Let it go: Windows XP is not coming back

Ask Mr. Modem

Q. I know you’re probably sick of hearing from us XP user/whiners, but it is such a good operating system, I just don’t want to move to something else. I have heard that Microsoft was losing money on XP, but why can’t they just charge XP users and continue supporting it?

A. Microsoft was not losing money on XP. In fact, it was one of their most successful products ever. But as an operating system, it simply ran its course and it was time for the company to move on – exactly as it had announced years in advance. The same will hold true for Windows 7 and Windows 8. At the time of each respective release, it was announced that extended support would terminate for Windows 7 on January 14, 2020 and for Windows 8, January 10, 2023, so mark your calendars. Technology is destined to move ahead with us or without us, whether we want it to or not. That’s just a harsh reality of computing life.

Q. I have a program that is asking me to log into Windows 7 as Administrator. How do I determine if I am already logged in as such and if not, how do I do that?

A. To check if you are logged into Windows 7 as a user with Administrative privileges, go to the Control Panel, open User Accounts and click Manage Another Account. (You can also go to Start > Search and type in User Account.)

All user accounts will be listed with each account assigned a status, such as Administrator, Standard User, etc. Make sure that you are logged into Windows under an account with the status of Administrator. If you are not sure under which account you are currently logged in, go to the main User Accounts page. The current user will be displayed on the right-hand side of the page.

Q. What is the red arrow that shows up on occasion at the top-left corner of an Excel spreadsheet? The cells in question are filled in. I can usually get rid of the arrow if I erase the cell’s contents, then rewrite it, but not always.

A. That little arrow is a “formula error indicator.” In other words, that arrow indicates that the formula within that cell contains an error that will prevent it from calculating properly. The IRS will not accept that as a reason for miscalculating your taxes, by the way. You might have better luck with, “My dog ate my tax return.”

Q. I use Windows Live Mail. Some newsletters I receive are always classified as “Undesirable” and placed in my Junk folder rather than in my Inbox where legitimate email should go. How can I change this?

A. Open one of the miscategorized newsletters located in your Junk folder and select the Not Junk check box in the upper left. From the drop-down menu, make sure you mark Add Sender’s Domain Name and Add Sender’s Name to Safe Sender list. Then click the big green check again. You can also choose to add the sender’s address as a Contact. Click the Contact option in the upper left of the Inbox, then add the address. This will work for any mail that’s mistakenly going into the Junk folder. It may not work the first time, but keep trying and your persistence will be rewarded. That’s the theory, anyway.

Mr. Modem’s DME (Don’t Miss ’Em) sites of the month

Amazon Smile

Go to Amazon Smile and log into your Amazon account. You will then be given the opportunity to select from an extensive list. Each time you purchase something through this Web site thereafter, a small percentage of that purchase will be donated to your designated charity. You will not pay any more for your purchase. http://www.smile.amazon.com

Ripe Track

Wouldn’t it be great if you could search by a fruit or vegetable you crave to determine if it is in season? Or perhaps browse a list of what is currently in season? Well, dreams do come true, my fruit-loving friends! When you arrive on this site, use the Search field to type in a fruit or veggie. Beneath the Search field is a tiny link you can use to view a list of products categorized by state of ripeness. Red is out of season, yellow is in-between seasons and green is in season. http://ripetrack.com


Every three years an international competition in horticultural sculpture is held, called “mosaiculture.” The focus is creating sculptures out of living plants. The greatest horticulturalists in the world submit plans a year in advance, then in late May, travel to Montreal and plant more than 3 million plants at the Montreal Botanical Gardens. Visit this site to view the blooming results. (And I thought my geraniums were something special.) http://tinyurl.com/m3vgpnc