PuterGeek.Com News
Issue # 40

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Hello everyone from somewhere in Ohio!

Windows ME is now available!  Come over to PuterGeek.Com and see what I have to say about it.  Is it worth the time it'll take to install?  Does it have anything I want?


We have a couple of new horror stories from subscribers.  If you have a story please email to webmaster@putergeek.com with a subject of "horror story".  Please send it as "Plain text" and write it out in a story form.  Be sure to tell me if I can print your name, city, state, and country.


There's a new Poll up.  I want to know what web browser you're using.  It'll help me figure out how to design the WebPages for PuterGeek.Com, so please take a moment and vote.

Well, my new "ruby" Imac should be waiting for me at home.  It should be very interesting to start using it.  I've been doing some reading..."The little Imac book", "Imacs for Dummies" as well as a couple of magazines "MacWorld" and "Mac Addict".  I don't know about some of the people that write for these magazines...they tend to rant about how much better the Mac OS is compared to Windows.  I guess time will tell.

As Fred Langa says, "Don't make me beg."  Please remember to vote for the PuterGeek.Com Newsletter with Infojump.  On any page in the website on the left side (the nav bar) there is a spot to rate my newsletter from 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest.

Since I've received some negative feedback on the new colors of the website, as well as various other complaints about the layout, I've decided to change the look of the website again.

I plan to create a plain white page (as a template) with home, sitemap, search, and back links at the top and bottom of each page.  Instead of a "nav bar", there will be a JavaScript (I hope) drop down menu with choices to all the major areas of the website.  Between all of the above plus the normal navigation links at the top of each page plus the site map itself, hopefully no one will complain about not being able to find anything on the website.

I do plan to use CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) in the site as well as SSI (Server Side Includes).  So hopefully as long as people have version 4x of their favorite browser or newer the pages should look pretty good (if boring).

My desire here is to have a low maintenance web site.  I want to spend my time putting up content, not fixing the site.

So here's your last chance to give me comments, suggestions, complaints, etc... about the look and feel of PuterGeek.Com.  I spent of 60 hours making the last change, and since I have no plans to make this a habit,  This will be the last major change to the website.

I think I'll write a page explaining the pitfalls of creating a large 100+ page website :-)  As well as why I feel that FrontPage is not the answer.

We've got a few new subscribers to the newsletter.  Welcome and I hope you enjoy  the newsletter.

I've been using WinME for a couple of weeks now on this laptop.  So far I'm fairly pleased with the new OS.  I'm particularly excited about the new "System File Protection", I have high hopes that this might slow down or kill DLL hell!

Now on with the good stuff...

From the Funnies http://users.erols.com/hmmd

      1. a lapwarmer with a built-in buzzer.
      2. a four footed allergen.
      3. a small, four-legged, fur-bearing extortionist.
      4. a small, furry lap fungus.
      5. a treat-seeking missile.
      6. a wildlife control expert impersonator.
      7. one who sleeps in old, empty pizza boxes.
      8. a hair relocation expert.
      9. an unprogrammable animal.

** Aquarium: interactive television for cats.

** Cataclysm: any great upheaval in a cat's life.

** Catatonic: a feline medicinal drink.

** Caterpillar: a soft scratching post for a cat.

** Cat Scan: to look for a new cat.

** Dog: a cat's device for running practice.

** Door: something a cat always wants to be on the other side of.


(Editor's Note: If you take this seriously and actually
do what is suggested, you deserve the consequences!)

You have just received the Goober Computer Virus.
Because we don't know how to program computers, this virus works on the honor system.  Please delete all the files on your hard drive manually and forward this message to everyone on your mailing list.  Thank you for your cooperation.


A father noticed that his son was spending way too much
time playing computer games.

In an effort to motivate the boy into focusing more
attention on his schoolwork, the father said to his son,
"When Abe Lincoln was your age, he was studying books by
the light of the fireplace."

The son replied, "When Lincoln was your age, he was
The President of The United States."

From Microsoft www.microsoft.com

 --Learn to burn CDs with Windows operating systems
Recordable and rewritable compact disk drives are booming in popularity. These multi-purpose devices let you back up your data, or play and copy music CDs. Learn how to use CD-R and CD-RW drives with Windows 2000, Windows Me, and Windows 98.

