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Originally published October 13, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified October 13, 2007 at 2:01 AM

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Relax; wireless routers won't harm your health

Q. I just installed a Netgear RangeMax wireless router for a friend. But he is worried about the amount of low-level radiation the router...

Special to The Seattle Times

Q. I just installed a Netgear RangeMax wireless router for a friend. But he is worried about the amount of low-level radiation the router may emit so he has decided to use only wired connections to the four Ethernet ports on the back and not use the wireless function. If I disable the wireless access point in the router's configuration software, would any radiation emissions occur?

— Mark Williamson

A. Are you talking about ionizing radiation? If so, rest assured that wireless routers don't generate ionizing radiation. As far as emission of radio waves, I've found a couple of health officials (one in Scotland) who have called for studies of the effects of low-level radio emissions, such as those generated by Wi-Fi networks on health. But the overwhelming consensus — for now, at least — seems to be that unless you're strapping the wireless router to your head and wearing it, there's probably nothing to be concerned about.

That said, yes, disabling the feature in the router's configuration software should prevent any radio waves being emitted.

If possible, however, it's generally best to use wired connections for two other reasons: security is easier to maintain and you'll get significantly faster transfer speeds.

Q. I am running Windows XP on a Dell Inspiron laptop. I recently installed Office 2007 as an upgrade to Office Standard 2003. When I open Outlook, the Windows installer starts running and trying to reinstall Office Standard 2003.

Clicking on "Cancel" over and over eventually stops the installation, and I can work in Outlook just fine, but it is WAY irritating. I have reinstalled and repaired Office 2007 several times. I'm afraid to uninstall Office 2003 because I think 2007 then might not work.

— Teresa Moore

A. Something is clearly wrong with the installation. When I installed Office 2007, it required me to uninstall Office 2003. I recommend uninstalling Office 2003, then installing Office 2007. Just make sure you first export any data that may be compromised, such as e-mails and contacts in Outlook.

Q. I haven't been able to successfully add and forward music (sound) to e-mails received. The responses from recipients are they don't get any sound. I do get messages with music and sound from some people, and the sound is loud and clear. I have Windows XP, use ISP Comcast and Outlook Express for e-mail. What am I doing wrong?

— Roy Goulet

A. The problem is you can't control how the computers of the e-mail recipients are configured. If you're using Outlook Express to attach sound to sent e-mails, the recipient must be using an e-mail program that can read MHTML (Multipurpose Internet Mail Extension Hypertext Markup Language) files.

Q. I have about 1,030 jpg attachments (mostly images) buried somewhere. I know this since when I double click on an attachment to an e-mail I receive (in Outlook, NOT Outlook Express) the Windows Picture and Fax Viewer pops up and takes minutes to load all of the files that are "somewhere." This eats up a large amount of drive space.

Where does Outlook store these?

— Bob Pfeifer

A. Attachments are stored in the Outlook PST file along with the e-mail to which they are attached. This is true even if you have saved a copy of the attachment elsewhere. If you want to get rid of the attachments, delete the e-mails to which they are attached.

If you want to quickly gather all e-mails with attachments, click on the down arrow to the right of the Search box in Outlook 2007 and select to display e-mails with attachments.

Questions for Patrick Marshall may be sent by e-mail to pmarshall@seattletimes.com or pgmarshall@pgmarshall.net, or by mail at Q&A/Technology, The Seattle Times, P.O. Box 70, Seattle, WA 98111. More columns at www.seattletimes.com/columnists.

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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