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Issue #56: August 17, 2008

Q: I’ve been using an old e-mail program and since I have Outlook I thought I should make use of it.  So Last week-end I got my Microsoft Outlook 2007 up and running.  When setting up my contacts list, I tried to put a phone number in, and a dialogue box comes up prompting me to put my area code and the code for my telephone company.  I clicked ‘cancel’ then another box comes up asking me if I’m sure I want to cancel it and I clicked ‘yes.’  But it just goes back to the first dialogue box and starts over again.  The only way I can get it to quit is to use the Task Manager and click ‘end task’ which shuts down my e-mail program altogether.  All I want to do is shut this stupid nagging dialogue box off.  Can you help me with my problem?  I don’t use an on-line phone service and I don’t want one.  All I want to do is to be able to shut this feature off so it won’t come up automatically all the time.

– Judie D.
Navarre, FL

 A: Believe it or not, the problem is that you don’t have an internet connection defined.  Obviously, you HAVE a connection, it just isn’t properly defined.  A lot of software doesn’t care whether a connection is defined or not – it will simply use it if it’s available, otherwise it won’t.  Some software (including Outlook) that is more integrated with your network connection will actually attempt to dial the phone if you’re on dial-up, otherwise it will just use your existing connection.  For it to know the difference, you need to have your connection properly defined.

Try the following:

  • Run Internet Explorer
  • Click on Tools->Internet Options
  • Click the “Connections” tab
  • Click on “Setup” (The “New Connection Wizard” will run)
  • Click “Next”
  • Select “Connect to the Internet” and click “Next”
  • Select “Set up my connection manually” and click “Next”
  • Select “Connect using a broadband connection that is always on” and      click “Next”
  • Click      “Finish”

Note to Readers: The above steps worked for Judie because she has an “always on” cable connection.  This will also work for most DSL connections.  If you are on dial-up, DO NOT perform the above steps, or you’ll disable your computer’s ability to dial out.

Q: Jeff, I need help regarding “COM Surrogate”.  My computer ruins with Vista Home Premium/enternet exployer.  About a month ago I started getting a message that indicates COM Surrogate has stopped working.  Is there something that can be done to correct the problem and or stop the message.  About 6 weeks ago I installed Windows live one care and I use that firewall and have unabled the firewall that comes with vista as I understand running two firewalls can cause problems.

– Chris S.
Shalimar, FL

A: I have to admit, Chris – you stumped me on this one.  But a quick search for “COM Surrogate” revealed that this is a relatively common complaint, caused by codecs and other COM components not being fullyVista compatible.  The solution varies depending on what software is actually causing the problem.  I found a very comprehensive site that lists many possible solutions.  You’ll find it at http://tinyurl.com/3ahbyu


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