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Category Archives for Tech Support

Internet Explorer 7 issues

Well Internet explorer 7 has been released for
sometime now. Unfortunately it appears once again
we are beta testers for Microsoft.

Being in the support world myself it seems to me
the biggest issues with Internet Explorer 7 are
installation issues. As with many other web based
installations of Microsoft products there are some
issues that should be addressed. Microsoft should
make this download available in a full admin version
as they did the latest xp service packs. Of course
we know Microsoft seems to follow the beat of a
different drum so to say they will do this is unlikely.

Even if you have installed IE7 and are experience one
of these wonderful issues, it is easy to revert back
to the previous version. Personally when dealing with
any new product I use a non-essential machine to test
with. I would however recommend locating the Microsoft
technical document on uninstalling IE7 for your particular
Windows version and follow those directions to the letter.

Other than installation issues the most prevalent problem
seems to be accessing secure web sites. Once again if you
are experiencing this issue you may want to revert back
to your previous version of IE. At least this will get you
operational until Microsoft addresses these issues.

This is not to say that everyone who is using IE7 is
having issues with the new browser. If you do have it
installed and it is working properly then consider
yourself blessed.

A good general rule with any new software is to allow
a testing period for other users to find the issues.
This is especially true if your computers functionality
is a business or personal necessity. Allowing several
weeks or months for known issues to be reported to
Microsoft and then repaired through a patch or update
will save you may headaches.

Just because its new software doesn’t mean it’s better.
New software is only beneficial if you can use it and
your computer.

Visit the PC911 how to section to learn how to do dozens
of different tasks on your computer. It’s one of our most
popular pages on the entire site.

Working with computer startup issues

Ever experience start up errors when Windows is loading up?This can be very annoying. The most
common cause is due to entries in the start up list that is due to improper un-installation of programs.

Spyware and virus software as well can cause similar issues that make you want to pull your hair out. Then spyware or viruses are removed the harmful aspects of these types of software are most commonly the only entries these removal utilities address. Commonly the remaining registry entries in the start up file often remain.

When addressing a start up issue it is best to note the error or errors by logging the information. Once
you have logged the errors you are now ready to start researching the error.

A common way of diagnosing start up errors is to use the Google search engine by visiting www.google.com.

Input the error exactly as it appears. This will result in a more efficient search query. By referencing the offending module you can obtain information on the module as to its manufacturer and function.

You will find many different ways of addressing any particular issue when you use a search engine. If the
entry pertains to a particular software title it is best to contact their support to address the issue with proper procedures for removal or re-installation.

Another way to address start up errors is by using the Microsoft msconfig utility. This utility can be invoked by going to your start menu and selecting run. In the run box input the utility name by typing msconfig and selecting ok. Once the msconfig utility has loaded select the start up tab. Review your entries noting if there are entries that reference the particular module or software that has been noted in the error. You can deselect these entries which disables the call from the start up file.

If you cannot identify the entry in your start up folder try disabling half of the entries then select the ok button and perform a restart. If the condition of your computer does not change repeat the process and re-enable the removed entries. Attempt disabling the remaining entries and perform another restart. If the issue at any point is alleviated re-enable the items one at a time while performing a restart after each until the offending entry is identified.

In most cases this will help you identify and remove the issue. In cases the issue still exists and you have identified a particular software title that is the cause you should contact the software manufacturer for assistance.

Always remember most of these entries only serve to use up memory resources and most arent needed, but if you have virus or firewall software installed leave those entries enabled unless they are the problem entries.

A quick note: Smashing or thrashing your computer doesn’t help at least in these instances. ๐Ÿ™‚

Daylight savings time changes and computer issues

With the presidents new energy bill daylight savings
time has been moved ahead of schedule by a few weeks.
The government’s reasoning behind the new daylight
savings time is that people may use less electricity
for lighting with the availability of more daylight
in the evening hours.

There have been many concerns by consumers about how
this will affect computers. For networked computers
or proprietary software this may be a concern, but
for home users If you apply your Microsoft updates
and patch any updatable software this should not
be a huge issue.

