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September 2001 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  

September 2001 Issue

Inside this issue:

1) Notes from the editor
2) Industry News
3) Free ISP's, Are they worth it?
4) Windows 95/98 Tips and Tricks
5) Virtual Ram
6) Questions and Answers
7) Helpful Web Sites
8) Netscape 6 Review
9) Contact Information
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[1] Notes from the editor:

Welcome to all subscribers!  Since I moved the list over to this mail server, I lost over 400 members.  But, for those of you that made the move over to Coollist, thanks for your loyalty!

5 Star Support has added a few new volunteer support administrators.  I'll list them in the order that they came:

1) Rich Bingham
2) Robert Morris
3) Paul Mohney
4) Bud Burnett
5) Robert Bollinger
6) David Gordon
7) Brandon Ng
8) Mike Bradley
9) Brandon Cross
10) Terry Hicks
11) Tanya
12) Aron Mangano
13) Clinton Bird
14) Tina Marie

There are 8 others that joined the team but wish to remain anonymous.  Welcome to all of you! You can read a little bit about each of the techs listed above at:

Once again, welcome to all of you!  I hope that you enjoy this months issue.


Vince Underwood
President, 5 Star Support
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[2] Industry News: Microsoft to throw handheld punch
By Richard Shim

Microsoft will hit Palm with a double whammy next week when it announces two new versions of its operating system for handheld computers, sources say.
The software giant will announce a low-end and high-end version of its upcoming Pocket PC 2002 OS on Sept. 6 at the Demomobile conference in La Jolla, Calif., sources familiar with company's plans say. The new versions of the OS, code-named Merlin, will resemble Microsoft's upcoming Windows XP desktop OS and add 802.11b wireless networking capabilities and security.

Microsoft representatives declined to comment.

Although one source said the new versions of the OS are "incremental" upgrades to the current Pocket PC OS, another said they are exactly what Microsoft needs to stave off Palm from increasing its presence in the emerging corporate market for handhelds. Palm's OS shows up in handhelds from Palm, Handspring and Sony. Microsoft's current Pocket PC runs devices from Compaq Computer, Hewlett-Packard and Casio.

The enterprise market is the brass ring that all companies in the handheld industry are reaching for. According to research data, Microsoft has the lead in that market.

Palm maintains its lead in the overall handheld market, which is still largely made up of consumer purchases. But lately Pocket PC has been coming on strong in the small but growing corporate market because of prior relationships with business customers, according to analysts. The corporate market for handhelds has the potential for massive growth because businesses tend to buy devices in large volumes, compared with the single units that consumers purchase.

"Microsoft has an advantage over its competitors given that they and their partners, such as Compaq and Hewlett-Packard, have relationships built up from previous business," ARS analyst Matt Sargent said. "They are a natural fit to sell into that market."

Sargent added that corporations are more intrigued by Pocket PC-based devices because of their ability to expand beyond basic handheld functions, such as storing appointments and addresses.

Santa Clara, Calif.-based Palm has been trying to build a viable strategy to attract corporate customers. In late June, Palm announced several partnerships, the biggest being with accounting giant PricewaterhouseCoopers. And earlier this month, Palm announced it will acquire the intellectual property of Be. That acquisition is expected to help beef up Palm's OS with the multimedia and communications capabilities of the Be OS.

Palm was also set to acquire a mobile data management company called Extended Systems. But the deal dried up in mid-May.

Microsoft may beat Palm to the corporate punch, however, with the new versions of its OS. The Redmond, Wash.-based company is making an aggressive push for Fortune 500 companies, according to sources, and the upcoming OS will have more of an emphasis on business applications than the current version of Pocket PC.

Microsoft apparently hasn't overhauled, but rather added specific features that corporations have been asking for, such as wireless networking capabilities and security. Enterprise customers, and specifically IT managers, tend to want gradual upgrades to avoid the hassle of making major upgrades to their networks and PCs that they support.

