[abcomputers] ABC ~ All 'Bout Computers, Vol. 15: Identity Theft and More!

  • From: "Linda F. Johnson" <linda@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: ABCfreelists <abcomputers@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 10 Aug 2002 14:16:01 -0400

ABC ~ All 'Bout Computers.  The ezine YOU subscribed to.  If you want to change 
your subscription options or unsubscribe, see the bottom of this email for full 
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ABC ~ All 'Bout Computers
Volume 15; August, 2002 - mailed to 2473 subscribers

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1.  Important How-To Message for Reading This Ezine 

2.  Linda's Thought of the Month
(and animated GIF) *** 

3.  Linda's Soapbox ~ 
Just How Connected Are You To Your Computer?

4.  What's New at Linda's Computer Stop ~ 
VB Freebies and Articles Galore

5.  Subscribers' Exclusive Tip ~ 
Links to Outlook Contacts in Excel

6.  GeekSpeak Translation from the Cap'n 

Mike's Safety Belt ~ Identity Theft

8.  Vic's Registry Roundup & DOS Den ~ 
Retrieving a Lost Windows Install Key ***

9.  Tina's FrontPage News ~
Adding Functionality To Your Website with FrontPage 2002, 
Part IV: Page Banners, Comments, and Time Stamps

10.  Chad's Macro Mania ~ 
Selecting Locked/Unlocked Cells in Excel

11. Parker's Mailbox ~ Outlook Web Access ***

12. James's Database ~ 
Aggregate Queries and the SQL Aggregate Functions ***

13. Hal's Hardware Haven ***
How To Troubleshoot Your PC, Part II

14. Your Web Traffic and Your Bottom Line
~ by guest author, Scott Buresh

15. Subscription Management

16. Contact Information

*** includes pictures in the online version

*****************STATION BREAK*******************
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would like to give me a hand here, I am now accepting donations 
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Thanks in advance to any who do this!!
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Linda, editor/publisher


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(I swiped this one from my friend Thomas's sig line .... thanks Thomas!)

Computer users are divided into three types: 
novice, intermediate and expert.

Novice Users - People who are afraid that simply pressing a key 
might break their computer.

Intermediate Users - People who don't know how to fix their 
computer after they've just pressed a key that broke it.

Expert Users - People who break other people's computers

(just rightclick on the gif and choose "Save Picture As...")

~~Linda F. Johnson, Editor/Publisher
            Just How Connected Are You 
                  To Your Computer?

Any of you who know me know how connected I am to my computer.  
My more spiritual type friends tell me that I have an invisible cord
runs from the base of my brain to my Motherboard.  LOL  And I don't 
doubt this at all. 

Let me tell you a story:

About five years ago, when I was a bit of a newbie, but feeling like 
a sponge and truly glued to my computer, I had this experience.  
I was a psychotherapist at the time, so I still had some thoughts 
in my head that weren't totally geekoid.  I was pounding away at the 
keyboard in my office/living room in beautiful Vermont when some 
friends dropped by one afternoon when I didn't have any clients 
scheduled.  So, we were just hanging out and I was sitting in my 
computer chair (one I owned before I learned how necessary that 
fifth spoke is on the base of these things) and I was kinda leaning 
back with my back to my computer/desk.  Now, I have this big ol' 
steel army desk that I will never part with.  (I'm weird about furniture

this way.  Once a piece of furniture "fits" into my life, I like to keep
around.)  Anyway, my friend Paul said something funny and I think 
I laughed and leaned back and went too far back.....and BLAMMO! 
.....the back of my head hit that steel desk, and put a dent in the desk

that makes it even harder for me to part with now.

Well.  Guess I got me a minor concussion that day.  But what a wild 
experience it was.  I lost my memory!!  Not my RAM....but MY memory.  
I had no idea what day it was.  I knew people's names but couldn't 
comprehend why they were in my presence at that time.  I would 
speak a sentence, then COMPLETELY forget what I had just said.  
They asked me who the president was and I said "George 
Washington, I think".  And it TOTALLY freaked me out.  I could 
feel uncontrollable panic rising inside me.  

Sooo....the shrink side of me kicked in and told me to have them 
feed me the data again so I could learn it all over.  Problem was, 
they would tell me who the President was, but I would immediately 
forget it again.  (Imagine forgetting Bill Clinton!  LOL)  I could see 
how scared they all were and this was making me worry more.  
Of course, they wanted to take me to a hospital, but I was hell 
bent on fixing this myself.  

Then, something happened.  I started thinking like a computer.  
Not intentionally, mind you, and I wasn't even aware I was thinking 
like this.  It was only later when my short-term memory returned that 
I knew this because my friends told me I was saying things like "I 
have to download that again."  and "I need to save that and 
remember where I saved it."    And, I do know, that once it started 
working and I was able to hang onto memories for more than two 
seconds, I actually envisioned this process in my head.  I could 
see the data coming in, going to it's proper folder and being saved.  
LOL  What a trip THAT was!!  (Kinda like the geek's ultimate fantasy.)

And, even after this whole scarey event was over and I did 
eventually go to a hospital, I continue to think like this to this day.

No, I don't actually have visions of stuff going into folders, but the 
basic logic of my thinking has definitely changed.  And it leaves me 
surprisingly happy. Logic is good stuff.

So...anyone out there think they may be more connected to their 
computer than me, or do I win the prize?  Send me your stories.  
I'd love to hear them and display them here for the readers. 

Have a great month, everybody!  

Happy computing!
Linda Johnson is a college instructor of all of the Microsoft Office 
Programs, as well as Adobe PhotoShop and Windows. She also 
teaches online distance learning classes in Excel, Outlook, 
PowerPoint, Publisher, and Word at Eclectic Academy. 
She has worked helpdesk and teaches and lectures at many
local businesses and tech schools in her area. Support
this newsletter by checking out Linda's website 
and her ebook series, MS Word MAGIC!
Part I: Fonts, Fun & Formats 
Part II: Table Wizardry 
AND, How To Get Started As a Software Trainer:
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lessons or don't have the desire to be part of an online 
classroom, why not 
Check out the eBook .exe versions of all of Linda's classes here:

Only $15 each!!  Where else can you master a software 
Program for that price?  

Separate eBook tutorials on Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, 
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Order online or by regular mail
Details here:

Download the free Sample Version at CNET:
And PLEASE rate it there for me?  Thanks!!

*****************STATION BREAK*******************
LINDA JOHNSON has published another eBook and
this one is called HOW TO GET STARTED AS A
That's just how Linda started out and this book she tells you 
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No need for a college education!
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(4.) WHAT'S NEW at Linda's Computer Stop 

First of all, I want to announce a new member of the fleet 
who will hopefully be joining us in the next issue. His name is
Bill Joshlin and his specialty is Linux.  So, he will be adding some
great articles for those who prefer using some of the alternatives
to Microsoft products.  

Welcome Bill!!

