McAfee UTILITIES 4.0 Specifications

ISLE OF WIGHT PC USER GROUP
MEMBERS NOTICE BOARD
www.iwpcug.org
FOR SALE
Please use this Notice Board
to benefit other members.
MONTHLY JOURNAL
HARDWARE
TOWER CASE
6X5.25" bay
2x3.25" bay
No PSU
HOT KEY
Issue 140 – July 2003
Free to a good home
Contact: The Editor
alleyne@clara.net
FOR SALE
HARDWARE
CLUB LIBRARY
USB Keyboard,
with built in mouse port and
plastic dust cover, unused.
New Add i t i o n s
£10
Contact:
John Atkin
Tel. 740036
FOR SALE
HARDWARE
CAR ADAPTER for Notebook Computer
with DC-IN Plug and Autocigarette Plug
£5
Contact:
The Editor
alleyne@clara.net
Microsoft Videos
•
Learn more about Windows XP
Home Edition
•
Microsoft Office XP including
Word 2002
Excel 2002
PowerPoint 2002
Outlook 2002
Front Page 2002
Contact:
The Editor
alleyne@clara.net
Hot Key is published on the first Wednesday of every month. This edition was compiled
using Microsoft Publisher 2000 and reproduced on an Epson Stylus 680 colour inkjet
printer and Epson Stylus 880 colour inkjet printer.
The views and opinions expressed here are those of the contributors alone. No
responsibility can be accepted with respect to advice or suggestions made in this journal.
David Broughton pictured at the “What DOS Can Do For Windows Users” talk at the Riverside Centre
Denny Linzmaier once again showed his skills and flair in
Computer Technology by showing how to couple up two monitors
using an extra PCI graphics card with 32MB RAM in a Dell desktop
computer. To illustrate to our members present at the meeting,
Denny implemented two projectors, instead of using two monitors to
enlarge the demonstrations. After changing the settings in the
Display Properties to get the correct resolutions on both monitors,
Denny showed how to drag and drop files from the one screen to the
other. Denny had on hand a Belkin 2 port switch box, which enables
two computers to work together. Hitting the scroll lock on the
keyboard enabled Denny to use the arrow keys to move a file from
the one screen to the other.
After the coffee break, Denny then discussed the linking of the two
computers by means of network cards and cable and then ran a piece
of useful software called WinVNC. The VNC viewer was installed
on the second computer, which then enabled the one computer to
control the second computer and we saw that the mouse ran on both
computers. Thanks Denny for your very interesting presentation.
In This Issue
Future Meetings
2
Editorial
4
Humour
5
Talk on DOS
6-7
Best Sellers
8-9
My Profile
10
Trouble-free
11-13
Prize Puzzle
14
Notice Board
16
2
FUTURE MEETINGS
15
(continued from page 13)
2nd July
Motherboards and Hardware
Dennis Parkes
16th July
School Teachers to talk about computers in the
Education environment
To be arranged
6th August
DVD & Wireless Internet
Dennis Linzmaier
Annual Barbecue
Bob & David Groom
20th August
3rd September Digital Photography
17th September Beginner’s Guide to Web Programming
1st October
15th October
Roger Brown
David Groom
Networking
Mike Collins
Broadband
Dennis Linzmaier
We also have two e-group discussion areas:Yahoo iwpcusers: iwpcusers@yahoogroups.com
and for web designers:
IWPCUG-Web-group@yahoogroups.com
Contributory Managers
Museum Curator:
John Austin, 22 Coronation Road, Cowes, I.W. PO31 7JY - buzz_austin@yahoo.com
291673
telephone cable. Cheap surge protectors are
available from Belkin:As well as Norton AntiVirus from Symantec
(www.belkin.com), although these only
protect your computer from a power spike; an
(www.symantec.com), recommended
packages include McAfee VirusScan
uninterruptible power supply (UPS), such as
(www.mcafee.com), PC-Cillin
the Back-UPS range from APC:(www.antivirus.com), Kaspersky AntiVirus
(www.apc.com), also provides emergency
power in the event of failure. Also see:(www.kasperskylab.co.uk). Installing
antivirus software is not enough, however: new Liebert PowerSure (www.smartups.com).
viruses are released all the time, so your
program must be kept up to date.
