Need Computer Help??

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The idea of this thread is to aid those folks who have or may be experiencing some problems with their computers. I invite any and all to participate in this thread for the goal is to learn as a group how to address certain problems. (To those I may have offended earlier, I welcome them to post as well) As a disclaimer, I would like to state that we are all capable of making our own decisions in life, nobody else has that power. So with that in mind, if you choose to follow advice, and you computer is left in a state worse than once it began, you have been warned. Do not accuse or chastise those that are willingly trying to assist you with your dilemma.

So, I have had a couple questions on maintenance of a PC, and while I cannot be there in person to help and I don not have all the answers, I thought I would post some basics to assist others with there problems.

With a computer that runs to slow, the first thing I always do is take a look at what I am up against. For example:

1. Hit “Alt+Ctrl+Delete” to bring up the task manager. Now I have taken a picture of mine, in this case I have several running programs right now, but when you first turn on the PC and haven’t touched it yet, this number should almost never be over 30 (

Now after one semester of school, when I looked at my sis’ new machine, she had 74, that is not good. Almost ever new machine out there is going to have 3rd party programs running, most new machines like a Gateway, HP/Compaq, Sony…. are going to have 40-50 running programs fresh out of the box. Toshiba is worse, generally 60+

2. Go to Start->Run-> type “msconfig” From here, you can see many programs that are running at startup (not all) You can get a good idea of what needs to go from here. I usually will deselect almost everything, because they are unessential. (it depends, not all programs are a problem) to do this well, a good Reg editor is great From here, you can also access the “regedit” The registry editor, but that is something for later if needed. (

3. Congrats, so far the computer hasn’t blown up yet. Ok, so something that will drain your resources, Norton Internet Security. Ok I may sound like a hypocrite because I run it myself, but it is a real hog. What you need is a good antivirus program, Symantec (Norton) or PC-Cillin is what I recommend. (PC-Cillin uses fewer resources) I also recommend a good anti-spyware program. I use 4 (Adaware, Spybot, Microsoft anti-spyware beta, and SpySweeper) Of them I really suggest the SpySweeper, is like $30 and really worth it, PC world magazine rates it #1 at detection and removal and the realtime protection is amazing.

4. This is where I will stop for now, the rest is more on an individual basis. After “cleaning up” I recommend getting this program: HiJackThis ( . From here you can do A LOT but it can be more dangerous to your PC… once you get here, post you log as a Notepad file that can be downloaded and I or others will review.

There are millions of ways to fix PC’s, this is very basic but a start. Any questions, please ask, chances are someone here has encountered it. Also as a side note, I believe reformatting to be the lazy way out. I personally have only done it once in my years of being a PC owner, and I have F’up a few times. Normally you can always find a way to work things out, I hold reformatting to be a last ditch option.

~ Voda

posted by  Voda48

I have a few things to say on this topic. First thing i noticed you had steam on your desktop (counterstrike much? lol). Second off i noticed you said msconfig. Never and i mean NEVER tell anyone unexperienced to go there. That is a HUGE accident waiting to happen. I personally advice everyone who is just a little bit uncertain on what he means to not absolutely ignore steps 2-4. Your major mistake is that you don't go into msconfig and "deselect" everything for your start-up's you go into something called "safe-mode' and carefully read every program and decide it's worth and value. Programs in themselves can be kept from starting-up as you described. No offence man but giving advice to computer illiterates is very dangerous. There is nothing wrong with not knowing a lot about computers. If you only need it to go on google myspace and play a video game or two while going on AIM. Burn a disk from i-tunes. You don't need to know how to Prong in Ms-Dos exactly.

posted by  95civicdima

I do have a good deal of computer knowledge however I'm not quite sure if you can do this or not but I've seen my friend do it. Am I able to run the mac os on my computer. I've seen my friend use that and linux but I never really asked him how to do it so can somebody help me. But I do agree at the fact that don't go into msconfig to solve a problem.