What can I say?  It's summer and I'm feeling lazy so I haven't 
done as much to my site as usual.  I'm sure it's just a temporary 
setback and I will get moving again in the Fall.  This heat wave 
has just been KILLING me!!

But, I did add a few things you might want to check out.

A couple more articles I wrote for *TechTrax are reprinted here:

Data Filters in Excel 

Feedback Forms in FrontPage

*see the originals, along with lots of other good stuff at TechTrax:

And, Vic Ferri's added a whole bunch of new VB Freebies to our 
Side by Side page.  Along with his free Temp Converter, we now 
also offer the following for free download:

**Port 139 Blocker 
**Empty Recycle Bin 
**Show/Hide Files 

Yep, they are all free to download here:

And, to help keep these freebies coming, please go here and 
check out his great sponsors...some of the best prices I've ever 
seen for quality printer cartridges and supplies!  
Remember to support *"the little guy"!

*what's she talking about?  The "little guy"?

And, as usual, more links have been added to my favorite links here:

And, if you missed any of the other new stuff I added to the site 
in the past few months, you can always go here and see it all:

Well, that's about it for new stuff this month.  Thanks 
for your patronage of my site and ezine.  Drop me a 
line any time and let me know of any additions you can 
think of.  I may be busy, but I'm always open to 

*****************STATION BREAK*******************
It's the latest rage and it's called Distance Learning. Most 
colleges now offer Distance Learning classes because they 
know some people work hard and just can't fit a classroom 
into their busy lives. But, sometimes you don't want to enroll 
in a full program; you just want to take one class.
Eclectic Academy offers a large range of classes to suit
many needs. Go there now and check out their curriculum 
and roster. Classes are only $20 for 6 weeks. 

Here's a sampling of what they offer:
*Art Courses, both digital and traditional
*Business Courses, including all of the MS Office Programs
(many taught by none other than Linda Johnson herself) 
*Graphics Courses - Flash, PhotoShop, Paint Shop Pro & more 
*Website Development Courses - FrontPage, Dreamweaver,
ASP, DHTML, Website Promotion, and on and on and on 
*Eclectic Classes - Computer Maintenance, Writing Workshops,
Feng Shui, Eating Safely - just about anything you can think of

Go to Eclectic Academy now and sign up to be notified when 
classes are added or ENROLL NOW in the class of your 
choice. Go there now to enroll in the next set of classes. 

(5.) Subscribers' Exclusive Tip of the Month:

Links to Outlook Contacts in Excel.

Let's say  you have a worksheet that includes a lot of customer 
names who are also in your Outlook Contacts. You can easily 
make their names clickable links that will open up their Outlook 
Contact Form.

Here's how:

In this example I used my buddy Hal Cardona's info.  In cell A1, 
I entered his name, "Hal Cardona", then I went to the Insert 
Menu and chose Hyperlink (or you can click on the Hyperlink 
button on Excel's Standard Toolbar or simply hit ctrl+k).  When 
this box comes up, I see Hal Cardona in the box that says 
"Text to display" and all I do is type the following in the box that 
says "Address:"

Outlook:Contacts/~Hal Cardona

Now, when I click on Hal's Name, it opens his Contact Form 
in Outlook!
*****************STATION BREAK*******************
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Autoresponders, Free Newsletter, Free Affiliate program and 
FREE MEMBERSHIP. Wow! Did I mention it was Free? Newbies 
and Oldbies alike are buzzing about the NEW Newbie Club. 
It's the most exciting Newbie Site ever to hit the Web.
Join now - it's FREE!

(6.)  Cap'n Patt's
Visit the Cap'n's Official GeekSpeak Database at 
If the word you need defined is not there, or the definition is 
not clear, too geeky, or just plain confusing to you, email 
the Cap'n.  He would love to hear from you at 

*****************STATION BREAK*******************
Hands down, I think the one I use is the very best (Hal 
Cardona's been using them for over 3 years and he turned 
me onto them over a year ago).
*My site has NEVER been down for more than 3 minutes!
(except once late on a Saturday nite when it was being
worked on and they warned we well in advance).
*Their tech support are the greatest and I have never had
to wait more than an hour for a good answer to any question
or problem I had!
*If you use FrontPage for your webcrafting, they are 
excellent with those pesky FP extensions!
*And, the email server is non-failing!
Obviously, I am a big fan of theirs.
Their name is HOSTWAY and I believe if you try them, 
you will never regret it. 

*************THIS MONTH'S FEATURE ************

(7.)  Mike's Safety Belt
~~Mike Baynes, MikesWhatsNews



ID theft is a growing industry on the internet 
  -- Do not fall victim to it.

What is ID theft?

It is the use of your personal details/information to create a 
false identity.

How does it happen?

In the old days, your identification information would be obtained 
by stealing the information; credit card bills, bank statements, or 
other personal documents from your mail: using information from 
lost or stolen wallets or purses. 

**Dumpster diving, searching through the dumpsters, garbage cans 
and trash from homes and businesses to obtain data. 

**Another popular method used is to assume the identity of a 
young person who died.  This is known a 'tombstoning'.   This is 
often done to obtain ID for someone the same age as the thief. 
There was one well publicized case in Washington state of a 
former classmate of a deceased young man using his ID. 

The ID thieves like them because they probably do not have any 
fingerprints on record or a criminal record.  With the new name 
they can open bank accounts, apply for credit cards, even apply 
for social security cards.

With the advent of the internet things became easier for the 
thieves.  By accessing the web and checking the online profiles 
information you have provided to your favorite 'chat' group, they 
may be able to develop an identity.

**Did you register with one of the 'Find Your Old Friends' sites?  
You may have provided a lot of personal data which could be used. 
**Does your email address give your full name, or did you enter an 
alias?   You do not need to have your full name in your 'name' of 
your email program account. 

Prevention and Security

**Never provide your log on information and password to anyone.  
Use a different log on to different sites, with a mixed character - 
upper and lower case with numerals. Use a minimum of 5 
characters. Do not use your or any of your family's names, birth 
dates, or ages.  

**Do not give your mothers maiden name! It is one of the details 
required to obtain birth certificates, and is frequently required or 
requested by financial institutions.  

**Do not use any unsecured sites for credit card transactions.  
Make sure that 128bit encryption is in place. 

**Do not share your personal data over the phone or via internet 
without verification. Be suspicious of calls/email asking for pin 
numbers or other identification. If the bank or credit card company 
needs them, they they will have them on file. 

**Do not use your Social Security number as ID. 

**Some documents may provide more information than you intend 
to provide.  Microsoft Office documents may carry 'metadata', 
which could include your name, your company, your computer's 
network name.  

**Be aware of the cycle of your credit card bills, and bank 
statements.  Missing one may be an indication that something is 
wrong. It may have been redirected to the address of the ID thief. 

**Keep your Operating System updated, many of the security holes 
in Windows have been patched. By downloading and installing the 
latest security patches you can help eliminate the vulnerabilities 
which have been discovered since the last update. 