Safety first
Hardware firewalls are available for
How, then, do you prevent your PC from
individual users in the form of Norton Personal crashing in the first place? Ontrack’s Johnson
believes that safe computing is relatively easy:
Firewall (www. symantec.com), BlackICE
“Protecting your computer is like maintaining
Defender (www.networkice.com), McAfee
your car. Today’s PCs are built so well that the
Personal Firewall (www.mcafee.com), or
ZoneAlarm (www.zonelabs.com). The latter is thing you need to pay most attention to is the
even available as a free version, so there really environment it is running in – whether there is
is no excuse not to run a firewall.
air conditioning to cool it down. Also, check
Finally, another external threat – arguably a your backup is up to date and validated, and
less malicious one, even though its
that you’re running antivirus software. Those
consequences can be equally devastating –
are the three main things. It’s pretty
comes from the electricity supply that powers simple really.” Symantec’s Post agrees: “Safe
your PC. While surges, spikes, blackouts and
computing is like providing your immune
brownouts are less of a problem in the UK than system with a vaccine to protect it at certain
the USA, it still remains that rapid variations in entry points.”
electricity can cause data loss. And never
underestimate the ability of lightning to knock
Our thanks to PC Advisor Magazine for this
out a modem at the very least if it strikes a
article
E-mail Discussion Group "iwpcusers":
Owners: Roger Skidmore and David Broughton
Moderator: Rob Webb
E-mail Discussion Group "IWPCUG-Web-group":
Owner: Rob Webb, 46 Solent View Road, Ryde, I.W. PO34 5HX - bwana@ntlworld.com 613693
Moderator: David Broughton
Members, Helen Slade and Lo Janus at a recent meeting at the Riverside Centre
Dennis Linzmaier presenting a talk on Multi-monitors at the Riverside Centre
14
PRIZE PUZZLE CORNER
JULY2003
by David Broughton
A family consists of Mum, Dad and the three children, Gerald, Fred and
Angela.
Gerald is four times older than Angela. He is also the sum of Fred's and Angela's ages. And if
Gerald's age is added to Mum's, you get Dad's age. Dad is nine times older than Fred. All the
family's ages added together come to 58 years. (For the sake of the problem, we assume they
all have a birthday on the same date so that their ages are all whole numbers of years.) What
are the ages of each member of the family?
Please send your answers to me, David Broughton (see page 3 for addresses), to arrive by
Wednesday 6th August.
ISLE OF WIGHT PC USER GROUP - COMMITTEE MEMBERS 3
Chairman/Riverside Liaison:
Sylvia Farley, 166 Gunville Road, Newport, I.W. PO30 5LS
E-Mail:- amelie@btinternet.com
521566
Secretary:
Christine Jenkins, 19 Newport Road, Lake, I.W. PO36 9LW
E-Mail:- chrstjnkns@aol.com
402155
Treasurer:
Bob Groom, Bembridge Lodge, High Street, Bembridge, I.W. PO35 5SQ
E-Mail:- bob@blodge.demon.co.uk
872707
Membership Secretary/Database Manager/Hot Key Distribution:
Ray Boote, VARNA, East Hill Road, Ryde, I.W. PO33 1LL
E-Mail:- ray.boote@ic24.net
565190
Vice Chairman/Webmaster:
David Broughton, Westwards, Hulverstone, Newport, I.W. PO30 4EH
E-Mail:- davidb67@clara.co.uk
Mobile:- 07762 486391
740421
Journal Editor/Cover Disk Producer/Librarian:
Brian Sexton, 48 Ashey Road, Ryde, I.W. PO33 2UT
E-Mail:- alleyne@clara.net
562569
Computer Custodian:
Dennis Linzmaier, 20 Queens Road, Sandown, I.W. PO36 8DJ
E-Mail:- dennis.linzmaier@iow.gov.uk
403642
Marketing:
Derek Cox, 30 Manor Crescent, Rookley, Ventnor, I.W. PO38 3NS
E-Mail:- tomderek.cox@virgin.net
721629
Show Organiser:
Cliff Maidment, 1 Palmers Road, Wootton, Ryde, I.W. PO33 4NA
E-Mail:- cliffm@clara.net
883642
Committee Member:
David Groom, Bembridge Lodge, High Street, Bembridge, I.W. PO35 5SQ
E-Mail:- dmgroom@hotmail.com
872707
Chairman - Computability Section
Roger Skidmore, 47 Quay Street, Newport, I.W. PO30 5BA
E-Mail:- rogerskid@supanet.com Mobile:- 07732 480201
822900
ANSWER TO THE MAY PUZZLE
This puzzle was to draw a diagram with E (the number of edges) = 15; V (the number of
vertices) = 10 and F (the number of faces) = 7. Only three edges were permitted at each
vertice. I was also interested in how many different diagrams could be produced with these
constraints. By "different", of course, I mean different topologically. I found 6 which are
shown above. Peter Greenhalgh, Ray Boote, Rosemary West and Bill Woodmore sent in
diagram D1, the double pentagon. Gordon Stonham and John Bownas found D2. Les
Burridge sent in the interesting D4b which he described as a tetrahedron with the top vertice
chamfered off on three edges. At first I thought this was a new form but later realised it was
topologically equivalent to my own D4a. It is an interesting exercise to check that this is so.
