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Cracking the MIME attachment code

Q. I use Internet Explorer 3.1 through a local server. I have received two messages from a sender using America Online. Some graphics were used by the sender, which I received as straight lines instead of graphics. Are these graphics something that can be received only by people using AOL? Should I download IE 4.01?

A. AOL sends mail attachments (graphics) encoded in Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions, or MIME. Check with your ISP to see if it supports MIME. Sometimes you are able to use a separate MIME utility program that will decode the mail message back into the non-ASCII form in which it was sent. One such program, MPACK, can be found at

No software is without problems, given the right circumstances, but IE 4.01 is pretty solid. It does require more memory than 3.1. One advantage to IE 4.01 is that it is Dynamic HTML-enabled, and Web sites that take advantage of DHTML can provide a richer experience. If you have more than 16 megs of memory, go for it.

Q. Each time I use Microsoft Word, I receive the message, "Word could not load this add-in program. (CPROGRAM FILES...EXPWLL.16WLL.WLL)" I then click on OK and I can use Word.

A. A .WLL file in Word is an add-in (optional add-on component). I could not find any reference to the particular .WLL you specified (maybe it's misspelled?). To remove the reference to this add-in: On the Tools menu, click Templates and Add-Ins. Under Global templates and add-ins, click the offending item in the box and then click Remove.

Q. I like the pop-up tip that appears at start-up, but for some reason it no longer appears.

A. The normal way to set this: Start/Help, double-click Tip and tricks, then Tips of the Day, then Viewing the Welcome Screen. You will be presented with an option to view the Welcome screen; choose "Select this Welcome screen the next time you start Windows," then select Close. If this is what you did and it still doesn't work, try directly editing the registry key of: HKEYCURRENTUSER SoftwareMicrosoftWindows CurrentVersionExplorerTips and change the Show key to this: 01 00 00 00. Of course, always make a backup of the registry file before making any changes (this will be automatic in Windows 98).

Q. I backed up my C: drive using Ditto Backup Software within DOS, installed a higher-capacity drive and then restored my C: drive using the backup. When I went into Windows 95, my icons and many of my file names were changed, using a tilde within the name as opposed to the normal file names. How can I change these file names back?

A. You didn't specify what version of Ditto Backup you were using, but apparently it does not understand long file names when run from DOS. Your only option is to put your old drive back in and back up from Windows 95 instead of DOS, using a program that preserves long file names.

Q. I noticed a file in my Windows directory named unwise.exe. I did a search of my C: drive and found files of the same name in other directories as well. Although I don't think reputable software manufacturers would allow me to install a file that would damage my system, I can't muster the nerve to run these files to see what they may do.

A. Although it's definitely not the best choice of name for a program, UNWISE.EXE is the uninstall program used by various commercial and shareware programs. Wise is a software company that markets installer (and uninstaller) software.

Q. I want to buy MS Home Essentials 98. Two sales assistants have given me different information on how to qualify for the upgrade price. What are the upgrade requirements?

A. To be eligible for Microsoft Home Essentials 98, you must be a licensed user of any one of the following types of programs from any software publisher (virtually everyone qualifies): word processor, desktop publishing application, spreadsheet, multimedia encyclopedia, integrated productivity application or game.

_ Send hardware and software questions to, or Tech Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. Questions will be answered only in the column. John Torro, a systems engineer for a software company in Tampa, is a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer and Microsoft Certified Solution Developer.