--IEEE 1394: Get on the bus
Windows Me, Windows 2000, and Windows 98 Second Edition operating systems all support the 1394 standard. Sometimes called "Firewire," IEEE 1394 is most-commonly used for connecting digital cameras and camcorders to your computer. But experts also see a future for IEEE 1394 as a storage interface, especially to connect external hard drives to your computer. Find out how.

--Avoid the lines
Order Windows Me online and have it delivered right to your doorstep. Act fast and you'll even get free shipping. (Available in the U.S. only.)

From the Win Insider www.winmag.com

--- Real-mode DOS Driver Issues ---
"Most of the existing Win ME FAQs just state that there's no way to include custom entries into AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS except for environment variables. I know of many device drivers, especially for sound cards, that need to start a DOS-tool to initialize the hardware before the Windows driver can load. Do you happen to know a way to make this work? For example, my sound card, which is a Terratec SoundSystem DMX, needs the following lines, the first in CONFIG.SYS and the second in AUTOEXEC.BAT:

device=C:\CANYON3D.SYS /S:1116153B


"I have managed to hack them into the files by deleting the
registry key which contains the checksums for the two files, but even then the lines are not executed at startup. And when I start System Configuration Utility (MSCONFIG.EXE), only the environment variables survive in the startup files. Does that really mean that dozens of soundcards no longer work under WinMe unless there is a WDM-driver?" --Martin Fuchs

 Response: While we may find workarounds to this in the future, the bottom line is that Microsoft has purposely disabled this sort of real-mode functionality. I don't know how to get around the problem, although I suspect there will be more than one way to do so. You may not like this, but I sympathize with what Microsoft is trying to do. These real-mode drivers have been a pain in the butt for a long, long time, and I don't feel they've been needed in most cases. They've come about because hardware makers don't make drivers a priority, and are just seeking a simple common solution. Granted, Windows has never been great
about dealing with hardware either. Yes, I think this means that dozens of soundcards -- and other more specialized or proprietary devices -- will not work as-is under Windows Me. It is up to their manufacturers to offer protect-mode versions of their drivers. It's up to us to choose peripheral companies that do as good a job on their drivers and tech support as they do on their hardware development. --S.F.



Some of these questions and answers could change your mind about if or when you'll wind up installing Windows Me.

 --- No More System Policy Editor? ---
QUESTION: I bought a new Compaq with the CD-less version of Win98SE. The System Policy Editor wasn't installed, and when I called Compaq Tech Support to find out how to get it, a very polite support tech named Mike Young told me "Compaq doesn't support it because it changes the Registry, and therefore, Compaq would not tell me how to install it." Too bad I've been around PCs long enough to remember when I could configure my software my
way rather than the way that's most convenient for my PC maker. - -Rick Gilmour

 ANSWER: System Policy Editor lovers get ready for another shock, Windows Me lacks System Policy Editor entirely. Even if you buy Windows Me in a retail store, you won't be able to install System Policy Editor on your system.  Winmag.com's editors are looking into the feasibility of using the old System Policy Editor under WinMe. --S.F.

 --- Norton Anti-Virus and Millennium ---
QUESTION: I'm currently running Windows 98. I've planned to upgrade to Windows Me as soon as it's available. But I have Symantec's Norton AntiVirus 2000 running on my system and very much depend on it for virus protection. I've read on the Symantec site that the company does not recommend NAV 2000 be run on Windows Me. Is there an underlying difference in how Windows 98 and WinMe treat NAV 2000? -- Barry Sanschagrin

 ANSWER: Symantec is the provider of the official word on this point. All I can offer you is my own experiences. I've been running NAV 2000 (and, in fact, Norton SystemWorks 2000) on one of my Windows Me machines for months, and I haven't had a problem other than an initial Windows warning that this application might not work. For your reference, I run SystemWorks a very specific way, which I've detailed in a past Insider:


Your mileage might very well be different though, Barry. I think we have to trust Symantec on this point. There are probably environments or usage scenarios where problems exist between NAV 2000 and Windows Me. I just haven't personally seen them. So it's sort of up to you. But you proceed at your own risk. The question I have to ask you back is, what's the rush? If you're concerned about NAV 2000, then just hold off on installing Windows Me. Hang
back and see what happens. My expectation is that Symantec and others will issue free patches relatively quickly -- some within weeks. --S.F.

