dacs.doc electric

Random Access

Instant Replay: September 2000

Bruce Preston, Moderator


Reminder: As a service to members, if you are unable to attend a General Meeting and would like to have your question submitted, e-mail it to askdacs@aol.com by the day before the meeting.

Q.(AskDacs) How do I copy a file larger than 1.4MB to a floppy when in Windows 98SE? When I used Win95’s SEND TO A: it would prompt me to put in a 2nd floppy, etc., but this doesn’t happen anymore - I get an error - file too big for media.

A. Some eyebrows were raised. We believe that Windows 95 would prompt you to change diskettes if you were copying multiple files in a folder and ran out of room, but don’t remember that it would “span” a file across media. Be that as it may, the answer is to use a program such as PKZIP, PKZIP for Windows, WinZIP, etc. This will compress the data in the file and, optionally, span the file across multiple diskettes. On the receiving machine, you then run the corresponding PKUNZIP, PKZIP for Windows or WinZIP to unpack the file.

Q. (AskDacs) My machine was originally running Win95. I put in a new hard drive as C:, changing the old to D: and installed Windows 98 on the new C:. I recently tried to convert the existing D (the old drive) to FAT32, but get the error message: “CVT1.EXE file is linked to missing export MFC42.DLL:6443. A device attached to the system is not functioning.” Any idea what’s wrong?

A. MFC42.DLL is the dynamic link library (DLL) for “Microsoft Foundation Classes 4.2". These are routines that are so common to Windows applications that instead of being written into each and every executable program (and thus consuming a lot more of your disk space) are placed in a .DLL file and attached (bound/linked) to the application program at run time. In your case, the program CVT1.EXE is trying to find support code in MFC42.DLL at entry point 6443 and not coming up with it. The reason is that the release of the convert program you are running is somehow out-of-synch with the support DLL that it found. Welcome to what is commonly called “DLL hell.” Our suggestion is to do a START / FIND / FILES and FOLDERS and look for MFC42.DLL and identify the most recent one. Copy all but the most recent one to some folder or floppy (different folder for each, since they have the same name). Then move the most recent one to C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM and you should be in good shape.

Q. (AskDacs) I installed Internet Explorer 5.5 and Outlook Express, and now can no longer print from IE or OE - I get “printer could not be found” messages. The printer shows up on the Printers folder, and other applications can print just fine.

A. After several iterations of un-installing and re-installing, the printer now works. Unfortunately, the stored e-mail and web bookmarks disappeared during the process. Thank you, Microsoft!

Q. A comment: I’d like to applaud Canon’s printer support group - my BJ-610 printer had several flashing lights that would not go away. On a Sunday afternoon I sent them an e-mail requesting help, and within two hours had a multi-page response that told me what to do.

A. Several years ago, I too had good experiences with Canon’s printer support group - on a Sunday between Christmas and New Years. Unfortunately, in my case, the BJ-620C printer hardware had to be returned to the service center - twice. It consumed more ink doing self-tests and cleanings that it ever put to paper; it was subsequently “retired” in less than a year. I hope that the newer models have a better track record.

Q. I am supporting a charity that received one of the 486/33 machines that the hospital donated and DACS refurbished. I tried to put a SoundBlaster ISA sound card into it, and it freezes on booting. What can I do?

A. ISA sound cards of that era typically used IRQ 5, which is normally allocated to LPT2. We suspect that the LPT2 port is active. Try this: Remove the sound card. Boot Windows and confirm that IRQ 5 is assigned to LPT2 or is available by going to My Computer/ Control Panel / System / Device Manager / Properties and look at the IRQ list. If LPT2 is listed under Ports, delete LPT2 and then shut down. Start the machine and immediately go into BIOS setup, and disable LPT2. Boot the machine and confirm that IRQ 5 is now available. Power down the machine. Check the sound card to see if the IRQ is specified via jumpers - if so, select IRQ 5. Re-install the sound card, and then try bringing up the system. When Windows detects the sound card, if it asks which IRQ to use, tell it to use 5.

Q. Speaking of sound cards, I had a CreativeLabs card in my machine that worked fine under NT4. When I upgraded to Windows 2000, it ceased working. Suggestions?

A. Identify the card and get a Windows 2000-specific driver for it. Windows 2000 setup might not have identified the card correctly, so it might have loaded the incorrect driver.

