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A Few 'Tips' For Computer Newbies

by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / May 6, 2004 10:53 AM PDT

I'm going to start a thread with a few tips that have been posted throughout the forums. If you have a new "tip", please add it directly below this main heading by adding a new subject title indicated something about the tip. That should allow members to quickly identify the tip. Please try to keep this thread "positive" and make sure to check out all tips before posting. If you have a response to a particular tip, reply directly to that tip so it's clear which tip is being discussed..

Hope this helps.


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What Do I Do When Scandisk and Defrag Won't Run In Win9.x/ME
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / May 6, 2004 10:59 AM PDT

If you review past posts, many people have this same problem. Prior to running Scandisk or Defrag, be sure to shut down all programs running in the background by pressing Ctrl-Alt-Delete (at the same time)and "End Task" on each program listed except for Explorer and Systray. It's usually best to do the Scandisk first, then Defrag. Virus Scanning programs and Find-fast can make your Scandisk loop over and over again. If it's any consolation, if you do it frequently (once every week or two), it goes much faster. Also make sure you delete all the unneeded files (Cookies, History, and Temporary Internet Files) prior to doing the above. No need to scan and defrag all those extra files. Shut down your screen saver temporarily as this can also freeze scandisk and defrag.

After opening Scandisk, place a CHECK mark in ?Automatically Fix Errors. Click on the "Advanced" button, then make sure the settings look like this:
Display Summary=Always
Log File=Replace Log
Cross-linked File=Delete
Lost File Fragments=Free
Check Valid Files For=Place a check in ALL of the options
Check Host Drive First

If for some reason, it still doesn't work, run both programs in "Safe Mode". Restart the computer, pressing the F8 key once per second, till it loads a selection screen. Use the up and down arrows to select "Safe Mode", press enter, and the computer will load into a safe mode. It looks like a normal screen but with Safe Mode in each of the four corners. The various drivers don't work in Safe Mode but it allows you to Scandisk and Defrag. When you?re done, restart the machine and it will boot normally.

If all else fails, run Scandisk in DOS. For Win95/98 users: Reboot the computer, pressing F8, once per second, till the selection screen loads. Use the up/down/left/right arrows to navigate to the MS DOS Command prompt section, then press enter. When the DOS prompt loads, type "scandisk" (without the quotes). Press enter. After it runs in the standard mode, it will then ask you if you want to run the "thorough" version. Choose yes or no. ?Thorough? takes a very long time, but does check your hard drive sectors. When you?re done, navigate to the ?Exit? selection, press ?Enter?, then press the power button to turn off the puter. Restart the computer and it will boot into Windows normally. Gain access to a Command Prompt in Windows ME this way: Shut down the puter, place the Windows ME start up disk in the floppy drive, start the machine. When the menu appears choose "Minimum Boot". Press Enter. When the command prompt appears, type "scandisk", then press enter.

Hope this helps.


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Re: What Do I Do When Scandisk and Defrag Won't Run In Win9.
by bananajana / August 19, 2004 8:42 AM PDT

I also had the same problem with Defrag. My situation is a bit different. To begin with, I could not shut down programs running in the background. End Task would not delete anything! Help!

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EndItAll works great and is free
by TONI H / August 19, 2004 8:54 AM PDT
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Re: EndItAll works great and is free
by Paedil / December 3, 2004 2:37 AM PST

Another easy tactic to use to silence endless restarts of scandisk/defrag in 98 is to simply boot into safe mode.
Hit F8 at POST (Power On Self Test...the first screen with all the text :)) and choose safe mode.
Presto. You're now in windows (Admittedly an ugly pastel version of it.) with no background programs running that aren't absolutely necessary for the OS.

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by persipidus / March 2, 2009 3:29 AM PST

Thanks for the tips. The simple things for beginners is greatly appreciated.

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Great Info
by bladimirdsantamaria / October 4, 2010 11:22 PM PDT

All this information is incredibly helpful. It's great.

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Try this one...
by rohn110580 / October 14, 2010 1:01 PM PDT

CTL+ALT+DEL=Task Manager then go to "Processes" then select the program you want to end and click on "Terminate". That will do it.

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What Do I Do When Scandisk and Defrag Won't Run In Win9.x/ME
by gbary / December 24, 2004 3:42 AM PST

This Can Be Done In Normal Or Safe Mode.
Fist off, if you want the startup menu to always show at startup, type MSCONFIG into the start\run command box. Go to the advanced button and check the "Enable Startup Menu" box.ok your way out where you will be asked to restart the computer.

