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Work-arounds for backing up to CD-RW

Q. How can I get the Windows 2000 backup program to recognize my CD-RW? I can burn a CD, update it, and read from it, but not when I go to the backup utility.

A. Good question. The short answer is you can't. Although originally in the Windows XP features list of enhancements, this capability got pulled. I don't know why. It makes absolutely no sense to exclude this one area from the native CD-RW capabilities built into Windows XP. My theory is that Microsoft left this out as part of a deal with Roxio in exchange for being allowed to use its CD-RW technology in other areas as a native part of XP. If you want to use your CD-RW for backup (one of the most logical choices), you'll need to buy a third-party utility such as Roxio's CD Creator 5 (surprise!).

It's not as eloquent a solution, but one I use is backing up with Microsoft Backup to a disk file, then copying that backup file to a CD-RW. Of course this assumes you have the free disk space and that your individual backup file does not exceed the capacity of one CD-RW.

Another alternative would be to buy an additional hard drive (probably for not much more than what you'd pay for CD-RW backup software) and back up directly to that drive. I use external disk caddys (mobile racks) that allow me to slide different hard drives in much as you would a regular floppy disk. This makes using this alternative much easier.

As one last option, you may want to wait for the DVD-RW drives to come down in price. Their much larger capacity (10 times a normal CD-RW) makes complete system backups much more practical. And I would suspect that most of them will come with backup software included.

Virus via e-mail

Q. For the past month, someone has been sending me a virus at least once a week. My virus checker is catching it and adding to the message text: "Viruses found in the attached files. The attached file alt.scr is infected by I-Worm/Klez.H. The attachment was moved to the virus vault." This is the same message and same virus, so I assume that it is coming from the same sender. The sender's e-mail address keeps changing. Is there a central agency that could track this down and get this person?

A. Virus vault? I like that, sounds very authoritative. I get mailed the Klez virus usually five times a day. The person who generates it most likely doesn't know that he is. They're just knuckleheads who aren't using an updated antivirus program, if any at all. The real culprit is the person who wrote the virus, who if caught should be made to gargle broken glass. My advice is to keep letting your antivirus program do its job. Just make sure you keep it updated for the latest virus definitions.

Scanner driver

Q. I have a computer friend who tried downloading "Twain," but it did not work. It affects my scanner. I cannot scan anything. My grandson loaded Twain from a disk from his computer. I cannot find where it is stored. I have entered where my grandson said he stored it, but it is not there.

A. Twain is the generic name for the driver that controls parts of your scanner. Each scanner has its own specific Twain interface driver. You need to reload the software drivers that came with your scanner. You also should be able to download these drivers from the scanner manufacturer's Web site. Look under the technical support area.

Deleting Favorites

Q. How can I delete items from my Favorites list?

A. Right-click on them and choose Delete.

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