Changing AOL access numbers HELP LINE

July 27, 1998|By James Coates | James Coates,CHICAGO TRIBUNE

I am moving out of state. I subscribe to AOL. When I access my new number in New Jersey, what will happen? What will I have lost? Address book? Anything else? Do I need to save anything before I leave?

With summer vacation season at its peak, your question is particularly timely for all sorts of mobile folk. America Online has become a pretty portable outfit these days, and it's easy to log on to your existing accounts from just about anywhere in the United States.

To get all the specifics, log on to AOL and hit Control plus K (keyword), then type "Access." You will get a menu showing phone numbers for every AOL dial-up in the United States and instructions about how to change your modem's dial-up number. Jot down the closest number, then change your modem setup once you're settled in the Garden State.

Most of your personal preferences such as the address book, your e-mail archives and favorite places are stored on your computer, so they'll be waiting for you when you get settled. Vacationers with laptops are best advised to do without these settings while on the road because moving them from computer to computer and then reconciling updates is a bigger hassle than it's worth.

I purchased a Hewlett Packard Pavilion 7130P 133-megahertz Pentium computer. It came with Windows 95 and a lot of other programs. However, I did not receive a CD-ROM of Windows 95. I called Hewlett Packard about this and they told me it was all installed on my computer as "CABS." I did locate it under windows options. But I have no idea what to do with it.

Now I would like to buy Windows 98 (mostly so I will have my operating system on a CD). But I read an article that said to make sure you have a Windows 95 boot disk that will let you reinstall the original operating system from the CD-ROM in case something goes horribly wrong. Would I really be in trouble if something went wrong?

A single word nicely answers your question. Relax! Once you install Windows 98 you will, indeed, have an operating system that can be backed up from CD-ROM should catastrophe strike somewhere down the road. Before that, simply follow the advice you read and make a start-up disk. Click on the Start button, then choose Settings and Control Panel. Select Add/Remove programs from the control panel window and click on "make start-up disk." The machine will lead you through the process of making a start-up disk.

TTC In the unlikely event that something goes wrong when you install Windows 98, Windows 95 is still on your hard drive. You can start your machine with that start-up disk in the floppy drive and use it to reinstall Windows 95 from that Windows/options folder you already have found.

Once you've used Windows 98 for a few weeks you can uninstall Windows 95, which will leave you with a computer running an operating system for which you now have a recovery CD-ROM.

I have tried to install Win98 four times and every time I get no sound. When I uninstall it and go back to Win95, the sound is perfect.

Luckily, your problem can easily be fixed. The sound drivers that Windows 98 is loading are set to mute the speakers as a default setting. To turn them back on, click on the Start menu, then choose accessories and entertainment. A choice there is marked Volume Control. When you open it you'll find the check mark in a block labeled "mute." Click again and your sound will resume.

Send e-mail to jcoateribune.com.

I have a gigantic file on my Windows 95 computer, win386.swp. A little Internet research seems to indicate that it is a file used by Windows for swapping data when the RAM is not big enough for the immediate task at hand. May I delete this file with impunity?

You may blow away the Windows swap file, but chances are you'll regret it. As you suspect, the swap file stores data and programming instructions on the hard disk when random access memory is filled. Because memory chips are far faster than hard drives, a computer slows up dramatically whenever forced to use the swap file instead of RAM. This is why adding more memory does far more to speed up a computer than does adding larger and faster hard drives.

However, no matter how much RAM you own, you will find having a swap file ensures that no matter how many programs you run your computer will never crash for lack of storage.

While swap files become ever less important with today's huge hard drives and with random access memory chips now cheaper than ever before, it's only a matter of time until we get so much running at one time that having a swap file becomes a vital bit of crash insurance.

I have tried to install Win98 on my set four times and every time I get the same result ... no sound. When I uninstall it and go back to Win95, the sound is perfect. Apparently it is not recognizing one or more sound drivers. I am sure you would recommend deleting Win95 entirely and then installing Win98, and this may solve the problem. But, in case it did not, I would have to reinstall Win95 and go through the fine-tuning process that has made my set really hum. Any ideas?

Luckily, your problem can easily be fixed. The sound drivers that Windows 98 is loading are set to mute the speakers as a default setting. To turn them back on, click on the Start menu, then choose accessories and entertainment. A choice there is marked Volume Control. When you open it you'll find the check mark in a block labeled "mute." Click again and your sound will resume.

Send e-mail to jcoateribune.com.

Pub Date: 7/27/98

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