Q: There are several applications on my Windows 2000 computer, such as Acrobat, Internet Explorer and others, that seem to try to automatically...

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Q: There are several applications on my Windows 2000 computer, such as Acrobat, Internet Explorer and others, that seem to try to automatically access the Web for updates, even when they are not open (Acrobat especially).


When this occurs, applications I am using become suspended for 30 seconds or more, and I cannot proceed with what I am doing. I do use ZoneAlarm, and maybe that has something to do with it. Is there anything I can do to prevent this behavior?


— Tom Cassen


A: I agree this is pretty irritating behavior. Whether you can do anything is another matter.


Some programs let you specify whether they should automatically check for updates. Fortunately, Adobe Acrobat Professional is no exception.


Go to the Edit menu and select Preferences, then Update. You can specify whether or not the program should automatically check for updates.


Some programs, unfortunately, don’t allow you to make this choice. In such cases, your only option is to suffer or to uninstall the program in question.


Q: I am running Windows ME, Internet Explorer, EarthLink and Outlook Express for e-mail. When I am in Outlook Express and hit the forward button to send an e-mail, a message says, “An error has occurred in your program. To keep working anyway, click ‘Ignore’ and save your work in a new file. To quit this program click ‘Close.’ You will lose information you entered since your last save.”


It does not matter which button I hit (Ignore or Close), and the EarthLink task panel at the top of the page disappears. Another message appears telling me the Task Panel has caused an error and will be closed.


I checked with Microsoft’s Web page, and there was a thing for Dibeng.dll and it had something to do with drivers for video. I downloaded the latest driver for Nvidia Geforce 4 but still didn’t solve the problem. Can you please help?


— John Ulle


A: The error message you’re getting does indeed result from a conflict between Windows and your graphics adapter’s driver. The usual solution is to contact the maker of the graphics adapter for an updated driver. Of course, you’ve already done that.


Alternatively, you can switch to using the standard VGA driver for Windows, though that may mean you lose some features of your graphics adapter. Another option is to switch to a different graphics adapter.


Finally, you may find that the problem disappears if you upgrade to Windows XP.


Q: You recently gave advice to a Windows 98 user on speeding up performance by changing the swap file for Windows to a different drive.


I am a Windows XP user with much the same problem and lots of disk space on Drive D. What is the method in XP to accomplish the movement of the swap file?


I have gone to Control Panel and then to Systems but can’t re-create the steps you gave for Windows 98. How about moving data and applications to the D drive?


— Leonard French


A: In Windows XP, call up the Control Panel and then select the System utility. Click on the Advanced tab, then the Setting button in the Performance section of the dialog box. Again, click on the Advanced tab in the dialog box that pops up.


Finally, in the section labeled “Virtual Memory,” click on the Change button. You’ll then see options for changing the swap file.


Note that you’ll have to reboot your computer for any changes to take effect.


As for moving data to another drive, you can simply drag and drop it using Windows Explorer.


Don’t try the same trick with applications, however, since Windows needs to know where to find program files and their location is recorded in the Windows registry.


If you simply move them, rather than uninstall and reinstall in a new location, Windows won’t know where they are.


Questions for Patrick Marshall may be sent by e-mail to pmarshall@seattletimes.com or pgmarshall@pgmarshall.net, or by mail at Q&A/Technology, The Seattle Times, P.O. Box 70, Seattle, WA 98111. More columns at www.seattletimes.com/columnists.