Q. DVD/CD Autoplay is driving me crazy. Should I try to delete it?
A. Rather than disabling Autoplay (the setting that automatically plays a DVD/CD when you insert one), you can bypass it by pressing and holding the Shift key while you insert the DVD/CD and wait until it loads. If you want to disable Autoplay for Windows XP, open My Computer and right-click your DVD/CD drive and choose Properties. Click the Autoplay tab and then select "Take no action." For Windows Vista, it is a little more involved. Open Control Panel, select Hardware and Sound, then Autoplay. There you can set Autoplay settings for all devices — not just discs.
Q. Following your password instructions in the April 28 column works for the first file in the new folder and not the folder itself. Adding a second file doesn't allow password protection for that file even if password is selected in the menu. Why?
A. Excellent point, which brings us to a strange quirk in how password-protected compressed files work — one I failed to mention in the original column. The password is at the folder level as expected, but it only covers the files in the folder at the time the password is entered. Any files added later are not protected. Maybe there's a reason Microsoft designed it this way, but to me it makes no sense. The solution is to add all files first and then attach a password, or each time you add a file, remove and then re-add the password.
Q. I just tried your methodology to set up a password-protected folder in Windows XP. When I right-click on the desktop and click New, I do not get the option to set up a compressed folder.
A: Some third-party ZIP software, such as WINZIP, disables the "New Compressed (zipped) Folder" option when it installs. To turn it back on: Click Start, Run and enter this command in the Run text box: regsvr32%windir%\system32\zipfldr.dll
Then, restart Windows. A potential problem is that the ZIP program may unregister zipfldr.dll again. This solution is to uninstall the third-party ZIP program, leaving just the built-in Windows compressed folder option.
Q. I understand Microsoft's Sidebar Gallery has 1,810 gadgets. Do you know the Web address to download these?
A. Gadgets is the new feature in Windows Vista that allows you to run special mini-applications on your desktop such as weather, games and news headlines. My favorite is the Slide Show gadget, which displays your library of photos continuously in a small window. The address is http://vista.gallery.microsoft.com/default.aspx. Get there by right-clicking the Sidebar and selecting Add Gadgets. This will display some built-in Microsoft gadgets along with a link that says, "Get more Gadgets online." The Sidebar is a great feature, but it is a heavy hitter when it comes to memory usage, another reason why Vista runs best with an abundance of RAM. My advice is to be judicious and use only Gadgets that are regularly useful to you.
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