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Solutions: Try to isolate the source of restart failures

I am running a Dell E510 with Windows XP. If I shut my computer off, I cannot restart it unless I disconnect the power cord, open the case and remove the battery. If I don't do this, the power light on the front of the computer blinks amber and the computer does nothing. Pressing the on button does nothing. After reinstalling the battery and then reconnecting the power cord, I press the on button, and the computer will boot. I then have to reset the time and date. I find I have to keep the computer on all the time. If I set it to hibernate, it won't restart either. Do you have any ideas?

If it's still under warranty, of course call Dell. The easiest thing to replace would be the battery. Try that first. The next suspect would be a bad power switch or a faulty connecting wire. Next time the case is open, make sure the wire from the switch to the motherboard is properly seated. You can also call Dell to check if this could be a switch problem and not a motherboard issue. If it is a faulty switch, Dell can tell you the correct replacement part.

I have a question about the use of registry edit programs: Are they necessary and, if so, where can I get one that really works?

By registry edit program, I'm assuming you mean registry cleaner. I've written about this in the column a few times, and I'll repeat it here again: Don't waste your time and money on registry cleaner programs. The ones I've tried produced no noticeable improvements and there is always the chance that they may cause other problems. However, here is something that can actually make your system more efficient, and it's free: PageDefrag. It is for XP (not Vista) and allows you to defragment your page, hibernation, event log and other system files. You can download it (or run it directly) from Click the File and Disk Utilities link and scroll down. Sysinternals is actually part of Microsoft, and you'll find that their various utilities are the only ones I have the confidence in to recommend to my readers.

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

Solutions: Try to isolate the source of restart failures 03/22/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 31, 2009 11:39am]
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