Issue 185 - May 01, 2002

ISSN 1488-3163; PC Improvements © 2002
==== 2318 Subscribers in 55 Countries ====

Welcome to the 185th 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.

Recommend PCIN at

Support PCIN at



Last week I mentioned what a pleasure it is to deal with good companies. Subscriber Jack Carlson sent in his comments:
"In today's issue of PCIN (issue 184) you said "I end up corresponding with a pleasant person who is willing, and sometimes even eager to help." I, too, have recently had this experience and would like to tell you about the man and his company. Recently an old hard disk finally gave up the ghost and took with it a couple of shareware products I use frequently. All but one had been backed-up and were quickly replaced. But I had just purchased Diskeeper 7.0 from Executive Software International, Inc. and hadn't yet done a back-up when the drive failed. I checked the website, but couldn't find a way to download the full version without paying again, so I e-mailed the company to inquire whether I could re-download a copy or was I going to have to buy another one. Within a day I received a reply from Neil Johnson,
Customer Service Manager, with a location on their site where I could download another copy. Alas, the URL didn't work (due to heavy traffic on their servers, Neil suspected) and I e-mailed Neil again to let him know. Less than an hour later he replied that he was sending me the CD (at no additional charge!!) and would have it in the mail that day. This is a large international company that usually deals with corporations and large business clients. The fact that their C.S. Manager would take the time to read and respond to three e-mails from an individual that only bought one copy of their software impresses me even more than the quality of their product. This is one company I am happy to recommend and will do business with again in the future. (P.S. The "light" version of Diskeeper that came with Windows 2000 works well enough, but the full version is well worth the money.)"

Have you got any positive customer service stories? If so, send them to We here enough about the negative stories (see the Dell story below), so please only send positive stories.

Graham and Chris

Return to the top


Agency allowed to revoke e-mail access

"A New York state agency was correct when it took away a union representative's e-mail privileges because he violated the employee use policy, a state court has ruled.
A New York State appeals court panel last week endorsed the Department of Education's decision to revoke Michael Darcy's e-mail access because he used it for unauthorized union activities."

For more info:

Piracy on the PCs

"He does not come across as a thief - but Ira Dubinsky once was one. Chances are, you were, too.
At 16, Dubinsky set up a small computer consulting company, thanks to a solid business plan, savings - and pirated software.
'When I first started I had all kinds of stuff on my computer,' says the 21-year-old Montreal native. 'I can't even remember now where all our software came from. Some of it I found on the Internet. Some of it was given to me by friends. I remember not really buying any software for a couple of years into the business and then finally realized we should probably get this stuff legally.'"

For more info:

Online banks: Prime targets for attacks

"Late one recent Sunday night, an executive at a midsized financial services firm received the kind of call everyone in the industry dreads: a demand for $1 million, or else the brokerage's network would crash the next day with a surreptitiously installed program.
The firm's security team spent a frenzied night searching for the pernicious code but failed to find it, and the system went down for an hour in the morning. The executive's phone rang once more: The caller threatened to crash the system again, but this time during peak trading hours. The brokerage, in this case, paid up."

For more info:

AOL pays a price for merger

"AOL Time Warner lost $54.2 billion in the first quarter of 2002, the company said Wednesday, due largely to an anticipated accounting charge stemming from the merger that created the media and Internet powerhouse last year.
The company reported revenue of $9.8 billion, up 4 percent over the same period last year. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), a common benchmark for the performance of media companies, were up 3 percent to $2.05 billion."

For more info:

Return to the top Recommend PCIN News

POLL of the WEEK

Here are the responses from the last poll:

Which Chat Client Do You Use?

AOL              16.44 % (12)
Yahoo Messenger   6.85 % (5)
MSN Messenger    15.07 % (11)
ICQ              10.96 % (8)
Trillian          6.85 % (5)
Other             2.74 % (2)
I don't chat     41.10 % (30)

Total votes: 73

Visit to participate in the new poll this week:

How often do you upgrade your computer?

