Author Archives: Fred Langa

Fred Langa

About Fred Langa

Fred Langa is senior editor. His LangaList Newsletter merged with Windows Secrets on Nov. 16, 2006. Prior to that, Fred was editor of Byte Magazine (1987 to 1991) and editorial director of CMP Media (1991 to 1996), overseeing Windows Magazine and others.

Network Kills Audio?

Love your newsletter. I started with the free edition and have been a Plus
subscriber for several years.  I had an experience a couple of months ago that may be of help to some of your
readers. One of my friends got a new computer and wanted me to configure it so
they could surf the Internet safely. The computer is a Compaq Presario, AMD
Sempron 3000+, 256 DDR, 40GB HDD, CD-RW/DVD ROM,  Phoenix/Award BIOS and has
Windows XP Home. I installed the free Zone Alarm firewall, AVG anti-virus free
edition and Hitman Pro 2. They were on a dialup connection, so since they were
not using the Ethernet port I disabled it in the BIOS.  Several days later they told me that the computer did not have any sound since I
worked on it. I went back and found that when I went into Control Panel – Sound
and Audio Devices, the Device Volume section was grayed out. After a lot of
looking for the problem I ended up calling tech support. They talked me through
about 15 minutes worth of things I already tried to no avail. Then they told me
to reset the BIOS defaults. The sound came back as soon as I did this. Just so I
knew for sure what caused the problem I went into the BIOS and disabled the
Ethernet port again. The sound quit working. I enabled the Ethernet port and the
sound came back. I should have tried resetting the BIOS before calling tech
support but I knew the only thing I did in the BIOS was disable the Ethernet
port. I could not see how that would effect the sound. Just goes to show that
you should never take anything for granted, especially when it comes to
computers. —Dave Mantz

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Free/Very Low Cost Defraggers

Dear Fred, With regard to the defrag problem
mentioned in the last newsletter ("Defrag Just Won’t Finish;" ) I’d suggest
looking into DIRMS (see This is a superb defragging program that runs in
a command window under Windows; it does the best defrag job of any program
I’ve seen. —Jim Allen

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Free Firewalls

Hi Fred, What [about] free firewalls these

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Yet *Another* Code Load Success Story

After their site was listed in the last "Load The Code" section, this reader

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Too Many “KB” Files Cluttering Disk

Fred, I have been getting updates for xp for quite a while now.
So, in windows explorer I have a very long list of files named KB… . Would
it be safe to make a folder and put them all in it and archive it. OR perhaps
just delete them. Some way my AV program doesn’t look at them every time it
runs. Plus subscriber for some time now. Thank you. —David nelson

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“NTLDR is missing”

Dear Fred, I thoroughly enjoy your letter. Now I’m not
particularly geeky. I run a small architectural firm which means I do the
computer fixes for the most part.

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