Q: I occasionally get e-mail messages with attachments having file names with .pps extensions. I assume these are Microsoft PowerPoint files...

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I occasionally get e-mail messages with attachments having file names with .pps extensions. I assume these are Microsoft PowerPoint files. I do not have PowerPoint on my computer, and none of my regular graphics viewing applications (Quicktime, Real, MS Media, etc.) recognize these files. Are there any programs (hopefully freeware) available to simply open .pps files for viewing?

— Elliott W. Brogren, ebrogren@earthlink.net

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As it happens, there is such a viewer available for free. Here’s a link to a Microsoft site that offers a downloadable PowerPoint viewer: www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=428d5727-43ab-4f24-90b7-a94784af71a4&;displaylang=en.


Why do I get little or no spam? My wife and I work through a cable modem and firewall router and we seem to receive e-mails faithfully as far as we can tell. But it makes me wonder if we are missing something, along with spam, due to our settings? Do you think there is a chance our firewall router is unintentionally set to block spam and perhaps other e-mail?

I also have Skybot Search and Destroy 1.3 and check for problems regularly. After initially finding many “advertising robots,” I find very few in my periodic check.

We surf the Web regularly, and while we try to be very careful in choosing where we click, it seems (from what I hear) spam is quite invasive. Perhaps I should just consider myself lucky, but it makes me wonder why we would be so fortunate compared with many users, and if we may be filtering out e-mail (And how we can be certain that we aren’t?).

— Darrel Weiss, Bellingham


Spam doesn’t have anything to do with your firewall. If you’re not getting much spam, it’s either because spammers haven’t gotten hold of your e-mail address or because you or your Internet service provider — has a spam filter working.

You don’t say what e-mail program you’re using, but it’s entirely possible you have a spam filter working on it. And some e-mail service providers will filter spam before it ever reaches you.

In either case, there should be a way to review filtered messages to make sure legitimate messages are not being filtered.

Apart from that, it may be you’ve been doing a good job of being selective about giving out your address and you haven’t responded to spam or even non-spam commercial messages. Count yourselves lucky as well as wise.


Until I moved from Windows 98 to Windows XP I would take my hard drive down to “bare wood” and rebuild it every six to nine months. With XP, I can’t reformat the disk since there are “protected” files that cannot be removed. How can I clear the disk for a complete rebuild?

— Allen Wyler


The simplest way would be to boot using your Windows XP disc. If you do so, the program installer will load automatically. You can then specify that you want to install a fresh copy of Windows and, before doing so, you can reformat the drive to which you’re going to install.

By the way, you might have to change your computer’s settings to try to boot from the CD drive before the hard drive. The specific method of doing so depends on the computer you’re using. In general, however, when your computer is booting you probably see a message telling you to hit DEL or some other key to access Setup. In the BIOS setup utility that appears, look for an option to set the boot device order and make sure the CD drive is listed before the hard drive.


How does one copy favorites, or bookmarks, in Internet Explorer to a floppy? I can’t find any place that will let me do this. Favorites has no way of sending it to drive A:\. It will let me add to or organize but that is it. I would like to make a backup copy. I am using Windows 98 and Juno.

— Floyd L Johnson


You simply copy the contents of your Favorites folder to the floppy. The trick is finding your Favorites folder. It is under your user profile. If you have Windows XP, for example, use Windows Explorer, go to the Documents and Settings folder and find your user name listed under that. Highlight your user name so that you can see the folders it contains. One of them will be Favorites. Copy the entire folder to whatever media you like.

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.