Second, if you want to disable ALL programs and background functions from interfering with your scandisk or defrag, use the same MSCONFIG command above and select thee "Selective Startup" radio button.
On the selection check All boxes EXCEPT "Load Static VXD's" and "Load Startup Group Items".
OK your way out to restart in normal mode.
After running your commands reenter MSCONFIG and press the "Normal Startup" command radio button to put things back to the way they were.

Hope this helps. I do this every time i need to use a programs that gets interfered with from background influences.

PS: If you get a blue screen that a program cant run, check the vxd and startup tabs at the top of the MSCONFIG window, and make sure ALL boxes are unchecked.

This program can also be used to disable any program from starting when you dont want them too. Such as GAIN which uses spyware and WEBSEARCH TOOLBAR which wont unload once loaded onto your computer.

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Good tips
by myenglish / September 9, 2008 11:33 PM PDT

Very useful tips.Thanks for sharing.

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by tanzbaer / February 16, 2010 4:41 AM PST
In reply to: Good tips

yeah, those really helped me too.
thanks so much!

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by angela6869 / March 27, 2010 1:39 PM PDT

I am learning.........

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Problem running Scandisk and Defrag from Maintenance Wizard
by Newbie9 / April 21, 2005 11:04 AM PDT

My problem is that when I run Maintenance Wizard (Win Me) ScanDisk locks up at the very start (after Disk Cleanup) and the system freezes hence neither the ScanDisk nor the Defragmentation (that has to follow after ScanDisk) can be carried out. What can be the possible reason and any suggested remedy? Thanks.


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Newbie, Don't Run Them From There...
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / April 21, 2005 11:22 AM PDT

First, Windows ME is a "problem child" to start with. It's an operating system that was only sold for about a year and although some are successful using it, many have expressed issues with running Scandisk and Defrag.. Next, don't run them from the Disk Clean Up area. Read the discussion at the link below and follow the steps listed to eliminate unnecessary start up programs and clean up the hard drive.

And if you still can't run Scandisk or Defrag, restart into Safe Mode and run them from there.

Hope this helps.


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To start scandisk and defrag easily in Me...
by Zimminger / February 21, 2008 8:14 AM PST

What works for me is to hold the F5 key while it starts. Goes right into safe mode. Sorry, I have no idea how I found out about this. I push buttons until a sign lights up that says, "Please do not push that button again."

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The F5 Key Generally Only Works On Windows 95 Or...
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / February 21, 2008 1:37 PM PST

...after the SAFE MODE Selection screen loads. For Windows 98 and later, try F8 as described earlier..

By the way: "I push buttons until a sign lights up that says, "Please do not push that button again." isn't the best way to troubleshoot computers.. Unfortunately, pushing the wrong button at the wrong time might cause problems that a "newbie" would have difficulty recovering from..

Hope this helps.


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by warrencharlot / October 6, 2010 2:26 PM PDT

This is really informative. I have learned a lot from this.

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Thank U~!
by sleepylilgirl16 / December 11, 2010 7:14 AM PST

Thanks, Grif! This is helpful and AWESOME. I really appreciate your taking the time to write this for us who are just starting out.

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Thanks i also faced this problem

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Thank you so much

Thanks man. It's really wonderful sharing. I am looking out for this kind of sharing. Keep sharing.

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How To Shut Down Unnecessary Start Up Programs
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / May 6, 2004 11:06 AM PDT

The instructions below were originally written for Windows 9.x/ME, but much can be used for Windows XP as well:

Try this: Restart your computer. Wait for it to load completely then, right click on My Computer, choose "Properties", then the "Performance" tab. The System Resources should be at about 90% or more at startup.(Mine starts at 93%) Most new computers have all sorts of programs running that don't need to be. So let's fix it. Click on Start-Programs-Start Up. If there are any listings in the Start Up area, you need to delete as many as you can.(Right click the listing and choose "Delete")(Find Fast, if its there, is one you will probably never need) Please remember that these are just shortcuts to programs and not actual program files, so its safe to delete them. Don't get rid of some that you really like like Microsoft Shortcut Bar or any others that you really want on the screen when it starts.

