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We're in Grand Island, Nebraska waiting to find a load. It's in the
90's during the day and the mid 60's at night. The humidity isn't too
Thanks to those of you who sent email about whether or not Amy should
start a new section on the website. Since we got enough votes I was
able to talk her into giving it a try. This is not a geek area...more
like a user to user section. She plans to talk about what her
experiences has been on the 'puter. I'll warn you now....you'll either
love or hate her sense of humor :-)
Please take a look and see what you think. She'd love to hear feedback
as well as any suggestions you may have. You can email her at
Due to the foobar I did one week ago tonight (I'm so sorry) and after
receiving 5 nice emails, 3 really bad emails, and one very good
suggestion (thanks Shawn!)...I've put up a new white paper on email.
Please check it out when you get a chance. As always, feedback...both
good and bad is always welcome.
Please send any comments to email@example.com
If we're still down tomorrow I do plan to whip out another page or two.
Probably at least one will be in the "My Thoughts" section of my
There's a new poll up. I'll give you a hint...."Should I get rid of the
poll?" Well so far the winner is "Get some better questions!". So how
about it? I'm running out of questions to ask. Here's your chance to
suggest a question for the poll. Do you have a burning 'puter question
that you've been dying to ask but were afraid to? Any question (within
reason) dealing with 'puters, the PuterGeek.Com website, or the computer
industry is fair game. Questions submitted with possible answers (2-10
of them) will be picked first! Please send them to
firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject of "poll suggestion".
The newsletter now goes out to 223 people. I'm truly surprised that so
many of you want to read this. For those of you that are new to the
website and the newsletter let me give you a little background.
About 2 yrs ago I wrote an email to the "Win95 give and take list"
responding to a guy who wanted to know how to make a boot disk.
Realizing that I type really slow...it took me about 2 hours to write.
Well over the next couple of weeks about 35 people emailed me asking for
a copy of it.
So I put up a "homepage" on my local ISP with a copy of that
email....word for word. A couple of months later I put up a
blow-by-blow page on how to install Win95.
During this time I had about 25 people I knew that I sent bits and
pieces of stuff I read, as well as little tips I had learned. It was
nothing formal...just whenever I saw something I thought would come in
handy I sent it out.
Over the course of the following six months I received about 80 thank
you emails as well as requests for more "how-to's". Plus 4 people had
heard from friends about my ...ahem...newsletter (what a joke) and
wanted to be put on the list.
So in March of 1999 PuterGeek.Com was born. At the same time I actively
started to promote my newsletter. In the nine months of 1999 the site
got a little over 17,000 visitors. As of last month the site gets
roughly 3000-4000 visitors per month.
Thanks to people like Fred Langa www.langa.com both the website and the
newsletter continue to grow. I hope that you folks realize that I'm
just a truck-driver turned 'putergeek. I drive truck long haul and am
away from home about 280 days per year.
Compared to some of the great newsletters out there like the Langalist,
Lockergnome, and many others mine is pretty minor in comparison. The
truth is I only have about 10 hours per week that I can devote to
gathering info for it. That's the primary reason for the lack of
original content, plus the fact that it started out as a way to get
really good info to those who either don't have the time or don't want
to take the time to read through many email newsletters for the
'm not a professional writer and I can't even type with more than four
fingers...but I am passionate about 'puters. The info I give and write
about will always be correct. If I make a mistake you'll all be the
first to know. As those of you who have written me for help know, I
don't give wrong info...and if I make a guess, I tell you I'm just
I just want to make sure that everyone understands that I'm just one guy
doing this in his free time. I don't get paid for any of this, (other
than a box of pineapples--which were very good by the way) nor am I
asking to get paid. I consider the website and this newsletter to be my
resume for when I get out of trucking in about 2yrs.
I want to thank all of you guys for the patience and all the positive
emails you've sent me. I hope to make both this newsletter and the
PuterGeek.Com website a little bit better every day.
Now, on with the good stuff...
From the Funnies http://www.erols.com/hmmd
And finally (After I wipe the tears from my eyes... phew!),
on a more serious note...
* The Tewksbury Woman *
Dr. Frank Mayfield was touring Tewksbury Institute in the 1880's, when
on his way out, he accidentally collided with an elderly floor maid. To
cover the awkward moment Dr. Mayfield started asking questions, "How
long have you worked here?"
"I've worked here almost since the place opened," the maid replied.
"What can you tell me about the history of this place?" he asked.
"I don't think I can tell you anything, but I could show you something."
With that, she took his hand and led him down to the basement under the
oldest section of the building. She pointed to one of what looked like
small prison cells, their iron bars rusted with age, and said, "That's
the cage where they used to keep Annie."
"Who's Annie?" the doctor asked.