posted by  Spanky2324

I've got a problem, and since I'm a hard-ware only guy I think some outside help will be, well, helpful. Ever since I moved to my Apartment I started to use the apartments Free Ethernet internet (think it's T1). It started off EXTREMELY fast (like 200-300kb/s DL speeds) and now it's PAINFULLY slow, but it seems like it's only MY computer that does this. Now I'm lucky to get 20kb/s DL speeds, most of the time I get between 5-15kb/s. I have no idea what the problem is, my HD is far from full (80 gig drive with 60 gigs free), and my memory is fine (512mb DDR). I dont really multi-task at all, maybe have netscape and limeiwre open at once, but that's it. So, what gives? I thought of getting Norton Cleansweep and running that to help a little, there's no virus on my computer as I've run two different virus scans...So yeah, help is appreciated.

posted by  thunderbird1100

I counter, the only thing not to remove in msconfig is ccApp, that is essential for Norton, ie can't run w/o it. Something like that I would not remove however, the others..... most of the "necessary" device drivers are hidden form msconfig (aka your compuer will run just fine), you don't have to worry crap loads about it. Open it up take a picture, or just go and check each one out online, I have a million times. Most often you will see that they are inconsiqunial (sp), that is why I have advised caution, but it is still safe to do. Worse case senario is you turn it back on. :thumbs:

Hijackthis however is a differnet story.... notice how I didnt go into depth

posted by  Voda48

What O/S?

posted by  dodgerforlife

XP Home.

posted by  thunderbird1100

took me a while but I remember having one of these threads a while back so lets see if someone can help me here. I downloaded itunes 7.0.2 and when I clcik on it I get this error message:

The windows installer service could not be accessed. This can occur if Windows is running in safe mode or if the Windows installer is not correctly installed.

Any suggestions i redownloaded and it's not running in safe mode so i don't know.

posted by  Spanky2324

Go to Start>Run>type "msconfig.exe" without the quotation marks. Click on the "Services" tab, and find "Windows installer." Make sure that there is a check mark next to it. If there already was, close it and go back to Start and this time run "services.msc" again, find where it says Windows Installer, right click, go to properties, go to the logon tab and find where it says "Hardware Profile Service" it should say something like "Profile 1". Make sure that all profiles are enabled. One of those should help. :thumbs:

I've got a small problem, but let's see if anyone can help with this...I was looking for Microsoft Office Keygens in Google (I know it's a bad idea)...And found one, turns out it was a virus. I can end most of it from the task manager, but they seem to start up on their own...I scanned with McAfee once, and it froze up so I'm trying it again. Not sure what the virus is, but it gives me tons of pop-ups for "virus busters" and a little Windows bubble in the corner saying "Critical System Errors". The annoying thing is that I just reinstalled my Windows yesterday and it had no viruses then. Thanks in advance for anyone that can help. :thumbs:

posted by  chris_knows

Well I dont know for the virus part:laughing: but i can give you ms office. Lemme know.

posted by  Spanky2324

I'll look around for any other ways to activate Office (It won't let me activate by phone) or just get another one. Thanks anyways though.

I figured out how to stop the virus...Just deleted all of the files that it was using lol.

posted by  chris_knows

Alright chris I tried your ways i even clicked start on the services part and it says the path canno be specified when it's right there.:banghead: Gawd I want to install itunes.

posted by  Spanky2324

You b!tch like a mom, you wanna talk "VERY DANGEROUS" go to the repair thread and read some of the crap that comes outa most of these peoples mouths that are fixing thier own brakes..... i mean really the only way for computer illiterates to learn is either pickup a book and read or be lazy and learn from screwing up. at least in nerd world screwing up isnt the difference between STOPPING before you slam into a van with a family in it and not stopping, i say let em have at it whats the worst they do, have to bring it to a real computer tech.

posted by  BanffAutoSpa_ap

If you want very good FREE and technical help, go to " GEEKS TO GO.COM "
Don't expect immediate response.

posted by  lectroid

Wow, Where the f you been? Good t osee you back:thumbs:

posted by  Voda48

I downloaded an article from "MaximumPC" magazine which had a bunch of programs that would help your computer...I installed the ones I wanted and had to restart from a couple of them. When the computer started back up, it went normal, but at the part where it's supposed to ask me for my username and password, a blue screen pops up (Not BSOD, just blue) and then it restarts again. Safe mode and System restore don't work...Is there a way to fix it without reformat? If there isn't, how do I reinstall without losing any data? (I did it last time accidentally lol, and it still fixed all the errors I was having, just deleting my user profiles.)

