Some FAQs about PCs you wish you knew before you bought it!

Monday, July 18, 2005

Q: I somehow destroyed my WINSOCK configuration. Internet connects, but browser doesn't work. What should I do? I am on Win98, by the way.
This can get complicated. You will need your Windows 98 CD. First thing you need to do is try to open up Start / Control Panel / Add/Remove Programs, click on Windows Setup, then locate the "communications" subgroup. UNcheck it, apply, OK, then shutdown and restart. Then get back in, same place, open the details in the Communications group, then check "dial-up networking". Then apply, OK, etc. The computer should load a few files (put in Windows CD as applicable), and restart. Hopefully that'll reset your Winsocks. If not... Summon professional help.

Q: What is KB891711.EXE and why is it in my Startup tasklist?
KB891711.EXE is an official Microsoft "patch" that only applies to Win98 / Win98SE / WinMe. It is run as a service that protects against an exploit that can place malicious code in cursor and icon files. if you load one of those files, those files can actually execute programs placed on remote computers. This program will cut that off, and should NOT be removed.

For further details, see MS05-002: Microsoft Knowledgebase Article 891711: Vulnerability in cursor and icon format handling could allow remote code execution

Friday, July 15, 2005

News update: looks like Safer Networking (the guys that brought you Spybot: Search and Destroy) like LeechGet as the download manager. No spyware, lots and lots of options for fast downloads, does not violate your privacy at all. Its only problem: too cute looking.

Q: How do I update my PC's BIOS?
You should read the instructions that is on the manufacturer's website, as they have special instructions. But in general, you download the BIOS file (probably something.BIN) and the flashing program, then exit to DOS prompt and run the flash program with the BIOS file. Please beware that doing it with the WRONG BIOS file can stop your computer from working and require a new BIOS chip for repairs. So unless you are trying to fix a problem, don't touch the BIOS!