Notice that D4a is a cube with a corner cut off. John Moxon sent in D6. All the diagrams have
been redrawn by me (using Paint) so that all polygon faces have internal angles not exceeding
180 degrees with the external face having angles not less than 180 degrees. If anyone can find
a new diagram that is not topologically equivalent to one of the six above, I shall be very
interested. The numbers in each polygon, plus the external face, are the number of sides for
each polygon and their total must be 30. This was one way of checking the validity of the
answers. Can you prove that this is a sufficient check?
Many thanks to the eight members who sent in answers to this interesting and novel puzzle.
As usual, one was chosen at random for the £5 book token and this was won by John Bownas.
Congratulations to all eight and thank you for your answers.
Disability Resources Co-ordinator:
Helen Edom, Flat 1, Glenfield Court, Whitcombe Road, Carisbrooke, I.W. PO30 1ED
E-Mail:- helenedom@tesco.net
527208
4
EDITORIAL
Browsing through a mail order catalogue from Simply Computer, which is
delivered to my door on a regular basis, it never ceases to amaze me as to the
huge range of hardware available on the market. What do they do with all the
items that are unsold? As the editorial section of Computer Shopper Magazine
says “if you hear PC buyers complaining about choice, it’s usually because
there’s too much. The sheer number of products on offer can be bewildering”.
Computer Shopper Magazine went on to say, because you can buy your
favourite artist’s music from only one record label, you’re forced to pay
whatever they dictate 60 minutes is worth and let’s not forget that prices went up when the world
switched from vinyl to CD, despite the fact that CD’s are cheaper to manufacture and distribute”.
Maybe if the price of this vast wealth of material was reduced to a more realistic level, more
products would be purchased by consumers. Some of the best selling hardware can be seen on
pages 8 and 9 of this journal.
Do you find that follow up support for items of hardware leaves a lot to be desired? “After sales
support is considered to be the Cinderella of the consumer PC Business, sidelined by suppliers
focussed on building bigger, faster and evermore powerful computers” so says the PC Magazine
editorial and I definitely agree with this view. The manufacturers say that their hardware profit
margins are slim but surely the average home user doesn’t want all the sophistication that the
manufacturers are serving up. The home user and possibly the business sector desire a capable
computer that operates in a simple but efficient way without all the bel ls and whistles. A good
example of lavish products is a Midi Tower that I have recently purchased through mail order,
which contains a Cold Cathode Fluorescent Lamp with Voice Control. I don’t know how this
works because this extra in my case has failed to operate. On contacting the suppliers, the reply
to my need of a replacement was met with “send the whole case back” but what about the cost of
the transportation? The cost of sending the case in the first place cost £18 by courier and then
there is the cost of postage to return the case and another £18 to send a replacement case. This
doesn’t add up in my book as a paying customer. From a marketing point of view shouldn’t some
consideration have been given by the manufacturer, namely Q-Tec, to keep spare parts so that in
the event of a failure the item that is giving a problem could be replaced without the shipment of
the entire case?
