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Scot’s Newsletter

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March 20, 2002 - Vol. 2, Issue No. 23

By Scot Finnie

IN THIS ISSUE

  • Multibooting Win XP with Other Windows
  • Rant of the Week: Unpopular Advice
  • NTFS Part IV: Tying up Loose Ends
  • SFNL Reader Poll: Who's the Best Web Host?
  • Product Beat: Tzo's Dynamic DNS Client v2.0
  • What's Cooking in the SFNL Labs
  • Q&A
  • Email Explorations, Part III
  • Tried and True Products: Ad-aware 5.62
  • Link of the Week: Spywareinfo.com
  • Tip of the Week: Extend Recovery Console's Power
  • You Say Tomato ...
  • Subscribe, Unsubscribe, or Change Your Address.

    PROGRAM NOTE: Cyndy couldn't edit the newsletter this week, so if there are more errors than usual ... sue me. ;-)

    Multibooting Windows XP with Other Windows
    I'm hearing from several quarters that a whole lot of people out there want to run both Windows 98 or Me and Windows XP on one machine -- but they're struggling with this. In fact, I've received messages from and read posts by people who say they tried Windows XP and they're going back to Windows 98 or Me. Chief among the people struggling are people who've never used NT, 2000, or XP before who got XP on a new PC they bought over the last four or five months.

    The ironic part is that, for those who want to create a multiple-boot environment, XP should be relatively painless. Windows NT, 2000, and XP are all capable of automatically configuring multiple-boot in that setting as part of their installation routines. Microsoft even has a Knowledgebase article that details how to configure multiple-boot with DOS, Windows 95 or 98, NT, 2000, and XP (Q217210). (Thanks to SFNL reader Greg Ritter for pointing out to me that this Microsoft KB article had disappeared, and to Microsoft for agreeing to resurrect it.)

    But there's one serious gotcha: This only works if you install Win9x first. For the record, after that, just make sure you have an empty disk partition available, perform a clean install (with Windows XP, just boot to your Windows XP CD), and follow the onscreen menus.

    Unfortunately, people who buy new Windows XP machines don't have Win9x on their systems first; they have XP. And there are a couple of problems with that. There's no after-the-fact multiple-boot configuration option in Windows XP. One solution might be to wipe the drive, install Win9x, then install Windows XP again, but some new PC owners don't have the stuff they need to install Windows XP again -- never mind a Windows XP CD they can hold in their hands. (Note: Some PC makers do make it possible to clean install Windows XP on your hard drive, either from a hidden drive partition or a Recovery CD. But read the fine print very carefully. In some cases they wipe your drive as part of the process.)

    So what can you do about this? Where there's a will, there's a way. Although I haven't tried it with Windows XP, I believe it is possible to fiddle around with your Windows XP installation and graft a Windows 9x installation into a second partition. (And if you have the steps written out, or you've seen them printed somewhere, let me know about it. I'll test them and either publish them or print a link to them in a future issue of this newsletter.) But there is another way: Using a boot manager utility.

    The most well-known boot manager is V-Com's System Commander 7, which supports all flavors of Windows as well as Linux and more. It provides a wizard to help step you through the process, and a configurable boot menu. You can also back out of a multiple-boot configuration with System Commander. System Commander 7 costs about $55 (Buy.com).

    PartitionMagic 7.0, which also costs about $55 (Buy.com), comes bundled with a utility called BootMagic that does the job, although not as easily or as flexibly as System Commander does.

    BootIt NG earns two mentions in this issue of the newsletter. This $30 shareware product could be just the ticket for solving this problem. I haven't tested it for this purpose. But it does have the advantage of having a full-featured downloadable 30-day trial option. If you decide to keep it, be sure to pay the author the $30 licensing fee. I've used BootIt NG enough to know that it's uninstallable, which is a good starting point for experimentation.

    Even with the best utilities to help you, configuring multiple operating systems on one hard drive isn't a trivial pursuit. Please take my advice: 1. Read the docs thoroughly before you act. 2. Consider getting a knowledgeable friend to help you. Back up your disk in advance. Despite the fact that it's possible to set up more than one operating system in a single disk partition, do not do this. Set up your disk so that you have a separate partition and logical drive for each operating system you add. With a little self education and planning, you can make your PC a lot more usable. For what it's worth, my main PC is running both Windows XP and Windows 98 Second Edition.

