Issue 186 - May 08, 2002

ISSN 1488-3163; PC Improvements © 2002
==== 2317 Subscribers in 56 Countries ====

Welcome to the 186th 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



We should have some more updates to the site soon. You'll notice below that I have updated the links section of the web site. All newsletter subscribers can have their own web sites or newsletters listed. I'm also starting to post some links to scripts that I use on the site as well as other useful links.

I almost have the Outback Plus software review done, and Chris is almost done the VMWare Workstation 3.1 software review. I also obtained a Microsoft Office Keyboard and a Microsoft IntelliMouse Explorer for review as well. If there are products that you would like reviewed, email either of us and we'll see what we can do.

Lastly, I am going to sell my laptop, and thought I'd mention it in here first. It is a Compaq Presario 1692 with the following specs: AMD 450, 192MB RAM, 6GB HD, modem, network card. I'm looking for something around $700 US including shipping. I'd be happy to provide any more details if you are interested. Just email me at

Graham and Chris

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Sonicblue forced to spy on subscribers?

"In response to a lawsuit filed by a slew of heavyweight entertainment companies, a federal magistrate has ordered Sonicblue to monitor customers' activities to find out what TV programming they record, duplicate or send to others - a situation the company says is tantamount to forced spying.'
We're being ordered to spy on our customers; that's the most direct way of looking at it,' said Ken Potashner, chief executive of the digital video recorder company.
Privacy advocates were also concerned."

For more info:

'Spidey' Already Being Swapped By Online Pirates

"While Columbia Picture's new 'Spider-Man' movie was breaking box-office records over the weekend, Internet movie pirates were busily downloading free copies of the film on file-trading networks.
By Saturday, pirated versions of the comic book inspired movie were showing up in 'screener' format on the EDonkey, Kazaa, and Morpheus Internet file-swapping systems."

For more info:

Internet File-Sharing Boosts Music Sales

"Internet users who download songs for free from unauthorized 'peer to peer' services are more likely to increase their music purchases than regular Internet users, according to a report released on Friday.
While file-sharing services like Kazaa and Morpheus enable anyone with an Internet connection to access a huge library of music for free, experienced file sharers are more likely to actually increase the amount of money they spend on CDs, the report by research firm Jupiter Media Metrix said."

For more info:

McDonald's 'to offer web access'

"McDonald's fast-food burger restaurants in Japan are reportedly about to offer equally speedy access to the web.
The burger firm has signed a deal with the Internet investor Softbank which will lead to the installation of high-speed Internet services in almost 4,000 of its restaurants, according to the news daily Nihon Keizai Shimbun."

For more info:

Dell customer service complaints rocket

"Dell customer complaints have shot up nearly 40 per cent over the last year.
A study by Planet Feedback, a US consumer consultancy, found out that American Dell customers were getting increasingly dissatisfied with the computer giant's customer service and technical support."

For more info:

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POLL of the WEEK

Here are the responses from the last poll:

How often do you upgrade your computer?

Never, I always update individual components    35.62 % (26)
Every couple of months                           2.74 % (2)
Every 6 months                                   4.11 % (3)
Every year                                       4.11 % (3)
Every 2 years                                   24.66 % (18)
Almost Never. I try to use my computer forever  28.77 % (21)

Total votes: 73

Visit to participate in the new poll this week:

How many junk emails do you get a day?

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


My brother has a HP Pavilion, Intel Celeron 533MHz and it takes forever for the boot up to complete. It took a little more than one minute for the Windows 98 screen to stay on.
Does any one know how/what to do to shorten the boot up time? He re-formatted the hard drive and got rid of many start-up applications to no avail.


I think I may know an easy solution to your problem...
Windows 98 Machines pause for about 30 seconds during bootup with no disk activity and then continue to boot normally.
This happens if there is a Network Adapter installed and is configured to use DHCP (Automatic IP Addressing), but no DHCP server is running or connected.
Windows 98 requests an IP address via DHCP during bootup and after the Network layer loads. Since the Windows 98 bootup isn't parallel but serial, Windows must wait for an IP address to continue booting. If the DHCP server isn't found Windows will timeout the connection and then use the default IP address, but during that time Windows is stuck in a waitstate.
To resolve this: boot up with the connection to DHCP, such as a router or cable modem plugged into the Network Adapter so that the DHCP request will be processed immediately, or disable DHCP or the network adapter. You can assign the adapter a static IP address via the TCP/IP properties in the Networking control panel item by placing a valid internal network IP address instead of "automatic" such as
Alternatively, if the network adapter isn't being used then disable it from the Device Manager and from the Network control panel item.

To post a different suggestion, visit and click on the "Tricks & tips to shorten boot up time....." subject.

Visit to post a question of your own.

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Check out these new or updated pages on the site:

Updated Registry Tips (now 131)

New and Improved Links section

pdf995 Software Review

CuteZIP Software Review

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Using Windows ME defrag

I haven't tried this myself, but it was mentioned in the May 1, 2002 issue of the Neat Net Tricks newsletter (issue 125):
"06. FASTER DEFRAG. In response to comments about the unreliability of the onboard Windows defrag utility, a number of readers recommended the Microsoft WinMe Defrag. It reportedly works not just with WinMe but with Win95 and Win98 as well. It's a small download at"

When I checked it, the link mentioned above wasn't active any more. If you have a copy of Windows ME yourself, then you may be able to use the defrag utility on your Windows 98 system.

The Tips Doctor

Visit the Tips Doctor at for all sorts of tips on Microsoft operating systems and programs. There are also some tip for other programs as well.

Workstation Ergonomics

There has been a large push regarding healthy workstation ergonomics in the past few years. Proper position of your body in relationship to your peripherals can help make a long sit at your computer a safe and enjoyable one. The following links offer tips on how to best set up your environment for healthy computing:

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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.

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