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Computer repair questions and answers for the Windows XP operating system.

Question: I have an assembled tower PC using an AMD Sempron 2400+ 1.67 Mhz processor and 256 MB of RAM. I run Windows XP SP2 on this machine and have many programs that load with Windows and use up my memory and CPU resources. How do I do away with them?

Answer: To disable unnecessary programs and services and start Windows XP in a clean state, you need to use the System Configuration Utility "MSCONFIG". To launch the utility, click on the "Start" Menu, and then select "Run". A dialog box will appear asking you for a program name and location. In this space, type "msconfig" then confirm by clicking on the "OK" button. The System Configuration Utility window will appear before you. Click on the "General" tab, and then check the "Selective Startup" radio button. Uncheck the boxes named "Process SYSTEM.INI file", "Process WIN.INI file", and "Load Startup Items". Afterwards, click on the "Services" Tab, and check the "Hide All Microsoft Services" box. Click on "Disable All". (N.B., you can recheck dialog boxes for programs / driver services that you use, e.g. your Graphics Card Utility, Antivirus programs, Firewalls ...). Now, click on "Startup", and click on "Disable All". Recheck boxes relevant to programs you use (e.g. MSN Messenger, Firewall, Antivirus ...). Confirm the operation by clicking on the "OK" button, then on the Message Dialog that appears before you, select "Restart". Your computer will reboot, providing you with a notification message once windows is reloaded. Click on the "Don't show this message or launch the System Configuration Utility when Windows start" box to check it, and then click on "OK". Your computer will now start with a clean system configuration and you can use your resources (Memory, CPU ...) more productively.

Question: I have a Toshiba Satellite Laptop with Windows XP, 512 MB RAM, 40 GB Hard disk, with built-in 56k modem and a second PCMCIA modem for professional related VPN connexions. I have a device conflict between the two devices. How can I fix this issue?

Answer: To fix device conflicts you can use "Device Manager". To start the utility, click on the "Start" Menu, then select "Control Panel". Select "Performances and Maintenance", then Select the "System" icon by double clicking on it. You can also start the window using the keyboard shortcut: [windows key] + [Pause]. In the new window that appears before you, select the "Hardware" Tab, and then click on the "Device Manager" button. A list of hardware installed on your machine will appear. You will find the conflicting hardware marked by a black exclamation point on a yellow triangle. Double click on the problematic device(s) to show the respective properties window, and then select the "Resources" tab. A list box at the bottom of the window will provide you with conflicting devices and the resources involved. You can now modify the resources (I/O range) to resolve the conflict. N.B.: When you change resources (e.g. IRQ, DMA channel), make sure the values you choose are not in conflict with other devices. Click on "OK" to apply the modifications. You may need to reboot your computer for the changes to take effect.

Question: I have a Compaq Deskpro EN Pentium III 866 MHz, 20 GB hard disk, 256 RAM. When I boot up my computer, the Windows logon screen does not appear. Instead, my computer reboots. What should I do to prevent this?

Answer: Your kernel library is most probably corrupted, and needs replacement. To replace it with a clean copy you will need your Windows Installation CD. Reboot the computer from the Windows XP installation CD. You may need to modify your BIOS settings to select the CD drive as a boot device. Choose the appropriate option to boot from the CD. During the text based installation phase, select 'R' for Repair or Recovery. Be sure to select the appropriate installation if you have more than one operating system on your computer. Enter the Administrator password when asked. You will then be presented with a command prompt. Type "cd system32" followed by the [ENTER] key. Then, type "ren kernel32.dll kernel32.old" and then press [ENTER] to rename your corrupted kernel library. Now type "map" and press [Enter]. A drive letter will be shown representing your CDROM drive ( e.g. F: \device\cdrom0 ). Note the drive letter as you will need it. Type the following at the command prompt: "expand [cdrom_drive_letter]\i386\kernel32.dl_" then press [ENTER] (e.g. "expand F:\i386\kernel32.dl_" + |ENTER] key). Remove your Windows XP CDROM. Finally, type "exit" and press the [ENTER] key at the command prompt. This will restart your computer. Your problem should now be resolved.

Question: My computer is a Dell Optiplex GX150 PIII 1.0 GHz, 20 GB Hard Disk, and 128 MB RAM. I upgraded to Windows XP Professional two days ago. Since then, when I start Windows I get the following error message: "dri_kbfiltr could not be found". Why does this happen?

