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The Inevitable Future of Computing - Windows XP is Just the Beginning
HINTS, TIPS, TRICKS & TWEAKS
Return of Disable Windows Search for Looking inside Zip FilesSave your Windows Scraps!Make Outlook XP Get Your Email AttachmentsFollow up on How to Create WAVs Longer than 60 Seconds in the Windows XP Sound RecorderChange the Appearance of your Start Button
HOW TO'S: ALL THE NEW XP FEATURES
Disable Windows Media Player Spyware Features
WINXP SECURITY: UPDATES & PATCHES
Cumulative Patch for Internet ExplorerDisable Windows XP Automatic UpdateBackup Critical Data Files OffsiteBody Slam Evil Pop ups!
UPGRADING & COMPATIBILITY ISSUES
Office XP Service Pack Now AvailablePossible Solution for the Blue Screen Infinite Loop (BSIL) ProblemGetting Java for Windows XP - Readers Write!Cisco VPN Client won't Install on Windows XP
WINXP CONFIGURING & TROUBLESHOOTING
System Restore "Restore Points" are Missing or DeletedWebcast on Troubleshooting Windows XP Internet ConnectivityWebcast on Port Scanning with the FREE PortQry ToolCannot Use a Windows XP Network Share if You Are a Member of More Than 180 GroupsHard Disk Performance Is Slower Than You Expect
This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
The Inevitable Future of Computing - Windows XP is Just the Beginning
I remember when I was just about tall enough to get on the rides at Disneyland. Those were some exciting times! I could finally get on the "Flying Saucer" ride after taking a trip to the moon on the Moon Mission Simulator. The most exciting part of being a kid at that time was the fact that we were actually going to the moon, and on a regular basis at that! All the kids I knew at the time dreamed of going to the Moon, then to Mars, and then to wherever! The sky was truly the limit.
Now I'm an old graybeard and still waiting for my own flight to the Moon. It ain't going to happen. I know many young people who have no idea that Man ever touched the surface of the Moon, and I know an even larger contingent who believe the Moon missions are mere fairy tales that old men like me (I'm 40) tell kids to make them study math and science harder.
What's all this have to do with Windows XP and Personal Computing. I'm glad you asked. These days you take it for granted that you can copy music files to your computer and listen to them whenever you want, that you can create data files of virtually any type on your computer and save them to your own hard disks, that you can send email to whomever you like (and the email can say whatever you want it to say), that you can upload or download files to and from other people's computers, that you control the level of security on your computer (from none at all to a hardened fortress). Hey, they're Personal Computers and PCs are meant to put control in the hands of the little guy. That's the miracle of personal computing.
If you're reading this, you're probably tall enough to get on the "flying saucer" ride at Disneyland (although I believe that ride was taken down many years ago). You're probably using a personal computer to do all the things I mentioned above. Twenty years in the future you'll be telling your kids or grandchildren about how you used to be able to do all those cool things with a computer, because those days ARE coming to an end.
You see, Microsoft is working on a secret weapon called "Palladium". Palladium is heralded as a way to make your computer safer and more secure than ever. You'll never have to worry about spam, you'll never have to worry about viruses, and you'll never have to worry about anything! Unless you worry about personal freedom. Check out this insightful article about Palladium by a well known and respected academic security analyst.
Total control over all copyrighted material? Hey, that sounds great to me. That means no one will ever be able to steal my books, newsletters, or anything. I just set the code up so that it won't copy to any computer, or even make a second copy on yours! I'll make maybe 10-15% more $ per year. That's certainly worth a little loss of freedom, isn't it? Windows XP already is gearing up for the Digital Rights Management (DRM) lockdown, with spyware and scumware that will be introduced for the Windows Media Player in the near future. For you history buffs out there, Windows XP is computerdom's Weimar Republic (and the EULA the treaty of Versailles). Palladium is what comes next.
But I'll bet one whole dollar no one will care. And among those who care, you won't be able to do anything about it. Palladium and government will tightly control what you can put on your PC and what you can even say to others using a computer and computer networks. They'll promise you safety, reliability and security. What do you think? Does it matter? Is Palladium a good thing? Will you continue to use a computer when you can't copy files any longer? When the government tells Intel and AMD how to make chips? When you go to prison for having a text file on your computer that someone doesn't like?
..and you'll tell your grandchildren about how cool it was that you could copy music to a computer in the "olden days".
