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Frequently Asked Questions

I created this page to answer some of the questions that I am regularly asked. I hope this will help you.

Table of Contents

 

System Files and Configuration
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While searching for a program that opens the .cfg files, Windows directed me to your site. What program do I need?

    1. Actually, you may not need to open this file yourself.

    Most of the times, I receive questions about .cfg files from people trying to install a new plane in Flight Simulator, if this is your case, see How do I install planes in Microsoft Flight Simulator?

    Unless you know exactly what you are doing and you really need to edit this .cfg file (cf. § 1.2), you should not touch it. If it is part of a .zip file or a folder, there most probably is an executable program which uses it for installing the package.

    If you can see the contents of the .zip file but you don't use WinZip then you may have to extract all the compressed files to a temporary folder and then locate an executable file called install.exe or setup.exe (or one derived from install or setup e.g. ie6setup.exe, etc.)

    If the .cfg file you were trying to open is named setup.cfg then search for another file called setup.exe and double-click it to run the provided installer.

    If you use WinZip and an installer is provided in the .zip file then just click the Install button. Note: the Install button will be replaced by CheckOut if no known installer file is provided.

    You may also search for a file called readme.txt or any other .txt (text) file included in the .zip file and which should explain what the package holds and how to install its contents.

     

    2. If you really need to edit a .cfg file.

    Basically there are two kinds of .cfg files, text and binary .cfg files. But there is absolutely no standard or specifications for their contents as opposed to .xls, .doc, .jpg, etc. files. The content of the .cfg files is specific to the program which created them or use them as a configuration file. If for a reason or another you need to edit that file, you can use the Windows Notepad (notepad.exe) if it is a text file. If it is a binary file I'd not recommend you to try to edit it.

    For a text file in Windows XP, you can right-click the file in Windows Explorer > click Open > when you get a message Windows cannot open this file: xxxxx, click Select the program from a list then click OK > in Open With list, select Notepad and click OK.

    If you need to use the data in the .cfg file with another application you may have two options: either from the application which uses the .cfg file you have a File > Export option in that case you can export all your data to a known export format which can be used by another programs (e.g. .csv, which can be read by Excel and many other programs..)

    If the program which creates or uses the .cfg files does not have a File > Export option (or an equivalent Save As option) you will need a custom program or script which will convert the content to something readable by another application.

    In some cases, the .cfg file may hold comma-separated data in which case, you can try to simply copy the .cfg file to a .csv (or .txt) file and try to open it with a program which can open such files.

    If the file contains parameters for a program it's better to use the program to change those parameters.

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I have a file on my desktop with an extension which is not associated with any program installed on my computer. How can I figure out how to open it or which program to install to use it?

    If you have Windows XP, simply double-click the file. You will be prompted with a message saying Windows cannot open the file ... What do you want to do? Click Use the Web service to find the appropriate program then click OK.

    Alternatively, you can go to the FilExt website and search its database or use the form below. Enter the extension to search for and click Go.

    Search for extension:

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When I want to open some files I’ve downloaded, a popup comes up saying something about me needing to go search the web to open the file?

    If Windows asks you to go to the web to search for a program to open a downloaded file or to launch a file, this is because you are trying to open a file which has an extension for which no program is associated on your system, that is currently no program on your system is able to open it.

    For example, this would happen if you downloaded a sample.rar file and you'd not have a program to open .rar files. This will also happen if you mistakenly try to open a file which is not expected to be opened (e.g. .cfg files) You may be trying to open a setup.cfg file instead of setup.exe file. For information you may have a look to the previous question.

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There are no accentuated letters available on my keyboard, how do I type the 'ë' letter in your first name (Noël)?

    You won't usually find accentuated letters on a keyboard. Accentuated letters require two keystrokes: first you type the accent then you type the letter. For example, if you have a French keyboard, you hold down the SHIFT key and while you keep the key down you hit the key on the right of the P letter (a key with both the dieresis and the circumflex accents), then you release the keys and type the e letter.

    Alternatively, you can simply use copy-and-paste: either select the letter or my whole first name from a message where it appears then use Ctrl+C to copy it to the clipboard and Ctrl+V to paste it where you want.