To insure your system will not be affected simply
visit the websites of the software titles you have
installed on your computer. If there is a known issue
with the new date and the software you have installed
the manufacturer will post the available patch
information on their support pages.

This is not to say all devices wont be affected.
Any device that can not be updated may be affected
by this change.

This change has moved from the month of April to the
second Sunday in March.

Don’t panic, now is the time to start your preparation
for migration to the new time change. Even if you
administer a large network of computers and devices you
still have time to contact your software and hardware
vendors for advice on possible complications.

Don’t get caught up in the hysteria surrounding this issue.

Computer help forum

We have been considering bringing back the computer help forum here at PC911. You have surely noticed the complete redesign we have recently completed and we are thinking a forum would be a nice addition.

There will also be a paid computer support option available to everyone very soon. You’ll be able to purchase blocks of time with one of our certified technicians to help you fix your problem. Plus you will get several great bonuses only available from PC911.

Watch for more information soon!

Trouble free computing

With all my ranting on computer maintenance you would think one might achieve what others call “trouble free” computing…not a chance.

By no means am I saying that you cannot achieve at least a better computing experience, but “trouble free”?

First lets think about this. I have heard and I quote “Computers don’t make mistakes..its the user that makes em!”. Ok I gotta say this and I hope someone is listening. Computers are a great piece of technology, but remember the internal workings such as hardware and software are completely designed by a human animal. So wouldn’t that make them as fallible as the people who design them?

Honestly…computers are only as infallible as the engineer who designs the components or software.

Don’t give up hope though. You can make your experience at least a more pleasant one. Although reaching for an unattainable goal will simply frustrate you. The best tool you can have is knowledge.

Knowledge of your system and software. Use the tools provided by the pc or software manufacturer to help maintain a healthy system. Most hardware and software manufacturers incorporate an extensive knowledge base as well as update services to help you maintain your pc functionality.

Believe me… Any error you have experienced while using resources the manufacturer has already encountered in testing. It’s as
easy as searching a knowledge base or creating a trouble ticket in their support system.

I know…I know: Its alot to read and most of it can be extremely confusing. Just remember when trouble shooting there are a few key things to note in your search: What version of Windows are you using? What is the EXACT error you are experiencing? When is this error occuring? If it occurs in a particular software title then what version is that software title?

You cannot go wrong in your search for an answer to a particular issue if you have this information.

These details will help you point to a specific answer in a knowledgebase. Just as there are many causes to one particular problem there are just as many fixes for that problem. So when you get frustrated while trying to fix an issue…before you take it out on your tech support remember that.

Tech support is troubleshooting, and I assure you they are just as eager to remedy your issue as you are.

SO remember: In your search for “trouble free” computing, functionality may get better, it will never be totally problem free.

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Ever receive problems after updating your Windows Operating System?

Have you ever been plagued with error messages after performing a Windows update? Remember when you receive updates from Microsoft most of the updates do pertain to known security issues. Just because these updates can fix known issue doesnt mean they will not cause other problems.

The biggest issue with using the updates feature is using the web updater. As we know you can have many communication issues while connected to the internet. These issues can cause installation problems in the files you are attempting to download. If available the safest way to install updates is to obtain the full installers rather than using the web update feature. Although Microsoft does not provide full installers for all updates they do for some.

Some of the most common problems you can experience are with updates to Internet Explorer, Outlook Express and Windows media player. Remember you always have the ability to revert back to a previous state by uninstalling service packs or updates. Although this does not always cure the issue as usually when you install the damage has been done by the installer and damage will still reside in the registry it is recommended to try reverting.

One thing to remember though, just because it comes from Microsoft it does not mean it is fool proof.

I always recommend backing up any valuable data and backing up the Windows registry before attempting any update. This is a good practice even when installing new programs. I know….I know this is very time consuming, but remember you could end up spending days trying to restore your system and data from a crash. As well you may recover your system without a back up but you will not always recover your data without one.

Anytime you are updating your operating system or system software be sure to read any available documentation on procedures before attempting the update.

I hope this may help save you some time with future computing.


