Issue 204 - September 11, 2002

ISSN 1488-3163; PC Improvements © 2002
==== 2180 Subscribers in 57 Countries ====

Welcome to the 204th 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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I've received several replies regarding your computing pet peeves, but I still need a lot more. What annoys you about computers, hardware/software vendors, or other technologies? Maybe you just have some questions that no one can answer. Keep them short, and feel free to include as many pet peeves as you have in your email. For example, some of the things that annoy me are:

Who really needs a toaster or fridge connected to the Internet?
Why doesn't Microsoft just give Windows away?
Whatever happened to manuals?
Trust me, I don't need to get rich quick, take HGH, join the web's hottest singles community, or anything else that might come in through email.

Get the idea... email me at and in a few weeks I'll send out a special issue with all of them.

Graham and Chris

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Microsoft wants to hire Xbox hacker

"In another indication of how serious Microsoft is about cracking down on 'mod chips' used for hacking its Xbox game console, the company is seeking to hire a software engineer to investigate the gray-market add-ons.
A notice posted on Microsoft's hiring site seeks an engineer charged with 'collecting, evaluating and conducting analysis of modification chips' as part of security research on Xbox hardware and software.
The engineer will 'assist in designing hardware detection code fragments to be embedded in future versions of the product,' according to the notice, another sign that Microsoft plans to devise technology to test for hacked Xbox hardware. 'Preference is given to those with...gaming hacking knowledge,' the notice states."

For more info:

HSBC rejects Microsoft licensing model

"High street bank HSBC has criticised Microsoft's moves towards subscription-based licensing, claiming that it forces too fast an upgrade cycle with few benefits for business users.
Talking exclusively to, Alan Jebson, worldwide group IT director at HSBC, insisted that the bank, which has over 180,000 desktops, would resist moves to subscription licensing.
'It is more cost effective in the long-term for us to repurchase the software, rather than subscribe to updates that provide little or no direct business benefit, and which we therefore consider unnecessary,' he said."

For more info:

PC makers slow to endorse XP update

"Microsoft on Monday issued the first update, or service pack, for the Windows XP operating system. But the update, available as a free download from Microsoft's Web site, may not appear on some new PCs until next year.
The release of a first service pack is typically a watershed event for a new version of Windows, signaling that the initial shakedown is over and that the operating system is ready for primetime. Many businesses waited to upgrade to Windows 2000, for example, until Microsoft released the first update in July 2000, about five months after the operating system launched.
However, PC makers plan to be slow to add the Windows XP Service Pack 1 to new systems. PC makers say they are in no hurry to support the service pack because the OS was launched with few major bugs, an automatic update feature keeps users current with new fixes, and many businesses still favor Windows 2000 over XP."

For more info:

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POLL of the WEEK

Here are the responses from the last poll:

How many music CDs have you burned in the last month?

None, I don't have a burner     15.63 % (10)
None, I don't know how to        4.69 % (3)
None, I don't think it's right  17.19 % (11)
1-5                             48.44 % (31)
6-10                             7.81 % (5)
10-20                            1.56 % (1)
20-50                            1.56 % (1)
>50                              3.13 % (2)

Total votes: 64

Visit to participate in the new poll this week:

What steps do you take to backup your data?

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


For almost three weeks now I have been unable to log into my MSN Explorer Browser.
It starts the login proceedure saying 2nd attempt. then makes about five attempts, and then says
Login failed Check Internet Connection etc.
My Connection is fine for all other programs.
My Zone Alarm Firewall is set Ok for MSN Explorer
I have tried totally Uninstalling and Reinstalling from the original .exe file
All to no avail !! The problem remains!


Are you using a Router or Proxy?
Possible causes solutions:
1. You have setup MSN Messenger to use a Proxy server, but you don't have one running. To correct this so to Tools > Options > [Connection] and uncheck "I use a proxy server"
2. You are using a Router or firewall and are blocking the MSN Messenger port. See your hardware or software documentation about Enabling ports, or blocking ports and making sure the MSN port isn't blocked.
3. Check you Internet Options (from the Control Panel)setting for [Connections] and make sure it is appropriate for your connection, i.e. choose "Never dial a connection" if you are on high-speed DSL or cable=, or via LAN/WAN.

To post a response, visit the General Software Help forum at and click on the "MSN Explorer Browser" subject.

Visit to post a question of your own.

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Check out these new or updated pages on the site: Search

Some Useful Registry Tips 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

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Always Trust in Internet Explorer

Last week I mentioned a way to change which companies you "always trust" when a windows pops up in Internet Explorer telling you that something wants to be installed. Well, subscriber Mike passed a long a Microsoft Knowledgebase article that contains more information. Visit;EN-US;Q293816 for a very good article entitled "How to Determine Whether You Have Accepted Trust for Fraudulent VeriSign-Issued Certificates" It contains information on how to check your certificates, as well as links to other articles. There is also a registry key that can be edited.

Renaming files in Windows XP

Windows XP has a feature that lets you rename multiple files at once. Although in most situations it won't be very useful, it could be useful in others. If you select several files and then either press F2, you will be able to change the name of the first one. Lets say you have 10 pictures... you'd rename the picture to 20020911.jpg and then the second picture would automatically be renamed 20020911 (1).jpg, then 20020911 (2).jpg ... 20020911(9).jpg. As I said, this might not be that useful in most situations, but in the case of digital cameras, it may. My camera labels everything with a DCP beginning which means absolutely nothing to me. In Windows XP I can change this quite easily using the example above.

Don't make the same errors as these folks

"Disaster recovery is designed to safeguard a company's data, but sometimes getting the system to work properly can result in catastrophe.
CBL Data Recovery Technologies Inc. recently published a top 10-style list of storage blunders, most of which are the result of human error. One story refers to a Unix network that was regularly backed up, but there was nothing attached to the back end, so the data disappeared. In another instance, an organization froze its disks after its office flooded before sending them off to a data recovery lab."
The complete list is available at
Read the rest of the article at

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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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