Q: I have Windows XP and Corel Photo Album 6 on my computer. My digital photos are saved on the hard drive and CDs are made at Costco. Until recently I could...

Share story

Q: I have Windows XP and Corel Photo Album 6 on my computer. My digital photos are saved on the hard drive and CDs are made at Costco. Until recently I could review the pictures on a CD simply by inserting it in the CD drive. Lately, however, an icon named “AcquireAutoPlay.dll” appears instead of my pictures. Clicking on it cautions me “Attempting to open file of type ‘Application Extension’ (.dll). These files are used by operation system and by various programs. Editing or modifying them could damage your system. If you still want to. … ” Needless to say, I didn’t go any further. Any idea what happened and how it can be fixed?

I took the CDs back to Costco, where I was assured they are OK. They’ve had only one other person reporting a similar problem. I also tried a System Restore to an earlier date, but that didn’t help either.

Also, Corel Photo Album 6 is installed on my computer, but I’ve not registered or signed up for the service. It seems to be a nuisance, trying to take over whenever it detects a CD or my camera’s memory card. What would happen if I removed Corel Photo Album? Could I still view photos saved on my hard drive, or is software such as Corel required?

— Cyd McGavran

A: There are actually several questions in here that may or may not be related to each other. I’ll treat the relatively basic ones first.

For starters, you don’t need Corel to view most kinds of image files. But you do need an application that can open the kinds of image files you have. Most cameras save files in JPG format, and Windows includes a program that will open JPG files, as well as several other formats. If you’re not using Corel Photo Album I’d recommend that you go ahead and uninstall it.

Next, AcquireAutoPlay.dll is associated with many autoloading CDs, including Costco photo CDs. Since you’re getting an error message, my guess is that there’s a problem with your Costco Photo Organizer software. As for whether that’s because of something on the CD or something on your system, I couldn’t say. Before going too far trying to investigate your own system, I’d ask Costco to redo the photos on a new CD.

Q: I recently purchased a Samsung T220HD from Costco. It is an LCD computer monitor equipped with a TV tuner that I plan to use primarily as a TV. Generally the picture quality on the Samsung is excellent but, unfortunately, I notice that from a low viewing angle (lying down) the screen darkens and a lot of detail is lost, especially in a dimly lit scene.

In viewing the various sizes and brands of LCD HDTV on display at a store, I notice that most do not have this same trait, and my questions are these:

1. Besides the TV tuner, are there any significant design differences between an LCD HDTV and a computer monitor?

2. Is poor picture quality from a low angle normal in an LCD monitor?

3. Should I exchange this LCD monitor for an LCD TV?

— John Martin

A: Limited viewing angle has long been an issue with LCD monitors and televisions alike. But some models are better than others. I’m not saying you should opt for a plasma TV instead of an LCD, but if you do choose an LCD, definitely compare viewing angles before making your selection. Your eyes are where the rubber hits the road.

Go into a good store and take a look at different models of LCDs and plasma displays and let your eyes be the judges.

Q: I have a large number of e-mails stored in files in Windows Mail. I have tried everything I can think of to back up those files and, short of copying each e-mail individually to my desktop and then backing them up, I can come up with no way to do this. The backup system on Vista backs up the 50 or so most recent messages in the inbox. This does me no good. Any thoughts?

— Caroline Feiss

A: The easiest way would be to include the folder where your e-mail is located in your data backup. Vista’s backup program will automatically back up this folder by default.

If you’re using another backup program or you’re customizing your Vista backup, you may need to specify the directory where your e-mails are stored. You can do this by going to the Tools menu in Windows Mail and selecting Options.

Next, click on the Advanced tab, then on the Maintenance button and, finally, on the Store Folder button.

Questions for Patrick Marshall may be sent by e-mail to pmarshall@seattletimes.com or pgmarshall@pgmarshall.net, or by mail at Q&A/Technology, The Seattle Times, P.O. Box 70, Seattle, WA 98111. More columns at www.seattletimes.com/columnists.