Issue 214 - November 20, 2002

ISSN 1488-3163; PC Improvements © 2002
==== 2221 Subscribers in 56 Countries ====

Welcome to the 214th 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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Graham is on vacation this week, so I am sending out this weeks newsletter. I have sent it out for Graham in the past, but this is the first time I have had had the opportunity to create the newsletter from start to finish. Graham will be back next week.

- Chris

Graham and Chris

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IBM shooting for 'Fastest Computer' title

"Scientists will soon be able to observe the first instants after a nuclear warhead detonates. Fortunately, it will be a three-dimensional simulation, made possible by the world’s fastest computer. IBM and the U.S. Department of Energy announced Tuesday the sale of a $290 million supercomputer, capable of performing 100 trillion calculations per second. Armed with that much computing firepower, a 3-D simulation of the first one-millionth of a second in a nuclear explosion will take eight weeks to calculate."

For more info:

Record industry continues attempt at online distribution model

"The beat goes on in the music business as Universal Music Group, in a nod to the inevitable, said it would make 43,000 music tracks available for consumers to download via a variety of retail outlets and music Web sites.
The move follows a somewhat similar recent decision by EMI Recorded Music, and it's clear that the Internet has changed the music business forever."

For more info:

National Identity Card For Canada?

"Unfazed by criticism of his proposal for a new high-tech national identity card, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Denis Coderre announced Monday he is referring the matter to Parliament's immigration committee for further study.
' The time has come to have a debate on the question of biometrics and the question of identity,' Coderre told reporters on his way out of question period."

For more info:{9947936B-C0DD-4DA8-A7B8-854B86FAD95A}

Linux consortium takes on Red Hat

"UnitedLinux, a consortium of four second-tier Linux companies working to catch leader Red Hat, released its first version of the open-source operating system on Tuesday.
And as expected, two partners in the effort, SuSE in Germany and the SCO Group in Utah, announced packages based on the version at a news conference at the Comdex Fall 2002 trade show here. The other partners in the alliance are Turbolinux in Japan and Conectiva in Brazil."

For more info:

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POLL of the WEEK

Last Week's Poll

When searching for information, how many sites do you visit before you find a useful site?

0 - I find the site right away error-file:TidyOut.log 4.72 % (5)
1-5 error-file:TidyOut.log 63.21 % (67)
6-10 error-file:TidyOut.log 23.58 % (25)
>10 error-file:TidyOut.log 7.55 % (8)
I can never find anything useful error-file:TidyOut.log 0.94 % (1)
Total votes: 106

This Week's Poll

How often to you visit Windows Update

Whenever Windows prompts me
I do not visit Windows Update

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


I have an HP Vectra running Windows 98 I'm using at home off any network. Until about 6 mo. ago all was fine, but at some point I became no longer able to shut down the system in the normal way In other words, whether I tell it to shut down or restart makes no difference in what happens and the only way I can turn the system off is to use the power switch. I can do this after Windows closes, but it's a nuisance. I've flashed the bios and all the settings seems correct. I also went through reconfiguring the CMOS -- not that I really know what this is -- by using the switch on the system board. But nothing has helped. Does anyone have any ideas? If I continue to be unable to fully shut down, is there any problem that might result?


The problem is not the BIOS, you should not resort to a BIOS flash as a fix. A BIOS Update should ALWAYS be the Last Resort to fix a problem. For further assistance see this Microsoft Knowledge Base article:;en-us;202633

Shutdown problems can be caused by: improperly installed drivers, missing driver, corrupted drivers, improper APM settings, improper ACPI settings, ACPI is enabled but not installed in Windows, a piece of hardware is malfunctioning, a damaged Exit Sound file, a damaged or missing system file, incompatible Kernel Mode software, the list goes on....

To post a response, visit the General Hardware Help forum at and click on the "Won't Shut Down" topic.

Visit to post a question of your own.

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Check out these new or updated pages on the site:

Object Desktop Software Review

LG GCE-8400B 40x 12x 40x CD-RW Hardware Review Search

Some Useful Registry Tips

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Use the Internet Explorer Links Bar

When browsing, I like to keep my Internet Explorer links bar open. I delete the usual default entries and use it for my visited sites. Alternatively, I use the links bar for special purpose research where I will be referring to several documents over a short period of time, but do not need to save the links as favorites. To do this, first make sure your links toolbar is open. If it is not, right click on Address bar and choose Links from the list. To add a link, you can right click on the web page, choose Add to Favorites then select the Links folder, or simply drag the web page icon from the Address bar to the Links bar. When done with the links, right click on them and choose Delete. As with all favorites, you can organize your links into folders as well.

Troubleshooting boot times in Windows XP

This is from a newsletter Graham receives. Microsoft has improved the boot time required to bring the OS up with XP, but users may still experience problems of slow boot times. The boot performance problem often is the result of a software/hardware combination, but these scenarios are hard to troubleshoot. Fortunately, Microsoft has a special utility called Bootvis that can help you identify devices that cause delays during the boot process.

  1. Download and run the Bootvis utility.
  2. On the Trace menu, select Next Boot + Driver Delays.
  3. Click OK. The computer will reboot and analyze the boot procedure. After the reboot, you'll be able to see what happened during the boot process, such as which drivers were loaded and which ones took the most time to initialize.
  4. Select Optimize System from the Trace menu. This will restart the computer and optimize it for boot performance

Turn off custom menus

Starting with Office 2000, Microsoft decided that users only wanted to see the menu items they use most frequently. While this sounds reasonable, it makes finding items more difficult when you do need them. To turn off custom menus in Word, and the other Office products, right click on the toolbar and choose customize. Choose Options in the dialog box and make sure that the box "Menus show recently used commands first" is not checked.


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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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