    In Windows, you can use ALT+0235, hold down the ALT key while you type the four digits 0 2 3 5 on your numeric keypad. The leading zero is required. To learn the keystroke to use for this character or any other, you can use the Character Map application from Start > Accessories > System Tools > Character Map (select a letter and see the Keystroke in the lower right corner of the window.)

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I upgraded my system to Windows XP but now I cannot access the Administrator account. Is the Administrator account lost?

    No. Click Start > Control Panel > open User Accounts icon > click Change the way users log on or off > clear Use the Welcome screen option > click Apply Options. Now log off and manually enter Administrator as user name.

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I received a Remote Assistance request by e-mail but when I open the attached RcBuddy.MsRcIncident file, I get an error about the remote host name that cannot be resolved. What is the problem?

    The full error message is like this:

    Remote Assistance connection could not be established
    because the remote host name could not be resolved.
    Please try again.

    This happens when the IP address of the remote host is set to a private IP address (e.g. 192.168.0.1) in the file.

    To fix the issue:

  • Save the RcBuddy.MsRcIncident file attached to the request message on your desktop
  • Right-click the RcBuddy.MsRcIncident file on your desktop and click Open With...
  • Select Notepad in the list and click OK.
  • The (XML) file opens in Notepad and looks something like this:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="Unicode" ?><UPLOADINFO TYPE="Escalated"><UPLOADDATA 
USERNAME="JohnDoe" PROBLEMDESCRIPTION="Please help me I am lost" 
RCTICKET="65538,1,192.168.0.1:3389;TSCO:3389,*,oZuw+8xxDekxHcNfKMcE3ZWYe3OEDmH2AtfAn7uPxAg=,*,*,
hXdzBJADf2RLZuvCSaz8ZLtMyRA=" RCTICKETENCRYPTED="0" DtStart="1143129482" DtLength="60" 
PassStub="" L="0" /></UPLOADINFO>
  • Locate the private IP address (e.g. 192.168.0.1) in the file (it is in bold in the example above)
  • Now ask your contact who sent the request to give you his or her external IP address. He or she can open the WhatIsMyIP.com website in their browser to get that address
  • Now replace the private IP address in the file with the external IP address of your contact

  • Click File > Save and quit Notepad.

  • Double-click the updated RcBuddy.MsRcIncident file on your desktop to start the assistance

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Programs and applets
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How do I install planes in Microsoft Flight Simulator and where do I download them?

    To learn how to install new planes that you downloaded, follow the link below:

    Installing add-on aircraft to Microsoft Flight Simulator

    To download more planes or sceneries for Flight Simulator, visit the websites listed below (look for Downloads or Aircrafts links) :

    Simviation - taking PC Flight Simulation to the max!
    FSPlanet
    Planesimulation - Flight Simulator add-ons
    Simplanes.com- For all the latest FREE downloads for FS98, FS2000, FS2002, CFS1, CFS2 and CFS3
    FlightSims.co.uk The UK's #1 flight sim site
    FSDome.com - Microsoft Flight Simulator Downloads - Aircraft, Panels, Sounds, Scenery etc

    To learn more about the latest Microsoft Flight Simulator visit the official website:

    Flight Simulator 2004 A Century of Flight

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How do I uninstall Xupiter?

    Xupiter is a search engine which installs a toolbar in Internet Explorer. To uninstall this program, go to the Xupiter Help site or click Uninstall Xupiter which directs you to the uninstall page.

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How do I uninstall Infobeat News Tracker?

    Infobeat News Tracker is an additional toolbar for Internet Explorer which displays real-time updates and breaking headline news. To uninstall this toolbar, click Uninstall the Infobeat News Tracker and follow the instructions.

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I'd like to create a short movie or a Flash demo of an application running on my Windows desktop to show how to use it. I plan to send the movie on a CD to my friends and relatives. How can I do that?

    Here are some links that should help you.

    Microsoft Windows Media Encoder 9 Series (free)
    http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/9series/encoder/default.aspx
    (click File > New > Wizards tab > Capture Screen > OK)

    Debugmode Wink (free)
    http://www.debugmode.com/wink/

    TechSmith SnagIt and Camtasia Studio
    http://www.techsmith.com/

    MacroMedia RoboDemo
    http://www.macromedia.com/software/robodemo

    Easy Screen Capture Video
    http://www.easyscreencapturevideo.com/

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MSN Messenger
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I am using Windows XP and MSN Messenger but I am unable to use Application Sharing from Messenger. It simply does nothing. What's wrong?

