Pick a patch

Virus alerts, security loopholes and bugs, bugs, bugs and more bugs. Here you will find workarounds and patches to some of the latest software failings.

Excel 97 Virus Alert

Microsoft is tight-lipped about the evidence, but Excel 97's macro virus checking is less than 100 per cent effective. Under certain circumstances -- if the Excel workbook is password-protected, for example -- a determined virus author can hoodwink Excel into running macro code without warning. Ordinarily, Excel posts a warning dialogue box that gives users the opportunity to prevent the macro from executing.

To fix the problem, Microsoft posted a 2.73MB patch at http://officeupdate.microsoft.com/downloadDetails/xl8p6pkg.htm. Because this patch works only with the Service Release 2 version of Excel, you'll have to update your copy of Office first (for details, see http://officeupdate.microsoft.com). Both are available on PC World's cover CD.

Communicator 4.6, Guninski 3

A scant couple of months after releasing Communicator 4.51, Netscape has already posted a new version of Communicator. Version 4.6's improvements include updated incarnations of the AOL Instant Messenger chat 2 utility and RealPlayer G2, and various security hole fixes. To update your current version, choose Help-Software Updates; or you can download the complete 15MB version from the cover CD of PC World's July edition or from http://pcworld.idg.com.au/main/shareware.htmlWithin days of the update's release, Bulgarian browser-security sleuth Georgi Guninski found three flaws. These holes allow HTML authors to access your Navigator bookmarks, cache and configuration files; browse your hard disk; and read local files on your system. For more details about these security gaps, walk over to some other unsuspecting fool's computer and check out Guninski's Web site at http://www.nat.bg/~joro.

The IE 5 Saga Continues

Still no word from Microsoft on an IE 5 Service Pack, but problems -- and workarounds -- keep cropping up. Here are two:

If you use Windows NT 4.0 and have installed Service Pack 4, IE 5 will fail when it attempts to install Outlook 98. This happens because IE 5's more stringent security won't let you run unsigned binary files.

Choose Tools-Internet Options-Security, click the Custom Level button, click Enable under 'Download unsigned ActiveX controls', and click OK twice to save the setting.

Run into problems with Network Associates' First Aid 98 or First Aid 2000 after you installed IE 5? The utilities don't get along with the new Internet Explorer, because of changes in .dll files, according to Network Associates.

A 715KB patch covering both First Aid editions is available at http://downloaduswest.mcafee.com/updates/faie_update.aspFixing Guard Dog 2.0The latest update to McAfee's Guard Dog utility heals the program's incompatibilities with other utilities and Netscape's cache cleaner, and updates its antivirus engine and virus signature file. Get the 2MB patch from http://support.nai.com/files/grd/prm/gd205upd.exe. Another Guard Dog tic blocks creation of a disk in the emergency disk set. Find a 75KB fix at http://support.nai.com/files/grd/prm/gdedupdt.exe

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