Recent Comments


Comment by David on Is This Your New Internet Security Tool? (May 26, 2017 06:17 AM)
Been using Malwarebytes on multiple PCs with Webroot for years. Started having lots of issues when 3.xx hit. Aggressive false positives with no trace ...
Comment by RandiO on Geekly Update - 24 May 2017 (May 25, 2017 11:33 PM)
I want my Robot Pilot and drone software to be written by a Republican. They seem more aggressive! If I am going to have to relent to something else...
Comment by tom-tom on Geekly Update - 24 May 2017 (May 25, 2017 03:30 PM)
Bob, short but sweet... You did a good one again! Love your work. Take good care, tom-tom [Endicott] ...
Comment by GuitarRebel on Geekly Update - 24 May 2017 (May 25, 2017 09:59 AM)
Thanks for the detailed professional opinion, Joe. It was a fascinating read for someone like me who flies semi-regularly. ...
Comment by Joe on Geekly Update - 24 May 2017 (May 24, 2017 10:38 PM)
I fly the 737 for a living, so I watched the video embedded in the linked CNBC story with some considerable interest. As I suspected before I hit pla...
Comment by Valli on Replace Your Landline With MagicJack? (May 24, 2017 09:59 PM)
Over the years I have had three MJs because they would die for some reason and rather than waiting for Customer Service to send a replacement, I would...
Comment by Elizabeth on The New Google Voice: Love or Hate? (May 24, 2017 08:33 PM)
You have it right Gary in SE Wisconsin why would Google want to improve Voice when it was so simple to use the way it was especially for us Seniors ho...
Comment by SysOp404 on Geekly Update - 24 May 2017 (May 24, 2017 07:44 PM)
You can likely guess the thoughts of those of us taking cautionary stances on the latest land-based, self-driving vehicles that are always in the news...
Comment by Nezzar on Geekly Update - 24 May 2017 (May 24, 2017 05:10 PM)
gg pence: Thanks much for your excellent comments. They give all of us something to think about if this idiotic idea is ever attempted. ...
Comment by richierich on Geekly Update - 24 May 2017 (May 24, 2017 04:44 PM)
Great point gg. typos included...

Windows Articles

 

[HELP] Windows Troubleshooters

Windows includes a host of built-in troubleshooters that can assist you in trying to assess and repair issues that your computer may be experiencing with the operating system. Let's take a look at how they work, and what they can do for you…

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Check Out This Free Windows Clone

Some diehards are never going to upgrade to the latest Windows version. They like the legacy look and feel of Windows XP, Windows 2003, or even Windows NT. They don’t like Microsoft’s strong-arm tactics that try to cram Windows 10 onto every PC. But switching to Mac or Linux isn't a workable solution for them. Is this free, open-source Windows clone the answer? Read on for the details...

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Run Android Apps Under Windows

Back in March, 2016, I asked, “Is Desktop Software Dying?” The short answer is “yes.” Most new software is released first for mobile platforms these days; in some cases, a desktop version never appears. Fortunately, there are several ways to run Android apps on a Windows PC. Each has its strengths and weaknesses. Read on for my take on several of the best options...

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Why Hasn’t Microsoft Fixed This 20 Year-Old Vulnerability?

A security flaw in Windows allows anyone to steal usernames and passwords of logged-in users or even infect Facebook with malware simply by tricking users into visiting a specially-crafted Web page. Microsoft has known about the vulnerability since at least 1997, but the company has no plans to close this gaping hole. Read on to learn why, and how to easily protect against this threat...

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[RESET] Restore Your PC To Factory Defaults?

A despairing reader writes, “I’ve managed to mess up my Windows PC to the point of no return. I give up; I just want to reset it to its factory-fresh condition and start all over. How do I do that?” Read on and I'll tell you how, and why you might NOT want to do this...

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[ANSWERS] More of Your Windows Questions

Yesterday I gave a summary of your responses to my Windows ebook survey, and answered some of the most common questions that were raised. Thanks again to the 5142 people who participated. Today, I'll answer more of those questions, and share some best practices for keeping your computer running in top condition. Read on...

