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Opening the firewall door to download software updates

By JOHN TORRO
Published December 1, 2003

Q. I have Windows XP, yet I have software that require updates. But the firewall prevents me from getting those updates. Is there a way of opening a passage so I can download updates and fixes to these programs?

A. You can do this with the Windows XP software firewall. Go to Control Panel, Network Connections, right-click your Local Area Connection and select Properties. Click the Advanced tab. If you have the Internet Connection Firewall active, the Settings button will be visible at the bottom of the window. Click the Settings button. On the General tab you will see several common services that you can enable. If the particular service you need is not listed here, click the Add button. Here you can describe and define particular ports to open on your firewall.

Unavailable Web site

Q. When I try to go to www.western.org I receive a "This page cannot be found" message. I have been visiting the site successfully for years. They took it down recently to redo it. I can access it from a different PC. I use Windows 98 SE with Internet Explorer 6. How do I reacquire this site?

A. It sounds as if there is a problem with your cache files. Try this: Click Tools, Internet Options on the Internet Explorer menu bar. On the General tab, click the Delete files button and click OK to delete all files. Restart Internet Explorer and retry that site.

Viewing attachments

Q. I run Microsoft 2000 Professional and am the only user with no network connections to other computers. Outlook Express prevents me from receiving attachments. When I click on the attachment, a box says "OE has removed the unsafe attachment." How do I change that setting, if it is a setting, to receive attachments?

A. This is the result of one of the Internet Explorer service packs. It is a new setting that gets turned on by default in Outlook Express. It is meant as a security precaution since many viruses are distributed as attachments to e-mail.

If you are sure you want to open an attachment, you can toggle it on or off as needed. The option is labeled: "Do not allow attachments to be saved or opened that could potentially be a virus." You'll find it on the Outlook Express menu bar, Tools, Options, Security tab.

While this Outlook Express change was part of the XP service pack, it also affects the latest versions of Outlook Express for any Windows version.

Reader trouble

Q. I have Dell 8100 running Windows Me. When I try to load Adobe Reader 6.0, I get two errors. The first is: "Acrord32 caused an error in ACRORD.EXE." The second is: "Acrord32 caused an error in MULTIMEDIA.API." I have tried reinstalling from the Adobe site after defragging my hard drive and doing a virus scan, but it still will not work. The older versions worked fine on this machine.

A. Try uninstalling Reader (Start, Settings, Control Panel, Add/Remove programs) before reinstalling it.

Restart request

Q. Do you have a handy tip to restart the computer, to do a soft boot? I find the need is frequent with Windows XP.

A. If you go to a command prompt, type shutdown /? and you will see the various flags (options) for the Shutdown command. One I've found useful in the past is the -a option, which cancels a forced shutdown. To answer your question, the -r flag would be required to make Shutdown reboot instead of just shutting down. The full command would be: shutdown -r -t 05 (this will wait 5 seconds and then restart).

[Last modified November 28, 2003, 09:38:33]

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