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December 2001 Issue

 

Below, find our archived issue of the 5 Star Support Monthly Newsletter.

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August 2000 September 2000 October 2000 November 2000 December 2000 January 2001
February 2001 March 2001 April 2001 May 2001 June 2001 August 2001
September 2001 October 2001 November 2001 December 2001 January 2002 February 2002
March 2002 July 2002 August 2002 September 2002 December 2002 February 2003
April 2003 June 2003 December 2003 January 2004 March 2004 April 2005
May 2005 July 2005        

5 Star Support Monthly Newsletter  

www.5starsupport.com

December 2001 Issue:

Inside this issue:

1) Notes from the editor
2) Anatomy of a Blue Screen – Part 1
3) Helpful Websites
4) What is DSL? 
5) Tips and Tricks
6) Home Networking
7) Problems and Solutions
8) Contact Information
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[1] Notes from the editor:
by Vince Underwood

Welcome all newcomers to the 5 Star Support Monthly Newsletter and welcome back to all of you faithful 5 Star Supporters.

I would like to first welcome all of the new technicians to the team. They are listed as they arrived. Read a little about these and the rest of the team at:
<http://www.5starsupport.com/techs.htm/>

1) Shiggity Shiloh
2) Fred Garvin
3) Steven Johnson
4) Debbie
5) Philip Booth
6) Keith Jerstad
7) Kobie
8) Paul Jackson
9) James Hanna
10) Joe Delgado
11) Matthew DeWitt
...one other technician joined the team but wished to remain anonymous.

These are very talented individuals that are selflessly giving some of their free time to help people. Many thanks to all of our volunteer technicians!

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[2] Anatomy of a Blue Screen – Part 1:
Submitted by: Steven Johnson (5 Star Support Team Member)

Many of the customers I support use Windows 2000 and NT. When I hear the phrase "Blue Screen" I used to cringe and start thinking he's going to have to reinstall. As time went on, I began to learn much about the feared BSoD. After you learn what to look for, troubleshooting and resolving these errors is a bit easier. Still, sometimes there is no hope and a reinstall will be the only course of action. So without a lot of longwinded hogwash, here it is:

There are four basic sections that you should be aware of on a Blue Screen of Death:

  • The first section lists the actual error message. 

  • The second section lists the Microsoft® Windows NT/2000® modules that are already loaded into memory. 

  • The third section lists the modules that were about to be loaded had the error not occurred. 

  • The fourth section lists the current status of the Kernel Debugger

BSOD

The First Section shows the actual error message. This message contains an error code number, the addresses where the error occurred, and a text code indicating the type of error. 
The Second Section displays the modules that Winnt/Win2k has already loaded into memory. 
The Third Section shows the modules that were about to load when the error occurred. 
The Last section is the crash debug section.

By examining the screen, you will note that this is a Stop: 0x0000000A, IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL. Looking at the common errors (Listed Below), you will notice that this error is almost always created by an incompatible device driver. Examining the third section shows that the OS dumped right before loading i8042prt.sys. This system file is related to the keyboard and/or mouse. Did the customer just load software for their Internet Keyboard or Wheel mouse? That would be a logical place to start.

Text Code of the Common Error Messages:

IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL: In Windows 2000, a kernel mode process can only access an interrupt request level less than or equal to its own. This error indicates that a process tried to access too high of an interrupt request level. 

A problem like this is almost always caused by an incompatible device driver, system service, virus scanner, or backup tool. If you receive this error during the process of upgrading to Windows 2000, it could be that Windows NT is using a device driver that's incompatible with Windows 2000. 

Whenever you receive an IRQL error, the best thing that you can do is to boot Windows 2000 into safe mode by pressing [F8] during the early stages of the boot process and selecting Safe Mode from the boot menu. When Windows 2000 loads, disable your antivirus software and any drivers that aren't absolutely necessary, and then restart the system. When the system restarts, begin re-enabling things one at a time until you determine what's causing the problem. 

