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I'm sorry about the "test" email earlier today. Since the newsletter is growing I needed to figure out a better way to keep track of the subscribers.
As of this writing we now have 202 subscribers to the PuterGeek.Com newsletter! Terry H. was subscriber number 200. Since this is a free newsletter there isn't a new car or anything....How about a free lifetime subscription Terry? <g>
Hello to all the new subscribers! I hope you'll like this newsletter. Feel free to go to the link below to view any of the previous newsletters.
If for any reason you decide it's not for you, please feel free to unsubscribe. If possible, I'd really like it if you could tell me why as well.
As most of you know I drive truck over the road. So I have my primary 'puter at the house and a laptop that goes with me on the road. Every time I come home I need to copy my email, address book, favorites, saved games (if any), and my password file to my desktop, then when I get ready to leave I have to copy it all back to the laptop.
So what's the point? I've found a weird bug in the current version of Outlook Express! I have about 300 addresses in my address book. I used to import from one 'puter to the other but the problem there is if you edit an entry (not the name) and then do the import to get all the new ones it won't import the changed entry. Also, if you delete an entry it won't delete it during the import.
So then I tried deleting the whole address book prior to the import. Guess what? Sometime after I exceeded 200+ entries when I did an import I would NOT end up with the same number of entries in both address books! I tried it going both directions...no difference! It is totally re-creatable!
So finally I ended up deleting it from one 'puter and copying it from the other 'puter, then renaming it to the correct name.
I thought I'd pass this on to all of you just in case any of you ever do the import/export thing. You may want to check to make sure nothing ever gets lost.
This is the first actual newsletter to go out under the new custom mail list system. If any of you get a extra copy please email me at email@example.com and let me know. During the test it appeared to work correctly. BTW... thanks for all the humorous replies you guys sent! And yes, the request for you to tell me if you DIDN'T get it was a little geek humor on my part.
So how many of you get caught by the "I love you" virus? No one here even saw it. In case any of you want to know what anti-virus software I use and prefer...It's Norton Anti-Virus by Symantec.
As for news on the home front...my lovely wife Amy decided to fall out of the truck again (only the second time in 12yrs) and she did a number on her wrist. We stopped in Dilly, TX (really!) and had her wrist examined at the local hospital. She got no care whatsoever until we showed proof of insurance! Good thing it wasn't a bad injury! After x-rays, the Doctor (intern?) decided it wasn't broken but may be dislocated and since he couldn't tell we would have to have her seen elsewhere.
The short version is it looks like a bad sprain...personally I think she did it so she won't have to wash the windshield for a few weeks. <grin>
Since I've always lived in larger cities the whole experience was kind of weird. I guess small towns aren't all they're cracked up to be.
There's a new poll on the website, plus a new page "Installing Software Correctly".
Take a look and see what you think.
Now, on with the good stuff!
From the Funnies http://users.erols.com/hmmd
The following is an example of why the English language is one of the most difficult languages to learn fluently:
* We polish the Polish furniture.
* He could lead, if he would get the lead out.
* A farm can produce produce.
* The dump was so full it had to refuse refuse.
* The Legionaire decided to desert in the desert.
* The present is a good time to present the present.
* At the Army base, a bass was painted on the head of a bass drum.
* The dove dove into the bushes.
* I did not object to the object.
* The insurance for the invalid was invalid.
* The bandage was wound around the wound.
* There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
* They were too close to the door to close it.
* The buck does funny things when the does are present.
* They sent a sewer down to stitch the tear in the sewer line.
* To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
* The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
* After a number of Novocain injections, my jaw got number.
* I shed a tear when I saw the tear in my clothes.
* I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
* How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?
* I spent last evening evening out a pile of dirt
Signs you've had too much of the 90's
1. You try to enter your password on the microwave.
2. You haven't played solitaire with real cards in years.
3. You have a list of 15 phone numbers to reach your family of 3.
4. You e-mail your buddy who works at the desk next to you.
5. You chat several times a day with a stranger from South America,
out you haven't spoken to your next door neighbor yet this year.
6. You buy a computer and a week later it is out of date.
7. Your reason for not staying in touch with friends is that they
do not have e-mail addresses.
8. You consider the U.S. Mail painfully slow and/or call it "snail
9. Your idea of being organized is multiple colored post-it notes.
10. You hear most of your jokes via email instead of in person.
11. When you go home after a long day at work you still answer the
phone in a business manner.
12. When you make phone calls from home, you accidentally insert a
"9" to get an outside line.
13. You've sat at the same desk for four years and worked for
three different companies.
14. Your company's welcome sign is attached with Velcro.
15. Your resume is on a diskette in your pocket.
16. You really get excited about a 1.7% pay rise.
17. You learn about your redundancy on the 11 o'clock news.
18. Your biggest loss from a system crash was when you lost all of
your best jokes.
19. Your supervisor doesn't have the ability to do your job.
20. Contractors outnumber permanent staff and are more likely to
get long-service awards.
21. Board members salaries are higher than all the Third World
countries annual budgets combined.
