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.

Last Days To Enter March’s FREE Drawing

At the end of the month, I’ll randomly choose three more winners of the
FREE ONE YEAR SUBSCRIPTIONS to the LangaList Plus! edition. (If your
name is drawn and you’re already a Plus! subscriber, your current
subscription will be extended by a full year.)

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Misc: Free Windows Stuff, Vista Delay…

In researching some of the information for this issue, I
revisited the Microsoft Downloads Center. This is entirely separate from Windows
Update, and also is not the collection of linked downloads found in the
Knowledgebase. Rather, it’s a library of free add-ons, applications, and
utilities for all versions of Windows. It’s changed a lot since I’d last

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DVD Life?

Good Afternoon Fred—
I know you have written a number of times about the lifespan of CDs. Recently a
friend read an article from which had the
following excerpt:

Those blank CD-Rs are coated with a layer of dye, which is burned with
new information when put in a computer’s CD burner. A laser in the computer
melts the dye, and that is how information is stored. That dye degrades at different rates depending on the quality of the
dye, Dorkin said. For example, blank CDs that are called gold CDs contain
a higher quality dye that produces a longer shelf life for photos or music.
I am interested in two items at present: 1) Are the lifespans of CDs the same as
DVDs, or perhaps there is a different manufacturing process?, and 2) Since your
last writing, has there been any technological changes to the manufacture of CDs
and DVDs that make one or several brands notably superior by their
implementation of such a contemplated process?
Best Regards,
Bruce McCormick

CDs first appeared on the market in 1982, so the oldest CDs
in existence are just 24 years old. DVDs arrived in 1996; the oldest DVDs are
only 10 years old. And, because both technologies were slow to take off, the
vast majority of discs in existence are relative newborns.

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A Complete Terabyte System For $500

A short while ago, I received a challenge from a reader who didn’t believe me
when I said in print that it was possible to put together a brand-new terabyte
(1,000 Gbytes) file server for around $500. Well, you can, and I did: The
example system I put together now resides on the far side of my office, offering
up a thousand gigabytes— that’s a *lot* of disk space— as network storage on
my office LAN.

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Drive-Moving Question

Although the item above (a 1,000GB system for $500) is the
culmination of a three-part series, the first two parts— disk management and
adding new hard drives to a system— drew lots of comments, and are still doing

Dear Fred:
you said:
"Still running the operating system on the old drive, I enter the Device
Manager and uninstall the current entries under "Disk Drives." This in
effect makes Windows "forget" what drives it’s currently using. I then
reboot to my disk imaging tool and create an image of the "no disks
configured" version of Windows residing on the old drive."
The meaning here isn’t totally transparent (to me, anyway, Fred!).

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Hi Fred,  First, thank you for all that you have taught me.  I
built my first computer in 1999 almost before I had used one (my wife taught me
how to use her laptop and I ordered all the parts online for the computer).  I
came across your site sometime that first year( I think) and most of what I know
about computing I learned from reading your newsletter and the subsequent paths
it took me down. I am running Windows 98se and am getting ready to reinstall the
operating system.  I was recently reading AXEL216/MDGx’s site and was intrigued
with his mod/hybrid 98SE2ME OS.  I don’t think you ever discussed this in your
column (I could be wrong) and was wondering what you thought of it?  I have run
Win 98/SE, Win 2000 and WinXP home/Pro but even with all its problems I like
Win98se and combining it with the good parts of Win ME makes it faster and more
stabile.  There seems to be a cult of people who love Win98 and are sticking
with it and there are a ton of programs written for it  Hopefully you feel there
are enough of your readers who use 98/ME that you might want to discuss it in
your newsletter.  Again Thanks, Bill Ritchie

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XP Home to Pro?

Fred: I have XP Home installed, SP2 and updated, but I want to
update/change to XP Pro.  The disk I have for installation, of course has not
had SP2 installed/updated.  When I try to install XP Pro, it tells me my current
version installed on the machine is a more up to date version than what I am
trying to install.

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New, Highly-Automated Slipstreamer

We’ve covered "slipstreaming" several times in the past; it’s the
odd name for the process of adding newer patches and updates to an original installation CD’s
files to produce a new version of the Setup process that
already includes the newer patches and updates. (More info, including why it’s
called "slipstreaming:" )

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