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Boulder Computer Maven Newsletter - April 2007

Dear Friends,

Thank you for letting me help you with your computer needs. This is my customer newsletter, containing information that I hope you'll find interesting and helpful.

This month's topics are Protect Your Computer with an Uninterruptible Power Supply, Read Word, Excel, and PowerPoint Files Without Buying Microsoft Office, Read and Write Files in Microsoft Office 2007 File Formats, and Is Your Home Broadband Router Ready for Windows Vista?.

If you don't want to receive this newsletter, let me know, and I'll remove your name from my mailing list. Previous issues are available on the newsletters page of the Boulder Computer Maven web site. If you change your E-mail address, please send me your new one.

Please call me at 303-444-8247 with questions or to schedule an appointment.

Best Wishes,
Steve Winograd

Helping People Use Computers in Boulder for Over 20 Years

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Protect Your Computer with an Uninterruptible Power Supply

Boulder's spring and summer thunderstorms can cause interruptions in the electrical power at your home or office. Even a momentary interruption can shut down your computer and monitor and cause problems: losing a document or E-mail message that you've been writing, corrupting files stored on the computer, or physically damaging the equipment.

To protect your work and help your computer and monitor to last longer, plug them into an uninterruptible power supply (UPS), which can provide power for several minutes during an outage. They'll continue to run during a brief power outage, and you'll have time to save your work and shut down the computer normally during a longer one. Computer and office supply stores have many brands and sizes of UPS. For a typical desktop computer and CRT monitor, a UPS with a rating of 500-700 VA is sufficient. The product selectors on the APC and TrippLite web sites can help you find the right size.

Read Word, Excel, and PowerPoint Files Without Buying Microsoft Office

Have you ever received documents that someone created using Microsoft's Word, Excel, or PowerPoint, program, but couldn't read them because that program isn't installed on your computer? You don't have to buy a copy of Microsoft Office to read the documents. Microsoft provides free programs that enable any computer running Windows 2000, Windows XP, or Windows Vista to read them. You can download the free Word Viewer, Excel Viewer, and PowerPoint Viewer from Microsoft.

Read and Write Files in Microsoft Office 2007 File Formats

Microsoft recently released Office 2007, a major upgrade to its suite of applications that include the Word word processor, Excel spreadsheet program, and PowerPoint presentation program. The new versions of these programs can save documents in new formats, as indicated by a file name with a 4-letter file type ending with the letter x. For example, a file named Read This.docx is a Word document stored in the new document format.

Older versions of the Microsoft Office and Office Viewer programs can't read files stored in these new formats. To add that capability to them, download and install the Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007 File Formats.

Is Your Home Broadband Router Ready for Windows Vista?

If you have a broadband (cable or DSL) Internet connection and a wired or wireless broadband router, you might find that a new computer that runs Windows Vista has trouble accessing the Internet or your home network, or that your router stops working and has to be reset to get it working again. There are new networking features in Windows Vista, and some existing broadband routers don't handle those features correctly. To find out if your router will work with Vista's new features, run Microsoft's Internet Connectivity Evaluation Tool, which performs several basic and advanced tests. The basic tests run on computers that have either Windows Vista or Windows XP. The advanced tests only run on computers that have Windows Vista.

If your router fails any of the tests, consider replacing it with a new router that's certified to work with Windows Vista.