Then click on Start-Run, in the typing area put "msconfig" (without the quotes), press Ok. When the System Configuration Utiltiy box opens, click on the Start Up tab. You will see a number of listings with boxes and check marks in them. These are programs that run at start up. You can safely uncheck many of the boxes. Don't uncheck System Tray, Scan Registry, or your Virus Scan startup programs. After you?re done, click ?Apply?, then 0K, and the computer will ask you to restart. Do it and then check your resources again. Hopefully they are much higher.(Don't worry too much, if you make a mistake you can always go back to this box and put a check back in any of the listings you want)

If you have any questions about which programs to UNCHECK in "msconfig", post back, or check for yourself at these sites: or here?s the direct link to the list: . At the first link, which is probably the most comprehensive, wait for the page to load completely, then scroll down to the "The Programs" section and click on the "Full List" link. You should be able to find most programs you have questions about.

On Windows 2000 and XP, it's also important to check for unnecessary "Services" that run at start up. Shut them down and the computer should run smoother. Check these links for the "How To":

Windows 2000 and XP

Windows XP

Windows 2000

Hope this helps.


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Re:How To Shut Down Unnecessary Start Up Programs
by lazysusan / May 14, 2004 11:39 AM PDT

have tried many times in the past to shut down unnecessary start up programs but when i start/run and type msconfig,i get -- 'cannot find the file msconfig' (or one of its components) etc etc.
apparently i've gotten the job done, as resources are 97% at start up. would still like to know. using win95b. thnx.

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Susan, Windows 95 Doesn't Have 'msconfig' BUT You Can Get It Here
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / May 14, 2004 1:25 PM PDT

"Msconfig" isn't installed by default on Win95. I install it on all the Win95 machines I take care of.

Click on the link below, scroll to the lower part of the screen, in the "Utilities and Misc." section, download the "msconfig.exe" file listed there to your computer and place it in the C\Windows\System folder.

After it's placed there, you can then follow the instructions I listed above.

Hope this helps.


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startup control
by Daniel32 / January 6, 2005 11:14 PM PST

Another option is to use another utility to select which programs are enabled at startup. I use Spybot S&D; if you start it in Advanced, it has several other utilities, and Startup is one of them. It lists all programs that are presently enabled at startup. Clicking on any one listed usually provides a description of that program's source and function. Checking that program's box prevents it from running at next startup. The descriptions help me, because the names of some of the Microsoft [required] routines sound suspicious, where some of the spyware / malware programs have adopted names that sound like they are native to the computer, perhaps with a letter changed or added from an original routine.
The program is free; contributions are welcomed, but not required, for the advanced version. [This was the first freeware I ever sent a contribution for, after using it ~6 months.]

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by joebjo / April 6, 2007 8:39 PM PDT
In reply to: startup control

Thanks for that Daniel32. I was just cruising the posts and read what you had to say about Spybot start up utility.....I had a look at it and it is saying that I have a system32.exe file which has the HK_LM:RunOnceEx registry key that was supposedly added by the AGOBOT-KU WORM! Note - has a blank entry under the Startup Item/Name field. No other anti spyware/virus/malware proggies I have seemed to have picked that up. I checked it out on the site posted above. I have disabled it, but have since noticed that I have several similar entries in my registry....those being...HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce, HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnceEx, HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnceEx-, HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunServices, and HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunServicesOnce. None of these have any values in the data colum on the right hand side interface (Windows 2000 SP4). Do you know if any of these are legitimate registry key entries (ie not from the worm or any other malware etc)?



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(NT) They're Normal And Legitimate Keys
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / April 7, 2007 4:46 AM PDT
In reply to: Interesting!
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by Johnnynumer / February 18, 2011 6:34 AM PST
In reply to: startup control

Thanks for this nice info. This will be a great help.

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by ambulu15 / December 27, 2009 5:17 PM PST

Thanks for sharing the Information.
this is very help full for me.

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Stopping unnecessary startup programs

i cant seem to find the startup tab in my computer properties

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No Mention Of Your Operating System
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / April 13, 2010 11:54 AM PDT

But the "Startup" tab isn't in your system properties.. The original topic was written with Windows 98 in mind (note the date on that post), but the System Configuration Utility is still found in Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7. In either of those operating systems, open the "Run" line, (Start-Run, or type "Run" in the "Search" line), then type "msconfig" without the quotes, then click on OK. When the System Configuration Utility loads, click on the "Startup" tab.

Hope this helps.


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by erdevki / December 22, 2014 5:31 PM PST

thanks for new tips

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