"Annie was a young girl who was brought in here because she was
incorrigible - which means nobody could do anything with her. She'd
bite and scream and throw her food at people. The doctors and nurses
couldn't even examine her or anything. I'd see them trying with her
spitting and scratching at them."
"I was only a few years younger than her myself and I used to think, 'I
sure would hate to be locked up in a cage like that.' I wanted to help
her, but I didn't have any idea what I could do. I mean, if the doctors
and nurses couldn't help her, what could someone like me do?"
"I didn't know what else to do, so I just baked her some brownies one
night after work. The next day I brought them in. I walked carefully
to her cage and said, 'Annie I baked these brownies just for you. I'll
put them right here on the floor and you can come and get them if you
want.' Then I got out of there just as fast as I could because I was
afraid she might throw them at me. But she didn't. She actually took
the brownies and ate them."
"After that, she was just a little bit nicer to me when I was around.
And sometimes I'd talk to her. Once, I even got her laughing. One of
the nurses noticed this and she told the doctor. They asked me if I'd
help them with Annie. I said I would if I could."
"So that's how it came about that every time they wanted to see Annie or
examine her, I went into the cage first and explained and calmed her
down and held her hand. Which is how they discovered that Annie was
"After they'd been working with her for about a year - and it was tough
sledding with Annie - the Perkins institute for the Blind opened its
They were able to help her and she went on to study and became a teacher
"Annie came back to the Tewksbury Institute to visit, and to see what
she could do to help out. At first, the Director didn't say anything
and then he thought about a letter he'd just received. A man had
written to him about his daughter. She was absolutely unruly - almost
like an animal."
"He'd been told she was blind and deaf as well as 'deranged'. He was at
his wit's end, but he didn't want to put her in an asylum. So he wrote
here to ask if we knew of anyone - any teacher - who would come to his
house and work with his daughter."
The teacher was Annie Sullivan, and her "deranged" student was Helen
Keller. This is how they became lifelong companions.
When Helen Keller received the Nobel Prize, she was asked who had the
greatest impact on her life and she said, "Annie Sullivan." But Annie
said, "No Helen. The woman who had the greatest influence on both our
lives was a floor maid at the Tewksbury Institute."
The Top 13 Signs Your Computer Has a Virus
13> Every time you double click something, a message box asks,
"Is that your final answer?"
12> Your motherboard keeps making chicken soup.
11> Every time you hit the delete key, a naked photo of Shelley
Winters pops up.
10> Snot is dripping out of the disk drive.
9> Incriminating e-mails about Whitewater, Monica, and Vince
Foster mysteriously disappear. (White House only)
8> Before ejecting the CD, it makes a disgusting hocking noise.
7> The Dr. Solomon splash screen pops up again, but this time
he's brought a priest.
6> It's having a helluva time getting a referral from the
HMO's primary care tech support guy.
5> Your screen saver now shows Pamela Anderson at home with
4> Pus between the keys, pus in the floppy drives, and pus
oozing out of the monitor -- it's either a virus, or Ron
in Sales has been using it without your permission again.
3> Your web browser just tossed its cookies.
2> Dell customer service recommends the "nighttime, freezing,
rebooting, up-locking, destroying, hosed-drive, deleted so
you can buy a new PC medicine."
and Topfive.com's Number 1 Sign Your Computer Has a Virus...
1> Your dancing hamsters are all dead.
From the Cool Tricksand Trinkets Newsletter
We all remember studying the Periodic Tables, which reflected the
physical properties of the elements when arranged in order of increasing atomic
number. The following versions differ slightly from the ones taught in
Periodic Tables of Funk
Periodic Table of Comic Books
If you're looking for a good resource for wireless information, check
out PortableLife.com. Created by Mike Elgan,(former editor of Windows
Magazine), it offers articles and reviews on laptops, cell phones, Palm
Pilots, pagers, MP3 players and more.
All Things Wireless - portablelife.com
Originally a medieval fortress and the palace of the kings of France,
the Louvre has been a museum for the last two centuries. Its collections
incorporate works dating from the birth of civilization through the
first half of the 19th century. New visitors can take a virtual tour and
experience this awesome museum.
Have you ever wondered if it was too early or late to call your friends
around the world? This site provides the most accurate world clock on
the net and is a great resource for determining any time, anywhere. A useful
World Time Saver
"Car Talk" is the hilarious National Public Radio show featuring, Click
and Clack, the Tappet Brothers. Their "Worst Car of the Millennium" contest
reveals their top picks and rationale. Have you owned one of these
NOTE: I love thes guys!--Peter
From the Langalist www.langa.com
When I name names in this item, I'll substitute an "*" in place of
"e" so as not to trigger email antivirus filters; just make the
mental substitution back again, and you'll know what the names are:
A variant of the "M*lissa" macro virus made the rounds last week:
It's a destructive macro virus that hides inside a Word document;
this hiding behavior makes it a Trojan. It's also a worm because it
email copies of itself to people in your Outlook address book.
