Windows XP’s welcome screen may insist you have unread messages even when you don’t. That’s because the screen is updated if you use Hotmail, Outlook, or Outlook Express.

This article appears in the September 06 issue of PC Advisor, which is available now in all good newsagents.

To stop this alert from appearing, use TweakUI. Expand ’Logon’ and uncheck ’Show unread mail on Welcome screen’. This won’t work if your PC is connected to a network domain. Want to screen your incoming messages? If you have a Gmail account or use EarthLink, try adding a plus symbol and a few characters after your name when filling out web forms. I’d type [email protected] and have my replies filtered. This way you can see if a company is reselling your email address.