Installing Broderbund’s “Totally MAD” under Windows 10

“Totally MAD” is a collection of the issues of MAD Magazine from the start until 1998 published by Broderbund. The software was designed for Windows 95/98 or NT 4.0 (remember Windows NT?). I’ve successfully installed it under Windows 7, and it kept working when I upgraded to Windows 10; however, when I tried to install it on a new 64-bit Windows 10 machine, the installation program just didn’t do anything.


I installed the program manually. Reply OK when asked for permission to copy the files in the following steps:

  1. For 32-bit Windows: create a folder called “Totally MAD”  under c:\program files
  2. For 64-bit Windows: create a folder called “Totally MAD” under c:\program files (x86)
  3. From the CD, copy all files from the WIN32 folder on the CD into the “Totally MAD” folder you created. Copy the files individually, not the directory itself.
  4. Copy the following directories from the CD into the “Totally MAD” directory you created: ANIM, BIN, BTNSND, FAVORITE, MSREG, NMS, PLS. Copy the directory itself, not just the files.
  5. Right-click on the file TOTMAD.EXE file in your “Totally MAD” directory, and select “Create shortcut” from the context menu. It will ask you to put the shortcut on the desktop. Say yes.

You’re done. Just double-click the new icon on the desktop to run Totally MAD.

There’s one other thing you might want to do to complete the installation. Totally MAD wants to save its settings in the Program Files directory, which is a no-no under Windows 10. You can copy the PREFS.INI file from Program Files to some other directory where you can edit it, and make a couple of changes. The first is:


That turns off the annoying registration prompt. The second turns off the prompt when you try to exit the program.


Now copy it back, responding OK to the Overwrite and Permissions prompts.

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Thriving in the Microsoft ecosystem

I’ve used most of my computer hobby time since the release of Windows 10 fighting to keep the things I had working, rather than actually using and enjoying my computers. Now with the release of Windows 10 Build 10586, most things seem to work, and although some of the new bundled apps seem far from finished products, the basics work. What follows are what I see as the building blocks for thriving in the Microsoft ecosystem:

Microsoft Account

I log into my local system with my Microsoft Account. This simplifies access to the pieces of the Microsoft Ecosystem. It makes it simpler for me to manage multiple systems with a single sign-on. It simplifies product licensing and purchases from the Microsoft store. It ties the ecosystem together.


OneDrive may be the most-used new feature of the Microsoft ecosystem for me. It has basically become my storage location of choice between all of my systems. I have an Office 365 subscription that gives me 1 TB of OneDrive cloud storage, which is plenty for everything I want to share across systems. It also allows me to access all of my music from a device without enough storage to fit it all in. I take my Microsoft Surface with me to meetings and now when a document is called for, they look to me because chances are I have a copy on the OneDrive. The OneDrive synchronization model allows me access to most files without an Internet connection, but I’m finding that I have Internet just about everywhere I need it, and when don’t, I use a mobile hotspot from my phone.


I like music; I have a good deal of Music ripped from CDs; I don’t listen to music very often, and that is partly because it’s not where I need it so be. The files total around 36 GB, more than I have free on my mobile devices. Now I can upload the music to OneDrive, and then with Groove Music search and listen to it as long as I have an Internet connection. What’s extra nice about this is that there are iOS and Android apps too. I can also download music to the device and play it with Groove Music for situations like a car trip. I also like not having to install iTunes on all my devices.

The theme here is that now I have things when and where I need them without much extra effort and planning.


Bluetooth isn’t Microsoft, or new, but I recently put something together that I enjoyed. I downloaded a karaoke video from YouTube onto my Microsoft Surface Pro 3 and then “connected” Bluetooth speakers. I played the video with Microsoft Media Player. The result was a hand-held karaoke machine that I took to a party, getting rave reviews on the result. I also have some Bluetooth headphones that get a lot of use.


I have a Kindle Fire HD, but I haven’t turned it on in ages. It’s been completely replaced by the Kindle app on my Windows tablet. I have other book reader apps and Adobe Reader DC that allow me to have my books with me anytime. Amazon serves its own content, and the rest goes on the OneDrive. I rarely buy paper books anymore. Some people prefer paper books, but I have one word for them, “search.”

Office 365

Office 365 Home is a great deal for me since I have 5 systems that need Office and the $100 annual fee gets me all the Office apps (including Access and Publisher) for $20 per device per year. I updated to Office 2016 without an upgrade fee, and I get 1 TB of OneDrive storage with the deal. I shared the subscription with my wife, and now she gets 1 TB of storage for herself. I also use the included mobile license for my Dell tablet and my iPhone. I could put it on my Android tablet too, but I hardly ever use that. Just today I needed a phone number that wasn’t in my address book, but someone had send me a list of phone numbers in a Word document that I had saved on the OneDrive. I accessed the OneDrive on my iPhone and opened it with Word Mobile.

Skype / Phone

Microsoft has released its Phone app that connects to Skype users. What’s confusing for now is that Office 365 gives me 60 minutes of Skype to phone time per month, but the Phone app can’t call phones, at least not so far. The Skype desktop app still works though. I’ll file this one under “unfinished,” but promising.