    Multiboot Resources
    Microsoft provides online information about multi-booting Windows that you might want to consult. These Microsoft KB articles are similar to the one Greg Ritter helped bring back, but they adds useful information:

  • HOW TO: Create a Multiple-Boot System in Windows XP (Q306559)
  • How to Triple Boot to Windows NT, Windows 95/98, and MS-DOS (Q157992)
  • How to Set Up Dual Boot After You Install Windows (Q153762)
  • Win XP Dual-Boot Installation May Not Prompt for Default Install Location (Q305873)
  • The Purpose of the Boot.ini File in Windows XP (Q314081)
  • HOW TO: Edit the Boot.ini File in Windows XP (Q289022)
  • Purpose of the BOOT.INI File in Windows 2000 or Windows NT (Q99743)
  • Multibooting with Windows 2000 and Windows XP

    Do you have information about multi-booting Windows that other SFNL readers should hear about? Send it my way, and if I publish it I'll give you credit in the newsletter.

    Back to the Top


    Rant of the Week: Unpopular Advice
    If your new XP PC came without a real Windows XP CD, buy one.

    I don't know about you, but I already have enough irksome things in my life, such as a BIOS-locked Windows installation on a new PC, Windows Product Activation, a Recovery CD, or a hidden partition bearing only some of the files you get on a real Windows CD. Microsoft and the big OEM PC makers are ruining the PC experience. They're complicating end-users' lives for the sake of lining their own pockets. And because Microsoft has no realistic competition by providing a better mainstream user experience -- at least on desktop PCs -- they can get away with it. Linux is definitely benefiting from this Microsoft lunacy, but it's still got a long way to go to supplant Windows on the desktop.

    Anyway, this is the trend the incited me to D-I-Y build my last new desktop PC. (I've since purchased a new notebook PC.) Microsoft is far more to blame than the PC makers, since essentially it has the hardware makers in its thrall on this point. PC makers cannot afford to sell you a real copy of Windows. They have to take what Microsoft gives them at a much reduced price. That's never been more true than it is now, when PC sales are as low as they are. Price is very important.

    So, when you buy a new Windows PC, what I'm telling you to do is to budget for the accompanying purchase of a full (or upgrade) retail copy of Windows from a reputable retail store or catalog. You and your PC deserve a real CD that you can fallback on in times of emergency. The "recovery" stuff the OEM PC makers provide is nearly worthless (in some cases, it's worse than worthless). You may hate the idea of shelling out twice for Windows; I do. But you also have to look out for yourself. Don't fall on your sword in the name of justice only to find yourself up the proverbial creek some night with an ailing PC. Every computer needs to be able to reload its operating system without automatically wiping data and applications.

    There are some other outs. It's only the big OEM PC makers who no longer give you Windows CDs. If you buy from a local system integrator or build the PC yourself, order a copy of the operating system. That's cheaper than buying Windows 1.5 times (what happens if you buy from Dell, Gateway, Compaq, HP, and so on.) Another option is to switch to Linux. Mac users don't have this problem either.

    Back to the Top


    NTFS Part IV: Tying up Loose Ends
  • Another Way to Convert Cluster Sizes
  • What About Win2000?
  • Feedback on Paragon Partition Manager
  • BootIt NG

    In three recent installments of Scot’s Newsletter I've covered issues related to working with the NTFS file system, particularly under Windows XP.

  • NTFS Part III: How to Make NTFS Go Faster
  • NTFS Part II: More on the NTFS File System
  • NTFS Part I: Lowdown on the NTFS File System

    Because a lot of SFNL readers wrote to me saying they were experiencing serious performance problems with Windows XP machines that they suspected were related to NTFS, I set out to explore the problem. What became immediately clear was that there's a large performance issue related to NTFS that affects both some new PCs as well as potentially any Windows PC where Windows 2000 or XP were upgrade-installed over a FAT32 partition. That negative result is 512-byte cluster sizes. This isn't a new problem. Many Windows 2000 users may have run into it, as well, many without knowing it. I'll come back to Windows 2000 in a moment.

    In Part III of this series, I introduced a solution. A $40 product called Paragon Partition Manager 5 is able to perform dynamic cluster-size modifications on NTFS partitions. Since Part III was published about a month ago, I've gathered a lot more information, both on the Paragon product and on other solutions.

    Another Way to Convert Cluster Sizes
    For starters, PowerQuest PartitionMagic 7.01 owners (and this *may* apply to owners of other partition utilities, such as V-Com's Partition Commander 6.05) who have 512-byte clusters on their Windows XP NTFS partitions have another option. It's simple, really: Use PartitionMagic to convert your disk to FAT32. Under that file system, for which PartitionMagic is able to convert cluster sizes, you convert the cluster size to 4K. Then convert the partition back to NTFS. Presto, 4K clusters under NTFS. About a dozen readers, including Barth Maza, wrote to suggest this method under XP, and my tests with PartitionMagic 7.01 showed them to be correct. If you already own PartitionMagic 7.01 (the method may work with previous versions of PartitionMagic, but I can't verify that), then this method is cheaper and faster (if a bit more complicated) than buying Paragon's Partition Manager. If you don't own PartitionMagic already, the Paragon product costs less and actually does more than PartitionMagic. It's also less of a known quantity (and I'll come back to this notion a little farther along).

