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By JOHN TORRO
© St. Petersburg Times, published June 14, 1999
Q. I had a crash that I think FastFind caused. How do you disable the FastFind function? Also, in Windows 98, when you shut the system down after the "Safe to Shut Down" message, the central processing unit will automatically shut down. Is there a way to disable that command?
A. The easiest way to disable FastFind is to remove its shortcut from your Startup folder: Right-click the Start button, choose Explore, click Programs, Startup and delete the FastFind shortcut.
The power-down action comes from an Advanced Power Management (APM) feature, and there is no way to change it. The hardware powers down in response to a software request. It occurs only on computers with a Plug and Play BIOS that supports APM features.
Q. With recent virus scares, one must be cautious about opening e-mail attachments. When I click on an e-mail message in Outlook Express, you can see the message in the viewer. Am I correct in assuming that viewing it does not open it? Also, in an exchange of e-mails, I received a file that I could not see. I checked it for viruses but found none. Have I installed a virus or a program that is giving the sender information without my permission?
A. The danger in opening attachments lies within their ability to start executing commands. The Melissa virus used VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) macros to do its damage. Word contains an option under the Tools, Options, General tab called "Virus protection." Make sure that this option is selected. When selected, Word will ask whether to enable these macros when you open the document. If you answer "No" to enable macros, you will be safe.
Attachments of type ".exe" are executables and should be scanned before opening. I would not worry about a ".txt" file you opened. Your file associations are most likely configured to have "'.txt" type files opened with Notepad. There was no danger of it executing any commands since Notepad does not have this capability.
The Auto-Preview mode you refer to within Outlook Express previews only the written text of the message, not attachments. Again, there is no damage here.
Q. I am planning to travel Europe for two months. I cannot find an Internet service provider to join over there. How do I go about this?
A. America Online, for one, has access numbers throughout Europe.
Q. Once a week I get an e-mail from different people of the same Web address that "guides" me to a pornographic Web site. My phone number and e-mail address are unlisted. How are these people getting my address and, most important, how can I stop them?
A. There are several ways Web sites can obtain your e-mail address. Some use software robots to search online for addresses, and some sites provide/sell lists to others. While the people who send these unsolicited e-mails are "required" by law to include a return request to have your name removed from their list, some experts recommend that you not respond. An answer will simply verify your address. You can delete the message, or send it and a complaint to your Internet service provider.
Q. I tried to follow your directions about going online by clicking the Internet Explorer icon on the desktop. But my Connect button was grayed out, and my setup Wizard would not accept a password. A Gateway tech said AOL needs to configure the browser for startup from IE on desktop. So I asked an AOL Tech. He advised me that you cannot go online by using the Internet Explorer icon on the desktop because AOL was not designed to do that. I sure do get a lot of different answers.
A. Thanks for the update. The original question from the reader did not specify that AOL was being used and my answer was mostly generic.
It sounds as if the CD-ROM drive is using real-mode drivers. A CD-ROM drive needs protected-mode drivers for it to take advantage of autoplay. Check your config.sys file to see if there are references to drivers for the CD-ROM. If there are, take them out (make a backup of config.sys first). Remove the corresponding reference in the autoexec.bat, which will be a line referring to MSCDEX. Then reboot. If the CD-ROM is not recognized by Windows, try again to add it through Device Manager.
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