**If you have used your computer for online banking or purchases, 
be aware that the information is still on your hard drive.  Be careful 
where you take your computer for repair. If you are getting rid of 
that old hard drive you may be better off to destroy it to eliminate 
the chance of the data on it being retrieved. 

**Trojans are another method gathering information or controlling 
your computer. They may be sent in email, or hidden in a software 
program. Be sure to keep your Anti Virus and Trojan detection 
software updated. 

**Another often overlooked method of obtaining information is 
'Spyware' or 'Adware'; programs which gather data and surfing 
habits without your permission and send the data back to their 
database, which then may be sold, shared, traded, or exchanged. 
Be certain to read the 'Privacy' statement and/or EULA (End User 
License Agreement) on the web page before downloading a 
program to see how they use your information.  In a worst scene 
scenario it may even be posted to the www for others to view/use. 

**A lot of personal data has been released by companies which 
have ceased to do business and their data banks have been made 
available by subsequent owners. Think about that while filling in 
the online forms. 

**A Firewall is an effective tool to prevent a Trojan or spyware 
program from phoning home. Be sure your Firewall prevents both 
incoming and outgoing calls. 

**There are several utilities available to remove information from 
a hard drive.  However there are also sophisticated programs 
available to professionals, (unfortunately also to hackers/crackers), 
and government which can recover almost anything.  


Welcome to the U.S. government's central website for information 
about identity theft. 

What to Do if It Happens to You

New Consumer Assistance Initiative Announced: ID Theft Affidavit 

If you are disputing fraudulent debts and accounts opened by an 
identity thief, the ID Theft Affidavit now simplifies the process. 
Instead of completing different forms, you can use the ID Theft 
Affidavit to alert companies where a new account was opened in 
your name. The company can then investigate the fraud and decide 
the outcome of your claim.  Obtain the PDF file here;

Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC)

Electronic Privacy Information Center

Identity Theft and Fraud 

Safe Internet: Microsoft Privacy and Security Fundamentals

How to Minimize Metadata in Microsoft Office Documents

Identity Theft Steals More Than Your Money

Identity Theft: The Crime of the New Millennium

How can I protect myself against credit card fraud?

Microsoft's Really Hidden Files: A New Look At Forensics (v2.6)

Securing Windows

Security Issues with Decommissioning Magnetic Media ~ very 
good article on hard drive cleaning.

Hard Drive Cleaning

Eraser ~ free 
Eraser is a secure data removal tool, which allows you to remove 
sensitive data from your hard drive by overwriting it with carefully 
selected patterns. 

Sure Delete ~ free
Permanent data removal, beyond the possibility of recovery. 

UltraWipe ~ free
UltraWipe is a software utility designed to routinely erase previous 
versions of documents that have been automatically saved (whole 
and in fragments) on the computer hard drive. 

Ad-aware 5.83 ~ free
Ad-aware is a free multi spyware removal utility that scans your 
memory, registry and hard drives for known spyware and scumware 
components and lets you remove them safely. 

Is it Adware? ...or is it Spyware??

Security Issues with Decommissioning Magnetic Media 
Copyright 2001 CyberScrub LLC 
All Rights Reserved 

I. Abstract 
This document describes practical considerations of taking 
magnetic media out of useful service or transferring such media 
to other departments or organizations. After raising awareness 
of the security, business, and legal concerns, the document 
evaluates different techniques for the reader to be able to assess 
his options. Finally, the cyberCide T product is presented as a 
cost-effective solution to address these risks. 

Recycle computers / Overwrite, wipe data beyond recovery / 
Prepare computers for donation, redistribution / Return leased 
assets with confidence 


This introduction to firewall security covers subjects such as what 
a firewall does and how it works, together with the benefits and 
problems a firewall can bring.

ZoneAlarm ~ free

Outpost Firewall ~ free

Anti-Trojan programs

"The Cleaner" is free for 30 days and removes most Trojans.

"TDS-3" is free for 14 days and removes most Trojans.  They also 
have some free utilities listed.

"Tauscan" is free for 30 days and removes most Trojans.

" Anti-Trojan 5" is free for 14 days and removes most Trojans.

Anti Virus, Firewall and Trojan programs links.
Mike Baynes is the editor of MikesWhatsNews.  
To subscribe, send a blank email to 
See Mike's Anti-Virus pages ~ http://virusinfo.hackfix.org
To subscribe, send a blank email to:

(8.)  Vic's Registry Roundup and DOS Den
~~ Vic Ferri, WinTips&Tricks


EDITOR'S NOTE: Because of word wrap settings on individual
computers, some of the lines Vic recommends for entering into 
batch files may appear broken.  In order for them to work, they 
MUST be entered as one line.  To see them better, Vic has 
provided screen shots in the online version of this article, 
which you can see here:

Here's the situation: you want or need to reinstall Windows, but 
you discover that you have lost your Windows install key. 

          NOTE the word "reinstall". This is about retrieving your 
          own serial from an existing Windows 95,98, 98se, 2000,  
          or XP installation, which may or may not be corrupt. This 
          is NOT about getting a cracked serial. 

So what to do? Well, it depends on your operating system and the 
condition it is in, but regardless, you will see, that in all cases, it
quite a simple matter to recover your lost key, even if your only 
access to your system is with a boot disk to DOS.

Windows 9X

The first thing to know is that in Windows 9x only, your Windows 
key is viewable in the Registry and stored in the file system.dat. 
Regedit.exe makes it possible to view your registry in an 
organized and legible format, but you should understand that 
regedit is not your actual registry. Regedit, as the name implies, 
is just a convenient editor that allows you to view and edit 
system.dat and user.dat which are the files that make up your 
real registry. Windows 2000 and XP do not use the registry or 
any registry related file to store your Windows key.

You should also know that, unless you're using Windows 95, 
Product Key and Product ID are not the same. The Product Key 
is a 25 alphanumeric code grouped in five sections of five 
characters each, ie: CJ321-TJ9N6-JVB2R-50BQP, and is the 
one needed to install Windows 98 and Me. The Product ID is 
produced when you install Windows.

You don't need to enter the Registry to see your Product ID. You 
can see it under the general tab of System Properties (right click 
My Computer and choose Properties to see it).  You cannot install 
Windows with the Product ID in Windows 98 and up.  Only in 
Windows 95 can you do this. In Windows 95, your install key is 
the same as the Product ID you see in System Properties , which 
is the same Product ID you see in the Registry. The Windows 95 
ProductID is made of 20 characters, in four groups consisting of 
5, 3, 7, and 5 characters. The 3 character set will be the letters 
OEM if you have an OEM system. ie: 12345-OEM-1234567-12345.

To find your Windows key using regedit:

Click Start>Run and type regedit. Click OK and make your way 
down to this key:


If you are using Windows 98/Me, look in the right hand pane for 
the value ProductKey. If you are using Windows 95, you would 
look for ProductID, instead, as was already explained.  

And there you have it. 

Though that was simple, an even easier method of getting your 
Product Key is by having a pre-created bat file that will retrieve 
it for you with just a double click. No need to enter that scary 
registry at all.  Try this demo to see for yourself how it works.

