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11/96 News: Notes from the Lab

Compiled by John J. Yacono; Contributors-Marc Spiwak, Serdar Yegulalp, Paul Schindler, Martin Heller, John Ruley

From WinMag Central

Double Vision

Is '95 Ready For 2000?

Microsoft now has a Year 2000 page on its Web site at The site includes an interesting table listing the date limits of various MS products. Noteworthy entries include Microsoft Access 95 (whose assumed dates don't work beyond 1999), Excel 95 (whose assumed dates topple after 2019), and a series of yet-to-be-released versions of Access and Excel (they tank out at 2029). No, we don't really think people will use 30-year-old software. But then, the folks who developed the software that's about to cause trouble didn't really think anyone would still be using it now, did they?

Memory Loss

Could Windows 95 be a sieve? We've heard that opening and closing applications on some systems with lots of RAM-say, 40MB-reveals a huge memory leak. The OS loses as much as 2MB each time an application is opened and closed.

If you'd like to test your own system, start System Monitor first and check the locked memory; then open and close an app like Word 6.0 (16-bit apps are particularly suspect) and check the locked memory again. Fortunately, reopening an app doesn't waste even more memory.

Toasted Webware

Berkeley's Web.Max utility doesn't fly as well as its toasters. The utility contains a very nice Downloader feature that copies Web pages to your hard disk, but it relies on third-party software that has already expired. Running the utility may cause a crash unless you get a fix from the company's own Web site at

Heads Up

In response to the Laroux macro virus-which can infect Excel 5 and 7 in Windows 95 and NT-Microsoft has released an add-in. Available at and from Microsoft's AnswerPoint Information Services (206-635-7070), it prompts the user before automatically running macros found in documents. The virus consists of macros called "Auto_Open" and "Check_Files" stored in a hidden datasheet named "laroux." When you open an infected sheet, the Auto_Open macro is automatically run. It runs the Check_Files macro, which in turn copies the worksheet with the virus code into a spreadsheet file stored in the Excel startup directory named PERSONAL.XLS. That spreadsheet is the global macro spreadsheet, which supplies macros to all other Excel spreadsheets you open.

Zapped Zips

Bernoulli parallel-port Zip drive owners are getting zapped through incompatibility with HP's 5L printer driver. To run the drive and printer side-by-side, you must use the generic PCL driver and disable Print Manager.

CD-ROM editor Paul Schindler was shocked when a spreadsheet viewed in QuickView Plus indicated that software packaging was costing us 100 times more than expected. Reason: QuickView shifts the decimal point two places to the right for some cash-formatted values where there's change on the dollar. (Maybe that explains our Comdex bills.) Version 3.03 fixes the problem.

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