Main Line Computer Users Group - July 2001 Issue 230

VILLANOVA UNIVERSITY, ST. AUGUSTINE CENTER

MEETING STARTS - 09:30 - JUL 14 th

Come Join Us !!!


THIS MONTH'S CONTENTS
MAIN LINE PC/128/64 USERS - Room 110

In this issue, you'll see a couple of places where notice of topics to be discussed are mentioned. Please give them some thought; so as we go round the table, we can all be a part!

As you know, we have access to the internet in the meeting room via the VU ethernet. It offers a very high spped connection. Some members have also reported on their own home networks.

Such networks provide multiple computers access to the 'net thru a single dialup connection. They provide the ability to share files locally and a real resource to use other computers on your network as backups for each other.

However, there is the problem of getting that cable around! Holes in the walls and floors, pulling cable and hoping one didn't get damaged. An alternate that has come to the fore is the WIRELESS network. We want to take this meeting to let you all get a look at it.

Member John Murphy has been using the WIRELESS route for many months and will bring a couple of his systems for the demo. We plan to set up - in real time - the club PC and John's computers in a multi-platform setup that operates around an 11 Mbps data rate (not super fast, but right up there with a standard cable-based ethernet, no slouch!).

See you on the 14th, bring a friend!!!


BACKING UP - REVISITED and OTHER TOPICS

I'd like to take this front-page spot to call your attention to the two articles at the end of this issue. They both relate to some recent backup experiences and some further thoughts on this topic. We can take a few minutes at the next meeting to discuss the members thoughts on the issues raised.

And I also want to call your attention to the item on p.ZZ relating to the club's next significant anniversary. How we might celebrate is the question raised there. We'd like to get some creative thoughts...

Look to see you all on the 14th!

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ANNOUNCEMENTS & COMMENTS
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20TH ANNIVERSARY! - in the near future, namely - April 2002 - MLCUG will arrive at the 20th anniversary of the founding meeting, which took place at the Main Line Computer Center (hence the derivation of our name) in April of 1982. At last month's Steering Committee meeting, we decided that it would be appropriate to do something special to celebrate that event.

At our 15th anniversary in 1997, we had a "regular" meeting that was followed by a luncheon at the nearby Villanova Diner. Attending members got a free lunch (their choice) to celebrate. We had only some 18 members, and former members (whom we had sent special invitations to) attending. We had a couple of nostalgia exhibits, especially an original Commodore PET computer.

However, the event was marred by crowds! But, NOT Commodore crowds. That day was a VU key event and the restaurant was packed!! The unfortunate part about that was the restaurant did not set aside the tables we had reserved and they had to scramble to fit us in where we could sit near each other and set our exhibits. We did have a good time, and were pleased at having some former very helpful members come.

This time around, tho the club has shrunk markedly in the last five years, we'd like to do something special again. So, consider this SUGGESTION OFFER #1!! What do you - our current members suggest for the event? We'll put this on the meeting agenda for July (and probably future ones); so we can reach a consensus on how to celebrate.

ALL ideas, thoughts and suggestions will be welcomed and most appreciated!

CMD dropping Commodore? - last month, we reported on the more-or-less complete withdrawal from the Commodore market by one of the most valued members of the 8-bit's vendor community - CMD.

In the interim, a quite fascinating development has occurred. Member John Murphy called it to our attention in the following BBS message:

Found on Commodore Wire:

Here's a very interesting statement found at Maurice Randall's website, first relayed to me by Alan Dickey: "Click Here Software Co is currently finalizing a deal with Creative Micro Designs in order to take over the licensing, manufacturing, and distribution of their entire Commodore- related product line. We intend to keep these products available for many years to come in addition to continued support of all the existing products through new and exciting upgrades." Exciting's the word, all right! [John]

As a followup, here is a URL with more info on that notice regarding Maurice Randall taking over CMD's inventory and order backlog:

http://www.ia4u.net/~maurice/cmd.html

BACKING UP - please see the last article in this issue on the subject of backing up. A case of a serious deficiency in backup software that can use input from any member with experience with backup software tools. Your input is solicited.

WINDOWS STARTUP DISK - just a reminder that we have the "improved" Windows startup disks available at $1 each. It works with Windows 95, 98 or ME.

LUNCH - some of us regularly adjourn after the meeting for lunch at the Villanova diner. Why not come join us - and continue the converse?