NOTE: Because of word wrap the files below may not show 
correctly.  Make sure the line beginning with "start.." and the 
line beginning with "HKEY.." are just one long line. 

(ie: start /w regedit /e key.txt

@echo off
start /w regedit /e key.txt
type key.txt|find "ProductKey"
del key.txt

If you never made a batch file before, copy and paste the above 
commands into a Notepad document (with Word Wrap turned OFF) 
and save the file with a .bat extension, ie: key.bat

To use, simply double click and in an instant you will see your 
Product Key displayed on the screen.  The file can also be easily 
run in Windows Dos mode (not native dos mode) if you can't 
access it in Windows. Place the file in your Windows folder and 
then all you have to do is enter the name of the file at the 
WIndows prompt, ie: C:\WINDOWS\>KEY  No need to enter 
the bat extension.

You can vary the bat file to produce for you a text document 
with your Product key in it. ie:

@echo off
start /w regedit /e key.txt
type key.txt|find "ProductKey">mykey.txt
del key.txt

Double clicking the above file will create a text document named 
mykey.txt with your Windows key in it. The file will be created in 
whatever directory you run the bat file from. 

So, as you can see it appears to be quite a simple matter to 
recover a lost Product Key. 

But what if you are in a situation where you're having computer 
problems and need to reinstall Windows, and though you can 
access Windows, you can't access the registry to find the Product 
Key and the above bat files don't work? Well, nothing to worry 
about. It's just as easy - if not easier - to find your key. All you 
have to do is open up System.dat with a text editor (Notepad isn't 
big enough to hold System dat, but Wordpad is) and doing a 
search for the word ProductKey (or ProductID if you're using 
Windows 95). You'll be surprised by how fast you find it. First try 
should get you there. By the way, you will find system.dat in your 
Windows folders, but make sure you have Show All Files enabled. 

Now, a more serious situation. You can't access Windows 9x at all, 
not even safe mode. Your only access is through native dos and a 
Windows startup disk. Again, nothing to worry about. Here's two 
ways you can use to retrieve your lost key, a manual way and an 
automated way.

The manual way:

Boot up your computer with your startup disk, without cdrom 
support. When you get to the A:\> prompt, type the following 
commands, pressing Enter after each.


Again, if it's Windows 95, substitute PRODUCTID for 

This will search system.dat for the word entered and output the 
results on the screen for you. Your Windows key will be right 
there in front of you.

Write it down on a piece of paper and you'll be all set to begin 
your Windows reinstall.

The auto way:  Via a batch file, of course. 

If you prepare this in advance, it will make it even easier to 
retrieve your key in such a situation. Make a batch file with the 
following command lines:

@echo off
find "ProductKey" c:\windows\system.dat

or, if you're using 95,

@echo off
find "ProductID" c:\windows\system.dat

Save it as key.bat and place it on your bootup disk.

This will now allow you to find your Windows key by just typing 
KEY at the A:> prompt. You may also want to place a copy in 
your c: drive. This would be handy if you boot to your c: drive in 
native dos mode, without your startup disk. 

And that's about as difficult as it gets to recover your ProductKey 
or ProductID, in a situation where Windows is already installed 
on your computer.

Now a bit about pidgen.dll in Windows 9x, to help you 
understand how ProductID and ProductKey are related. 

Pidgen.dll, as the name implies, is the file that GENerates your 
PID (ProductID) When you install Windows 9x, Windows looks 
for this dll which is located in Precopy1.cab. Pidgen.dll then 
creates for you a unique ProductID based on the valid 
ProductKey you entered. If there is no valid key entered, it 
can't produce a PID, and thus you cannot continue installing.

In a desperate situation, where one has a Windows 98 CD with 
no key or identity at all, it could be possible to debug pidgen.dll 
so that Windows could be installed with any characters you 
want, except all 0's.

You would have to copy your Windows cd to your hard drive, 
extract pidgen.dll from precopy1.cab, and then debug it from 
the dos prompt. ie:

debug pidgen.dll
-e 1ed7
xxxx:1ED7 39. 8b
-e 1edf
xxxx:1EDF 39. 8b

A hex editor can do the job too.

However, this doesn't work on all versions or releases of 
Windows and you should be aware that debugging a Windows 
file is considered illegal and doing so would void any warranty.

Windows 2000 and XP

If you have permission or Administrator status, in Windows 2000 
and XP, retrieving your key is a simple matter of opening up the 
file $WINNT$.INF. in your Windows\System32 folder. This file is 
used for unattended or automated installs of Windows 
NT/2000/XP and you will find your Windows key under the 
section [User Data] which should be right at the top. Your key 
can be named ProductKey or ProductID (in my 2k install, the 
key is listed as ProductID) 

If you can't access Windows, you can retrieve your own key via 
the command line or using a Windows 9x boot disk, if the partition 
is FAT.

At the prompt you would type:

If you're accessing from a Windows 9x disk, run the command 
from the 9x C: prompt with the MORE switch added. 


This will display the info one page at a time. Windows XP doesn't 
include the More command, so that's why you should run it from 
the Win9x command prompt.

An alternative is to copy the file to a floppy disk.

It should go without saying, that in XP, the key will only allow you 
to install, not activate, unless you are using the Corporate version 
which requires no activation.
Vic Ferri owns the very popular WinTips and Tricks email group 
He is also in charge of the Printing Tips page at
Linda's Computer Stop.
ans also the Registry Tips page. 

Vic has also created a program which allows you to 
Lock & Hide desktop folders in Windows 9X/ME.  
Read more and get the free demo here.

*****************STATION BREAK*******************
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High level desktop folder security for Windows 95/98/Me

Keep your personal and most valuable files locked 
and hidden from prying eyes, viruses, and other users 
of your computer.  Easy to use and extremely secure.

Lock&Hide is an  extremely easy to use  program that 
allows you to lock and hide any folder on your desktop.  
Folders secured with Lock&Hide cannot be seen, found, 
or accessed. Your folders remain totally invisible and 
highly secured, yet can be accessed quckly and easily 
at any time!

More Info here:

Screenshots and instructions here:

Or download the free demo here
(the demo does not include the "Restore All" feature
or the password protection utility.)

(9.)  Tina's FrontPage News
~~Tina Clarke, AccessFP - Frontpage Resource Centre 


As I stated in Part III - 
"NOTE: All the included Content options open the same dialog 
box, except for page Banners, which open the Page Banner 
Properties dialog box and we will be discussing Page Banners 
along with other Cool Components in Part IV."

So, now we are going to cover:

**Working with Page Banners 
**Adding Comments 
**Inserting Timestamps 


Page banners are blocks of text. For example, headlines, column 
and section headers and the website name. Page banners 
maintain the styles and graphics (They look like big link bars if 
they are graphical) and provide the location to give a page a title.

NOTE: A Good way to add banners to more than one page is to 
position the banner inside a shared border or frame.

