QI'm about to replace the computer where I've stored my digital music in iTunes. How do I move my music to the new machine without triggering the copying restrictions Apple embeds in the song files?
AIf the music is copied from CDs, just move it as you would any file, because iTunes doesn't embed any restrictions on files created that way.
If you bought songs at Apple's iTunes Music Store, however, you first need to go online to "deauthorize" the old machine, since the iTunes store lets buyers play a song on only five computers at once. Go to iTunes' Advanced menu and select "Deauthorize Computer . . ."
Until last fall, Microsoft's Windows Media Player worked as the reader feared iTunes would: Unless you changed one setting, it would "protect" songs ripped from CDs in Windows Media Audio format by locking them to that machine.
Songs shackled in that manner can be copied to another PC, but when you try to play them you'll be taken to a Web site where you can "regenerate" your license -- which can be done only 10 times. There's no easy way to remove that lock, aside from burning those files to audio CD, then re-copying them to your machine in MP3 format.
Microsoft finally switched off this useless default setting in the Windows XP-only Windows Media Player 10 it delivered last fall.
The spam in my e-mail has gotten out of hand -- up to 200 messages a day! Can I delete that junk without downloading it first?
Use whatever Web-mail interface your Internet provider offers to screen your mail and get rid of the junk before you download the legitimate messages. Or try a program called MailWasher Pro, which can automatically delete spam while it's still at your Internet provider. It's a $37 download for Win 95 or newer, Mac OS X 10.3 and major versions of Linux, with a free trial available (www.firetrust.com).
-- 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.