Stories by Mitt Jones

Norton AntiVirus Woes, IE Security Patches

Users of Symantec Corp.'s Norton AntiVirus 4.0 and later versions have reported a slew of problems with the product, including annoying computer freeze-ups. With these system hangs, pressing Ctrl-Alt-Delete produces the error message 'Msgsrv32.exe (Not responding).' ScanDisk may then create numerous temporary subdirectories (named DIR00000, DIR00001, and so on) that you can't easily remove.

Ouch! Outlook's Virus Vaccine Hurts

In the wake of may's worldwide "love bug" virus attack, Microsoft Corp. has come up with a way to inoculate Outlook 98 and 2000 from similar viruses. But like many other vaccines, the Outlook E-mail Security Update has some unpleasant side effects. As a default, the fix prevents Outlook users from receiving many types of e-mail attachments, and it conflicts with features in other programs, including Microsoft Office.

PC Reliability, Service: Things Fall Apart

Imagine a world where your refrigerator was as reliable as your PC. It doesn't sound too appetizing, does it? You'd probably end up eating out a lot, and your kitchen would soon smell like a landfill.

Microsoft Patches Allow Safer Surfing

In case you missed it, Microsoft Corp. recently got caught with its proverbial pants down: The phrase "Netscape engineers are weenies!" was found embedded backward in the Web server software included in Windows 95 and 98, Windows NT 4.0 Option Pack, and FrontPage 98.

Bugs and Fixes: Office 2000 Update Needs Updating

It didn't take long for bugs to pop up in Office 2000. Frustrated users reported Word 2000 locking up and Excel 2000 refusing to retain AutoSave settings, for instance. Nine months later, Microsoft Corp. issued its first service release to fix the suite's problems. SR-1 doesn't add any productivity features to Office 2000, but it fixes over 300 glitches in Word, Excel, FrontPage, Outlook, PowerPoint, and Access.

Windows 2000 Bug Parade Begins

Microsoft Corp.'s Windows 2000 is supposed to mate the stability of Windows NT with the plug-and-play capabilities of Windows 9x. And our test results (see our March cover story, "Destination Windows 2000," www.pcworld.com/mar00/win_upgrade) indicate that the new operating system is living up to its billing--at least for stability.

WinFax Pro's Near-Perfect 10

Most fax software makes sending and receiving faxes with your PC possible, though not exactly uncomplicated. But the unrivaled flexibility and intelligence of Symantec Corp.'s WinFax Pro have long set it apart from the crowd. The latest version adds several welcome new features, as well as support for Windows 2000.

Bugs and Fixes

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.

Bugs and Fixes

Our increasing dependence on the Internet decreases our chances of maintaining privacy. But with a little care, you can still use the Web without revealing your e-mail address or personal identity--right? Alas, the most recent discovery by independent security analyst Richard M. Smith, challenges that assumption.

Top 10 Graphics Boards: They Got Game

The latest generation of graphics boards are fast, full-featured, and cost less than $300.We test their performance with the hottest 3D games and find ten that will make your screen come to life.

Bugs and Fixes: RealPrivacy in the New Millennium?

It's too early to tell how successful Microsoft Corp. has been at buffing away Internet Explorer 5's rough edges, but the new 5.01 release seems promising. A posting at http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/Q244/6/55.asp lists close to 40 reliability issues that the update addresses. Version 5.01 also includes all previously released IE 5 security patches, according to Microsoft. It also upgrades the 40-bit encryption of earlier releases to 56-bit (a 128-bit upgrade is available separately). The size of the download depends on installed components, but you can expect a haul of about 17M bytes. To get the update, point your browser to http://www.microsoft.com/windows/ie/download or to http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com. Version 5.01 is currently available only as a download.

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