Antivirus vendors have named it W97M.M*lissa.BG, or the R*sum*Worm or
It currently arrives as a fake resume from one "Jan*t Simons," but
the subject and name could be anything. IF you don't antivirus-scan
email file attachments before you open them AND if you open the
resume AND if you have no have no macro filters in place, then you
can have serious trouble.
No doubt, there will be other variants that will disguise themselves
as other kinds of files. But it doesn't matter: Simply don't open ANY
attachment from ANYONE, EVER, no matter what the file claims to be,
until and unless you have run the file through an antivirus scan or
otherwise have taken steps to protect yourself. That's all it takes
to be 100% safe from viruses, worms and Trojans that reside within
clickable email attachments.
Some email viruses are harder to catch. But this type of attachment
virus is SO EASY to avoid (just don't click!) and so much has been
written about them, that I'm starting to believe that anyone who
clicks on email attachments without checking them first kinda
deserves what they get. That may sound harsh, but at some point,
people have to take responsibility for their own clicks.
When it comes to email attachments, just remember: "When in doubt,
throw it out."
NOTE: Just what I was saying in my email white paper--Peter
) New "98Lite" Version Available
I've written about 98Lite before (see
Now they have a new version available--- 98Lite III. They also have a
free tool for stripping Internet Explorer from any version of Windows
Check 'em out at http://www.98lite.net/
NOTE: While this is seriously cool...be very careful before
trying...backup everything...this will change Windows! And you never
know if this will break something--Peter
If you're one of the millions upon millions who became active with
computers during the last 10 years, you missed all or most of the pre-
Windows "DOS era." With the next version of Windows 9x, DOS will all
but die (finally)--- Microsoft probably will release that version
without support for DOS mode; you'll no longer be able to boot to
DOS. (A number of LangaList readers have been beta-testing the new
version of Windows and have been sharing their results. As the new
version gets closer to release, I'll tell you their test results...
Knowing DOS is a mixed blessing. It's arcane and nonintuitive--- but
it's powerful and fast. Plus, there are some things that are just
plain easier to do from a command line than from a point-and-click
environment. That's why Linux retains its native command-line
interface, for example, although you can hide the rawness of Linux's
command-line guts with a graphical shell.
Reader Timothy Roy was wondering about the software "switches" that
accompany some DOS-level programs:
I've got a question for you about the various switches I
see in command lines,
i.e. "xcopy c:\windows\dtbu\*.* c:\windows\desktop /s/e/y > nul"
what does the "/s", "/e", and "/y" mean? Are there others?
Where could I find out more? I enjoy your newsletter,
you've helped me learn a lot. Thanks
It's easy: Open a DOS box (or boot to DOS---while you still can!) and
type the command you're curious about, followed by a space, a forward
slash, and a question mark. For example, if you type:
You'll get the following, which tells you what the program does, how
to invoke it (with all possible switches), and what each switch does:
Copies files and directory trees.
XCOPY source [destination] [/A | /M] [/D[:date]] [/P] [/S
[/E]] [/W] [/C] [/I] [/Q] [/F] [/L] [/H] [/R] [/T] [/U]
source Specifies the file(s) to copy.
destination Specifies the location and/or name of new
/A Copies files with the archive attribute set, doesn't
change the attribute.
/M Copies files with the archive attribute set, turns off
the archive attribute.
/D: date Copies files changed on or after the specified
date. If no date is given, copies only those files whose
source time is newer than the destination time.
/P Prompts you before creating each destination file.
/S Copies directories and subdirectories except empty
/E Copies directories and subdirectories, including empty
ones. Same as /S /E. May be used to modify /T.
/W Prompts you to press a key before copying.
/C Continues copying even if errors occur.
/I If destination does not exist and copying more than
one file, assumes that destination must be a directory.
/Q Does not display file names while copying.
/F Displays full source and destination file names while
/L Displays files that would be copied.
/H Copies hidden and system files also.
/R Overwrites read-only files.
/T Creates directory structure, but does not copy files.
Does not include empty directories or subdirectories. /T /E
includes empty directories and subdirectories.
/U Updates the files that already exist in destination.
/K Copies attributes. Normal Xcopy will reset read-only
/Y Overwrites existing files without prompting.
/-Y Prompts you before overwriting existing files.
/N Copy using the generated short names.
Arcane? Yes. But powerful!
