Windows ME will be worth it

Help Line

April 24, 2000|By James Coates | James Coates,Chicago Tribune

I am in the market for a new Pentium-type desktop computer. Should I wait to buy a machine until later this year when the new consumer edition of Windows 2000 is available?

If Microsoft delivers on the promises made for Windows ME -- the small office/home edition of Windows 2000 -- nearly everybody is going to want to upgrade because of a single set of features that I call self-healing.

The idea is that the computer keeps track of all the software that gets loaded onto the hard drive and monitors the stability of the huge number of modules like drivers, libraries and such that can get corrupted and cause chaos. Windows ME goes beyond Windows 2000 with features designed to automatically fix any and all corrupted modules each time it is booted, thus greatly reducing crashes and cranky performance.

Since we're months away from general availability of ME, though, I'd advise you to buy a computer now and plan to shell out about $90 later for an upgrade.

I recently bought a Compaq Presario 500 MHz AMD K6-2. I'm using my old Everex Model TCM-0440 14-inch Super VGA color monitor and, according to the manual, can accommodate 640x480 to 1024x768 resolution. However, I have not been able to get anything above the lowest setting of 640x480. It is a plug and play and the computer shows that the driver it is using for this display is Trident Blade 3D/MVP4. Attempts to raise the resolution to 800x600 or above with 16-bit high color or higher results only in a lined screen.

I have tried to contact Compaq on its support telephone line but got nowhere.

You need to call up the Windows 98 New Hardware module and point it to a driver for the monitor you actually own rather than the one for which Compaq had intended to be sold with your machine.

Click on the My Computer icon on the desktop and then Control Panel and Add New Hardware. Follow instructions until you get a choice where you can manually find devices connected to the computer. Pick monitors on the next screen and then scroll through the display that comes up for your brand.

I use an iMac and am looking for a voice-recognition system compatible with my computer. What would you recommend?

With Dragon Systems postponing its Macintosh product and with Windows-oriented Lernout & Hauspie diverted from a Mac project while it tries to acquire Dragon, Mac users are best advised to move to IBM's superb Via Voice software, which brings the same fine features available on the Windows side to the Mac world.

Send e-mail to jcoates@tribune. com.

Pub Date: 04/24/00

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