Readers' Forum - March 2004

by Rob Zorn
from the March 2004 Newsletter

If you'd like to ask a question or request some help on any Actrix or Internet-related matter. Simply send me an e-mail with the word "forum" in the subject line. I'll try and answer your question by return e-mail, and will also post the answer here for the benefit of others who may have a similar question or problem. By the same token, if you read something here and think you may have something to suggest, please feel more than free. Please also note that questions and answers may turn up under the Helpful Tips section on the Actrix home page (

I'm really grateful to the Actrix Support Team, too, for their input here when some of the questions also have me a little stumped.

Julie writes: Hi Rob, For some reason my Outlook Express has changed its format. I changed nothing; just opened it one day and it was different. The old one used to have "Inbox" "Outbox" "Sent to" and "Deleted items" now it only opens to Inbox and I cannot find where the "Sent Items folder" is, or anything else. I like to check that e-mails have been sent. Can you help me please? Thankyou

Hi Julie, Yes, I think this one is reasonably easy to fix. Somehow your Folder List has turned itself off. In Outlook Express, settings do seem to occasionally change without reason or notice. Other times, a stray mouseclick might change something without us realising it. To get the old format back, click View on the menu bar at the top when you open Outlook Express. Then select Layout. A box will pop up. In this box, under the Basic section, you should be able to put a tick back in the box labelled Folder List. You may want to have a play with some of the other settings while you're there. Just remember what you do so you can change things back again if you don't like the results!

JJ writes: Hi, Can an e-mail address be blocked from being accessed by an outside computer? I want to block e-mail access where an outside computer is used (by an authorised user) to check up on home addressed e-mails. I tried changing the password but it wouldn't dial up after doing that!!

Hi there JJ, The answer to this is, "Not really." Your mailbox is technically a file here at Actrix and the one thing keeping it secure is the user name and password that protects it. Until you download e-mail to your e-mail program's "Inbox," technically anyone who knows the user name and password could access that mail. Please note that once mail has been downloaded to your Inbox, it no longer exists on the mail filer here at Actrix, so it can only be seen by anyone with access to the computer that downloaded it.

The answer to your problem here would be the password. If you change it and only you know it, then the outside computer could no longer connect to the mailbox. ordinarily when you change your password, the change affects both your dialup and your mailbox settings. It would appear to me that you may not have changed both and that's why dialup may not be working. The other factor here is that sometimes a password change can take a couple of hours to come into effect, so your dialup problems may have been due to timing. My suggestion would be to call the help desk and talk over changing your password with them. They'll get all this sorted for you and talk you through any changes that need to be made to your settings. Then your mailbox will be protected from the outside computer.

Gail writes: Can you tell me if it is possible to run more than one anti-virus software on your computer or can only be one in current use? Would there be any advantage in subscribing to more than one anti-virus software if this is the case? Cheers!

Hi Gail, Though I don't profess any great expertise when it comes to anti-virus software, my advice would be that running more than one personal variant of this sort of software would be unnecessary at best, and problematic at worst.

Personal anti-Virus software tends to position itself between your e-mail program and the mail servers you use. By this I mean that when you send an e-mail via Norton's, for example, your e-mail actually goes through the Norton system on your machine where it is scanned before it is released to the Actrix mail server. The reverse occurs for an incoming e-mail. To get two variants to work there would need to be a way to get one anti-virus program to send the e-mail on to the other anti-virus program and then get that one to send it on to the Actrix mail server. There would probably be a way to do this, but I don't know anyone who's tried. Adding just one form of anti-virus software can interrupt the flow of e-mail and lead to problems. This risk would be doubled if another was added.

In my view it would not be necessary anyway. Most anti-virus companies are quick to publish updates. If their software misses a virus, it is most likely due to the user not having updated definitions rather than the anti-virus company being late. I have not heard of any program that is particularly worse than any of the others, and that includes the free ones that just tend to have less features.

You're safest subscribing to server-based protection such as with Actrix's CyberScan service and backing that up with your own personal anti-virus software. If you can only afford one of these options, then I recommend your own personal software. At least that way control remains in your hands entirely.

Mick writes: Hi Team, While preparing my old computer (Win 98SE) recently for transfer to my sister, and uninstalling some unwanted programmes, I checked OE for function and received the following message: 'Outlook Express could not be started because MSOE.DLL could not be loaded'. What, if anything, have I done wrong? Can this file be retrieved and loaded? I do have the original Win98SE installation disc if it is a function of that. Kind Regards.

Mike Cooper, from the Actrix help desk, replies:Hi Mick, This problem can be caused by several different faults. It is possible, if you have uninstalled some software, that one of the removed programs may have interwoven itself into Outlook Express and possibly damaged some of the files. There are a number of different methods to attempt to resolve this problem, so I will list a few of the more common below:

Outlook Express and Internet Explorer share many files, so a simple way of fixing problems is often to perform a repair of Internet Explorer. From Control Panel, select Add/Remove Programs. Scroll down to Microsoft Internet Explorer and highlight it. Click on the Add/Remove button. When the IE Tools menu comes up, select Repair. Click OK.

It is also wise to make sure you have the latest versions of Internet Explorer and Outlook Express. The installer for these can be freely downloaded from the internet at the link below:

It can also be achieved by going to   which will update all components of Windows with the latest versions, security patches etc. If you are still having the same difficulty let us know by calling 0800-228749, and we will see if we can come up with more information for you.