Free e-mail slow but handy

July 12, 1999|By James Coates | James Coates,Chicago Tribune

Is there any major difference between the different free e-mail accounts like,,, etc.? Is one better than the other?

The common ground of all these free e-mail offerings is that they work through Internet browsers (either Netscape or Microsoft Internet Explorer) and thus are much slower and more frustrating than dedicated e-mail through an Internet service provider such as America Online, Sprint, the Microsoft Network, etc.

However, these free browser-based e-mail offerings enjoy one huge advantage in that you can use them to get your e-mail anytime you can find access to any Internet-connected computer.

As to which free service is better, they all are very similar and all offer a nice set of features that range from the ability to include attached files to allowing you to set up customized folders.

My subscription to the Microsoft Network (MSN) is driving me nuts because of a feature that keeps beeping and producing "Pop-Up/Drop-Down" displays in the lower right hand corner of the screen titled "MSN Connected."

Your fix awaits behind the Start menu on the lower left-hand side of the screen. Click Start while holding down the right mouse button and pick "Explore" from the pop-up menu. Click on the icon marked Programs and then open the icon for your Startup folder in the next display. All the programs listed in this special folder will run automatically when you reboot the machine, which is how that MSN View feature gets into your taskbar. Find the MSN icon and drag it onto your desktop, and when you reboot, that pesky nag box will no longer be there to vex you.

Your recent answer to a reader whose sound settings had been corrupted by setting it on mute didn't work for me because my computer has grayed out the microphone setting so that I can't turn the mute box off. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

-- Bob Martindale

Your problem and those of a great many Windows victims struggling with sound glitches can be solved by reloading the multimedia modules for the operating system. Simply load the Windows CD that came with your system and pick the Add/Remove choice from the first screen display.

You will get a list of modules with a check box beside each. Make sure the boxes are unchecked on all the others and put a check next to Multimedia. This will restore your machine's sound setting to the fresh-out-of-the-box state.

Pub Date: 07/12/99

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