SAN FRANCISCO (03/06/2000) - Some America Online Inc. (AOL) members report that they can't boot Windows 98 after installing AOL 5.0. Users say that resurrecting their systems ultimately requires reformatting the hard disk or restoring the disk from a full backup. AOL acknowledges that a small number of its 20 million subscribers experience this problem; AOL spokesperson Anne Bentley reports that the company is continuing to investigate, but it had no fix at the time of this writing. To play it safe, back up your system before installing AOL 5.0.
A second problem seems most likely to affect network users: In an effort to avoid configuration hassles, AOL 5.0 seeks out multiple instances of a network adapter or modem linked to the same protocol, such as TCP/IP, and then deletes all but one of these instances. This behavior could leave you unable to use a network connection, depending on how your connections are configured. If you can't connect, you must uninstall AOL 5.0 and reconfigure the deleted protocol, or revert to your system's pre-AOL state using a backup. AOL's Bentley told us that the problem occurs only when multiple network connections are configured in a way unsupported by Windows. She reported that AOL has helped solve configuration problems affecting most users.
TAX TRAUMA? NO THANKS
Tax software can take much of the confusion and drudgery out of filing your returns, but no software package is exempt from the occasional glitch. This year's versions of Block Financial's Kiplinger TaxCut and Intuit's Quicken TurboTax--two of the most popular packages--already have problems. Before you trust your tax preparation program with your financial information, check the company's Web site for last-minute bug fixes. Downloading any updates should also ensure that you receive the final, approved versions of federal and state tax forms.
At press time, Kiplinger TaxCut and TurboTax had patches available for several problems. TaxCut's updates include corrections for faulty calculations, fixes for various printing problems, and final versions of certain federal forms.
TurboTax's snarls range from error messages in federal forms to self-employment-tax snafus to installation tie-ups.
Both TaxCut and TurboTax give you the option of automatically downloading updates that incorporate bug fixes and tax form changes in one easy step.
Federal forms are usually finalized in January, and final state forms should be posted by mid-February--well before you read this column.
To get an automatic update from TaxCut, choose Tools*Update. To do the job manually, find updates for federal and state versions at www.taxcut.com/updates. You can trigger automatic TurboTax updates by selecting the online menu's One-click Updates. Or to update manually, just point your browser to www.intuit.com/support/turbotax/updates/ty99/ttax_updates_man99.html.
IE 5.01 Insecurity
IF YOU'VE HAD problems communicating over secure connections since downloading IE 5.01, you are not alone. To deal with problems that prevent IE 5.01 from working with Web sites that use Secure Socket Layer or Security Support Provider Interface encryption, you need Microsoft's fix. You'll find it at download.microsoft.com/download/ie501/schannel/5.01/W9XNT4/EN-US/q247367.exe.
Rich Text Format Hang-Ups
A SECURITY HOLE in all versions of Windows 95, 98, and NT 4.0 could allow a hacker to design RTF files that crash any application that attempts to read them. For links to separate patches for Windows 95, 98, and NT, go to www.microsoft.com/security/bulletins/ms00-005.asp.
Not So Quicken
IF YOUR PC runs Quicken 99 or 2000 and Norton AntiVirus, Quicken may have been acting lethargic of late. Here's why: Recent changes to the scanning engine in AntiVirus 4.x, 5.x, and 2000 caused problems when AntiVirus started scanning the Quicken files. The changes were integrated with Symantec's LiveUpdate virus-definition downloads (which update your PC's virus protection), causing Quicken to run slowly. LiveUpdate downloads posted after December 29, 1999, should solve this problem.
A Symantec Knowledge Base article describes a work-around that may help, too.
Go to www.symantec.com/techsupp, and once there select your AntiVirus version.
Intuit offers a second fix at
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Mitt Jones is a contributing editor for PC World.