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Restoring Outlook Data; Updating Default Programs in Windows XP

Sunday, January 30, 2005; Page F07

I reinstalled Outlook on a new hard drive after my old copy of Windows crashed. How do I get my old data off the computer's original hard drive?

Type the following into the address line in the My Computer window, replacing "[your user name]" with your own user ID: "C:\Documents and Settings\[your user name]\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook." (Look in the User Accounts control panel if you're not sure of your user name; if the original hard drive now has a new drive letter, change "C" to whatever it should be.)

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Drag the "Outlook" data file to your desktop. Run Outlook and select "Import and Export" from its File menu. Choose "Import from another program or file" as your action to perform, then "Personal Folder File (.pst)" as the type of file to import. Last, click the "Browse" button to find your old file.

This entire procedure is a disgrace. First, you can't find your data without typing in that ugly address, and Outlook's procedure defies logic.

I recently loaded a new photo-software program on my Windows XP machine, but when I double-click on a photo in My Pictures, it opens in an older photo editor.

Right-click a photo file (any one in My Pictures will do), then choose "Open With..." and select "Choose Program" from its sub-menu. Look for the new program in that list of applications, select it and check the box next to "Always use this program to open these files."

Use this same procedure to change the default program for any other type of file -- MP3s, text documents, spreadsheets, whatever.

-- 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 rob@twp.com.

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