Question:  Windows is very unstable, is there any way to check it out?

Answer: If you are using Windows 98 or later, go to the Start button, Programs, Accessories, System Tools, and click on System Information. In Windows 98, go to the Tools menu and click on System File Checker then click Scan for Altered files. This will check the important system files for corruption and if it finds any problems it can restore the original file. In Windows ME, system files are constantly monitored for you but if a file is corrupted by a virus, you can still extract that file from the cabinet file.  In Windows XP, you can't manually restore system files.  Also, try using System Information to disable the Startup items to see if one of the programs in the system tray is causing the problem.

Question: Is there an easy way to view images when searching folders in Windows Explorer?

Answer: If you are using Windows 98 or later, click on the Tools menu, then click on Folder Options. Click on Enable web content in folders. This will preview the file to the left of the selected file.  In Windows XP, go to View, then click on Thumbnails.  This will show a thumbnail of the images for each file.

Question: What exactly is the Windows clipboard?

Answer: When you want to copy something to another place, for example let's say you are working on a letter and you want to copy a paragraph you just wrote to another letter. First you highlight the text, then go to the Edit menu and click on copy. Anything you copy to the clipboard whether just one letter or several pages, including graphics, is copied and stays there until something else is copied or you shut down the computer. If you start the computer up on Monday and copy something to the clipboard and then leave the computer on until Friday, the item you copied will still be on the clipboard until you either copy another item or shut down the computer. As you progress you will find this feature more useful in your every day activities. The clipboard is also used when you copy a file or files from one place to another.

Question: I bought a new computer and can't get my scanner to work, why?

Answer: This is a very common problem, probably due to the newer operating system. Every time we get a new version of Windows, we have problems with hardware and driver compatibility. The first thing to do is go to the scanner or hardware manufacturer's web site and check to see if they address any compatibility issues and also see if they have any downloads available to fix the problem. Sometimes even the installation programs will not work correctly and if you are a little creative when installing the scanner you can overcome the problems. If you don't find the answers on the web site, you'll probably need to call a consultant for help.

Question: Should I reload Windows if I get a message telling me to?

Answer: Absolutely not, call me first. There are a lot of situations where whatever problem you are having can be solved without reloading Windows. Reloading can also create problems so never reload unless there is no other way to try to solve your problems. Corrupt registry problems can not be corrected by reloading Windows and can at times be made worse by reinstalling. A phone call doesn't cost anything and may save you lots of time and frustration.

Question: If I restore my computer do I lose all my data?

Answer: It depends on how you attempt to restore it. If you bought a computer at a retail store, for instance, a Compaq, Hewlett-Packard, etc. it came with a system restoration CD. The Gateway and Dell computers do too but loading drivers is a piece of cake with them. With the retail machines, if you have problems with your sound card, modem, display, or whatever, you can't just reload the driver, you have to format the hard drive, lose everything you have installed, including your data, e-mail, address books, etc. just to reload a bad driver. With machines which come with drivers on separate disks, you can fool the computer by booting up on a floppy, deleting the Windows directory, reinstalling Windows, and then reinstalling all of your programs. By using this method, you preserve all your data and whatever settings you have made in all your programs. After you install Windows, it doesn't know the other programs are there so you have to reinstall each program so the registry is modified. This process is rather involved and better left to a consultant who knows exactly what to do.

Question: I have a computer which is password protected, how do I start it up if I don't know the password?

Answer:  The password is stored in the computer's setup program, or BIOS and is maintained because of the internal battery. The fastest way to eliminate the present password is to check the computer documentation or the manufacturer's web site for the location of the Clear CMOS Password Jumper. Once you find the proper jumper, set it and reboot the system. When you see a BIOS message that says "Pass-word cleared," turn off the PC, reset the jumper, and boot norm-ally. The area inside the blue is where the jumper is located. This method is the best since it only clears the password.  This is not really something for the average user to attempt.


Question: What is the proper way to turn off the computer?

Answer: At first, this might sound like a silly question, but, I have had clients who didn't know and were just shutting the power switch off. With Windows 95b through the Windows ME, Windows gives you a hard time when you restart and runs scandisk so it is more evident than it used to be, so let's answer the question. Regardless of what operating system you have, if you are shutting down Windows of any version, make sure to exit Windows first. When you do, the newer computers will shut down automatically if the power management is setup in the BIOS. If the computer goes to the screen which says it is OK to turn the computer off, you can now turn the power switch off. If the computer just goes to a DOS prompt, you can also shut down from there.

Please Note: All information provided in The Help Desk web site is in easy to understand terms, in my opinion only, and may not necessarily be the only accepted answers or advice.  I will not be responsible for any problems caused from anyone making any configuration or hardware changes to their computer system resulting from information obtained from this web site.  Please contact me prior to using any content from this web site.