --> Messages.
  2. Select Outlook Express 4 or Outlook Express 6 depending on what version you were using.
  3. Click the Browse button and then navigate to the location listed in the above paragraph.
I have icons on my desk for web pages I visit frequently. A lot of times I'll be doing something in one web site, when I need to look at another. But, when I click the icon for the new site on my desktop, it takes over the page I'm using. How do I set the properties for the icons on my desktop to always open in their own page?

- J. Grimes, Virginia Beach, VA

  1. Open up Internet Explorer.
  2. Click on Tools --> Internet Options.
  3. Click on the Advanced tab.
  4. Scroll down to the browsing category and un-check the box that says "reuse windows for launching “shortcuts".
When you now click on a link from your desktop it will now always open the page in a new window. The latest version of IE it now utilizes something called tabbed browsing, which would open the site in a new tab. This would prevent you from having to make any changes to the system.
For some reason my DVD combo drives no longer automatically play or start discs that are inserted.  How can I reactivate the automatic play feature? Thanks!

- K. Hulsey, Coos Bay, OR

AutoPlay is a feature that is built into Windows that will present you with a choice of options when you insert a new device, like a thumb drive, or put a CD/DVD in. Microsoft figured that most of us would want to open Windows Media Player when a CD is inserted or open up Windows Explorer when your thumb drive is plugged in. While this is great thinking, you may use a program that is not in the list of choices, or you may just be just saving a document to a thumb drive and do not need to list the files. To disable or make changes to how AutoPlay works do the following:
  1. Double-click on My Computer.
  2. Right-click on your CD-ROM drive and select Properties.
  3. Click on the AutoPlay tab. In the drop down box, select the type of content file that you want AutoPlay to handle (Music Files, Pictures, and Video Files).
  4. After you select the content file type from the drop down box, you can tell Windows what action you would like it to perform for that type of file, or perform no action at all.

Undelete-Plus Product Review

Undelete-Plus – Free File Recovery Software

Have you ever accidentally deleted a special photo or important document on your PC? Then when you try to retrieve it from the Recycle Bin, you’ve already emptied it? Not to worry with Undelete-Plus.Undelete-Plus is a very useful file recovery tool that will enable you to undelete files that have been emptied from the recycle bin. The program will quickly scan the selected drive and then provide you with a list of recoverable files (files which have not been overwritten), along with the status of each file (very good, good, bad, etc.). The status is more of an indication of how likely you are to recover that file.

Undelete Plus also sorts the files based on file type, which makes it easy to find certain files. It also features a filter which allows the users to perform a search for certain files instead of scanning the entire volume. This allows for a faster scan.

Undelete Plus works with all Windows operating systems and all Windows file systems.

Undelete Plus can scan large hard drives quickly and with ease. It is very easy to use and the multilingual support it features ensures it can be used by many users. Undelete-Plus is particularly good at recovering files from a flash drive – USB Thumb Drives, Digital Camera Memory Cards, and solid state hard drives.Undelete Plus is completely free and it contains absolutely NO ADWARE, NO SPYWARE, NO REGISTRATION, NO POPUPS, NO MALWARE or other unwanted software.

Intel Introduces Remote Wake Technology
USB 3.0 (SuperSpeed USB) Specifications
Dell Unveils 19-Hour Laptop Battery
New Blackberry Coming Soon
U.S. Broadband Speeds Continue to Lag

Monthly Contest

Do you have a computer question that you would like answered? Do you have a tech related topic that you would like us to research and write about? If so, we want to hear from you!

The subscriber with the best question or topic suggested for our September issue will win a free iPod Shuffle. Just visit the form below to contact us.

Enter Now!

XP/Vista Shortcuts

Here are a few interesting shortcuts you can use with Windows XP and Vista

Windows XP + Vista
F11 Key:
Maximizes the browser window to a full screen.
F3 Key:
Search for a file or folder. When in a folder view, you can search the hard drive. When in a browser view, you can search the web.
Microsoft Excel Shortcuts
Uses the Fill Right command to copy the contents and format of the leftmost cell of a selected range into the cells to the right.
Uses the Fill Down command to copy the contents and format of the topmost cell of a selected range into the cells below.