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[RESULTS] Your Top Windows Questions

Wow, over 5000 of you responded to the survey about my upcoming ebook. I sifted, sorted and summarized your answers, then created a word cloud of the top issues mentioned in your questions about Windows. Read on for an expanded view of the results, and ANSWERS to some of the most common and interesting questions you raised...

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[YES!] You Really Need Windows Auto-Update

Earlier this week, Microsoft released several security patches rated Critical, which fixed vulnerabilities that could be exploited to give an attacker complete control of a computer. Did your Windows system automatically apply those patches? Read on to learn why you need to use Windows Update, and tweak it with my recommended settings...

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Is Microsoft Forcing Windows 10 on You?

Microsoft is pushing Windows 10 harder than it’s ever pushed any previous version of its flagship product. Every device out there has received the “Get Windows 10” installation utility, which nags users to download and install Win 10. But Microsoft has gone a step further, actually pushing multi-gigabytes of Win 10 files onto the hard drives of people who haven’t asked for it. Here's what to do...

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Failed Windows Updates Causing Slowdowns?

Does your Windows system seem to run slower than it should, even after running maintenance programs such as Advanced System Care or Privazer? Does it take “forever” to shut down or restart? Does it stall during a restart, forcing you to shut off power and restart manually? If so, read on for a non-obvious possible cause of these problems and an equally obscure but simple solution…

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Who Got Caught Disabling Windows Update?

Caught red-handed, one computer vendor has admitted that it covertly disables the automatic-update feature of Windows Update, forcing users of some, perhaps all, of its Windows computers to download and install critical updates manually. Of course, many won’t, and they will leave themselves open to hackers and malware. Here's what you need to know...

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Running Android Apps on Your Desktop

There are many cool Android apps that are not available for desktop Windows or Mac computers. But with a little work you can try Android apps without an Android-powered smartphone or tablet. Here are several ways to get Android and its apps running on your Windows PC or Mac OS desktop...

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Are Autoruns Slowing Your PC?

When you start your computer, there are a bunch of programs that automatically run, before the familiar desktop appears. Most of them are essential; some are dispensable; and others may be malicious. Learn how to tweak your autoruns to improve performance and security...

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7 Free Windows Troubleshooting Tools

An operating system is an incredibly complex beast. If things go wrong with Windows, it can be difficult to track down the source of the glitch. But you can put away the chainsaw and sledgehammer, because there are plenty of free troubleshooters you can use to fix most problems. Here's my recommended list of free Windows problem solvers...

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Microsoft Fix It Solution Center

Are you having a problem using or understanding certain Windows features? Are you getting error messages you don't understand? Having trouble with audio, video, printing, or getting connected to a network? Maybe you're concerned about privacy, security or performance. If so, the Microsoft Fix It Solution Center might be able to solve the problem with just a few clicks…

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A Free Windows XP Alternative

Okay... you know that sticking with Windows XP is like driving with bald tires on an icy highway. But you don't want to spend even a dime on another version of Windows. Fortunately, there's a free alternative operating system that will do pretty much everything that Windows XP does. Read on to learn if it's the right choice for you...

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Windows XP: Game Over?

A reader asks: 'I have read that Microsoft will drop support for Windows XP on April 8th. Does this mean my computer will stop working? Will I need to buy a new PC?' If you're still clinging to Windows XP, you DO need to take action. Here's what you need to know about this looming deadline...

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Essential Addons for Windows PART DEUX

Earlier this week, I published the first part of my essential addons for Windows users, focusing on security, office tools, and multimedia apps. As promised, here are more of my recommendations for productivity, customizing Windows, fixing common problems, and more. Read on for some awesome (and essential) free software...

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Essential Addons for Windows

Microsoft Windows gets the job done when it comes to providing all of the essential elements of an operating system. It manages memory, stores and organizes your files, makes it easy to launch programs, and connects you to the Internet. But there are a bunch of free addons that I consider essential for users who want to do more than play Solitaire. Here's my list...