    What About Win2000?
    So far I've only been talking about Windows XP. What if you're running Windows 2000 -- as at least 20 percent of the SFNL readership is? For this edition of the newsletter I conducted several hours of testing under Windows 2000 to get at the answer. I also had some help from several SFNL readers, including John Freeman. Here's what I learned.

    It appears the cluster-conversion problem is both slightly more pronounced and slightly less pronounced under Windows 2000. The Win2000 512-byte cluster NTFS system I tested with in SFNL Labs didn't seem as slow to me as 512-byte cluster Win XP NTFS drives I've tested. The Win2K disk wasn't fast either, but you might not suspect there was something terribly wrong with the drive. It's a sample size of one, so it doesn't mean much, but if that's been the experience of at least some other Win2000 users, it might explain why we've heard more about the 512-byte cluster issue under Windows XP than Win2K. That was the less pronounced part.

    The more pronounced part is that Win2K's slightly earlier version of NTFS resizes to 512-byte clusters no matter what when you convert from FAT to NTFS. At least, that's what I found in my tests, and some SFNL readers said it's been their experience too. What's more, you can't solve the problem by using PartitionMagic to convert to FAT32, dynamically modify cluster sizes there, and then convert back to NTFS. When you do that, you wind up with 512-byte clusters again. The good news is that Paragon Partition Manager 5.0 works equally as well as in Windows 2000 as it does in Windows XP to dynamically resize NTFS clusters. In my Win2000 test, it took Partition Manager about two hours to convert the cluster size of a 2GB partition.

    Feedback on Paragon Partition Manager
    I have found the Paragon product to be powerful and flexible. It's been invaluable to me in testing, for example. Some people have written to me about troubles, though. One reader had a pretty serious ordeal that Paragon's email customer service wasn't much help with. It appears there may have been a pre-existing problem on his hard drive, but it's clear customer service isn't the company's strong suit. Eventually, the reader fixed his problem after a marathon 12-hour cluster conversion process. Early attempts had ended in freeze-ups.

    Another reader (John Freeman, again) found that, while the Paragon conversion completed seemingly okay, when he ran PartitionMagic afterwards it reported a "1513" error on the disk that it couldn't fix. When I tested John's experience, I found the same thing. There were two such 1513 errors on my disk. CHKDSK /f found nothing wrong with either John's disk or mine. In talking to Paragon and PowerQuest, John wasn't able to resolve whether the Paragon software caused the problem or PowerQuest's product was sounding a false alarm. (In fact several weeks later, he's still waiting for PowerQuest to provide more details, which they said they would do.) Neither of us could identify symptoms related to the 1513 errors, and John saw a notable performance improvement.

    On my disk, the 1513 problem went away after I reformatted my drive (although I did this for quite another reason). I reformatted to FAT32 and installed Win98 in preparation for another Windows XP upgrade and conversion to NTFS to test other scenarios. After I installed Win98, I installed PartitionMagic. When I selected the drive in PartitionMagic, I got three errors in a row, all of which PartitionMagic was able to fix readily. Since then, I have used the Paragon and PowerQuest products numerous times and have not seen a repeat of the 1513 error. So, for now, this remains a mystery.

    Most of the rest of the SFNL messages over the last few weeks on this topic have been people joyous over having solved the performance issue by using Paragon Partition Manager. One thing I've noticed is that the cluster conversion can take a long, long time. One person said it took Paragon only a few minutes to complete the cluster conversion, most people are seeing 2-6 hours. Defragging in advance is definitely the way to go, and then run the conversion overnight.

    BootIt NG
    SFNL Reader Alex Nichol, a Microsoft MVP and the author of the Windows Product Activation article that won Link of the Week honors recently, wrote me to suggest another program that might be worth your consideration. It's a $30 shareware utility called BootIt NG, from TeraByte Unlimited. I've only just started playing around with this boot manager product that also has a maintenance mode offering conversion options, so I can't comment meaningfully on it yet. But Alex speaks highly of it. Might be worth your evaluation. If you check it out, let me know what you think.

    Questions, comments, feedback, or new information on the topic of NTFS and cluster sizes? Please drop me a line.

    Back to the Top


    SFNL Reader Poll: Who's the Best Web Host?
    Do you have a Web host who's worthy of recommendation?