22. It's dark when you drive to and from work, even in the summer.
23. You know exactly how many days you've got left until you
24. Interviewees, despite not having the relevant knowledge or
experience, terminate the interview when told of the starting
25. You see a good looking, smart person and you know it must be a
26. Free food left over from meetings is your staple diet.
27. Your supervisor gets a brand-new state-of-the-art laptop with all
the latest features, while you have time to go for lunch while yours
28. Being sick is defined as you can't walk or you're in hospital.
29. You're already late on the assignment you just got.
30. There's no money in the budget for the five permanent staff
your department is short of, but they can afford four full-time
management consultants advising your boss's boss on strategy.
31. Vacation time is something you roll over to next year.
32. Every week another brown collection envelope comes around
because someone you DIDN'T EVEN KNOW WORKED THERE is leaving.
33. Your relatives and family describe your job as "works with
34. The only reason you recognize your kids is because their
pictures are on your desk.
35. You only have makeup for fluorescent lighting.
AND THE CLINCHERS ARE
36. You read this entire list, and kept nodding and smiling.
37. As you read this list, you think about forwarding it to your
"friends you send jokes to" e-mail group.
38. It crosses your mind that your jokes group may have seen this list
already, but you don't have time to check so you forward it anyway.
HOW TO DETERMINE IF TECHNOLOGY HAS TAKEN OVER YOUR LIFE
1. Your stationery is more cluttered than Warren Beatty's address book.
The letterhead lists a fax number, three e-mail addresses,
and your Web site URL. In essence, you have conceded that the
first page of any letter you write *is* letterhead.
2. You can no longer sit through an entire movie without having
at least one device on your body beep or buzz.
3. You need to fill out a form that must be typewritten, but you
can't because there isn't one typewriter in your house -- only
computers with laser printers.
4. You think of the gadgets in your office as "friends," but
you forget to send your father a birthday card.
5. You disdain people who use low Baud rates.
6. When you go into a computer store, you eavesdrop on a salesperson
talking with customers - and you butt in to correct him and spend the
next twenty minutes answering the customers' questions, while the
salesperson stands by silently, nodding his head.
7. You use the phrase "digital compression" in a conversation
without thinking how strange your mouth feels when you say it.
8. You constantly find yourself in groups of people to whom
you say the phrase "digital compression." Everyone understands
what you mean, and you are not surprised or disappointed that
you don't have to explain it.
9. You know Bill Gates' e-mail address, but you have to
look up your own social security number.
10. You stop saying "phone number" and replace it with
"voice number," since we all know the majority of phone lines
in any house are plugged into contraptions that talk to other
11. You sign Christmas cards by putting :-) next to your signature.
12. Off the top of your head, you can think of nineteen
keystroke symbols that are far more clever than J.
13. You back up your data every day, and keep more than one copy.
14. You think jokes about being unable to program a VCR are stupid.
15. On vacation, you are reading a computer manual and
turning the pages faster than everyone else who is reading
John Grisham novels.
16. The thought that a CD could refer to finance or
music rarely enters your mind.
17. You are able to argue persuasively that Ross Perot's
phrase "electronic town hall" makes more sense than
the term "information superhighway," but you don't because,
after all, the man still uses hand-drawn pie charts.
18. You know the URL's of all your favorite Web sites,
and that your memo files are in
But you cannot give someone directions to your house without
looking up the street names.
19. You would rather get more dots per inch than miles per gallon.
20. You become upset when a person calls you on the
phone to sell you something, but you think it's okay
for a computer to call and demand that you start pushing
buttons on your telephone to receive more information
about the product it is selling.
21. You know without a doubt that disks come in five-and-a-quarter and
three-and-a-half inch sizes.
22. Al Gore strikes you as an "intriguing" fellow.
23. You own a set of itty-bitty screw-drivers and
you actually know where they are.
24. While contemporaries swap stories about their
recent hernia surgeries, you compare mouse-induced
index-finger strain with a nine-year-old.
25. You are so knowledgeable about technology that you
feel secure enough to say "I don't know" when someone asks
you a technology question instead of feeling compelled to
make something up.
26. You rotate your screen savers more frequently than your automobile
27. You have a functioning home copier machine, but your
toaster turns bread into charcoal.
28. You have ended friendships because of "IBM vs. Mac" disputes.
29. You understand all the jokes in this message.
If so, my friend, technology has taken over your life.
We suggest, for your own good, that you go lie under a
tree and write a haiku. And don't use a laptop.
30. You email this message to your friends over the net.
You'd never get around to showing it to them in person or
reading it to them on the phone.
In fact, you have probably never met most of these people face-to-face.
From Microsoft www.microsoft.com
NEW XBOX WEB SITE: A SNEAK PEEK INTO THE FUTURE
Microsoft's upcoming Xbox promises to catapult electronic gaming into the stratosphere. Right now, the new Web site features the latest Xbox news and specs, cool videos and
animations, fun interactive polls, downloadable wallpaper, links to fan sites, industry quotes, and much more.
