Windows Millennium Edition Bugs

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A listing of some “issues” that have been noted in the new Windows Millennium edition

Some of the bugs and buglets described below were noted during a clean install of Windows Me on a newly-formatted hard drive. The same problems may not appear if Me is installed as an upgrade over Windows 98. But they might, so follow the suggestions given here if you run into any of these problems.

Hardware Detection Problems

Some installed devices (Netgear FA310TX NIC, various sound cards, for example) are incorrectly recognized as some other brand. The solution that seems to work best is to remove the device (via Device Manager) and restart. When Me restarts and again mis-identifies the hardware, use the “Have Disk” option to find the correct drivers—presumably on a diskette or CD-ROM supplied by the device manufacturer.

USB Hardware Detection Problems

Windows Me may have a problem recognizing USB devices during its setup procedure. If you have a USB device that comes with its own drivers on a diskette or CD-ROM, it’s probably best to leave the device physically disconnected during the initial setup procedure so that Me won’t get it wrong. Or if the device was improperly installed, remove it and then re-install it as described above.

Monitor Flicker

Windows Me may correctly recognize your video adapter and monitor, yet still set the refresh rate at a low frequency that creates objectionable flicker. If so, reset the Refresh rate as follows:

  1. Right-click any empty space on the desktop and select the Properties option.
  2. Click on the Settings tab.
  3. Click on the Advanced button.
  4. Click on the Adapter tab.
  5. Increase the selected Refresh rate to a frequency the eliminates flicker. If you’re not sure which frequency to use, select “Optimal” or “Adapter Default.” If one of these options is already displayed, select the other one. Generally, this is enough to resolve the problem.

NOTE: The above sequence may vary slightly depending on your specific video adapter. But in any case, look for the Refresh rate setting and change it as specified in step 5 above.

Exit Problems

Windows Me still has power-off problems and may hang at a black screen when exiting. In some cases, the problem is resolved by disabling CMOS power options (press the Delete key during bootup to access the Configuration screen, then select the Power tab). If this doesn’t do it, try shutting down by selecting the Restart option. Watch the screen, and manually kill power as the system begins to reboot. It’s a nuisance, but until Microsoft comes up with a fix, it’s about the only thing that works reliably.

Device Manager and the Refresh Button

In Windows 98, pressing the Device Manager “Refresh” button would send Windows off to re-examine the SCSI bus and report devices powered on after Windows itself had opened. This handy feature obviated the need to reboot if a scanner or other device was powered on during the day.

The same feature is only half-enabled in Windows Me—as before, the device is found and displayed in the Devices list, but now it won’t work unless the system is restarted. Therefore, there’s not much point in using the “Refresh” button any more.

This problem has been observed with several SCSI scanners, and may not apply to other devices. In case of doubt, try the button at least once.

Internet Explorer 5.5 Vertical Scroll Bar

It’s permanently stuck at the right side of the browser window even when there’s nothing to scroll. The bar remains visible, with no slider button on it.

Internet Explorer 5.5 and WordPad

The HTML editor of choice for many power users is the WordPad applet, which has the advantage of not trying to “think” for you, nor does it introduce the awful code bloat that comes from using Word. Although it’s not impossible to use WordPad within Me and IE5.5, it’s not that easy either. The first problem is that the IE5.5 Properties’ “Programs” tab offers two choices for an HTML editor: MS Word (assuming it’s installed) and MS Notepad. You’ll need to do some tweaking in order to make WordPad readily available. Here’s what to do.

  1. Add a new action via the Windows Explorer View menu’s “Folder Options.” This puts an “Edit with WordPad” option on the Context menu for any .htm (or .html) file.
  2. Run the Windows Registry Editor (REGEDIT.EXE) and find the following key: HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.htm\OpenWithList\NOTEPAD.EXE
  3. Rename the NOTEPAD.EXE subkey as WORDPAD.EXE. Or if you want to retain the Notepad option, add a new WORDPAD.EXE subkey beneath the OpenWithList key.
  4. Check for the following key structure and add it as shown if it does not already exist: HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Applications\WORDPAD.EXE\shell\edit\command “C:\Program Files\Accessories\WORDPAD.EXE” “%1”
  5. On the IE5.5 Tools menu, select “Internet Options,” click on the “Programs” tab and then on the down-arrow in the HTML editor box. Select WordPad, click on the OK button and (finally!) you’re done. The browser’s Edit button should now launch WordPad as your default HTML editor, with other edit options available via its own down-arrow.

The REGEDIT Window

The Windows Me Registry Editor “remembers” what you were looking at just before exiting, and returns to that location the next time you launch the Editor.

Well, almost. It remembers the highlighted key and shifts the Key Pane as necessary to display the full name of that key. The result may not be what you expected, and some readjustments will be needed to return to the original view.

Notice: Windows® 95, Windows® 98, Windows® NT, Windows® 2000 and Microsoft® Office are registered trademarks or trademarks of the Microsoft Corporation.

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