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How to configure IE to open Office docs in the appropriate program

Sometimes when you click a link on a web site to a Microsoft Office document (a Word .doc file, Excel .xls file or PowerPoint .pps file), sometimes it may open up in Internet Explorer instead of in the Office program associated with the file type. This happens because IE is configured to host Office documents by default. You can change this behavior by following these directions:

  1. Open My Computer and click Tools | Folder Options.
  2. Click the File Types tab.
  3. In Registered File Types, click the file type you want to change and click Advanced.
  4. In the Edit File Type dialog box, clear the checkbox that says Browse in Same Window.
  5. Click OK.

Patch Reissue is coming on August 22
If you’ve been having problems with Internet Explorer crashing when you go to certain web sites since you downloaded and applied the critical MS-06-042 patch released on this month’s Patch Tuesday, you’re not alone. The problem is affecting a lot of folks who are running IE6 with SP1 on XP or Windows 2000. Here’s the good news: Microsoft has fixed the patch and will re-release the patch on August 22. Read more here.  

More on the Blue Pill Scare
Well, more new info keeps coming in about the “Blue Pill exploit”. Made to sound like a flaw in Vista and a big threat to users, it turned out that the exploit was actually aimed at AMD hypervisor hardware and didn’t work anyway without administrative privileges. Now another claim, that the Blue Pill exploit is undetectable, is being challenged by security experts. Read more here.  

Is there an easy way to back up driver files?
If you’re looking for a software utility that will let you back up your hardware drivers in one fell swoop, there are a few options out there. One that’s free is WinDriver Expert from Huntersoft, which has a free version for non-commercial use. It finds driver files and saves them for you. It’s a small, quick download; the zip file is under 1 MB. You can find it here.  

Right-click commands in IE are unavailable
If you right click a link in IE and discover that the Save Target As and Print Target commands are grayed out, it may be because Content Advisor is enabled. You can fix the problem by disabling Content Advisor or by loading the page and using the File menu command. For detailed instructions on both of these solutions, see KB article 176316.

Outlook Express stops responding when you log onto your email account
If you start Outlook Express and type in your email account name and password in the Log On dialog box, then find that OE stops responding and the Log On dialog box disappears when you click the OE window, there is an update to fix the problem. If you don’t want to install the update, there’s also a simple workaround. You can find out about both solutions by seeing KB article 898123.

DVD-RW discs appear to be empty in Windows Explorer
If you try to view the contents of some DVD-RW discs in Windows Explorer on a Windows XP SP2 computer, you may see a root folder that appears to be empty even though you know there are files on the disc. This happens because of the Universal Disk Format (UDF) defect management system. There is a hotfix available. To find out how to get it, see KB article 899527.


Security Patches for Vista
Two of the security fixes released on the August 8 Patch Tuesday affect Vista beta 2. These are MS06-042 and MS06-051. The patch releases didn’t mention that Vista is one of the operating systems affected, since it’s not commercially available. If you’re running the Vista beta, you need to download and apply these patches. You can read more about it here.  

What’s New in Paint?
The venerable Microsoft Paint program is often overlooked, as most users opt for more powerful graphics packages such as Adobe PhotoShop or Corel PhotoPaint. But Paint has been quietly getting more robust and usable with each version of Windows, and it’s come a long way since its Windows 95/98 reincarnation (which is probably the last time many of you took a look at it). The Vista version finally includes a Crop tool, and since the program is small and faster than its feature-laden cousins, I’ve taken to using it for simple chores like saving screenshots for articles. If you’re running the Vista beta, be sure to check it out.

Deb Shinder, MVP