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How to Stop Screen Shake

Richard from Hudson, Florida asks:

I am using Microsoft Outlook 2003. Sometimes in checking my mail, a red flag would come up on the right side of a message and the page would shake. I tried to shut down Outlook and restart it, no help. I would even reboot and the red flags are still there. I was finally able to hit clear flags and it cleared up the problem, but not all of the time.

In brief, this may be a combination of problems. Specific flag colors aren’t attached to physical screen attributes within Outlook 2003, meaning a certain color of flag won’t make the computer act in a particular manner. For instance, emails marked with a red flag won’t cause the screen image to shake.

There is no part of Microsoft Outlook that causes this to happen. However, MS Messenger has been known to cause shaking of the screen, so you could try disconnecting Outlook from Messenger and see if the shaking stops.

Change the preferences in Windows Messenger

Start Windows Messenger. On the Tools menu, click Options. In the Options dialog box, click the Preferences tab.

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Click to clear the Run this program when Windows starts check box, and then click OK.

If you use Outlook 2002, Windows Messenger may start automatically every time you run Outlook. To prevent Windows Messenger from starting automatically, follow these steps:

On the Tools menu, click Options, and then click the Other tab.

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Click to clear the Enable Instant Messaging in Microsoft Outlook check box, and then click OK.

It may also be worth a try to make a rule, also known as a filter, which clears all flags from being applied; you can then reassign flags and see if this clears up your red flag problem. Rules can be created in Outlook based on a subject or name, a message in a folder, an alert received, a message being written, or from a template.

The following steps are used for creating a rule in Outlook:

Open Outlook, go to the Tools menu, and highlight Rules and Alerts in the drop down box.

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When the new window opens, it will be labeled Rules and Alerts at the top. Click on New Rule to create a new rule.

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In this new window, you have the option to make a rule based on an existing template, or creating a rule from scratch. Check the appropriate box and click on the Next button at the bottom of the window.

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Select the conditions you wish to have applied to the rule you’ve made, and click the Next button at the bottom of this new page.

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Name the new rule, check the box next to Turn on this rule, and click the Finish button.

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Hint: If you write your own rule and you want to clear all flags, make sure to include ‘clear message flag’ in the rule. For more on adding and deleting flags, visit the MS Office Web site [8]

If this doesn’t solve the problem, or if you don’t have MS Messenger installed, then it may be due to an add-in that has been installed. Add-ins for creating email templates are available, as well as programs for restoring and backing-up messages, accounts, junk email lists, the address book, signatures, and much more. And any of these add-ins could be the culprit of the shaking page you are experiencing in MS Outlook.

Add or remove a COM add-in

On the Tools menu, click Options, and then click the Other tab.

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Click Advanced Options, and then click COM Add-Ins.

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To disable an add-in, clear the check box next to the add-in.

To remove an add-in, check the check box next to the add-in you want to remove, and then click Remove.

Once you have finished with the COM add-ins, then you can go to the button labeled Add-in Manager. This button is located right above the COM Add-Ins button.

Uncheck any of the add-ins that are shown after the Add-in Manager button has been selected. Restart your computer after making changes. If the screen still shakes after making these selections and restarting your computer, then you may need to disable even more add-ins.

Eliminating flags is an easy way out of the red flag dilemma, but then you won’t be able to put the flagging system to its full use if you aren’t able to use the red flags for emails. Try the first two options of disabling Messenger or checking add-ins to see if either of these help, before going all out and reinstalling Outlook or eliminating the use of the flagging system altogether. If you do need to uninstall Outlook, please take a look at this tip [12].

If the above does not eliminate your flickering problem as well, you may also want to refer to the manual for your monitor to confirm the proper refresh rate. Keep in mind that electrical interference, overheating, and poorly seated or overexerted video cards can all play a part in flickering as well.

~ Cory Buford