Neptune : Run PC Pitstop Tests with Mozilla or Opera

May 20, 2005: Users have reported an increasing number of issues in trying to get Neptune to work, so PC Pitstop no longer recommends the use of Neptune with Mozilla or Opera. We strongly suggest that you simply use Internet Explorer for testing. Once you have tested, you can review your results using any browser. If you are unable to test with IE, please see our testing FAQ or ask a question on our forums.

Although Internet Explorer holds a majority of the browser market, we try to give our visitors the flexibility of running any choice of browser. Most of the site is accessible from any browser that supports basic style sheets. Users of Mozilla, Firefox, or Opera should be able to read our pages fine, and should also be able to load previous test results or view results that are sent to them through our TechExpress feature.

Until recently, Internet Explorer has been required for any tests performed on the site. Our tests use ActiveX technology, which has only been supported on Internet Explorer. However, Meadco makes a plug-in called Neptune that can be used to run ActiveX controls from non-IE browsers, including Mozilla or Opera. This can let most non-IE browsers run the tests.

There are a few things you should know about Neptune. It is a free download available from MeadCo does require you do provide a name and email address before downloading the file. In addition, the installation process is not simple for most browsers, you must find and move the plug-in to its correct location. If you have problems using PC Pitstop with this plug-in, our first troubleshooting step will be to ask you to use Internet Explorer to see if the plug-in is causing the problem. If you have questions about Neptune, please post them on our forums and we will answer them as best we can.

If you want to give it a try, here's how to install Neptune:

  1. From Mozilla/Opera, go to the PC Pitstop Neptune start page,
  2. The browser will prompt you to download the plug-in if it is not installed. This will take you to the MeadCo site, where you will need to fill out a form and accept their license.
  3. Carefully note the instructions at the MeadCo site for installing the plugin. The process is not automatic for most browsers, and you will need to perform some manual steps to install the plug-in.
  4. For Mozilla and Firefox, after you download the Neptune file you can proceed one one of two ways. If you have WinZip, you can open the .exe file download with WinZip and extract the npmeadax.dll file to the browser's /plugins folder. Otherwise, run the .exe file, search for npmeadax.dll and move it to the browser's /plugins folder.

Three important things to be aware of when using Neptune:

  1. The browsers Address line will always say, regardless of the page you are actually viewing. This means that you cannot bookmark a specific page using your browser. To find out the actual address of the page, you can right-click inside the page and select Properties.
  2. For the same reasons, the Back and Forward buttons on the browser's toolbar will not move you to pages you have viewed within the site. Right-click inside the page and use the Back and Forward choices on that menu instead.
  3. You may see multiple scroll bars on the right side of the page, or the scroll bar may appear to "float" in the page instead of being on the right border of the window. This is usually just a cosmetic problem and should not affect functionality.

To test your computer after installing Neptune, go to the PC Pitstop Neptune start page:

You can either bookmark the page and go there directly each time, or click the "Test with Mozilla or Opera" link on the home page. Also remember that Neptune is only required for testing, you don't need to start at the Neptune page if you are just viewing test results or checking your bandwidth for example.

Best of luck,
The Pitstop Mechanics