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May 27, 1996

The disappearing act of Windows 95's fax cover page

Windows 95 provides a basic fax capability through Microsoft Corp.'s Exchange Server, complete with cover pages. But, in a bizarre interaction, you may not see any cover pages listed in the Compose New Fax wizard or in the Microsoft Fax Default Cover Page section of its properties sheet.

This can happen merely because you've recently backed up your system. Many backup programs turn off a flag called the Archive bit on files that have been backed up. The Archive bit, which has been around as long as DOS, allows the backup program to indicate which files have been safely copied to tape or disk.

This enables the backup program to perform only an incremental backup the next time around, saving only those files that have changed since the last backup. Whenever you create or modify a file, its Archive bit is turned on.

Unbelievably, fax cover pages become "invisible" to Microsoft Fax and Exchange if the Archive bit has been turned off for .CPE files. This invisible quirk can also occur, according to Microsoft, if you create a cover page in an unknown format, regardless of the setting of the Archive bit.

Fortunately, there is now an easy cure. Microsoft has developed a free file, known as COVER_PG.EXE, that updates the .DLL and other files in Windows 95 that cause this problem. To get COVER_PG.EXE (a 144KB file), create a temporary folder for the file. Then set your browser to

When Microsoft's home page appears, click the Support icon. (It looks like a life preserver.) Then click the heading Free Software. In the dialog box that appears, select Windows 95 as the product and type cover page as the text to search for.

You should see a window that allows you to click COVER_PG.EXE to download it. Save the file in your temporary folder. When the transfer is complete, find the file in Explorer and double-click it. After a few files are extracted and copied to your Windows System folder, you'll see a message to restart Windows. Do so, and your problem should be cured.

You now have the ability to delete or archive the COVER_PG.EXE file. If you can't download this file, you can work around the problem manually by right-clicking .CPE files in Explorer, selecting Properties, and turning on the Archive bit for each one.

Say, how about that Tray?

I wrote on May 13 about Win Tray, a $12.50 shareware program that allows you to place tiny icons for as many as eight applications in the Tray, the recessed area near the clock in the Task Bar. Readers have been sending me tips about their favorite enhancements to this idea.

For example, Icon Corral is just $5; it not only places application icons in the Tray, but it also allows you to remove the space-wasting buttons for these applications from the Task Bar itself while they're running.

You can download a fully functional version from Release 1.0i has been available for weeks, but 2.0 is in final beta testing and may be gold by the time you read this. Release 2.0 enables you to configure an executable's Task Bar behavior from a new tab on its properties sheet. Tray Shortcuts is a free program that doesn't remove applications from the Task Bar but does place icons in the Tray-like Win Tray. I found the Tray Shortcuts file, TSCUTS.ZIP, at

Copies of Windows 95 Secrets go to Bruce J. Miller, Bob Gollihur, and John A. Schaefer for sending me the tips about these utilities.

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

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Copyright © 1996 by InfoWorld Publishing Company


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