Thanks so much in advance!!

I'll check at too though.

posted by  chris_knows

Ok wtf did you do now? Did any of those probs have to do with a login script? Like a wincustomze program?

posted by  Voda48

I got:

CCleaner (Cleans a lot of stuff from your computer--Freed up a gigabyte for me lol)
File Scavenger (Recovers accidentally deleted files)
WinDirStat (Gives information on where your hard drive memory is being used)
File Shredder (Deletes files off the HD completely)
Diskeeper 10 (Defragmenter)
ZoneAlarm (Blocks hackers and even shows their geographic location)
A-Squared (Anti-Virus)
AVG Free Edition (Anti-Virus)
Blacklight (Eliminates rootkits)
HijackThis (...)
Belarc Advisor (Provides hotfixes for Windows)
SpeedFan (Controls various things like voltage, fan speed, etc.)
ExplorerXP (Like Windows Explorer but shows files in more detail)
TrueCrypt (Encrypts files, folders, partitions, drives, etc.)
Notebook Hardware Control (Controls hardware on a notebook, like processor speed, video card speed, etc.)
nLite (Permanent Windows component removal)
UDPixel (Flashes one colour on the screen to check for stuck pixels on an LCD screen)
SyncBackSE (Make backups of your HD)
Clipboard Recorder (Keeps track of the last 100 things on your clipboard)
Windows Desktop Search (Searches your HD quicker than Windows)...

I didn't mess with most of them.

posted by  chris_knows

Nevermind, I went for a reinstall...Starts fine now.

Thanks anyways though :thumbs:.

posted by  chris_knows

no one reanswered my question after what chris told me. I need help por favor

posted by  Spanky2324

I'll look into sometime later when I am at home.

posted by  Voda48

I posted this on too, but if anyone here knows the problem, I'd appreciate the help.

I just reinstalled the Windows on my sister's laptop, without deleting any files. I do this to my computer like once a month, where it just deletes the Windows and reinstalls it. Keeping all of my files. When I did it on my sister's computer, everything was fine, and the C:\ drive says that there's like 50 GB used space (Out of 75) (What it was before reformatting). Then, when I open the C drive and select all, right click and go to "Properties", it says that there's only 7GB used. Her "Program Files" folder is still just like it was (Although obviously the programs don't work), but when I go to C:\Documents And Settings\ Her old account profile, it says "Access Denied. Can Not Access Folder". She has administrator privileges.

I've got two questions:
1.) Are her files gone?
2.) Is it my fault/Is there a problem with her computer that should be looked at?

Thanks for any replies!! :mrgreen:

posted by  chris_knows

ah chris i had the same problem with my laptop. I suggest you save those files somewhere else but first you need to access them. Go to something in her supposed new account and in the address bar should be something like
C:\documentsandsettings\clarissa\mypictures Now what you would do is in that address bar just change it to whatever that old account name was and then you'll be able to get into there. Takes a bit of fooling around but I suggest you grab the files in those folders and then just reformat everything.

posted by  Spanky2324

Thanks...I got a similar reply at

Her computer does need to be fully reformatted...and a new fan, the one she has now buzzes so loudly lol.

posted by  chris_knows

:clap: Thank

posted by  sinwiwat

I have a couple questions, but I'm pretty stupid when it comes to computers lol.. so even if given an answer, I may have problems.

Anyways, my first question is: I was given a hard drive from a friend (an extra he had), and was wondering if there was any way I could add this one to my computer as a secondary (slave?) drive and keep my original one connected also (original is only 30Gig with less than 1Gig left, the 'new' one is 60Gig..). If I need to explain this better than let me know and I'll try lol.

My next problem (that I've had for awhile), is that my computer won't play any sort of sounds (warnings, music, anything). It says there is some problem with the sound device.. We've had this problem for a couple of months now, one day it just stopped playing music or making any other noises.. and its not cause of the speakers or anything. Not sure how to explain it really.. (the problem is pretty much the same as this one

Any and all help would be welcome and very appreciated. Thanks for your time.

posted by  car_crazy89

You prob have a IDE hard drive system, a little older pc. You should be able to add that drive very easliy, just go to the manufactuer's website and see what jumper settings you need for a slave drive.