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WINDOWS Q&A FROM THE BBS

From: Nelson Schrock

Question: Registry

For some unknown reason, when I set up my home networking, I have been getting a password request ever since. I'd like to remove this. I think this would probably be in the registry. How can I edit this out? I think it's kind of like the password for users.

Answer: Not the Registry

Nelse - if it just appeared when you turned on your network, then you can likely make it go away without touching the registry.

Go to the Network Control Panel. Check the drop-down window for "Primary Network logon" - it likely says "Client for Microsoft Networks" or some such. Drop the box and choose "Windows Logon". After you "apply" and reboot, the password dialog should go away.

Your network operation should be unaffected. I have all the PCs at home set up that way - and get no password requests....

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WIN 9x TIP OF THE MONTH

One of the most critical pieces of information which any Windows user should have carefully squirreled away is the authentication code or product key for the software that requires it - especially for your WINDOWS OS

If you bought your computer with the OS pre-installed, you likely did not need to either use the code, or even know it. You may even, unknowingly, have misplaced or lost it - unaware of its importance. After all, did your friendly computer salesman remind you that the fabulous machine he's selling you might croak without a warning and you should be prepared with all the proper tools to recover (and, of course, he told you what those tools are and where in your kit of stuff you could find them - along with explicit instructions on how to do it!!!).

Should you be in this situation of ignorance, then now is the time at your next power-on to correct the deficiency. There are two places to look for the code(s), thusly:

For Windows 95 - right-click on your "My Computer" icon (or whatever you may have renamed it) and select the "Properties" option from the resulting popup menu. On the first screen, near the middle of the box - under the "Registered to:" heading, you'll find the code as: 5-digits,OEM,7- digits,5-digits (17 digits in all).

For Windows 98/ME - if you do the same thing, you will see a similar code; BUT that IS NOT what you will have to type in for installing/reinstalling your OS. With 98, Microsoft introduced a 25-digit product key (and the same for all its other products that use some sort of install code). This key is converted into the 17-digit authentication code after you enter it - the resulting 17 digits go on the screen you are looking at. But, you must have the 25-digit product key and that does NOT show anywhere you normally can look.

However, all is not lost. As with most everything else, the key is buried in the Windows Registry - here's where to look. Run the Registry Editor. To do this click START, then click RUN. In the resulting drop-down box, type "regedit" (no quotes), then press the ENTER key. Click on the boxes with the + mark in them to navigate downwards, as follows:

HKEYULOCALUMACHINE \Software \Microsoft \Windows \CurrentVersion

If you click on the folder icon for "Current Version", you'll see a bunch of stuff (on the right hand pane). For this example, the items of interest are:

* ProductId - the old 17-digits
* ProductKey - the new 25-digits
* ProductName
* ProductType

Copy down that ProductKey value and preserve it! When the need arises, you do not want to have to scramble for it...

Good luck and hope you never need it in an emergency.

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An Essay on @

The Akzo Nobel house organ, News & Views, for March carries a learned essay on the symbol @. It was introduced as a separator in e-mail addresses in 1972, says News & Views; but it has a long history.

In medieval times, @ was a contraction for the Latin "ad", meaning "to, toward, at". It was used to introduce the price of something, as in "3 yards of lace for my lady @ one pence per yard". In cursive writing, the vertical stroke of the d in ad curved to the left and extended around the a; eventually, the lower part fused with the a to form the symbol we see today.

When Latin passed from common use, the symbol stayed on, with the English meaning of "at". Because of its utility in business, the symbol was put on the keyboards of typewriters beginning in about 1880. The symbol since has spread into many other languages.

Different languages have different colloquial names for the symbol. In German, it is often called "klammeraffe" (spider monkey). In Hungarian, it is "kukac" (worm, maggot). The French call it "escargot", which News & Views thinks is "perhaps the most curious usage" (although no more curious, surely, than calling a snail an escargot). The official name of the symbol @, established by the International Standard Character Sets, is "commercial at".

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WINDOWS 9x TIP OF THE MONTH #2

Change the Default Win Setup Location

Courtesy of Martin Caulfield.

When you installed your Win OS, and especially if it came pre-installed on a PC that you bought, there is usually a copy of key parts of the installation CD placed somewhere on your C drive. If you had a pre-installation, then Windows may know about this and use those files whenever it needs them.

However, if you did it yourself - or if you'd like to move them off your C drive (a good idea for safety and to save a couple hundred megs of space), then Windows may not learn about this right away and may not want to be taught. So, you'll need to teach it.