Recommended website:- PC Advisor’s Free Helproom:- www.pcadvisor.co.uk/helproom
The first Wednesday has usually a formal talk
whilst the third Wednesday is more informal,
geared to the new user and aims to help out
members with specific problems.
Membership is £12 per year.
Visitors are welcome.
The Isle of Wight PC User Group welcomes
all owners and users of IBM Compatible
Personal Computers. It is a group which seeks
to exchange ideas and new information. Our
meetings are bi-monthly on Wednesdays of
each month at The Riverside Centre,
Newport, 7.30 - 9.30 pm.
This journal, “HOTKEY”, is printed every
month. If you would like to know more about
us, either come along to one of our meetings or
contact one of our Committee Members listed
on page 3.
Club’s Website - http://www.iwpcug.org/
13
The road to data recovery
Tools such as SystemWorks and SystemSuite
can help you work out where problems are
occurring on your PC, and they even provide
unerase tools that can help recover files that
have been deleted accidentally.
When recovering lost data, there are a
number of options open to most users. In the
first instance, a Windows crash may have
made your system unstable – what is less
important here than the issue of your data
going missing is the fact that your PC is
becoming unworkable.
Windows Me and XP have built-in System
Restore tools that you can access from the
Programs, Accessories, System Tools menu,
returning Windows to a previous, more stable
state.
For users of earlier versions of Windows,
GoBack from Roxio provides a similar
service. If you have lost important data, as
mentioned previously, utility suites from
McAfee, Ontrack and Symantec include tools
for unerasing data, while Ontrack also
provides a more robust data recovery
application, EasyRecovery Professional,
which performs similar diagnostics tests to
SystemSuite but also offers a host of tools for
retrieving data from your system.
Such tools are not always sufficient,
however. Installing them after you have
experienced data loss is likely to do more
harm than good. This is because when data is
deleted the operating system does not actually
remove it, it simply gets rid of the file headers
that point to where the data is on disk.
Installing more files will subsequently
overwrite that data, making it unrecoverable.
Such tools are also less useful when a disk
has suffered some form of physical damage.
But even if you do not have data recovery
software installed or your drive is harmed in
some way, you may still be able to retrieve
information via a data recovery service, such
as Vogon:(www.vogon-data-recovery.co.uk),
MJM Data Recovery:(datarecovery.mjm.co.uk) or
Ontrack:- (www.ontrack.co.uk).
Ontrack, which first supplied its Disk
Manager in 1985 and began data recovery
services in 1987, is the best known of these
companies. It offers data recovery both in the
lab and remotely over the net.
In either case the first service provided is an
estimate of the projected time and cost of
retrieval. “The time it takes to get data back is
critical,” points out Ontrack Europe’s Todd
Johnson. “With remote data recovery we can
get the customer up and running in a couple of
hours.”
When using a firm such as Ontrack for data
recovery, the disk is first diagnosed, either
remotely by sending it to the company, or by a
visit to your home or office from a technician.
Some companies offer free diagnosis, but this
will probably be recouped at a later date. In
any event, be prepared to pay. As Ontrack’s
Johnson remarks, “You only have one chance
to get back your data.”
Prevention is better than cure
. “There are plenty of people who wish to
attack you and run malicious code on your
PC. To prevent a computer being
compromised, we always advise people to
implement safe computing, which means both
using the right software and maintaining a
certain way of thinking,” says Symantec’s
André Post.
For Post, antivirus software is “supermandatory” on any system. “It’s the core of
safe computing practices,” he says. “Why do I
think that? We see many viruses that are so
poorly written that, in many cases, they do not
simply infect files but destroy the host. If that
happens, the chances are that you won’t be
able to recover all your data if you try to clean
a virus after the event.”
Continued on page 15
12
5
Bios data; alternatively, a poorly configured
machine could go down, corrupting
information that points to the files on your disk.
But CD-Rs are not without their problems.
Because data is burnt rather than stamped into
the recording layer, apparently indestructible
CDs can deteriorate fairly rapidly and even the
best are rarely guaranteed for more than 10
years.