    Scot’s Newsletter is facing yet another change of Web hosts. Hostway, where I currently have the SFNL website hosted, has proved unwilling to work with me to solve a problem with the Web-based subscription forms for the newsletter. I believe the problem to be in their custom settings for Sendmail -- a service running on most Linux/Unix Web servers that provides Web-based email. Hostway's attitude is that it's only going to work with me if I purchase a dedicated server service, which would cost three or four times more than what I'm paying now. But that's bogus. I'm fed up with companies that require a year's payment in advance and give you no service at all. No wonder Web hosts are going out of business.

    I do demand a lot of things from my Web host. I want solid traffic reporting with referrers and daily, weekly, and monthly views on my traffic data. I want access to my raw log files so I can use another tool to analyze the data if need be. I need full-featured email with 30 or more full accounts (not aliases). Optional Web mail is desirable. I would like at least 150MB of Web space. I would prefer to have my email on a different server from my Web site. I can go either Unix/Linux or Windows 2000, but I need unfettered Sendmail, Blat, or Winmail capabilities for Web-based newsletter subscriptions. I would like to be able to host multiple websites at one host without having to pay the full boat price for extra, lesser domains. I also need support for these technologies or services: Perl/CGI, JavaScript, server side includes, ASP (if I go Win2K), XML, and database services. I do not need FrontPage extensions. I want unlimited free telephone support, and people on the other end of the line who care about customers. Most of all, I don't want a bunch of B.S.

    Jason Levine, a friend and the author of Script Sentry recommends Sectorlink.com. And the truth is, this Web host does seem to fit the bill (although they don't offer Blat or Winmail support, so I might have trouble with Web subscriptions with them too).

    But what do you think? If you've got a Web host who delivers a lot while offering great support, I want to hear about it. Send me email and describe why you like the Web host. Also send me a URL to the host you're nominating.

    Back to the Top


    Product Beat: Tzolkin's Dynamic DNS Client v2.0
    Earlier this week, Tzolkin Corp. delivered a major update to its dynamic DNS product, known as TZO Dynamic DNS. The 2.0 Windows client software includes a new user interface, a free Web server, and many other new features. The Unix version includes support for Solaris. Both clients are used in conjunction with the TZO dynamic DNS service.

    The TZO dynamic DNS service allows users who have a cable Internet or DSL connection to host a Web (or other Internet) server themselves even though they may have a dynamic IP address (that is, one that changes over time, either controlled by your ISP or whenever you power cycle your broadband modem or system).

    Tzolkin offers a 30-day free trial of its client software and service, and the service costs as little as $24.95 a year. To find out more, visit the company's website.

    Does your company have a new computer product of interest to this newsletter's readers? Submit it to Product Beat.

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    What's Cooking in the SFNL Labs
    In case you missed it, ZoneAlarm 3.0 was released not long after the last issue of SFNL, and it's downloadable from the Zone Labs website. Zone Labs hasn't released the free for personal use 3.0 version of ZoneAlarm at this time.

    ZA 3.0 Pro has been running in SFNL Labs for nearly two weeks now. Norton Internet Security Pro 2002, which has a new intrusion-detection-enabled version of Norton Personal Firewall, has been running for a couple of months. I've also added the built-in firewall protection provided by Windows XP. And I hope to add a new version of BlackICE Defender, whenever that becomes available. I've promised a firewall shoot-out, and it's coming. But it might not be here for a while. I'm going to take my time and do this right. (But if BlackICE takes too long to show, I may do it separately.)

    Many folks have written asking me to test other firewalls. Please accept my apologies if your firewall isn't on the list above. I can only test so many at once; the testing process is grueling. But rest assured I will come back and look at other contenders in future.

    Some quick notes on ZoneAlarm 3.0. It has a brand new interface, and I'll admit to being somewhat under whelmed by it. Installation went perfectly well under Windows 98. I uninstalled the previous installation and sucked up the previous settings -- the best of both worlds. ZoneAlarm offers excellent installation instructions. There's a new getting started wizard that's a lot better than the old one. I've run into one issue that I'm working through right now. I seem to be getting a lot of messages that computers on my trusted network (local LAN) are being blocked by ZA, even though my restrictions to the Trusted network are almost nil. Not sure what that's about. New features? I have to work through them, but so far none of them seems imperative to me. Windows 2000 and XP support? I'll be testing that. The 2.6x version had trouble with Windows XP.

    Also running in the Labs is the Sun Cobalt Qube3 that I wrote about in Product Beat a month or two ago. Right now it's serving the main part of my network, and it's doing a pretty good job it. I've yet to tap even a quarter of the power of this thing, and I intend to put it through its paces before I issue a full review.

    I have a large backlog of products I'd like to review. For example, JerMar Software's Tweaki ... For Power Users, a past Windows Insider Program of the Month, has just been released in a major 4.0 version, with several cool new features. I'm just beginning a test of this program now.

    There are so many great products in my review queue right now that I've given up predicting when I'll get to them. But I will get to them!

