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Troubleshooting Windows Problems | Windows98 |


In extreme cases you might find windows will not work properly and give Blue Screen of Death Errors (BSOD) and have other problems. 

Note: Click Here for Errors with "MFC42.dll @ 017f:5f45bf8a"

 

You will need to try and narrow down the problem to hardware, software or application related causes.

Hardware

Device Conflicts

1) Check the device manager for error messages. If any are found you need to track down the hardware device and resolve the conflict.

2) Boot in Safe Mode (hold the F8 key during boot just before you see the message 'starting windows') and select Safe Mode. Check within each category of the device manager (except for the System category) for wrong device entries or duplicated device entries (error messages will not be shown in safe mode like they do in regular mode)

a) if you see a device listed that you know does not belong there then remove it.
b) if you see duplicated entries, such as two identical CD-ROM drives, then delete the duplicates. Actually you might want to remove all entries when you see duplicates. At times, when you see 2 identical devices listed and remove one, after rebooting the computer might again add the device ending up again with 2 devices. So, if you remove both when it re-detects the device during boot, you will end up with only one device.

Note1: devices you remove from within 'device manager' while in safe mode will be re-detected when you reboot the next time.

Note2: do not remove any devices in the System category.

Software

1) There might be conflicts between 2 or more software or drivers. It is hard to tell which unless you receive errors which hopefully will reference the module name.

Use the MSCONFIG utility to disable the startup items temporarily to see if the problem goes away. This is very usefull for errors that show up during boot.

Open the MSCONFIG screen, click the Startup tab, Clicking Startup changes the window showing you all the programs that are capable of being executed during the windows boot process.

Write down all the items which are checked so you will know to re-check them later if you have to.

Next uncheck all the items shown there, close MSCONFIG and reboot.

If the problem goes away, then one of those items was causing the problem. You can then go back to MSCONFIG and one at a time, recheck the originally checked items, close MSCONFIG and reboot the computer. When the problem re-appears you will know that it was the last item you re-checked.

Applications

Spyware

1) Many times problems are caused by 'spyware' (also known as scumware/add-ons/plug-ins/BHOs). These programs usually attach themselves to Internet Explorer and activate for various reasons. Some might be trying to steal information and are almost like viruses, others are supposed to help you shop, while others are simple applications like Clocks or calendars, or mouse pointers. They can be from Sources like Gator, Morpheus, Kazaa and LimeWire and many others.. They are many times installed either in conjunction with a free download or without your knowledge as does Xupiter. Many of these programs are used to 'hi-jack' links used by sites like ours which generate commissions for the site but once hijacked have the identifying number changed to make the payment go to the one used by the add-in program. This on the surface should not bother you the user, but unfortunately these programs also want to send information back to their home server and in doing so have to make connections to the internet. In doing this, they can cause unexpected lock-ups and many other problems within widnows

The easiest way to remove these type of programs is to get the Spyware Eliminator program and run it regularly.

 

These programs cause a lot of problems!

2) Some times programs are loaded within the autoexec.bat and/or the config.sys files which reside in the root of the hard drive. Both of these files can be completely empty and windows will work just fine. The most important exception is that of certain entries that reference anti-virus programs which cause them to operate prior to windows boot.

In extreme cases when you have problems you can change the names of these files to AUTOEXEC.OLD and CONFIG.OLD and reboot to see if the problems go away. This way the files are still there but are not seen by windows. 

The other way, which we prefer, is to use the SysEdit utility and place REM followed by a space in front of every line in the above two files. The REM stands for REMark and makes that line act as a remark and NOT execute during boot.

The majority of entries found in these files are related to DOS based CD-ROM drivers or Sound card drivers neither of which is needed by windows to be loaded as a DOS program. 

3) A program can install itself as an add-on object to Internet Explorer. An example would be the ShockWave Flash add-on.
To view such objects, open Internet Explorer, on the top menu click Tools, then select Internet Options, then click the General tab, then click the View Objects button. A new window will appear (you might have to resize it so you can see all the entries). In this window you will see the add-on objects currently installed. Typically the entries shown will be normal add-ons you selected to install. But it is a place for you to look and see if there might be suspicious entries that you cannot identify. The Xupiter add-on is one object that you would find in this list (which we recommend you remove). If you suspect that an entry in this list might be a spyware program you can highlight it and delete it.

Catastrophic Failures

1) Registry Corruption

If the registry is corrupted, you might not be able to open windows at all.

In such a case you can either boot with a boot disk to a DOS prompt or hold the F8 key during boot and select the Safe Mode Command Prompt Only option to get a DOS prompt. 

When you see the prompt (either A:> or C:>) do the following. (<enter> means press the ENTER key on the keyboard)

C: <enter>
cd\windows\command <enter>
scanreg /restore <enter>

at this point you should see a list of the previous registries stored in the computer. A good copy will have the words "Started" next to the date.

Select the most recent one, when the computer tells you it is restored press <enter> to restart. You can repeat this procedure and select another entry in the rare case that the one you selected does not work.

Note: Restoring a registry does fix problems but it also takes the computer back to a setting it had the last time the registry copy was made. This can lead to funny results such as having a program that you installed, not show up (but the files which were also copied are on the hard drive). This would force you to re-install the last few items that were installed. This is rare but can happen.

2) Other registry issues

viruses and trojan spyware programs typically make entries in at least the following key, which allows them to run at startup

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run

Corrupt System Files -

If you suspect having corrupt system files you can use the System File Checker (SFC) Utility for find and replace corrupt files.

Resources -

System Resources -

Windows can have many unnecessary programs load during startup causing the resources to be so low as to cause problems. You can add the Resource Meter to monitor resources.

Temporary Internet Files

Your computer will have a folder called "Temporary Internet Files". This folder is used by windows to store temporary files. But windows often does not properly clean out this folder when it is done using the temporary files and leaves them in this folder. 

The "Temporary Internet files" folder should be emptied when you use the method | Tools | Internet Options | Delete Cookies / Delete Files / Clear History |. But this might still leave behind files that can be deleted. 

If you close all windows, and use Explorer to look within this folder, and were to delete all the files within the "Temporary Internet Files" folder, windows would work with no problem.

Within the "Temporary Internet Files" folder there is also another folder called "Content.IE5" which will also have in it, one or more other folders each with a name made up of random letters and numbers.

All sub-folders within the folder "Content.IE5", can safely be deleted (all applications should first be closed), even though windows will give you a warning that they are system files and might cause problems if you delete them. The sub-folders within the folder "Content.IE5" are especially prone to having files left over if you use Outlook to access Newsgroup forums and can leave thousands of temporary files.

 

Outlook Files

A bug in Outlook at times causes the mail files to grow to very large sizes (for example 500mb for the Sent Items or Deleted Items folders.) 

You can use the Search to find all files with the pattern *.dbx (asterisk period DBX). The result will be all database files containing mail related files (for example the search will find the file inbox.dbx which is your Outlook mail folder.) If any of these files are very large (in excess of 20mb) and you don't think you have enough emails stored in these folders to account for the large size then you need to try and repair Outlook.

You can use the Internet Explorer Tool to repair IE5.

 

 


 

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