To help protect you against most viruses spread via attachments in e-mail, Microsoft has introduced a significant security enhancement for Outlook(r), the Outlook 98/2000 E-mail
Security Update. Find out everything you need to know to keep your computer safe:
MICROSOFT IS PAVING THE WAY FOR ENHANCED TV
The upcoming Microsoft TV platform blends software productivity with the familiar face and function of television. Take a glimpse into the future when multiplayer gaming, shopping,
e-mail, video-on-demand, personalized viewing and Internet access are packaged into one convenient TV-top unit.
From Neat Net Tricks http://www.neatnettricks.com/
QUICK BOOKMARK. You don't need to actually visit a Web page to
bookmark it. You can just right click on a link and select Add
Bookmark if you are using Netscape Communicator or Add to Favorites
if you're using Microsoft Internet Explorer. This will add the site
to your bookmarks or favorites list to visit later at your
PHONE SPELL. Want to add a touch of class and associate your
telephone number with words (you know, such as 1-WHY-NOT-SURF)? Head
over to Phone Spell at http://www.phonespell.org and enter your number
for some possible combinations.
From Windows Insider www.winmag.com
MICROSOFT DELIVERS WINDOWS ME RC-1
Microsoft has released Windows Me RC-1 (Release Candidate 1) --
also known as build 2525.6 -- to beta testers. The code was
posted for FTP-download on Wednesday of last week, and Microsoft
decided last Friday to call it RC-1 and ship it out on disc. Some
testers report the new build is more stable, and that Microsoft
has asked them to focus on Windows Media Player, Movie Maker,
System Restore, and several types of installation scenarios.
I've literally *just* received build 2525 of Windows Me (not
quite RC-1) and I'll report any changes or differences you should
know about. The build I'm currently running on five test machines
is 2513, and it has held together solidly for me.
So what does the faster than expected release of RC-1 portend
about Windows Me's eventual release date? It doesn't mean
anything for certain, but it's a positive sign. Conceivably,
Microsoft could "go gold" (freeze coding changes) as early as the
end of June, which would mean you'd probably see Windows Me on
store shelves in force by the end of August. In that scenario,
some new Windows Me PCs could be on sale by mid July. But the
timing really depends upon how many bugs Microsoft steps on over
the coming weeks, and how badly the company wants to hustle the
operating system out the door.
Because this will probably be the last version of Windows 9x, I'm
hoping Microsoft will take an extra couple of weeks to test,
refine, and squash bugs. My hunch is still that Windows Me will
go gold sometime in July, and a broad in-store presence by around
the middle of September. This excerpt from an e-mail Microsoft
sent its beta testers last Friday shines some light on the issue.
Bear in mind, though, the development team doesn't always know
when the code will ship either:
"We'll be spinning out final Release Candidate builds fast and
furious to provide you with the most up-to-date builds with fixed
issues - do not be surprised if you see multiple RCs in a week
instead of the regular build once a week ... To clarify further
based on some recent reports and questions: we are past requests
for more third party drivers, we are past new feature requests,
we are past cosmetic issues like picking Tahoma instead of Times
New Roman on some screens ... the world is clamoring for the
product, let us know the crucial stuff so we can ship a great
product in time for this holiday season!"
And that's the bottom line, folks. Microsoft has to ship by late
September or so because that's when PC makers, peripheral makers,
software companies, and retailers make their decisions about
holiday offerings. The operating system has to lead the charge,
not follow it. On the other hand, there are no brownie points for
being early -- especially if the product has problems.
--- Area of Concern ---
One area of concern with Windows Me that I'm hearing from a
number of sources is that it doesn't contain a broad enough
hardware driver set to make clean-installing the operating system
as certain a process as was the case when Windows 98 first
shipped. In other words, when you install Windows Me as an
upgrade of Win98, it imports the "unknown" drivers that are
already installed. All versions of Windows 9x do this. This could
actually make the upgrade installation of Win-Me more reliable
(at least, at first) than the clean-install upgrade.
Winmag.com will continue to recommend clean installations,
however. The caveat will be that, as with Windows 2000, you're
going to need to download the latest version of your critical
drivers (networking and video, for example) from the hardware
maker's site in advance of a clean install, and have them
available on floppy disk. Then after installation, Device Manager
will become your new best buddy as you check it to make sure that
all your devices are properly configured.
As soon as Win-Me goes gold, Winmag.com will begin serious clean
installation testing, and we'll report on it both in our final
review of Windows Me, and also a forthcoming Essential Guide to
Installing Windows Me.
By the way, we just released a new Essential Guide story on
Installing Windows 2000 Server:
--- 'Fast Boot' for Win-Me ---
In other Windows Me news this week, Microsoft announced that it
has released 'Fast Boot' support in Windows Me. Dell is the first
PC maker to deliver a Fast Boot PC. When combined with Fast Boot
hardware like Dell's, Microsoft says Windows Me will provide
faster system boot times of 30 seconds or less. In fact, to be
called a 'Fast Boot' PC, a system must boot in 30 seconds or
Microsoft made changes in this version of Windows including
system registry improvements and the removal of real mode to
support Fast Boot. In addition, the company provided a boot-time-
measurement tool for computer manufacturers to help enable a true
"fast boot" PC. The tool will help computer manufacturers
identify which drivers and devices provide optimal boot-time
performance on any given PC configuration.