As in the first tip of this month, the place for the info is in the Registry. However, unlike that first tip where you only needed to read something, this time you'll have to change the registry. That's risky; so the first step is to back up the registry files (usually \Windows\System.dat & \Windows\User.dat), preferably not to your C drive, but to your data drive, or a zip drive or some such.

Once that is done, you can launch the registry editor (see the earlier tip for how). Then, you can navigate to:

   HKEYULOCALUMACHINE
    \Software
     \Microsoft
      \Windows
       \CurrentVersion
        \Setup

Locate the "SourcePath" entry in the right pane of the editor. Modify it to show the new path Windows should use to find your installation files. (You must put a backslash at the end of the new pathname you type for this tip to work.)

For example, a typical new path might be: D:\WIN98SE\WIN98\

When you retart, or power up next time, Windows will have learned (we hope!).

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LAST MONTH'S PC/128/64 MEETING
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The June meeting of MLCUG was attended by 12 folks - down from 18 last month - and had a lot of discussion.

Some of the items discussed included the NetZero/Juno merger just announced (see Nelson's posting on our BBS). Quite a bit of talk on the more recent virus hoax - the SULFNBK.exe deletion. Layton described how he got lulled into it and we covered a few others who had also (not among us, tho).

Pete filled us in with some further update on his hacked networks. He'll have updates as he gets further in his cleanup/fixup operation.

Hines Mathews briefly described a total crash on his system where it appears the BIOS lost both hard drives in his machine and asked him for a bootable cartridge to go in his zip drive, which had become his C: drive in the absence of a hard drive. Interesting ..... !! (more about this in the item that follows these minutes).

And we spent some time going over a problem that Marty Caulfield is having with his new HP CD-RW drive - which does not want to run its install CD to put the drivers and "burn" software on the system. Interesting, too....

By this time, we were all pretty much talked out; so we folded our tent and headed for lunch....

Hope we see a bunch of you at the July 14th meeting.

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BACKUP STRATEGY

by Emil Volcheck

Well, I spent the better part of two weeks wrestling with a new wrinkle on the backup situation.

As you know, we recently devoted about three meetings and several column feet in the newsletter to the topic of backing up: philosophy, strategy and software/hardware tools.

However, we did not get into some of the gory details, especially on the software side. And, there, one of our members slid off the cliff!

He has been using the Iomega 1-Step Backup/Restore utility that comes with Zip and Jaz drives.

To be safe, he has been making full system backups. The most recent made was for about 1.7 GB of files, using eleven (11) 100 MB zip disks. It takes more than an hour and much zip disk shuffling to do such a job!

About three weeks ago, his hard drive croaked WITHOUT WARNING! But, fortunately he thought, he had made a FULL SYSTEM backup only about a week or 10 days previous. So, he expected that his system could be re-created on a new hard drive, which he had just recently had installed as a second hard drive.

I tackled the problem of getting his new hard drive properly connected and operational and preparing for the restore.

BUT, BUT, the big rub!! The Iomega software is windows-based and the backups are done from windows. He told me that when he did the backup, the software reported that some files could not be backed up "because they were in use". Interesting....

Since the software has to have windows running, the only way I could see to get back was to do a minimum install of windows, then install the Iomega software - THEN run the full restore (with full permission to overwrite of any and all existing files).

Well, it ran OK - and restored about 14,000 files, for 1.7 GB of disk space and took a bit more than an hour to run.

When the job was done, it reported that "all your files have been restored" - great! EXCEPT "some files that were in use" - NOT great at all!!

When I rebooted, the supposedly fully restored system just squeaked on - no sound, no modem, and most of the key applications WOULD NOT RUN!!!

With a lot of fiddling and some driver re-installs, I got the sound card and modem back (and the video which had not been quite right at first).

But, the main applications - like Microsoft Office and Microsoft Works, his internet software, etc. - no dice!

I confirmed what you are all suspecting by now - the un-backedup files included the registry and a bunch of dlls that windows and some background apps had in use when the backup was done. They have to be in use for windows to run, which is needed to run the backup software. Catch 22 (or 44, or whatever)!

Fortunately, it looks like all his data files came back OK and can be salvaged. But, the applications - and windows itself - will have to be re-installed. Unfortunately, one of the key apps is MS Office that had been bundled with his computer - but had no CDs or other media with which to re-install in a case of disaster. Bummer!