    This may happen if either Windows Messenger was removed or if it was disabled. If it was removed simply go to Windows Update and reinstall it (or download it here). If it was disabled, run my Windows Messenger Enabler Script. You can use this same script to either enable or disable Windows Messenger. You must have administrator privileges for the script to work and you have to restart MSN Messenger for the changes to take effect. Since the script accesses the Registry to modifies 3 values, your antivirus may display a security warning but you can safely run it. The script modifies the following values in the Registry:

    HKLM\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Messenger\Client\PreventRun
    HKLM\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Messenger\Client\PreventAutoRun
    HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Outlook Express\Hide Messenger

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Windows Messenger keeps signing me out of MSN Messenger. How can I stop Windows Messenger from interfering?

    This happens when you use the same .NET passport for both applications. To stop Windows Messenger from automatically signing in at startup, follow the following steps:

  • download and install the very latest version of Windows Messenger from the Windows Update website (or download it here).
  • in the Windows Messenger main window, click the Tools menu, and then click Options.
  • on the Preferences tab, clear the Run Windows Messenger when Windows starts check box.
  • You can still start Windows Messenger manually from the Windows Start menu, should you need to use it.

    If you don't use the Windows Messenger at all, you can also prevent its icon from showing in the system tray when an application like Outlook Express starts, this will avoid any confusion since both icons are almost the same.

    To do so, run my HideMessenger script and choose to hide the Windows Messenger icon. You must have administrator privileges for the script to work. Since the script accesses the Registry, your antivirus may display a security warning but you can safely run it. The script only modifies the following value in the Registry:

    HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Outlook Express\Hide Messenger

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I just bought a webcam what do I need to do with it to make a video conversation with my friends in MSN Messenger?

    Install the drivers of your webcam

    You first need to install the drivers that are provided on a CD with your webcam. Never plug your webcam before installing its drivers but if you are instructed to do otherwise in the user manual. I recommend that you first restart your system to make sure that everything is as clean as possible. Usually the installer starts when you insert the CD in your CD or DVD drive (once the system is restarted). Read all the instructions carefully and make sure that your system meets the requirements.

    Configure and test MSN Messenger

    I recommend you to install the very latest version of MSN Messenger available here. I also recommend that both parties in the conversation use the same version. To check the version, click the Help > About MSN Messenger menu.

    Now in MSN Messenger, run the Audio and Video setup. You only need to do that once since the settings are remembered.

  • Click the Tools > Audio and Video setup... menu.
  • In Audio and Video Setup, click Next.
  • Configure the speaker properties (if needed), click Next.
  • Configure the microphone properties (if needed), click Next.
  • In Webcam Setup, select your webcam from the drop-down list if it is not the default one. You should see your picture if the webcam works correctly
  • Click Finish.

    Start the Video Conversation

    If the previous steps were all successful, you can now start a video conversation with your friends in MSN Messenger:

  • right-click the contact you want to call
  • click the Voice/Video > Start a Video Conversation menu
  • enjoy your first video conversation...

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Videoconferencing
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Thanks for your paper about modem-to-modem videoconferencing. Now I'd like to know how much will it cost me to call say Germany from the USA?

    Since you will dial the same phone number to connect to the modem of the person at the other end that you would to call him or her on the phone, it will cost you the same price than a regular phone call which may be much more expensive than using the Internet.

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I tried a few times to have a modem-to-modem videoconference with a friend, it does work but we are connected at 26.4K at the very best. Why? I can connect up to 49K to my Internet Service Provider (ISP)

    This is usual don't worry. You cannot compare calling an ISP and calling your friend because it does not work the same way. Even if you have a V.90 (56K) modem, you can theoretically connect to your friend up to (and at most at) 33.6K in both ways (sending and receiving) because it will always be a fully analog connection and this is the limit of the current analog technology.