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    Q&A
    A six-pack of questions and answers that'll hopefully tell you something you didn't know.

    Networking DirecWay

    Question: Any tips for setting-up DirecWay for use on a home network? I already have a DSL router, however the satellite modems use a USB port. I'm running Windows 2000 Server on my server and Windows 2000 Pro on two PCs, Windows 98 on a third, and Windows 95 on a fourth. --David L. Kaiser

    Answer: I'm going to reverse my opinion of a few years ago about Internet Connection Sharing and recommend to you that it's your best option with DirecWay. Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) functionality is built right into Windows 98, Me, 2000, and XP. (Original Windows 98 users: It's tricky to install ICS on your version of Windows. You need to install two network adapters BEFORE you attempt to install ICS, otherwise the option won't be available to you. The DirecWay USB adapter does count as one of these devices - at least, it does on Win98SE and later machines. I haven't tested two-way satellite with the original Win98.)

    ICS is a software solution that requires you to have both the DirecWay modem attached via USB and a standard Ethernet network adapter on one PC. It's a NAT-based solution whose whole purpose is to share the Internet connection of one PC with others. It also serves as a DHCP server by dynamically assigning IP addresses to other PCs on the network. ICS works very well in a peer-network environment. All the PCs on your network MUST accept their IP address from ICS, or they must be statically assigned. It won't work if you have another DHCP server on the same network.

    When you say you already have a DSL router, I don't know if you mean the "modem" device that came with a DSL connection, or a broadband router (such as the Linksys EtherFast Cable/DSL Router). If it's the latter, such a device may also provide DHCP, in which case you would have dueling IP assigners, and problems.

    I wrote a little about using ICS with DirecWay in my most recent head to head review of StarBand and DirecWay. Here's all of SFNL's and Broadband Report's coverage of two-way satellite products. And here's the specific story I'm talking about. Hope this helps. -- S.F.

    Should You Get Windows XP?

    Question: In the past you've been less than thrilled about Windows Product Activation, and you privately advised me not to upgrade my Windows Me machine (previously upgraded from Windows 98) to Windows XP. Yet in the 1/17/2002 issue of Scot’s Newsletter, you extolled the virtues of XP's NTFS file system. Does this mean you've changed your opinion of Windows XP? Or are Windows 98, 2000, or NT better products in your view? --Walter Bates

    Answer: No, I haven't changed my mind. If you were buying a new PC, I'd say get Windows XP. (In fact, it's getting tougher every day to buy a new PC with anything but Windows XP.) But unless your PC was new since January 2000, it's a bad idea to upgrade your existing PC with Windows XP. The chances for serious new problems are high with older upgrades -- especially if your Windows installation is the result of a previous upgrade. Also, Windows XP needs more hardware than Windows 98 or Me does. It needs a faster processor, more RAM, a bigger hard drive. Did I mention more RAM? You should have 256MB for Windows XP.

    For experienced users, people who like to erase everything on their hard drives and start over now and then, Windows XP is an acceptable upgrade. But you have to be willing to rebuild the software on your PC from the ground up. Another, probably better, option is to add a second hard drive (if need be) and install Windows XP as the second OS on your PC in a multiboot configuration.

    About the comparison between the different versions of Windows: Windows XP is better than Windows NT and Windows 2000. It is very similar to those operating systems. Windows 98 Second Edition is better than Windows Me, and those two are very similar. The only two choices people should be considering right now are Windows 98 Second Edition and Windows XP. There are two flavors of Win XP: Pro and Home. For most people's uses, the Home version is fine. If you're even slightly a power user, though, get the Pro version.

    If it weren't for Windows Product Activation, I would be more wholehearted in my recommendation of Windows XP. I'm perpetually annoyed by Microsoft's antipiracy technology, which adds a level of inconvenience -- especially for more experienced users. If that weren't the case, and given that the hardware is up to snuff, I would prefer Windows XP over Windows 98. As it is now, it's something of a toss up. I have both on my main PC. To be honest, I find myself using Windows XP more and more. Being a reviewer, though, I have access to multiple copies of XP, which reduces the product activation hassle.

    Another Word XP Flashing Title Bar Issue?

    Question: I have a question regarding a topic you've addressed in the past. The problem regarding Microsoft Word starting from a shortcut and producing the famous flashing title bar problem. Would you know where I could download the fix for this, without going through the hassle of calling Microsoft direct? --Jeff Gort

    Answer: First, I just want to clarify that the problem I've written about pretty extensively only occurred when launching Word 2002 (the version in Office XP) from the QuickLaunch area (next to the Start button on the taskbar). That said, I'm afraid I don't have a Microsoft-hassle-avoiding solution for you. I asked Microsoft if they'd let me post the Hotfix for my readers, but they said no. I know of no other way to get it but their way. Wish I could help! -- S.F.

