Q: I have four computers in my home network and have been reading with great interest about the new "Microsoft Windows Home Server" software...

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Q: I have four computers in my home network and have been reading with great interest about the new “Microsoft Windows Home Server” software. I am setting up the server and my software will arrive next week.

As I understand, essentially you only install the software itself, then configure it from another computer on the home network.

What I have not been able to find out is whether you need to put anti-virus software on the server?

Since it only connects to the Internet to get updates for itself, I’m not sure if it is needed if all the other computers on the network have antivirus software?

Dick Hawes

A: The only computer that doesn’t need anti-virus software is one that is never turned on.

If the computer accepts files from anywhere — via the Internet, discs, USB flash drives or any other medium — it is possible that viruses may unknowingly be acquired.

Yes, that’s less likely to happen to the degree that such channels are limited. But your network’s server isn’t the place where you want to try to cut corners on security.

Q: I accidentally deleted my Windows XP partition using the Fdisk command. Is there any way I can restore it?

Denny Siu

A: If you haven’t reformatted the disk, chances are you can retrieve the partition using any number of programs. Just search the Internet for partition recovery program and you’ll see an array of offerings.

I don’t make recommendations of specific products, unless I have tested them recently.

In general, this isn’t a major trick so I have no reason to doubt the claims of the products you see on the Internet.

Q: I know Vista has a compatibility mode. Do you know if Lotus 1-2-3 would run in Vista’s compatibility mode? Do you know how good the Vista compatibility mode is?

Dave Numme

A: Vista’s compatibility mode is pretty slick.

The Program Compatibility Assistant will detect the limitations of an older program and automatically make adjustments so the program can run. It might, for example, switch to 256-color mode or make other changes to simulate an earlier version of Windows.

Unfortunately, while Vista’s compatibility mode might allow the user to run Lotus 1-2-3 — I haven’t been able to confirm this firsthand, since I haven’t been able to find a copy of the spreadsheet program — that wouldn’t help the user convert the files.

Lotus 1-2-3 can’t save files in current Excel formats, and current versions of Excel can’t open 1-2-3 files.

Note:

With respect to the question about converting old Lotus 1-2-3 files for use in recent versions of Microsoft Excel (Q&A, Dec. 22) : Several readers offered a workaround of installing OpenOffice, a free open-source office suite that includes the Calc spreadsheet application. You can find out more at www.openoffice.org.

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.