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Elf Bowling victim of hoax rumor

By JOHN TORRO

© St. Petersburg Times, published January 3, 2000


Q. We received an e-mail from a friend with a game called Elf Bowling attached. Now we find out from the sender that there is a virus attached to this game and that we should erase it immediately. Can a virus be downloaded into your computer and then programmed to go off at a later date? Aren't most viruses spread as soon as you download them?

A. I too made the mistake of downloading this game on my son's PC. I say mistake because now he spends all his time playing Elf Bowling instead of doing his homework. The rumors circulating about a Trojan horse virus within this game are false. NVision Design Inc., the author of Elf Bowling, has assurances on its Web site (http://www.nstorm.com) that the program is safe and includes a link to Symantec AntiVirus Research Center backing the statement (http://www.symantec.com/avcenter/venc/data/y2kgame.hoax.html). As far as your other questions, yes -- it is possible and very common for viruses to be programed to become active on certain dates.

Restoring Windows Explorer

Q. I'm running Windows 95 and lost my split window on Windows Explorer (file manager). It shows one big window and displays only folders (not files). How do I get back the double window with folders on the left side and files on the right? Is there a way to get it to default to a specified drive when you open Explorer?

A. Running Windows Explorer with an /e parameter will produce a split view with folders on the left and files on the right. Combining this with a drive parameter also will make it open to that drive. For example, to run Explorer to open with split view to your D drive create a shortcut by right-clicking an empty spot on your Desktop, select New, Shortcut, in the shortcut command line enter: C:\WINDOWS\EXPLORER.EXE D:,/e. Click Next, give the new shortcut a descriptive name then click Finish. You now have a shortcut on your desktop that will open Windows Explorer positioned where you want it.

CleanSweep conflict

Q. When I boot up, I get a crash indicator that says the program has performed an illegal operation. When I go into details, it shows: "Explorer caused an invalid page fault in module KERNEL32.DLL AT 017f:bff7a3d1." When I try CTRL+ ALT+ DEL, it says "MSGSRV32 (NOT RESPONDING)." My second problem is after I boot up. I get this message: "A fatal exception OE has occurred at 0028:c0274799 in UXD VMM(06)+00002799. The current application will be terminated." I installed Norton SystemWorks hoping that it would solve my problems, but the computer still does the same thing.

A. This is a known problem that occurs because of an incompatibility between Internet Explorer 5 and the Apitrap.dll file that is installed by Symantec's Norton CleanSweep version 4 program. An updated Apitrap.dll file that corrects this problem with Internet Explorer 5 is available from the following Symantec Web site: http://www.symantec.com/techsupp/ftp/cleansweep/cleansweep_v4.html. If this is not the cause of your problems, other causes may be a lack of disk space (you should have at least 20 percent free) or corrupt or missing critical system files. This can usually be corrected by reinstalling Windows.

Master and slave disks

Q. I have a hard drive from one computer that I want to put into another. Both computers are 486, and the hard drives are only about 500 megabytes. One computer ran Windows 95, the other ran Windows NT. I would like to keep Windows 95. Is any of this possible?

A. You will need to make the disk with Windows 95 the master and the other the slave. This is done by setting the jumpers on the correct pin on each hard drive. Some hard drives have this marked; otherwise you can find it at the hard-disk vendor's Web site (you'll need to know the model number printed on the hard drive). Connect the drives to the same ribbon cable. (The master is usally placed closer to the end but that is not a requirement.) Depending on how the drive from the NT system was formatted, you may need to run FDISK on it to make it recognizable by Windows 95. The best way to do this is by creating a Windows 95 Start Disk -- which will contain FDISK. Boot with this diskette, run FDISK, select the second drive and re-create it as an extended DOS partition. The next time you boot to Windows it will be recognized.

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