If you are not using themes you enter the text and then format the 
banner yourself by selecting font, style and size. A page banner 
contains a single line of text and can have a graphical background. 
The picture used as the background is defined by the web's theme.

NOTE: Webs without a theme cannot have a graphical banner.

A page banner is a quick way to add titles to your web pages. 
Page banners use the styles and graphics of a theme, if one is 
used on the current page; otherwise the page banner just displays 
text, which you can format. Using a page banner inside a shared 
border is a way to quickly add titles to multiple pages in a web. 
Before you can use page banners, you must set up your web's 
navigation structure in Navigation view. (A page banner will not be 
visible on a page unless the page is included in the navigation 
structure.) Page banners use the page titles from Navigation view; 
if you change this title for a page, its page banner label will also 
change.  After you add a page banner to a page, you can change 
the text that is displayed on it, and you can specify whether to 
display a graphic or just text. The page banner picture that will be 
displayed is the banner that is associated with the theme for that 
particular page.

~ Adding a page banner to a web page

NOTE: By default, a page banner displays the page title as 
displayed in Navigation view. Therefore, before you can use 
page banners, you must set up your web site's navigation 
structure in Navigation view. (A page banner will not be visible 
on a page unless the page is included in the navigation structure.)

**In Page view, position the insertion point where you want to 
   add a page banner. 
**On the Insert menu, click Page Banner.  
**Do one of the following: 
       *Display the page banner as text: 
            *Select Text in the Page Banner Properties dialog box.  
            *In the Page banner text box, type the text you want to 
              display in the page banner, and click OK.  
            *To format the text, right-click the page banners, select  
              Font on the shortcut menu, and modify the font.   
       *Display the page banner as a picture: 
            *In order to use a picture, your page must use a theme. 
             *Select Picture in the Page Banner Properties dialog box.

             *In the Page banner text box, type the text you want to 
              display in the page banner, and click OK.   

NOTE: The page banner picture that will be displayed is the  
banner that is associated with the theme for this page.

~ Editing and formatting a web page banner

**In Page view, double-click the page banner. 
**Set the properties for the page banner. 
**Select the font settings you want. 
**Click the Character spacing Tab. 
**To change character spacing, click the spacing drop-down 
   arrow and select a spacing option (either Normal, Expanded, 
   or Condensed), and enter the amount of spacing you want in 
   the By box. 
**To change character position, click the Position drop-down 
   arrow and then select a positioning option (either Baseline, 
   Sub, Super, Top, Text-Top, Middle, Bottom, or Text-Bottom) 
**When the links look ok, click Apply and then click OK the 
banner is now revised. 

NOTE: When you change the text displayed on a page banner, 
the title of the page in Navigation view is also changed.


Designing and developing a web site involves many tasks and 
little reminders help smooth the way. This becomes more 
important when there is more than one person working on a site.

~ Adding the comment to a web page

**In Page view, position the insertion point where you want to 
   add a comment.  
**On the Insert menu, click Comment.  
**Type the comment in the comment box that pops up. 
**Click OK.  

NOTE: A comment has the same attributes as the current 
paragraph style, but is displayed in a different colour. Although 
comments can be viewed while editing a page, they are not 
visible in the Web browser of a site visitor who has browsed to 
the page. However, they are visible if the site visitor wants to 
view the source of your page, so use caution and practice 
discretion when writing comments.

~ Editing the comment on a web page

**In Page view, double-click the comment and edit it, then click 
   the OK button. 

NOTE: You can change the colour of the comments by modifying 
the colour-coding of HTML. The settings you choose will apply to 
all subsequent new pages you create.

~ Modifying colour-coding of HTML 

**In Page view, open the page you want to modify.  
**On the Tools menu, click Page Options, and then click the 
   Colour Coding tab.  
**Click the arrow in the colour box next to the comment selection 
   to select the colour you want to use. 
**To select or create a custom colour by using the Eyedropper 
   tool, click More Colours. When finished click OK. 

~ Resetting colour coding of HTML

**To reset colour coding to its original default settings, click 
   Reset Colours. 

NOTE: You will also see comments made by FrontPage for 

"Comment: This border appears in all pages in your Web. 
Replace this comment with your own content."

This is a comment found in a shared border and there are many 
more like this viewable in page view or html view or in the 
browser Source view but nowhere else.

~ Adding a file summary comment

**In any view except Tasks view, right-click the file you want to 
   add comments to, click Properties on the shortcut menu, and 
   then click the Summary tab. 
**In the Comments box, type the comments you want to add.  

NOTE: File summary comments are not like web page editing 
comments. You can use file summary comments to provide a 
description or note about the file. You can view the comments 
in several reports in Reports view.


~ Add a time stamp to a web page

A time stamp will display either the time or the date, or both, that 
the page was created or last changed. For example, a time 
stamp lets site visitors know whether the information on your site 
has changed since their last visit. 

**In Page view, position the insertion point where you want to 
   place a time stamp.  
**On the Insert menu, click Date and Time.  
**Specify the type of time stamp to display.  
**Specify a format for the date and for the time. 

In Part V we will discuss Creating a Banner Ad and more.
Tina Clarke is the Webmaster of AccessFP - FrontPage 
Resource Centre 
and an editor of "AnyFrontPage Bytes Ezine". Subscribe to 
the FrontPage ezine and get FREE FrontPage E-Books upon 

*****************STATION BREAK*******************
Do you want to know the latest on FrontPage? Do you want 
Tips, news, articles, links and ebooks on FrontPage? Well the 
AnyFrontPage Bytes Ezine is the best place for your FrontPage 
and web crafting needs, join up at: 
Are you looking for resources for FrontPage? Want to know 
where all the best FP links are? The hosts, the lists, the forums? 
Use AccessFP - FrontPage Resources Centre as the start site 
for your FrontPage Information facts. 
NOTE FROM LINDA:  If you haven't been to Tina's 
site lately, you have to go there now and see how 
nicely she's renovated it.  Looks great and it's really
well organized so you can find all the wonderful stuff
she has there.
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~~Chad K. Welch


Don came across an interesting problem in Excel recently:

I have been looking for a macro to identify unlocked cells, with 
or without text. It seems to me that if someone was making a 
spreadsheet or a form and wanted a quick way to identify 
unlocked cells without manually checking them, a macro that 
turned the background red of unlocked cells or identified them in 
some other manner would be useful. I have done work in Excel 
and because I have had to add or delete cells or rows or columns 
or simply by error, someone would come to me and say they can't 
tab through the cells properly.

Thanks for the idea, Don! I've also had a need to find all of the 
locked or unlocked cells in a worksheet. In Excel's VBA one of 
the properties of a Range object is "Locked." As its name 
suggests, it will return TRUE if the cells is locked and FALSE if 
not. You can even use it to check a range of cells. For example, 
if A1:G10 are all locked cells the statement Range("A1:G10").
Locked will return TRUE. If the range is mixed with locked and 
unlocked cells it will return Null.

I've put together a couple of macros that will select all of the 
protected or unprotected cells in a range. However, there are a 
couple of concepts in them that haven't been covered in this 
ezine yet, so let's go over them first.

