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September 22, 1997

Remove Exchange and Microsoft Outlook does break

I've written many columns during the past year or so on the problems of Microsoft's "shared DLL" philosophy. I can't list them all here, but the fundamental problem is that many Windows applications, including Microsoft applications, require specific versions of specific DLLs. All kinds of havoc can ensue if a new version of a DLL is installed by an updated application.

The original idea -- that hard disk space could be saved if multiple applications from different vendors used the same DLL files -- lost its appeal long ago. There are so many problems with shared DLLs that Microsoft should scrap this sorry arrangement and simply require that all applications maintain their own, separate copies of DLLs in their own, separate folders (except for DLLs installed with Windows).

Microsoft itself has provided a doozy of an example of DLL confusion, and it affects people who install Office 97.

Reader Michael Markus says his organization is currently using Exchange Client 4.0 and is migrating to Office 97 and will use Outlook 97 as its e-mail and scheduling client.

After installing Office 97 and Outlook, you'd think the company could simply uninstall Exchange through Control Panel's Add/Remove Programs applet. But when the IT team did this, Outlook would no longer run, displaying the message, "A required DLL file, MAPI32.DLL, was not found." This error occurred even though those at Markus' company had answered "no" when the Exchange uninstall routine had asked whether to delete any shared components.

Despite the fact that Markus tried to keep these shared files, Exchange went ahead and deleted them. It does this because Exchange does not consider them to be shared files at all. But in fact, Outlook 97 depends on these files and won't work without them.

Microsoft has acknowledged the problem, and has more information at http://www and /q161/2/13.htm The only work-around available is to reinstall Outlook 97, or uninstall Exchange before installing Outlook.

Random number generator

Readers have also commented on the "OEM number" that Microsoft requires when you install some applications from a CD-ROM.

One reader was installing a copy of Windows NT, but had left his CD case with the number elsewhere. In desperation, he typed in an "OEM number" from a new Microsoft mouse. To his surprise, it worked! So much for the security value of these numbers.

The route not taken

In my Aug. 25 column ("View Internet and intranet windows simultaneously"), I described a way to help Windows 95 display two browser windows: one displaying a page from the Web, the other from an intranet site. This isn't possible without using the command ROUTE ADD X MASK Y Z, where X, Y, and Z are IP addresses.

I used as an example of a sub-net address that you might use as the value of Y. I didn't mean to imply that this was the only value that could be used. Readers Lawrence Liddiard and Bruce Marshall, for instance, use modified sub-net addresses, such as and, in their companies' networks. If you're unsure, ask your network administrator for the correct value for your network.

Brian Livingston is co-author of several best-selling Windows books, including the most recent Windows 95 Secrets (IDG Books). Send comments to Unfortunately, he cannot answer individual problems.

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Copyright © 1997 by InfoWorld Publishing Company


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