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February 17, 1997

Reconfigure files so you can play them again, Sam

Perhaps you've been surfing the World Wide Web and downloading and using multimedia files. Perhaps, like reader Bart Austin in Las Vegas, you hate the way these multimedia selections play and then disappear. Well, Austin has done something about it and is now offering a way to keep those clips open so that you can play them again as often as you need to.

  • Step 1. Run the Windows Explorer (not to be confused with Internet Explorer), then click View, Options, File Types.

  • Step 2. In the File Types tab, scroll down the list of Registered File Types until you get to the one named Video Clip. This file type will probably show the extension .AVI and the application Mplayer in the dialog box when selected. Click this entry once to highlight it, then click the Edit button.

  • Step 3. In the Edit File Type window, you should see Actions such as Play and Open. Click the word Play once, then click the Edit button in this window.

  • Step 4. If it isn't highlighted, click once in the Application Used to Perform This Action box to select its contents. Press the End key to remove the selection highlighting and move the cursor to the end of the command line shown. (If you press a key that deletes the contents of the highlighted text box, you can click Cancel and start over from this point.)

  • Step 5. Use the Backspace key to backspace over the "/close" switch at the end of the command. Also delete the space just before the "/close." This should leave "/play" as the last switch on the command line.

  • Step 6. Click the OK button to save these changes, then click OK out of the File Types dialog box entirely.

    You should now be able to download and run .AVI files, and they won't vanish as soon as they reach the end of their recorded span.

    If you use multimedia files a lot, you may want to use the above steps to edit other related extensions, as well. For example, Mplayer may control data types known as Media Clips (with the extension .MMM) and MIDI Sequences (.MID and .RMI). The Sndrec32 application may be associated with Wave Sounds (.WAV files). Or you may have installed programs other than those that take over these and other extensions on their own.

    Austin receives a free copy of Windows 95 Secrets Gold for his suggestion.

    More on missing attributes

    I wrote last week about problems reader Doug Fetter was having with the Install New Font function in his Fonts control panel on a new IBM Aptiva Stealth system. Now Ray Semiraglio adds some new information that may shed some light on this issue and give counsel to users of other types of computers.

    "At Drew University," Semiraglio wrote, "each new incoming student gets a computer. In fall '96, the machine was the TI Extensa 510. As part of the deal, [Texas Instruments] installed our software on all the students' machines. Once the students got them, our help desk got some odd calls about My Briefcase and Install New Fonts not working."

    "It turns out that TI used LapLink to duplicate our configuration, and LapLink doesn't believe directories should have attributes -- especially not System -- and it stripped them off during the transfer," Semiraglio wrote. "Adding the `System' attribute back fixed the problem."

    You can do this in a DOS session with the command ATTRIB +S C:\WINDOWS\FONTS.

    Thanks, Ray.

    Brian Livingston is the co-author of Windows 95 Secrets Gold and four other Windows books (IDG Books). Send tips to or fax: (206) 282-1248.

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    Copyright © 1997 by InfoWorld Publishing Company


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