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Sick and Tired of Windows?

Windows 8 is attempting to be a better alternative to old-school Windows. But it’s scaring off a lot of consumers who see a trusted, familiar face now radically transformed into something alien and confusing. One may as well consider other operating systems if there's going to be a learning curve anyway. Here are several alternatives to running Windows on your desktop, laptop or mobile device...

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Windows XP: The End is Near

If you are still clinging to Windows XP, it’s time to get serious about upgrading to another operating system. Microsoft will end all support for XP on April 8, 2014 -- one year from today. That may seem far off, and to some users it may seem trivial. But neither assumption is true. If you're still using XP, here's what you need to know now...

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Still Holding on to XP or Windows 7?

Windows 8 is a radically new operating system that many users, consumer and business, are not prepared to adopt. Since its release last Fall, it’s appeared on only three per cent of desktops. If you want to cling to Windows 7 or, more desperately, Windows XP, how long can you do so and what should you expect? Here's the scoop...

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Free Windows Repair and Recovery Tools

A hard drive glitch, a virus, or other data catastrophe can delete or damage critical system files in any operating system. Learn about free repair and recovery tools that can fix damaged Windows installations without having to reformat and reinstall everything from scratch...

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Is ActiveX Evil?

Is it safe to install ActiveX controls when websites prompt me to do so? I've read that ActiveX is a security risk, and should be avoided. What's your opinion of ActiveX?

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Cannot Create a Restore Point

Suddenly I'm not able to create a Restore Point. I have been getting error message 0x80042306. I have tried reboot, tried Safe mode, neither has helped. I am thinking of doing a complete recovery, but thought I would ask you before taking this drastic step. Any help would be appreciated.

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What is Windows Live Essentials?

Do I need Windows Live Essentials? I was reading a page on the Microsoft website that recommends installing this package of add-ons, but for most of them I either don't understand it or can't see why I would need it. Can you explain what each of the Essential tools will do for me?

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Make Windows XP Run Faster!

How do I make Windows XP run faster? My Windows startup is taking longer than ever, and once it finally stops churning, everything runs slower than it used to, when my computer was new. Any maintenance tips or tweaks to speed up Windows would be appreciated!

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Time Travel with System Restore

Help! I downloaded a program that was supposed to remove spyware from my computer. But now I'm getting even MORE popups and my system freezes at random intervals. I tried to uninstall but can't find a way to get rid of this thing. What do you recommend?

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My Computer Won't Start

It's pretty scary when your computer won't start. The cause may be easy to find and fix, or it may take a trained technician and hundreds of dollars. Here are some troubleshooting tips you can try when your computer won't start...

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Registry Cleanup

If your computer is starting up slowly or it sometimes hangs for several seconds, geeky friends will ask if you have cleaned your registry lately. Registry cleanup is one of the standard prescriptions for computer performance problems. But what is the Windows registry, and is registry cleanup really necessary? Can it be dangerous to your computer's health? Here's the scoop...

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Windows Keyboard Shortcuts

Windows keyboard shortcuts are combinations of two or more keys (or a key and a mouse button) that, when pressed simultaneously, perform a task that would normally require moving the mouse around, clicking, and possibly navigating sub-menus. Windows keyboard shortcuts save time and wrist motions. Here are some you should know...

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Windows Taskbar Tips and Tricks

The Windows taskbar - that narrow strip of icons at the bottom of your screen - is a nuisance to some and a fertile world of productivity for others. Learn the non-obvious secrets of the taskbar, you'll be glad you did. Read on and learn how to master the taskbar...

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Windows XP Repair

Sometimes, something goes wrong with your Windows XP installation. It could be due to a hardware glitch, a software error, malware, a lightning strike, or who knows what else. In the worst case, Windows XP won't boot at all; you get a black screen and a message like disk boot failure, Invalid partition table, or missing operating system. Or Windows may boot up, but you keep getting error reading disk or file not found errors. In other cases, everything seems okay, but you can't access the Internet. Here are some time-tested tools and techniques to repair your Windows XP system...

