Q. I have not upgraded since Windows 98 Second Edition. I now find that to use an iPod I will have to update my Windows. What version do you...

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Q. I have not upgraded since Windows 98 Second Edition. I now find that to use an iPod I will have to update my Windows. What version do you suggest? I am careful about protecting my computer. I have an online firewall and virus scan. I have downloaded Spybot and use it every day. Every time I run Spybot I find “DSO Exploit.” I did some research on the Internet, but the suggestions — to make sure I had all Windows’ critical updates and that I update Spybot — didn’t work. I read an involved method on another Web site but don’t have confidence in the source. Can you direct me to a trusted site for solving this vexing problem?

— D. Monroe

A. With respect to your first questions, I would update to Windows XP Service Pack 2 since it’s the latest and most stable version of Windows. If you’re going to be running on a network, I’d make it the Professional version of XP.

With respect to the DSO exploit, that was a vulnerability in Internet Explorer that hackers could take advantage of. The vulnerability has been fixed, so if you have updated your version of Internet Explorer you don’t have to worry about it. Unfortunately, even though the problem is fixed, Spybot keeps reporting it. You’ll want to check with Spybot for an update to their program that fixes this glitch.

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Q. I receive e-mail via comcast.net and recently was warned that Comcast will discontinue forwarding e-mail from attbi.com, which was my original Internet service provider.

In the process of sending corrections to my address to the attbi mailers, I noticed something peculiar. In the header, instead of reading to franvir@comcast.net or franvir@attbi.com the message is sent to gopusalist1@gopusa.com for a newsletter from a Republican organization.

How and why does it come to me? I assume it also goes to many, many others. Is this the way spammers work?

— Francis Harrison

A. I guess you could call it spam, but it’s sort of legitimate spam. In this case the e-mail is from the Republican Party and it is not trying to hide its identity. It sent the e-mail to a list of recipients — named “gopusalist1” — of which you were one. As for where they got your e-mail address to include in their list, I couldn’t begin to guess.

Q. I inherited a Compaq Presario 5000 running Windows ME. It began running low on RAM and demanded that I add memory to the existing 127 megabytes. A techie told me what I needed and where to put it and I did.

However, the system doesn’t seem to know that I have added another 256 megabytes. I can only assume that there is some sort of procedure that must follow the installation of the chip to integrate it into the system.

I say “assume,” because I haven’t been able to find any instructions that speak to RAM upgrades and their care and feeding anywhere in the documents available to me.

— Jim Vogel

A. The specific procedure for adding RAM depends on the computer. First, you have to make sure you have compatible RAM, not only in terms of speed but also type and format.

Second, you need to make certain your computer recognizes it. Some computers, for example, require you to specify in BIOS that you have added RAM. Others may automatically detect the new RAM.

You need to consult your computer’s documentation to be sure. If you don’t have the manual you can probably find it online at the maker’s Web site.

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.