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July 25, 2002—In this issue:
- XP's Built-in, Automated Error-Reporting Functionality
2. NEWS AND VIEWS
- Intel to Roll Out 3GHz Pentium 4 Early
- Real-World Tips and Solutions Here for You
- It's a Buggy World Out ThereEnergize Your Enterprise at MEC 2002, October 8 Through 11, Anaheim, CA
- Tip: Controlling CPU Performance on the Mobile Pentium III Processor
- Featured Thread: Lost Partition
5. NEW AND IMPROVED
- Uninstall Programs Quickly
- Create Your Own Professional Screen Saver
6. CONTACT US
- See this section for a list of ways to contact us.
(David Chernicoff, News Editor, [email protected])
Before Microsoft released Windows XP, I wrote about how useful users would find XP's automated error-reporting functionality. By sending an error report to Microsoft when an application exits unexpectedly or when the OS recovers from a system crash, this feature helps Microsoft identify and repair problems that crop up on a regular basis.
As the OS has gone into wider distribution, Microsoft has used the error-reporting functionality to identify OS patches that the company needs to produce (not to be confused with the patches that fix security holes in the OS). Many of the automated updates that XP users download are the result of automated error reporting.
I've spoken with many IT managers who've made the transition to XP, and not one of them ever mentioned this feature other than occasionally suggesting that Microsoft should let users add automated error- reporting functionality to their own applications so that the functionality could report to a local site when an end-user application has a problem. Although turning off the error reporting is possible, no one has ever asked me how to do so. But last week, I received an email message from an IT administrator who had a more specific problem.
After making the transition from Windows 98 to XP, this administrator's company was having a minor problem with a legacy application that runs on more than 500 end-user computers. The application worked correctly but created an error condition on exit that caused the automated error- reporting utility to launch and request that the user let it send information about the problem to Microsoft. Users opened and closed the application multiple times per day, and the IT department didn't want to send Microsoft thousands of bug reports on a custom legacy application. So, IT instructed end users to click the Don't Send button when the error message popped up. This solution worked fine until a senior manager took it into his head that the error condition meant that the legacy application had a problem and asked the IT manager to spend IT money, if necessary, to solve the problem.
Because the problem didn't affect the application's operation, the IT department was loathe to spend scarce dollars on unraveling the code of an old proprietary application and instead searched for a Band-Aid fix that would let them solve the error-reporting problem. Fortunately for that IT department, XP lets you turn off the error reporting for a specific program or programs without completely disabling the feature. This feature is buried rather deeply in the OS, but turning it off is still simple. I've done so myself with older programs that I rarely use and that aren't particularly stable on XP.
To turn the feature off, follow these steps:
- Open the Control Panel System applet.
- Click the Advanced tab.
- Click the Choose Programs button.
- Click the Add button.
- Enter the complete pathname of the application whose errors you want to ignore, or use the Browse button to navigate to the application executable.
You'll need to restart the computer after making this change. Thereafter, the selected applications will no longer launch XP's automated error-reporting functionality.
Lately, I've been receiving many requests for links to tips and commentaries that I wrote for earlier columns. All of my earlier Windows Client UPDATE columns and tips are available online on the Windows & .NET Magazine Web site (along with the columns and articles that I've written for the magazine). You can bring up all earlier UPDATE columns by going to http:// www.winnetmag.com/email . There, you can also subscribe to any of our UPDATEs, find all back issues for every UPDATE, and use the site's search engine to find a particular tip or commentary.
2. .NET NEWS AND VIEWS
(contributed by Paul Thurrott, [email protected])
Intel will roll out its 3GHz Pentium 4 microprocessor in the fall, the company says, ahead of its previous fourth quarter 2002 schedule. The timing will allow PC makers to ship PCs based on the new chip in time for the holiday season and will further extend Intel's performance lead over the competition. Additionally, Intel says that it will be able to release an interim speed bump--its 2.8GHz Pentium 4 version-- within in the next few months. Today's fastest Pentium 4 runs at 2.53GHz.
Intel's suddenly accelerated release schedule is sure to vex companies such as AMD, Motorola, and IBM, which make competing processors. AMD's Athlon, for example, is currently mired below 2GHz and faces a slower upgrade cycle than the Pentium 4 does. Motorola and IBM, which make the PowerPC chips that power the Macintosh, are even further behind. The fastest Macintosh systems today use 1GHz processors, and despite Apple's "Megahertz Myth" marketing campaigns, real-world benchmarks reveal just how far behind Intel the Apple systems are. Further distancing Intel from the competition, of course, is its research and development (R&D) budget: Intel spends a whopping $4 billion a year on R&D.
For customers who don't want to wait for year-end to purchase new PCs, Intel recently cut prices dramatically for its existing chips. The company lowered the 2.53GHz Pentium 4's price 63 percent and cut the price of its most popular model, which runs at 1.8GHz, 13 percent. Intel's chips are now 25 to 30 percent cheaper, on average, than they were just a week ago. No doubt inspired by news of the company's accelerated delivery schedule, the price cuts give consumers incentive to buy now rather than wait for faster products.
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(contributed by David Chernicoff, [email protected])
I've received several email messages from users who've upgraded their notebooks from Windows 2000 Professional or Windows 98 Second Edition (Win98SE) to Windows XP. These readers want to know what happened to the Intel SpeedStep software that controls CPU performance on the Mobile Pentium III processor. Although XP can take advantage of this processor's speed-control, battery-life-extension technology (and of AMD's similar PowerNow technology), the OS doesn't let the Intel or AMD UI remain available to the user.
To make sure that your machine is using the speed-control technology or to turn it off, follow these steps:
1. Launch regedit. 2. Open HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\P3\Parameters. 3. If a REG_DWORD Value called HackFlags doesn't exist, add it. 4. You can configure three supported data values: - 0, to disable XP support of the speed control - 1, to use the same settings that the Intel software was using before you upgraded your OS - 5, to give XP complete support and control over the processor speed, which you can then control through your choices in the Control Panel Power applet
To activate your changes, close the registry editor and reboot.
A reader's Windows 2000 server has one drive partitioned into three partitions. The user deleted partition E but now needs data that was on that partition. When the user tries to access the partition, Win2K asks whether he wants to format the partition. To read more about the problem or offer your expertise, use the following link:
5. NEW AND IMPROVED
(contributed by Judy Drennen, [email protected])
Aurelitec announced Add/Remove Plus! 2002 3.1, software designed to uninstall programs you no longer want on your machine. The software comes with an uninstall log and editing capabilities for advanced users. Add/Remove Plus! runs on Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows NT, Windows Me, and Windows 9x and costs $14.95. For more information, contact Aurelitec at 877-734-7638 or go to the Web site.
Dream Software Studio released Dream ScreenSaver Maker 2.1, a utility for creating and distributing image screen savers for Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows Me, and Windows 98. The tool lets beginners and experts customize effects, such as background, mask, caption, dynamic phrase, font, and transition. ScreenSaver Maker 2.1 costs $29.95. For more information, go to the Dream Software Studio Web site.
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