It should be noted that the 30-second threshold would be the boot
time of your PC when new. Both hardware and software that you
might add to your PC -- including networking layers -- could
significantly add to your boot times.
According to a Microsoft press release, Dell intends to introduce
a Fast Boot-enabled Dimension PC by the end of this year, when
Windows Millennium Edition is scheduled to be available.
For detailed information about the Fast Boot specification:
From Woody's Office Watch www.wopr.com
. SR-1 OVERVIEW AND CONCLUSION
Office 2000 Service Release 1 (SR-1) is a collection of bug
fixes for all versions of Office 2000 (including the
standalone programs like Word 2000, Excel 2000 etc) plus
Works Suite 2000 (which has Word 2000 in it). With one
minor exception (that won't affect most people) there are
no new features in this update.
Microsoft used to release Office Service Releases in a
half-hearted way with little fanfare and a less than strong
recommendation. That has now changed, and while you won't
see full-page ads for SR-1, the company is strongly
recommending that all Office 2000 users get the update to
Office and the related updates for Windows and Internet
Here at WOW we've been talking with Microsoft about this
update since last year. As WOW has been the most vocal
critic of Office SR's it has been pleasing to see some
improvements based on our suggestions and feedback from our
thousands of readers around the world.
We agree with Microsoft that Office 2000 users should get
SR-1a. While none of the bug fixes may seem immediately
applicable to you, it's a case of preventative medicine to
cover yourself before a problem arises. As we'll see below,
not all the fixes are listed in the Knowledge Base.
There's a practical element to this as well. If you call
Technical Support with a difficult problem you are likely
to be sent away with advice to get SR-1 etc and see if that
helps. That may be good advice or it could be a support
person fobbing you off. So it's better to preempt this
tactic by having SR-1a in the first place. According to
Microsoft, installing Service Releases is advice "only
given if it will solve the customer's problem" but I'm sure
there are thousands of Microsoft customers who have
experiences to show that there's a difference between
corporate theory and daily practice.
The downside is that we're still a long way from an ideal
path for updating Office. It's not such a simple or
painless process as Microsoft would like to pretend. So
this special issue of WOW will try to help you navigate the
rocks and shoals of updating Office 2000.
Originally Microsoft released SR-1 but it had some
installation problems and so this week SR-1a was unveiled.
We've held off this special issue of WOW until the second
attempt was made public.
We tried hard to put together a snappy, succinct,
point-by-point, short list of what most people need to do
in order to install Office 2000 SR-1, and survive to tell
Guess what? We couldn't do it.
There are too many twists and turns - too many gotchas - to
boil it all down to five (or ten or fifteen) steps. SR-1 is
an important upgrade for all Office 2000 users.
Unfortunately, it isn't an easy one. Sadly you can't just
download the update and install it - we wish it were that
So here's our best try at explaining the why's and
wherefores of the SR-1 patch, along with a list of all the
problems we've seen, and how to overcome those problems.
Installing SR-1 is well worth the hassles. Good luck!
WHAT'S IN OFFICE 2000 SR-1A
The bug fixes themselves are mostly unremarkable. Office
2000 despite its faults is a lot more stable and reliable
than previous versions of Office. Here are some highlights
quoted from Microsoft's long list of fixes:
- Incorrect SectionPages or NumPages Field When Printed
- NumPages Field Prints Incorrect Results
- CPU usage Increases when using Word as your e-mail editor
- Text Boxes and Other Elements Created in Word 97 Change
Position in Word 2000
- Error Message "Word Cannot Complete the Save" When You
Save Document Opened in Internet Explorer
- Cross-References, Captions, and Numbering Are Incorrect
- Properties of Style Incorrect When You Use Organizer to
- Word Hangs When You Click Hyperlink in Outlook RTF
- Cannot Suppress the Word Startup Splash Screen
- Incorrect conversions from Word 6/95 to Word 2000,
including heading styles with bullets and numbers,
vertical table borders, table row and column numbering.
- Automatic hyphenation now works correctly.
- ActiveX controls in a workbook release memory after
opening or closing.
- Changing to a chart selection of XY Scatter to another
chart type works as expected
- Correctly displays rotating axis labels on a scatter
- Correctly handles defined names (aka range names) of
- Correctly handles workbooks that are linked through
VLOOKUP or HLOOKUP.
- Ensures that auditing arrows work as expected
- Correctly prints multiple copies of a two slides per page
print job ending on an odd page
Several "fixes" for copy/paste/resize problems have been
- Correctly sizes grouped Excel objects.
- Opens Word objects without resizing them.
Several "fixes" to a new feature in PowerPoint - broadcast
presentations - have been implemented:
- Allows broadcast of archived presentations from
nonOutlook clients; ignores time data.
- Correctly loads and registers audio and video codecs for
- Broadcast caching works as expected.
- VBS File Attachment Runs Without Saving to Disk. This
could lead to virus infection via email so the change in
SR-1 is welcome, however overdue.
