Issue 172 - January 30, 2002

ISSN 1488-3163; PC Improvements © 2002
==== 2213 Subscribers in 59 Countries ====

Welcome to the 172nd issue of the PC Improvement News. PCIN consists mainly of news and tips. There is something for everyone, and if this is your first issue, I'm sure there will be something for you. If you give me two or three issues, I know that you will come back for more!

You can reach me at with any suggestions or comments.

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This is your last chance to send in your stories of your first computer. Next week's issue will be made up entirely of these stories. So once again, let me know what kind it was, why you got it, how much it was, what you did with it, how long you kept it for, etc. I will have a special issue in a week or 2 that contains most of these. Send your stories to

It seems that there are some problems with the FreeHelp Forum. And because of this, I've had people emailing me directly about problems, which means that I'm a little behind in replying to emails. If you haven't heard from me, I haven't forgotten about you!

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Is the Web Shrinking?

"The first documented evidence of the growing number of abandoned domain names on the Internet is proof of something that analysts have said for months - if there was dot-com madness, it is most definitely over.
The Web Server Survey, completed by Bath, England-based Netcraft, looked at Web server software usage on Internet connected computers, and shows that around 130,000 owners dropped their domains over the last three months.'

For more info:

Supreme Court Rules on Utility Pole Use

"They're everywhere we look, carrying the cables that bring us telephone service, electricity, television feeds, and Internet access. Utility poles have become part of the landscape. They line nearly every highway and side street in the country, and you pass them nearly every time you take a drive. But who ever gives them a second thought? How many realize that utility poles represent an important legal battleground, and that the laws governing them can have a significant effect on our daily lives?
Last week, the Supreme Court ruled on the use of utility poles, and its ruling could substantially reduce the price of high-speed Internet access. 'Utility-pole law may seem like an esoteric issue,'says Mark Johnson, a telecommunications lawyer with Sonnenschein Nath and Rosenthal in New York, 'but it's of huge importance.'"

For more info:,3396,s%253D201%2526a%253D21592,00.asp

States Asked to Probe Microsoft Online ID Service

"A privacy group on Tuesday asked state law enforcement authorities to examine software giant Microsoft Corp.'s Passport online identity service, saying it exposes consumers to fraud, junk electronic mail and identity theft.
The Electronic Privacy Information Center sent a letter to all 50 state attorneys general, asking them to protect consumers against what it called Microsoft's unfair and deceptive trade practices because the federal government has failed to act."

For more info:

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POLL of the WEEK

Here are the responses from the last poll:

Which computer "brand name" do you prefer?

Dell: 46.77%
HP: 16.13%
Gateway: 12.90%
Compaq: 12.90%
IBM: 11.29%

Total Votes: 62

Visit to participate in the new poll this week:

Do computers make life easier or more complicated?

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Visit the PCIN FreeHelp Forum to post your questions or answer others. Each week I highlight a question, and where to go to get the answer.


By request, I formatted a friend's hard drive and restored Win98. When I was installing the software for her modem; Win98 crashed and when it rebooted; the C: drive contained absolutely no files. She told me she has virus W 3 2 . M a g i s t r....
Surely, the virus didn't do all that damage? She is ready to replace her motherboard or buy a new computer?
Isn't it possible to fdisk; format and restore this hard drive somehow?


That virus can't damage your hardware.
Try Formatting the Hard Drive from a CLEAN (non infected) Windows 98 boot disk
Type "format C: /s" from the DOS prompt and reinstall Windows to ensure that the virus is gone.
If you need more information on W32.Magistr and its many strains, visit and do a search in the Virus Encyclopedia.
Note: Formatting the drive removes all the Files contained on it.
If necessary, remove the Partition using FDISK
... AND run "FDISK /MBR" to repair the Master Boot Records. (a Virus scanner can also repair the boot records)

Do you know the answer or have a suggestion? Visit and check out the General Discussion Forum. Post your answer or post a question of your own.

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Check out these new or updated pages on the site:

WE Compute Magazine's Cheap Tricks of the Week
(The entire collection is in Microsoft Word format and currently has 100 tips and tricks. You can download the file from here)

Windows Registry Tips and Tweaks
(The entire collection is in Microsoft Word format and currently has 106 registry tips. You can download the file from here)

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Cheap Trick of the Week

Numbing the NumLock

Windows 95 and 98 have a nasty habit of starting your computer with the NumLock key on.
If you want it off from the start, open the System Editor which can be found by pressing Start, and selecting Run. In the Open box, type sysedit and click on OK. You will then find a program with a few cascading windows. Select the window with the title C:\CONFIG.SYS in the title bar.
In an open line at the bottom of this page type an extra line which reads NUMLOCK=OFF and press the Enter key. Save the file, by selecting Save from the File menu. Then select File and Exit. The next time you start Windows your computer should have the Number Lock feature off.
If you later decide that you would like the NumLock back on, change the line to read NUMLOCK=ON.

Get your own copy of "The Little Black Book of Cheap Tricks: 2001" by visiting

From the january 21, 2002 issue of InformationWeek magazine, pg 17:
"Colleges and the miltary don't have alock on 'find your long-lost buddy' sites. THe newest one is for convicts - current ones and alums., with about 200 registered userrs (both the convicted and the curios), offers an online search for old prosion pals. Chat-room topics range from wrongful convictions to prison food. The site invites users to share old times or work together on new vetnures 'wheterh you're a fully fledged jailbird or a mear [sic] speedinf fine holder.'"

Add the File Path to Footers in Excel 97/2000

This is somthing we were talking about at work today. Microsoft Word has a built-in feature where you can add the filename and path to the header or footer of a page. For some reason Microsoft didn't provide a way to do this in Excel 97 or 2000. At least they were kind enough to tell you how to do it. They suggest making a macro the assigns the footer the value of "ActiveWorkbook.FullName". You can read the details at

The Ten Best Things To Say If You Get Caught Sleeping At Your Desk

Someone at work passed this on to me:

10. They told me at the blood bank this might happen.

9. This is the 15 minute power-nap they raved about in that time management course you sent me to.

8. Whew!  Guess I left the top off the White-Out. You probably got here just in time!

7. I wasn't sleeping!  I was meditating on the mission statement and envisioning a new paradigm.

6. I was testing my keyboard for drool resistance.

5. I was doing a highly specific Yoga exercise to relieve work-related stress.  Are you discriminatory toward people who practice Yoga?

4. Why did you interrupt me?  I had almost figured out a solution to our biggest problem.

3. The coffee machine is broken...

2. Someone must've put decaf in the wrong pot...

And the #1 best thing to say if you get caught sleeping at your desk
1. ... in Jesus' name. Amen.

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PCIN is brought to you by PC Improvements. The opinions expressed are those of the editor, Graham Wing. PC Improvements and Graham Wing accept no responsibility for the results obtained from trying the tips in this newsletter.

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