Dear Windows-Help.NET Subscriber,
Boy, it has been one of those weeks! After a programmer, Richard M. Smith, of Brookline, Massachusetts, last week reported that he found a hidden "code" number in documents he created with MS Word & Excel (when used in combination with Windows 98), the mainstream media picked the story up, and as usual when that happens with computer-related issues, facts & fiction got mixed.
The true extent of the problem is not yet clear to many experts, and I have been trying to get as much information about it as possible, but it's difficult to get a clear picture.
If you want to get a good breakdown of the facts known so far, I suggest you read Woody's Office Watch of 10 March 1999. It has most of the facts, as reported by Richard Smith - the "horse's" mouth, if you wish.
One thing worth adding here is that, after the article in WOW was written, Richard Smith further discovered that the Windows 98 Registration Wizard (RegWiz), which is an ActiveX control, can be used by any Web site to read your HWID (Hardware ID) and MSID (your Microsoft ID, which is used by MS to track your movements on their Web site). For more information on the Microsoft RegWiz control, and how to disable it, check this Windows-Help.NET troubleshooting document.
If you want to read more on this, here are some links to get you started:
WashingtonPost: Microsoft to Rid Windows of Tracking Numbers.
ZDNet: MS admits Windows privacy flaw.
C|NET: Microsoft admits privacy problem, plans fix.
CMP NET: Microsoft Aims To Fix Win 98 Privacy Issue.
Microsoft's official position (which doesn't address the real problem, but who would have thought they would...) can be found here:
Original Letter & Update.
And of course they are calling it a BUG (well, they call it a "potential privacy issue" and say: "it was brought to our attention that the Windows 98 Registration Wizard might inadvertently be sending a specific hardware identifier to Microsoft during user registration"), as they would have a real problem if it was determined that this was done by design...
Anyway, they (Microsoft) have provided Intel with a breather over the Pentium III ID issue, as that looks like child's play in comparison to this "issue".
In a move which surprised many, lawyers for Intel and the Federal Trade Commission last Monday announced that they had reached a tentative agreement to settle the antitrust case, which was due to start on the 9th of March. The deal is not final, and there seems to be some confusion on the exact implications of the deal. Intergraph, one of the companies who brought the case to court, said they will continue legal action against Intel. To be continued.....
Fix Available for Windows NT "KnownDLLs List" Vulnerability
This is an update to the article posted in the Newsletter of 27 February, which only listed a workaround for the problem. Microsoft has now released a patch, and also updated the list of affected products.
More information, and links to the hot fix can be found in the Microsoft Knowledge Base Article No. Q218473.
Outlook 98 archive patch
According to Microsoft, if you perform an archive operation in Microsoft Outlook, and your computer fails for an external reason (such as the power going out), when you restart Outlook, you may notice that some information that should be archived is not present in the original folder or in the folder to which it should have been archived.
More information, and links to the fix can be found in the Microsoft Knowledge Base Article No. Q214575.