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Windows won't protect you from the nosy


© St. Petersburg Times, published February 1, 1999

A. The Windows name and password prompt is not meant to provide security (outside of network resources). You can check your system board documentation to see if it supports password-based security in its CMOS. This would prevent anyone from booting the computer without knowing the password. There also are several third-party packages you may want to investigate at your local computer software store that may provide you with the level of security you need. Windows 98 by itself cannot provide this.

Q. I need to copy my file names to Word so I can alphabetize them and sort them for easy retrieval from CD-ROM volumes. Just the file names, not the files themselves.

A. From a DOS prompt: DIR /B /ON >Filelist.txt should do the trick. The ">" symbol tells the DIR command to create a file called Filelist.txt (in the current directory) and to list the filenames in it. The /B parameter will give you the filename only, the /ON will sort them by name. Using a ">>" symbol instead of the single ">" will append the output of the command to an existing file. I used "filelist.txt" in my example, but you may use any name you like.

Q. When I turned on my computer, a message said "Choose Safe Mode to start." After doing so, the color on the wallpaper didn't look right. Previously, the setting was at 256 colors and the refresh rate 800x600. Now the color is set at 16-color and the refresh at 640x480. I have followed the instructions under Display Help to change back to the 256 mode, but each time I restart the settings have gone back to 16-color and 640x480. Also, a friend somehow deleted the standard Windows selection in the Display Appearance area. How do I get that back?

A. First thing is to make sure you are no longer booting up in Safe Mode. Under Safe Mode you will get only 16 color and 640x480 resolution (not refresh rate). If you are not in Safe Mode, then you may need to reinstall your video drivers. Check the documentation that came with your system on where these drivers reside (a supplied CD or diskettes) and instructions on installation. I don't see how you can delete a Windows color scheme from the Settings screen. However, reinstalling Windows should restore it. (Don't worry, reinstalling Windows will keep you existing programs and settings.)

Q. We have a strange glitch that causes the system to freeze at unpredictable times. The mouse arrow suddenly stops moving and nothing will work until we reboot.

A. This sounds like a video driver problem. There are several ways to test this out. The first and easiest is to change the way your video adapter uses its built-in optimization. Right-click My Computer, choose Properties, Performance, and click the Graphics button. Start by adjusting the slide bar all the way to the left (None). If this fixes your problem, it indicates a problem with the video card/driver combination and you should contact the vendor for a possible update.

Q. Starting Windows 95, I get this message: "Cannot find the file dtect16.exe (or one of its components). Make sure the paths and filenames are correct and that all libraries are available." After pressing "OK," I get: "Could not load or run dtect16.exe specified in the WIN.INI file. Make sure the file exists on your computer or remove reference to it in the WIN.INI file."

A. Edit your WIN.INI file, remove the reference to dtect16.exe that will be on the line that begins with RUN= or LOAD=, and then save the file. This should take care of error messages on your next boot.

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