- Symantec Fax Stops Working After Upgrading to Windows
- Symantec Fax Starter Edition Is Not Installed on NT4 SP5
- Attachments Missing When Message Is Received
- Outlook Stops Responding When Using the Quick Find
- Plain Text Messages Word Wrap Incorrectly When Printed
- Repair/Reinstallation Starts Unexpectedly
- New 020 London Area Code Interpreted as Country Code for
(Note - the list of Outlook 2000 fixes is distressingly
small. I dunno who Microsoft thinks they are fooling, but
it's not users of Outlook)
- Publisher Cannot Continue Printing Because of an Error
- Error Message When You Save Publication As a Publisher 98
There are also fixes for Office and Frontpage server
extensions plus Office setup and interaction.
There are NO fixes for Photodraw because it has been
superceded by Photodraw 2000 v2 that's available separately
- see below for details.
Windows 2000 users may note the high prevalence of fixes
related to the new operating system. That's no surprise
given that Office 2000 came out long before Windows 2000.
It makes SR-1A more imperative for Windows 2000 users.
Some of the fixes have been previously available and are
now included in SR-1A such as the previously released
security updates Excel 2000 SYLK File Security Update and
Worm.Explore.Zip (Pack) Virus Alert.
You can see a complete list of SR-1a fixes in a spreadsheet
from the Microsoft web site
and for those of us who are interested in such details it's
interesting reading. It confirms the long-held belief that
Service Releases include more changes than those shown in
the Microsoft Knowledge Base. Microsoft says that not all
changes warrant a Knowledge Base article as documentation,
though this is a policy that we totally disagree with.
There may not be anything suspicious in this, but the list
certainly does intrigue. For example, what does "Removed
politically sensitive terms" mean in practice? Microsoft
says that the changes relate to "spell checker or grammar
checker unintentionally treating words differently in
different circumstances or languages. To include these
terms verbatim in the spreadsheet would serve no purpose
other than to offend the same group of folks that were
originally offended." We understand this is a sensitive
matter but feel that it is always better to err on the side
of disclosure. The changes may have some unintended side
effect and without proper documentation will be harder for
a customer to track down. Setting out changes will also
publicly re-assure those people who were offended that
Microsoft has taken remedial measures.
Other undocumented changes really need more information.
Those who work intensively with fonts need to know what
"Updates most fonts to include euro character and
corrections to Lucida font." Wordmail users would like to
know what "Corrected shortcut keys for WordMail." means.
Mail Merge is a regular topic of complaints, so it's a
shame we don't know more about "Uses the actual number of
contacts to create e-mail messages with Mail Merge.".
Microsoft is making efforts to better document its Service
Releases, but there's a way to go.
4. THE ONLY ADDITION TO OFFICE 2000
The only 'new feature' in Office 2000 SR-1 is the inclusion
of an enhanced and improved email security through the
Using S/MIME3 isn't easy or straightforward. You won't
find an 'S/MIME3' option on any Outlook menu. According to
Microsoft, S/MIME3 was included in SR-1 at the request of
government departments, military and large companies who
need a high level and certified type of encryption. S/MIME
3 is a core requirement of the U.S. Government Medium
Assurance Messaging standard. The enhanced encryption and
security features of SR-1 require Windows 2000.
Officially, Microsoft doesn't consider S/MIME3 a 'new
feature', which is why the corporate line is that SR-1 has
no new features. Others have argued that it is a new
feature. Any way you look at it S/MIME3 is in SR-1A but
it's not something most people need to worry about - the
existing encryption in Outlook 2000 is sufficient for most
If you install the full Outlook 2000 SR-1 product, the new
security features are installed automatically. However, if
you apply the Outlook 2000 SR-1 update to an existing
Outlook 2000 installation, you need to install an "Updated
128 Bit Encryption Provider for Outlook 2000 SR1" that is
on the SR-1a CD and is also available from
In addition you have to create a new registry key to enable
the S/MIME3 features.
If you want or need to get S/MIME3 then you should read all
the details that are in
which has all the information including the registry
THE NEW PATCHING TECHNOLOGY
Both a benefit and concern in Office 2000 SR-1a is the new
method Microsoft has of converting your existing Office
2000 into the SR-1 version.
In the past you had a simple 'patch' or update file. You
downloaded that file and ran it on your computer. It
either replaced or changed the existing program to become
the updated version.
If you ever had to reinstall all or part of the original
program, you had to remember to reapply the patch.
Otherwise you had a mix of old and new files that may not
Office 2000 SR-1a is the first major use of the Windows
Installer technology to update a program. In the first
place the Installer does the same thing as previous patches
- it replaces or changes existing files to the new form.
But it goes beyond that. The Windows Installer sits with
Windows watching any time you try to work with the programs
it controls. If something goes wrong (like a missing file
or bad setting) the Installer will try to fix it for you
automatically. Once you have loaded SR-1, those changes
become part of the Installer.
The SR-1a data file is kept in a hidden directory
(/Windows/Installer) by the Installer after the initial
patch has been installed and whenever you try to repair or
install to that computer in future it will integrate the
original CD files with the SR-1a update automatically. You
don't have to remember to re-apply the patch - the
Installer will do it automatically for you.
