Issue 200 - August 14, 2002

ISSN 1488-3163; PC Improvements © 2002
==== 2188 Subscribers in 57 Countries ====

Welcome to the 200th 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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Happy Birthday PCIN! Wow... PCIN turns 200 today. I can't believe I've been doing this for 4 years, and that I've typed up 200 of these newsletters. It has been fun "meeting" many of you online, helping you, and having fun with you. Chris asked if I had any big plans for the 200th issue, and as you will see below, I didn't. We'll just keep trucking ahead trying to share some interesting news and help you with your computer problems.

Remember that we are always open to suggestions for content, tips, poll ideas, etc. Send any of these to

Graham and Chris

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Dell unhooks Windows from desktops

Dell Computer is making Windows optional for some of its business desktops.
The PC maker next month will introduce n-Series corporate desktop and workstations that ship without Microsoft's Windows, or any other operating system, pre-installed.
The new desktops appear to be a slick interpretation of Microsoft's new licensing terms and a way to navigate customer demand for PCs without an OS installed. The Microsoft licensing terms, which were put in place on Aug. 1, specify that PC makers must ship PCs with an operating system. The new policy exists to prevent piracy and to better track OS shipments.

For more info:

Music sales dive--don't blame pirates

Video may have killed the radio star, but Forrester Research on Tuesday said Internet piracy was not to blame--as record labels have claimed--for the 15 percent drop in music sales in the past two years.
"There is no denying that times are tough for the music business, but not because of downloading," said Josh Bernoff, principal analyst at Cambridge, Massachusetts-based research firm Forrester Research, who released a report on the digital music market.
Based on surveys of 1,000 U.S. online consumers, Forrester said it sees no evidence of decreased CD buying among frequent digital music consumers and said the record labels could restore industry growth by making it easier for people to find, copy, and pay for music on their own terms.

For more info:

Online Shareware: Is Anyone Paying?

Some analysts have dismissed shareware as inferior to traditional commercial software, suggesting "you get what you pay for." But shareware quality has risen across the board.
It seems like a shaky way to make money in the software industry: Create programs that are free to download and try, but require users to pay registration fees if they decide to keep the software. Despite this business model's uncertainty, the number of shareware makers continues to grow as more developers put their faith in the honor system.

For more info:

Bootleg Movies

Who should police online illegal file sharing of movies? If the Motion Picture Association of America, (MPAA) has its way, it'll be job of Internet service providers (ISPs).
The MPAA, an organization that represents such studios as Sony Entertainment and Universal Studios, has sent out more than 100,000 legal notices - cease and desist letters - to ISPs such as Speakeasy, ordering them to contact persons unlawfully downloading films.
"The fear is the Internet provides a worldwide capability to disseminate product stolen from our member companies," said Ken Jacobsen, senior vice president of worldwide anti-piracy efforts for MPAA. "It's instantaneous, it's digital, it can be very high quality, and it's very difficult to address because it covers the entire world," he adds.

For more info:

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POLL of the WEEK

Here are the responses from the last poll:

What is the youngest age that your child was able to use the computer?

1 year 5.13 %           (2)
2 year 15.38 %          (6)
3 year 25.64 %         (10)
4 year 2.56 %           (1)
5 year 10.26 %          (4)
6 year 5.13 %           (2)
7 year 5.13 %           (2)
8 year 5.13 %           (2)
9 year 2.56 %           (1)
10 year 5.13 %          (2)
> 10 years old 17.95 %  (7)

Total votes: 39

Visit to participate in the new poll this week:

Should schools require students to have a laptop?

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


When I browse any web page, my IE6 browser doesn't display the different images. help me. I am using win98


None yet.

To post a response, visit the Software How-To forum at and click on the gif images in IE6" subject.

Visit to post a question of your own.

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Check out these new or updated pages on the site: FreeHelp Forum Update
(I've updated the forum and there is a new calendar feature. If you go and edit your profile to add your birthday, it will show up on a public calendar. Kind of neat!)

Outback Plus 3.0 Software Review

Microsoft Office Keyboard Hardware Review

VMWare Workstation 3.1 Software Review

Microsoft Wireless IntelliMouse Explorer Hardware Review

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OutBack Plus 3.0 Software Review

"A couple of years ago I had the unthinkable happen... my hard drive died. I lost everything. I never thought I had anything important that needed to be backed up, but once something like that happens, you realize that almost everything is important. Once that happened I purchased both a CD-RW drive and a Zip drive and I started backing up my data.
For anyone who has tried to find all of their data to backup, it can be quite a chore. OUTBACK Plus 3.0 (OP3) from AJ Systems tries to help when backing up your Email and Internet Files.
As I mentioned above, OP3 doesn't do anything that you couldn't do yourself manually. You might think that you don't need to spend the $30 to do something you can do yourself, but if you give OP3 a try, you will stick with it. It is quick, can be automated, and backs up so many different items, it becomes very valuable. Even that fact that the backup file can be opened in your zip program of choice is nice. You can extract data as needed if you didn't want to use the Restore option."

Read the full review at

Step-by-Step Confirmation When Booting Windows 9x

One of the most useful tool when troubleshooting Windows problems is using the option to walk through Windows as it loads. When you first see the Windows 98 boot screen, press F8 for a startup menu. From that menu choose the step-by-step confirmation option. You will then be prompted to load drivers, autoexec.bat, config.sys, and other files. You can choose yes or no to each of these options. By doing this, you can narrow down what might be causing problems on your system. This is something that Microsoft mentions in several KB articles. You can find lots of articles about this as well by search at Google like this:

Typing Accents in Word

Many foreign language words have accent marks, such as résumé, déjà vu, pâté, and voilà. This can be hard to type on an English keyboard with English software. Word, however, does have a simple way to do this. Here are some examples:

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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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Chris Empey can be reached at

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