About one year ago, I purchased a new HP laptop, with your recommendations. I am running Windows 7 and IE 8. So far so good. When would you recommend upgrading to Windows 8 and IE 10?
I've been in the computer business since 1978 and if there is one thing I've learned it is: If it's not broke, don't fix it. If Windows 7 is working well for you, I see no reason to plan an upgrade to Windows 8 anytime soon. Windows 7 will be relevant and supported for quite some time. Traditional Windows users have not been happy with the Windows 8 interface changes. The 8.1 update really didn't do anything significant to resolve those issues. As for your Internet Explorer 8, I do recommend an update to version 10. IE 10 contains several security related changes that you want to have.
My screen flashes sections of black at different times. I have a Hallmark Card Deluxe 2013 program that will often not save correctly. Instead the program message comes up that the program is not working correctly, and I have to shut down the entire program. Sometimes when I go to open my file back up, some of my graphics have disappeared. In playing games such as Solitaire, my screen sometimes freezes, and I have to try different things to unlock it. I almost feel that I have two screens running at the same time. I use Norton 360 and often run full computer scans. The scan goes through 750,000 files, programs, etc. This seems like a lot. I'm afraid I'm not very savvy on computer problems.
It's not unusual at all for modern PCs to have 750,000 files. Your issues seem to be video/graphics related. That could mean drivers (software), video monitor or system board related. Always start with the easiest solution. Check to see if your video device drivers are current. You didn't state which version of Windows you're running, so I'll have to be a bit more general.
For Windows 7 click the Start button and type Device Manager and click the link at the top of the results, otherwise click Start, Settings, Control Panel, double-click the Systems icon then the Hardware tab, and then the Device Manager button. Look for and double-click Display adapters then double-click the adapter. Click the Driver tab.
It should show you the name and version of the video adapter. You will need to go to the vendor's support website and check to see if you have the latest driver for your adapter. If not, download and install the version that is correct for your version of Windows. Even if it shows you have the latest, reinstalling may sometimes fix the issue. If the problem persists, try uninstalling and reinstalling your Hallmark Card program (Control Panel, Programs). This should correct any problems of file library mismatches. If your PC is a desktop, borrow a monitor to see if that corrects the issue. I know this sounds like a lot of instructions and it really should be easier, but PC troubleshooting is not at that point quite yet.
Maybe someone you know who is more comfortable with computers can help you out. Another option, and one highly recommended, would be the Tampa Bay Computer Society ( tampa-bay.org). This is a users group with expert staffers who help people with their computer issues and offer classes and other computer-related events.
Send questions to [email protected] or Personal Tech, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. Questions are answered only in this column.