KMODE_EXCEPTION_NOT_HANDLED: This error message indicates that a kernel mode process tried to execute an illegal or an invalid instruction. Normally, when this error occurs, Windows 2000 will list a memory address along with the name of the program or device driver that's responsible for the error. You can then restart Windows and begin examining that file for the problem.

NTFS_FILE_SYSTEM The NTFS_FILE_SYSTEM error indicates that the NTFS.sys file is having difficulty working with your file system. Bad blocks on the hard disk or corrupted SCSI or EIDE drivers may cause this error. 

When this error occurs, disable any antivirus software, backup programs, disk defragmenters, and so forth. Next, check the event logs for errors pertaining to SCSI, FASTFAT, or AUTOCHK. These errors may help you find the source of the problem. Finally, run the CHKDSK /F /R command to attempt to repair any hard disk problems. 

It's also possible to receive this error if you're using Services For Macintosh on a 7-GB or larger partition with over 100,000 files. The indexing routine can consume large amounts of non-paged pool memory. If this memory is completely depleted, the NTFS_FILE_SYSTEM error can occur. Microsoft knows about this problem and intends to address it in a future Service Pack. 

DATA_BUS_ERROR: This message almost always indicates a memory parity error. Bad memory, incompatible hardware, or a hardware configuration issue can cause it. This issue may be related to your system's RAM, level 2 RAM (L2) cache, or video RAM. 

If this error occurs after installing new hardware, try removing the new hardware to see if the error goes away. It's possible that you added a bad or incompatible component. If you haven't added anything new, try removing your existing hardware and reseating all cards and memory modules. It's possible that something could have vibrated loose. If that doesn't solve your problem, try experimenting with various combinations of the memory modules in your system to see if one of them might have gone bad. If this error occurs on a new system, try contacting the manufacturer to see if a BIOS upgrade is available. 

It's possible (although unlikely) to get this error after installing a new device driver. If this happens, boot the system into safe mode by using the method that I described earlier. Once the system is up and running, try removing the driver and rebooting the system to see if the error goes away. If a bad driver is the problem, check the Web for an updated driver that's specifically designed for Windows 2000. 

Finally, it's possible to get this error from hard disk corruption or a cracked motherboard. Try running CHKDSK /F to test for and repair any hard disk errors. If you still can't fix the problem, try taking the motherboard to a repair center for testing. 

Next month we will take a look at the following BSoD errors and their meanings:
PAGE_FAULT_IN_NONPAGED_AREA
KERNEL_STACK_INPAGE_ERROR
MISMATCHED_HAL 
KERNEL_DATA_INPAGE_ERROR 
INACCESSIBLE_BOOT_DEVICE
UNEXPECTED_KERNEL_MODE_TRAP
STATUS_SYSTEM_PROCESS_TERMINATED 
STATUS_IMAGE_CHECKSUM_MISMATCH 
REGISTRY_ERROR 
BAD_POOL_HEADER 
NMI_HARDWARE_FAILURE

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[4] What is DSL?:

DSL is a generic abbreviation for the many flavors of DSL or Digital Subscriber Line technology. DSL refers to the technology used between a customer's premises and the telephone company, enabling more bandwidth over the already installed copper cabling than users have traditionally had.

DSL technology provides next generation high bandwidth services using the existing telephone cabling infrastructure. DSL, over existing phone lines, promises bandwidths up to 9Mbps, but distance limitations and line quality can reduce what will actually be achieved. DSL technologies will use a greater range of frequencies over the cable, than traditional telephone services. This makes more bandwidth available to send and receive information. This technology is still in the early stages of roll out with standards and products just getting under way. Driving this market is the competition from competing access providers and the pursuit of your Internet access dollar.