In addition, the 650-700MB limit of CDs
makes them unsuitable for backing up today’s
multi-gigabyte hard drives. Writable DVDs are
becoming more popular, but backup is one area
where tape comes into its own. Tape can, in the
right conditions, have a shelf life of up to 30
years. Though slow, drives such as the
Seagate TapeStor (www.seagate.com) or
HP Surestorecan (www.hp.com/uk)
accommodate up to 40GB of data – more than
enough room for a complete backup.
Increasingly popular, however, are drive
alternatives: fixed or removable, internal or
external. At its cheapest, this can be no more
than a second hard drive - copy your data from
C to D and you will have one of the fastest and
most reliable backup options on the market. If
anything happens to the first disk, you can
simply switch to the alternative.
External drives are another option. Iomega,
famous for its Zip Disk has recently released
the Peerless cartridge drive with capacities of
10-20GB (www.iomega.com).
Firewire or USB drives are even better priced
alternatives, offering capacities of anything up
to 160GB. Like the Peerless system, external
drives also have the advantage that they and
your data can easily be taken off site.
Crash team
True hard drive crashes, where the drive
mechanism fails – for example, when the read/
write head collides with a platter – are
fortunately very rare, but there are plenty of
other reasons why you may not be able to
access your data. A virus, for example, could
delete files or, more seriously, wipe essential
Such events need not be entirely catastrophic,
but you do need to prepare for them in advance.
First and foremost, you need to prepare a
recovery disk. This consists of a set of strippeddown MS-DOS drivers that enable you to boot
your PC from the A drive. You can create such
disks in Windows 9x and Me via the Recovery
Disk tab in Add/Remove Programs, or by
booting from your Windows XP CD and using
the Recovery Console by typing D:/i386/
winnt32.exe /cmdcons, where D is the letter of
your CD drive.
A startup disk or Recovery Console provides
a few basic command tools to diagnose and
repair your system. Typing Chkdsk /f, for
example, checks the status of a disk and can
repair some errors, while Fixboot writes a new
partition boot sector to your disk and Expand
extracts a file – useful if you need to replace a
device driver, for example, from your Windows
disk. These are powerful tools, but also
difficult to use, and it is no surprise that a
number of simpler safety net utilities have
developed, such as Ontrack’s Fix-It Utilities
(also available as part of SystemSuite 4.0):
www.ontrack.co.uk/datarecovery
McAfee Utilities 4.0:
www.mcafee.com
and Norton Utilities 2003 (included in
Symantec’s SystemWorks 2003)
www.symantec.co.uk.
These programs all work in a similar fashion,
and include most of the tools you will ever
need to protect and optimise your PC –
SystemWorks and SystemSuite in particular –
including antivirus and even firewall protection
as well as diagnostics and repair tools.
If you have SystemWorks or SystemSuite
installed, each program offers a one-stop
solution for beginners that will analyze and fix
most faults on a system. If you require a more
detailed repair, both also offer expert tools,
such as Norton Disk Doctor and
PCDiagnostics, and DiskFixer as part of
SystemSuite.
Continued on page 13
H
U
M
O
U
R
6
Ta l k on DOS, 4 t h June
Trouble-free computing
David Broughton stepped in at short notice for the first Wednesday meeting to deliver a talk
with the title "What DOS Can Do For Windows Users", originally scheduled for 2nd July. He
started with a short PowerPoint presentation that answered the question "What is DOS?" in
two ways. The first answer was that DOS (for Windows users) is like a stethoscope for
finding out what is really going on inside the computer as opposed to the gloss and spin that
users are presented with when using Windows.
The second answer was more prosaic: DOS was the original operating system for the first
IBM-PC brought out in 1980. It works by the user typing commands on a command line and
pressing Enter. Whilst primitive in operation, DOS has been gradually improved by Microsoft
over the different generations of Windows with the latest version that comes with Windows
XP being a considerable improvement over older versions. Help in using DOS commands can
be found by typing "/?" after the command where a summary of the command's operation can
be found with any of the extra enhancements. For example, the XCOPY command now
features an optional exclusion list. This is a text file of directories that are to be excluded from
the copy operation, useful when using XCOPY for backup operations.
@ECHO OFF
REM File: BU.BAT, 2003-06-02
REM A batch file to demonstrate a simple backup system using
REM the DOS program XCOPY supplied with Windows XP.
