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Microsoft WGA outage outrages users
Quite a few people were frustrated last week when they tried to validate their Windows software as genuine (which is required to download most updates) and were told they had pirated copies even though they knew their operating systems were legal. This was apparently due to the Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) server being down. It’s fixed now, but not before annoying a lot of people. Read more here.

Sugar-powered battery? Sweet!
With more and more devices going mobile, we’re always on the lookout for new and better battery technology. Now Sony has developed a battery that’s powered by pouring sugar into it. It’s an innovative idea, for sure. Read more here.

Digital Pen: Cool tool or a solution in search of a problem?
Despite the popularity in today’s wired world of everything digital, the phenomenon of the digital pen has yet to reach critical mass. You probably know about Tablet PCs, but you might not have ever encountered a standalone digital pen and might not know just what to do with it if you did. Still, some companies are betting that these little devices will finally take off. Read more here.

Getting ready for the Gphone?
Rumors are floating around the web about Google building a phone handset that would be a direct competitor to Apple’s iPhone. True or false? Only time will tell. The company itself “can neither confirm nor deny.” Read more here.

How Vista’s Internet Explorer protects you from attack
The version of IE 7 that comes with Vista is different from the version you can download for XP. Specifically, it has better security because it takes advantage of Vista’s User Account Control (UAC) to run in IE Protected Mode. In Protected Mode, IE won’t allow files to be saved in locations on your computer where they could cause problems, and IE can’t make changes to system files without your explicit permission. This makes it a lot less likely that you’ll be a victim of a “drive-by download” that installs malware on your machine. You can read more about this new feature here.

How to take ownership of a folder in XP or Vista
Even if you’re an administrator on your XP or Vista computer, you might find that you get an “access denied” message if you try to open a folder that was created by a different user. However, you can fix this by taking ownership of the folder. Any administrator can take ownership. Here’s how:

  1. Be sure you’re logged on with an account that has administrator rights
  2. Right click on the folder you want to access
  3. Select Properties
  4. Click on the Security tab
  5. Click on the Advanced button
  6. Click on the Owner tab
  7. In the list of Names, click on your name
  8. To take ownership of the folder and all its contents, click on “Replace owner on subcontainers and objects”
  9. Click OK and then click Yes

Can I get my Hotmail messages with Windows Mail?
QUESTION: When I use XP for my mail I used Outlook Express, and I still have two XP machines. Since OE is not available with Vista I am learning Windows Mail. In OE I was able to download my Hotmail account. Mail says I cannot do this with Hotmail. Do you know if there is a way to download my Hotmail into Mail? Right now, having to log into Windows Live Mail to retrieve it is a pain in the rear. – Dennis H.

ANSWER: It appears the Windows Mail program in Vista is about to be replaced by a brand new email client called Windows Live Mail, which handles POP, IMAP and Hotmail accounts. It can be installed on either Vista or on XP to replace Outlook Express. This was announced back in June. It’s still in beta, so you may want to wait until the final release, but it’s available to the public so if you’re the impatient type, you can download it here.

Some add-ons aren’t listed in the Manage Add-ons Dialog Box
If you open the Manage Add-ons dialog box from the Tools menu in Internet Explorer on an XP SP2 machine, you might find that some add-ons you know are installed aren’t listed. This prevents you from being able to disable those add- ons. That’s not good. Fortunately, there’s a fix available. Find out how to get it via KB article 888240.

Can’t restore XP SP2 after using an XP SP1 restore point
Here’s the scenario: you’ve restored your computer to a restore point when XP with Service Pack 1 was installed and now you want to restore to a later restore point that was made after SP2 was installed – but if you try to do so, you’re still stuck with XP SP1. There’s a fix for this one, too. You’ll find it in KB article 835409.

Deb Shinder