AOAUG Meeting 8 Feb 2000

Discussion centred on issues to cover during the year. Some possible issues are:

This prompted some preliminary discussions, as follows.

Disaster recovery.

The last newsletter and the AOAUG website had some tips about replacing hard disks and preserving Windows settings. Since a hard disk failure is a common cuase of disaster this is one part of understanding disaster recovery.

Several users at the meeting now use Norton's System Works for monitoring PC performance and providing a form of disaster recovery. There has been mixed success. For example, Nortons provides Windows registry optimiser (the registry is used by Windows to manage applications and hardware). For one user this solved some problems but appeared cause others. Anothe rfound that the optional background features appeared to tie up too much memory.

Nortons Ghost is bundled with System Works Pro. This is a DOS utility that can be used to make an exact copy of a hard disk (all partitions/virtual drives). This compressed "mimage" could be saved on writable CD and used to setup a new head disk, if necessary. See Dec 1999 newsletter for more.

Systemworks also includes a Rescue package that copies essential Windows files to an Iomega Zip Drive (+plus a bootable diskette). It can then recover from some types of hard disk failure.

Program installation problems

If a program crashes during installation it may leave temporary DOS files and registry entries. These may thwart further attempts at installation. Temporary files are usually, but not always, stored in c:\windows\temp. They can be safely deleted if no applications are running. Getting rid of registry entries is more difficult. Some software websites have tips for deleting registry entries resulting from failed installations.

One user had installation problems until it was discovered that the PC had an intermittent (aren't they always!) RAM memory defects.

OA Networks

See for tips about setting up Open Access networks. In brief, the station files (main.mnu, config.* and oa4net.exe etc) should be set up on the local PC. The code files such as OA4.SPI (network version) should be on the fileserver, along with shared data. A DOS batch file can be used to start the program from the local directory. This might simply contain the line:

oa4net.exe p=n:\oa4

where the code files are on the "N" drive in the OA4 directory. Make sure that the OA4 searching order includes the local and network directories.

When the configuration has been established check the "disk space" available in each directory by pressing the [F4} key at the Main Options Menu. Press [F9} to display the disk space that OA sees for each directory. If a directory shows 0 bytes available then you probably have a disk configuration problem - most likely caused by a combination of a disk size exceeding 2 gigabytes and a motherboard idiosyncrasy. Test it by using OA Notepad ([F8] N) to save a test file to the suspect directory. If you receive an error message you may need to configure the hard disk/server so that OA thinks there is less than 2 Gb of disk space. This may not be easy on some simple networks such as Microsoft Networking.

Keith O'Donnell gave a quick tip for HP printer problems under OA. If pages don't eject or are lost try adding (27)E to the Form Feed item of the OA printer driver. This resets the printer after each page feed.

Some HP printers and emulators have an "Economode". Check the HP website for tips if light printing always occurs when printing from OA. Adding the following to the OA initialisation sequence may work:


Let us know if you have a better solution.

Win 98 problems

Lindy Kidman reports that a DOS batch file that worked perfectly under WIN95 won't run under WIN98. A conspiracy against DOS programs ?!

Email Merge

The Word 97 Mail Merge is able to produce emails. Apparently the emails are stored in the Outbox until an Internet connection is made. The feature is accessed from the "Merge To" box of the Merge Window (the last step in the Mail Merge operation).

Internet Connection

There is rapid change underway in methods of connecting to the Internet. Telecommunications companies are offering good deals on getting connected via cable modems. These provide very fast Internet access but watch out for operational charges, such as a fee per megabyte downloaded.

Satellite web connections are also available. Wal Shand described the system that his company is involved with. Output (keystrokes) is sent to the Internet Service Provider via a telephone modem but input (web pages/data) is downloaded at high speed from a satellite. An ISP in the USA sends the data to the satellite so bottlenecks in Australia are avoided.

The general feeling - don't rush into a deal.

Web Databases

"Web databases" are becoming popular for websites with lots of information. These create web pages "on the fly" by looking up a database rather than having pre-existing web pages. It provides greater flexibility and ease of updating.

Access 2000 apparently has features that allow the creation of web databases. Watch out, however, because only a few ISPs can support web databases at present and not all users will be able to access them.

Meeting Venue

A committee meeting was held on 13 Feb 2000. In view of declining subscriptions it may be necessary to save meeting room expenses. Therefore the next meeting, scheduled for 11 April 2000, may be the last at Chatswood RSL and subsequent meetings might be held at a member's house. If you can't attend that meeting please send your comments beforehand.

The special topic for the April meeting will be "Accounting for the GST" (or will that be at the next Federal election!).