Q. I was shut down from the Internet on one of my computers last week and was going nuts. After much troubleshooting I realized it was Zone Alarm that was causing the problem. I had uninstalled it two days earlier. And you are right, no tech support for freebies. A helpful technician from Dell checked the Microsoft Knowledge Base and suggested that I reinstall and then correctly uninstall Zone Alarm (I was frantic and considered reformatting the hard drive) ... Voila! It worked.
A. Thanks for the tip. What you're describing is also a general fix for programs that won't uninstall correctly.
Q. I need to buy a new computer. My concern is that they all come with the new Windows XP operating system. I have heard that many software programs are not compatible with it. I have many indispensable programs now that I am afraid will not work with this system.
A. Windows XP incorporates a compatibility function that should meet your needs. If a program does not run correctly, right-click on it, select Properties, and check "Run This Program in Compatibility Mode." Then pick the operating system - Windows 95, 98, NT, etc. Life, and Microsoft, being what it is, I think I'd try to find a PC with XP to test this all out before you buy a new PC, however. You, for example, may have to set up a lower resolution screen than you might like.
Q. Should I consider, as a single user, investing in a firewall if I have America Online as an Internet provider?
A. I would say no, if you're using a dial-up connection, and yes if you subscribe to AOL's always-on high- speed service, with the usual caveat that sensitive data needs more protection. Alas, firewall software is not as effective with AOL as with more generic services. See www.news bytes.com/news/01/172419.html.
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