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CNET Membership newsletter September 10, 2004 

The 5 that matter

Dear CNET members:
For those of you who participated in the last week's Q&A discussion on the missing hard drive space, a big thank-you! The whole idea of your participation through submissions and posts in any of the given topics each week is what makes our community become a source for knowledge and learning. I strongly believe that this community is only as good as the members who participate, and it gets better if we all help out. So let's move forward and tackle Nikki's question about all those Windows start-up programs.

Well, Nikki, we know you are looking for a simple way to safely eliminate many of those Windows msconfig start-up programs without having to go through lots of Web sites for reference, but ultimately (and probably not something you want to hear), the safest approach is to do informed research so that you know exactly what to delete without compromising your system. But don't despair. I'm hopeful that this week's winning answer by Lucien and all of the awesome honorable mentions and member site recommendations will kick-start your quest for a solution. Please check them out, and if any of the rest of you have more information, post it in the discussion, because we're all ears! Thanks, everyone!

1I have a lot of things listed in Windows start-up through Msconfig. Is there a way to safely delete things other than going to Web sites and going through the long, agonizing search process? What would you recommend?

--Submitted by: Nikki K.

You must be careful when working in here because the start-up area is where Windows places certain drivers and other items that it needs to work properly. It is not necessarily a bad thing to see many items here, but it is worth examining the list for things that could be removed. This is also where certain pieces of other applications are loaded, and although these items may not be essential to the operation of the system (or even to that program), they have been placed here for a reason, and removing them by hand could cause unexpected behavior in your system. For example, all (or nearly all) of the icons in your system tray (near the clock) are there because of entries in the start-up settings. You are correct that the only safe way to remove items by hand from here is to research each one to learn what it does and whether it needs to be here, but as this is not an option for you, here is what I suggest.

First, install a good antivirus program, if you have not already. Virus programs also use this area to ensure that they are running when the system is up. Scan the entire system and be sure it is clean. Next, install an adware/spyware removal tool, such as Ad-aware or Spybot Search and Destroy, to ensure that no other undesirable software is being loaded automatically. Again, scan the entire system and resolve all problems before moving on to the next step.

Open the Control Panel and double-click "Add or remove programs." Work your way through the list carefully, removing any items that you no longer use. Do not remove something simply because you don't recognize it; some office suites and antivirus... Read more

--Submitted by Lucien J. of Crumpton, Maryland. USA

(Please click here for the honorable mentions and click here for reference site and utilities recommended by our members.)

For Lucien's efforts, we’re sending him his choice of any Learning CD.

Check out next week's question:

Whenever I copy photo files to a CD on my Windows XP PC, their file attribute changes to read only. Then when I copy them from the CD to another PC, they're still read-only files, so they can't be edited. In order to edit them, I have to uncheck the Read Only box on each one. Is there any way to keep them from converting to read-only files? I don't think this happens on Macs.

--Submitted by: Brendan P.

We feature a new question every Friday. If you have the answer, e-mail us at If we choose your response, you'll get a free CD. Click here for Q&A submission guidelines and check out our previous Q&As here.

Best regards and enjoy!

Lee Koo
CNET Community
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1 Help! Virus or personal attack wiped my whole hard drive out
Can you imagine taking a computer break, only to come back to find that everything on your hard drive was wiped clean by a cyber intruder? What an awful and frightening thought. Well, this happened to one of our members, and she came right to the forums looking for answers and advice. She has a suspicion that it was a personal attack sent only to her and she's wondering if this is possible. Our community residents quickly gave her some ideas on how this could have happened, and the discussion is just starting to get busy. So if you would like to learn how this scenario can be prevented, read up on it. And if you would like to give your thoughts about this whole mess, we're all listening. More from the Viruses and Security Alerts forum

1 Machine keeps overheating!
Heat can tremendously affect a computer's performance. Many machines have fans included, but sometimes that is not enough, and the insides of your PC can reach extremely high temperatures that can overheat and fry your CPU. In this discussion, a member is hit with this overheating problem. Many members have given some creative suggestion to help solve and prevent this problem, but so far with no success. Do you have a suggestion to offer? Check out what other members have to say and help our members learn how to keep their machines cool all year round. More from the PC Hardware forum

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1 Digital photos: RAW vs. JPEG or other?
Are you an expert in digital photography? If you are, then this experienced film photographer just starting to go digital needs your advice. He has a lot of questions, ranging from getting the absolute best results out of digital photos to format conversions. So take a peek at this discussion, and if you can offer up some sound advice for this fellow member, chime in. I'm hoping that this discussion will not only assist this member, but all those who are looking to embark on a journey into serious digital photography. More from the Digital Cameras forum

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 Get help for the holidays
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