NOTE: Minor correction here...if you type xcopy /? from a DOS window
you'll really get xcopy32. If you type xcopy /? after booting to
command prompt only you'll get plain old xcopy. XCOPY32 is much more
powerful! Including long filename support, XCOPY does not support long
More Resource Leak-Tweaks
Wow, what *great* posts in the discussion area attached to the WinMag
Explorer column on "Resource Leaks, Part Two." (See
In one, the author of RAMpage (one of the memory utilities I tested)
Hi, I wrote RAMpage. I spotted the increased traffic at my
site and couldn't resist having a look at what was going on.
Fred's bang on the money... The best way to keep your system
up and running is to work on tweaking Windows settings like
cache and swap file.... As Fred suggests, an occasional boot
in the pants to the Windows kernel does seem to help. I
agree completely that the best way to do this is with a
shortcut to a minimalist program that does a quick "grab and
So what about that batch file shortcut I mentioned? I was going to
present that in Part Three, but what the heck:
Download and install RAMpage.
( http://www.jfitz.com/software/RAMpage/index.htm )
Navigate to the install directory (typically C:\Program
Files\RAMpage V1.4) and in the right-hand pane of Explorer,
right click on any empty part of the pane; select New/Text
Document. Notepad will open. Type this:
RAMpage.exe M=20 D=Y O
(By the way, that last "O" is the letter O, not the numeral
zero.) Save the file as Rampage.txt, and exit Notepad.
Rename the file you just created to Rampage.bat .
Now right click Rampage.bat, select Create Shortcut; Windows
will create a shortcut in the right hand pane. Drag the
shortcut to your task bar or desktop. If you wish, right
click the shortcut to change the properties such as "close
on exit" or to change the shortcut's icon.
Now, when you want to, just click the shortcut icon: RAMpage
will run once (that's the "O" parameter), open up a 20Mb
hole in RAM ("M=20"), and defragment what's left ("D=Y").
This, and much, much more (including results from independent reader
tests of memory managers and "AntiCrash") all appear in the discussion
area. The Part two column and related discussion are at
http://www.winmag.com/columns/explorer/2000/12.htm Click on over!
NOTE: Has anyone looked at my "Performance tweaking "pages? -- Peter :-)
DOS' Coming Demise?
It was just a passing mention, but I got a flood of email in regard to
the item in the last issue that said Microsoft was probably going to
remove the ability to "boot to DOS" from the next version of Windows9x
(see http://www.langa.com/newsletters/2000/2000-06-05.htm#3 ). That
version is now in late beta, and may ship as soon as next month.
There are far too many emails to reproduce here, but the gist of many
was "You can remove DOS from my machine when you pry my boot disk from
my cold, dead fingers." 8-)
It seems a *lot* of people still use DOS apps--- and I don't just mean
ancient, 15-year old programs. For example, a number of excellent,
very current utilities (Drive Image and some versions of Partition
Magic come to mind) "drop to DOS" to do their heavy lifting.
Well: Relax. First of all, no one can force you to upgrade to the new
version of Windows. And everything that works on your system today
will still work on your system after the new OS comes out. There's no
rush, and no need to leap headlong into an upgrade frenzy. Instead,
take your time: Once you've learned the highs and lows of the new OS,
you can make an informed decision. And if you decide an older version
of Windows better suits you, so be it. It will be a long time before,
say, Win98 is truly obsolete.
Second, to help you make that informed decision about the new OS, the
LangaList will have plenty of coverage of the new Windows as the ship
date gets closer. Plus, you can tap into a pile of excellent early
coverage that's already appeared on the WinMag site, especially in
various issues of Scot Finnie's Win Insider (see
Third, your older DOS boot disks will still work just fine on the new
OS. When you need DOS, just boot from, say, a Win98 boot floppy. DOS
runs just fine from a floppy, and once booted, you can still access
your hard drive files. So, for those times when you absolutely have to
boot to DOS, you'll still be able to. (It might be smart to make a
pile of boot floppies now, while you can, and salt them away for
future use <g>.)
Stay tuned for more info-- and if you're a DOS fanatic, or wannabee,
see the next item.
Click to email this item to a friend
4) DOS Lives!
Even in this era of slick graphical interfaces, some knowledge of DOS
can still be useful. The last issue contained info on how to learn
about DOS apps you may be unfamiliar with (see
http://www.langa.com/newsletters/2000/2000-06-05.htm#3 ) .
I've also written about various DOS tricks tips, and tools many times
If your PC is of reasonably recent vintage, you almost surely have a
pile of DOS apps lurking in your \windows\command directory, although
you may never have explored them. In older systems, you may also have
a \dos directory. Either or both areas might be worth spelunking.
The " /?" trick I told you about last issue gets you skeletal
information on DOS commands. But how can you learn the full details?