Return to the top Recommend PCIN Poll of the Week


Visit the new and improved PCIN FreeHelp Forum at to post your questions or answer others.


Is there anything out there that will help me access and read my index.dat file on my computer. Where exactly do these files come from and what kind of information can be found there. By the way this is my personal PC I am trying to read this file from, just too illiterate to accomplish it. Any help would be greatly appreciated.


The index.dat files are an archive of all the visited url's. Over time these files increase in size. You can open the files with notepad and delete the contents yourself in DOS, or you can use an excellent little freeware utility called Spider available from
This program will delete the contents of these files for you when you reboot.

To post a different suggestion, visit and click on the "accessing and reading index.dat files in english?" subject.

Visit to post a question of your own.

Return to the top Recommend PCIN FreeHelp Forum UPDATE

Check out these new or updated pages on the site:

Updated Registry Tips (now 129)

pdf995 Software Review

CuteZIP Software Review

Annotis Mail 1.1 Software Review

Return to the top Recommend Update


Creating Lines in Word (Part 2)

Last week I shared a tip regarding creating quick, fancy lines in Word. You can press any of the following characters 3 times and then press Space or Enter and a line will be created ( - _ * = ~ # )
Subscriber Wayne Peterson emailed me something to remember:
"You tip on lines creation with 3 characters in a row is great. It looks good as is simple. You may want to add that what is created is a border. If you decide to try and move or remove the lines as if they were text or some character, you will be as frustrated as I was for 30 minutes of futile effort. Then it dawned on me that they were borders, not characters. I may be slow on the uptake, but perhaps there are other equally "gifted" people out there that can avoid the pain."

Value ISP

Subscriber Bill Blackburn sent this in:
"A friend of mine has been with for awhile & loves it, especially for $7/month via auto-pay monthly, using your credit card. So, I joined Monday, via their 800-624-5360 number, & was online within 15 minutes. Yeah, it's a bare-bones V.90-only ISP that provides no web page space, & only 2 email addresses. And, their 800-tech support & customer service aren't 24/7. But neither of us have ever experienced a busy signal when dialing up, get the same access speed as our previous ISP (in my case Earthlink), & enjoy the same level of email service & `net surfing as before. This NYC-based ISP has local dialup numbers scattered nation-wide, albeit concentrated in the more populated states (like CA & WA) & only in the major city of many other states (out west anyway). You might want to inform your "thrift-minded" subscribers of this alternative to the big boys who have fixed their prices around $20/mo. for V.90 service."

Mapping Drives for Local Use

This was a tip recently in a Tech Republic newsletter I get.
When setting up computers on a network, it is easy to share printers or files/folders. But you can share files with yourself as well. For instance, I keep all of my files on one of my hard drives with all of the other web site files that I have. I access the files more than any of the others, but in order to get to the files, I have to go through several levels of folders. What I've done is share the folder, and then mapped that share to my P: drive. Now instead of having to navigate through several levels of folders, I can just go to the P: drive and see all of the files.
Getting to the point... the tip is to use shared folders to map commonly accessed folders to drive letters so you don't need to waste time digging through folders to get to the files you want.

Return to the top Recommend PCIN Tips and Other Stuff


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

  1. If any of the links are too long to fit on one line, you may have to cut and paste.
  2. You can only win one contest every 30 days.
  3. To subscribe another address or unsubscribe, please visit and follow the appropriate links.
  4. Recommend PCIN to others at and be entered in a monthly draw.
  5. There are only 2 ways to get on the subscriber list. You have either been subscribed by filling out a subscription form on any of the pages on my site, or you have requested FreeHelp from me in the past.
  6. If you have a web site or run your own newsletter, please email me at and I will add it to the subscriber web pages that I have on my site.
  7. Support PCIN by visiting

Return to the top

Graham Wing can be reached at
Chris Empey can be reached at

Copyright 1998-2002, Graham Wing. All rights reserved.

This publication may be reproduced in whole, or in part, as long as the author is notified and the newsletter is presented as is.

Support PCIN by visiting

PC Improvement News Home Page

PC Improvement News Archive