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Finding the Speakerphone on a Treo

(See Corrections & Amplifications item below.)

There’s no other major item most of us own that is as confusing, unpredictable and unreliable as our personal computers. Everybody has questions about them, and we aim to help.

Here are a few questions about computers I’ve received recently from people like you, and my answers. I have edited and restated the questions a bit, for readability. This week my mailbox contained questions about using the speakerphone on a Treo, making a BCC address line appear in email and running the Parallels desktop on a Mac.

I recently bought a Treo 700w smartphone, which runs Windows Mobile software. But I can’t figure out how to use the speakerphone feature. How do I do that?

While you are in the Treo 700w’s phone mode, you must hit the Menu soft key and then select Speakerphone, which is the top item on the menu. This is a good example of why I prefer the 700w’s nearly identical cousin, the Treo 700p, which uses the Palm operating system. On the 700p, while you are on a call, there is a big “Speakerphone” button on the screen. Just tap it with a finger and it turns on — no menus required. The need to open menus and take other extra steps is endemic in the Windows Mobile software. On some other Windows-based phones, like the Motorola Q, it is worse. On the Q, turning on the speakerphone requires you to bring up a screen listing “Profiles,” one of which is “Speakerphone.”

I know people can use a “BCC” address line when composing an email to copy the message to other people without the main recipient knowing. But in my email program, there is no BCC line. How do I make it appear?

In many email programs, you have to manually turn on the BCC address field in the email composition menu. This is usually done by selecting an option in a menu. Generally, you have to do this only once, and after that, the BCC field will appear every time you start composing an email.

You didn’t say which email program you use, but here are some examples. In Microsoft Outlook, when you are in the new-message window, go to the View menu and select “Bcc Field.” In Microsoft Outlook Express, in the new-message window, go to the View menu and select “All Headers.” In Apple Mail, while in the new-message window, go to the View menu and select “Bcc Address Field.” In Google’s Gmail, in the “Compose Mail” window, just click on “Add Bcc,” which appears above the Subject line.

Last week, you recommended a product called Parallels Desktop, which allows Windows to run on a Macintosh. I have two questions: Will it run on older, pre-Intel Macs? And will it expose my Mac files to Windows viruses?

First, I should have made it clear that Parallels Desktop (www.parallels.com) requires a newer Mac that uses Intel processors, like the iMac, the Mac mini, the MacBook and the MacBook Pro. It won’t run on older, pre-Intel Macs — any model sold before this year and some that are still for sale. Parallels takes advantage of a special feature in the Intel chips that allows its “virtual” Windows computer to run as fast as a standard Windows PC, even though it is operating inside a window on the Mac operating system. Older Macs can use a similar product, Virtual PC for Mac, from Microsoft, but it runs much more slowly.

As for viruses, the faux Windows PC created by Parallels is just as susceptible to the vast quantity of Windows viruses and spyware as any real Windows computer. So, if you use Parallels, you must install Windows security software on its virtual Windows PC. However, any viruses you get are unlikely to harm your Mac files unless you turn on a feature that allows Parallels to share folders and files in the Mac OS. That feature is turned off by default.

* * *

Because of the volume of email I receive, I can’t routinely answer individual questions by email, or consult on individual problems or purchasing decisions. I read all questions I receive and select three each week to answer in the column.

Write to Walter S. Mossberg at mossberg@wsj.com

Corrections & Amplifications:

The speakerphone function on Motorola’s Q phone can be turned on and off with a button on the keyboard. This column described a more complicated alternate method for turning on the speakerphone, but omitted mention of the keyboard button.

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