    When you call your ISP, the connection will be analog between you and the closest Point-Of-Presence (POP) that you will call and fully digital using the Integrated Service Digital Network (ISDN) technology between that POP and your ISP. This is a trick of the V.90 standard that allows connections theoretically up to 53K downward (i.e. from your ISP to your modem) and 33.6K upward. That is because the V.90 standard is asymmetric.

    All these rate values are theoretical and just like you will probably never reach 53K when you connect to your ISP you will probably never reach either 33.6K when you connect to your friend because of the defects or the variable quality of your phone installation and the phone lines between you and the remote site and the many things to which analogical signals are sensible.

    Even though both your modem and your friend's are V.90 and are capable of 33.6K in analog mode, it is very usual that you will never be able to connect at rates better than 26.4K. This drawback as well as the cost of communication may make a modem-to-modem videoconferencing less exciting than one made between the same persons over the Internet.

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I am using my camcorder as a webcam but it keeps going on sleep mode. Is there a solution?

    Yes, remove the videotape from your camcorder. If there is no videotape, plug your camcorder to the power outlet using its power supply instead of using it on batteries.

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I have a French version of Windows 98, how do Dial-Up Networking , Dial-Up Adapter and Dial-Up Server translate?

    Dial-up networking is Accès réseau à distance
    (Available from the Démarrer\Programmes\Accessoires\Communications\Accès réseau à distance menu)
    Dial-up adapter is Carte d'accès à distance
    (Right-click Voisinage réseau and click Propriétés)
    Dial-up server is Serveur d'accès distant...
    (Available from the Connexions menu in Accès réseau à distance)

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I downloaded the latest NetMeeting from the Microsoft Web site but it won't install in my Windows XP . Is NetMeeting 3.01 compatible with this system?

    Yes NetMeeting is compatible with Windows XP and it is included in the product. By default there is no menu to access it though so to launch it, click Start > Run... type conf in Open: and press the Enter key. You can also create a link on your desktop, the default path to conf.exe is "C:\Program Files\NetMeeting\conf.exe".

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Video and Multimedia
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I am capturing video from my camcorder with AMCap but after a while the capture stops. All the files are truncated at 3.99GB. What's the problem?

    This is most probably a limitation of the file system. The file size limit in FAT16 is 2GB, in FAT32 it is 4GB. NTFS on the other hand has virtually Noëlimitation (10TB). I'd recommend you to convert the file system to NTFS if it is supported (Windows NT, 2000, XP and later).

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I am trying to combine 3 short movies by using the copy command (i.e.: copy /b 1.avi+2.avi+3.avi mymovie.avi) The resulting movie works but it only plays the first movie although its size is the sum of the 3 shorter movies. Can you tell me what I am doing wrong?

    At the binary level, your command line would be correct but unfortunately it cannot work, you'd have the same problem with other multimedia files (e.g. pictures or sound files). Each file of those files has what we call a header (i.e. some leading bytes) which describe the rest of the file (offset from start, length, resolution, etc...) To oversimplify, the format of each file would look like:

    [BHDR....EHDR.BMOV...EMOV]

    Where:

    BHDR means Beginning of header
    EHDR means End of header
    BMOV means Beginning of movie data
    EMOV means End of movie data

    So when you concatenate the files, the resulting movie is something in the form:

    BHDR1....EHDR1.BMOV1...EMOV1 . BHDR2....EHDR2.BMOV2...EMOV2 . BHDR3....EHDR3.BMOV3...EMOV3

    When you open this file in Windows Media Player or RealPlayer or whatever player you use, the program begins to read the file, finds the 1st header (BHDR1) and take information from there. This header tells it that the movie starts at BMOV1 and ends at EMOV1, that's why it will only play the first movie. Nothing will tell the program, that there are additional movies after the end of the 1st movie. No header is expected after the end of the movie, there is always only one master header at the beginning of the file.

    This is why binary concatenation won't work. To achieve your goal, you will need a video editor program like Windows Movie Maker, Adobe Premiere, Ulead VideoStudio, or any other. These programs will allow you to insert video sequences after the end of the first movie and much more. When you will save the resulting movie, the header and the movie will be correctly formatted so that your video player will play it all.

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I am using your customized version of AMCap but no audio is captured and I am unable to select the input to capture from. The Audio Capture Filter always reverts back to the default input. Do you have a workaround?

