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March 17, 1997

Readers give tips on fax files, Word files, and .INF files

I wrote in my March 3 column that certain bit patterns in documents could crash some fax software due to flaws in the Class 1/Class 2 fax/modem protocols. (See "Torture test sheds light on fax/modems and some of the troubles they have." ) Symantec's WinFax Pro 8.0, due for release soon, appears to clear up these cases.

Reader John Myers wrote that he had a similar problem using the fax software in Windows 95.

Myers found a work-around for Windows 95's fax applet by turning on the check box marked Disable High Speed Transmission. One way to do this is to run the Modem Properties dialog box in Microsoft Exchange. Click Tools, Microsoft Fax Tools, Options, Modem, Properties, Advanced, and turn on the check box. This reduces the highest possible fax speed, which should cure the problem I described without affecting other applications' speed settings for the modem.

And now a Word for Office 97 users

It's been reported in previous issues of InfoWorld that the version of Word for Windows in Microsoft Office 97 sometimes cannot open documents created by the version of Word in Office 95. The documents can be opened in Word 95 but produce a "corrupt file" message in Word 97.

Reader Richard Eckhouse has found a work-around for this problem. After getting no help from Microsoft's technical support, he found a friendly voice in the Word development group, which said the problem originates in Word's Fast File Save option.

This option, which has been accessible through the Tools, Options menu in Word for years, marginally speeds up minor file saves by appending new material to the end of the current disk file. This is somewhat faster than rewriting the whole file from the beginning and inserting the new material at the appropriate points. If the file contains minor internal errors, however, the Fast File Save option makes a Word 95 file unreadable to Word 97.

Apparently, Word 97 can read files that have its own flavor of internal errors, but not files with Word 95's internal errors, and vice versa.

The work-around is to have Word 95 users turn off Fast File Saves. I have done this as a matter of course on all versions of Word from time immemorial. I found that the Fast File Saves option created files that could not be read by some file-format conversion utilities. I figured the small amount of disk-write time savings was not worth the hassle of possible problems reading the resulting files, and I've never missed the feature.

Never the TWAIN shall meet

Reader Scott Jorgenson wrote that he's found another anomaly in Windows 95B (also known as OEM Service Release 2 or OSR2). Some scanners attached to Win95B via a SCSI port and a TWAIN driver suffer from the message "New unknown hardware" upon each start-up, and Windows requests a nonexistent .INF file.

Although this is harmless, it is irritating. Jorgenson solves the problem by inserting a floppy in drive A: and allowing Win95B to search the disk eight times. Windows then starts normally, without the error message. Your Device Manager now lists eight "other devices" with Properties for an incorrect device driver. But it doesn't matter because TWAIN is really in charge anyway. Sheesh.

Myers, Eckhouse, and Jorgenson will receive the new Windows 95 Secrets Gold for being the first to report these tips to me.

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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