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April 2003 Issue

 

Below, find our archived issue of the 5 Star Support Monthly Newsletter.

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August 2000 September 2000 October 2000 November 2000 December 2000 January 2001
February 2001 March 2001 April 2001 May 2001 June 2001 August 2001
September 2001 October 2001 November 2001 December 2001 January 2002 February 2002
March 2002 July 2002 August 2002 September 2002 December 2002 February 2003
April 2003 June 2003 December 2003 January 2004 March 2004 April 2005
May 2005 July 2005        

5 Star Support Monthly Newsletter  

www.5starsupport.com

April 2003 Issue

Inside this issue:

1) Notes from the Editor
2) Industry News
3) Helpful Web Sites
4) CD-R Info
5) Google Toolbar
6) Internet Security
7) E-Mail Help
8) Problems and Solutions
9) Contact Information
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[1]  Notes from the Editor:
by Vince Underwood

Welcome to all new members and welcome back to all of you loyal 5 Star Supporters.  I have been extremely busy adding new content and services to the web site. The one service that is most noteworthy is the new 5 Star Messenger. Brian Taylor (Manager of the Tech Live) worked very hard to get all of the bugs out of this free program so that you can enjoy a very clean chat method.

We have added many new volunteer technicians to the team.  To visit these and all of the crew, visit:
http://www.5starsupport.com/techs.htm

Last month marked the third year of 5 Star Support's existence.  It sure has come a very long way since its inception to the Internet community. Thank you to all of the generous 5 Star Support members that were able to give a small amount to support this organization. If you would like to help keep 5 Star Support alive and well, please visit:
http://www.5starsupport.com/donate.htm

For those that are not able to give a monetary contribution but would like to help, please just send our web address out to all of your friends and colleagues.
Thank you!

Now, just sit back and relax with your favorite beverage of choice and enjoy your April 2003 newsletter.

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[2]  Industry News:  Study: PC prices rocking to the bottom
By John G. Spooner
Staff Writer, CNET News.com
April 4, 2003, 10:24 AM PT

PC sales held up at retail during February, but PC prices hit all-time lows during the month, according to new data from NPD Techworld.
While desktop unit sales declined by 9 percent and notebook unit sales increased by 23 percent, the average PC prices were significantly lower than in past months.

The average price for a desktop PC sold at retail in the United States declined to $717 in February. Meanwhile, the average price of a notebook slipped to $1,311, the company said Friday.

Prices had been hovering closer to the $800 mark for a desktop and $1,500 for a notebook over the past six months, NPD analyst Steve Baker said.

The declines can be attributed to consumers who likely felt that less expensive PCs offered enough performance for their needs, he said. These days "customers are looking for good enough value, something they perceive as a good value at a low price point."

There was more sales activity for notebooks in particular at the low-end of the price range than had been typical for the past months.

Part of the reason is price. Consumers can now easily find a notebook with a 15-inch screen, 256MB of RAM, a 40GB hard drive and a CD burner, if not a combination CD burner/DVD drive for under $1,000, including rebates and other special offers from retailers.

A year ago, it would have been a tougher proposition to find a computer with a 15-inch screen and a CD burner for less than $1,000.

But, highlighting the overall trend toward lower prices, sales of midrange desktops that cost between $800 and $1,500 collapsed during February. Their unit sales volumes declined by 47 percent year over year, Baker said.

Meanwhile, unit sales of sub-$800 desktops grew by 17 percent, allowing the category to capture a whopping 72.9 percent of total desktop unit sales in February, up from 56.7 percent in the same month last year, he said.

There was some activity in the very high-end of the desktop market during February. Unit sales of desktops priced at $1,500 or more actually ticked up by almost 11 percent year over year, Baker said.

But, for the most part, PCs with bells and whistles aren't selling at a torrid pace that would suggest people were upgrading their PCs just to get them, he said. Instead, consumers appear to be waiting for features like DVD burners to come down in price enough to become available in lower priced machines. Desktops from Hewlett-Packard and Sony with built in DVD burners have hit the $900 mark only recently.

Buyers have also shifted toward flat-panel displays over the more traditional CRTs. Some people undoubtedly put larger portions of their computer budget toward a flat-panel display in February and therefore spent less on a new desktop, Baker said. (Flat panels still cost somewhat more than CRTs. A 15-inch flat panel, for example, costs around $300, as compared with $200 to $250 for a 17-inch CRT.)