Reader Sam Stamport suggests the "Easy DOS Command Index:"
A number of readers (Brian Elder was the first) also wrote in to
On the subject of DOS help commands: Another thing you could
do is find a friend that still has a true DOS [system] and
copy the files help.com, help.hlp, and qbasic.exe to a boot
disk, regular disk, or hard drive. That way you always have
command line help with examples and switches available in an
index listing just by typing help at a prompt. Hope this
helps some of your readers.---Brian Elder
Indeed, the old DOS help system was pretty good: You could either just
type "Help" at the command prompt for generic DOS help, as Brian
suggests, or you could type Help [command] to get help on a specific
DOS action. For example, if you wanted a full explanation on how to
use, say, the ATTRIB command, you'd type
Easy, eh? It's true---some parts of DOS weren't as geeky as you might
So if you know someone (friend, user group member, etc.) who retained
his or her complete DOS setup from the old days, the files that Brian
mentions above will give you the DOS Help system.
NOTE: If you look on your Win9x CD...you'll find a folder with help.com, help.hlp, and qbasic.exe in it (sorry I don't have the CD with me on the road so I can't tell you the folder name). Just copy the whole folder to your hard drive and make a shortcut to HELP.COM, then go to the properties for the shortcut and check close on exit, and run "maximized". This is what I used in the DOS days to learn all the DOS commands. -- Peter
On Microsoft's Being Forced To Split:
Wow, what an awesome day for computing! Thanks, Judge Jackson!
Just think, in today's horribly noncompetitive, Microsoft-dominated
environment, we have no real browser choices at all, except for AwebII,
Amaya, Arachne, Cello, Chimera, Grail, HotJava, I-Com, I-View, IBrowse,
InterGo, Internet Workhorse, Lynx, Mosaic/MultiLingual Mosaic, NeoPlanet,
NetCruiser, Netscape, Mozilla, OmniWeb, Opera, Quarterdeck, Spyglass,
STiK/CAB, Sesame Navigator, SlipKnot, Softerm, Tango, Tiber, TkWWW,
UdiWWW, Voyager, WebExplorer, WebTV, iCAB, Microsoft's Internet Explorer
and a few others; or about 100 different ones in all if you count various
subtypes and versions. Thank you, Judge Jackson, from rescuing us from
this lack of choice!
Likewise, in today's horribly noncompetitive, Microsoft-dominated
operating system environment, we are totally *straightjacketed* into
running only BeOS or FreeBSD or FreeDOS or Solaris or OS/2 or the MacOS
or the AmigaOS or any of the many classic *NIXen or any of the
approximate 50(!) flavors of Linux--- or one of the 5 flavors of Windows
in wide circulation. I can't wait until we actually have some choices!
Clearly, Microsoft's stranglehold on the industry has completely stifled
development of all alternative approaches and kept prices artificially
high, which is why computers remain exotic and rare luxury purchases in
the hands of only tiny numbers of the super-rich and the technologically
Thanks to Judge Jackson's vision and courage, maybe one day we'll reach
the goal of having computers for the masses, in every business and many
homes; with hardware and software so cheap some companies--- ISPs, for
example--- will even be able to give away complete computer systems for
free, just for signing up! And we'll finally have a choice among dozens
of browsers and dozens of operating systems, many of which won't cost a
dime. Clearly, this happy day of cheap, ubiquitous hardware and abundant,
affordable software never would happen without Judge Jackson's brave
Er, waitaminit---it already happened? Long *before* Jackson's ruling?
Um, Judge, can we talk?
The Windows Memory Optimizer Scam"
In the most-recent Windows Audio Report, Scot Finnie, Paul Schindler and
I discuss what Windows Memory Optimizers do--- or more often, *don't* do.
Playback of the audio program takes only a few minutes, and you can hear
it anytime, via RealPlayer:
The same audio program also contains a brief, discussion of what was then
the impending announcements of Judge Jackson's remedies in the Microsoft
I've added several new and excellent books to the "Recommended Reading"
page at http://www.langa.com/books.htm . That page includes direct links
to Amazon.Com so you can easily order any books that interest you, and
get the full Amazon discount--- usually 20% off the cover price!
The new books are:
"Windows 2000: The Complete Reference," a huge book that's sure
to help anyone getting Win2k going.
"Windows 2000 Secrets" is another of Brian Livingston's great
"Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional Resource Kit" is the
reference book+CD I've been waiting for since Win2K arrived.
"Linux in a Nutshell, 2nd Edition" is part of the excellent
O'Reilly "Nutshell" series--- concise, accurate, useful.
"Running Linux:" tons of detailed info.