It's a great idea and curiously not properly explained by
Microsoft, leading to much confusion among those of us who
need to know the inner workings. For the average user it's
quite seamless and logical. For more technical or curious
users you can read more about the Windows Installer at
There are downsides, as always
* The patch has to sit on your hard drive. In the case of
Office 2000 SR-1 that's a 26MB file. Some people may
object to that, but in a time of 6GB plus hard drives as
standard it's not a biggie.
* The original source files (usually the Office 2000 CD)
are required by Windows Installer. The system compares
and verifies the files on the hard drive with the CD copy
before applying any SR-1a changes.
* There's an element of mystery about it. Microsoft has put
the data files in a hidden directory, presumably to stop
innocent tampering. On the other hand it's hard for
knowledgeable users to work out what is happening. The
data files are not clearly labeled so it's difficult to
work out which programs they are related to.
* The hidden nature of the data files makes it difficult to
know where and what should be transferred to a new
This is the first time that the Windows Installer has been
used for a large scale updating of a program (merging
existing files with new updates) and this is a reason for
us to be cautious. We've already seen some problems with
the process and certainly reasonable misunderstandings by
Our concern is heightened by what we consider a flawed beta
process. The first SR-1 beta did not use the Windows
Installer at all, even though the setup of SR's has been
the cause of most problems in the past. The second beta
did use the Installer but unfortunately many of the
concerns of testers were overlooked. There was no 'release
candidate' beta. All these mistakes led to the release of
yet another faulty Service Release installation for Office
That's why we suggested caution to WOW readers in getting
SR-1 as soon as it was released. That caution has been
warranted by the events since SR-1 was made available.
AUTO UPDATE CONCERNS
With the release of SR-1a, Microsoft is pushing the new
'Auto Update' feature. This is similar to the Windows
Update web site that will check your system and suggest
updates for you to install.
I'm inclined to recommend that WOW readers stay away from
Office Auto Update at the moment. It is largely untested
technology from a company that has not managed to release a
stable and reliable Office update at the first attempt for
many years. Given that track record it would be foolish
for a prudent Office user to let Microsoft update their
It's like giving the lunatics the keys to the asylum and
giving then renovation rights as well.
As we write this Office 2000 users can go to
http://www.officeupdate.com/info/autoupdate.htm and it will
list SR-1 plus other security updates that have previously
been mentioned in WOW. SR-1a is misleadingly shown as a
mere 134kb download, but that's just the initial file with
no mention of the 26MB to follow!
You can use Auto Update as a reference to make sure you
have the latest patches installed, however we're wary of
recommending that you allow the web site to directly update
your copy of Office. Instead stick to downloading the
patches and installing them separately.
Microsoft bravado aside, the disgusting history of botched
Service Releases (Office 2000 SR-1 included) inclines us to
be very wary of any 'innovations'. Since repeated promises
about improvements in the SR's have been extremely hollow
we'd prefer to wait until Microsoft's deeds match their
THE CASE OF THE 'MISSING' CD-ROM
This behind the scenes merging of new and old program files
also leads to one of the most curious bugs in SR-1. Once
you have installed the update, Windows Installer considers
that you have the Office 2000 SR-1 source files and in a
practical sense you have.
However if you are prompted for the Office 2000 CD it now
asks for 'Office 2000 SR-1 CD'. Naturally you don't have
such a CD - you have the original files on CD plus the
SR-1a patch on your hard drive - the Installer will merge
This misleading request has stopped many people, making
them think the Installer has gone wrong. It hasn't, and
you can insert your original Office 2000 CD (despite the
message) and it will work.
Another part of the same problem is that the message
doesn't tell you which CD to insert. You get messages like
'Insert Office 2000 SR-1 Premium CD' - but there are four
CD's in that package! In practice you can usually work out
which CD you need by figuring out which programs you're
changing and looking at the product list on each CD label.
It's a pity that such a useful feature of the Windows
Installer and SR-1a itself should be undermined by a lack
of attention to simple and easily fixed details.
WHAT TO DO BEFORE GETTING SR-1
Before getting Office 2000 SR-1a in any form you need to
make sure you have everything you need to make it happen
Firstly, you must have the original Office 2000 CD you
purchased. The Windows Installer needs to check your
existing Office 2000 files against the CD originals before
applying the SR-1a changes.
For most people this isn't a problem, but occasionally some
hardware makers do not supply the Office 2000 CD when they
bundle it with a new computer. Microsoft says you should
contact the computer maker (OEM) to get a set of Office
2000 CD's. Good luck, for based on the past experience of
WOW readers you'll have trouble finding someone who knows
what you're talking about and then chances are the company
will insist on charging you. If they want your money, keep
your wallet in your pocket and complain. Charging for
something you need to properly update Office 2000 just
isn't fair. According to Microsoft "OEMs are required by
our license to supply the CDROM for Office 2000."
Secondly, you should update the Windows Installer to
version 1.1. Originally this was done as a seamless part
of the SR-1a update, but it's now suggested as a separate
Windows 2000 users already have Installer 1.1 and so don't
need to do anything.