Answer: This happens because the DriTek Solutions driver is not compatible with Windows XP Pro. To fix this issue you can either download an updated version of the drivers corresponding to your operating system (Windows XP Pro) from, or simply remove "Multimedia Hotkeys Software" from startup, as the hotkeys will continue to work. (Using MSCONFIG as described in the first article above, select the "startup" tag. Then, uncheck "cpatr10" and click on "OK". Remember to check the box "Don't show this message or launch the System Configuration Utility when Windows start" when windows reboots).

Question: I have a Dell Latitude C400 PIII 1 GHz Laptop, with 256 MB RAM, and 20 GB Hard Disk. I installed an antivirus program to protect my files. Since then, when I start Windows, I get the following error message: "Windows cannot find openme.exe". How can I get rid of this error message?

Answer: This happens because your antivirus program has removed or quarantined "openme.exe", when a reference to the file still exists in the registry. To fix this, launch the registry editor by clicking on the "Start" menu, then selecting "Run". In the dialog box that appears, type "regedit" and click on "OK". Using the Left Pane, browse to find the following registry key (as you would look for a folder in windows explorer ): "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\WindowsNT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon". Click on 'Winlogon'. On your right, click on 'shell' with your right mouse button, then select modify. Remove 'openme.exe' (Be sure to leave 'explorer.exe'!!! This is IMPORTANT!). Click on "OK". Quit Registry Editor and reboot your computer if prompted. This should resolve the issue.

Question: I am using my company's AMD Athlon Tower running at 1.8 GHz, with 128 RAM and a 20 GB Hard Disk Drive. I have an irritating keyboard that often 'swallows' keystrokes. When I enter my password at the logon screen, I often mistype it. After three tries, this locks the logon screen in a freeze state and prevents me from entering my password again. We have ordered new keyboards, but until then, how can I prevent my computer from freezing when I type the wrong password?

Answer: Your computer's Account Lockout Policy is, according to your description of the problem, configured to lock the account after three incorrect login attempts. To modify this, you will first need to login to windows, then launch the Microsoft Management Console with Local Security Settings (you can locate this at start => control panel). You will obtain a window with a list on the left. From this list, select 'Security Settings'. Afterwards, select "Account Policies", then "Account Lockout Policies". In the right pane, you will have at least 3 entries. In the "Account Lockout Duration", Modify this value to the duration you prefer (this will be the amount of time the account is locked after x unsuccessful login attempts ). Afterwards, modify the "Account Threshold" entry to a value of your choice (according to your problem, a value around 50 will do the job. Note that you might consider lowering the number, and that this does pose a security risk. Also, think of resetting the values once you obtain a functioning keyboard). Finally, the "reset lockout counter" entry should be left as it is (this is simply the amount of time since the last incorrect login attempt, before the counter is reset to zero.)

Question: I use a BABTS SQ-461891 XC Cube 3000 P3 with 3GHz processor, 512MB of Memory, and an 80GB Hard Disk. I run a French Windows 2000 Professional and an English Windows XP Professional on the same machine. Each time I boot up my computer I am presented with an OS choice list. The computer will load Windows XP automatically after 30 seconds. How can I decrease this time to 5 seconds?

Answer: To modify booting settings you need to access your System Properties. Click with your right mouse button on "My Computer" then select "Properties" from the context menu. On the "System Properties" window, select the "Advanced" tab. Click on the "Startup and Recovery" Button on the bottom of the tab. This will present you with a new Window listing the Operating Systems available on your computer. You can modify the default Operating System to use, and the time period during which the list of operating systems is shown before the default OS is loaded ( this is the first time value ). Modify the Value from "30" to "5" and Click on "OK" to apply the changes. Click on "OK" in the System Properties window to close it. The changes will take effect the next time you start your computer.
N.B.: Since your default system is Windows XP, it is preferred that you perform the above operation from that System.

Question: Hi, I have a ASI 16779 ASBTS using 2.17 GHz AMD with 256MB RAM, and a 120GB Hard Disk. My problem with Windows XP is in setting folder options. When I choose tools -> folder options -> view, and check "Show hidden files and folders" radio box, and open the same window, again it shows that "Show hidden files and folders" radio box is unchecked. I could not check it anyway. The same problem occurs when I try XP in Safe Mode with the Administrator account. What can be the problem?

Answer: This can be caused by a virus ( W32 ), Malware, or an error in your registry.
For the first two possibilities, you need to install a proper Antivirus / Anti-Spyware program and run a scan.
You can also try the following:
Open notepad, and type the following text (Please make sure the spelling is correct ):

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00




Save the file "RegistryFix.reg", and close notepad. Double click on the file. The information should be modified / added in your registry.

You can also try the following operation:
Go to the "Start" Menu, select "Run", and then type "sfc /scannow".
In addition, restoring the system to a previous date using System Restore ( Start => All Programs => Accessories => System Tools => System Restore ) may resolve your situation.

