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Aaaagh, It's Not Working!

Yes, you are totally correct. It is all your computer's fault. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.

This is just some neighborly chat. I am not responsible for your computer woes, even if you followed my advice. I have enough of my own. Computers can be horrid creatures.
What you have before your eyes are some problems I encountered while using a number of computers and what worked for me. Hopefully you find this information useful.
This is a problems and solutions page.


The use of the crescent wrench is generally frowned on by computer repair people. Memory Some symptoms and some things to try

Keyboards Bizarre things keep happening to my computer and cats and mice.


troubleshooting System Not Responding During Windows Auto Update Your system freezes up for Windows 7 and Windows 10.

Formatting When your document does not look like you remember it.

Hard Drives When it gets full. Uninstalling Software in Windows



You are happily writing along, and suddenly the last two sentences you wrote are no longer there. You move your mouse and there is no response. You are looking up information on the Internet and everything locks up. The computer is frozen.

Your computer gives you an annoying message which is obviously something or other about memory. In all scenarios, there is nothing left to do but restart your computer.

Here are some steps to try.

1. Close all the other programs you were using. Beware of the programs which start up automatically, when you start up your computer.

Theses are usually found in the task bar if you are using Windows. Just right click the icon on the tray and click on the word that says exit.

If you are using a Mac check your Control Panel. If you click on the upper right hand corner, a list of what you are running will drop down. Close all your other programs.

Try working on your masterpiece again. Does it work now? If this doesn't work, Were you able to work longer. On some computers I have tried to work on, the question is; could you see more of the document that somebody gave you to look over?

2. If the answer is no, try installing a freeware memory utility. Run the memory utility while you do what you usually do on your computer. If you have to wait lots for the memory utility to free up memory you have a memory problem. Check to see if you've filled up your hard drive already. Computers write to a location on your hard drive called page file. and computers run slow when it runs out of space to write the temporary info it needs to write. You might want to consider upgrading your computer. Your computer more than likely needs more memory but until then download one of the programs below.

No matter which model or system your computer utilizes, when you use your computer, open applications, surf the Internet, and navigate Windows, your system's memory normally decreases.

How to Identify Your Computer Needs More RAM good instructions on what to check in Task Manager from RancidTaste Hubpages.

FreeRAM XP Pro When I upgraded to 2GB of RAM and Windows XP I switched to FreeRAM XP Pro to free up memory, increase system response time, stability, speed, and efficiency.

3. If the memory checks good, this is a good time to call or e-mail tech support for your software if you are running Win 9x. With Windows 2000/XP/Vista memory issues probably are not the problem. CPU allocations are often the problem.

Back up all your data files- like pictures, stories and poems to a separate USB drive or a different computer.

For those of you desperate or optimistic and learning people who decide to preform surgery on your own computer make your emergency USB drive bootable. Make a list of your hardware so you can reload drivers if you need to install a new system. Try some solutions on Smatterings: Windows Maintenance and Optimizing Tips

UNetbootin For a bootable USB drive: Add freeware like Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder, SeaTools for Windows... I always like to add a free antivirus program, and my favorite browser.

Return to Computers for Writers page.


What comes of pressing too many buttons. Bizarre things keep happening when I type. But it worked fine the other day, and I'm still using the same software that I did...

1. This is an easy problem to fix. Try plugging in a new keyboard.

My cat loves to play with the mouse! Or my child delights in slamming the keyboard.

1. Use a freeware utility to disable your keyboard and mouse when you step away from the computer.

Nockylock is easy to use for Windows XP, 2000, and 2003.

System Not Responding During Windows Auto Update

After trying to set Microsoft Update so it only installs when I'm not working on formatting a book, Windows Update options page has small print explaining that they have the right to update your computer whenever. Whenever is an unacceptable option because Windows Update causes every other application on both Windows 7 (64) to freeze and flash "System is Not Responding".

System Freezes in Windows 7

The most common reason is how Windows prioritizes how many resources get how much access to your CPU. To change Windows Update priority:

  1. Press, and hold down Ctrl, Alt, and Delete and choose Start Task Manager.
  2. Open Control Panel and select Windows Update.
  3. Click on the Applications tab of Start Task Manager and highlight Windows Update. Right click it, and select Goto Process.
  4. The correct process will be highlighted for you. Right click the process and lower the priority from Normal to Below Normal.

Windows 7 Help Forums is where these directions originated for my solution to resolving Windows Update fighting with my other programs problem. Windows 7 Help Forums website has pictures illustrating each step.

System Freezes in Windows 10

By enabling Notify for download and notify for install by running gpedit.msc lets you manually control when Windows Updates are downloaded and installed. In Group Policy Object Editor, expand Computer Configuration, expand Administrative Templates, expand Windows Components, and then click Windows Update. Enable Configure Automatic Updates and then open it. Choose Notify for download and notify for install listed under options and click OK.

Configure Automatic Updates by Using Group Policy for Microsoft Servers had enough info about controlling Auto Update to fix issues like installing updates while I'm trying to accomplish other things.

