Walt Mossberg

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Mossberg’s Mailbox

Moving Music to a BlackBerry

Here are a few questions I’ve received recently from people like you, and my answers. I have edited and restated the questions a bit, for readability.

My IT department will not turn on the feature in our servers that would allow me to receive corporate email on my iPhone. This has forced me to revert back to my BlackBerry Pearl. Can I transfer my iTunes music to my Pearl?

It depends on what you mean by “iTunes music.” If you mean music you bought from the iTunes store in protected format — which describes most of the store’s catalog — the Pearl can’t play it, unless you go through a laborious multistep process to convert it to unprotected files. If you mean unprotected music that is managed by the iTunes program on your PC, the Pearl can handle it as long as it is in open formats supported by the Pearl, including the MP3 or open AAC formats.

To get these files into your Pearl, simply use the music-transfer software that came with the Pearl to copy the songs from your computer’s hard disk to either the Pearl’s internal memory or to a flash memory card you may have in your Pearl.

I recently purchased a new iMac with the Leopard operating system, and have installed Windows Vista on it as well, using Leopard’s Boot Camp feature, so the Mac can boot into either OS. I would like both of those operating systems to share an external hard drive so I can back up my files. Is it possible to do that?

Yes, provided you follow one of two scenarios. The first would be to format the external drive as a Windows drive, but be careful to use the Windows format called “FAT32,” not the one called NTFS. Out of the box, Macs can see all Windows drives and can read from them all. But they can only save files to Windows drives that use the FAT32 system for organizing files. The downside of this is that the FAT32 system only allows files of up to 4 gigabytes each.

The other scenario would be to use a Mac-formatted external drive, which doesn’t have that limitation. Of course the Mac operating system can handle such drives perfectly, but Windows can’t even see them. However, in your Vista setup, you can install a third-party Windows program called MacDrive 7, which allows Windows to both read from, and write to, Mac-formatted drives. I have tested it successfully with Vista under Boot Camp on an iMac. The $50 program can be downloaded from mediafour.com.

The hard disk on my new Sony VAIO laptop is filling up fast. It is trying to get me to watch a lot of movie trailers. Is all that video stored in my machine somewhere and if so can I dump some of it out?

If your Sony laptop is like mine, not only are the unwanted movie trailers pre-loaded on your hard disk, but so are the entire movies, which Sony actually charges you to watch. In my case, these files took up over 4 gigabytes of precious disk space. This is a particularly outrageous example of what I call “craplets,” unwanted trial software that litters new Windows desktops. You can delete these files and reclaim all that disk space without any harm to your computer.

You can find Mossberg’s Mailbox, and my other columns, online free at the new All Things Digital Web site, http://walt.allthingsd.com.

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