How to prevent pestering prompt

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

Q. Whenever I insert any sort of device (flash drive, back-up device, or CD) into my notebook computer, a box pops up advising that Windows can perform the same action each time, then some options appear such as Play, Open, Explore. Is there a way to turn off this feature -- if it is a feature?

A. One person's feature is another person's annoyance, so if you fall in the latter category, go to Computer, right-click the device's icon (flash drive, back-up device, etc.), select Properties > AutoPlay tab. You will see where you can select a default action to perform. For example, if it’s a CD/DVD, you will probably want to select PLAY.

After making your selection, look at the bottom of the Properties window and you will see a check box for "Prompt me each time to choose an action." Remove the check mark, then click Apply > OK, restart your computer, and you will be all set.

Q. I use Outlook for email and I would like to change the margins that appear when I print messages, but I don't know how. Can you help, Mr. M?

A. With the email you want to print displayed on screen, click File > Print Preview > Page Setup > Paper tab. You will see the margin options in the bottom left of the Paper tab. Any change you make may not be readily apparent on screen, but if you go to File > Print Preview, you will see that the margins have changed, according to your settings.

Q. When I receive photos of my grandkids, the pictures are so large, they don't fit on screen and I have to use the scroll bar to view an entire photo. Can I do anything to decrease the size of the pictures? Your help would be very much appreciated.

A. With the growing trend towards Web-based or “cloud computing,” I have been using more Web-based solutions for these types of problems. For resizing photos, a free, online service cleverly called ShrinkPictures (www.shrinkpictures.com) makes the process very easy. Simply locate the picture on your computer, select a new size, output quality, and click RESIZE. Faster than you can say, “Honey, I shrunk the pix,” you’ll have your resized image. Original images can be in either .JPG, .GIF, or .PNG format and up to 6MB in size.

Because this service is Web-based, there is no software to download, install, or keep updated, plus it’s always conveniently accessible from any computer with Internet access.

If you prefer an installed software-solution, Irfanview is a free graphics viewer/editor that does an excellent job.

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Mr. Modem publishes "Ask Mr. Modem!” each week, featuring PC tips, tricks, and plain-English answers to your questions by email. For more information, visit www.MrModem.com.