For Upgrade, Be Sure to Follow Your Motherboard's Advice

dave.wilson@latimes.com

Q: I am going to upgrade my computer by installing a new motherboard and CPU. The chip will be the AMD 1-gigahertz Athlon. Will PC-133 memory be sufficient or should I buy even faster memory? I obviously don't understand the relationship between the RAM's speed and the processor's speed.

A: You won't find a lot of RAM that runs faster than a PC-133 set, though we've seen a few test drives of PC-166 RAM. But the bad news is that choosing RAM can be incredibly complex. DIMM RAM versus SIMM RAM. Synchronous Dynamic RAM. Double-Double-Rate Synchronous Dynamic RAM. Error Correcting Code RAM or Non-Correcting Code RAM. And the ever-popular latency timing issue.

Bottom line: You'll be OK with 133, but make sure you install the kind of RAM modules specified by the maker of your motherboard.

Q: I recently fell for a Web hoax that said I had a virus set to go off June 1. As a result I deleted a file on my C: drive named SULFNBK.EXE. Apparently, this is a legitimate file. How can I replace it? Do I really need it?

A: The file you deleted restores long file names. It's not especially important for most people. But let's fix it anyway. Assuming you're using Windows 98, here's what to do.

Before anything else, make extensive backups. Hit the Start button, then go to the Programs menu, then Accessories, System Tools and open System Information. When the box opens, go to the Tools menu and open System File Checker.

Fill in the circle next to this sentence: "Extract one file from installation disk," and, in the empty space underneath labeled "Specify the system file you would like to restore" type "c:windowscommandsulfnbk.exe" (without the quote marks) and hit the Start button on the box.

The Extract File box should pop up. Click the Browse button next to the "Restore from" blank line and locate the Windows installation files, which should be C:windowsoptionscabs. If you've got your original Windows installation disc sitting around, you can also pull the file off there. At this point, just click OK and follow the instructions.

Q: Is there a way I could copy a 3-megabyte file onto several standard floppy disks? I have several files that are not too large, but I don't want to put them onto a CD.

A: The concept is called "spanning," and it's a great capability. There are lots of tools to do this, and it's usually built into compression tools, which squeeze data into a smaller space. We're partial to WinZip, which you can try for free at http://www.winzip.com.

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Dave Wilson is The Times' personal technology columnist. Submit questions to Tech Q&A; at techtimes@latimes.com.

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