Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Disable the Preview Pane For Safer Computing & Less Spam*

Disable the Preview Pane For Safer Computing & Less Spam

[note: if you are looking to see who won this week’s contest, click here.]

A recent article on spam (e-mail) prompted a reader to send in this good question,

Q: “Hi Paul –
You wrote “don’t even open e-mail from unknown sources.. doing so can/will mark your e-mail address as a “live” person, …”.
How do we delete without opening a specific email message?   Even while deleting in bulk the first email in the highlighted selections opens.  I’m using Outlook Express.  Thanks for your help!

* What is being referred to is the feature common to e-mail clients called the “Preview Pane”.”

A: Dear Reader–
You’re correct that most webmail settings, and e-mail clients, (by default) have what is called a “preview pane”, which opens the first (topmost/most recent) e-mail in your Inbox, and shows you the first few lines of the e-mail. Yes.. this will trigger whatever the spammers/hackers are using to verify receipt (such as downloading an invisible jpeg). Because of this, I always turn the Preview Pane off.oe_new
To do this in OE, click on the View menu and select Layout.
Then in the Preview Pane Properties, uncheck the “Show preview pane” checkbox.

BTW– by exploring Properties/Options/Settings/Preferences (different names for the same thing), you can disable the preview pane in every e-mail viewer.. (i.e., Thunderbird), and webmail (i.e., Hotmail, Gmail, etc).

Tip of the day: While many people find the preview window a convenient way to skim their incoming mail, using it automatically opens your machine up to security risks — especially if you are allowing HTML, and/or images, as the OE pictured above does — and tells anyone who’s interested that yes, your.name@isp.com is a valid address: suitable for spamming.
The spammers (and advertisers) collect lists of these validated addresses and sell them to each other.

I advise disabling the feature, and doing without the ’speed enhancement’ of previewing. Doing so will reduce the amount of spam you receive, improve your privacy, and close the door on one of the methods hackers can use to infect your machine.

Today’s free download: Open Office A new version of very popular free office suite is now available. Support for Office 2007 formatting and improved PDF creation in Writer highlight the big additions for business users. A new Start Center provides a launching pad and makes it easier to switch between tools.

Copyright 2007-2010 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.


>> Folks, don’t miss an article! To get Tech – for Everyone articles delivered to your e-mail Inbox, click here, or to subscribe in your RSS reader, click here. <<


Share this post :

June 25, 2010 Posted by | advice, computers, e-mail, Internet, privacy, spam and junk mail | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Life Before Email…

One of the very first things I do in the process of starting my day is I check my Inboxes. It is as much a part of my routine as my morning cup of coffee. This morning, it struck me that you do not have to be a computer geek to realize and appreciate that electronic communication has become an important — if not vital — part of our lives. And that it has changed the way we live.telephone

If you will pardon a little self-indulgent reminiscing, I would like to tell you in a before-and-after method, that I am old enough to well-remember what it was like in the days before email, Instant Messaging, and cell phones. In my High School years there simply were no such things. (There were no ATM machines either, if you can imagine that.) When I wanted to find out what my friends were up to, I picked up a Slimline telephone (with cord). Besides Ma Bell, the other method of communicating was the mail, now known as “snail mail”.

How we ever got along, back then, is beyond me.

Today the speed at which I transmit written correspondence is limited only by how frequently the recipient checks their Inbox. My pals answer their phones no matter where they are or what they’re doing (or their voicemail does) — who doesn’t carry a cell phone? I not only talk to my niece and nephew out on the East Coast, but I can see them via “videoconferencing” (free). Or I can “chat” with IM, no matter the miles of separation (also free).

But of all these modern methods, I still rely the most on email. Email is the main way I stay informed and in contact with my friends and kinfolk, and the same is probably true for you. (For kicks, I challenge you to a little test: how long can you ignore your Inbox before it irritates? Could you take a week’s vacation… and never check it?)

Because I am an “email guy”, I am perhaps overly aware of the negatives of email. I am peeved by spam, alarmed by phishing, nervous about privacy, and paranoid about hackers and e-criminals. I have written a few articles on these ‘negatives’ and how to combat, and my “Tip of the day” today is; if you have not read them, to consider clicking on the following links.
Managing your email: eliminating the junk
Managing junk mail in Outlook/Thunderbird
They ARE reading your mail
How to block ads

It is my hope that the knowledge you find there will make using the modern miracle of electronic communication a more pleasant experience, as it is something we are exposed to daily… and would be hard-pressed to live without.

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

Share this post :

December 6, 2009 Posted by | advice, computers, e-mail, how to, Internet, tech | , , , , , | 2 Comments