For about a year, my 3-year-old Compaq Presario V2575 has occasionally restarted when I try to shut it down in the evening. It eventually shuts down after I try two or three times. The next morning it will invariably get locked up (Windows won't load) at the Compaq splash screen. I can't even boot in safe mode from this screen. I have to manually shut down and restart several times to get Windows to load. For days and weeks everything might work well after that. Recently even this did not work, so I had to unplug the power cord, remove the battery and then hold the power button for a few seconds. I have tried all the basic steps outlined including updating the BIOS, drivers, etc. I now fear I must do a full recovery, but the only CDs that came with my system are an Application and Driver Recovery DVD and an Operating System CD. In the meantime, I am not turning my system off, just letting it go into standby mode.
The intermittent problems are the toughest to solve. I'm suspecting a hardware issue, and I've seen similar problems as the result of a faulty system board — which would make it unfixable other than with a replacement board. But there are a number of other things I would do first. Make sure the hard drive has integrity and do a full error check. Some hard drive vendors also provide specific health-checking programs for their drives, so check the manufacturer's support site. Your issues could also be caused by bad memory. If you have multiple SIMMS, you can try removing one at a time to see if that stabilizes the system. While you're inside the PC, make sure all cable connections are solid and that there is no dust buildup on any of the fans or components. Overheated computers run slowly and exhibit inconsistent behavior.
I have a computer with Windows XP. I installed Internet Explorer 8 and it caused some issues. I called Microsoft, which advised me to uninstall it. Now my screen savers won't work. A message came up saying to reinstall screen saver manager, and I don't know what to do.
It sounds like you have a third-party screen saver installed (not the one that comes with Windows). Click Start, Settings, Controls Panel, Add/Remove programs. Find the installed screen saver and remove it. Reinstalling it should fix the problem, or just use the built-in Windows screen saver (my recommendation).
Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or Personal Tech, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. Questions are answered only in this column.