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Originally published Friday, July 11, 2014 at 5:03 PM

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Not just any default email will do on Internet Explorer

Patrick Marshall addresses a few choice annoyances: prompts to change email services, suspicions that registering with is generating unwanted calls, and a hassle in getting CDs to play on Windows Media Player.

Special to The Seattle Times


Q: I have Windows 7 on a Lenovo laptop, and I use Yahoo as my primary email address. However, when I’m working and “click” to respond to someone, my system wants me to set up Outlook.

I want to make Yahoo my default email. I had no problems doing this when I was using Windows XP, but for the life of me, I cannot figure out how to do it in Windows 7. I’ve looked on the Internet for suggestions, but none seems to work. Can you assist me?

— Jon Kinney, Orrville, Ohio

A: Yahoo Mail is a Web-based service, so specifying it as the default client depends upon the browser you’re using. In Firefox, for example, just go to the Tools menu (if the Menu Bar isn’t visible, press Alt to see it) and select Options and then Applications. Scroll down until you see the mailto entry and then select Yahoo Mail from the drop-down list.

I’m guessing, however, that you’re using Internet Explorer as your Web browser. And I don’t know of a way to specify Yahoo mail as the default in IE. By default, IE allows you to select only non-Web clients.

Q: Your letter in the July 5 column about unwanted calls was interesting, as was your suggestion to register phones with

We have lived in Seattle for eight years and for the first six years did not receive any unwanted calls. At a friend’s suggestion we registered our number with the registry, and for the past two years have received five to seven unwanted calls a day!

I would never accuse anyone at the registry of selling our number, although most of my friends have had the same experience of not receiving unwanted calls until they registered with

I count my blessings daily for the existence of “Caller ID” that allows me to avoid these calls, and would never advise anyone to sign up for

— Aaron Maxfield, Seattle

A: I’m unaware of any indication that being on the donotcall list makes it more likely for you to get calls. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) isn’t selling user lists or anything like that.

At the same time, the list doesn’t prevent all unwanted calls. As the FTC site indicates, the list won’t stop these kinds of calls:

• From organizations with which you have established a business relationship.

• For which you have given prior written permission.

• Which are not commercial or do not include unsolicited advertisements.

• By or on behalf of tax-exempt nonprofit organizations.

And, of course, given the small print in agreements we make when we sign things, we may be agreeing to calls without being aware of it. Still, after your number has been on the donotcall list for 31 days, you can report violators at

Q: My question concerns my new Asus all-in-one computer running Windows 8.1 absolutely love this system, except for one aspect.

When I put in a CD, autoplay does not work, and I have autoplay set as the default player for CDs. When I open Windows Media Player manually, it says there is no CD in the drive (DVD-RW drive). In order for the CD to be recognized, I must manually go to File Explorer and click on the drive. CDs will play through the Windows Media Player, but I must start it manually.

Also, in order to open or close the drive door, I must click eject from the File Explorer.

I realize these are probably minor annoyances to many, but they are features I enjoy using.

— Cheryl Di Pietro, Sequim

A: The most likely cause of the problem is that a program you have running has taken control of the drive. Try closing all applications. If that solves the problem, add them back in until you see which program is taking control.

It’s also possible that a service needed by autoplay may not be running. Go to the Control Panel and launch the Administrative Tools utility. Select Services and then scroll down until you find Shell Hardware Detection. If it’s not running, start the service and make sure it is set to launch automatically.

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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