 --- Bye-bye Disk Compression ---
QUESTION: Does the removal of real-mode DOS support, in
particular support for DOS-based device drivers loaded at boot time, mean that Windows Me will not recognize compressed disks? - -Mark Hyde

 ANSWER: I don't have an official Microsoft answer to this
question, nor do I have any compressed disks to test with. But I would have to hazard a guess that the answer to your question is:
"Yes!" Mark, disk compression was never a good idea. I've been writing that since about 1992 or so. FAT32 under Win95B and newer was a somewhat better approach. But the best way to solve a storage limitation problem is with a bigger hard drive. I don't think I'm being elitist about my conviction that you should just pay for more storage. Hard drives are cheap these days. Unlock your disk compression handcuffs. Trying to stretch your hard drive with disk compression is tantamount to trying to make your car's engine go faster with a fuel additive. There's no replacement for more horsepower in car, and no replacement for more real storage (or memory) in your PC. --S.F.

 --- Upgrade Strategy ---
QUESTION: I have used the Upgrade versions of Win95 and Win98 dating back to Win3.1. Whenever I've installed a new hard drive or needed a clean install, I've had to go back and start with 3.1. If I buy the Windows Me upgrade will I continue to have the same issue? -- William Fain
ANSWER: It really wasn't necessary for you to go back to Windows 3.1 or Windows 95. Perform a clean install of Windows Me.  Winmag.com is working on a detailed feature story about how to install Windows Me. So long as you have your Windows 98 CD in hand, you'll be able to do a clean install -- even with the $50 Windows Me 98 Upgrade CD. You might also want to take a look at our Essential Guide to Installing Windows 98. --S.F.


If you've got a burning question about Windows, send it along:

Microsoft is changing its support policies for U.S. and Canadian customers, and this change appears to apply to most generally used commercial and downloaded software, including Windows, Office, and IE. The gist is this: They're no longer giving us an unlimited 90 days of free support. Now we get two no-charge phone calls, regardless of the time period. You only get two calls for free, but Microsoft is not going to start the 90-day clock the first time you call them. My guess is that more experienced users will find this change to be an advantage, while less experienced users may find it a handicap.

Ever need help deciphering those frustrating Windows Setup error messages. You know, the ones that start with SU followed by a four-digit number? This Microsoft Knowledgebase article for Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows Me Setup error messages is a good first step:


Have you discovered a relatively unknown Windows-related Web site that Insider readers should know about? Please send me the URL, and let me know why you liked it:

NOTE: How about 5 or 75 of you emailing him to tell him about PuterGeek.Com :-) - Peter

 From the langalist www.langa.com

 Intel recalled its 1.13GHz Pentium III chips. It appears that Intel may have rushed the chip out the door in order to claim the title of "World's Fastest x86 Processor." But there were numerous reports of problems with the chips, and Intel halted production.

 There's lots of gory detail at


But the upshot is that AMD now has the fastest *working* x86 processor on the planet. <g>

My short take on WinME: It's Windows with training wheels. As such, it'll be great for utter newbies because they won't be able to get themselves into much trouble. Alas, while training wheels help beginners, they prevent experts from leaning into the turns, and I think any moderately experienced Windows user will feel stymied and hemmed in by WinME's deliberate limitations. (Yes, they can be gotten around, but it's a pain.)

 Because of that, I think Win98SE is still the best general-purpose OS on the market, with Windows 2000 the best business OS, and Linux the best deep-geek OS. I don't think WinME is a must-have upgrade for most anyone
reading this newsletter, because if you're reading this, you're probably the kind of person who likes to lean into computing's figurative twists and turns. I know I do! <g>.

 NOTE: Again, I think people are under-rating the importance of "System File Protection" that comes in WinME.  To me, if that were the only improvement, it would be enough! - Peter

This is a test to see if Amy, Andy, or Genie really read all of my newsletter :-)

As I said, the article is a beast, jam-packed with info--- and two NEW batch files! The article will be available today (2000-09-11, midday [UT-4]) click on over to http://www.winmag.com , look for the "Explorer" link,
check out the column! (Alternate access to the column:
http://www.winmag.com/columns/default.htm ; click the "Explorer" menu box.  Note that if you arrive before the column is posted, you'll only see previous columns listed.)
NOTE: This is a must read article - Peter

) Internet Explorer's Secret Repair Tool

Everyone has 'em: I call them "brain freezes," but you may know them by other, more colorful names. They're those moments of intellectual brownout--- a power failure somewhere in your frontal lobes--- that result in your
either failing to have a good idea when needed, or (worse) latching on to a really bad idea in the belief that it's a good one. Duh.