Windows 98 and Windows 95 users should download
Windows NT 4 users download
Thirdly you need to update your copy of Windows so it can
make full use of all the SR-1a changes.
This can be done at any time, but even Microsoft recommends
you update Windows first.
The following updates are posted on http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com
- vCard update for Office 2000 SR-1 (non Win2000)
- non-Gregorian Calendar update for Office 2000 SR-1 (non-Win2000)
- the Windows 2000 update packages for vCard, OleAut,
msjet40.dll, and riched20.dll
Lastly make a backup of your computer system and Office
2000 settings. This should not be necessary in a perfect
world (and thus isn't suggested by Microsoft). But we
consider it a prudent step before any major system or
If you wish you can also make a copy of all your Office
2000 settings using the Profile Wizard. This is available
as part of the Office Resource Kit toolkit downloadable
The jury is out on Microsoft's new 'Save my Settings'
option which will save your Office 2000 settings to the
Microsoft web site. We suggest you read the report in WOW
#5.17 before using it.
HOW TO GET SR-1a
There are various ways to get and install SR-1a, and what
you do depends on how many computers you have Office 2000
on and your type of Internet connection.
Everyone can get the update either by downloading it from
the Internet or ordering a free CD from Microsoft that has
the same files (plus some more) on it.
On balance, the update CD is the best option for most
people. You don't need a connection to the Internet and,
more importantly, you don't have to download all 26MB of
SR-1 all over again.
SINGLE / STANDALONE USERS
If you only have one or two computers then you can apply
the SR-1a update either from the web or from the update CD.
DOWNLOADING THE PATCH
To get it direct from the web, visit
or via the web page
and you'll download a small program that will work out what
is required for your computer. Depending on what is
already installed, you may also get the option to update
Internet Explorer to version 5.01.
Then the download will begin. For Office 2000 SR-1a alone
this will be a 26MB file. Microsoft, to their credit, have
a step-by-step guide to the update process at
including screen shots.
With such a large file transfer there are bound to be
people who get disconnected in that time. In our tests the
ability of the SR-1a download system to recover where an
aborted download left off is unreliable at best.
If your Internet connection is broken you'll get a warning
message asking if you want to retry the download or not.
Leave that dialog box open and reconnect to the Internet,
then click on 'Retry'. Depending on your luck the download
may resume where it left off, or it may start over again.
If the updating / download SR-1a program is cancelled or
stops then it won't be able to resume the download - so
make sure you leave it running between net connections.
It's a great pity that SR-1a isn't broken into smaller
files instead of one large 26MB monster. An update file in
separate chunks would make downloading easier to recover
After download your system will take 5-10 minutes to update
to the SR-1a version of Office 2000. Then you'll be
prompted to re-boot your computer.
See OTHER UPDATES FOR SR-1 below for details on other
updates you need to get in addition to the main SR-1
ALTERNATIVE PATCH DOWNLOAD
The automated SR-1a update system may not suit everyone.
Some of us like to get the patch and install it later.
Others need to update multiple computers without doing a
download for each computer or update computers that are not
connected to the Internet at all. This patch can also be
used by administrators to update Office 2000.
For those people Microsoft has provided an 'downloadable
patch' which can be downloaded from
It contains all the components needed for an SR-1 upgrade
* The same patch that you get from the direct download (data1.msp)
* Separate administrator updates for Office 2000 Disc 2 (Data2.msp)
* FrontPage Server Extensions (Fpse.msp)
* Office Server Extensions (Ows.msp)
* Access runtime master (art.msp)
The catch is that the administrative patch is a whopping
52MB (compared to 27MB for the direct download file). But
at least the choice is there.
BEWARE A MICROSOFT BEARING GIFTS
In last week's issue of WOW we passed along the late
breaking news that Microsoft was releasing an Outlook
Security Patch in an attempt to cover some of holes starkly
revealed in the latest round of virus scares. We took
Microsoft at their word about the patch, as did many other
media outlets, and guess what - we were taken for suckers.
There's a lot more to the proposed security patch than what
Microsoft revealed in their press release. The company
knew at the time they made that announcement that the patch
would break many third-party programs that link into the
Outlook Address Book. Most notably was synchronization
with Palm organizers, but unsurprisingly it doesn't affect
Windows CE devices
Microsoft knew that when they made the announcement about
the patch, but failed to even hint at it in their press
release. As a result, we're not the only place where
you'll see news of the Outlook Security Patch and we'll
tell you shortly about the problems.
Barry Simon, the Outlook Original, has all the details of
the problems with the patch below. Suffice it to say that
we're sorry that we took a Microsoft press release at face
value, for we should know better after all these years.
At this stage the patch is in beta form, and the final
release of the update has been delayed presumably because
Microsoft has discovered the hard way that their proposed
quick fix was more trouble than it's worth.
If and when the Outlook Security Patch is released we
suggest that you treat it with great caution, for the cure
might be worse than the disease. Email security is a
serious matter that deserves both a serious and open
approach by Microsoft. After it is released we'll closely
look at it and its consequences and give you the pros and
cons here in WOW.