Plus, there are over a dozen other known-good, recommended books there on
a variety of subjects. Check 'em out: http://www.langa.com/books.htm
NOTE: I'm currently studying "Windows 2000 Secrets" and love it. I recommend all the books in the "Secrets" series. The MS Windows 2000 resource kit is huge...about 1700 pages! For you Linux newbies, Both "Running Linux" and Linux in a Nutshell" are great...I have them both -- Peter
Confusion About The Coming "DOS-less" Windows
I really hadn't intended to open this particular can o' worms just yet---
honest! But every time I try to answer reader questions, it seems I only
generate more questions and controversy. <g>
For example, some readers took issue with my assertion that you can use
an old boot disk to access the hard drive of a system running the new
Windows. One reader pointed out, for instance, that you can't use an old
DOS 6.2 boot disk to access a FAT32 or NTFS hard drive: DOS may boot, but
it won't see the hard drive. This is true.
But what actually I said was "When you need DOS, just boot from, say, a
Win98 boot floppy. DOS runs just fine from a floppy, and once booted, you
can still access your hard drive files."
And in fact, Win98's boot floppies *will* recognize Fat16 or Fat32 hard
drives (and you can even get them to work with Fat16/Drivespace
partitions). No, they won't work with NTFS partitions--- but that's not
part of Win98 nor the new Windows anyway; it's an NT/Win2K thing, and is
a whole 'nother issue.
Some readers also were confused when I wrote "Relax. First of all, no one
can force you to upgrade to the new version of Windows. And everything
that works on your system today will still work on your system after the
new OS comes out." In other words, when the new OS comes out, your
existing system won't somehow automatically change itself---DOS won't
vanish from your hard drive or cease to work simply because there's a new
OS on the shelves of your local software store.
I guess some people thought I was saying: "Everything that works on your
system today will still work after you upgrade your system to the new
OS." I didn't say that because that statement is false: There are some
boot-to-DOS utilities that simply won't work with the new Windows. If you
choose to upgrade to the new Windows, some of your low-level utilities
may need to be upgraded or modified either to work without DOS, or to
work from a boot floppy. (Some utility vendors are already starting. For
example, the new version of DriveImage 3.0, from PowerQuest, ships with
special boot floppies that use Caldera DOS---a deriviative of the ancient
and venerable non-Microsoft DR DOS--- so you can use the software even on
"DOSless" versions of Windows.)
All I was trying to do was to reassure DOS fans that there's no need to
panic. The new OS won't affect you at all, until or unless you choose to
install it. And before then, we'll have lots more on the new Windows---
and lots more on DOS.
I apologize for the confusion. I try to write clearly--- honest! But
maybe I should switch to Hungarian. <g>
From Microsoft www.microsoft.com
GET A SNEAK PEEK AT WINDOWS MILLENNIUM EDITION
With features designed specifically for home users, Windows Millennium Edition makes using your computer easier and more fun. Read about some of the exciting new features.
WHAT'S NEW AT PERSONAL ONLINE SUPPORT
The following page lists new and recently updated Microsoft Support articles that answer frequently asked questions about using Windows and Internet Explorer.
From Win Insider www.winmag.com
WINDOWS ME RC-2
According to official Windows Me beta testers, Microsoft is
offering release candidates very rapidly now. Several days ago,
it posted RC-2 on the beta tester FTP site, with this message:
"Your beta withdrawals are over! We're happy to announce RC2
(2535) is posted to our Web and FTP servers. In the excitement to
provide you, our testers, with what quite possibly could be our
final release quickly, we're providing the build on download days
before CDs are back from manufacturing. If you have the ability
to download, even if very slowly, we highly encourage you to do
so. Rest assured that regardless of download capability, CDs will
be sent to all sites starting June 8th. Please allow 7 to 10
business days to receive your media. We've all come together to
put a great deal of effort into this product. Our internal test
teams, developers, OEM partners and technical associates truly
believe we're ready to ship. We're hope you're as proud of this
of this product as we are. Now, let's go to work and sign-off on
another great Windows product!"
--- Win Me Final Version? ---
There was also another interesting development on Windows Me.
Earlier this week, the Microsoft Developer's Network posted this
on its home page:
"There will be a special monthly shipment in July that is
scheduled to ship the second week of July and will include:
Windows Millennium Final Edition (English). Windows Millennium
Edition is a Windows operating system for home users, coming out
later this year. It is designed so consumers can experience the
possibilities of digital media and home networking, and offers
the broadest support for consumer hardware and software."
That text appeared on this page:
A few days later, the term "Windows Millennium Final Edition" has
been removed, even though the posting date was left at June 1,
2000. The only Windows Me highlight says that the July shipment
of MSDN (a set of developer disks sent monthly to subscribers)
will contain Windows Me Beta 3, never mind a release candidate,
or the "Final Version (English)." By the way, the June MSDN
shipment contains Windows Me Beta 3.
MORE ON WINDOWS CD-LESS PCs
Thanks to the more than 100 Insider readers who've written me
about their experiences with PCs bought in the last couple of
months as a result of the Insider story last week:
I have some additional information for you this week. First,
Microsoft has tacitly declined to comment on this subject to me
(once again) by not responding to my questions about it. I'm
still hopeful of getting some additional information from them,
but I don't know when.