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Speed Up My Computer

We have a need for speed when it comes to computing. Whether a computer is brand new or several years old, it's never fast enough. Here are a few tips to make your computer run faster...

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Free Windows Desktop Themes

I just installed Windows 7 on a new desktop, and I want to trick it out. Where can I download new cursors, icons and backgrounds, and how are they installed?

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Windows Registry Errors

When I start my computer, I always get some sort of 'error in registry' message. Things seem to work okay after that, but it makes me wonder if there is a problem that should be corrected. Will a registry cleaner fix this?

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Startup Programs

If you feel your computer is sluggish, what's going on? One reason could be your Windows startup programs. let's take a look at how to manage your startup programs, and pump some speed back into your system...

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System Restore Not Working

I tried to run System Restore and got this error message: 'System Restore did not complete successfully. Your computer's files and settings were not changed.' Uggh. Why does this happen, and what can I do about it?

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What is Data Execution Prevention?

I keep getting an error that says 'Data Execution Prevention - To help protect your computer, Windows has closed this program.' What is Data Execution Prevention, and why is it suddenly blocking programs that I've been using for years?

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What Does System Restore Do?

System Restore is a great feature in Windows that lets you roll back the clock on system changes. Have you ever wondered how System Restore affects your computer's resources, performance and what's really going on behind the scenes? Read on...

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What Is Silverlight And Do I Need It?

Whenever I go to Microsoft's website, it nags me to install a thing called Silverlight. What is Silverlight, and do I really need it on my computer?

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Windows Task Manager

Task Manager is a utility built into Windows that lets you monitor the applications and hidden services running on your PC. You can also use it to force a task to shut down; get an idea of how well your Internet connection is doing; or see exactly what users are currently logged into your PC. Read on to tap in to the power of Task Manager...

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Free Registry Cleaners

I've heard conflicting stories on the effectiveness of registry cleaners. Do they really help? If so, which registry cleaner do you recommend?

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Virtual Memory

What's the difference between virtual memory and real memory? And how can I add more virtual memory to my computer?

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Printing a .PRN file

If I'm using my laptop away from the office and I choose to print something and select print to file (since I don't have a printer with me) it creates a .PRN file, but how can I print that file later?

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Do I Need a Registry Cleaner?

My computer seems to get slower and slower. A friend told me I need a registry cleaner. Will that really help? If so, where can I get a good free registry cleaner to do the job?

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Password Protection for Windows XP

How can I password protect a file on my Windows XP system? I want to add a password so that nobody can open the file without knowing the password. I tried the Sharing and Security option, but there was no place to enter a password. There must be a way...

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Upgrade to Windows XP SP3

I've heard that Microsoft just released a new service pack for Windows XP. Is SP3 going to make my XP machine run faster and jump higher? Or should I avoid it? I remember the SP2 hassles... What's your take on XP SP3?

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Run Windows On Mac

Why choose between Windows and Mac? Now you can run BOTH operating systems side-by-side on your Mac desktop. Here's the scoop on how to run Windows on your Mac...

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Switching From Windows to Mac

Devoted fans of Macs and PCs have been in heated debate for years, even before those I'm a Mac, I'm a PC commercials ever appeared. Let's set aside the question of which camp is right and focus on the reasons why some people choose a Mac over a PC, and the major differences between the two operating systems, for the benefit of those who are considering a switch from Windows to a Mac...

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Registry Problem

I had a problem with Windows XP. A friend entered the registry and did something to it. Now every time I turn the computer on I get a notice saying that Windows Installer is preparing to install. I can't now open pps or ppt attachments. I don't know how to fix the problem and I don't want to reformat my computer. Any suggestions?

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Is Genuine Advantage Spyware?

I read in another newsletter that Microsoft's Genuine Advantage for Windows is spyware. Microsoft seems to be forcing it on me every time I try to update my system. Is Microsoft trying to poke into our private files with spyware?

