Walt Mossberg

Recent Columns by Walt Mossberg

Mossberg’s Mailbox

Handling Photos in Microsoft Word

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 Microsoft Word to handle page layouts, deleting favorites in Internet Explorer and running Windows Vista on a Mac.

I use Microsoft Word 2003 for writing family histories with many photographs. But the program doesn’t handle photographs well. Is Word 2007 any better?

Word isn’t primarily a page layout program, so I can’t say if you’ll consider the new version dramatically better for photos. But Microsoft did put some effort into improving the graphics, layout and photo-handling features in the new 2007 version. If nothing else, Word’s system for positioning and manipulating photos is easier to understand because of the new interface Microsoft introduced.

In Internet Explorer, is there a way to delete favorites other than one at a time? I have tried to select several while holding the Shift or Control key, but only one at a time is deleted.

One way to do it is to avoid using the very limited Organize Favorites feature in Internet Explorer itself, and locate the folder on your hard disk where the files that represent the Favorites reside. Then, you can delete the Favorites like any other files.

This folder is called Favorites, and can be found through Windows Explorer (as opposed to Internet Explorer). It’s under Documents and Settings, inside a folder bearing the name of the user or account you use in Windows.

For example, if your user account name (the name that appears at the top of the Windows Start Menu) is “Janet,” the Favorites folder would be C:Documents and SettingsJanetFavorites. The icon for this folder is a star, rather than a picture of a folder.

Is it true that Microsoft’s license terms for Vista prevent Mac users from installing it using the Parallels software that creates a virtual Windows machine on a Mac? And does this also apply to Apple’s Boot Camp system for running Windows on a Mac?

Microsoft has decided to legally bar the installation of the most common consumer versions of the new Windows Vista operating in a virtual machine. A virtual machine is a software environment that allows one operating system to run inside another by creating a faux, or virtual, computer. This prohibition covers Vista Home Basic and Home Premium, and it applies not only to Parallels on a Mac but to other virtual-machine systems on other kinds of computers, even Windows computers.

Vista Home Basic and Home Premium will, in fact, work fine in Parallels on a Mac, according to the maker of Parallels. But if you install them in Parallels, or any other virtual machine, you will violate the Microsoft license. To comply with the license, you have to buy and install the more expensive Vista Business or Vista Ultimate versions.

However, I don’t believe the Microsoft license prohibition applies to running Windows on a Mac via Apple’s Boot Camp system, since Boot Camp doesn’t create a virtual machine. When you run Windows on a Mac under Boot Camp, the computer becomes a real Windows computer, not a virtual one. No other operating system is running; Windows is in total and sole control of the Mac hardware. I should note, however, that Boot Camp was designed to allow Macs to run Windows XP, and Apple hasn’t yet modified it for Vista.

* * *

Because of the volume of e-mail I receive, I can’t routinely answer individual questions by e-mail, 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

Top Products in Two Decades of Tech Reviews

December 17, 2013 at 6:04 pm PT

Diabetes Data Beamed to Your Phone

December 10, 2013 at 6:16 pm PT

Two Houses, One Cable TV Bill

December 10, 2013 at 6:14 pm PT

Calling Overseas on Wi-Fi

December 03, 2013 at 6:18 pm PT

Dell Tablets at Bargain Prices

December 03, 2013 at 6:12 pm PT

Latest Video

View all videos »

Search »

Walt Mossberg’s Product Guides

Desktop PC’s and Laptops

The Laptops to Buy

Digital Cameras

Digital Cameras Improve Zooms, HD Function