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Extension Technology and
Computer Services


University of Missouri-Columbia   Extension Technology and Computer Services—ETCS

   August 1999
   Vol. 16, No. 7

A Technology Newsletter for Extension Specialists



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Preferred Configuration
by Bill McFarland

ETCS' goal is to reduce computer lock-ups and thereby reduce frustration. We want to re-establish a best-practice configuration for each of your computers. By doing this, it is our intention, to create an environment where your computer will run as smoothly as possible. The preferred configuration includes what software is installed and how it is set up with options and features. There are certain things we know will increase the probability of a lock-up, so we will try to eliminate these. There are other things that we believe will reduce the probability of a lock-up, so we will try to encourage these.

To achieve this goal, we will be making a virtual visit to your computer beginning in September. We will be using SMS to support this virtual visit, using your direct connection to the network as our path to your computer. We will rely on a familiar telecommunications technology to reach out and touch (otherwise known as the telephone). As we talk to your computer, we will be talking with you, via the phone. You can help us with what we are going to be doing to the configuration at hand. We can not connect to your computer without your permission, and we will not do anything to it that you do not agree with.

As has been stated, computers create possibilities and in considering the possibilities we become creative. One of the quotables from a RITS meeting was, "How is it that someone who can't figure out how to copy files can figure out how to get a screen saver of the Rocky Mountains installed?" That's empowered creativity. We certainly don't want to squash creativity. But we want you to know more about what you are creating, and some of the consequences.

And then there is the computer virus issue. Having taken the popular path of Exchange mail, and MS Office 97 we are most susceptible to macro viruses passed along through e-mail. We need to protect ourselves as much as possible from these hazards. That protection uses up computer resources at every desktop. Configuration of that protection is significant for computer performance.

For those of you who enjoy thinking about these things, there will be a web page describing the details of our preferred configuration for the Pentiums and another for the 486s at

We at ETCS hope this will help boost your productivity with your computer and reduce the frustration. We look forward to our virtual visit with you in the near future.



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