However, Pocket PC will likely go through a major revamp if it adopts the next version of the Windows CE OS code-named Talisker. The current Pocket PC is based on Windows CE, but Microsoft representatives have declined to comment on whether Pocket PC eventually will use Talisker, which is due for release later this year.

Although details regarding the differences between the two versions of Pocket PC 2002 are not clear, sources say, the two are expected to vary considerably when it comes to storage capacity. The low-end version is expected to target handhelds with 16MB of memory, while the high-end version is expected to work with devices with at least 32MB of memory.

The new versions of the OS will also have software drivers to support the addition of 802.11b wireless networking cards and will include virtual private network software to ease the security concerns of IT managers, sources say.

The two versions will also have a similar look and feel to Windows XP. Pocket PC 2002 will also allow Outlook users to store their e-mail on their handhelds, so they can view messages even when they aren't connected to the network.

Sources say HP and Compaq will soon announce new devices that run on Pocket PC 2002.

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[3]  Free ISP's, Are they really worth it?
By Brandon Ng
[5 Star Support Volunteer Tech]

Free Internet! It's not very often you see these two words together. Magazines and the net are bombarded by ads offering Internet at $21.95 a month, unlimited net access, free web-based e-mail, and web space.  Major corporations, such as AOL and MSN offer premium-pricing plans that millions of people use.

The question is: can you get free Internet anywhere? The answer is a definite yes. In this article, I discuss several free Internet providers along with their benefits and  disadvantages.

One of the most popular free ISP's (Internet Service Providers) is NetZero <>. Boasting over 6 million people using their free Internet service, NetZero has built itself up as a powerful and reputable company. Where does all the money come from you ask? The answer is one you will hear many times: Advertisements. Users of NetZero's free plan are forced to wear a small banner on their desktop during their time on the Internet. As a user of NetZero myself, I admit that the banner is not very intruding but can be annoying when trying to run certain things, such as full screen programs. NetZero also places a 40-hour limit on its users (which, by the way, is to be reduced to 10 hours in September). NetZero offers numerous access numbers that virtually guarantee's a non-busy signal.

Other ISP's which offer banner service and many access numbers are <>, DotNow <>, and Juno <>.

Another category of free ISP's you will encounter are those that are banner-free. These ISP's typically offer unlimited Internet access in addition to no-banner access. The catch? The service typically ranks way below those that offer access with advertisements. In addition, the access numbers are restricted and are often busy, making it difficult to connect to the net.

If you live in the New York area, both "MetConnect" and "NoCharge" offer banner free access. I have tried both MetConnect <> and NoCharge <> in the past and have found that NoCharge's access numbers are busy much of the time and MetConnect's service is very unstable. However, I do recommend these services if you require net access without banners. For example, if you are an online gamer, NetZero's banner very often gets in the way of many online games. On the other hand, if you simply need to connect, then MetConnect and NoCharge are the way to go.

So are free ISP's worth it? With a doubt, I say yes. Why pay $21.95 a month to connect to the Internet when you can get it for free? Unless you are specifically looking for AOL's unique features (such as their keywords, e-mail, etc.), free net is an excellent alternative solution. Go for NetZero first and give it a try. If you find that the ads are intruding on your ability to work, then that's when you should take a look at some of the banner-free ISP's (remember, their service is a lot less reliable then those with ads). Don't forget: Some things in life are free!

Editor's Note:  Great article from Brandon!  He won a 5 Star Support T-Shirt for this effort.

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[4]  Windows 95/98 Tips and Tricks:

<>Connecting SCSI Devices Without Restarting:

If you turn on a SCSI device after starting Windows 95/98, and it is not recognized, try this:

1) Right-click on "My Computer", and select "Properties"
2) Click on "Device Manager"
3) Select "Computer" which will highlight it.
4) Press "Refresh"  This will take a moment, but the device should now appear. If it does not appear, then locate the SCSI card line, highlight it, then press "Refresh" again.