REM
IF EXIST D:\F1F2F3\NUL GOTO OK
ECHO Wrong CD in drive. Please replace with the backup CD in
ECHO current use. This must have a root directory named F1F2F3.
GOTO END
:OK
REM The following XCOPY command only lists the files -- it does
REM not copy them.
XCOPY C:\*.* D:\F1F2F3\ /S /A /M /F /L /EXCLUDE:C:\XFILE
ECHO The above list of files will be copied to the directory
ECHO \F1F2F3 on the CD unless you press Control C to abort.
ECHO Press any other key to continue.
PAUSE >nul
ECHO Copying Files...
XCOPY C:\*.* D:\F1F2F3\ /S /A /M /Q /Y /EXCLUDE:C:\XFILE
ECHO Done. Files copied to D:\F1F2F3
:END
It
could never happen to me. That’s what
Isabel Robertson, a freelance writer who lives
on one of the islands of the Inner Hebrides,
thought. Having spent days researching and
writing an article for a key client, four hours
before the deadline she tried to open the file
from a floppy disk to send it by email. Her
computer refused to read the drive.
After trying a number of basic steps, it
became obvious that there were serious
problems and she was in danger of losing her
client. Because of the deadline, as well as the
fact that she was a day’s travel from the
nearest centre that could help her, Robertson
used the internet to find an emergency service
that could help. She accessed the remote data
recovery service offered by Ontrack and was
able to save her files – and her contract.
“Without Ontrack’s help I would have let the
client down badly. The Ontrack engineer was
brilliant and I was so impressed that I could
retrieve the data without leaving the house. I
would recommend the remote data recovery
service to anyone,” she said.
11
should also be complemented with regular
checkups that include virus protection”.
For André Post, senior researcher at
Symantec Security Response, it is all about
safe computing, which is not just software but
a way of thinking: “Make sure you have
antivirus software installed and kept up to
date, and preferably a firewall as well. Also,
keep all your software patched with the latest
security fixes to keep your system as safe as
possible. Last, but not least, use common
sense – for example, when receiving emails
from sources you don’t know.”
When is data disaster most likely to strike?
Most common are those incidents where, after
upgrading a piece of hardware or installing
new software, a conflict occurs and a carefully
balanced house of cards comes tumbling
down. Many people will perform a major
operation, such as changing to a new operating
system, without checking their backup systems
only to find that a vital piece of hardware or
software, such as a tape drive or backup
application, no longer works.
Computer rehab
The most important step for recovering from a
computer crash is to ensure that you have
backups of all your important data and
applications.
Disks and images
An alternative to this type of backup software
is to use disk imaging programs such as
Norton Ghost 2003 or PowerQuest’s Drive
Image (www.powerquest.com). These
applications create a compressed image of
your drive that stores all application, user and
system files and can be copied to CD. Should
your computer fail, simply boot from your
drive image to restore your system as it was
Your data lifeline
According to Todd Johnson, general manager before the crash.
Hardware options are more varied; Probably
at Ontrack Europe: “Protecting information is
the most common form of backup, now that
not just about restoring data in the event of a
crash, but also ensuring that you have plans in the humble floppy has had its day, is the CD:
place to keep it safe. Central to this is having a cheap enough and, with the latest CD-writers,
fast enough not to deter even the most
proper procedure for backup, but the sort of
surgery required for full recovery of your PC recalcitrant data savers.
Continue on page 12
10
MY PROFILE
by David Broughton
After the short PowerPoint presentation, David demonstrated various DOS commands and
how they can be used within Windows. In WinXP, the old Win 95/98 MS-DOS prompt
icon is replaced with a Command Prompt icon (see top of page 6) which can be found in the
Accessories area. You can drag these on to your desktop. The new Command Prompt in
WinXP provides for a large buffer to hold text that previously disappeared off the top of the
screen. A scroll bar is now provided to bring back the vanished data into the DOS window.
The End key gets you back to the flashing cursor on the command line.
The Win95/98 set of icons along the top of the DOS window are replaced in the WinXP
version with a menu that can be invoked with a right mouse click on the title bar.