Another commonly uttered profanity:

File Formatting

My file looked good when I saved it. What happened to my formatting?

There are three scenarios where this expression is heard.
  1. The first one is that you have a masterpiece that you want printed on the Internet. The web master says only text files are acceptable submissions. You originally wrote your masterpiece in MS Word. You save your file as a text file. Word tells you that if you continue your formatting maybe lost. Take this message seriously. Although what you wrote looks fine just after you saved it, when you open it again, this might not be the case. To check just to be sure close the file you just saved. Then reopen it. Just to make sure, my file is still intact, I usually open it in Notepad and look at what I wrote carefully. Most web masters will allow you to cut and paste your text into your e-mail. You loose your formating when cutting and pasting, so help your web master and double space between paragraphs after you paste your content into your e-mail but before sending it.

  2. The second scenario happens in MS Word, when you reopen the masterpiece you have been working on yesterday. You know all the formatting was right yesterday. First check your memory. If your memory is fine, see how much space is left on your hard drive.

Hard Drives

This is what a hard drive looks like. The easiest way to check how much room on your PC if running under Windows is to open Windows Explorer. Open the drive in question. On the bottom of your window you will find the amount of hard drive space used and the amount of free hard drive space. On a Mac the easiest way to check your hardware space is by clicking on the apple in the corner of your computer. In XP and Vista select the drive in My Computer, Right click the drive icon and choose Properties.

If the memory checks good, and you have plenty of room on your hard drive, back up your data file (documents and pictures) and look for a new hard drive. If your hard drive is full, you may want to go through all your computer files and see what you can possibly live without. Be careful there are things you should know about uninstalling programs before you delete anything. Uninstall any program you have not used for a long time.

Uninstalling Software in Windows 10

Caution, if you are tired or stressed out, do not attempt to uninstall anything. Turn your computer off and call it a day.

Step 1: Log in as an Administrator and create a restore point.

Before you start uninstalling software, create a restore point. In Windows 10, you have to turn on System Restore manually. Right click This PC, and select Properties. Choose Advanced system settings from the Control Panel Home list. Click on the System Protection tab. Click on the button labeled Configure.... This opens yet another box. Under Restore Settings, select Turn on system protection.

Return to the the System Protection tab whenever you want to automatically backup your system. Creating a restore point automatically backs up your registry too.

To uninstall a program with System Restore you must go back to a restore point made prior to installing the program. If you make a restore point for each program, and you decide after installing a few other programs to delete the software you installed 3 programs ago, you would also loose the other 3 programs. You want to do an uninstall instead, so you don't have reinstall the other 3 programs that you still want.

Step 2: Uninstall the program the way that makes you feel most comfortable.

Geek Uninstaller is a fine fast uninstall freeware program I used since Windows XP. Do not restart your computer until Geek Uninstaller cleans leftover registry entries. The free version won't clean everything but it does remove more than any other uninstaller.

Go to Control Panel found under the Windows System folder in the Win 10 Start Menu and click in the Programs and Features icon or in CCleaner Tools.

Look for the title of the program that you want to remove from your hard drive.

If the program is not anywhere on the list skip the next set of instructions and go to Step 2: Using File Explorer to Uninstall Software.
After you find the title, highlight it and jot it down on a scrap piece of paper.

The computer will ask you if you want to uninstall whatever program you selected. Press enter on your keyboard.

If the computer asks about deleting shared files, tell it "no". Do not delete Shared Files.

After uninstalling your software windows will tell one of three things:

1. It was unable to uninstall your software. (Don't worry.)
2. It could not uninstall all the components of your software, the rest must be done manually.
3. The program was uninstalled successfully. (Don't count on it.)

Step 3: Use File Explorer to help uninstall software to get rid the traces uninstaller left behind.

In Window Explorer, click on the This PC icon.

Type in the name of the program you just uninstalled in the box labeled Search This PC.

If the search comes up with the message no files found, then your program has been successfully uninstalled from your hard drive. If there is a list of files. Chances are that these files belong to the program that you just uninstalled.

Read through this list carefully. Sometimes finder finds files that have another word in the title of some other file that you definitely do not want to delete. It does this because one of the words in the name of the file you are trying to delete is exactly same as a word from another title of a file from a program you like, or a listing in your antivirus program.

If nothing in the list matches what you wrote down on your sheet of paper, you successfully uninstalled your program from the hard drive. If the name of your antivirus program is in the entry, don't fret. Just leave it alone. If it's highlighted when you press delete Windows won't allow you to delete antivirus entries from Windows Explorer.

If all the words match the name of the program you wrote earlier, click on a title. Press the Ctrl key and the letter A on your keyboard. This will select all entries.

Press the delete key on your keyboard.

The computer will ask you if you want to send these items to the recycle bin. Choose Yes. You will be told you need to be an administrator to remove the files. Keep clicking yes until Windows stops generating boxes.

Restart your computer even though in Win 10, everything you just deleted still is listed on you monitor. (Microsoft may fix this in a future update.)