    Follow-up Question: Thanks for your quick response. I just found some information on the Internet that helped my problem! If you use Norton AntiVirus, uncheck the Office Plug-In in the "Misc." Options setting. I unchecked it and now no more flashing title bar. Thought I'd pass it along. --Jeff Gort

    Follow-up Answer: Thanks, Jeff. I tested this by installing Office XP on a recently clean-installed Windows 98 Second Edition PC. Without doing any of the Office updates, and without installing Norton SystemWorks or Antivirus, I still had the flashing title bar problem. Anyone else have some light to shine on this? I have a feeling there are multiple causes of this problem. What I don't know is whether the HotFix solves all of them. The only good news is that Microsoft promised me they'd release the HotFix code to everyone with the next Service Pack for Office XP. That'll probably be a while though. -- S.F.

    Can't Remove IE 6.0 from Windows XP

    Question: I need to uninstall IE6 and install IE5.5 because some software I need to use does not support IE6. I'm running Win XP to complicate the matter. I know you covered removing IE 5.5 and installing IE 5.01 SP2 I think, but do not remember you covering IE6 removal. Any suggestions? --Clark Lewis

    Answer: Bad news, Clark. Windows XP comes with IE 6.0. Microsoft provides no way to uninstall IE 6.0 from it. This is nothing new, Microsoft also provided no way to uninstall IE 4.0 from Win98 (or in later version, IE 5.0) or IE 5.5 from Windows 98SE. You can only install down to the base version that came with the OS, but not to previous IE versions. That means you can only uninstall IE upgrades.

    A company called 98lite.net is working on a solution. They let you uninstall IE from Win98, but they don't have an XP or 2K version of their product yet.

    If you absolutely have to have IE 5.5, you either need another PC or you need to install Windows 2000 or 98SE, either to replace XP or as second OS on your system.

    Reusing Phones Lines with DSL

    Question: I live in a somewhat rural area that doesn't have DSL or cable ISP available yet, and I currently use ISDN 128kbps up/down to connect. Will I be able to use the same line that feeds my ISDN for DSL once it becomes available, or will I have to go back to my old phone line for the DSL signal? --Ross M. Stuckey

    Answer: If you mean the same line inside your house, then yes, you can reuse the existing ISDN wiring inside your house. But if you mean the line from your telco's central office to your home, then probably not. Usually they "reprovision" a new line. DSL and ISDN exact different demands from the phone lines. In the case of DSL, distance is far more crucial. One aspect of "reprovisioning" is to test for actual length of the copper pair. DSL is also finicky about connection quality. You mentioned sharing the line of an existing phone. Some DSL services are only offered this way. Usually, this is RADSL, which isn't as good as ADSL or SDSL (but is also usually less expensive). It's hard to generalize about this stuff because each phone company and DSL ISP offers different service levels, and sometimes uses different terminology. -- S.F.

    Language Support in Win XP

    Question: I've recently upgraded to Windows XP. I need to install support for Chinese text to view a website. I am unable to find it like I could other types in Windows 98. What has Microsoft done with these types of downloads? Visiting the Windows Update page for XP was no help. What say you? --Justin Kline

    Answer: I can understand why this was hard to locate. In this case, Microsoft simplified the problem greatly. Just check the Regional and Language Control Panel. -- S.F.

    Send your burning question to the newsletter and look for an answer in a future issue.
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    Email Explorations, Part III
    My rants about email over the last two issues of the newsletter struck a chord with some. I've received a lot of positive email from people who agree, and a flood of polite criticism from The Bat! and Pegasus Mail users.

    Last time around I leveled some criticism at both The Bat! and Pegasus Mail. I've gotten so much mail about The Bat! -- including a long email from the program's lead programmer, Stefan Tanurkov, that the topic is worth revisiting. First, I would like to correct myself on a point. I said that to my knowledge The Bat! isn't capable of filtering outbound messages. That's wrong. According to Stefan, it's been able to do this for three years. And when you look at the filtering tools, the inbound and outbound options are right next to each other. So I'm not sure how I missed it, but I did. Mea culpa.

    I spent about 90 minutes looking at the product over the weekend, though, and my comments about The Bat's lack of a personalities or identities feature stands. The Bat! is an account-centric product. Every account you set up in The Bat! has its own inbox, outbox, and trash can. And never the twain shall meet. In Eudora (and some other email products), there's only one inbox, one outbox, one trash can. That may sound like a minor point, but it isn't. The Bat! is a lot like Calypso on steroids. It's a very good program, but its underlying design just doesn't work for me, for the way I work with email. It may, though, work find for you. If you're looking for an alternative to Outlook Express and you don't use OE's identities feature, The Bat! is one to check out.

