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Author Topic: GAH! Need help with my windows. WHY MICROSOFT? WHY????
Orincoro
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Hi, I am having trouble of late with my windows.

Whenever I open an explorer window, for instance whenever I open My Computer, it shuts down almost immediately. The windows help center said it was caused by add ons... but I have removed the add-ons, removed all the spyware I can find, and defragged my hard drive... and nothing. Every time I open a window it crashes explorer. I really don't want to reinstall windows. What do I do?

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Morbo
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I had similar problems, though it wasn't every time but more random.

I was frustrated and on the verge of reinstalling windows when one of the error messages led me to remove a windows tweaking program. That fixed it.

Try a right-click on a blank spot , and on various files. Are there non-windows add-ons in the context menus? You could try removing those programs. Worked for me.

Good luck.

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sarcasticmuppet
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I have another, only somewhat related problem. I just got a cheap computer game (Lemonade Tycoon 2), and it runs fine on my dell laptop, no problem, but once when I was playing it my computer went into hibernation because the battery ran low. But ever since then, my screen has gone completely wompus -- instead of going the entire span of my widescreen monitor, it shows a much smaller, squarish spot in the middle--what it goes to when running the game. I've tried fixing it in the control panel, but windows isn't fixing it. Restarting doesn't work either. I'm doing a virus scan now but I bought a hard copy of the game, it should be clean. I hate it when my computer does buggy stuff like this. Can anyone tell me how to fix it?
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James Tiberius Kirk
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Hmm. Have either of you tried starting your comps in Safe Mode?

That could narrow down the source of the problems a bit. If worse comes to worse, you could also try System Restore; that's not quite as drastic as a full reinstall.

sarcastic-- Here's what I think may have happened: since your computer runs in widescreen by default, the game has to adjust the resolution when it starts and reset it back to widescreen right before the program closes. When the computer turned off becauce of the battery issue, it closed the game before the it had the chance to the return the computer to widescreen. So now the computer interpets the game's resolution as "normal," since that is the resolution the game needed it should run on.

--j_k

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erosomniac
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Have you tried just REPAIRING Windows? That frequently works to resolve a lot of minor issues.

You could also just replace Explorer:

http://www.altap.cz/salam_en/windows_explorer.html
http://www.freevbcode.com/ShowCode.asp?ID=5806
http://www.explorerxp.com/

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erosomniac
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quote:
I have another, only somewhat related problem. I just got a cheap computer game (Lemonade Tycoon 2), and it runs fine on my dell laptop, no problem, but once when I was playing it my computer went into hibernation because the battery ran low. But ever since then, my screen has gone completely wompus -- instead of going the entire span of my widescreen monitor, it shows a much smaller, squarish spot in the middle--what it goes to when running the game. I've tried fixing it in the control panel, but windows isn't fixing it. Restarting doesn't work either. I'm doing a virus scan now but I bought a hard copy of the game, it should be clean. I hate it when my computer does buggy stuff like this. Can anyone tell me how to fix it?
This is a common laptop problem; it happened to me when I was using my Dell. You probably either accidentally hit or otherwise triggered the function that disables your LCD's fullscreen mode (does your Windows load screen also look smaller and condensed in the center?). I can't remember exactly what the keystroke to fix this is (It's the Function key and one of the F keys, but I'm not sure which). Check Dell's support forums, this one's a really common fix.
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Icarus
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SM, we had the same problem on my wife's laptopw with The Sims. I think it was some sort of ActiveX issue. I don't have a (good) solution. Eventually her computer needed to be restored for an unrelated reason, and after the restore, the problem was gone. [Dont Know]
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Giant-Size Man-Thing
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As computer starts, hit F8
Choose Command Line Prompt
Type Scanreg /restore
Pick a date before you had your problem.

Hopefully, that will resolve both your issues.

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sarcasticmuppet
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I just did a system restore through windows to a restore point of last week -- it didn't fix it. I'll try the command line one. I must have seriously effed something up. [Frown]
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Giant-Size Man-Thing
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If it didn't work inside windows, it probably won't work through the command line.

Try eros' resolution and look on Dell's website for a fix.

Also, just to be clear, you've checked your display properties and made sure they're correct: correct display adaptor, monitor, and resolution, and that it's set for only one monitor, and not dual view.

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Boris
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quote:
Originally posted by sarcasticmuppet:
I just did a system restore through windows to a restore point of last week -- it didn't fix it. I'll try the command line one. I must have seriously effed something up. [Frown]

When older games run in Windows XP, they change the desktop resolution before starting up to something that the game is capable of running at. Once the game closes, it sets the display back to normal (usually). Right click on the desktop, go to properties, then click on the settings tab. You'll be able to select the proper resolution in that area. You likely had the resolution set to the max capable before this problem happened, so try that. If that doesn't help, go in to the device manager (right click on my computer, properties, then hardware tab) and uninstall the video driver and restart the computer. The computer will automatically detect and re-install the driver and you'll then be able to set the resolution back to normal.
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sarcasticmuppet
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I dunno what I did -- after the system restore didn't work, I called my computer-savvy brother to talk me through how else I could fix it. The resolution slider bar, which I *swear* didn't do anything a few hours ago, worked perfectly, and now it's fixed. Maybe the restore helped me to be able to change it or something. Very weird.

