Jewish World Review Jan. 12, 2004 / 18 Teves, 5764


Ending bootup blips is a long, tedious process; wireless keyboard doesn't work; combining Palm 500, Netscape PC address books

By James Coates

http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | (KRT) Q. When I boot up Windows XP, I get a message "Can't run 16-bit program. Insufficient memory. Close one or more applications and retry." I say OK and go on, but it is annoying. How do I find out what program Windows is trying to run and stop it?

William Davis, Matteson

A. Let's hope my explanation of how to cure this 16-bit burp on bootup doesn't sound like more trouble than just putting up with the irksome but harmless glitch. Windows XP is a 32-bit operating system and cannot run old 16-bit stuff written for the DOS and earlier Windows operating systems. So if you know you've got something from the old days loaded on that machine you have your culprit right up front. Remove the 16-bit application and it's over.

Otherwise the way to solve these bootup blips is by the process of elimination using the msconfig software built into Windows that governs what gets loaded and run when a computer is started. So click on Start and Run and then type in msconfig and tap the Enter key to bring up the Windows Startup control console.

You will find a series of tabs and various commands to make both profound and minor changes in the bootup sequence. First of all go to the Startup tab in the display and scroll down through all of the stuff your computer loads into memory at boot and see if you recognize a culprit. If so, remove the check alongside that entry.

If not, you'll have to go through the laborious process of testing every last item in the Startup tab. There is a check box to prevent all Startup items from loading under the General tab in msconfig. Let's hope that when you reboot the computer after removing the check in the Startup line that the 16-bit error message won't appear. You can then restore check marks alongside Startup items one at a time until you find the culprit.

If that doesn't work, you will find under the General tab options to start up the computer without using the myriad settings held in files called Boot.ini, Win.ini and System.ini. If necessary, repeat the selective Startup drill with each of these files in turn. It is a mortal lock that the problem lies somewhere in this mare's nest of Windows files, so this long and bothersome process will definitely fix your problem if you decide it's worth the effort.

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Remember that in the unlikely event you get in trouble fiddling around with startup settings one can always hold down the F8 key during bootup to bring up Windows XP in Safe Mode and then restore the whole kit and caboodle of startup items. Other versions of Windows use other commands set by various PC-makers and can usually be found by using Safe Mode as a keyword after clicking Start/Help.

Let me add that folks who explore the msconfig tool often are delighted to learn that they can shut off virtually everything that Windows and writers of various software plant into the operating system to load into memory without so much as an "if you please" to the owner of the machine.

Q. I took your advice and bought a wireless keyboard and mouse in the hopes that I could tidy up my home computing environment. I took the keyboard and mouse from the box and also the little receiver that one plugs into the ports on the back of the computer for those input devices. I am certain I did everything I needed to do, and yet the new keyboard and the mouse flat out will not work. Should I ship them back to Microsoft and get a refund?

John Grubbs, Chicago

A. We both learned a lesson on this one, Mr. G. I started out asking you if you had pressed the little buttons needed to sync the signals between the receiver and the two gadgets and you said you had done that as directed.

So I explained how one can force Windows to reload any piece of hardware after an installation goes bad and how this often fixes minor dings such as this one.

We went through right-clicking on the My Computer icon and picking Hardware and then Device Manager to find the drivers for each and every component on a PC. You did this and eliminated the keyboard and mouse using the Remove command, thus forcing the computer to repeat the installation process for peripheral gear. Again, nada. I suggested that it was time to return the box to Bill Gates.

Then you started looking at the mouse, keyboard and receiver again and discovered that there is a button on the receiver as well as buttons on both the mouse and keyboard. One must hit the button on the receiver and then the one on the keyboard to tune it. Then one must repeat the process for the mouse so they can talk to each other. When you told me you had used the buttons I neglected to ask if you hit all three buttons. In fact, you had only hit the single button on the receiver. The keyboard and mouse worked great when you discovered this on your own.

Computer columnists can learn something from lawyers, as your problem illustrates. Columnists and defense lawyers should never ask a question unless they know the answer. Clarence Darrow told of badgering a witness who testified that his client had bitten off a plaintiff's ear.

"Did you see him bite the ear?" thundered Darrow.

"No!"

"Then how can you sit there and say my client did this?"

"Because I saw him spit it out."

Ouch.

Q. I have two address books, one on my Palm 500 and the other on Netscape on my PC. Since I do not want to continue to duplicate my entries, could you please advise me if there are programs that could allow for communication between those two disparate systems?

Marco V. Galante @aol.com.

A. The post-holiday hangover season is an excellent time to help folks whose gifts included Palms, Mr., G.; so here goes:

Years ago the makers of the so-called Mozilla software that lies at the heart of the Netscape Communicator Web browser created a program called an AB conduit that lets one use the Netscape e-mail address book instead of the software that comes with the Palm personal digital assistant.

Click on Start and then Programs and find Netscape Communicator in the list that pops up. Select Netscape Communicator, and you should find a number of items besides the browser. One of these, Palm Tools, sets things up so that when you tap the HotSync button on a Palm's cradle it will use the Netscape address book.

A lot of folks never see the additional software that comes when Netscape is installed because they make Netscape the default browser and always run it from the desktop or the Launch Pad next to the Start button in Windows.

Added details and the sync software can be found through this address maintained by Mozilla: www.mozilla.org/quality/mailnews/tests/buffy-mn-palmsync.html

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James Coates is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune. Let us know what you think of this column by clicking here.

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