Q: I have up to 1,000 family pictures, some going back to the 1880s. My three children are concerned that if something happens to me, all...

Share story

Q: I have up to 1,000 family pictures, some going back to the 1880s. My three children are concerned that if something happens to me, all the family history contained in these pictures will be lost to them and to their children. I have almost half of the color slides and pictures scanned into my computer, but I do not have a good program to transfer these pictures onto a DVD format in slide-show style. I have a movie program that allows titles, chapter and titles, etc., and I would like something similar for all these pictures. I have looked and have not found anything that seems to fit or that gives enough information to ascertain if the product does this.

— Richard Thompson

A: I’m not aware of any easy way to publish photos to a DVD or CD while adding titles and the other features.

If it’s a slide-show format you want, however, you might consider using a slide-show program, such as Microsoft PowerPoint. You can place photos, or even videos, on slides, give them titles or captions and even use special effects for moving from one slide to the next. Yes, the person you send the slide show to will need software to view it, but these programs often are available for free. If you use PowerPoint, for example, a free viewer is available at the Microsoft Web site.

Alternatively, if you’re willing to invest a little more time in learning, you might use an HTML editor — such as Macromedia Dreamweaver or Microsoft FrontPage — to create a Web site that you publish to the disk. Then all recipients need to do is open the file with their Web browser.

Q: I use Outlook Express for my e-mail. I usually do not have any problem with my e-mails, with the exception of those from two of my regular senders. When those two send me e-mails with attachments, Outlook Express deletes the contents and gives me this message: “OE removed access to the following unsafe attachments in your e-mail.” Could this be caused by my security settings? Or could the incoming mail really be unsafe?

— Donald McCready

A: Yes, to both questions.

By default, Outlook Express does not allow attachments that could contain a virus to be saved or opened. That means it won’t allow executables or other vulnerable formats, such as JPG image files. Also, by default Outlook Express blocks images and other types of content in HTML messages.

You can, if you want, change these settings. Just go to the Tools menu and select Options. In the dialog box that pops up, click on the Security tab. Uncheck the box labeled “Do not allow attachments to be saved or opened that could potentially be a virus.” Also, uncheck the box labeled “Block images and other external content in HTML e-mail.”

If you do remove these protections, however, I recommend that you exercise caution with the e-mails you choose to open.

Q: When I open up a document from the My Documents folder in Word, a warning appears: “Document is being used by R/C. Do you want to make a copy?” If the file is opened in Excel, the warning specifies that the document is already open. I have talked to a Dell representative, to no avail. Further, if I open Word or Excel first, then open a document, no warning appears. Of course, there are no duplicate documents. This doesn’t affect the operation but it is annoying, and it’s been doing this since the computer was new. I use Windows XP Home Edition. Can you help?

A: The way things are supposed to work, you’ll get these messages only under one of three conditions: if Word or Excel shut down improperly when you last had the file in question open; if a second instance of Word or Excel is open and running in the background with the document already open; or if you’re running on a network and someone else has that file open.

I haven’t heard of any other causes, though I suppose certain corrupt system files could be the cause. If that’s the case, reinstalling the applications might fix it.

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.