From the Langalist www.langa.com
) Finding And Fixing "Resource Leaks"
I get a lot of mail like this:
Fred, I'm running Win98 SE, 128K RAM, and notice that my
'system resources' level is constantly draining to a low
level (starts at 70%, goes as low as 14% with only 1 or 2
apps running). Is this something to be concerned about? I've
found some freeware apps that promise to help:
http://www.freewareplus.com/95docs/memman.htm I would
appreciate an article on this subject, along with
recommended remedies, if appropriate.---John Byers
I certainly can sympathize with John, and you probably can too. No
matter how much physical RAM you have in your system, it's still
possible to run out of System Resources. When that happens, one of
three things occurs:
1. You may get an error message such as "Out of memory" or
"Not enough memory to display completely" or "System
Resources are running low."
2. Or, your system may begin to behave weirdly by doing
things such as opening blank or garbled windows, refusing to
respond to keystrokes or mouse clicks, and the like.
3. Or, your system may simply crash and burn.
In each case, your only remedy is a reboot. (Hope you saved your data
So what's really going on? What can you do to prevent it from
happening? And do those freeware apps that John mentioned (and others
like them) really help? Let's take it a step at a time:
The "System Resources" that John's letter mentioned are two very
specific memory areas inside Windows: User Resources and GDI (Graphics
Device Interface ) Resources. You can think of these areas as
scratchpads---actually, internal tables and pointers---that Windows
uses to keep track of running applications.
The User area contains information about all the apps and windows
currently running, including dialog boxes, the controls in dialog
boxes, and so on. In fact, every DLL your apps use gets its own data
area in the User section. Loosely speaking, the more things you ask
your computer to do at once, the more heavily used your User area
The GDI area keeps track of the things Windows uses to draw what you
see on screen: For example, there are things called pens, brushes,
fonts, bitmaps, regions, and palettes. Roughly speaking, the more
graphical objects you have on-screen---windows, icons, wallpapers,
etc.---the more heavily used your GDI area becomes.
Both resource areas are of a fixed size regardless of how much RAM you
have---and that's the problem. If you run too many things at once or
have too many graphical objects displayed at once, you can deplete the
User or GDI area. When that happens, you get the error messages
mentioned earlier, or weird behavior, or a crash.
This week's "Explorer" column at WinMag.Com has tons more information
on "resource leaks" including which versions of Windows are most
vulnerable (and why!), and what you can do about it. Plus, I'll show
you two different (and FREE) ways you can track resources on your
system and identify which applications you may have that are
I'll also tell you about some free and low-cost tools and utilities
that claim to plug the leaks caused by other apps, and recover memory
that otherwise would be wasted or lead to crashes. I'm in the middle
of testing a bunch of those apps now; the full report on the results
of my tests will appear in Part Two of this topic, which will appear
in my next WinMag column.
If you suffer from mysterious crashes or "out of memory" messages when
you know you should have plenty of RAM available, these columns may
have the answer you need. Click on over to http://www.winmag.com, and
look for the Explorer column on "Resource Leaks, Part One" starting
midday (EST; UT-5) on May 22, 2000!
I haven't written about the daily Web HotSpots page (see
http://www.browsertune.com/flanga/hotspots.htm ) in a while, but the
page is refreshed every day, 365 days a year; and each HotSpot
selection is a site I've personally found useful, interesting,
clever, weird, or otherwise NOT run of the mill. You never know what
the HotSpot will be--- but I promise to always make it interesting!
For example, here's a small sample of a few recent HotSpots:
Nice idea---useful, too.
A triumph of style over substance.
Talk about oversimplification!
Is cyberspace in the material world?
Yikes! 1940s radio returns---on the web!
Good stuff, especially for newbies.
Worth reading no matter what version of Windows you have
Sequel to the National Lampoon---funny? Stupid? You decide.
Good info, but a pretty poor presentation.
Someone watching your keystrokes?
Registry-hacking for profit and fun.
Ouch---cruel stuff. (But some of it is very funny!)
If you're not checking out HotSpots, you're missing something
interesting, every day! Give it a shot at
NOTE: I just had to put the above in...Peter
From Lockergnome www.lockergnome.com
NetControl v2.4 [1.8M] W9x FREE
"NetControl is a Windows Network utility for Windows systems, which replaces both NetWatcher and WinPopup. NetControl includes a LAN IP address scanner, a mail system compatible with WinPopup (with enhancements), a way to temporarily disable shares (desharing), user banning (banning lists), network activity logging, a log analyzer and probably some more (I've forgotten). Please note that this will not run on Windows NT. Disable/enable selected shares quickly, ban users from your system, etc.."
ActivePerl v188.8.131.523 [8.2M] W9x/NT/2k FREE
"ActiveState provides the ActivePerl binary packages free to the community as part of its support for Perl. Based on Perl 5.6, ActivePerl is a significantly enhanced distribution as it encompasses the new features available in Perl. As well, the Windows package provides additional features to take advantage of that platform: globalization and Unicode, concurrent interpreters, granularity of warnings, new regex constructs, subroutine attributes, and additional documentation and tutorials."
That's all for now!
Peter Crockett - webmaster
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