Quote of the Month

"If the automobile had followed the same development cycle as the computer, a Rolls-Royce would today cost $100, get a million miles per gallon, and explode once a year, killing everyone inside."

- Robert X. Cringely
InfoWorld Magazine


Browser Add-on of the Month

GooglePreview for Firefox:

Read It Later is a very useful add-on for the Firefox web browser. With Read It Later you can mark a website to be read later without having to bookmark it or save it as one of your favorites.

Read It Later provides a little check mark next to the address window. When checked, the website will be added to a personalized reading list that can be sorted by date or site name.

Read It Later has an offline reading mode which allows you to read the item while not connected to the internet. The reading list can be used as an RSS Feed and can be synced between multiple computers.

Read It Later is perfect for sites with a one-time interest; there is no need to clutter up your bookmarks any more!

Read It Later was created by The Idea Shower

Site of the Month

Techie Site of the Month: is a website that provides smaller scale programs that are designed for use on a flash drive, portable hard drive, or even an iPod. The programs are written in an open source format that any hardware or software vendor can use. The applications are available for free and can be downloaded in three different suites, based on download size and desired functionality. A few examples of the programs you can download include a portable version of, a PDF reader, a portable edition of Firefox, a calendar, and few other games and productivity software.

Fun Site of the Month

Has the cost of gasoline for your car got you down in the dumps? Do you find yourself driving a few miles out of your way to a gas station that you had discovered that has cheaper prices? There is a great site out there named allows you to type in your zip code to find the best gasoline prices for stations in your area. Often times the site is updated every couple of hours by helpful volunteers that share the latest prices with the rest of us. The site also provides some nice historical information about gasoline prices.

For our friends in the United Kingdom and Australia, we have also discovered a couple of similar websites:

Vocab Test

Blu-ray Disc

Blu-ray, also known as Blu-ray Disc, is the name of a next-generation optical disc format used for high definition video and data storage. The traditional DVD format uses a red laser to read and write data, but Blue-ray uses a blue-violet laser. The disc shares the same dimensions as CD or DVD.

Blu-ray won the battle against Toshiba and Microsoft’s HD-DVD format and is supported by Sony, Samsung, Dell, HP, and hundreds of other manufacturers.

The format was developed to enable recording, rewriting and playback of high-definition video (HD), as well as storing large amounts of data. The format offers more than five times the storage capacity of traditional DVDs and can hold up to 25GB on a single-layer disc and 50GB on a dual-layer disc. This extra capacity combined with the use of advanced video and audio codecs will offer consumers an unprecedented HD experience.

The format also has support from all Hollywood studios and countless smaller studios as a successor to today's DVD format. Many studios have also announced that they will begin releasing new feature films on Blu-ray Disc day-and-date with DVD, as well as a continuous slate of catalog titles every month.

Stat of the Month

Top Entertainment Sites by Market Share

June 2008 (%)
YouTube 8.80%
Pogo 3.62%
Photobucket 2.49%
RuneScape 1.97%
The Weather Channel 1.94% 1.50%
Yahoo! Games 1.44%
MSNBC 1.37%
The Internet Movie Database 1.13%
Webkinz 1.09%

*Source: Hitwise, 2008

Google Tip

Did you know that you can search Google for synonyms for a particular word or topic?

This can be done by using the tilde (~) symbol in front of the word or topic. For example, if you wanted to do a search for websites related to food and factual information, you would do this:
Type: ~food ~facts
This will provide you with results containing more than entries that use the words food or facts. This synonym search will provide you websites with information regarding recipes, cooking tips, and nutritional information as well.

Do you use Google to research the best prices for products and services?

Let’s say you were searching for an LCD Television and only wanted to spend between $1,000 and $1,500. You can limit your search results by typing you price range with the keywords.
Type: LCD TV $1000..$1500
Performing a search with this method will provide more specific results for LCD Televisions within your price range

Want to Write?

Would you be interested in being a contributor to our future newsletters? If you are a technically minded person and you're looking for a platform to express yourself, our Newsletter is the perfect place to share your knowledge. Just email us and let us know what you want to write about.


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