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Originally published Friday, March 9, 2012 at 11:23 PM

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Archive Gold DVDs best to keep memories

Q: You recently discussed storing still pictures (Q&A, Feb. 18). What is the best way to store home movies? I have transferred Super...

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Larry, your best option would probably be an external hard drive. For the same price of... MORE


Q: You recently discussed storing still pictures (Q&A, Feb. 18). What is the best way to store home movies? I have transferred Super 8 movies to 8mm video tapes with my narration as I recorded them. Then I copied the video tapes to DVD using an 8mm tape deck and our DVD player, all connected through our TV so we could watch the movies during the copying process. But if none of those media last very long, to what do I transfer 40 DVDs of home movies now to preserve them?

— Larry Brickman

A: Still or moving, it's all the same on disk. If it were me, I'd probably just burn them to archival gold DVDs. Vendors claim such DVDs have a life span of 100 years. I seriously doubt that figure, but you — or your heirs — are going to need to transfer the data to another format long before that. I've seen 50-disc spindles available for as little as $80.

But don't forget to make two copies and store one somewhere else that is safe. You don't want a flood or fire wiping out all those years of memories. A safe-deposit box would be a great place to store copies.

Q: I'm running Windows Live Mail on Windows 7 and keep getting the message, "Your POP3 server has not responded in 60 seconds," when I try to receive email. I have tried the Windows forum route and changed the server port to 587 from 25 to no avail and have tried disabling Norton with no effect. It would appear from the forums that this is a fairly significant problem. Any suggestions?

— Tom Butler

A: The two most common causes of this problem are 1) anti-virus programs set to scan incoming mail having trouble with a specific message and 2) an overly large message. Make sure you've disabled your anti-virus program's email scanning and see what happens. Second, try accessing your email through a Web browser and see if there are any large messages blocking things.

Q: I have an HP computer with Windows 7. When I am on the Internet, a box comes up saying, "Internet Explorer has stopped working." Sometimes I click on "Cancel" and it goes away and it doesn't stop working. Then after that a box comes up on the bottom of the screen that says, "A problem caused the program to stop working correctly. Windows will close the program and notify you if a solution is available." Then a tab comes up saying it has closed and reopened. Why is this happening?

— Devennie

A: When Internet Explorer encounters a problem, it does stop working and delivers that message. Then, when possible, it restarts and tries to get you back to what you were working on.

So what causes the problem that causes it to stop working? That's very difficult to tell. It could be a virus, a third-party application or driver, or a badly written script on a website.

Q: I have a 4-year-old Dell desktop computer with Windows Vista. I get a message about once a day that says, "The C:\ User\Dennis\App Data\Roaming\Macromedia\Flash Player\Settings.sol folder does not exist. The file may have been moved or deleted. Do you want to create it?" I always say yes.

— Dennis Pappas, Woodinville

A: I'd suggest uninstalling Flash and then reinstalling it. I suspect that there is an incorrect registry entry that has it looking in the wrong place for that folder. Reinstalling should correct that problem.

Questions for Patrick Marshall may be sent by email to or, or by mail at Q&A/Technology, The Seattle Times, P.O. Box 70, Seattle, WA 98111. More columns at


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