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Reload this page Windows User Applications

Here are my tips and techiniques on popular suite of Office productivity applications software: Microsoft's Office, Lotus SmartSuite, and Sun StarOffice.

A website external to this site MSDN subscriptions discounts from


Topics this page:

  • Windows Installer
  • Macro Security
  • System Utilities
  • Browser Plug-Ins
  • Applications Software
  • Sun StarOffice
  • Shortcut Keys
  • Media Players
  • Resources
  • Get Yourself Certified
  • Your comments???
  • Related:

  • Windows Versions

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    Set this at top of window. The Windows Installer

      Instead of running setup.exe, click on a Windows Installer installation package .msi file. The .msi file extension invokes the Windows Installer service which installs applications. Instructions in a Windows Installer package specify the features or components to install or remove. A feature is part of an application. For example, Microsoft Excel for Windows is part of the Microsoft Office application suite. Features consist of Components. For example, EXCEL.EXE is a component of Microsoft Excel for Windows.

      The installer also adds registry entries, shortcuts, program groups, and expands product files (.dll and .exe files) from compressed cabinet (.cab) files stored in the same folder as the .msi or in subfolders below the package.

      Each Windows Installer package is a self-contained database. But some packages can be customizied with a transform .mst and Setup settings (.ini) files.

      tool Installation Monitor(instaler.exe) (with a command/non-GUI interface) from the Windows 2000 Resource Kit tracks file and registry changes made by Setup programs in any secondary processes invoked, including changes to registry entries, files and .ini file entries. The showinst.exe utility creates an .iml file that documents all those changes, along with enough information to replicate or undo all the changes (using undoinst.exe).

      On Windows Server 2003 computers, you can't uninstall applications in Safe Mode because this message appears when you start Windows Installer in Safe Mode:

        Error 1084: This service cannot be started in Safe Mode.

      The workaround is to execute SafeMSI.exe or run this command:

        REG ADD "HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\SafeBoot\Minimal\MSIServer" /VE /T REG_SZ /F /D "Service"
        net start msiserver


    Microsoft's Windows Install Services Overview article (self extracting exe)

    webpage article Winplant's Overview article on Web Installs

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    Set this at top of window. Macro Security

    Microsoft Office applications have a customization capabilities —transforms. Unfortunately, hackers use those capabilities for nefarious purposes.

    Afraid of viruses, most people do not enable any macros. This means that terrorists win.

    A middle ground is to make use the list of trusted sources with the Specify Office Security Settings page of the Custom Installation Wizard. The settings block macros and other executable code from old sources and helps prevent users from adding new sources to the list. If you leave the list empty, users can run no macros from external sources, including some add-ins and templates that come with Microsoft Excel 2002 and Microsoft Word 2002. You can also associate Microsoft certificates on the list of trusted sources.

    If you have already installed Office, you can use the Custom Maintenance Wizard to distribute settings to other users.

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    Set this at top of window. System Utilities:

    Tricky to install because they attach themselves to Microsoft Office system components. So install these after installing Office.   Go to Top of this page.
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    Set this at top of window. Browser Plug-ins:

    have to be installed after all browsers are installed.   Go to Top of this page.
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    Set this at top of window. Applications Software:

    These are stand-alone programs. Some add DLL files in the Windows or Windows/System directory.   Go to Top of this page.
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    Set this at top of window. Microsoft Office vs. OpenOffice/ StarOffice Suites

      The basic version of MS-Office is $479 retail, $239 upgrade (educational version are $149). The Professional version ...

      StarOffice 5.2 has been available for free 79-105Mbytes download free (after registration) since Sun acquired StarOffice in 1999. It is still free for Solaris[tm] 8, 7, 2.6, and Linux kernel 2.0.x operating systems.

      Starting May 21, 2002, StarOffice 6.0 offers Windows Asian-language fonts, the StarOffice database Adabas D, templates, the clip art gallery, and some file filters. Advances from 5.2 include XML data formats.

      for $79.95 Volume licenses are $25 and $50 per copy.