Born in 1934, David spent his childhood in a small mining village in Yorkshire. After leaving
school at age 14 he had an assortment of jobs from ophthalmic lens setting to the chemical
analysis of metals before entering the RAF where he spent the first 9 months learning about
electronics full time. This was a great career booster. On Leaving the RAF in 1957 he joined the
BBC as a technical assistant and rose, after 20 years and lots of part-time education, to the status
of an Electronics Design Engineer. On the introduction of computers at the BBC in 1962 David
took a course in programming the Elliot 803 computer and got hooked on programming. The
Elliot 803 weighed 594 kg without any peripherals and consumed 3.5 kW of power.
To learn more about computing David took a part-time degree course at London University to
obtain an M.Sc. in Computer Science, gaining professional membership of the British Computer
Society. He then set up a new section in BBC Engineering Designs Department providing a
scientific computing service to electronic design engineers.
When home computers became affordable in 1978, David purchased a North Star Z80 computer
running at 4 MHz for £2,500 (with a massive 32 Kbytes of memory!) and programmed it to play
chess. This was a very advanced machine at the time. Communication was via the RS-232 serial
port for keyboard input and display monitor output and it had a primitive disk operating system
predating even CP/M. The floppy disks could store 180 Kbytes of data. The chess program was
entered in the Computer Chess Competition at the Personal Computer World Show in September
1979, winning the top prize for an amateur entry of £1,500 which partly paid for the computer.
In 1980 David left the BBC to become a self-employed programmer and consultant, starting with
chess machines for the commercial market. In 1981 his program won the World Microcomputer
Chess Championship with the SciSys Mark V chess computer. He later worked for a company
producing specialised video effects machines for the television broadcasting industry. These
required complex mathematical equations to be solved in real time using very fast
microprocessors. You often see the results when your TV picture rotates and zooms off into the
distance, and similar effects.
David moved to the Isle of Wight in 1987 with his wife Dina and joined the Computer Club
shortly afterwards where he started the Hot Key journal as Editor in 1991. He has also been
Treasurer, Secretary, Membership Secretary, Vice-Chairman, Database Manager and
Webmaster. His hobbies are inventing puzzles for the Hot Key magazine, chess, astronomy,
table tennis, walking and cycling. He is a confirmed atheist and a member of The Isle of Wight
Humanist Group who try to spread the message that this life is the only one we have so live it to
the full.
What DOS can provide for the Windows user is the ability to find out what is going on
behind the scenes in terms of directory tree structure (which Windows Explorer confuses by
showing several items that reside on the C hard disk as existing nearer the root of the tree).
The use of wildcards in file specifications is useful for seeing subsets of directories or for
operations on subsets of files. One of the most useful features, however, is the use of batch
files where a sequence of DOS commands can be executed by typing one command or
double clicking a desktop icon. Extra commands like "IF" with Go To labels allow for
conditional execution in batch files. The WinXP version also provides an "ELSE" clause,
which brings structure into the language.
David demonstrated how to run a DOS program either from the command line or from a
desktop icon. The Program Information File (PIF file) that can be created for this purpose
provides features that allow each DOS program to run in its own environment with
individually tailored AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS files for each one (they are
called AUTOEXEC.NT and CONFIG.NT in the WinXP version). These batch files will be
run before the DOS program starts in order to set up drivers and environment variables
needed by the program. And of course, more than one DOS program can be run at the same
time and with other Windows applications. It is also possible to set up a PIF file that will
run a batch file in its own right without any program. The PIF file can be viewed and edited
by right clicking the icon for the program and selecting "Properties". If there isn't one, a
default PIF file will be created. PIF files are not obligatory: DOS executable program files
can be dragged on to the desktop and run from there using a default PIF. The best way to
create a new PIF file is to amend a copy of an existing one by dragging with the right m ouse
button and selecting Copy from the menu.
When a DOS program ends, sometimes there may be important information left on the
screen. To avoid missing this, you have to untick the "Close on Exit" box in the PIF file
under the "Program" tag. This will leave an inactive window containing the text screen
produced by the program.
A simple DOS batch file for backing up frequently used documents was shown and
explained in some detail. This is reproduced opposite. It assumes that the D: drive is a CD
for use as the backup medium. It can only be used with the WinXP version of XCOPY.