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<>Bypass the Windows 95 Logo at Boot:

To occasionally bypass the logo, press "Escape" at bootup. For a more permanent solution:
1) Go to Start> Find> Find files and folder.
2) With the C: (your Hard Drive) listed in the "Look in" text box, do a search for the  MSDOS.SYS file.
3) Open the MSDOS.SYS file in notepad (or your preferred text editor) and add the line: LOGO=0 to the "Options" section.
4) Save the change and your done.


<>Defragging Tip:

When it comes to defragging your computer, keep in mind--More often is better. If you wait for long periods of time to defrag, and depending on your disks capacity, it could take hours to perform a successful defrag.

Even though Windows allows you to perform tasks while a defrag is in progress, it is futile to do so.  If you choose "Details" before you start a defrag, you can see that making keystrokes of any kind while defragging is writing changes to your hard drive, thus starting the process all over again.

Just close all running programs and avoid your computer while defragging.
For more information on defragging your computer, click here:

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<>Hide Start Menu Folders:

If you want to temporarily hide some start menu items to reduce a little clutter, it is simple to do. Here's how:
1) Right-click the folder of choice.
2) When a resulting popup menu appears, choose "Properties".
3) Change the attribute to "Hidden".

To change that folder back, follow the steps above and change the attribute back to its original form.


[5]  Virtual Memory:

Virtual memory is a common part of most operating systems on desktop computers. It has become so common because it provides a big benefit for users at a very low cost.

Most computers today have something like 64 or 128 megabytes of RAM (random-access memory) available for use by the CPU (central processing unit). Often, that amount of RAM is not enough to run all of the programs that most users expect to run at once. For example, if you load the Windows operating system, an e-mail program, a Web browser and word processor into RAM simultaneously, 64 megabytes is not enough to hold it all. If there were no such thing as virtual memory, your computer would have to say, "Sorry, you cannot load any more applications. Please close an application to load a new one." With virtual memory, the computer can look for areas of RAM that have not been used recently and copy them onto the hard disk. This frees up space in RAM to load the new application. Because it does this automatically, you don't even know it is happening, and it makes your computer feel like is has unlimited RAM space even though it has only 32 megabytes installed. Because hard-disk !
space is so much cheaper than RAM chips, virtual memory also provides a nice economic benefit.

The area of the hard disk that stores the RAM image is called a page file. It holds pages of RAM on the hard disk, and the operating system moves data back and forth between the page file and RAM. (On a Windows machine, page files have a .SWP extension.)

Of course, the read/write speed of a hard drive is much slower than RAM, and the technology of a hard drive is not geared toward accessing small pieces of data at a time. If your system has to rely too heavily on virtual memory, you will notice a significant performance drop. The key is to have enough RAM to handle everything you tend to work on simultaneously. Then, the only time you "feel" the slowness of virtual memory is in the slight pause that occurs when you change tasks. When you have enough RAM for your needs, virtual memory works beautifully. When you don't, the operating system has to constantly swap information back and forth between RAM and the hard disk. This is called thrashing, and it can make your computer feel incredibly slow.

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[6] Questions and Answers:
Generated from 5 Star Support


If I put a picture file on my desktop, then double click on it to open it, I get an error message "Program not found. Windows cannot find PictureViewer.exe.  This program is needed to open JPEG type image files.  Can you help me find "PictureViewer.exe" or tell me where I can get it?


Sure, PictureViewer.exe is part of the Quicktime 3.x version install on Win95
machines... (name changed from the viewer32.exe file of the 2.x versions) --
The Apple web site now offers version 5.0.

Downloading Quicktime will reinstall PictureViewer.exe back onto your system.

