The Readers Write

by Beverly Rosenbaum

From: BR, Subject: function key

Thought that you might be able to help me out. I recall reading somewhere that you could uses a function key for automatic data entry. I would like to assign my email address to a function key, if possible. Do you know how that is done? Or do I have to go back to DOS?

Editor: If anyone knows how to do this, please send the steps to

From: DB, Subject: administrator

First of all, thanks for all of the interesting articles that you have written in the past. Writing can be very time consuming. Your efforts are appreciated.

In the current Magazine, you say that “Microsoft points out that the user must be an administrator to run the tool”. What is an administrator of a home computer where we just have two of the machines? Neither of us is an expert on computers. How do you designate yourself as an administrator?

Editor: Windows XP Home Edition has two types of accounts, Computer Administrator and Limited. A Computer Administrator account is equivalent to the Administrator account in other versions of Windows. All user accounts in Windows XP Home are Computer Administrator accounts by default, including all accounts created during the Windows XP Home install process. So it’s likely that the account you’re using has the rights to run the tool. If you only have one user account, Windows automatically logs on with this account (and by default this account is a Computer Administrator). If you choose to assign a password to this account (recommended), you must enter a password for this user at the Windows log on screen (and you are no longer automatically logged on). If you have multiple user accounts, Windows waits at the log on screen for you to select which user you wish use, and then waits for you to enter a password if necessary. An administrator account is required to make system-wide changes or install programs that modify the Windows Registry. You can determine what type of account you are using by following these steps:

  • Log on to Windows with the user account in question.
  • Click Start > Control Panel.
  • Double-click the User Accounts icon.

If you’re a Computer Administrator, you can see icons for all of the accounts available on your computer (including a Guest account that is disabled by default). Beside each icon is the user name, and the phrase “Computer Administrator” or “Limited.” If you are a Limited user, you can only see the icon for your own account. Beside this icon is your user name, and the phrase “Limited account.”

(From “Logging on to Windows XP Home with Administrator privileges” at

From: MML, Subject: help!!!

Hi, I found the link to your page (Help in solving your communication problems - Part 1). I am having problems with my laptop, it was working perfectly well (dial-up internet) but now it tells me it cannot find a dial tone. I tried the commands you suggest COM1 and 2 told me something about not finding something but COM3 I suppose is the correct one because it was the only one that didn't answer anything back. Am I explaining myself? My laptop has an integrated speaker, but yet I could not hear anything. Am I doing something wrong? or is it that my modem isn't working anymore?

Editor: While it is possible that your modem has failed, I’d try a couple of other things before accepting that conclusion. I’d examine the telephone cable carefully to see if it's damaged or not firmly seated, and that it's not plugged into the network (Ethernet) port by mistake. Next, I’d try a different phone cable to rule out a bad cable or connection. Without knowing your Windows version (or other operating system?) or what suggestions or commands were previously given to you, I would suggest taking a look at the excellent instructions at to check your modem using hyperterminal, or there’s also a link to a shareware program for the same purpose called modemchk at

It sounds like you were trying to test the modem's ability to detect a dial tone and to dial using the direct to COM port connect method. If you did not get a dial tone, suggests the following possibilities:

  1. The modem may not be installed correctly (especially if it is a PCI or soft-modem).
  2. The cable from the modem to the phone-line jack may be bad or installed in the wrong connector on the modem - try another line cord, and make sure you are plugged in to the LINE - not phone - jack on the modem.
  3. Plug a regular phone into the phone jack on the modem and make sure it has dial tone.
  4. The modem may also be defective. Many new modems come with an electronic circuit instead of the traditional electro-mechanical relay used to take the modem off-hook. Some of these designs are proving less reliable; often, they will get ‘stuck’ in the off-hook position, so unplugging and then plugging in the phone cord may give a dial-tone. If this is the case, it could be the result of a lightning strike and the modem needs repair or replacement.

GK asks: How to export a data contacts folder from Outlook to Excel?

Editor: Follow these steps -

1. Open Outlook

2. Select Import and Export… from the File menu to open the Import and Export wizard.

3. From the list, select Export to a file and click Next.

Import export wizard

4. Select Microsoft Excel from the list of file types and click Next.