With a few extra utility programs that David had written for himself, much can be done in
DOS that, in Windows, is either impossible or very awkward. Some of the most useful a re
programs that find files and folders, whether Hidden or System, anywhere on the hard disk,
optionally within a date window. David said he would make some of these available on the
club's web site. You can e-mail David with questions on DOS via the Yahoo e-group
"iwpcusers" or to David directly (see page 3 for e-mail address).
David Broughton
7
Page 8
I S L E O F W I G H T P C U SE R G R O U P
Best Sellers - Hardware
Multivision Ionix SP 2200NF Computer - Athlon XP
2200, 512MB 333MHz DDR RAM, 120GB hard disk,
32MB nForce2 graphics, 16xDVD (48xCD drive), 52xCD
(24xCD-R/W) drive, 15in Sharp LL-T15G3-B flat-panel
monitor, integrated sound, Creative Inspire 4400 speakers,
56k modem, integrated network controller. (£599 + vat)
ISSUE 140
Page 9
Samsung SyncMaster 753DFX Monitor - 17” shadow
mask tube (16” viewable), 1024x768 resolution at 85Hz
refresh rate. This monitor has a completely flat image and
colours are vivid and accurate with a sharp focus.
Price - £77.99 + vat.
Multivision Ionix Notebook - Pentium 4.2/53GHz, 512MB
266MHz DDR RAM, 50.3GB, 64MB ATI Mobility Radeon
9000, Qsi 8xDVD, 24xCD 24xCD-R 10xCD-R/W,
15in TFTscreen, 4xUSB2, 1 mini-FireWire, VGA, parallel,
s-video ports. Weighs 3.8kg, lithium ion battery.
(£999 + vat)
Hercules Fortissimo III 7.1 Sound Card - Supports
Direct Sound 3D, EAX 2.0 and Sensaura 3D, mic and line
inputs, 4 analogue line outputs (7.1), S/P DIF digital
output. Not as sophisticated as the Creative Audigy 2 but
at the price is excellent value for money. The sound on the
Hercules is tremendous especially when playing DVDs in
the 7.1 surround. Price - £38 + vat.
Canon i550 Inkjet Printer - 4,800x1200dpi CMYK inkjet,
150-sheet input tray, USB and parallel interfaces.
Lightning speed, immaculate prints and impressively low
running costs. Separate colour cartridges
Price - £102 + vat.
Sapphire Radeon 9000 Atlantis Pro Graphics Card
ATI Radeon 9000 Pro chipset, 64MB DDR RAM,
VGA, DVI, S-Video and composite outputs and comes
with Power DVD XP 4.0 software. This is a fast card
and excellent value for money.
Price - £69 + vat.
Hewlett Packard Scanjet 3570 Scanner- 1,200dpi optical
resolution, 216x297mm scanning area, USB 2.0 interface,
transparency/film adapter, includes HP Photo imaging and
IRIS OCR software. Scans are vivid, accurate with natural
skin tones and focus is equally impressive.
Price - £93 + vat.
Kodak CX2410 Digital Camera - 2 million pixels,
1,632x1,232 maximum resolution, 16MB internal memory,
xD Picture card slot, USB interface. Takes excellent photos,
sharpness is good, colours are bright and exposures are
spot-on. Excellent price at £99 + vat.
Sony DRU-500A DVD Re-writer - Internal DVD
writer, 4.7GB capacity, records to DVD-RW (2x),
DVD-R (4x) DVD+RW (2.4x) DVD+R (2.4x) CD-R/
W (10x) and CD-R (24x) discs, 8MB buffer. This is a
perfect rewriter for backing up, archiving and transporting large amounts of data. Allows you to put your
home movies onto DVD for playback on domestic
DVD players
Price - £210 + vat.
TDK Cyclone 48x 24x 48x CD-Rewriter
2MB buffer, Nero Express, InCD and Digital Mixmaster software. This is a fast re-writer and filled a
700MB CD-R in exactly three minutes. For the fastest
drive on the block this is excellent value for money.
Price - £61 + vat.
Our thanks to Computer Buyer Magazine for this article