Anyway, thanks everyone for the help. It at least made me feel like I wasn't a complete moron, when I at least knew what actions y'all were referring to.

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Orincoro
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Eros- I installed Servant Salamander, and that seems to work, but it hasn't resolved the issue with windows explorer. I can now work around it using salamander, but how do you repair windows without a complete reinstall- I've never done that.


BTW I did start up in safe mode and it works fine when I do that.

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erosomniac
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quote:
Eros- I installed Servant Salamander, and that seems to work, but it hasn't resolved the issue with windows explorer. I can now work around it using salamander, but how do you repair windows without a complete reinstall- I've never done that.
For me, I'd just never use explorer again and not care if it's broken. [Smile]

But to repair a Windows XP installation (since I don't know your level of computer literacy, please don't be insulted if I repeat what you already know):

1) Insert Windows XP CD.

2) Shut down computer.

3) While computer is starting up, enter BIOS. For more instructions on how to do this, go here.

4) One of the top level categories should be "BOOT" - go into this tab and it should let you specify what order you want your devices to boot in. Set the first boot device to your CD-ROM drive. (These instructions may or may not be specific enough, but the interface varies so greatly among different flavors of BIOS that this is about as specific as I can get.)

5) The computer will begin XP Setup. One of the first questions it will ask you is if you want to repair an existing installation of Windows XP or begin a fresh installation. Hit "R" - that will lead to the Repair option.

6) Follow the onscreen instructions.

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lem
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erosomniac gave really good advice. I would start off with repairing windows.

Since you did mention that you removed spyware and the problem started with an add-on, I thought I would reference a hatrack post I morphed into a blog post on how to "scrub" your computer.

It is fairly long. Most of the tools are free and safe to use. It doesn't take too long once you have done it a few times, but the first time can be time consuming. I hope the repair works so you don't need to try cleaning the computer of malware.

If anyone has any ideas on what to add or remove from my instructions please leave a post on my blog or give a suggestion here.

It can be found by following this link.

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lem
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erosomniac, I have a simple question you might be able to answer for me -- since I am too lazy to test it or look it up (it is not that high on my priority list).

When you boot from an XP CD, it gives you the option of doing a fresh install or repairing windows.

I vaguely remember reading somewhere that if you want to repair windows then you need to first choose "fresh install." From there (or a little further down the chain of commands for a fresh install, it gives you the option to repair windows by clicking R.

It seems there are 2 places you can type "R" to repair windows. Like I said, I kinda remember getting advice a long time ago to use the repair command AFTER you have chosen a fresh install.

Do you know what I am talking about? Is there a difference between when you choose to repair windows? Or has my memory completely failed me and I am remembering a bad dream that has nothing to do with real life?

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Boris
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The first "R" prompt opens a recovery console that will allow you to perform a few utilities to repair boot sector, format, etc. Hitting enter on that screen continues with the installation and will eventually search for installed versions on Windows XP. This actually only works if the exact same distribution disk for windows xp (OEM, Retail, VLK, etc.) is used. Once the installation is detected, there is an option to repair the installation. The main purpose of a repair install is to replace critical system files that may be corrupted and re-install device drivers. I'm not entirely certain if this will fix your problem, though it is likely that the add-ons have screwed around with explorer and corrupted it. In which case the repair install will fix the problem.

As an explanation of what may be causing this, removing spyware can often be tricky. There are many variants of popular spyware that do a great deal of damage to the computer upon installation. The computer continues to work only because the spyware is filling the holes that it has created. Removing the spyware without fixing the holes tends to make things a little screwy. Try the repair install. If it doesn't work, you may want to consider backing up your important files (if you can't get anywhere on your computer to do a backup, you'll probably need to put your hard-drive into a different computer to pull files off) and reformatting. I don't normally suggest that path, but if a repair install doesn't fix the problem, it runs so deep that you'll likely waste days trying to fix it or spend lots of money to do so.

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TomDavidson
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I think you should die in a fire.
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SenojRetep
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
I think you should die in a fire.

Was there spam removed here? Because, out of context, I think you're being a bit harsh on Boris.
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TomDavidson
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There was, indeed. [Smile] )
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airmanfour
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I've been visiting this forum for more than a decade. Must have read hundreds of posts by SenojRetep over the years. And I just now made sense of the name. My thickness cannot be overstated.
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