Until next week,
Tom Shinder, Editor
(email us with feedback: <a href="mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org?subject=WinXPnews Issue #40">email@example.com)
Return of Disable Windows Search for Looking inside Zip Files
A couple of you wrote to me about a problem with the tip I gave in last week's newsletter on how to speed up your searches. While the fix speeds up searches, it disables the zipped folders feature. Check out the tip over at <a href="http://www.winxpnews.com/index.cfm?id9" target="_top">http://www.winxpnews.com/index.cfm?id9. If you need to enable zipped folders again, just undo the command without the /u switch (as described in the original article. Another thing worth pointing out is the command in that article is slightly off. First, there's a typo, where "\\" was used instead of "\". The second issue is that most people use \WINDOWS instead of \WINNT for their system directory. So, use the command:
Regsvr32 c:\WINDOWS\system32\zipfldr.d l l
(don't put spaces between the d and l's)
Save your Windows Scraps!
Did you know that Windows will save your scraps? Scraps are pieces of documents that you can save and use at a later time. Saving and using scraps is easy and fun. Check it out:
In an email message, Word document, or whatever, select what you want to save as a scrap by highlighting it with your mouse pointer. Right click on the highlighted are and click Copy.
Right click on the Desktop and click Paste.
You'll see an icon that looks like a ripped piece of paper, and the name of the icon is scrap.
Now drag the scrap to another document. Bingo! The scrap text or graphic is placed in the document.
Note that not all programs support scraps. The programs have to support something called Object Linking and Embedding (OLE). Be sure to clean up your scraps when you're done with them!
Make Outlook XP Get Your Email Attachments
If you are using Outlook 2000 or Outlook 2002, you surely have run into the dreaded attachment won't open problem. Arrrgh! Microsoft tried to fix the problem of people opening attachments that they shouldn't open by making it impossible to open virtually any attachment except for .zip files. This is a real pain for most users who know they shouldn't open attachments from people they don't know. The good news is that there's a fix for this problem. Check out the Chiltown Preview for Microsoft Outlook at:
This will fix a problem that should have never become a problem in the first place!
Follow up on How to Create WAVs Longer than 60 Seconds in the Windows XP Sound Recorder
Last week I showed you how to make WAV files longer than 60 seconds. But, like most things that are Windows, there's always more than one way to get the same thing done. First, David Gro writes in with this advice:
"There is an even better, faster way: record a little bit of silence, less then 1 second is fine. Then repeatedly choose 'decrease speed'. Every time you do so you get a file twice as long, and any noise or static you did record is made less noticeable (since it's lower in frequency)"
Another tip on how to make long WAV files in Windows XP comes from Sig Pikul:
"Open 'Windows Movie Maker'. On a clean project template, press the timeline button which displays the clips on a timeline. Then click 'Record Narration', it is an icon of a microphone. Select what source you want to record, then hit record. After you're finished, press stop, and it will prompt you with a save file window, save your file where you want it. This will allow you to record as long as it can before you run out of hard drive space, and it comes out the same format as the Sound Recorder. Hope this helps."
Change the Appearance of your Start Button
Many of you have written in asking how to change the appearance of the Start button on a Windows XP computer. There's a way to do it, but the procedure isn't for the faint of heart! If you're a real Windows XP tweaker, then you'll love this! Check out the complete instructions over at:
This is a German language site, but they were good enough to include English instructions for those of us who don't know German. By the way, I think Nächste Seite means "go to the next page" or something close to that.
Disable Windows Media Player Spyware Features
Windows Media Player has more than its share of Spyware features. Fortunately, Palladium isn't here yet, so you still have some control over your personal computer. Check out these Spyware options and how to disable them:
Open the Windows Media Player, click the Tools menu, and then click the Options menu.
Click the Player tab. In the Automatic Updates frame, select the Once a month option. No need to risk the media player calling the mother ship if there's no compelling reason to do so. I'd also remove the checkmark from the Download codecs automatically. You might have issues playing some media types if you don't download the codecs, though. If you can't play certain media, turn it on and then download the codec. Then turn it off as soon as you get it.
In the Internet Settings frame, remove the checkmarks from both the Allow Internet sites to uniquely identify your Player and Acquire licenses automatically checkboxes. You acquired your license when you bought the CD, you should be able to copy it to your hard disk.
Click on the Media Library tab. On the Access rights of other applications frame, select the Read-only access. This theoretically would prevent DRM scumware products from molesting files you ripped from your legally purchased CDs. In the Access right of Internet sites frame, select the no access option. Do you really want Internet intruders reading your playlists and media files? Finally make sure to remove the checkmark from the Automatically add purchased music to library. When you buy your music, you should be able to put it wherever you like, and keep it away from the prying eyes of the media player.
Keep a close eye on the Windows Media Player; this application appears to be the first brick in personal computing's road to Hell.