NPD's average price for desktops does not include monitors, except where the displays are paired with a PC in a special promotional bundle or are built-in, as with Apple Computer's iMac.

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[6]  Internet Security:
by M. Antzel, 5 Star Support Member

I have Windows XP and I have found it stable for the most part.  My problem started shortly after downloading a few files from the Internet.  I noted that shortly after putting the computer in hibernation, the computer would spontaneously wake up as if a ghost was in the room pressing the "power" button to turn it back on.

I tried in vain to locate the program that was waking the computer up. So, I just kept the computer ON all the time.

About a week later, I was unable to connect at all to the Internet. Suspecting it was my DSL connection, I called tech support. After walking me throughout 4 hours of various steps to connect, tech support felt that my connection or browser was hijacked.  My TCP/IP address on my DSL was the wrong one.  In desperation, tech support took me to ADD/REMOVE programs.  I didn't recognize three of the programs as ones I had installed, and we concluded they were spyware.  I removed those 3 programs, and DSL connection was successfully restored, and the computer was healed. 

I thought my troubles were over, when a week later I discovered that Windows Media Player could not open any of the 200 music files I had recorded.  Going to "My Music" folder, I discovered that all the music files were deleted.  I had to re-record all the MP3 files.

My DSL tech support suggested I get "ad aware", which I downloaded and used its scan to locate over 40 malicious spyware files, which I deleted. My computer was functioning well after that, but I was still getting some pop ups, pop under, and banner ads, and as a second wall of protection I downloaded "zone alarm Pro", and now my working environment is free of the many annoying ads. And I get regular alerts as to when a program tries to access my computer.

I realized how vulnerable we are to all sorts of malicious attacks from the previously known "safe haven", now more like the "perilous Internet".  But I was able to minimize those potential threats using the firewall, and eliminating all spyware with ad aware.

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[7]  E-Mail Help:
by Ken Laninga, 5 Star Support Member

E-MAIL: The greatest invention since sliced bread!

If you are a "newby" and just starting to use e-mail, this is for YOU.

If you have been using e-mail for a long time, this is for YOU also because you probably have seen a lot of e-mail from beginners who desperately need some good advice.

http://www.sticksite.com/email.htm

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[8]  Problems and Solutions:
Compiled from the 5 Star Support Database

<>Problem:
Upon assembly of my new PC, I decided to go with the newest OS out at the time to run it.  Win ME was the choice.  It seemed like from the start I was having trouble with lock-ups.  The system freezing for no apparent reason.  There didn't seem to be a pattern (except, Murphy's Law would have it be at the worst possible time).  Sometimes I could go a day, others 1/2 a day w/out trouble and other times it would happen many, many times a day.  Even multiple freezes in a row on boot-up. 

<>Solution:
When it gets too hot its going to shut down no matter what. - Ronald Smith

When I looked into the BIOS for processor temperature, I found it running at almost 200 degrees f.  I knew immediately that this was too hot.  I replaced the fan and am now running at 118-122f.  The lock-ups are gone!!!!  THANK YOU!

------------------------------------------------------

<>Problem:
When I first start my computer and click to open the Start menu, the "blue line" on the menu list has a mind of its own.  It continuously rolls from bottom to top of the menu list.  Likewise, if I should click on a desktop icon rather than the Start button, regardless of where the icon is located the icon at the top of the screen nearest that point is the one that opens.

<>Solution:
The tech suggested that one of the arrow keys on the keyboard may be stuck.  In fact, the Up Arrow key was stuck in the down position.  After the key was released, the start up problem was solved.

------------------------------------------------

<>Problem:
I downloaded the 3.75 version of Irfanview.  I already had 3.12 version, I have been using for years.  It overwrote the program OK.  There is one problem though.  My wallpaper background choices, that I had from Microsoft, have disappeared and are replaced with Irfanview choices. This is the background wallpaper for the desktop.  The Irfanview choices seem to be huge backgrounds and too large of pixels to be pleasant to the eye.  I would like to know how the Irfanview choices replaced the Microsoft choices and how do I get the Microsoft choices back?  There were only two choices left from Microsoft and I am currently using one of them.  Can you help me on this problem?  I would appreciate it greatly.