DSL utilizes more of the bandwidth on copper phone lines than what is currently used for plain old telephone service (POTS). By utilizing frequencies above the telephone bandwidth (300Hz to 3,200Hz), DSL can encode more data to achieve higher data rates than would otherwise be possible in the restricted frequency range of a POTS network. In order to utilize the frequencies above the voice audio spectrum, DSL equipment must be installed on both ends and the copper wire in between must be able to sustain the higher frequencies for the entire route. This means that bandwidth limiting devices such as loading coils must be removed or avoided.

Next month we'll look at the different types of DSL connections.

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[5]  Tips and Tricks:

<>Windows 95/98 Tip:

Speed up your refresh rate:

When your desktop displays many icons in full color, it often takes longer to refresh and reload. To speed things up a bit, try this: 
1) Click on the Display icon in the Control Panel. 
2) Click on the Effects tab and look for the box that says "Show icons using all possible colors." 
3) Unchecking this often speeds up the computer. 

---------------------------------------------

<>Internet Explorer Tip:

MSKB Search:

MSKB (Microsoft Knowledge Base). 
If you know the MSKB number, you can use Internet Explorer 5 and later to find the article of choice quickly and easily. Simply type the following in the Address bar (where you would normally type http://www.5starsupport.com):mskb q###### Where ###### represents the number of the Knowledge Base Article. The autosearch function of IE will automatically find and display the article.

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<>Windows 2000 Tip:

Changing Windows 2000 Network Settings:

You may have noticed that Windows 2000 has moved some of the familiar network settings. To change the Computer Name, Workgroup or Domain settings, click Start/Settings/Control Panel and select System. To change other network settings click Start/Settings/Control Panel and select “Network and Dial-up Connections”. Right-click on Local Area Connection and select Properties. This area is similar to the Network Neighborhood Properties found in Windows 98 and Windows NT. Don't bother looking for Remote Access Services, however, since it is embedded within Windows 2000.

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<>HTML Tip:

Redirect your guests:

To redirect to another page use this code: 
<HTML>

<HEAD>
<TITLE>I moved!!!</TITLE>
<META HTTP-EQUIV="refresh" CONTENT="5;URL=http://www.newpage.com/">
</HEAD>

<BODY>

I have moved!
Your browser should automatically take you there in 5 seconds. If it doesn't please go to http://www.newpage.com/

</BODY>

</HTML> 

Note: "CONTENT="5;" The 10 specify's a 5 second delay. Use whatever number of delay you desire.

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<>Windows XP Tip:

System Restore Feature:

XP contains a new feature called System Restore that restores the system to a previous configuration point. Should you restore your system to a point before you activated XP on your computer, the OS will forget that you activated it and you'll need to reactivate XP. If the system restore point is past the 30-day grace period that Microsoft allows for activation, you'll have to activate XP immediately. The only workaround to reactivating your system is to perform the following steps: 

1) Start your Windows installation in Minimal Safe mode. 
2) Move to the \%systemroot%\system32 folder. 
3) Rename wpa.dbl to wpa.noact. 
4) Rename wpa.bak to wpa.dbl. 
5) Reboot your system as normal. 

Note: The above procedure will work only if you've made no significant hardware changes.

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[6]  Home Networking:

Many households now have got more than one computer, connecting them together makes a lot of sense. It will let you make the most of the networking capabilities of Windows, it will save you time and money and will make your computers more fun to use. Here are a few examples of what you can do with a home network: 

  • Share Internet access 

  • Share printers and scanners 

  • Play multi-user games 

And much more ...

Share Internet access: 
You can share your Internet connection with your partner or children and all of you can browse the net simultaneously with just one phone line, at no extra cost. 

The cost savings of sharing your phone line and Internet account can pay for the cost of installing your home network in just a few months. 

Share printers and scanners: 
Every user on the network will be able to share a printer or a scanner or any other peripherals. Save money and space by just using one printer for the whole family! 

Play multi-user games: 
The whole family can play adventure games, racing games etc... against one another. See our "Tips & Tricks" section for advice on how to play multi-user games and where to download free demo copies. 

And much more: 

  • easily transfer files between computers across the network without the need of a floppy disk. 

