Issue 196 - July 17, 2002

ISSN 1488-3163; PC Improvements © 2002
==== 2405 Subscribers in 57 Countries ====

Welcome to the 196th 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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We're finally getting some new reviews added to the site. I've finished a review for the Microsoft Wireless IntelliMouse Explorer that is posted at with a small blurb below in the Tips and Other Stuff section. Chris also has a review done of VMWare Workstation 3.1 at which will be featured next week.

Lisa's due date is 2 days from now (this Friday, July 19, 2002). She's uncomfortable, but has had nothing that would even resemble a real labour pain. We're beginning to think that this baby doesn't want to come out. Body temperature is 98.6° F and the weather here lately has been 100° F so maybe the baby figures it is cooler in there!

Graham and Chris

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Hackers challenge Internet monitoring

"Some of the world's best-known hackers unveiled a plan this weekend to offer free software to promote anonymous Web surfing in countries where the Internet is censored, especially China and Middle Eastern nations.
An international hacker group calling itself Hacktivismo released a program on Saturday called Camera/Shy that allows Internet users to conceal messages inside photos posted on the Web, bypassing most known police monitoring methods.
In addition, 'Mixter,' an internationally known German hacker, said Hacktivismo was preparing in coming weeks to launch technology, which if adopted widely could allow anyone to create grassroots, anonymous networks where Internet users worldwide could access and share information without a trace."

For more info:

Microsoft fails to use own security product

"Netscreen Technologies, a company that makes firewall and virtual private network hardware and software, announced this week that it had gained a major customer: Microsoft.
Microsoft's SQL Labs, the part of the company that works on Microsoft's SQL Server, is using NetScreen's 500-series security appliance to defend its network against Code Red, Nimda and other worm attacks, according to a statement released by NetScreen. Apparently, the labs' choice was made despite the fact that Microsoft already sells its own security product touted as a defense against worms."

For more info:

Gnutella Developer Gene Kan, 25, Commits Suicide

"Gene Kan, one of the key programmers behind the popular file-sharing technology known as Gnutella, has died in an apparent suicide, officials said on Tuesday. He was 25.
San Mateo County Coroner spokeswoman Sue Turner said Kan was found last week at his northern California home.
'The cause of death was a perforating gunshot wound to the head,' Tuner said. 'It was a suicide.'"

For more info:

MS sees the Linux challenge

"The emergence of Linux as a serious competitor to Windows has forced Microsoft to change the way it approaches customers, according to Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer.
At Monday's closing keynote speech to Fusion 2002, the company's annual symposium for its partners, Ballmer said that because of Linux, Microsoft is 'going through a whole new world of thinking.'
Where Microsoft has traditionally competed with companies such as IBM, Sun Microsystems, Novell and Oracle on the basis of 'low price, high volume', Linux and other open-source software have changed the game through its even lower cost--it is free."

For more info:

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POLL of the WEEK

Here are the responses from the last poll:

Does your ISP limit the bandwidth (speed or transfer) you can use?

Yes                            35.29 % (18)
No                             37.25 % (19)
They will be doing this soon    1.96 % (1)
I don't know                   25.49 % (13)

Total votes: 51

Visit to participate in the new poll this week:

Have you ever been to a PC industry trade show like Comdex?

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


I recently received a Gateway Select 1200 computer from my sister. It uses WinME and IE6. It freezes constantly! Either the mouse freezes or the entire computer freezes. It also freezes in IE6. Ctrl-Alt-Del does nothing, so I have to turn off the computer at least twice a day, sometimes more. I know that this isn't good for the computer, but I'm at a loss as what else to do. I have defragged, again, to no avail.


These problems are almost impossible to fix. Here are a couple of things you could try.
Go into the Add/Remove Programs applet of the Control Panel and remove all of the programs you don't need. The problem could be with some conflicts in shared files
Go to WindowsUpdate and install any necessary patches
Reinstall IE6
Check for new drivers for your hardware
If you can't figure out what the problem is, then you may have no choice but to reinstall the operating system on a clean system.

To post a response, visit the Software How-To forum at and click on the "WinMe Freezes Constantly!" subject.

Visit to post a question of your own.

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Check out these new or updated pages on the site:

VMWare Workstation 3.1 Software Review

Microsoft Wireless IntelliMouse Explorer Hardware Review

Updated FreeHelp Forums (I've created new categories)

Updated Registry Tips (now 142)

New and Improved Links section

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Microsoft Wireless IntelliMouse Explorer Hardware Review

"The mouse is a USB only device, so you must have an available USB port. Many of the other products come with a USB to PS2 adapter, but the WIE does not. Installation was simple. I plugged it in and it worked on my Windows 2000 computer. It shows up in the Device Manager as a Human Interface Device. With the mouse working, I visited the Microsoft Hardware site at and downloaded the 4.0 version of the IntelliPoint drivers.
The mouse itself has 5 buttons that were very easy to setup. There are the usual right and left button, along with the now commonplace scroll wheel that acts as a button. There are also 2 buttons on the left side where the right-hand thumb would be. The IntelliMouse software lets you program these for different functions. The default actions are to act as the Back and Forward buttons on your browser, but if you want them to do something different, there are over 30 different options.
The mouse comes with 2 AA batteries that installed in the mouse easily. The IntelliMouse software has a tab that lets you know whether the batteries are in good shape or not."

Read the full review at

RUNDLL32 Commands

A lot of the screens that you open up that are part of Windows aren't separate programs. They are things that are built-in to the operating system, and often they are called using the RUNDLL32 file. This lets you call many of these functions in shortcuts. If you are interested in these sorts of things are aren't intimidated by scripting, then check out and try some of the shortcuts. While you are there, also check out the scripting help on other scripting languages as well.

The Discovery channel has an excellent web site, and part of the web site is a place for "Parents, teachers, students. Fresh ideas to enhance learning." There is a lot of fun and interesting things for people of all ages to do. Check it out at Be careful though... you may learn something!

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

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