    What About PocoMail?
    On the other hand, I also received lots of suggestions about other alternative email programs. The one that stands out is $25 shareware PocoMail.

    After a 15-minute exploration of PocoMail 2.60, my conclusion is that it definitely shows a lot of promise. PocoMail is a lot like Outlook Express in that, while basically being account-centric, it adds many features that allow you to mold it as a unified multiple-account-in-one-mailbox system. Its rules are very powerful -- more powerful than Eudora's -- and it includes its own script language. Many of the settings screens, while a bit non-standard, offer the fine level of organization and detail that Eudora lacks. For example, you get separate login names and passwords for POP and SMTP. That's just one of hundreds of little peccadilloes in Eudora that long-time users have complained about -- and PocoMail has resolved. It's clear to me in looking at the program that its author has studied the competition, namely Outlook Express, Eudora, and Netscape Mail and Messenger.

    That's what it takes to create a winning product. I've got my eye on this one. If you've been casting about for a new email program, check it out. (It has a 30-day free, full featured trial.) And let me know what you think about it.

    Further Eudora Developments?
    I'd like to thank SFNL reader Bronson C. Elliott for sending along a link to a February 18, 2002, New York Times article (written by Karen J. Bannan, a friend of mine) that talks about Qualcomm simplifying Eudora by eliminating both the sponsored and paid (or "pro") versions. (You need to sign-up for free membership to NYTimes.com to see the story.)

  • Qualcomm Uses Internet to Aid Extended Family (Feb. 18, 2002)

    This version of what Qualcomm's up to is so different from what I quoted Qualcomm VP Steve Dorner saying in the last issue of the newsletter that I thought I should check back with Qualcomm about it. So I checked in with Qualcomm's Jeremy James, the guy who's quoted in the NY Times piece. Here's what he had to say.

    Eudora is not going away -- the tri-mode product will continue. We believe we there will still be advertisers interested in reaching the some 2.5 million Sponsored-mode users, and we still have a steady stream of users who download Sponsored mode and then convert to Paid mode or buy Paid mode outright from an electronic reseller. So we intend to stay the course. It is true that we did some soul searching when the online ad market went through the floor, but the decision to maintain Eudora was made at the highest levels of Qualcomm.

    I cannot project for you future feature plans, but we do intend to continue to evolve both the Windows and Mac clients (a Mac OS X version is in beta now). I will say that a minor revision [of the Windows version] is upcoming. Expect it by summer if not sooner.

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    Tried and True Products: Ad-Aware 5.62
    The PC of a colleague of mine recently came down with spyware/adware flu, and when she asked what she should do, I immediately recommended LavaSoft's Ad-aware.

  • Ad-aware 5.62, LavaSoft
    It's been over a year since I made Ad-aware 4.02 the Program of the Month and placed on the WinMag WinList (equivalent to "SFNL Top Product!") in a review in Windows Insider. So I decided to look at Ad-aware again. Now in its 5.62 version, Ad-aware has improved. It was good before; it's better now.

    When last I reviewed Ad-aware I criticized it for not providing a way to rollback changes the program makes in attempting to expunge spy-gunk from your PC. Sometimes the cure can be worse than the illness.

    That problem has been fixed with a new Backups feature, which can save multiple backups and restore them later. That's why Ad-aware is planted even more firmly on Scot’s Newsletter SFNL Top Product! list.

    For more detailed version about Ad-aware, see my review from last year.

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    Link of the Week: Spywareinfo.com
    Thanks to SFNL reader Melissa Shafer for suggesting Spywareinfo.com. The website's mission statement reads: "This site is dedicated to giving you the tools and knowledge you need to protect your privacy from the onslaught of spyware, adware, and corporate and government surveillance. Particular attention is paid to detecting and defeating spyware." Like most of my readers, I suppose, I'm all for that.

    To help you protect yourself, you'll find downloads, support forums, chat room, and articles at Spywareinfo.com. Be sure to check out Spywareinfo.com's Hijacked! story. That one article alone earns this website the Link of the Week award. Check it out.

    Have you discovered a relatively unknown Windows- or broadband-oriented website that everyone should know about? Please send me the URL, and let me know why you liked it.

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    Tip of the Week: Extend Recovery Console's Power
    SFNL reader Don Arrowsmith wrote this week with comments and an additional tip concerning the Windows XP Recovery Console that ran in the last issue of Scot’s Newsletter.

    Before I get to Don's comments, I want to point out to anyone who tried to install the Recovery Console and struck out that there was an error in the command line I gave. Sorry! Read on for the correction.