Question: I am using Windows XP on a Pentium III 900 MHz processor with 256 MB of RAM and a 20 GB Hard Disk. I use my computer for professional purposes, having to frequently organize files in folders. I like windows' 'send to' context menu with which I can for example move files from the desktop to 'my documents' folder. Is there any way to modify this so I can send files to other locations (for example my documents\reports\summaries)?

Answer: The "sendto" context menu is a handy tool for quick file moving. To answer your question, yes, you can add locations to the 'sendto' context menu. To do this, simply create a shortcut of the location you want to send your files to. The next step would be to rename this shortcut (you can keep the original name; however, it is preferred to rename it to a shorter alias, especially names like 'shortcut to c:\documents and settings\username\my documents\reports'). Let us for example call this shortcut 'reports' (you can do this by right clicking on the shortcut, then selecting 'rename' and entering the 'report' using the keyboard). Once you rename your shortcut, open the following path using 'My Computer' by browsing for it: [c:\documents and settings\[username]\sendto\]. Replace [username] with your username or the name of the account you want to enable the "sendto" location for. Finally, simply drag the shortcut you created previously and place it in this location. You can now use the 'send to' context menu to directly place files and folders in the location you specified in your shortcut. N.B.: if your windows files are installed on a drive other than c:\, modify the access path mentioned above to reflect this (with the respective drive letter of your windows folder).

Question: I am using a desktop computer for professional purposes on a eMachines with a Pentium 4 processor at 2 GHz, 512 MB of RAM, and a 400 GB hard disks. I have been using a desktop theme for a while until recently when I have, by accident, deleted the files linked to the theme. Since then, 'My computer', 'Recycle Bin', 'My Documents', and 'Network Neighborhood' icons are simply a blank sheet of paper. I cannot find the same theme on the Internet; however, I could find the icons and the wallpaper files. How can I manually set these files to be used?

Answer: To change the background wallpaper for your computer, you can right click with your mouse button anywhere on your desktop (make sure you click on the background and NOT on an icon). In the context menu that appears before you, select properties. A new window will show up, giving you options to modify your display settings. Click on the 'Desktop' Tab, and then click on the 'Browse' button. Now locate the wallpaper file you want to use and then click on 'OK'. While at the same window, click on 'Personalize Desktop' at the bottom. A new window will give you options to modify icons for your desktop (for 'My Computer', 'Network Neighborhood', 'Recycle Bin', and 'My documents'. Click on one of the items (e.g. 'My Computer') then Click on 'Change Icon'. Now Browse to locate the icon you want to use for 'My Computer', then click on 'OK'. Repeat this operation for the remaining items, and then click on 'OK' to apply the changes. Click on 'OK' on the 'Display Properties' window to apply the Wallpaper changes. This will fix your icon and Wallpaper issue.

Question: I am using a Dual Core at 2.4 GHz with 768 MB RAM and a 100 GB hard disk. I would like to make shortcuts to be able to shut down my computer directly from the desktop. Is this possible?

Answer: To create a shortcut to the shutdown, logoff, and restart buttons, simply create a shortcut, then map it ( by entering the path indicated ) to the following locations:

For Shutdown, the command is C:\WINDOWS\RUNDLL.EXE user.exe,exitwindows

For Restart, the command is C:\WINDOWS\RUNDLL.EXE user.exe,exitwindowsexec

For Logoff, the command is C:\WINDOWS\RUNDLL.EXE shell32.dll,SHExitWindowsEx 0

Question: I am using a Pentium 4 D at 2 GHz assembled system with 1 GB RAM and three 100 GB hard disks. I use the computer for graphic design and I have plenty of software installed, which makes quite a mess out of my favorites and start menu icons. How can I make the latter two sort alphabetically?

Answer: To sort your start menu, simply click on the 'Start' Button, then select 'Run'. In the dialog box that appears, type 'regedit' then confirm by clicking on the 'OK' button. Now using regedit, locate the following registry key by browsing for it ( as you would for a folder ): HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/Microsoft/Windows/CurrentVersion/Explorer/MenuOrder. You will find an entry for each 'Favorites' and 'Start' menu icon you have. For each entry, you will have a value called 'Order'. You need to delete this registry key ( N.B.: make sure you delete the 'order' key ONLY ). You need to delete this key for all entries. You may also rename it to something like "ord3r". Once all the 'Order' keys are deleted/renamed for all 'Start' menu / 'Favorites' entries, you can reboot your computer. Once restarted, your icons will be listed alphabetically.


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