Answer Line: Why Won't Windows Boot With a New Motherboard?

I bought and installed a new motherboard. Now Windows won't boot at all. Nothing has changed on the machine's hard drive. What happened?

(Name withheld by request)

First, make sure that the hard drive is attached to the motherboard, and that the motherboard recognizes it. You can do this in your PC Setup program, but the options in this program vary from BIOS to BIOS, so I can't tell you exactly how.

Enter PC Setup by pressing a particular key before Windows loads; a message telling you which key to press appears soon after you turn the system on. Search PC Setup's menus to find listings for hard drives, and then make sure that your drive is in the program's boot sequence. You may have to tell the BIOS to search for hard drives (it should do so automatically).

If PC Setup can't recognize the drive, try reopening your computer, checking all of the connections on the motherboard and hard drive, and rebooting again.

Here's another possibility: Your power supply may be inadequate for the new motherboard. Peruse your motherboard's documentation to find the wattage the vendor recommends. For more on calculating your system's power needs, see this month's Hardware Tips.

If the hardware checks out, boot your machine from a floppy to see whether all the necessary files are accessible on your hard drive. If it uses the FAT32 file format, any bootable floppy disk will do. If it uses the NTFS format, download (on another system)'s free NTFS Boot Disk utility, which will prepare a bootable floppy that can read NTFS hard drives.

If you can access the data on your hard drive but you still can't boot from it, you may have to grit your teeth and reinstall Windows. Consult "Windows Rejuvenated!" from last month's issue for instructions.

Sort by Outlook Address

How can I sort my Outlook address book by e-mail address so I can easily find the name attached to a particular address? Doing this in Outlook Express is an easy matter.

Alan Rabe, Mentor, Ohio

You need to create a special view. Here's how to do so in the 2000, 2002, and 2003 versions of Outlook:

Open Outlook's Contacts view and select View, Current View, Define Views (in Outlook 2003, it's View, Arrange By, Current View, Define Views). Click New, name the new view E-mail sort, and select Table as the type of view. Click OK.

Choose the Fields button to open the Show Fields dialog box, and double-click E-mail in the Available Fields list (if it isn't there, click the 'Select available fields from' list and choose E-mail fields; (see FIGURE 1

Figure 1: Sort your Outlook E-mail easily by creating the appropriate custom view for "Contacts."
). Click the Move Up button until 'E-mail' is near the top of the list. (The field order in the window controls the order in which items on the list appear.) Click OK to return to the View Summary.

Click Sort and select E-mail from the Sort dialog box's 'Sort items' menu (again, select E-mail fields from the 'Select available fields' menu if it isn't there). Click OK twice, and then Close.

To view your contacts sorted by their e-mail address, select View, Current View, E-mail sort (View, Arrange By, Current View, E-mail sort in Outlook 2003). The first time you do this, you may want to increase the width of the E-mail column by dragging its border to the right.

Protect Shared Folders

Password-protecting a shared folder on a network was simple in Windows 98. How do I protect my shared folders in Windows XP?

J. Bankston, White Oak, Texas

This chore, which was easy in earlier Windows versions, is difficult and poorly documented in XP Professional and theoretically impossible in XP Home. But there's a workaround: When someone accesses your computer over a local network, XP provides access through the Guest account, even if that account is turned off. So if you password-protect the Guest account, you effectively password-protect network access to your PC.

On your XP system (which I'll call the "host"), select Start, Run, and type net user guest password, replacing password with something less obvious (see the advice in the October 2003 Internet Tips column on how to create hard-to-guess passwords). Press Enter and reboot your system.

From now on, visitors trying to log on to the host from another PC will run into a dialog box asking for the password. Without it, they can't log on. There are a couple of caveats, however.

First, visitors must first access your PC through Windows (rather than through an application), which opens a password dialog box automatically. They won't be able to access the folder on the host through another program until they've done so with Windows Explorer, the desktop, or another Windows resource.

Second, the host's Guest account must be turned off--that's the default setting. If it's on, select Start, Control Panel, User Accounts, Guest, Turn off the guest account.

Read Your Hardware Setup

I'm trying to optimize my PC, and I constantly have to refer to my BIOS settings. Is there a way to print the settings, output the information to a file, or view the BIOS within Windows?

Brian Carr, Arlington, Virginia

Your hardware settings are stored in the CMOS chip and are accessed through a special program on the BIOS chip called PC Setup. You can launch your PC Setup program only at the beginning of the boot process (when your system starts), by pressing a particular key that is probably identified on screen when you turn on the machine. But it's a pain to reboot every time you need to access these settings.

The best solution would be a program that clearly and accurately shows all of your hardware settings. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find such a program (if you've discovered a utility that provides this data, please let me know about it).

The next-best solution is to print the settings. But this entails having a printer connected to your computer through the parallel port--USB and network connections will not work for this task. If your printer has a parallel port that you're not using, you can buy the cable for as little as $10; of course, the printer and computer have to be near each other, too.

To print your settings, boot into your PC Setup program. Now, move through the menus, and--at every screen that you may at some time want to refer to--press Print Screen. After the last page, press your printer's eject button. If you can't find it, press Print Screen one last time.

Unfortunately, many modern printers don't come with a parallel port. If you can't establish a parallel connection so you can print the screens, photograph them instead. It's cheaper and quicker to use a digital camera, but a film camera will work if need be. If it's digital, use the camera's lowest resolution. Shoot the pictures at a direct angle (see FIGURE 2

Figure 2: Capture your hardware settings by taking snapshots of your BIOS if your printer lacks a parallel port.
). Take the picture without a flash, and with as little ambient light as possible; wait until dark, if you can. You don't need a tripod, but it makes taking the shots easier, and the resulting images will be better. Be prepared to retake some photos, especially if you don't have a tripod.

Recover Deleted E-Mail

If an e-mail message is deleted, is there a way to recover it?

(Name withheld upon request)

You can easily undelete recently axed messages from an e-mail program's Deleted Items or Trash folder. But even if you've emptied this folder since tossing the message, you may still be able to retrieve it, with the right software.

The free demo of DTI Data Recovery's $49 E-Recovery for Outlook Express will show you what messages are recoverable but won't recover them--you'll have to pay for that. DTA is working on a version for Outlook but won't say when that will be available.

If you're on a Microsoft Exchange Server network, Outlook offers another way to recover deleted e-mail. Check your Tools menu for a 'Recover deleted items' option.

Iolo Technologies' $40 Search and Recover 2 (also part of the company's System Mechanic Pro suite) restores messages deleted from OE, Outlook, Eudora, and Netscape Messenger.

Kill the .Net Log-In

If you're the only person using your computer and you've installed Microsoft's .Net Framework upgrade, you can no longer boot into Windows without stopping at the log-in screen. To remove this step, select Start, Run, type control userpasswords2, and press Enter. In the User Accounts dialog box, select your own log-in name from the four listed (the others will be Administrator, ASPNET, and Guest), uncheck Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer, and click OK. In the resulting dialog box, make sure that your log-in name is in the user name field, leave both password fields blank, and click OK.

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