June 4, 2004
Q. If I don't shut down Windows 98 correctly, Scan Disk automatically runs the next time I turn the computer on. Is there any way to disable Scan Disk so it won't run?
A. Scan Disk automatically checks your hard drive after an "illegal" shut down to make sure no damage has occurred. While that's a good thing and well advised. if you manually run Scan Disk on a regular basis, you can speed up restarts by disabling this automated function.
To prevent Scan Disk from running if Windows is not shut down properly, click Start > Programs > Accessories > System Tools > System
Information. In the window that appears, click the Tools menu and select System Configuration Utility > General tab > Advanced button, and place a check mark beside Disable Scan Disk after bad shutdown. Click OK > OK to exit.
Q. I let my grandson use my computer when he was home from college and it hasn't worked the same since. For some reason, the Address bar in Internet Explorer is missing so I can't type in Web site addresses. How can I get this back?
A. To make the Address bar reappear, click View > Toolbars, then click Address Bar. While it is generous to let others use your computer, it's also a good idea to establish "Rules of Engagement" prior to turning over the keyboard. Before letting anyone use your computer, it should be understood that your computer will be returned to you in the same working condition it was provided. Make it clear to anybody who wants to use your PC that they are not to install any software, download any files, or change any settings without your permission. That may sound harsh, but not a week goes by when I don't hear from somebody who complains, "My computer worked fine before I let my son (or daughter, neighbor or friend) use it. Now, it won't restart, my toolbars are gone, it's sluggish, etc. What do I do?" It's nice to be generous, but not if you get stuck holding the virtual bag.
Q. Is it true that when I visit Web sites, something can be placed on my computer, without my permission, so they can see what's on my machine?
A. You're referring to cookies, and the answer is a definitive yes and no: Yes, a cookie, which is a small text file, can be placed on your computer; but nobody can see what's on your hard drive. Myths abound about cookies, but the truth is that most cookies are harmless. A cookie, for example, may remember how you configured certain settings on a Web site, or it may be responsible for the personalized greeting you receive when returning to a previously visited site.
Your browser software will have three cookie settings available to you: Accept all cookies, reject all cookies, ask before accepting cookies. If you're leery of cookies, I would recommend the "Ask before accepting" setting because it's always nice to be asked. When I visit reputable, well-known Web sites, I'm always comfortable accepting cookies. All things considered, cookies really do enhance the Web surfing experience.
If you would like to learn more about cookies, including how to change your cookie settings, I have an article waiting for you in my online library at www.MrModem.com. The article is cleverly titled "Cookies." Go figure.
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