Retrieve sent messages (maybe)

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

Q. When a message is sent using Outlook, can I get it back before it is opened at the receiver’s end?

A. If you and the recipient are both using Outlook (which is unlikely), you may be able to retrieve a sent message. To further reduce the odds, the message must be in the recipient's Inbox, it must be unopened, and you'll have to swing a chicken over your head three time for luck. Well, okay, no chicken swinging, but there are some very specific conditions that must exist for this to work.

If they do exist, open your Sent Items folder, double-click the message in question, select “Recall this Message” from the Tools menu, then select “Delete Unread Copies of this Message.” To determine if your recall attempt worked, select the box labeled “Tell Me if Recall Succeeds or Fails for Each Recipient.” Good luck.

Q. Why are some slashes in computing forward slashes and some are backward slashes?

A. Excellent super-geeky question. The forward slash (/) serves several purposes: In Linux and in URLs, the slash separates directory and file components of a path, such as pictures/image.jpg or A leading forward slash represents the root directory of a virtual file system, as in /home/MrModem/pictures.

Harkening back to the primordial DOS era, the forward slash was (and still is) used to indicate command-line options. For instance to add the "wide" option to the "dir" (directory) command, you would type “dir/w”. (I told you this was geeky!)

Windows uses the back slash (\) to tell your computer that you're looking for something within your system, such as a drive or a path to a file or folder, as in C:\Windows\Folder Name or C:\Program Files\Games\Solitaire.exe.

There are other reasons a forward versus a back slash might be used, but I'm guessing that we've all had just about enough of this gobbledygook, so let's move on.

Q. When I type an email address in Word, let's say, the “kittycat” part immediately changes to “phil” and another address as soon as I press the @ sign. It also turns the address blue and underlines it. This mystery is driving me crazy, and it's a very short drive.

A. In Word, click Tools > AutoCorrect Options. Look through the list of AutoCorrect entries and you will find the culprit that's replacing “kittycat” with Phil's address. Select it, then press the Delete button.

To prevent addresses from converting into clickable links (blue and underlined), while still in AutoCorrect Options, on the AutoFormat and AutoFormat as you Type tabs, remove the check mark beside “Internet and Network paths with hyperlinks.”

Q. Is it possible to enlarge email storage? I received a warning message that I reached my limit. I’m using Outlook Express, if that makes any difference.

A. ISP-based mailboxes become full when people don’t check mail for weeks or months at a time, but if you're checking mail once a day, or at least several times each week, mail should automatically be removed from your mailbox each time you check.

This would not be true, however, if your email program is configured to leave mail on the server. To check that in Outlook Express, click Tools > Accounts > Mail tab. Select your account, then click the Properties button, followed by the Advanced tab. Remove the check mark beside "Leave a copy of message on server,” followed by Apply > OK.

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