It usually will take a long time to run a macro that checks each 
individual cell if you select an entire worksheet. Excel can loop 
through cells fairly quickly, but when you're talking 16.8 million 
cells per page, the time adds up. Usually we only need to check 
the parts of the worksheet with data on it or the range from cell A1 
to the last cell of a worksheet. The Last Cell is found by pressing 
Ctrl+End (or using menus: Edit>Go To., click on "Special" and 
select "Last Cell"). There is no data or formatting below or to the 
right of that cell. In these macros we don't really need to check 
any cells beyond the last cell. In VBA the last cell is a "special 
cell." You can reference it with: expression.SpecialCells(xlLastCell).  

To make sure the selection we choose only contains cells above 
or to the left of the last cell, we'll use the Intersect() function. 
Intersect() takes two or more ranges and returns a range that is 
common to all of them. For example, these two rectangles 
represent two ranges. The shaded area is common to both so 
that range will be returned from the Intersect() function. 

Now let's take a look at the macros:

Sub Select_Locked_Cells()
Dim c As Range
Dim sel As String

On Error GoTo exit_sub
If Intersect(Selection, Range("A1", _
Cells.SpecialCells(xlLastCell).Address)) Is Nothing Then _
MsgBox "The selected cells are outside the Used Range", _
vbOKOnly + vbInformation, "Error"

Intersect(Selection, Range("A1", _
For Each c In Selection.Cells
If c.Locked Then sel = sel & "," & c.Address

If Len(sel) > 1 Then
sel = Mid(sel, 2)
MsgBox "None of the selected cells are Locked", _
vbOKOnly + vbInformation, "Locked"
End If

End Sub

Sub Select_Unlocked_Cells()
Dim c As Range
Dim sel As String

On Error GoTo exit_sub
If Intersect(Selection, Range("A1", _
Cells.SpecialCells(xlLastCell).Address)) Is Nothing Then _
MsgBox "The selected cells are outside the Used Range", _
vbOKOnly + vbInformation, "Error"

Intersect(Selection, Range("A1", _
For Each c In Selection.Cells
If Not c.Locked Then sel = sel & "," & c.Address

If Len(sel) > 1 Then
sel = Mid(sel, 2)
MsgBox "None of the selected cells are Unlocked", _
vbOKOnly + vbInformation, "Unlocked"
End If

End Sub

After you've run the macro you can easily use the menus or 
toolbars to apply formatting to all of the cells found.

Happy Coding! 

Remember, I'll give $5.00 to anyone who suggests an idea that 
I can use in this article. Just email me the idea and put "Idea for 
Macro Mania" in the subject line.
Chad K. Welch works as a technician/enabler in Utah. He is 
available for consulting or application programming with 
Microsoft Office and VBA. Contact him directly for more 
information at chad@xxxxxxxxxxxxx

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(11.) Parkers Mailbox 
~~Parker Renaud, IT Manager, Colliers Keenan, Inc.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article includes pictures and is 
clearer if read online.  You can see the online version here:


In a previous issue, I listed some of the very useful Outlook 
features available to you only when you use Microsoft Exchange 
Server, such as: 

**Message Recall 
**Offline folders 
**Offline Address Book
**Delegating Access and Folder Permissions 
**Group scheduling 
**Public folders 
**Out of Office Assistant 
**Web Access 

The most useful of these features, in my opinion, is Outlook Web 
Access. With Outlook Web Access, you can access your e-mail, 
contacts, and calendar from anywhere in the world as long as you 
have Internet access. The president of our company regularly 
checked his office e-mail while traveling in Australia last year. I have

accessed my e-mail from public libraries, trade shows,  hotel 
business centers, etc. It is certainly much easier than lugging a 
laptop around and going through airport security with it.  

The best thing about Outlook Web Access is that it is FREE! If 
your company is using Microsoft Exchange Server 5.0 or later, 
Web Access is already built in and waiting to be used. Your 
network administrator simply needs start the service and 
configure it. 

Not all Outlook features are available in Web Access, but the 
more important ones are.

Feature  --  E-mail?
 Outlook Web Access -- Yes 
 Calendar -- Yes
 Contacts -- Yes 
 Out of Office Asst. -- Yes 
 Tasks -- No 
 Spell checker -- No
 Reminders -- No 

If you are a poor typist, or are spelling-challenged, take note that 
any e-mails you send using Web Access are NOT spell checked. 

To take full advantage of Outlook Web Access features, you 
should use Internet Explorer 5.0 or higher. Although any browser 
that supports HTTP version 3.2 or higher also supports Outlook 
Web Access, certain features and functionality are only available 
with Internet Explorer. (I have received reports from employees 
that Web Access does not work with AOL or with CompuServe. I 
have not tried it with them, however.) 

To use Web Access:

1.      Open your browser (Internet Explorer) and go to your web 
access URL. Your system administrator can give that to you. It will 
be something like http://mail.keenancolliers.com/exchange.

2.      Next you will get one of several login screens, depending on 
which version of Windows and Internet Explorer you are using.

3.      If you get a logon screen with just two fields to fill (without
space to enter the domain name), enter domainname/username in 
the User Name field. In the Password field, enter your network 

4.       If you get a logon screen with three input spaces, enter your 
username, your password and your domain name in the correct 

5.      Next the Microsoft Outlook Web Access screen opens with 
another Log On. Enter your user name again.

6.      Now you are in a "virtual" Outlook screen. From here you 
can do just about anything you could do in Outlook on your office 
PC, including read e-mail, open attachments, reply, forward, 
attach files, set up appointments, etc. However, the interface is 
arranged in a slightly different manner.

For instance, instead of being able to scroll down through your 
entire inbox, you will see only one page at a time. To see the 
next page, use the arrow key to the right of "Page 1of X".

7.      When you are finished in Outlook, simply close your 
Parker Renaud is the one-man IT department at Colliers Keenan 
where he manages 90 PCs on 5 servers.

(12.) James's Database
~~James La Borde


What Is an Aggregate Query?

An aggregate query is a special type of query within Access that  
allows you to group your data and perform specific mathematical 
functions on those groupings.  Since these are SQL functions 
they upsize very well. 

The SQL Aggregate Funtions:

The available SQL Aggregate Functions in an Aggregate Query 
within Access are detailed below.  

Group By - Group By does exactly what it says.  It will group your 
query data on each unique value in the set of fields listed as 
Group By.   

Sum  -          This is another obvious function.  This one will give 
you a total of all the records in this field for the groupings 
indicated in the Group By field.  

Avg -           Similar to the Sum function, this will give you the 
average of all records in the specified fields within each grouping. 

Min -           Unlike the Sum and Avg functions this will return a 
single value from the group of records.  It will give the lowest 
value in all the records in the specified field within each grouping. 

Max -          This function is similar to the Min function, it returns
single value from all records within the grouping.  It will return the 
highest value within each grouping.  

