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John Torro: How to get rid of HP Solution Center popup

I own an HP Pavilion a6040n desktop with Windows Vista. Every time I start my computer a popup appears that says: "The feature you are trying to use is on a CD-ROM or other removable disk that is not available. Insert the 'Solution Center' disk and click OK. An installation package for the product solution center cannot be found. Try installation again using a valid copy of the installation package Solutioncenter.msi."

How do I delete this?

The message is coming from the HP Solution Center software. It sounds as if a previous install did not complete successfully. The easiest fix is just to go to Control Panel, Add/Remove programs. Look for "HP Solution Center" and double-click it to start the uninstall. This software comes with most HP printers and adds some extra functionality for some of the All-in-One models, but it's not necessary just for printing. You can reinstall it from the HP software CD or download the latest version for your printer model from their support website.

When I go on Google mail, I get a popup saying: "You are using a version of Internet Explorer which will soon be unsupported. Some features may not work correctly. Upgrade to a modern browser like Google Chrome."

I think I am running Internet Explorer 8 on my laptop which uses Windows XP. Is this just a push to get more people to switch to Chome?

Some people take their browser allegiance very seriously and will go to great lengths to have you change to their particular favorite. I believe in keeping things as simple and vanilla as possible, and on a Windows PC that means Internet Explorer. It is probable that some of the Yahoo services will eventually change and may behave differently on Internet Explorer 8. But this is true with any other browser as well. New programs and websites are written to the specs of the current browsers and are not always backward compatible. Windows XP will only support up to Internet Explorer 8, so updating to the latest Internet Explorer is not an option for you. But I would wait until the things you need to do on your PC actually stop working before considering a change.

My 4-year-old Lenovo ThinkPad has gotten very slow, presumably due to software bloat and other issues. I'm thinking of making one last try to keep it going by starting from scratch — wiping out the hard drive and reinstalling the software. Is this a good idea? And if so, how do I return the laptop to its fresh-from-the-factory condition?

Software bloat will definitely slow you down, and if you don't feel like playing detective and going through everything that runs at startup to eliminate the unnecessary programs, a fresh install will make your PC run faster. But that comes with a downside as you need to backup all your personal data and make sure you can reinstall all your necessary post-factory software. Most PC vendors ship a factory image on an additional partition that can be accessed by pressing a particular function key at boot time with options for various levels of restore. Check your documentation and/or Lenovo's website to see how this is done for your particular model. Keep in mind that computers can also lose processing speed when they run hot. Be sure your fan is working properly and the vent is free from dust.

Send questions to personaltech@tampabay.com or Personal Tech, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731.

John Torro: How to get rid of HP Solution Center popup 11/30/12 [Last modified: Friday, November 30, 2012 8:01pm]
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