Math software for Windows
"It's not a bug, it's
Microsoft has said that about some problems people have had with their software.
On this web page I will collect some of the most annoying problems I've run into,
and some solutions. At the bottom of the page are links to other websites
for fixing other annoyances with Windows. Of course, keep in mind that
any alterations you make on your computer are at your own risk. --
Links to other related pages:
- A new security hole is discovered in Windows nearly every week.
You can get the latest patches at the Windows Update website
-- just go there (using Internet Explorer, version 4.0 or later), and click on
"Product Updates"; then install whatever is listed under "Critical Update".
- Among the updates available is one called
"Critical Update Notification". It automatically checks to see whether you
need some critical update. If you need one, it notifies you.
Unfortunately, the "Critical Update Notification" itself has a bug
so serious that you may prefer to do without this automated
system, and just go on your own to Windows Update once a week or so.
But the bug is correctable. --- The bug is, that with the default setting
the Critical Update Notification program will run once every five minutes!
This means that once every five minutes, your computer will slow down for
a good-sized fraction of a minute while it checks again to see whether
there is a new critical update since the last time it checked!
Obviously you'd like to change the time interval, but doing that's
a little tricky. Instructions for doing it can be found at
Personally, I have set mine so that it runs once each time I start up the computer.
I think that's often enough.
- Machine Debug Manager (MDM.EXE)
probably can be found in your Windows directory or your Windows\System directory.
It's part of your operating system. You may not need it -- it is a
"Script Development Utility", so unless you're writing scripts you
probably don't need it -- but removing it
is tricky. Instructions for removing it can be found at
You may want to remove it, because it has a bug that can be
annoying. On some computers, it runs fairly often, whether you
want it to or not. (It's invisible. To find out whether it's running,
press CONTROL-ALT-DELETE and see the list of
programs that are running.)
Whenever it's running, the other stuff that you're doing may
slow down. Moreover, each time it runs, it creates a couple
of zero-byte trash files and leaves them in the Windows directory;
those just stay there forever or until you delete them.
When you have accumulated a few hundred of those
trash files, or a few thousand, they will start slowing down
your computer's access to other, more useful programs
in the Windows directory. -- Don't worry,
Forrest's removal instructions
are all reversible, so you can get MDM.EXE back later
if you ever decide you want it.
- On many, many computers the
Windows shutdown procedure malfunctions, especially
in Windows 98 Second Edition. A typical list of problems
and remedies can be found at