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Windows PreFetch

I've heard that Windows XP will run faster if you disable something called PreFetch. Apparently Windows remembers everything you have done and, in a misguided attempt to be helpful, pre-loads all the files and links when XP boots. What's your opinion on disabling PreFetch?

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Start Menu Missing Items

All of a sudden, the Run and Search options are missing from the Windows XP Start Menu. What caused this, and how can I get them back?

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RPC Server Unavailable

After helping a friend clean up a nasty spyware infestation, we had one remaining problem. Windows would say RPC Server is Unavailable when starting up, and also later when trying to print or install new software. Some other things just didn't work, like copy and pasting text, and right-click menus. Here's how I solved the problem and got the RPC server running again...

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Recovery Console

I'm having trouble starting up my Windows XP system. A friend told me to run the Recovery Console from the bootup screen, and then enter some commands. But I don't see a Recovery Console option when I turn on the computer. I'm not even sure what the bootup screen is... help!

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Take A Screenshot

I want to take a screenshot of my screen and save it in a graphics file, so I can email it to a friend. Do I need to purchase or download special software to do this?

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Fix MBR

I was trying to fix a spyware problem and it seems I messed up my computer. Now when I start Windows XP, I get the 'MBR Corrupt' and 'Error loading operating system' messages. What should I do?

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Reformat hard drive under XP?

I have Windows XP and the system has gotten very slow and flaky. I would like to learn how to reformat the drive. Can you teach me in simple English how to completely format the drive and then re-install the operating system? Yes, but... you might want to think about some alternatives first.

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What is Windows OneCare?

Microsoft has announced a new service called Windows OneCare. Is it something you need for your computer? Maybe... If you're worried about not doing everything you should to keep your PC optimized and safe, then Windows OneCare is something that may help.

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Internet Connection Fails

I am using XP home with a cable modem connection, and quite often using while online, I get the error of can't find the server. I just lose my internet connection, and it says my TCP/IP needs resetting. How do I do that and what causes the internet dropout?

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Blue Screen of Death

I wonder if you know what it means when a dark blue screen comes up saying Windows has encountered an error. It shows Bad Pool Caller and a lot of things about reinstall. The tech info is Stop with lots of 000, etc. This has happened to me twice about 2 weeks apart. What is going on?

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Thumbnail Display Problem

Suddenly Explorer can no longer display thumbnails. Except for .bmp files all I get is black line box with the blue E -- NOT a thumbnail of the .jpg or .gif file. Short of FORMAT what can I change to fix this annoyance?

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Scandisk Keeps Restarting

I'm trying to clean my computer like you suggested but when I run ScanDisk it keeps restarting. Finally I get a message ScanDisk has restarted 10 times because Windows or another program has been writing to this drive. You mention disabling my screen saver, do you mean remove that program until I have finished with the ScanDisk and defrag?

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Icons in the System Tray

I have a large number of icons in my system tray (in the left hand lower corner of the screen) which I don't use and would like to remove. Do they in anyway slow down the computer?

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Can I Delete This File?

As a fairly new computer user, I find that deleting files is a problem for me. When I want to delete a file, I get a message that I should check to see what the file does before I delete it because I could cause a problem and there is no correction for it. Where do I go to find out what a specific file does?

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Downloading Security Patches

I get messages informing me of viruses and asking me to download patches at www.spw5e.com and www.updatepatch.info. Are these downloads safe? Ackkkk, NO! Run for the hills!

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MS Fax doesn't work with XP SP2

I used the MS fax program in Windows XP for sending faxes on my telephone line. After installing SP2 updates, the program doesn't work. The fax console reports All fax printers are inaccessible and I also get a Microsoft Shared Fax Driver is not installed message.

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CD won't start automatically?

I set my CD drive so it will not start automatically when a CD is loaded. I would now like to reverse that setting, but I can't figure out how to do it. Can you help? Sure, the Autoplay setting for CDROM drives can be easily turned on or off. Here's how...

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Scandisk doesn't work on Windows XP?

A reader asks I had the SCANDISK program in Windows 98. Now I'm running Windows XP and I can't find ScanDisk. Is it under another name? The short answer is YES...

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