    In his email to SFNL, Don Arrowsmith emphasized a point I made only in passing last time: If you have the Windows XP CD, you can get to the Recovery Console by booting to your Windows CD. This is true. The Windows CD boots as if you're doing a doing a new Setup of Windows, but one of the options that's offered (after a long period of loading the setup routine) is loading the Recovery Console. It's an option for everyone who owns a Windows XP CD.

    Just in case anyone was confused on this point, I never meant to suggest that booting Recovery Console from your hard disk would replace doing so from your CD. There's a lot you can do with Recovery Console; it's not just a tool you use in attempt to alleviate a serious disk problem. The point of the tip was to make accessing Recovery Console more convenient. If your hard drive stopped operating, you would definitely need a Windows XP (or Win2000) CD to access the Recovery Console. A hard-disk-based installation wouldn't do you any good.

    One thing I hadn't thought about, though, last week: What if you don't have the Windows XP CD? Hundreds of thousands of new PC buyers didn't receive a Windows XP with their new machines. I'm guessing that each system maker considered this issue, and I believe that at least some will have found ways around the problem. But I can't say for sure because I have yet to test a new Windows XP PC. But after last issue's Recovery Console tip, I've had more than one query on the point. Some people have recovery CDs; others have hidden partitions containing some Windows XP files. None of them could figure out how to install Recovery Console on their hard disks, although there has to be a way. If you know a workaround for this problem, or if you want to tell me how you access the Recovery Console on your new Windows XP CD, send me mail.

    This Week's Tip: Copying Files to a Floppy from Recovery Console
    One thing that has long irked XP users is a Microsoft security feature that prevents them from copying files from the hard drive onto a floppy disk from the Recovery Console. If your hard disk goes bad, being able to copy off important files might be your only saving grace. There is a way to accomplish this, though.

    There's a Microsoft Knowledgebase (KB) article that gives step-by-step instructions on how to use the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) and Group Policy Editor to modify your system so that you can copy files from your hard disk to floppy (or other removable media) under Recovery Console, as well as other useful improvements.

  • HOW TO: Add More Power to Recovery Console By Using Group Policy in Windows XP (Q310497)

    Don Arrowsmith adds this bit of help for Windows XP Home edition users: "The KB article states that it applies to both XP Pro and XP Home, but the Group Policy Editor is only supplied with XP Pro. Here's how to modify Windows XP Home edition to allow full floppy disk access via Recovery Console using the Registry Editor:

    1. Start RegEdit (Start > Run > type regedit > press Enter) and locate the following registry key:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\WindowsNT\CurrentVersion\
    Setup\RecoveryConsole

    2. Modify the SecurityLevel value from 0 to 1.

    3. Modify the SetCommand value from 0 to 1.

    When you run the Recovery Console, the administrator password is normally blank for Win XP Home so just press Enter when prompted. To enable floppy disk access, each time you enter the Recovery Console you must type a specific environment variable and press Enter:

    Set AllowRemovableMedia = True

    Note: This command is not case sensitive but the spaces before and after the = are required.

    Thanks for the tip, Don. I'd seen it referred to in posts on the 'Net, but since I have only the copies of Windows XP that Microsoft provided me with -- all the Pro version -- I didn't have step by step instructions.

    Fixing Error in Last Week's Tip
    Last week's tip on adding the recovery console to your hard drive under Windows XP contained a fatal error. Due to a copy and paste mistake, the actual command line was missing the very last character. The correct command line is:

    {CD Drive Letter}:\i386\winnt32.exe /cmdcons

    I've also corrected the error on the website version of the newsletter, where you'll find the steps with the right command line all in one place. My apologies for any inconvenience this might have caused!

    While I'm on the subject, I should also have included links to some of the better Microsoft KB articles on this subject:

  • How to Install and Use the Recovery Console in Windows XP (Q307654)
  • Description of the Windows XP Recovery Console (Q314058)
  • Description of the Windows 2000 Recovery Console (Q229716)

    Finally, as one reader point out, it's a good idea to make a backup of the Boot.ini file prior to installing the Recovery Console on your hard disk.

    Do you have a Windows or broadband tip you think SFNL readers will like? Send it along to me, and if I print it in the newsletter, I'll print your name with it.

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    You Say Tomato ...
    Several people in recent weeks have either playfully or seriously criticized me for using the term "website" instead of Web site. I also write email instead of e-mail or E-mail. Decisions like this aren't right or wrong - they're answers to style questions. And there are many different versions of style for the English language. My editor, my wife Cyndy, decided that we were going to use "website" and "email" (among other things). And she's perfectly within bounds to do so. Dictionary.com, for example, defines website with the one-word version of the spelling as the first one. So spell stuff any way you want to; and leave me to spell it the way I want to. Honestly, I thought we'd gotten past all this correcting of each other on the Internet. ;-)

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