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I have set my appearance settings in control panel to customized colors. It allows you to "Save as" with a name, which I did; however, it does not show you where the scheme is being saved to. I would like to copy that scheme so that I may use it on my computer at home, as well as my laptop, but I cannot find a specific file to copy. Even the preinstalled schemes, e.g. brick, eggplant, wheat...etc., cannot be found. Can you help me locate these files?


Sure, look for the [Colors] section in Win.ini, highlight it, then copy
and paste it into a text file. Then you can put it on a floppy or copy it
to a server to be pasted into other machines.

You can find the win.ini section by going to:

Start> Run> type in: sysedit
close the windows until you are at the win.ini folder. Or click on the header labeled Win.INI to bring it to the front.

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In the properties windows of the C drive on my bosses computer at work, the pie chart shows all pink indicating 100% free space, but the text says 1GB used and 3GB free. It's not hurting anything, but why is this happening? Is there a way to fix it?


There is a known bug in the pie chart for Win95 for hard disks larger than 2GB, when there is more than 2GB of free space - it will read true as soon as you get below that.

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I would like to know if there is anyway to add additional colors to the Word 97 program?  It's getting pretty repetitive using the same 16.


Well, unfortunately you don't have any other options for text color in Word 97.  However, Word 2000 has the full color palette available for text as well as backgrounds. I recommend the upgrade, it's well worth it.

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On the first click, spell check returns an error message: "An error occurred while the spelling was being checked." On the second click it works perfectly. I have followed all of the instruction that I have found to resolve this issue from the MS Knowledge base.  Any other ideas?


Yes, I think I may know what the trouble is. If you are running McAfee virus scanner.  Shut it down and see if that solves your problem.  Sound a little strange?  I know it does, but McAfee has been tied to this issue.


[8] Netscape 6.1 Review:
   By Kevin Reichard

If you've not taken a peek at Netscape for a while, you may be surprised at the new look and feel associated with Netscape 6.1. And if you've been a loyal upgrader to Netscape over the years, you'll still find much to be pleased about in the new release.

We're really talking now about a product that is almost entirely built upon Mozilla code. In fact, the product upgrades to Netscape now appear like clockwork after earlier Mozilla releases. However, this version of Netscape actually looks and feels a lot better than the current Mozilla build, interestingly enough.

And it certainly looks and feels a lot better than Netscape 6, which wasn't regarded as being the best available browser under the sun. If you're one of those people who kept on using the 4.x line of Netscape Communicator because of Netscape 6's problems, you may want to consider an upgrade to 6.1. Much of the work done by the Mozilla developers of late has been devoted to bug fixes and productivity enhancements, and Netscape 6.1 is certainly the beneficiary of this development work. We looked at Netscape 6.1 running under both Microsoft Windows 98 and Red Hat Linux 7.1 (the other supported platform is Macintosh, which we did not review).

First off: This is not the Netscape of old. The aqua-themed interface has been cleaned up, with only four buttons (back, forward, reload, and stop) occupying the button bar next to the URL entry field. This allows slightly more room for the page rendering.

However, some of that real estate is lost to the "My Sidebar" area, which allows you to better organize your bookmarks and search results. (We'll cover it in more detail later.)

One immediate thing that all Netscape users will note: 6.1 is definitely the fastest version of Netscape in quite a while, both in loading and in viewing Web pages. Netscape 6.1 can now be set up for a fast loading in the same manner Internet Explorer is: basically, parts of both Web browsers are loaded into RAM when you boot your machine; this "Quick Launch" option is enabled during the Netscape installation process. (You do pay a penalty for this preloading, however: since part of Netscape is loaded when you boot your PC, it takes slightly longer to boot Windows.) Similarly, we noted that Web pages loaded faster in 6.1 than in 4.x versions of Netscape.

We put Netscape 6.1 through its paces by loading some challenging sites both from disk and from the network. For the most part, Netscape 6.1 managed to load and render pages that Netscape 4.x choked on, particularly Java-enabled pages that usually manage to trip up Internet Explorer 5.5 as well.

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[9]  Contact Information:

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