Readers' Forum - April 2006

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 get an answer to you 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 also turn up under the Helpful Tips section on the Actrix home page (

Norman writes: Hi Rob, Like your newsletters - very informative. My query is this: what is the size limit for hotmail messages? I have sent emails with photos attached and they have been returned as undeliverable. Regards, Norman

Hi Norman, There's a size limit of one Megabyte when sending attachments to Hotmail. That's for the free accounts. MSN Hotmail Plus subscribers get 20 MB.


Famous5 writes: Hiya, We have recently upgraded from the ME edition to XP and would like help, if 'n you wouldn't mind. Something on our ME edition that we don't seem to be able to view on our XP is 'History'. On our previous ME edition, without connecting to the internet we could view any previously downloaded page or file by left clicking 'My Computer' on our desktop, then right clicking on 'Explore', 'C drive', 'Windows' then 'History', we could view pages of web sites we had visited. However the XP edition has us stumped, we have tried synchronising all above mentioned pages as well as ticking the 'view offline' box but nothing seems to work. We are a young couple with young children that frequently use the internet for school activities and such, and are extremely conscious of pages they view on the web. Our children have hotmail addresses we like to keep tabs on and did not have a problem checking their movement on our ME edition, Please help, we must be doing something wrong or something not right! Look forward to hearing from you.

Hi Debbie,  Providing you're using Internet Explorer, there are much easier ways to view your history, and these work under XP and most Windows versions.

With Internet Explorer open, click on View on the tools menu. Click on Explorer bar in the menu that drops down, and then on History. All your history can be viewed by day and time. Even easier, with Internet Explorer open, just type H whilst holding down the ctrl key.

This should all work whether you're online or not. Other browsers have similar functions that are probably just as easy to use. If you're not using Internet Explorer, let me know and I'll get you instructions for whatever browser you're using.


Brian writes: I have just read your answer (last month) to the WinFIXER problem. I have found that the popup advertising this "helpful" program can come in through Windows Messenger. While following up on the Windows Metafile exploit after a warning in the Windows Secrets Newsletter, I learned about several other possible points of entry, including Windows Messenger. I learned it is intended (unlike MSN Messenger) to be used only in a LAN, but can be hijacked from the Net. The suggestion was made to use Shoot The Messenger, from Gibson Research Corporation to disable it. Any method of turning it off, and closing its port, should be useful. Regards, Brian

Excellent, Brian, thanks.


Bert writes: Hello Rob, I get e-mails from time to time which contain pictures that do not show up on my computer. I do realise that I am missing the reader programmes for the pictures in question. My question to you is, can I, by going to properties of these e-mails, find out how the pictures were created and so ascertain what I need to download to view them? Regards Bert.

Hi Bert, Thanks for your e-mail. No, not really. The headers of the e-mails will only contain information about the e-mail itself, what program sent it, what servers it passed through, when, etc.When an attachment is made to an e-mail, nothing is recorded about what created the attached file, or anything like that.

You can tell a lot about the file by its extension, and sometimes you can tell what created it that way. The most common file extensions for images are .jpg and gif. These are pretty generic, though, as jpgs and gifs can be made by any or most graphics programs. By the same token, jpgs and gifs should be easily viewable by any imaging software you have, including Picture Viewer which comes standard with Windows.

Image files created by proprietary programs such as PhotoShop won't be viewable at all unless you have the programs installed; likewise with PowerPoint presentations (ending in .pps) unless you have Microsoft Office, or a PowerPoint viewer program.

One way to learn what created a non-generic file is to check its file extension on the net., for example, allows you to enter the file extension into a search box. It will then give you some information about the program that outputs those files.