Cumulative Patch for Internet Explorer
Time to update your Internet Explorer again. As far as I can tell, there isn't any Spyware included in this patch, and it hasn't broken anything yet. If you haven't updated your Internet Explorer in a while, take a moment and head on over and get the fixes at:
<a href="http://www.winxpnews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id0827SE-IE_Patch&mid$20735872207328" target="_top">http://www.winxpnews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id0827SE-IE_Patch
Disable Windows XP Automatic Update
With Windows XP spyware coming down hot and heavy, it might be a good idea to wait on downloading fixes. Even if there's no spyware, you never know when a fix is going to hose your otherwise functional operating system. We've been nailed by a bad Windows XP fix a couple of times, and it's definitely no fun! You can always get new fixes at the Windows Update site, and you can pick and choose the updates you want. Just do the following to disable automatic update:
Right click the My Computer icon on the desktop and click Properties
Click the Automatic Updates tab
Select the Turn off automatic updating. I want to update my computer manually option
Click Apply and then click OK
Restart your computer
That's it! The only updates to your computer will be those that YOU want to install.
Backup Critical Data Files Offsite
The most important thing you can do when you keep important information on your Windows XP computer is to backup that data. Windows XP Pro includes a nice backup utility right out of the box (you have to jump through some hoops to get it in Windows XP Home). What happens if your hard disk, CD, tape drive or floppy disk dies? Your backups are gone! All it takes is a natural disaster like a fire, flood or tornado to destroy everything. The key to true backup safety is off-site backups. BackupMyStuff.com provides offline backup for a great price! You can back up 100MB for $6.95US/month and a giant 4 GB for just $14.95US. We use this for our critical business files and it's quite a deal. Check it out!
<a href="http://www.winxpnews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id0827SE-BackupMyStuff&mid$20735872207328" target="_top">http://www.winxpnews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id0827SE-BackupMyStuff
Body Slam Evil Pop ups!
We continue our salvo with another powerful antibiotic for the dreaded pop up disease. This week I'd like to introduce you to the FREE version of Panicware's Pop-up stopper. Panicware claims their pop-up stopper is Spyware and Scumware free. Check it out over at:
Office XP Service Pack Now Available
Do you use Office XP on your Windows XP computer? If so, you've probably noticed it does some strange things from time to time. You might be able to get your Office XP problems fixed by installing Office XP Service Pack 2. It's free, and the good news is that no major problems have been reported after installing it. To find out more, head on over to:
<a href="http://www.winxpnews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id0827UP-OfficeXP_SP&mid$20735872207328" target="_top">http://www.winxpnews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id0827UP-OfficeXP_SP
Possible Solution for the Blue Screen Infinite Loop (BSIL) Problem
The BSIL continues and while there doesn't seem to be an integrated solution that works for everyone, Jason shares something that might work for lots of you with this issue:
"I may have a fix for the BSIL that has worked for me 4 times on 3 separate Windows XP Pro machines. The first time it happened to me was on my brand new Computer loaded with XP pro, A7V266-E, xp1700+, 512 MB RAM. Two days after I bought it the darn thing went to the BSOD, rebooted and did it all over again. The error said that nv4disp.dll was the culprit. A few days went by, still messed up so I went on to google.com and did a search under groups for nv4disp.dll and BSOD. I found a few solutions only one worked, it told me to go into the display properties, go to Advanced, then under the troubleshoot button (or tab) unclick "enable write combining". After that I went to the program that kicked in the BSIL, Spider Solitaire. My girlfriend played for 3 hours and no problem , so I went to all my heavy 3D apps and games. It worked like a champ.
Later I upgraded my Video card to an ATI Radeon 8500DV AIW and the problem came back and I pleasantly fixed it the same way. The other 2 times were at my work; I run a little computer store in my town. I had two customers on different occasions bring in their XP machines complaining that it keeps going to a blue screen, rebooting than repeating. Sure enough, both computers got the same medicine and both have recovered nicely. So if you want, you should test it out and let your readers know how it worked. I'd like to know if it helps other computers in the BSIL."
To all of you out there still experiencing this problem, you might want to sign the BSIL petition at:
To learn more about the BSIL you might want to check out this page: (Thanks to Ajay Prashar for these links)
<a href="http://www.winxpnews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id0827UP-BSIL&mid$20735872207328" target="_top">http://www.winxpnews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id0827UP-BSIL
Getting Java for Windows XP - Readers Write!
I want to personally thank the over 100 readers who wrote in about the Windows XP Java problem. If you read last week's newsletter, Microsoft had to take down their Java Virtual machine because of some legal issues. But WinXPnews readers came to the rescue! First, you don't even have to use the Microsoft Virtual Machine, you can use Sun Microsystem's version, and it seems to work just fine. If you don't want to use the Sun version, you can download the Microsoft Virtual Machine. Both files are available at:
This will check for the basic VM and install an older version onto XP, and then you need to go to Microsoft and install the Java 4.0 SDK which will give you the newer base java components. You can get those from this link: Microsoft SDK for Java 4.0 for Windows 95/98, Windows Me, Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000, and Windows XP or later:
When the updates are complete, you will need to re-boot one more time.