Count -        The Count function simply counts the number of 
entries within the designated field within each grouping. 

StDev -        This returns the standard deviation across all 
records in each grouping.  

Var -            This is another measurement of deviation.  This one 
is the Variance.  It gives the amount by which the value deviates 
from the average. 

First -          Like the Min and Max functions, the First function 
does no mathematical calculations, it simply returns a single value 
from the group of records.  The value returned is the first value for 
the field in question within the grouping of records. 

Last -           The opposite of First, this simply returns the last 
value entered in the field within each grouping. 

Expression - This is the instruction to tell Access to perform a 
different mathematical expression on each value within the 
groupings.  It allows the designer to make use of other functions 
available within access. 

Where -       Those of you familiar with the actual SQL language 
realize that this is your Where clause.  This tells Access that you 
don't want to include the field in your recordset you merely want 
to use it as a criteria to filter out some data out of the final 
recordset.  Bear in mind that fields in the Where clause do not 
show up in the results of this type of query.

How Can I Use These?

Aggregate functions can be used alone or in bunches.  The most 
important thing to remember in an Aggregate query is that every 
field in your query must be performing an aggregate function. 

Another great advantage of using this is that you can perform 
multiple functions on a single field.  This way you can get all the 
data you need about a particular grouping of data in a single 

Here is an example: 

You are the Sales Manager of your firm.  You need to look at the 
Sales Data of your Salespeople as part of their evaluation. 

Let's open the Northwinds database and click on the query tab.  
Open up a new query and find the summation (this creates an 
Aggregate Query). 

Locate the Summation Icon, and click it. You will notice that your 
query now has an extra line in the design grid entitled Total.  
Let's pull in the Employees and Orders Tables and the Order 
Details Extended Query.  Bring in the First name and last name 
fields and leave these set as group by, You can concatenate the 
first and last names into an Employee Name field if you like as 
well.  Now bring in the Order Date, Extended Price, and Quantity 
Fields.  Set Order Date to Count in the Total row and select 
descending in the Sort row.  Next, Select Sum for both Extended 
Price and Quantity.  Bring in the same to fields and set them to 
Avg.  Include Extended Price twice more, once for Min and once 
for Max.  Save and Execute the query.

Your results show you all of the details about each Sales Person.  
You have the number of orders they recorded, the total dollars in 
sales, their average order and average dollar amount of each 
sale and their highest and lowest individual sale.  You should be 
seeing the beginnings of the power this function can have. 

I hope you have enjoyed this month's article and would love to 
hear any feedback you may have. 

James ~   james@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
James La Borde works in the computer department at a 
Credit Union, where he uses Access, SQL Server, VBA, 
and ODBC daily.  He also teaches online Access classes 
at Eclectic Academy.

(13.) Hal's Hardware Haven
~~ Hal Cardona, PC Sleuth


This month, we are looking at software and driver errors that 
can keep your PC from working correctly.  If you followed 
last months article, your PC should be booting to the Windows 
splash screen or beyond. You can read last month's article 

The first thing to do is delete all the files in you temp folder 
(C:\Windows\Temp or C:\Winnt\Temp).  Run scandisk from 
Safe Mode (Start > Run > Scandisk) or DOS (at the c:\ type 
in scandisk and press enter). 

If you are getting to the Windows boot screen but your PC is 
not booting all the way to desktop, try booting into safe mode.  
If you can boot into Safe Mode then your problem is with a 
driver or a piece of software loading at boot.  If you are running 
Windows ME or XP now is perfect time to use System Restore 
to restore your PC to a time before the problem occurred. 

If you are running Windows 98 or higher press Start then run 
and type in msconfig and press enter.   

On the general tab start by disabling both your autoexec.bat 
and your config.sys, try rebooting, if you are successful then 
it is something in of those pre-Windows boot files, you can 
re-enable them and disable all the lines in each file and then 
re-enable each line one a time to find the offending one.   

Now lets check for programs loading at start-up in Windows. 
Restart msconfig and go to the tab labeled Start-up and remove 
the check marks from everything there and try to restart your PC.  
If you boot normally then it is some thing in the Start-up Group 
that is the problem. Try enabling them one at a time with a reboot 
in between until you find the culprit.  Another place Windows 
loads things at start-up is in the win.ini file (which you can also 
check with msconfig), check for any entry in the load= and the 
run= lines in the top section, again try disabling them as we did 
in the Start-up Tab. 

To find out if it is a hardware driver that is causing your problem, 
open the Device Manager (in Windows 9X right click on My 
Computer and select Properties then the Device Manager tab, 
in Windows 2K and XP right click on My Computer and select 
Manage then the Device Manager on the left hand side).  Once 
you have the Device Manager open, examine it carefully for 
anything with a Red X or Yellow Exclamation Mark, these are 
Window's indicators that it is having a problem with a driver or 
piece of hardware.  If you see them, try reloading the drivers for 
the offending device.  If after reloading the driver the error is 
still there, try locating the latest drivers for your device and 
loading them.  If you still have errors go back to my first article 
on troubleshooting and start again. 

If you don't see any signs of problems in the Device Manager, 
try disabling the hardware items listed one at a time and 
rebooting to see if the problem goes away hint: disable them, 
don't remove them.  If you find the offending piece try 
reloading the driver or downloading and installing the latest 
drivers from the Internet.    

You may find that loading the latest drivers for your hardware 
doesn't help; at that point it is time to look for Readmes, 
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) and user forums related 
to the hardware.  You are looking for known issues with the 
hardware that apply to your particular PC configuration.   

By now you should have eliminated hardware from your 
troubleshooting.  So let's move on to software and Windows 

If you have a screen popping up during the Windows boot 
process that states the following driver or software can't 
load, you need to write down what it is that isn't loading.  
The easiest way to correct this type of error is to reinstall 
the software or driver that needs the file.  There are a few 
places that Windows uses load files during boot, again 
msconfig is a great resource, look in the start-up tab, the 
win.ini file and system.ini file for the offender and remove 
it from the boot process.   

Another good tool is the System File Checker 
(SFC, Start > Run > SFC) which is available in Windows 
98SE, ME and XP.  SFC checks important Windows files 
to see if they are corrupted or have been changed, you 
can also use it to restore a corrupted file if you know 
which file you need to replace. 

If you can't locate it there then it is time to search the 
registry. Do this by using regedit (Start > Run > Regedit), 
the Registry Editor.  Read Vic's article on how to back-up 
the registry before you start playing around in here, 
because it is possible to make Windows unbootable if 
you make a mistake editing the registry.  The registry 
editor has a search function under Edit Find, use to 
locate the offending item mentioned in the Windows boot 
error, and delete it.  If you made things worse, use Vic's 
article to restore the registry with the back-up you made. 

Another big help is to reload Windows on top of itself, 
it is much easier than a clean install and often can 
correct small, hard-to-find problems. 