So, maybe we need to take another shot at the backup software, etc. question and provide a good scheme that can truly do a full restore.....

NOW QUESTIONS - have any of you used the Iomega 1-Step? If so, are you aware of any way for it to work from DOS; so that a true, full backup can be made? Because, if not, then we need to make sure folks understand the limitations to its "disaster recovery" capability.

Have any of you used any other backup apps that provide truly complete disaster recovery - your windows OS as you had it tweaked, your applications, as well as your data files? If so, please bring it up at the next meeting - or if you can't make the meeting, post to the BBS, or give me a buzz prior to the meeting.

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BACKUP STRATEGY - II

by Emil Volcheck

In last month's newsletter, I had an article on an approach to backing up your stuff - comments were invited - and still are. Since then, I had the exercise that I just described above. And, it left me with the following bit of philosophy:

"Having installed three CD-RW devices and one CD-R in separate computers, I have come to the conclusion that this is one of the most useful and cost effective investments you can make for your computer."

If you have a computer with IDE support (any PC, some newer Macs, some linux boxes, etc.) then you can get a unit for around $70 - an 8x4x32 or so. This is plenty of CD burning power to do what you likely will need for awhile - until you need(?) a DVD-RAM drive??!!

In combination with PowerQuest's Drive Image (or a similar application that can write to your CD-burner) to do excellent backups, you have a real winner.

With that as the base + the bundled software that generally comes with the drive, you can make backup CDs, put together your own data or music CDs, backup your computer. When you learn to use all that, then you can move onto more sophisticated stuff - in good time.

We demoed the elements at a couple of recent club meetings; so those who attended should have enough info to take on this relatively simple upgrade.

BTW - the easiest way is what we did with the club PC - simply swap your present CD-ROM drive for the new CD-RW unit. No extra drives to worry about, everything stays pretty much the same, no special drivers needed for Windows (or Linux?). Real straightforward....

In the problem-solving activity noted in the previous item, I had occasion to use and compare the Iomega 1-Step Backup & Restore with PowerQuest's Drive Image. The latter took less than a quarter of the time, did not involve manipulating a bunch of disks and gave a perfectly restoreable backup. Obviously, if you have a huge bunch of files to backup, it will take some time and some significant space on your backup medium (another hard drive or your CD-burner). But, it works - or I should say, your computer works! While that sounds pretty positive, between home and our meetings, complete partitions have been successfully restored, including the system with EZ-Drive.

DIRECTIONS FOR ST. AUGUSTINE CENTER MEETING ROOM

Meetings are in the St. Augustine Center at Villanova University. The 8-bit and PC sessions will be meeting in Room 110.

[Map goes here]

Enter from the ITHAN AVENUE main gate, then proceed to the 2-level parking building adjacent to St. Augustine, on the Ithan Avenue side of the building.

NOTE: maps on our webpage - http://astro4.ast.vill.edu/mlcug/

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64/128/PC/Amiga Meetings  2001  Steering Committee Meetings

July 14 July 18 August 11 August 15 September 8 September 19


* = first Saturday *
* = second Wednesday *************************************************************************************** EDITOR: Emil J. Volcheck, Jr. 1046 General Allen Lane West Chester, PA 19382-8030 (Produced with C-128D/SCPU 128, RAMlink, HD-40/85, 1571, FD-4000, THE WRITE STUFF 128, XETEC Super Grafix, Canon BJ-200ex, Swiftlink and Motorola 288 modem)

MLCUG BBS: 610-828-1359 ( 300 --> 33600 bps ), 24 hr/day WWW: http://astro4.ast.vill.edu/mlcug/ PUBLICITY: Robyn Josephs 610-565-4058 DISK ORDERS: Charlie Curran 610-446-5239 VILLANOVA SPONSOR: Prof. Frank Maloney, Dept. of Astronomy

MLCUG STEERING COMMITTEE:

PRESIDENT: Emil Volcheck 610-388-1581 SECRETARY: Charles Curran 610-446-5239 TREAS/MEMBERS: Dewitt Stewart 610-623-5145 SYSOP/AMIGA SIG: John Deker 610-828-7897 INTERNET/Linux:Peter Whinnery 610-284-5234 DATABASE: Layton Fireng 610-688-2080 AT LARGE: Tom Johnson 610-525-3440 AT LARGE: John Murphy 610-935-4398