PC911 redesign is complete

The new design is live on the PC 911 site now. We have removed a lot of the old clutter that made the site hard to use and navigate. Now you sift through all the great content here a lot easier. We are working on a computer help center for everyone to come and get free computer help.

Let us know what you think about the new design below by leaving us a comment. Have a great day!


How PC911 came about and what the site is all about

The PC911 web site was founded in January of 1999 by Alex “crazygerman” Byron. The site was inspired by many, many questions about Windows and PCs being asked over and over again by friends, offline as well as online. The goal was to write up the answers in form of easy to understand how-to articles and organize them for easy access.

Soon a team started to form as several computer users who were already helping others in some form online joined forces with PC911. Their combined efforts helped making this site what it is now with their great combined knowledge, skills and selfless attitude. They deserve a big round of applause and a big pat on the back for their invaluable contributions.

In the summer of ’99 MaximumPC took on PC911 as an affiliate which gave the site’s traffic a big boost and grew our audience by leaps and bounds. I am very grateful for this opportunity and want to express my thanx to Ed Homich, the MaximumPC producer at the time, and the rest of the MaximumPC crew for their support and having faith in this site.

The site reached a milestone with the site in August of 2000 when it had its first month with over 1,000,000 page views. Somehow the site just keeps growing like a weed and over time turned into the beast it is now.

The main goal is to give computer users around the world a place to find out more about computers in an easy to understand, non-intimidating environment, and help to make their computing experience a happy and safe one. The motto is: PC911 – Friendly Expert Computer Help in Plain English.

One particular quality that makes this site stand out is that the articles are written in plain simple English, not geek speak, to make it easier for the average user to understand them. If there are technical terms used sometimes, it is because it is a very common term a reader should be familiar with. If the term is unfamiliar, Webopedia is a great resource for explanations for the most common computer terms.

In September of 2002 the site underwent some changes. After almost 4 years, the toll the site had taken on my life, marriage, career, and free time was getting too much, and I decided to reduce the site by eliminating some of the less useful features, automating some areas, and closing the forum section. However, the forum community continues to thrive at http://www.pcqanda.com.


Our immense gratitude goes out to all the team members that contributed to this site over the years and helped make the site what it is now. Alex, Al, Shelly, Grogan, Steve Yandl, ChrisP, MrMan, Jan, Marti, DaLanTech, Scotterpops – you guys rock!

Additional thanx go to a few other acknowledged gurus that wrote “guest” articles for PC911 like Xin Li, Zenwolf, and others, as well as many others who contributed to the site in form of reviews, tips, suggestions, corrections, etc.


The How-To Guides are tutorials in plain English that are designed to help you understand things that you might not be familiar with and have hesitated to start, and walk you through the process.

The Review section has a collection of reviews about computer products, either written by PC911, or contributed by other PC911 readers.

The Downloads section is a great collection of freeware programs from all over the world, unearthed, tested, and approved, for you to enjoy.

Click on Best Prices to conveniently find the best prices online for anything computer related. This incredibly easy search engine lets you browse for the best prices online, gives you many details about the product, provides ratings of the online vendor to ensure you order from a reliable source, and even figures out the shipping cost. It doesn’t get much better than this.

The Tips & Tweaks section contains hundreds of neat little tips, tweaks, and scripts that help you do things faster or better in Windows and MS Office.

In the Links section you’ll find links to other great computer related sites as well as manufacturer’s web sites in case you ever need to contact them or obtain a driver or manual.

If you have a hard time finding something, you can also search this site by keyword.

See what others say about this site

So far, we have received nothing but positive feedback about this site, and plenty of it. To see what awards we’ve received so far and what great comments some of our readers have sent us, check out our Awards and Feedback page.

Your Input

Hopefully you enjoy your visit to this site and find it helpful. If you find something to be unclear, too complicated, missing, wrong, or if you would like to see a topic added, if you have a suggestion for an article, please send us an e-mail and let me know what can be done better. Any constructive input that will help to improve this site and make it more valuable to you is appreciated.

Enough said. Use the menu on the left to start learning more about Windows, the Internet and your PC.