Boot-proof your email

BY J. CARLTON COLLINS, CPA

Q: I open email messages as they arrive to determine how important they are, and if they are less important, I simply leave them open and respond to them later. However, my computer sometimes reboots automatically after installing updates, thereby closing all of my open email messages. When this happens, it is time-consuming to ferret out all of the unanswered email messages, and sometimes I miss some. Is there a way to prevent Windows from automatically restarting?

A: There are several ways to prevent various editions of Windows from automatically rebooting, but I don’t recommend any of these methods because they could delay installation of your computer’s security updates, making your system more vulnerable to destructive viruses. Instead, I recommend you flag your nonurgent email messages and assign them a specific follow-up priority, as follows. Right-click each message and, in the pop-up menu, select Follow Up, and then select an appropriate Flag according to your desired priority, as pictured below.

 

This action will allow you to easily locate pending messages, and as an added benefit, you can click the Flag icon in the column heading to sort the pending messages according to priority (as pictured below). After responding to a message, right-click that message again and select Follow Up, Mark Complete to indicate that task has been performed (also indicated by the green check marks).

 

Optional: As an additional measure, right-click on any column heading and select Field Chooser to float the Field Chooser dialog box (as pictured below). From the dialog box, select All Mail fields from the dropdown box (to display all available mail fields), and then drag and drop the Follow Up Flag and Flag Completed Date mail fields from the dialog box and add them as column headings next to your Subject mail field, as pictured. This action may allow you to more easily distinguish flagged messages that need a response versus those to which you have already responded.

 

Again, while I don’t recommend it, presented below are instructions for disabling automatic reboots after Windows updates:

Disabling automatic updates. You can disable automatic Windows Updates from the Run dialog box by typing services.msc, pressing Enter, scrolling down, and right-clicking on the Windows Update option, selecting Properties (pictured below), changing the Startup Type to Disabled, and clicking OK.

 

Suspending automatic restarts. There are multiple methods for temporarily or permanently suspending automatic Windows restarts, including editing your computer’s Registry, changing your local group policies, or disabling various Windows services. Many third-party plugins and utilities are also available for preventing automatic reboots in earlier editions of Windows (such as Find and Run Robot, which is available free at tinyurl.com/des32). These approaches tend to be complicated, differ for each edition of Windows, differ for 32-bit versus 64-bit editions, and are generally too lengthy to describe in this particular forum. If you would like to pursue one of these options, the Microsoft webpage at tinyurl.com/7ce62ra provides discussions and instructions to help you get started.

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