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Rev 4/30/17

Fixing General Problems

See Removing Viruses Step by Step if you suspect a virus or general malware type problem.

Consider doing the routine maintenance steps outlined in Routine Maintenance First

Initial Search:  Do a Google search on the problem. Keep in mind that not all the answers you get are genuine.  The answers that show up at the top in a somewhat highlighted way got that way because they paid to be there which means they are hoping to get money out of you to pay for their add so look further down on the list.

If they suggest you download and run some program, then be careful what site you go to.  The program may actually be malware or it may be from a site that offers malware masquerading as legitimate software.  If a particular program is suggested, I will go to http://www.cnet.com/ to see if they have it.  If they do it is generally a safe program to use.

Check your Memory
Step 1: Open the Start Menu and type in mdsched.exe, then press enter.
Step 2:
Click on the box that says mdsched.exe.
Step 3:
A pop-up will appear on your screen, asking how you'd like to go about checking the memory. The first option will restart your machine and check the memory right now, and the second option checks the next time you choose to reboot. Pick the option that best suits your needs.
Step 4:
Your computer will load a screen that shows the progress of the check and number of passes it will run on the memory. Watch the memory diagnostic tool for errors. If there are no errors, then it's likely that your RAM is not causing any issues, and it's time to investigate other hardware or software issues.

Look at the Event Viewer Log
Every time Windows encounters an anomaly or even does certain background tasks, it leaves a note in the Event Log.  Almost all of these are of no consequence to you but once in a while it contains useful information.  The information is stored in chronological order form the latest to the oldest so it is best to look closely after the problem is seen.  It notes many events a day even when things seem to be running fine to you.   Click HERE to see notes on how to use the event viewer.  The notes are at the bottom after information on running chkdsk and is principally aimed at looking at errors from chkdsk but it shows all kinds of notices and errors, most of which are negligible.

Finding out what is using up all the space on your hard disk
WinDirStat is a good free program for anodizing what is using up all the space on your hard disks.  You can download it from ZDNET (Download.com)

Run a general computer tune up program, I recommend System Mechanic.  Click HERE for a detailed discussion of the program.

Some Safe Sites: 
General (mostly free) Download site, also has reviews and other stuff.  http://www.cnet.com/
A relatively safe place to download software from.  If I see some software recommended with a link to an unknown site, I often go to this site to get it as I have a greater confidence in the authenticity and safety of the software.

Sometimes the suggested solution directs you to a Microsoft site such as https://support2.microsoft.com/fixit/.  These should all be safe.

Restore your computer to a previous point in time:
Sometimes you computer gets all messed up.  Typically after installing some program or update and you want to go back to a previous point in time.  You may not even be able to get the computer to load windows.  System Restore will remove any programs or drivers installed after the restore point but not change any of your other files.
If you can still get into windows, then click on Start then in the search window, type "create a restore point" then select "Create a Restore point".  This brings up a Systems Properties dialog box. Select "
System Protection then System Restore. You are typically offered the option to restore to the most recent point or  an earlier one.  If you have the option, select "Choose a different point".  From this expanded menu you can still select the most recent point where you think your computer was still running correctly.  Note:  You can scan for affected programs so you can see what programs and drivers will be removed if you restore to an earlier point in time.
This operation will undo any programs that were added after the restore point and any updates but will not alter any files you created. You may be asked to disable your anti-virus program and try again because sometimes the anti-virus program interferes with the restore operation.
If you can not boot into windows at all, click HERE and hopefully I will have added my  notes about that problem along with general boot option notes for more modern systems that use UEFI Firmware settings rather than BIOs settings.  Pricey computers were using this new system around 2011, it gradually migrated to cheaper systems by 2015.


Some useful web sites