 Companies have brain freezes, too, and they sometimes ruin an otherwise-good idea. Take Microsoft, for example. They built an IE Repair tool, but then decided to bury the tool in a location where almost no one would find it, placed behind menu choices that give no hint of its existence or
operation. They even omit all mention of the repair tool in the IE Help system, thereby virtually ensuring that no one would ever find, let alone use, this tool. Duh!

 If - or when - you have serious trouble with Internet Explorer 5 (or above), don't assume you're stuck trying to do a full reinstall. Instead, check out the "Repair" option, as described here:


If that link gives you trouble, use this alternate link:

Restoring DOS Mode to WinME

Today--- the 14th--- is the day Windows Millennium Edition will become available at retail--- and as I've said in past issues, I think it's wrong for most users due to its many built-in limitations.

 One of the most significant limitations is that Microsoft has made it difficult to get at pure, vanilla DOS. It's not that WinME doesn't use DOS--- it does, just as every other member of the Win9x family does.

 Indeed, WinME is just a minor update of Win98SE that's friendlier for newbies because it's harder to get at the "guts" of the system, where newbies can get themselves into trouble.

 But even though WinME is just arriving at retail now, many copies already have been shipped on new PCs--- and the hackers have been poking at it for some time.

 For example, the link at http://www.geocities.com/mfd4life_2000/
will show you how you can restore access to real-mode DOS in WinME by patching some low-levels files in the OS. Many, many LangaList readers sent me that link (thanks!), and many sites are featuring it.

 But few point out the downside of the patch: If you hack the OS at a low level, you'll make yourself ineligible for tech support for the OS itself--- and probably for any software, as well. All the support tech has to ask is "did you apply a real mode patch" and if you did, he or she can probably legitimately deny you any tech support you'd otherwise be eligible for because the OS itself has been modified.

 So, patch away if you want to--- but be aware of the possible consequences.

From Lockergnome www.lockergnome.com

 ShellNew Add/Remove v1.0 [1.9M] W9x FREE



{Edit the New Documents menu} Put your ear to a shell and you'll hear the ocean; put your ear to the System folder and you'll (most likely) hear nothing. If you DO hear something, then back away from your computer and call an exorcist. Creating files is as easy as right-clicking on your Desktop and selecting NEW from the menu. That's great -- as long as Windows recognizes every file type. With this crafty editor, you can add new extensions not originally listed in the NEW menu. If you have more file types listed than you need, the extras can be removed easily, too. Don't panic! Should you delete an extension accidentally, you can always undo the operation.

Coming from the "Rapid Revolution" department, Lockergnomie Jacob Ludington keeps his Print Screen button warm. When one runs into a program problem, the easiest way to explain it via e-mail is not with words, but with pictures. That Print Screen button still works, gang. Tap it and your Desktop will be magically copied to the clipboard, waiting to be pasted into any image editing application. Depress the ALT key before you hit PRTSCN and it'll only capture the selected window. Great, but what if you don't have time to repeat that process, and need to get those shots off to someone soon? Launch WORDPAD (or your favorite Word Processor). Run through the screen shot routine, but be sure to paste each shot into the newly created WORDPAD document. When you're finished, save that file and blast it over to your contact. Compress it beforehand if you have enough time (using WinZip is recommended). Or, save a few steps and paste the images into an HTML message directly (again, size may become a problem).

Process Viewer v2.3 [401k] W9x FREE


{Extensive CPU task management} "Faster, Computer!" Maybe I'm developing a complex here, but isn't it great fun to use CTRL+ALT+DEL to get rid of those unnecessary programs? What if you could take it one step further, being able to kill ANY active process -- not just the ones which come up in the aforementioned menu. So be it! You can copy paths to the clipboard as well as view and change process priorities. Find yourself terminating certain processes regularly? Quickly create a script that will eliminate them instantly.

That's it for now!

Peter Crockett - webmaster
website: http://www.putergeek.com
mailto: webmaster@putergeek.com
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Last Revised: 10/23/2000