Q. Is AOL software compatible with Windows 2000?

A.The software provided by AOL is not Windows 2000 compatible, but AOL service is still available to you - indirectly. Windows 2000 is targeted towards “professional” or “business” usage, whereas AOL is targeted towards consumer use. AOL has announced that they do not intend to provide a specific version of their software for supporting Windows 2000. If you need to get at your AOL mail from this machine, you can still do so by coming in through an arbitrary internet service provider and using arbitrary browser software - Internet Explorer, Netscape Navigator, etc.. You would access your AOL mail account in the same manner as others access browser-based mail system such as HotMail. If you use this mechanism, then contact AOL and have them terminate your “dial up access” account without terminating your AOL account. You will then get AOL service mail and subscription content, for under $10 per month, but you still have to get your general internet access via some other ISP.

Q. I want to add a hard drive to a machine with a Pentium-III? I do a lot of graphics editing. How do I determine if the system supports ATA-66?

A. Get out the specifications sheet for the motherboard, since the IDE controller is described there. If it supports ATA-66, you are ready to go. Just remember that if there are two drives on the controller, they both must support ATA-66, and you need an ATA-66 ribbon cable. If either drive is not ATA-66, or the cable is not ATA-66, then the drive(s) will run in normal mode. If your on-board controllers are not ATA-66 compatible, then you have several options: a) get an ATA-66 controller card and disable the on-board controller(s); b) you may find that the newer drives with higher spindle speeds (7,500 vs. 5,000) give you enough data throughput to make ATA-66 unnecessary; c) consider putting in a SCSI controller. The latter is preferable as SCSI drives tend to be considerably faster than IDE, even with ATA-66. SCSI lets you have up to seven devices connected to the controller (vs. maximum of two for IDE) and is able to perform read or write operations to these devices simultaneously, where IDE is either read or write, to only one device at a time. SCSI drives tend to cost a bit more than IDE drives of comparable size, but out-perform them even when the specifications appear to be similar. For a graphics intensive machine, if you are looking for best performance, consider SCSI.

Q. I have been running Netscape 4.72 and went to their site to get the upgrade to 4.75. After a while I get the message “loading plug-ins” and then “illegal operation” and it locks up. What should I do?

A. You are running “Smart Update” to perform the update. Smart Update tries to download only the fractional portion of an application that has changed, rather than the entire component. Evidently it is failing. It is recommended that you do the full download. Since it is a fairly sizeable download, you may want to find a friend with a high-speed line and either a portable ZIP drive or CD burner.

Q. Is anybody here using DSL?

A. Yes, quite a number of members of the audience are using DSL. It works fine once installed. The usual comments: You must be within the prescribed distance from the telephone Central Office (“CO”). For SNET-provided DSL, they will provide software that implements PPPoE (Point-to-Point-Protocol over Ethernet). SNET does not officially support DSL connections to multiple PCs on a LAN; they will install and support one designated machine. Members reported success in sharing the connection in two ways: a) put the PPPoE software on each machine, or b) install connection sharing software on the designated machine. Note: The PPPoE release provided by SNET is 1.34, release 1.4 must be purchased ($39) from NTS directly to support connection sharing. One advantage of using connection sharing software is that when you install your firewall software (which you really should do!) you only need to install it on the directly connected machine - it will protect the others.

Q. I have an HP Scanner with the transparency adapter. When I use it, the transparency adapter is not always found.

A. No one else in the audience has that particular device. We suggest that you start with the usual “make sure that you have the most recent drivers.” If you are scanning transparencies for other than amateur purposes, you probably would be better off with a scanner specifically built for scanning film or transparencies - they offer 4 to 9 times the resolution available from a typical flatbed scanner with transparency adapter.

Q. My nephew deleted the “Network Neighborhood” icon from my desktop. Do I need it? How do I get it back?

A. This icon is normally only used if you are connected to a local area network. It will be re-installed if you install a network adapter card. It also resides in the Control Panel - you can “Create Shortcut” and copy it to the desktop from there.

Q. When I disconnect from the Internet, my telephone rings! What is causing that?

A. It could be several things: a) if you have call waiting on the line, or various other “total phone” services, it may think that you put the call on hold and your circuit is calling you back to say “remember this call you put on hold?”; b) if you have several telephone devices on the circuit, one of the other phones may be doing the same thing; c) your answering machine (which you mentioned also being on the circuit) may have triggered it. We suggest that you “make things simple” by temporarily disconnecting the other telephones and the answering machine and seeing if the problem still exists. If not, add things back one by one and see which device causes the problem.

Bruce Preston is president of West Mountain Systems, a consultancy in Ridgefield, CT, specializing in database applications. A DACS director and moderator of the Random Access segment at the monthly general meetings, Bruce also leads the Access SIG. Members may send tech queries to Bruce at askdacs@aol.com. Responses will be published in the next issue of dacs.doc.