    The Audio Capture Filter properties (implemented by the system) may be somewhat confusing indeed. Actually the first audio input in the list is always the input which is selected in the Pin Line drop-down list by default.

    Now select the input you want to capture from and tick the Enable checkbox. Click OK. Now verify your selection, to do that click Options > Audio Capture Filter... again. The default input is selected. Select the input you want to use for capture and verify that the Enable checkbox is ticked for that input.

    Another easier way to select the input to capture audio from is by using the Volume Control applet from the system tray. Click Options > Properties > choose the Mixer device if many > select Recording > make sure the input you want to capture from is ticked in the list > click OK > Now tick the Select checkbox of the input to use for capture and adjust its level.

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How do I access the Audio Format... menu in AMCap? It always looks grayed out.

    To enable the Options > Audio Format... menu, you first have to tick the Capture > Capture Audio menu. You also have to make sure that an audio devices is currently selected under the Devices menu.

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Antivirus and security
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I don't have an antivirus program, how can I check my system for viruses?

Use a Web-based virus detection like:

Windows Live Safety Center
TrendMicro's HouseCall
Symantec Scan for Viruses
Panda ActiveScan

It's free but yet I recommend you to obtain an antivirus program if you really want to be as safe as possible while you surf. You can get a free antivirus program like:

Microsoft Security Essentials
AVG Antivirus
Antivir Personal Edition by H+BEDV
Avast Antivirus

or a commercial product like Norton Antivirus.

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I have the Sircam virus on a computer which does not have an antivirus program, how do I get rid of it?

    You can download the Sircam Removal Tool from the Symantec website. For other well-known virus removal tools, click the links below.

    Sircam Removal Tool
    Badtrans Removal Tool
    Goner Removal Tool

    You can download other removal tools from Symantec's expanded tools list.

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How do I check if my computer is at risk when I am online?

    You can first try the Symantec Security Check, click the Scan for Security Risks link. If you get some warnings you most probably need a firewall.

    If you use Windows XP, you can enable the provided Internet Connection Firewall (ICF) like this:

    - open the Control Panel (Start > Control Panel)

    - double-click the Network Connections icon.

    - right-click your Internet connection and select Properties.

    - in the connection properties, click the Advanced tab.

    - tick Protect my computer and network by limiting or preventing access...

    - optionally you can click Settings... for advanced configuration.

    The Windows XP firewall (up to Windows XP SP1) blocks incoming traffic only so you may need another program to detect trojans or call-home features for example.

    Internet Connection Firewall is now called Windows Firewall in Service Pack 2 (and later) and can block traffic both ways.

    Alternatively and whether you use Windows XP or not, you can install one of these free firewalls:

    Agnitum Outpost Personal Firewall
    Kerio Personal Firewall
    Sygate Personal Firewall
    Tiny Personal Firewall
    ZoneAlarm

    For other programs about security and vulnerability detections, you can visit the Gibson Research Corporation web site.

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How do I check whether there are spyware, adware or other malware on my computer and how do I remove them?

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Hardware
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I saw that you own a Sony CCX-Z11E video camera , could you please tell me where to find the drivers for this camera?

    Search no more, there aren't any drivers for this camera. It simply is a composite PAL camera to plug on a video capture card like a Winnov Videum, ATI All-In-Wonder, etc. You only need to have the drivers for your capture card. You have to buy a PCI capture card if you want to use it for videoconferencing and you don't have one yet.

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I would like to learn how PCs and related computer hardware work, could you give me some links?

    The Internet is a great encyclopedia about a wide range of topics and especially about computers. Here are some interesting links. If you run a search in a search engine like google.com, you will probably find many more.

    HowStuffWorks
    Karbosguide.com
    Newbie.org

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Others
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Could you give me the source code of your <name of the program here>?

    Sorry no, none of my programs are Open-Source or in the public domain. However I can possibly sell the full source or snippets for private use only.

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Could you give me a free copy of <name of the program here>?

    Some of my programs are freeware in that case they are fully functional programs and they are free for you to use. Some others are shareware, in that case, I am afraid I cannot afford to give away any free copies anymore because of abuse and general lack of support. I put a lot of time and efforts in the development and support of those programs and yet most of them are very cheap.

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