Known Issues

Add Adobe to the list of update opportunists

Many software vendors see security updates and bug fixes for their applications as a chance to install unrelated — and uninvited — programs onto your PC.

One vendor guilty of this offense — and not cited in Susan Bradley’s
Aug. 13
Top Story on this subject — is Adobe, which preselects the option to install the Google Toolbar along with its Flash Player and Adobe Reader patches.

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Gmail activity log helps you detect hijacking

A line at the bottom of the Gmail window indicates when your account was last used and also links to more-complete usage info.

You can use this activity log to determine whether someone has guessed your password and taken over your account.

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Navigating the maze of Microsoft patches

The numbering system Microsoft uses to identify its various Windows updates and the security bulletins referencing them often leaves us scratching our heads.

Just determining whether your PC has all the patches it needs can be like deciphering a secret code.

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Readers suggest ways to improve OpenDNS

Becky Waring’s
July 9
Top Story provided tips for avoiding problems when using the free OpenDNS service to browse more securely.

Several people responded to Becky’s story by suggesting ways that the service could be made even better.

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Forced updates plague Windows users worldwide

The response to Scott Spanbauer’s June 25
Top Story
on forced updates makes it clear that a bug in Microsoft’s Automatic Updates service is causing serious problems for Windows users.

Many readers have reported seeing updates being installed at shutdown or reboot time without any notification, much less an opportunity to select which updates will or will not be applied.

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More good reasons to leave Office on the shelf

In his June 18
Top Story,
WS contributing editor Scott Spanbauer presented several free and low-cost alternatives to Microsoft’s ubiquitous productivity suite.

If you need more reasons to shutter your Office apps, take a look at some of the suggestions that poured in from readers in response to the story.

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Simple fixes for problems related to IE 8

If the installation of Internet Explorer 8 knocks your Windows desktop for a loop, you may be able to repair things without having to revert to an earlier version of the browser.

Restoring explorer.exe or refreshing your network connection could be all that’s required to return a shattered system to working order.

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IE 8 causes big problems on some PCs

The new version 8 of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser has some features that version 7 doesn’t.

But that’s no guarantee that upgrading to IE 8 will go smoothly on your PC.

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Problems confirmed with Vista Service Pack 2

Some early adopters have encountered installation glitches and software conflicts when attempting to apply Service Pack 2 for Windows Vista.

As with nearly all service packs, there’s no rush to install Vista SP2 — and when you do apply it, be ready with a full system backup, just in case.

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Free program from Microsoft stops WGA

False readings from the Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) applet were described in a May 21
Top Story
by contributing editor Susan Bradley, who described a way to install Windows XP without ever downloading or running WGA.

If you’ve already installed WGA on XP, however, a program known as Autoruns — which is downloadable from — lets you easily deactivate the applet.

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