<>Solution:
I think I have figured the Wallpaper Background problem out.  When I downloaded the Irfanview 3.75 upgrade, all it did to the Wallpaper and Background is change the icons from Microsoft to Irfanview.  The Microsoft Windows 98 Wallpapers and Backgrounds are still in the computer, they just have an Irfanview icon.  My friend, who is a Computer Tutor, and I checked this out.  He has the same Wallpaper and Backgrounds, only his has Microsoft icons.

To find all of the Wallpaper and Backgrounds, I right clicked on a plain space on the Desktop. This brings up the Background Menu.  Click Browse, then the Down Arrow, then click C:/ drive.  Look for Windows and double click it to open it up.  Scroll to the right and all of the Wallpaper Background icons will be there.  

I did create a Folder on the Desktop, for any Wallpaper and Backgrounds that I want to take off of the Internet or my photo files and put them in there.  I then just have to use the Browse feature and open up the Folder and use any one of many Wallpaper Backgrounds.  This works for me.

I thank everyone for their help.  Glad I could solve the problem myself and share it with everyone who is interested.  Thanks again.

-----------------------------------------------

<>Problem:
Changing attributes of a file and stopping a program from launching everytime I put a CD in my drive.

<>Solution:
It seems that one of the 'options' chosen in the preferences or options
menu of the realplayer has been checked to have it play CD audio.  Open the
Realplayer program, and see what files it is associated with then simply UNcheck
the files you don't want opened with RP.  Check your windows 'help' files on

changing associations between file types and programs which open them.

For changing the attributes of a file just rt. click it.-->go to
properties and uncheck the read only option. Save it as a different file if
not successful.

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<>Problem:
Missing DLL File:
I would like to run my Adaptec Easy CD Creator software.  I have used it successfully in the past. I am now getting a message that says "You are missing the wnaspi32.DLL file that is needed for this program. Restart windows and try again." I did restart but nothing has changed. I tried to get help from Adaptec but I have not been successful in getting a reply. Can you help or send me in the right direction for help? Thank you.

Solution:

STEP ONE - Ensure that only one copy of ASPI is on your computer system
Ensure that only one copy of ASPI is on your computer system and that it is
located under the correct Windows directory. Please use the following steps
to do this.

Click Start, Find, then Files or Folders.

Click the down-arrow next to the Look in drop-down box and click the My
Computer icon.

Next to Named, type Wnaspi32.dll

Only one copy of the WNASPI32.DLL file should be located on your computer
under the WINDOWS\SYSTEM or WINDOWS\SYSTEM32 directory.

Note: If you have multiple operating systems, you will also have multiple
WNASPI32.DLL files. Ensure that all of the WNASPI32.DLL files are located in
the WINDOWS\SYSTEM or WINDOWS\SYSTEM32 directory on your computer.

Delete any WNASPI32.DLL files that are not in the WINDOWS\SYSTEM or
WINDOWS\SYSTEM32 directory.

Continue with the next step.

STEP TWO - Determine the version of your ASPI files

To determine the version of your ASPI files, please download the Adaptec
ASPI check utility (ASPICHK.EXE) at
http://www.adaptec.com/worldwide/support/driverdetail.html?filekey=aspichk.exe

If the version you have is earlier than 4.60 (1021), please download and run
the ASPI32.EXE utility from the same page at:
http://www.adaptec.com/worldwide/support/supporteditorial.html?prodkey=ASPI_Layer_Upkeep

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[9] Contact Information:

This Newsletter is brought to you by 5 Star Support - Free Technical Support.

If you find this newsletter helpful, please help support it by making a small one time donation.
http://www.5starsupport.com/donate.htm/

Thank you!

If you have any questions regarding this Newsletter, please contact:
editor@5starsupport.com

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contact: admin@5starsupport.com

I would love to hear from you!

I hope that you found my newsletter interesting and informative!

To Unsubscribe, write to admin@5starsupport.com and simply type "Remove" into the subject line. But, I hope that you'll be sticking around.

Regards,

Vince Underwood
Editor, 5 Star Support Monthly Newsletter
editor@5starsupport.com
A Computer Learning Environment

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