One thing that emerges from the Insider e-mails is that some PC
makers are offering, as part of their Recovery CD menu, the
ability apparently to reinstall Windows over itself. On at least
some Hewlett-Packard machines, for example, there's an option to
"recover while leaving your data intact," including applications,
such as an e-mail package. The Gateway recovery CD apparently
offers to do this as well.
Other readers reported that even though they didn't get a Windows
CD, all the .CAB files from such a CD were copied to a directory
on their hard drives. But I'd have to emphasize that most of the
people who wrote me were unaware of any sort of "reinstall"
option or copies of the .CAB files on their PCs. Many, in fact,
pointedly stated that they'd searched for and found no such
advantage. I also received multiple confirmations from people who
had just recently bought PCs that there was the Product Key
sticker either on the back or the bottom of their new hardware.
PC companies that were specifically mentioned by readers as
shipping without any Windows CD include: Compaq, Dell, Gateway,
Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Micron, Sony, Tiger Direct, and Toshiba. By
the way, this manner of distributing without Windows CD applies
to Windows 98, Windows NT, and Windows 2000 -- in other words,
all versions of desktop Windows.
Finally, a lot of you wrote me in frustration. Especially IBM,
Compaq, and Toshiba owners. Some models issued by these companies
as long ago as three or four years ago came without Windows CDs.
It's true. But that's different than what's going on here. What
I'm writing about is a Microsoft initiative in conjunction with
the PC makers (some of whom are not all that happy about it) that
was launched on April 1, 2000 in the U.S. I'm told it began
earlier in Europe and elsewhere. This plan was originally
scheduled for November of last year, and some PC makers got going
with it early. At the eleventh hour, Microsoft pushed it back to
December and then to April at the request of several OEM PC
If you've bought a new PC since April 1, 2000, and your PC came
without a Windows CD, please write me about your experiences. Be
sure to include whether you hard drive has Windows Setup .CAB
files, whether you can do a "reinstall" or "install while
preserving your data" from your recovery CD, and the make and
model of your PC. Thanks! Anyone who works for an OEM PC maker
and who has specific knowledge on this topic, I will fully
preserve your anonymity if you can shed some light on this topic.
NOTE: Here's another reason to custom build your next 'puter. -- Peter
From Woody's Office Watch www.wopr.com
. AVOID MICROSOFT's ATTEMPT AT OUTLOOK SECURITY
After weeks of uncharacteristic silence, Microsoft is now
crowing about their Outlook Email Security Update that was
posted a few days ago on their web site. This update for
Outlook 98 and Outlook 2000 SR-1 is hailed as protection
against 'I Love You', 'Melissa' and other scourges.
The update is pretty much as Barry Simon foreshadowed it in
WOW #5.24 and as a result we do NOT recommend that you
The price you'll pay for Microsoft's hastily cobbled
together idea of email security is too high. The update
has many consequences for the day-to-day operation of not
only Outlook but also Office and other programs. Anything
you have that interacts with Outlook could be affected.
For most users the Security Update is an 'all or nothing'
deal - you have to accept all the changes made in the
update. There's no 'pick and choose', in particular to
exclude from your setup the most troublesome component, the
'Object Model Guard'.
To make matter worse, you can't uninstall the update! So
if part of your system is broken by the update you'll have
no easy path to get rid of it.
Microsoft has published pages of notes about the
consequences of the update, but our initial tests indicate
that these are just scratching the surface. Even more so
than usual, there's a lot more to this update than Redmond
is letting on or perhaps aware of.
So I've given Peter the unenviable job of sifting through
the Outlook Email Security Patch over the weekend. Early
next week we'll have a full report for all WOW readers on
this worrying update so you can make a fully informed
decision about whether to proceed or not.
If you have questions / comments or experiences with this
new patch, let us know at this special address
OutlookPatch@woodyswatch.com -- your input helps us
produce a more complete guide for everyone.
In the meantime you may want to look at our 'Cure for Love'
that changes the same security settings as the Microsoft
patch, but you get the choice of what to do and the
opportunity to change your mind.
JUST RELEASED -- CURE FOR LOVE v1.3
A new version of our popular free virus tidy and security
utility is now available from Woody's Watch at
http://www.woodyswatch.com/special/. Version 1.3 has a
digital signature in order to guarantee that it's really a
program issued by us.
Even if you have not been infected with a virus, Cure for
Love gives you a simple way to raise or lower your Windows
/ Outlook security settings in a way that Microsoft's
security update notably fails to do.
Unlike Microsoft's offering, Cure for Love gives you
separate control over what settings are changed and when.
You also get the option to revert to the default security
settings at any time. Each change is on a separate screen
for you to choose from.
