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October 20, 1997

Readers respond on Explorer 4.0, Excel, cookies, and more

This week's column is devoted to input from you, my dedicated readers. Keep those tips and secrets coming -- your findings can help thousands of readers worldwide!

Explorer 4.0 and proxy servers

I wrote in last week's column about the released version of Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0. Reader Bob Rosenbaum reports that immediately after installing Explorer 4.0, he could not access any secure servers. This problem may affect you if you see the message, "Error #501 -- Not Implemented."

Microsoft has acknowledged that this problem can occur in Explorer 3.02 and 4.0, in both the Windows 95 and Windows NT editions. When configured with different port addresses for HTTP and Secure HTTP connections, Explorer tries to use the HTTP port for both, preventing access to secure servers.

Microsoft's solution was to type in the same port addresses for HTTP and Secure HTTP connections. You do this in Explorer by pulling down the View menu, clicking Options, clicking the Connections tab, and then clicking Advanced in Proxy Server in the dialog box. You get the port addresses from your network manager. This didn't work for Rosenbaum, however, because he uses dial-up access to the Internet, not a proxy server. His problem was fixed when he simply disabled proxy access in the View, Options dialog box.

To read the details, set your browser to Click Support Online, register your name, and then search on "Q166374" for a full report.

Cookies, cookies ... got milk?

I also wrote last week about Cookie Pal, a utility from that manages the text files Web sites use to identify you. Reader Nick Champion recommends a free utility called Anonymous Cookie that accepts cookies for you and then deletes them when you shut down. It's available at and offers an anonymous and a nonanonymous mode, depending on your surfing preference.

Excel-erate your math

Ira Brickman was the first reader to report to me a fix for the Excel 97 "row 17" bug. This bug affects every 16th row of Excel 97 spreadsheets, beginning with row 17. If several cells in such a row all refer to the cell to the left of them, and another cell refers to a cell above the errant row, some cells in the spreadsheet will not automatically recalculate.

A work-around is to press Ctrl-Alt-F9 to manually recalculate your spreadsheets. But Microsoft has posted a patch file at to fix the problem. The patch requires that you first install the Service Release 1 patch to Office 97, which is explained on the recalc.htm page. For full details, follow the procedure for Support Online mentioned above, and search on "Q174868." Microsoft promises that this technical document will be available by the time you read this.

Never saw an ID I didn't like

Readers Charles Tibbals and Timothy Hood, responding to my Sept. 22 column (see "Remove Exchange and Microsoft Outlook does break,") on Microsoft's CD OEM numbers, say they type in 1s or 0s for these and they work. Great security system!

Brian Livingston is the 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 questions.

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