Bilingual browser annoys Internet Explorer user

Help Line

May 22, 2000|By James Coates | James Coates,Chicago Tribune

Recently when I run Microsoft Internet Explorer, everything comes up in French. I am not literate in French and this is very annoying. Can you help me?

Zut, alors! I suspect somebody pulled a prank on you to transform your browser's settings from good old English into French. My suspicions are based on the fact that it takes a whole bunch of steps to turn on the browser's capabilities to display menus and such in different languages.

Most often one needs to go online and download the necessary language plug-ins and then install them before the browser changes its lingo.

All this is done behind the tab marked "Languages" in the box that comes up when you click on Tools in the Explorer menu bar and then Internet Options. Head there now, and you will get a box that will let you go back to English.

I am having no luck getting the USB feature on my IBM laptop to work with my Iomega Zip drive. I have Windows 98 Second Edition installed, which is required for USB devices, but when I first installed the Zip I got a screen saying my computer wasn't USB ready.

I have uninstalled the Iomega software and reinstalled. I have tried several suggestions from Iomega tech support, all with no success. I even got a replacement drive from Iomega, and the problem still occurs. Apparently, something has changed in my ThinkPad. Can you help point me in the right direction?

My own bad luck with ThinkPads tells me that you probably are the victim of one of the most annoying features of the otherwise generally superb IBM ThinkPad line, a control panel called MyThinkPad that lets a user activate and deactivate any and all of the input-output ports on these laptops.

The settings were designed to prevent software-hardware conflicts and take advantage of various settings that one can create for devices such as printers and infrared devices. Click on Start and then Programs and then MyThinkPad to call up the panel, where you can fiddle with changing settings one at a time to find the ones your laptop needs to talk to that Iomega drive.

Why are only Windows operating systems affected by these computer viruses, like the recent "ILOVEYOU" virus? A computer hacker interviewed on TV claimed Windows was extremely easy to tamper with. Does this mean that the Mac system is more difficult to tamper with? Is this why Macs never seem to be bothered by these viruses? And if the Macs are harder to mess with, then why use Windows?

There are plenty of virus programs afflicting Mac owners but there are features built into the Microsoft Windows system that make it particularly easy even for hackers still wet behind the ears to create chaos.

For what it's worth, ILOVE-YOU should be called a Windows worm rather than a virus because it requires the user to open an e-mail attachment and run it in order to do its stuff. Proper virus programs automatically move into the operating system when the computer boots up.

ILOVEYOU works by way of a Microsoft Office feature called Visual Basic Scripting that allows users -- and company techies -- to create subprograms with the extension .vbs that can be run to issue commands to do things like erase files or send itself in e-mails to everybody in one's address book, thus propagating virus-style.

It is possible to do the same thing with Microsoft Office for Macintosh, but it would require a different script than the ILOVE-YOU for Windows. One of the blessings Mac owners get from the fact that Macintosh accounts for well under 10 percent of the world installed base is that any Mac-directed attack would cause far less damage to the economy.

Your logic holds up quite nicely in that since Mac is a smaller target, one will be spared a lot of headline-grabbing worms and virus attacks, but it's not because the operating system from Apple is any less vulnerable.

My computer has been randomly and unpredictably playing what I believe is the "sign on" music programmed in the computer. It is "Fur Elise" by Beethoven. It will start at some random moment, even while I am in another room with the computer running, and will continue until it feels like stopping, sometimes for hours.

I have looked through all the "My Computer" files on my Windows 98, and can't find anything that would let me disable that particular music. I can find the "sounds" file that announces the asterisks and errors, etc. But I can't find this particular file, and the results are driving me crazy.

You have my profound sympathy. As anybody who has ever lived in the same house with an intermediate piano student will tell you, hell itself probably has a looping "Fur Elise" soundtrack for its background music.

Even though your note doesn't have enough specifics for me to see why the machine keeps playing Beethoven, I can tell you how to give Ludwig the slip. You need to find the "Fur Elise" sound file on your hard drive and delete it or rename it so the machine can't find it.

Use the Start menu and pick the Find Files/Folders command to call up a search box. Type in "Elise" and the finder will ferret it out and display it in that search box. Then highlight the file and right-click with your mouse to bring up a command box that will let you delete or rename it quicker than you can say, "Beethoven took the Fifth."

Send e-mail to jcoates@tribune. com.

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