When files cannot be deleted because Administrator privileges aren't enough

Windows 10: Add Take Ownership to Context Menu in Windows 10 allows you to download the correct files to add take ownership in the context menu. The context menu is the one that opens when you right click a file.

Windows 7: Take Ownership Shortcut allows you to do the same thing iif you use Windows 7.

How to Change Owner of File, Folder, Drive, or Registry Key in Windows 10 explains how to manually take ownership of a file leftover from an uninstall that won't delete like a good no longer needed file should on Window 10. Try these methods if the take ownership that you installed in your right click menu fails to have any affect.

Step 4: Use Regedit to help uninstall software to get rid the traces uninstaller left behind.

Unless you want to uninstall Bit Defender. Let Geek, CCleaner and Wise Registry Cleaner do the work for Bit Defender. I had to do a system restore when I tried to clean up after Bit Defender.

Manual Method

Great for removing portable programs that left one or two lines in your registry. Preferred to automatic method if you are uninstalling a software title that is part of other software names. Like Java, Find will locate Java and JavaScript. Most likely you want to delete only the old version of Java but need JavaScript for your browser. Always read what you are about to delete carefully.

Press Windows and the letter R on your keyboard to open the run menu. Type regedit in the box to open Windows Registry Editor.

Highlight File, and then highlight and click on Export. Type BackupReg or some similar name in the File name box. Click Save and close the dialog box. This way if you goof and delete something you shouldn't have you can reopen your registry and choose Import and select the saved registration file that you want to restore--later.

Always start searching with HKEY Classes Root highlighted.

Highlight Edit, and then highlight and click on Find. Type the name of the program you want uninstalled. Click Find Next. Read the entry, like you did while cleaning the hard drive. If you see the name of the program you are uninstalling somewhere in the string. Right click the entry and choose Delete. This will bring up a box that says, "Are you sure you want to delete this key and all it's subkeys?" Click on Yes.

Highlight Edit, and then highlight and click on Find Next, and repeat the above step until you get a message that says, "Finished checking through the registry." Then click OK. Exit from the registry and restart your computer.

Automatic Method

A time saver for removing registry entries from uniquely named software like LibreOffice.

Registrar Registry Manager 8.03 free for personal use. Allows bulk deletions in Windows registry.

Step 5: Use CCleaner Registry and Wise Registry Cleaner to help uninstall software to get rid the traces uninstaller left behind.

If you do not have these 2 programs already installed, find the links on Smatterings: Registry Cleaning and download these two freeware programs.

Both programs will help remove leftovers missed while doing the first 2 steps.

Step 6: Use your computer. If it runs the same as it did before you installed the software you spent all this time uninstalling--

Congratulations! Your program has been successfully uninstalled.

Hard Drive cleaning Freeware

MS Windows comes with a program found under Accessories/System Tools called Disk Cleanup with is a good tool. Cleans more than your average cleaner. Some argue it cleans too aggressively. Mom use to take lots and lots of pictures. Not everyone is useable. Some went bad and others look exactly the same. Hopefully the freeware below will help sort some of photos, freeing up some hard drive space.

Sort out and delete duplicate pictures

AntiDupl is a free utility to find duplicate or very similar pictures, also detects image defects. Requires Microsoft.NET Framework 2.0 to be already installed on your PC. Download the Binary version. Windows 2000 and up.

Image Comparator finds duplicate image files by comparing pixel by pixel. Supports jpg, bmp, png, gif, tif, ico. Requires NET Framework 4.0. Windows.

Pixiple Free Windows utility that searches your files for similar images in pixel and metadata content. Lets you compare two images. Windows 7+

Check the last 3 letters

When you run a cleaning program often the program suspects files you've never heard of. It's good to look at properties to try finding their parent file before deleting. Only cleaning programs that have a proven track record are listed on this site.

FileExt The File Extension Source is a database of file extensions and the various programs that use them. If you know the file extension you want to learn about simply enter it into the search box on the left and click on the Search button.

I Really Should Have Called It A Day has more resources for fix your computer if you deleted some file that you shouldn't have and have no clue which program needs to be re-installed and your restore point had no effect what so ever.

Hard drive repair tools

Disk Check simplifies Windows built in checkkdisk, which checks and allows repair of a corrupt file system and recover bad sectors on your hard drive.

SeaTools for Windows is a comprehensive, easy-to-use diagnostic tool that helps you quickly determine the condition of the hard drive. Tests SATA, USB, 1394, ATA (PATA/IDE) and SCSI drives.

Hard drive Upgrading

After you clean your drive and still lack drive space, you might want to consider upgrading your computer with a new and bigger hard drive. If you decide to upgrade your computer, do your homework. Look under Computer Upgrading Your Windows PC to point you in the right direction.

With 4 years of hard use, my SSD (solid state drive) went bad. Even though solid state contains no moving parts, they beep and wine when they start to fail.

Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder This is a program you want to keep on your emergency UBS drive and/or CD. Freeware utility that retrieves your Product Key (cd key) used to install windows and many other applications from your registry. It can even retrieve product keys from unbootable Windows installations.


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