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© St. Petersburg Times, published November 20, 2000

Q: Microsoft Access was preloaded in my computer when we purchased it. After using it regularly, I tried to open it and received this message: "Microsoft Access can't start because there is no license for it on this machine." No one seems to know where I can get a license.

A: This is a known problem. The most likely cause is that Microsoft Access is not properly registered on your computer. There is a 16-step work-around that involves registry edits for this problem. Fortunately, Microsoft has made available a program that you can download that should fix the problem (this works only for Windows 98 users). Download and run the program found at the following link:

Configuring system configuration

Q: Within the System Configuration Utility, there is a Tab/Startup. Is there any way to edit this list? I wish to delete one or more items. I can check and uncheck, but I do not see where it can be edited.

A: The Startup section of the System Configuration Utility shows only what is in the various areas of Windows where programs automatically initiate on startup. This utility allows you to enable or disable the applications that are there. To change what this list shows, you need to modify the different areas such as the StartUp folder, which is located at c:\WINDOWS\Start Menu\Programs\StartUp. The programs that start from within the registry are found at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run. Of course, always make sure you back up the registry before editing it.

Moving to FAT32

Q: Windows 98 prompted me to convert to FAT32. I know FAT32 is better, but I am concerned about older programs working with it. Since conversion back to FAT16 is impossible, is there a way to know if my older programs will work with FAT32?

A: A FAT32 conversion should be transparent to most programs. Exceptions may be some anti-virus programs and programs that access your disk below the operating system level, such as disk utilities from vendors such as Symantec (Norton). Of course, the best thing to do is check with these vendors by phone or a knowledgebase available on their Web site.

Fixing a freezing pointer

Q: I have Windows 98, which is constantly freezing the screen and pointer. I have to hit Ctrl-Alt-Del to unfreeze the screen. It works 75 percent of the time. How can this be corrected?

A: This could be a number of things, but there are two I would check first. Make sure the video drivers, which is system level software that controls your video adapter, are up to date. To check the type of video adapter and what version drivers are loaded, right-click on the Desktop, choose Properties, click the Settings Tab and the Advanced button, then the Adapter tab. Compare this with what the video adapter vendor's Web site says is the latest available driver. If an update is needed, download the driver and follow the directions for installing. Most are easy. Just double-click on the downloaded file starts an automated update process.

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