ABC Tower   ABC Nightlife 3 February 2006

Tips & Hints

Posted 7 February 2006

The first spot of the year with Tony Delroy fresh back from his holidays and looking even more terrific than usual. We discussed the Karma Sutra, or Nyxem, virus and the passing of Windows 98. We had a mixed bag of callers with a particular emphasis on getting older programs to run on new machines.

Family Tree Maker Problems

One of the problems with upgrading to a new system is your existing software, Windows XP and Mac OS X have newer features that don’t always work with older programs. Maree called in with exactly this problem, she was able to install Family Tree Maker 4.4, but she can’t load her data files.

Family tree manager 4.4 is a very old version, the current version is 9. The fact the program starts shows it has no problem with Windows XP. It appears the 4.4 version uses the older FAT file system and has trouble using the newer NTFS file system Windows XP uses.

It’s possible to put in a second hard drive or change part or all of the existing drive to FAT32. But it is time consuming and a computer shop or tech will charge upwards of $100 to do this. Given Family Tree Maker 2006 costs around a hundred dollars and it claims to import version 4 data it would make more sense to buy the new program.

Windows Compatibility Wizard

While Maree’s program worked with Windows XP, some older ones don’t. Gary had exactly this problem with his new computer. Fortunately Microsoft offer some free tools to help.

The built in Program Compatibility Wizard steps you through the process of getting an older program to work. For more advanced users, the Application Compatibility Toolkit goes even deeper. However, some programs won’t work regardless and one has to question whether it is worth spending weeks trying to fix a program worth a hundred dollars.

Windows Updates

It’s essential to keep your computer up to date with the latest security patches. Windows Update is the most important tool for keeping systems current. Unfortunately, it sometimes breaks down as Keith found.

Keith was finding he would successfully run Windows Update but find the same updates would appear the next time. This is a problem with the history file. Microsoft have recognised this, and have their instruction posted on their knowledge base, look for “Clear the contents of the WindowsUpdate folder”.

MSN Messenger logoff problems

MSN Messenger is one of the many messaging tools Microsoft offer, Keith called about a logoff problem. We find MSN Messenger problems are usually due to the way it interacts with the Microsoft Passport Service. Basically, all the online services Microsoft offer such as Windows Messenger, MSN Messenger, Hotmail and their various subscription services link to the Passport Service.

When we hit a problem with Hotmail or one of the Messenger services, we usually find logging onto one of the other Passport related services clears the problem. So we suggest Keith logs onto Hotmail, Passport or something similar with the same email address he uses for MSN Messenger. This usually clears the problem.

As usual our apologies to the many callers who couldn’t get through. The next Nightlife computer spot will be at 10pm March 10, please feel free to email any suggestions you might have for the show. If you’d like to be kept up-to-date with our schedule then subscribe to our newsletter.
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