I'm trying to keep my Windows XP computer safe by using a "limited user" account, but I can't load any software without creating a separate administrator account and switching over to that for every installation -- a real pain. Is there any other option?
Yes, but it is well hidden. Right-click a program's installer file and select "Run As." A window will open, inviting you to type in an administrator's name and password to have that one application run with the necessary privileges.
Because this is so tedious to do over and over, and because XP gives users full administrative access by default, few XP users even bother trying the "limited-user" option. Those who do face many complications; see the "nonadmin" Web site (nonadmin.editme.com) for details, including workarounds for some of them.
So why bother? A limited account will stop viruses and worms from wreaking the worst of their mischief. The same type of account is provided by default in Mac OS X and Linux, but in those operating systems a program that needs more access to the system asks for it upfront, inviting you to type in an administrator's password. (That said, this measure can't stop trouble from happening to somebody who unlocks the system to a virus that asks for permission first; a healthy level of skepticism remains the best computer-security defense. )
How can I copy my address book from Hotmail to Outlook Express?
If the address book doesn't hold many entries, just copy and paste each e-mail address from Hotmail into Outlook Express. Otherwise, you'll need to buy a $20-a-year "Hotmail Plus" subscription to add your Hotmail account to Microsoft's free mail program. From Outlook Express's Tools menu, select "Accounts . . . " and follow the prompts to add a new account; then open OE's Address Book window, go to its Tools menu and select "Synchronize Now."
-- Rob Pegoraro
Rob Pegoraro attempts to untangle computing conundrums and errant electronics each week. Send questions to The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071 or firstname.lastname@example.org.