Q: When people send me a PDF file, I try to open it but get a message that says: "XXX.pdf is not a win32 application. " Once before, a PDF...

Share story

Q: When people send me a PDF file, I try to open it but get a message that says: “XXX.pdf is not a win32 application.” Once before, a PDF file was sent to me and I received a message that said to open with AcroRd32.exe. That worked but I cannot open others the same way. Can you help ?


A: You don’t specifically say whether you have an Adobe Acrobat Reader installed, but it sounds as if you do because you were able to get one PDF file to open. And you don’t say just how you’re trying to launch those files, so I’m shooting a bit in the dark.

Because you’re not able to open those PDF files into the Acrobat Reader by clicking on the file, my guess would be that somehow Windows has lost the association between the PDF file type and the Acrobat Reader. The result is that when you try to the load the file Windows doesn’t know what application to launch.

To correct this, go to Tools menu in Windows Explorer and select the Folder Options entry. Next, click on the File Types tab. Using the scroll box that pops up, locate the entry for PDF files and make sure that the Acrobat Reader is the application specified for loading the file type.

Q: I’m running Internet Explorer 6 on a Dell 4100 with Windows ME. Lately, Internet Explorer will open on its own and load the home page I have saved (a long time ago) in Internet Options. This never used to happen and I can’t trace it to any particular software that I’m running at the time. Both my anti-spyware and virus software run and update outside Internet Explorer. Any thoughts?

Jack Hoffman

A: The first thing I’d check is whether Internet Explorer is set to automatically dial a connection. Go to the Tools menu and select Internet Options, then click on the Connections tab. Check to see that “Never dial a connection” is selected.

It’s possible that some application is causing Internet Explorer to launch to check for a program update. It’s also possible that you might have a virus or a hacker involved.

Q: I use Outlook Express (OE) as my e-mail client. Some of my correspondents cause an annoying response from Outlook Express involving several windows that pop up and must be closed and canceled. I usually can eventually open the message, but sometimes OE just shuts down on me. The first window is the Windows Installer, telling me it’s preparing to install. Then a window of Microsoft Office 2000 SR-1 appears, saying the feature I need is on another CD-ROM and I should insert MS Office SR-1. When I do that, the next window tells me to please wait while MS Office 2000 SR-1 configures. Then I get error 1919 configuring ODBC data source, error No. 6, component not found in the registry. What is all this gobbledegook and how can I fix it?

Barb Landi

A: If your problem happens only when you’re trying to open certain messages, my guess is that those messages include a feature — such as a character set for another language — not installed on your computer. That’s why you get those messages about Windows Installer. Windows has detected the problem and is trying to install the solution before opening the message.

As for why the installation procedure isn’t working as expected, I couldn’t begin to guess. It may be that your Windows registry has become corrupted. Or you may have a virus. If it were me, I’d just try reinstalling Internet Explorer, which will reinstall Outlook Express and update your registry entries.

While you’re at it, you might want to make sure you’ve got the most recent version of Internet Explorer and Outlook Express. Go to the following URL and follow the instructions: /www.microsoft.com/windows/ie/downloads/default.mspx.

Q: My wife and I use Microsoft Word to write a number of reports that use similar information we customize to fit the specific situation we are reporting on. We use a number of different desktop computers not linked, so we have developed codes in Word AutoCorrect and AutoText to automatically enter the phrase into the document. Is there a way to copy the databases for AutoCorrect and AutoText so I can transfer them to another computer without individually entering each code and corresponding phrase?

Mike Landon

A: Microsoft has a utility for doing just that, at least for auto correct entries. You can find detailed instructions by putting the following URL into your Web browser: support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;269006#appliesto.

AutoText entries are tied to the templates you’re using. You’ll find detailed instructions for copying those entries at the following URL: support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;214156 .

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.