After re-booting you will have the most current available Java for XP."
Cisco VPN Client won't Install on Windows XP
Cisco VPN clients and concentrators are very popular, so you'd think installing the Cisco VPN client on a Windows XP machine would be a no-brainer. Not so! Versions 3.1 and 3.5 are not completely compatible with Windows XP. Well, it looks like version 3.1 is completely incompatible, but version 3.5 might be partially compatible. For details check out:
System Restore "Restore Points" are Missing or Deleted
Matt V wrote in about a problem he had with System Restore Points. He installed the RealOne player and it didn't work quite right. He thought he could just run system restore and get his system back to normal. Not! He only had one System Restore Point and it was for the current day. Ouch! For possible causes for missing restore points check out:
<a href="http://www.winxpnews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id0827CO-Restore_Points&mid$20735872207328" target="_top">http://www.winxpnews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id0827CO-Restore_Points
Webcast on Troubleshooting Windows XP Internet Connectivity
We get a lot of questions every week from people having problems with their Internet connections. You can spend a lot of time doing trial and error fixes, and even then not come up with a good solution. Why not learn from the Pro's? Check out this Microsoft Webcast on troubleshooting Windows XP connectivity. It even helped me with a problem I'd been having for a while.
<a href="http://www.winxpnews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id0827CO-Troubleshooting&mid$20735872207328" target="_top">http://www.winxpnews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id0827CO-Troubleshooting
Webcast on Port Scanning with the FREE PortQry Tool
Are you in the process of doing security auditing? One thing you need to know is what ports are open on your publicly accessible computers. Microsoft has a free tool called PortQry. This Webcast covers how you can do port scanning with this tool. Tim Rains covers the ins and outs of port scanning and what this tool can and can't do. Worth a listen.
<a href="http://www.winxpnews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id0827CO-PortQry&mid$20735872207328" target="_top">http://www.winxpnews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id0827CO-PortQry
Cannot Use a Windows XP Network Share if You Are a Member of More Than 180 Groups
Popular users may not be able to access shared folders on a Windows XP computer. How popular? If the user is a member of more than 180 groups, he'll get an error saying "Windows cannot find \\computer name". If you have these kind of users on your network, to get the fix check out:
<a href="http://www.winxpnews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id0827CO-Network_Share&mid$20735872207328" target="_top">http://www.winxpnews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id0827CO-Network_Share
Hard Disk Performance Is Slower Than You Expect
You've installed a super fast SCSI hard disk into your new Windows XP computer. You reboot the computer and it's slower than molasses! What's up with that? There's a small bug in Windows XP that makes SCSI disks slower than they should be. If you're having this problem, for details check out:
Hack Proofing Your Identity
If you're like most people, your day includes writing checks or using a debit card at stores, using credit cards at the gas station, or using an ATM terminal to get cash. If you're among the growing numbers of Internet users, you've probably also bought a thing or two online, and might even do your banking or trade stocks online.
If more than half of the following statements are true, you are at high risk for identity theft:
You receive at least one loan solicitation or preapproved credit offer each week.
You usually toss preapproved credit or loan solicitations in the trash without shredding.
You usually toss old banking or credit documents in the trash without shredding.
You carry your Social Security or Social Insurance card in your wallet.
Your Social Security Number is printed on the health insurance card in your wallet.
Your Social Security or driver's license number is printed on your personal checks.
You make occasional or frequent purchases online using a credit card.
You seldom read Web site privacy policies before disclosing private information.
Your bank doesn't require a password before allowing you to make a withdrawal in person.
Your ATM PIN is written down in your wallet or on the ATM card.
You sometimes share your name, address, e-mail address, and/or phone number with Web sites.
You don't use privacy software to remove identifying information from your computer.
You haven't seen your credit report in the past year.
Your Internet-connected computer stores private or financial information and is not protected from the Internet by both a firewall and antivirus software.
These documents are provided for informational purposes only. The information
contained in this document represents the current view of Sunbelt Software
Distribution on the issues discussed as of the date of publication. Because
Sunbelt must respond to changes in market conditions, it should not be
interpreted to be a commitment on the part of Sunbelt and Sunbelt cannot
guarantee the accuracy of any information presented after the date of
INFORMATION PROVIDED IN THIS DOCUMENT IS PROVIDED "AS IS" WITHOUT WARRANTY OF
ANY KIND, EITHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE IMPLIED
WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND FREEDOM
The user assumes the entire risk as to the accuracy and the use of this
document. This document may be copied and distributed subject to the
following conditions: 1) All text must be copied without modification and all pages
must be included; 2) All copies must contain Sunbelt's copyright notice and any
other notices provided therein; and 3) This document may not be distributed
for profit. All trademarks acknowledged. Copyright Sunbelt Software
Distribution, Inc. 1996-2002.
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