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Solutions: My Documents 'Search Companion' error? Try this

When I open My Documents on the computer and then click on Search, I get the message "(!) A file that is required to run Search Companion cannot be found."

What's happening is that library files required to display the search Companion character are either missing or corrupt. Click Start, Run and type the following: %systemroot%\inf and click OK. Locate and then right-click the file srchasst.inf and select Install. You will be prompted for the location of msgr3en.dll. If your computer came with Windows XP preinstalled, it is likely to be at C:\Windows\i386. Otherwise you will need to supply your Windows XP installation CD. If this method doesn't fix the problem, the following is a sure way to turn off the source of the problem — the animated assistant. Click Start, Run, type Regedit and click OK. Navigate to the following key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\CabinetState\. If the Key "Use Search Asst" is present, double-click it to edit and change the value to "No." If it doesn't exist, right-click an empty space in the right pane window and select New, String Value. Name the new value "Use Search Asst." Double-click this new key and enter the value "No" (without quotes). Click OK and then close the regedit program and reboot. Your Search functionality should now be back.

I have a question about automatic updates. I have something called Java that wants to automatically update. So far I have refused to let it do so. I don't know if this automatic update is for real or a virus. How can I find out? It has created an icon on the bottom of the computer screen.

Go to Controls Panel, Additional Options, and click on Java. Click on the Updates tab. You can select the option to not be notified for new updates. You can also remove the tray icon by clicking the Advanced tab, then Miscellaneous and unclick the "Place Java icon in system tray" option.

Java is necessary to run parts of many Web pages, and as long as you have all the necessary safeguards (antivirus, proper security levels within your browser), it should not pose a security problem.

Send questions to personaltech@sptimes.com or Personal Tech, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. Questions are answered only in this column.

Solutions: My Documents 'Search Companion' error? Try this 10/11/09 [Last modified: Sunday, October 11, 2009 5:30am]

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