October 28, 2004|By JAMES COATES

I need help with a problem: viewing faxes.

I know that the faxes I need to open come in a format called AWD but when I try to click on them in Windows XP they won't open. So all kinds of faxes from my earlier Windows 98 computer are unavailable for use. I've tried everything I can find on the Internet, including renaming the faxes to a different extension. Help.

Faxes may be fading away like floppy disks but they're not dead, despite Microsoft's best (worst?) efforts.

Windows XP and many fax machines use a format called TIFF to hold the picture data for fax messages instead of the earlier AWD. So the built-in fax viewer called Windows Picture and Fax Viewer can't open them.

The fix is easier than it sounds but a needless hassle that could have been avoided. Microsoft, you see, knew folks like you were going to howl, so the company included a small program on the Windows XP installation CD that will convert AWD files into TIFF formats so they can be viewed. But you've got to work at it, says Microsoft.

So put the XP disc in the CD player and then close down the pop-up messages that try to install the operating system. Now click on My Computer and then right-click on the CD icon and select Explore. Look for the folder on the CD named i386 and then go down to the folder named WIN9xmig. In that folder is a Fax folder and in the Fax folder is the program you need, called awdvstuf.exe.

Drag this program to your desktop. Now click the My Computer icon open and open the C: icon and drag the program there so it is in a so-called root directory where executable programs belong.

Now click on Start and Run and then type in cmd and tap Enter. In the box this brings up, type in awdvstuf.exe and tap Enter. This will give a list of the possible commands to use with this program. You need to use the one called /c that converts between the formats.

So then type awdvstuf.exe/c filename.awd and the program will create a viewable file called filename.tif.

I read your review on the hard-drive-indexing software X1 and it looks like it would help me a great deal searching through e-mail messages and other files for keywords.

But I've got a security concern. In investigating it, I found it opens all files when indexing. Some of my files are e-mail messages that were rejected as spam by my spam program and could contain viruses. Others are isolated quarantined viruses. I am using several virus protection programs including Norton AntiVirus. Is there any way I can get around this problem for an evaluation?

Lots of people had that question after downloading and running a test version of this hard-drive indexing program by X1 Technologies Inc.

Many users with anti-virus software get cold feet when programs like Norton pop-up warnings that virus-laden e-mail attachments have been found and quarantined. The software then offers to delete all the quarantined stuff.

To stop the warnings, says Noel Ferreria, a customer service representative at X1, folks should order virus-laden attachments deleted rather than just quarantined.

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