      StarOffice is based on open-source code and localizations maintained by under a Lesser General Public License (LGPL). In April 2002 it started offering a free version of OpenOffice 1.0 for 79-105Mbytes download, with no support provided.

      How compatible with Microsoft's Office suite?

      Application Microsoft A website external to this
      word processing Wordanother page on this site Writer
      spreadsheetanother page on this site Excel Calc
      presentation Powerpoint Impress
      graphics Visioanother page on this site Draw
      database Access Base
      scheduling Outlook Schedule
      email & newsgroupsanother page on this site Outlook Express Mail & Discussion
      web page design FrontPageanother page on this site AutoPilot
      favorites Windows Explorer Navigator
      internet browseranother page on this site Internet Explorer Internet Browser
      StarOffice 6.0 allows each of these to be opened individually.

      Open Office Forum

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    Set this at top of window. The Most Useful Keyboard Keys

    • Office 97 can open documents created in Office 2000.
    • Office 95 cannot open documents created in Office 2000.

      Non-breaking space between words CTRL+SHIFT+SPACEBAR
      Excel: Line break ALT+ENTER
      Excel: Select the current column CTRL+SPACEBAR
      Excel: Select the current row SHIFT+SPACEBAR
      Page Left ALT+PgUp
      Page Right ALT+PgDn
      Go to dialog box F5

      Microsoft's files are getting bigger:


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    Set this at top of window. Medial Players

    Some games may overwrite (from the game's install CD) a more recent version of DirectX, QuickTime, or DLL's already on your hard disk.

      another page on this siteJason's List of Games

      To remove netmeeting, carry out the following procedure:

        1. Create a new folder called "%systemroot% \oldinf"
        2. Copy "%systemroot% \inf\msnetmtg.inf" to the new folder.
        3. Run the following command - "%systemroot% \System32\rundll32.exe setupapi,InstallHinfSection NetMtg.Remove 132 msnetmtg.inf" (without the quotes and case sensitive!).

      To re-install Netmeeting 3.01, right click on "%systemroot% \oldinf\msnetmtg.inf" and select "Install".


    CD Media Player

    Microsoft's Media Player (wmplayer.exe) consumes a large amount (nearly 19K) of memory and CPU cycles. If you are playing a CD, plug your headphones directly into the CD player and run


    This 6K program when minimized:

    If no sound comes out of you headphones, make sure you have not enabled digital CD on your CD-ROM drive hardware property:

    This screen is obtained from Start | Control Panel | Sounds and Multimedia | Hardware tab | clicking Properties aftering highlighting the CD-ROM:

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    Set this at top of window. Resources

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    Set this at top of window. Get Yourself Certified

      Computer Drivers Licencing

      International Computer Driving License (ICDL)
      Also called the ICDL Computer Competency Certificate is given to recognize computer literacy, as determined by 7 proctored tests, each 45 minutes long:

      1. Basic Concepts of Information Technology - a test of theoretical knowledge, covering fundamental concepts, vocabulary, applications and use of computers. This is a multiple choice automated test.

      The remaining six tests are “practical” (performance-based):

      1. Using the computer and managing files
      2. Word Processing - This  module requires the usual, plus doing such advanced tasks as mailmerge and integration with spreadsheets and graphics.
      3. Spreadsheets - this requires much more than a casual spreadsheet user would know.
      4. Databases
      5. Presentation Tools
      6. Internet and E-mail (Information Networks) - information retrieval.

      Vendor-neutrality is claimed because test questions for each specific brand of software (Microsoft, Lotus, etc.) are all based on a common Syllabus maintained by the non-profit European Computer Driving License Foundation (ECDL-F) based in Dublin, Ireland. The ICDL is the result of international efforts by this organization.

      Test centers in 50 other countries, including in the United States, are accredited by the Cairo, Egypt office of UNESCO (a branch of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization). Total registered participants approached 2 million in 2001.

    'S-Etta V' by Sharron Bliss.  Get this print framed on your wall!
    Get this print framed for your wall!

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