Q: I use Outlook Express 6 and Windows XP. The hyperlinks I receive in e-mails take me to the proper Web sites. But if I forward the message...

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Q: I use Outlook Express 6 and Windows XP. The hyperlinks I receive in e-mails take me to the proper Web sites. But if I forward the message, the hyperlink in the message becomes inactive. I have also tried to use Insert Hyperlink pull-down manual, but to no avail.

— Charles Klee

A: How do you know the forwarded links don’t work? Fact is, the link you included with your e-mail worked just fine for me.

Hyperlinks are formatting that is applied to text. If the formatting is applied in a way the client does not expect, it won’t work properly. For example, if you use UTF-8 to format your e-mail, that can alter the hyperlinks in a way that the client can’t make sense of it.

Likewise, if you create a hyperlink in an e-mail message with Microsoft Word 2002 as your e-mail editor, the hyperlink will not be valid if the e-mail message is opened by a user whose e-mail editor isn’t Word 2002.

In short, whether the hyperlink actually works depends not only upon who creates it, but also who receives it and how their system is configured. And remember, recipients can always copy and paste the link into the address bar of their browser if it does function appropriately.

Q: I read your May 17 column with interest. Although waking up from slumber was not the problem, my computer had been experiencing the S-L-O-W-S for a time. I suspected that Norton might have something to do with it, but I am not a computer expert.

Finally, in desperation, I took the computer to a local computer place, and it successfully cleaned it up and added some memory along the way. Norton was fully erased and AVG was installed in its place. Everything has been great ever since. They noted that while Norton was not the sole problem, it was definitely a contributing problem.

When I picked up the computer, another customer was dropping off a computer to have Norton removed and the technician mentioned that Norton had become like a virus. It had been very good once, but they no longer recommend it and have seen many similar problems.

I am sure that for some people it may still be the best option. But it was not for me and not for at least some others. I would not be too quick to dismiss it as the cause of the problems being experienced by Jim Raffetto. At least it should be better verified. Otherwise absolutely nothing else will help him.

— Norman Marten, Bainbridge Island

A: Norton, like any other applications, can have potential conflicts with other things on your computer. And antivirus programs are particularly tricky because they interact rather intimately with the operating system and with so many applications. I haven’t heard of an antivirus program — or any other application, for that matter — that hasn’t caused problems for some users.

For my part, I don’t recommend or disparage Norton. The reason I said it was not the most likely cause of the reader’s problems was the symptom being discussed. That does not mean it might not be a contributing issue.

Anyway, the single most likely source of your improved performance is your additional memory. But, yes, I have seen Norton slow things down, especially when it is performing a background scan.

Q: I have an older Compaq laptop with Windows XP and I noticed that I have both Java 5 and Java 6, with the updates for both. Do I need Java at all since I don’t do any software programming or anything beyond e-mail, word processing, photo downloading and Internet use? These programs take quite a bit of space but what will happen if I remove them? Is there some way that they are being used in the background without my knowledge?

— Dave Van Boven

A: If what you’re talking about is the Java programming language, you can certainly delete the files. If you’re talking about Java code used to run Java scripts on Web sites, still no problem. The next time you encounter such a script, you’ll receive a message telling you it can’t run and offering to help you download the code, which isn’t very large in size. As for code being used without your knowledge, just make sure you’ve got your antivirus and firewall applications running.

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.