In most cases you should have found the problem by 
now.  If you haven't solved your problem, try using the 
resources below for additional information or call in a 
professional.  Troubleshooting a PC is like being a 
detective, I have shown you some the places to find 
clues, some of the tools we use to correct them and 
some the tools we use to evaluate those clues.  
Practice troubleshooting is probably the best way to learn. 


Troubleshooting PC problems is a step by step process 
that can require a lot of research. Some of the places 
I look for information are: 

**Readme files are usually text files that come with the 
hardware (or software) on the CD or diskette. You 
might also find them on the manufacturer's website. 
They cover known issues with the hardware or a driver 
that were discovered after the manual was written. 
Now is the time to read them if you haven't.   
**FAQs are lists of commonly asked questions, and are 
great trouble shooting resource. You may learn that your 
problem is a common one with an easy, but obscure, fix.   
**User Forums are online self help sites that may or may 
not be monitored or supported by the manufacturer.  
Before you post a question in a User Forum read some 
Of the questions and answers first. You may find your 
answer, but you will learn the something about the 
etiquette of the forum.  You can find forums at 
manufacturer's web sites, Yahoo Groups, Freelists, 
Usenet News groups, and many more places. 
**Some of my favorite user forms are:  
 Computer Help and Discussion: 
 Networking Help:  
 Windows 98 List: 
 Vic's WinTips: 
 Linda's MS Office Group: 
 PC Tech Talk: 
 Windows 2000: 
 Via Arena: 
**Microsoft's Knowledge Base is a great resource that 
talks about problems and issues with all Microsoft products.  
They have a relatively easy way to search it.  If you are 
using the knowledge base and not finding an answer to 
your problem, try searching a different way. 
**Google is an easy to use search engine that I use to 
locate manufacture's websites, User Forums and drivers 
on the Internet. 

Hopefully you found this helpful and not too geeky.  As 
Always, comments, and requests for future articles are 
welcome.  E-mail me at abcomputers@xxxxxxxxxxxxx  
If you need free help and support try the User Forums 
earlier in the article.  Have fun and see you next month.
Hal Cardona, PC Sleuth, serves as tech support and/or 
offsite Sys Admin for over 200 clients around the US. 
He designs, builds, and troubleshoots networks and 
builds custom computer systems.

~~ By Scott Buresh ~ Medium Blue Internet Marketing 

Most companies that have websites have access to traffic 
statistics, usually provided by their web host. Those that don't 
look at these files (or use a bargain basement web hosting 
company that doesn't provide them) don't know what they are 
missing- there is a wealth of information to be found, and reacting 
to this information can have a positive impact on a company's 
bottom line. What follows are some of the most basic stats that 
are typically available, followed by brief suggestions on how to 
use the information. 

The Myth of "Hits"

Most web surfers have come across sites that boast about 
"20,000 hits per day" or something similar. But what does this 
mean? To an internet marketer, unfortunately, not much. "Hits" 
actually refers to the number of requests for information the web 
server receives. To use an oversimplified example, if your 
company homepage has 20 separate graphics on it, each visitor 
to that page will account for 20 hits. If you were boasting of 
20,000 hits per day, you would really only be talking about 1000 
visitors. Obviously, this statistic is not a fair indication of actual 
site visitors, and shouldn't be figured into your traffic analysis.

Average Visitors (Daily, Weekly, Monthly)

This is the true measure of website activity. Of course, more 
traffic is desirable in most circumstances (provided it is at least 
somewhat targeted). Without access to this data and the ability to 
look at visitor history, it is impossible to tell if your traffic
initiatives, whether online or offline, are working. It should be 
noted that the more your traffic increases, the more accurate 
the rest of your data becomes. This is simply because trends 
in a larger sample are more telling than trends in a smaller 
sample where a small number of atypical users can skew the 

Average Time Spent On Site and Average Page Views Per Visitor

This data can be very useful in determining how your site is 
connecting with visitors. If the average time that people
spend on the site is small (for example less than a minute), 
or the average visitor only visits one or two pages, it may 
indicate some sort of problem. Perhaps your site is attracting the 
wrong traffic, with visitors abandoning the site quickly when they 
realize it isn't what they were seeking. Perhaps visitors are 
confused by the navigation and decide to look elsewhere. Maybe 
your site, even though you love it, gives off an inexplicable bad 
vibe. Whatever the case, an awareness of the time people spend 
on your site and the number of pages they view can bring a 
potential problem to your attention, and help you gauge how 
effective your solution is. 

Most/Least Requested Pages

This information is helpful in determining the "hot" and "cold" 
areas of your website. If you notice that a page that you think is 
important is not getting any attention, perhaps the link to this page 
should be made more prominent or enticing. On the other hand, 
if there are areas of the site that you deem less important that are 
attracting a great deal of your traffic, you can shift some of your 
sales/marketing focus to those pages. Whatever you find in these 
stats, you can bet that it will give you valuable insight into the 
interests and motivations of your visitors. 

Top Exit Pages

There are probably certain pages of your site where you don't 
mind visitors leaving (after all, they can't stay forever). A 
confirmation page after they fill out a request for more information 
might be one example of a reasonable exit point. A contact page 
that tells visitors how to get in touch with your company might also 
be acceptable. Unfortunately, it is unrealistic to assume that each 
of your visitors is going to find exactly what they are looking for on 
your company site, so it is normal to see a wide range of exit pages. 
However, if a high percentage of visitors are leaving on any 
particular page, it bears some close scrutiny. Sometimes minor 
modifications in content can have a positive impact on visitor 

Top Search Phrases

This data can be very useful in understanding what type of traffic 
is coming to your site. If you see relevant phrases that bring you 
consistent traffic, you can assume that you are getting some 
targeted traffic. On the other hand, if there are predominant 
phrases people are using to find your site that are unrelated to 
your business, you know that at least some of your traffic is of a 
lesser quality. In addition, if you notice that people find your site by

typing in the name of your company, you should be pleased to 
know that you have achieved some level of brand awareness. By 
examining the search phrases that your visitors are using, you 
gain a better understanding of your visitor.


Some people are intimidated by these reports (mostly because 
of the sheer volume of data available), but they shouldn't be.  
While there are many highly specialized statistics that can be 
used for more in-depth analysis of site traffic, the above areas 
alone can provide invaluable information on site visitors and 
website performance. Remember- this data is available for a 
reason. It's up to you to use it!
Scott Buresh is co-founder and principal of Medium Blue Internet 
For monthly tips on how to get the most out of your internet presence, 
sign up for the Medium Blue Internet Marketing Newsletter 

Well, gang.....that's about it for this edition of 
ABC ~ All 'Bout Computers. I sure hope you enjoyed it! If 
any of it was over your head and you need some clarification 
from one of the Fleet, just send me an email to 
linda@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx and I will pass it on 
to them. Remember that they do this in their spare time on 
a voluntary basis, so you might have to wait for an answer. 
To make all things work more quickly, include as many details 
as you can in your email and make your questions as specific 
as possible. Also, feel free to write to me and let us know 
what you want the Fleet to teach you. This is YOUR newsletter!
Happy computing, my friends!
Linda Johnson
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