Surface Pro 3

Lots of companies make hardware, but I chose the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 for my tablet and it is a sweet machine. It is fast, and powerful. I can plug in standard USB devices, run BlueTooth, and connect with WiFi. The Type keyboard is very usable. All in all, it replaces a laptop handily.

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Microsoft Office 365 Sway

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Church Helpmate 2010 under Windows 10

imageOur church uses Church Helpmate 2010 for contribution accounting. I’m the contributions secretary, and I run a copy of the software at home to do reports. Things were working smoothly until I installed Windows 10 on my home system and Helpmate stopped working.

As part of installing Windows 10, I had to re-install Microsoft Office Professional 2013 and I think that latter item caused my problem. The symptom was an error message about “registry permissions” followed by an offer to repair the problem. I ran the repair, but the problem persisted, and afterwards any attempt to start the program resulted in an installation dialog that appeared briefly and then closed.

In order to fix this problem I used the Windows uninstaller to remove both Church Helpmate 2010 AND the Microsoft Access 2002 runtime. I also deleted a folder (maybe unnecessarily) C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Sagekey Software. After that I re-installed Church Helpmate from media.

That fixed it and all is working again.


I installed Office 365, which at this point is Office 2016. I had the same problem with HelpMate and the same solution worked. Helpmate is a Microsoft Access application integrally tied to the Access 2002 runtime. Somehow that runtime is damaged by the Office installation (which includes the current version of Access).

I recently learned that the latest version, HelpMate 2015, is built on Access 2o10. That might work better.

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Is Windows 10 a reprise of Windows Vista?

I remember Windows Vista; in fact I still have a laptop that came installed with Windows Vista. What comes to mind first about that experience is that my disk drive became corrupted multiple times and I had to re-install the operating system from scratch at least twice. I also remember that it became stable after Service Pack 1 came out.

Fast forward to Windows 10, another promising but very buggy operating system. I have read horror stories from my friends and on the Internet about machines locking up and being basically unusable after upgrading to Windows 10. Lots of folks put this thing on the first few days, and several have reverted back to their former operating systems. I decided to “take arms against a sea of troubles and, by opposing, end them.” And I did basically fix or work around all the bugs and migration issues after a week or so of work–a few still persist that I’m living with almost 2 month later.


Cortana is a bad joke. How do you set up Cortana, Microsoft’s digital assistant? It’s not in the Control Panel or the new “All settings” app. It’s not even in the bottom drawer of a locked file cabinet in a basement room with a sign on the door, “Beware of the leopard!” Internet help pages say that the way to configure Cortana is to type “Cortana” in the search bar. That works on some of my machines, but not on at least one of them. Another help page suggested selecting Settings from the upper left of the Cortana screen: there are 4 icons there, “Home, Notebook, Reminders and Feedback.” Not to keep you under suspense, it’s under “Notebook.” 😯

The more serious problem is that the vast majority of attempts to use Cortana result in errors like “Sorry, the internet and I aren’t talking right now.” Try, “Hey Cortana, where’s the nearest hospital” to appreciate that message. Update: Cortana is working better this morning. Update: Cortana is now mostly working, but it relies on Bing for all its searching and Bing is broken and has been for weeks.

Siri can set a timer, but Cortana cannot.

Error messages

I have never appreciated error messages from Windows that are little more than “Search for this 8 digit number on the Internet and figure out for yourselves which of the dozen things it could mean apply.” That’s not improved in Windows 10 and with new Windows 10 apps, they are more likely to just wink away and tell you nothing, like the Camera app did when it couldn’t find the Camera Roll directory. Stuff like this shouldn’t be tolerated from a programmer trainee!

General stability and operability

I have two tablet computers, a Microsoft Surface 3 Pro and a Dell Venue 8 Pro. I have to bang over and over on the screen to get it to recognize taps, and Windows 10 is just too tightly spaced on many of its critical functions to be usable with finger input. Update: with the latest Threshold 2 Insider Builds, there is more finger space.

There are persistent problems getting the on–screen keyboard to pop-up when it’s needed. Sometimes the Windows start page in tablet mode is blank. It’s not unusual for your application to just disappear because you brushed the tablet. And Skype, which runs in the background keeps popping up when the desktop whatever it’s called is supposed to be there. Update: In the Insider Builds, Skype no longer runs as a desktop app, rather as a separate Phone app. The app is totally buggy and crashes a lot.

Windows 10 is bad about displaying buttons and icons that aren’t ready to work yet. The Search box is the worst of those.

Settings are still scattered all over the countryside and hard to find.

Other bugs

A huge bug that can be worked around is OneDrive resetting permissions on your folders so you can’t save your stuff in them. This makes itself known in a variety of ways depending on the application. Office can’t save files; Live Writer can’t upload blog posts; Lightroom can’t open its catalog; you can’t import pictures; you can’t download files. Update: this seems to have been worked up through various Windows updates.

Windows converts all your private networks to public networks during upgrade, so none of your shared files and devices work until you change it back.

Lots of folks are screaming about their web cams not working. My Camera app didn’t work due to a permissions bug.

Update: Many problems are appearing with the Chrome browser with the Insider builds.


Windows 10 is a fairly good design and an improvement over Windows 8.1. But it is very buggy and many people are having problems with many things. I personally have most everything working (one machine did crash this morning), and I’m productive again. Windows 10 is only for early adopters.

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