OUTLOOK EMAIL SECURITY UPDATE
It has been a long time since we were so astounded and
disappointed with a release from Microsoft. The 'Outlook
Email Security Update' for Outlook 98 and 2000 would appear
to be a good thing, giving you protection against email
borne viruses. However, the price you pay for this
protection is heavy indeed.
As the messages from WOW readers (
OutlookPatch@woodyswatch.com ) indicates, the update can
stop parts of your system working in the way they should,
especially synchronization with non-CE handheld devices
like Palm or Handspring. Above all, this Update means that
you won't be able to access many incoming email attachments
at all - instead of just stopping easy access to
potentially dangerous attachments you can't access some
file attachments at all.
Buried amongst all the hype on the Microsoft web site is
some information on these problems, but there are no
prominent warnings on the downside of an update that
Microsoft 'strongly recommends'. We've already seen many
complaints from Office users who checked Office AutoUpdate
having received notice of a 'critical update' - they
installed the Security Update seeing no warning of the
Microsoft does say: "make sure, before you install the
update, that you understand the functionality that may be
affected." and they are absolutely right. Sadly this
warning is buried deep on their web site where most users
will understandably overlook it. Even if you do decide to
try 'understanding the functionality' you'll find
yourself in a morass of incomplete and unfinished web
If you do find something wrong with the update and you
decide that it's too much trouble you'll discover there's
no in-built 'exit strategy'. No uninstall, no options to
disable - an 'all or nothing' one-way street from Microsoft
to confusion and difficulty.
Here at WOW we've long been advocates of better anti-virus
measures but that doesn't mean that anything under the
guise of improved security is necessarily good. The
Microsoft Outlook Email Security Update is a classic
example of an overly restrictive and ill-conceived attempt
In this issue of WOW we'll tell you the effects of this
update both good and bad, how to install it. Most
importantly we'll tell you how to uninstall the update -
Microsoft says it can't be done and they're wrong.
NOTE: If you're interested in this you'll need to go to their website and read the whole issue # 5.27... It's too long to post the whole article here...but it's must read stuff for owners of Office 2000 -- Peter
From Lockergnome www.lockergnome.com
Optimizing Windows NT for Performance
Unearthed by a Lockergnomie
"When starting to troubleshoot performance problems or trying to optimize Windows NT, working with Windows NT Performance Monitor it isn't always easy (you must choose from the large number of performance monitor objects and counters). This article helps you pick the right counters and objects. [Herein] you'll find performance checkpoints for the following possible bottlenecks: memory, processor, physical disk, network, network components." The information in this article applies to both Windows NT and 2000.
How to Troubleshoot Invalid Page Faults in IE
Unearthed by Ted Elam
"When you receive an invalid page fault error message in IE, this behavior can be the result of video resource limitations. Update to the latest version of your video driver. To do so, contact the manufacturer of your display adapter. You may also need to limit the number of programs that run as you start Windows. If you continue to experience invalid page fault errors after you update to the most current display driver, perform the steps listed in the following sections, testing to determine if the issue is resolved."
Is your system not quite as snappy as it once was? Go figure. You've undoubtedly tweaked some settings since getting it. Do your Start Menu components take a while to pop up? There may be a few reasons for this crawl. What font are you using? If it's anything but MS Sans Serif, chances are: it's TrueType. Why should this matter? Well, examine the 'Effects' tab in your Desktop properties; if you have 'font smoothing' turned on and are using TrueType fonts in your windows dialogs (see 'Appearance' tab), you may be taking a performance hit. Use 'MS Sans Serif' (size 8) instead; see if that speeds things up. Why is this so? Because bitmap fonts (like MS Sans Serif) can't be smoothed. TrueType font smoothing is wonderful; it'll make certain fonts look cleaner on your screen. But you don't really want to use TTFs in your dialogs... I don't care how pretty they are.
Coming from the "I Really Gotta PCI" department, Lockergnomie Van Stanley is trying to trip your system fantastic. This tip (sad to say) isn't for newbies; it has to do with your PCI steering settings. If your system is already stable, you can file this sucker away under the 'just in case' cabinet. Now, is your Windows on an emotional roller coaster? Right click on 'My Computer' and pull up its properties. In the Device Manager tab, expand the 'System Devices' section and open the 'PCI bus' option. In the IRQ Steering tab, uncheck every box except "Get IRQ table using MS Specification table." This will force your OS to use the MS steering table and not the others (obviously). Why do that? Well, from Van's experience, this seems to be the way Windows 98 likes it. Upon applying this tweak, his system has been more stable; your mileage may vary.
NOTE: I haven't tried this. But I thought I'd pass it on. -- Peter
Well that's it for now!
Peter Crockett - webmaster
From somewhere on the road...
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