As to the speakers, that is not very specific, I will PM you after the holiday season with some step s to try and figure it out, but for the time being just check your drivers. Is the sound card integrated or a stand alone?

posted by  Voda48

For the sound, I've had the same problem after reformatting...Try this:

Open My Computer. On the side, you should see "View System Information. Click on the "Hardware" tab and click on "Device Manager". Scroll down to "Sound, video and game controllers" and click on the "+" beside it. There should be an audio driver in there (if you don't know which one, tell me what's there and I could look it up). Right click on it and go to uninstall. Close it and go to the Control Panel and double click on "Add Hardware". It should automatically find them and install them. If it doesn't, you'll need to go to the sound card's manufacturer's website and download the drivers manually.

posted by  chris_knows

When I do all that, this is what I get:

I noticed the exclaimation mark under the "Other Devices" section (Multimedia Audio Controller).. if that means anything..

And Voda, I'm not sure about the sound card.. how would I know the difference?

posted by  car_crazy89

To the original post: Memory usage is far more indicitive of an issue than process count. A lean Win2k machine will use no more than 160megs of memory with an antivirus installed, and a lean xp machine no more than 180.

Also, these are the best. Google for the actual application. You can visit the most virulent websites with immunity.

Avast Antivirus (can be installed and uninstalled with impunity and works faster and better than norton and mcaffe).
Firefox with Flashblock.
NAT or a firewall.

thunderbird1100, find the punk using the p2p application all the time and kick_his_ass right off that network. T1 is 1.5MBit up and down; it's very likely you guys have an SDSL connection than a T1 since they're less expensive and easier to maintain. Most of those kinds of systems are open to packet sniffing if they're on a hub; ethereal packet sniffer is a free application that will allow you to monitor who's use the traffic and for what. Find the IP and mac address, which is reported with each packet that machine sends, report it to the landlord, then he can do a trace off of the switch to which port it is by simply unplugging machines one by one until the interfering traffic stops. Just plug a laptop into it, monitor the connection and unplug the ports 1 by 1. Additionally, whoever set up the service was an idiot for not delimiting IP Priority by traffic/port type.

Spanky2324, pirating is better than itunes; buying CD's when they aren't manufactured by companies that put rootkits on them which damage your PC ( is better than that. What's even better is if you like a bands music, pirate the mp3's then go to their conserts; it's win/win then. You will thank me when you don't have $2000 of music on your harddrive over the course of a year or two that gets wiped out by a disk crash.

chris_knows, the disk isn't gone. You need to take posession of the folders since whatever you installed took posession of them; it's simple to do as admin and guides are fairly common. If you suspect it is gone, google hwinfo32, install it, select the disk, scroll down and inspect the harddrive SMART data; number on the left is the threshold for a SMART message indicating failure, number on the right is the reported number of ****-ups. If it's ready to go or near, you'll be able to clearly see from the bad sector count being the several thousands. Additionally, the previous OS corruption can be repaired in my experience by getting a 2.5 inch to IDE drive converter kit from an electronics store, hooking it upto a PC, inspecting the system32 and system directories under the WINNT directory and organizing based on size to see which files are at 0 bytes. Replace the files that are at 0 bytes with an identical install or next time, partition the drive in 2 partitions, do 2 installs of windows and dual boot it so if one OS gets hosed or virused/spywared, the other is allright.

car_crazy89, HWinfo32 (google it) will tell you what audio chip is installed. google that for drivers, install, done. If it has no PCI information register data or if the info can't be extracted (hwinfo comes up blank), simply take the side panel off and look for the chip itself; jot down any numbers on it and google them or find the motherboard make and model, usually printed in big letters, and type that into google. If the audio ports are on a card, turn the box off, unplug, touch the case, unscrew and unplug it, inspect it for a label plug it back into the slot you found it in and google the information.

Yes, I'm a professional computer technician. :)

I know many many tricks.

posted by  Gwokable

Alright, thanks for that Gwokable. I was able to find out what model my sound card is.. but I can't find a good place to download a driver..

It came up as:

Sound Card: VIA AC'97 Enhanced Audio Controller
AC'97 Codec: Avance Logic/RealTek ALC650

posted by  car_crazy89

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