  • backup your files on a second computer across the network instead of on a stream of floppy disks.

  • make the most of the networking capabilities of database programs or agendas and share your information with other users on the network. 

  • your old computer does not have a CD-ROM, then you can easily use the CD-ROM on another computer to install programs, read files or play games.

  • add an Internet camera and connect to your home network remotely to keep an eye on the nanny or your fish tank while on holiday. 

  • make use of video conferencing and Internet phone anywhere in the house. 

for the enthusiast, connect various home appliances together and automate your house (lighting, heating, alarms etc...)

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[7]  Problems and Solutions:
Generated from 5 Star Support

<>Problem:

Q#2006
where/what is the command that tells Windows to put up a little boxed prompt saying 'Do you want to disconnect?' when I close or change browser windows?

<>Solution:

"Click the Start Menu button. Click "Run". Type "MSconfig" in the Run box and click OK. In the MSConfig window, click the "Startup" tab. Scroll down to the word "EncMonitor", and remove the checkmark. Then click OK. After you reboot, you will never see the "Do you want to disconnect..." window again."

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<>Problem:

Q#2617 Reformat Drive with Windows XP

<>Solution:

To do a format for a clean Reinstall of Windows XP do the following:

1. Install the Windows XP disk into CD drive...
2. Click on Start> Programs> Accessories> Command Prompt
3. In the popup window type the letter of your cd drive followed by colon (IE: e:) then press enter
4. Now type cd\i386 to switch to the i386 directory or folder
5. Now type winnt32 press enter 
6. Now on the popup window tell it to do NEW INSTALLATION ADVANCED instead of UPGRADE
7. Follow it through and tell it to format either FAT32 or NTSF whichever you are using....hint...
NTSF is faster, stabler, and more secure...FAT32 is what Win98 used....All programs will run the same in either format...

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<>Problem:

Q#2651 Overheating Errors
When running hard-on-the-system games as Quake III, Max Payne, etc., my processor reaches heat up to 67-73 degrees. The game exits out, everything is sluggish (if it works at all).. any suggestions on how to fix this?

Additional information:

nVidia RIVA/TNT2 PRO video card

Diagnose/troubleshooting:

I've bought a new fan, bigger, better, faster, stronger, etc.. Reinstalled video drivers on several occasions, DirectX, other things.. tinkered with game options..

<>Solution:

(1) Look into getting some thermal paste to apply between the heatsink and the core.

(2) Try removing the case for added ventilation. Also, check that the fan is connected directly to the processor--and that it's running. If you can find a diagram of your motherboard you can see if there's a place to add another fan.

(3) If you're running on just a CPU fan, look into adding an exhaust fan (otherwise you're just circulating hot air inside). You can find an inexpensive one at CompUSA that fits in a card slot. Also, make sure you have a decent heat sink and fan on the CPU.

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<>Problem:

Q#H2-2782
No red color on monitor.

<>Solution:

Video cable was not seated firmly on video card.

------------------------------------------------------------------

<>Problem:

A friend has bought a PC 2nd hand. Unfortunately he wants to enable IE Content Advisor in Internet Options but the supervisor password (which he does not know) is preventing him enabling the options. Any ideas on how to clear the old password and set a new one?? 

<>Solution:

Here's how to delete the existing Content Advisor password:
1) Click on Start and choose Run.

2) Type in RegEdit and select OK.

3) Now click on the little plus sign to the left of HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Current Version\Policies\

4) Now click on the Ratings folder.

5) In the right pane of the RegEdit window, you'll see an icon called Key. Click on it and press Delete.

6) Next, choose Registry and then Exit to exit RegEdit. You've just deleted your original Content Advisor password.

7) Restart the computer and run Internet Explorer again.

8) Choose View and then Internet Options (or Options for version 3.x)

9) Click on the Content tab and click on Disable. When asked for a password, don't enter anything; just click on OK. This will disable Content Advisor because there's no longer a password. 
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[8] Contact Information:

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Regards,

Newsletter Staff

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