Q: I'm confused! I recently hired a video firm to cover an anniversary dinner party, with the video to be provided to me on a DVD. I naively didn't even...

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I’m confused! I recently hired a video firm to cover an anniversary dinner party, with the video to be provided to me on a DVD. I naively didn’t even consider there might not be a “standard” DVD format. I found out the hard way a DVD that will play properly on one player brand won’t necessarily play on other brands, presumably because different formats are used.

DVD-RW? DVD+RW? How many formats are in use, and what is the playback compatibility between them? I had planned to have my “original” DVD duplicated and sent to a dozen or so other people. Is there any reasonable way I can do this and be sure the recipients can play the DVDs? How about selecting individual frames on the DVD for putting on a CD in, say JPG format? Any advice there?

— Jim Hampton

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There are, in fact, a good half-dozen different DVD formats: DVD+R, DVD+RW, DVD-RAM, DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD-ROM.

DVD+R and DVD+RW formats are supported by Philips, Sony, Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Ricoh, Yamaha and others.

DVD-R, DVD-RW and DVD-RAM are supported by Panasonic, Toshiba, Apple Computer, Hitachi, NEC, Pioneer, Samsung and Sharp.

Fortunately, as far as playback goes, most DVD players support multiple formats. DVDs created in +R, +RW, -R and — RW formats can be read by most DVD players. DVD’s recorded in — RAM format, however, can be played only on devices that specifically support that format.

As for grabbing still images from DVDs, most computer-based DVD playback software allows you to grab single frames and save them.

By the way, if you have any other questions about DVD here is a wonderful online FAQ site: www.dvddemystified.com/dvdfaq.html#4.3.

I am getting ready to upgrade my old PC computer with a notebook. I have all my files on floppy disks, and I want to put them on CDs. The newer computer only has CD drives. How can I get these files transferred for use on the new computer?

— Mike Mc Millen

There are actually quite a few options. First, assuming there’s an empty bay on your new computer, you may be able to install the floppy drive from your old computer.

Another option is to burn the data to a CD. Unless your old computer is very old, you could probably install the CD burner from the new one temporarily in the old one for this purpose.

A third option is to e-mail the files to yourself, though I’d only suggest this if you’re talking about a relatively small number.

A fourth option is a file-transfer program, such as LapLink Gold. This product allows you to connect two computer directly to each other via serial or USB ports, or even over the Internet. You can find out more about LapLink at www.laplink.com.

I recently picked up a worm: Win32.Agobot.mt. By updating my antivirus program I was able to get rid of it everywhere except in my restore file. This is not causing a problem, but I keep getting a pop-up that says, “C:\System Volume Information\.restore{5E96FE4E-E177_ 472A-BFDO-1EDACA136D63}\RP267\A0028954.exe is win32.Agobot.MT”.

I cannot find this file, even searching hidden files. How can I get rid of this? I am running Windows XP.

— Gary Hilbers

I’d just turn off Windows’ System Restore function, at least temporarily.

XP’s System Restore tracks changes to your system so that you can return to a previous state if something goes wrong. Good idea, huh?

The only snag is that if you get a virus, it may be copied to the System Restore as well. You might clean the virus and later do a restore and … well … you know.

Your antivirus program may detect the virus sitting in System Restore, which is what you’re running into. If you disable System Restore and reboot, the files it has created will be removed, and that should solve your problem. If you then want the security of System Restore, turn it back on.

To disable System Restore, go to Windows Explorer and right-click on My Computer. Next, select Properties. In the dialog box that pops up, click on the System Restore tab and, finally, check the box labeled “Turn off System Restore.”

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.