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Mysticgeek

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

How many times have you had a Microsoft Office application crash or lock up your system? The worst culprits seem to be Outlook and Access for me.

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Do you wish the IE7 Menu bar was located where it was in IE6?  Here is how to quickly create a registry fix to move it back to the top.

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If you are annoyed with Windows popping up a balloon notification telling you things you already know every time you turn on your machine, here is a quick tip on completely disabling them.  (Note this requires a registry modification so be sure to back up your registry before making any changes.)

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In the corporate environment, Excel is king. So when you have an Access database report that you would really prefer to analyze in Excel spreadsheet form, there’s an easy way to convert it.

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Microsoft Access is used within many businesses to store and access information. You can also create a simple report easily using the Report Wizard.

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Everybody loves Gmail, but some people use a desktop client, especially in corporate environments where Outlook is king. Adding your Gmail account to Outlook 2007 couldn’t be easier.

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You can use Mail Merge in Word 2003 to create mailing labels for a database full of customers. 

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The Microsoft Office 2007 color scheme certainly fits in Windows Vista, but fortunately for those of us unhappy with so much light blue, the color scheme can be changed.

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When you know you are going to be out of the office for a few days, you can set up the Out of Office Assistant to reply automatically, letting people know that you are enjoying your vacation while they are stuck at work. You can also add rules to forward messages based on different criteria.

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If you are concerned with video game performance, or you are trying to fix some problems with any 3D application, you can ensure DirectX 9 on XP is running at peak efficiency by running a diagnostic. 

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For those times when Windows completely freezes and you can’t even open the start menu, you can also restart your computer from Task Manager instead of just powering the machine off.

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How many times have you migrated to a new computer and lost all the little settings in Word or Excel that you had finally tweaked perfectly?

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To show hidden files, open Control Panel and double-click on Folder Options.

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Using the Disk Cleanup utility in Windows XP is a great way to clean up files and get more hard drive space. One of the options is to “Compress Old Files”, but the default setting is files older than 50 days. This setting can be modified if you only want to compress really old files.

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If you would like better communication with your co-workers here is a quick tip on sharing your calendar in Outlook. This will only work if you are using an Exchange Server e-mail account, typically something you’d be using in a corporate environment.

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If you get hundreds of emails every day your inbox can fill up quickly. Outlook 2003 has an easy way to clean up your inbox quickly without having to go through each email individually to decide what needs to be kept.

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Everybody sends out emails to the same group of people on a regular basis, but most people don’t realize that you can create your own private list of email addresses in Outlook by using the Distribution List feature.

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Here is a quick and easy way to add all holidays to your Outlook 2003 Calendar. This tip also works for countries other than the United States.

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If your hard drive is short on space you might want to consider reducing the size of your Recycle Bin. By default Windows XP reserves 10% of your hard drive for the bin. You can save up to 3GB of space if you resize a bin to 1% on a 40GB hard drive. You can resize individual drive or all of them globally.

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Have you ever plugged in a USB drive or any external device with a hard drive and wondered why you cannot see it in My Computer?

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If you have an email you send out every day that contains the same information, or a form that requires users to dictate answers to the same questions – you can create a template in Outlook to help save you time.

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Don’t you hate it when you are typing an email, a report, or chatting on IM and halfway through… you (or the person you are shouting at) realizes you have caps lock on?

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