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Solutions: 'Upgrade' wiped out Acer laptop

I have an Acer laptop, Model No. ZD1 with Windows Vista Home Premium. I've had it for several years and it worked beautifully up until it flashed to download what I thought was Microsoft Service pack 2. After the download it totally wiped my computer out. When I turn it on, all I get is the Acer logo. It did not come with a recovery disk, and I think the disk is somehow internal. I have tried several options that I read about online to do a recovery to bring it back to a factory install, but I really do not know what I am doing.

Powering on and continuously pressing the F10 button (or alt-F10) should bring up the Acer eRecovery system. It may have options that allow you to back up your data to an external drive and then restore factory settings. You may also want to contact Acer support to see if there is an option to purchase the factory recovery disk. I had to do this for an out-of-warranty HP laptop. The cost was only $15.

I have a Dell XPS 600 desktop computer and it runs on Windows XP. When I'm gaming online, the game screen will sometimes minimize without prompting, which is annoying. Please tell me there is an easy fix.

If this only happens while playing the game, I'd guess that it is driver related. Make sure you're getting back clean antivirus screens and then go to the support website for your video adaptor. Check that you have the latest driver updates. If not, download and install. Many cards also have their own BIOS flashes. Check your versions and update as needed.

How do you do a partial delete of URL history in Windows 7 and IE9? My 2011 version has a button to clear all URLs, but not some. All the alleged solutions on the Internet do not apply. They say press this and click that, but my Windows 7 and IE9 don't have those options. The list of URLs rapidly fills up with unnecessary URLs, which can't be edited out without erasing everything in the list. Can you help?

Sure. Click start, Run, type REGEDIT and click OK. Navigate to this key: [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\TypedURLs]. On the right side of the Regedit screen you will see the list of URLs. Right-click the URLs you want to delete and select Delete. Repeat this for each URL you want to erase. Restart Internet Explorer and they should now be gone. I'm sure there is some freeware utility somewhere that does this, but why clutter up your system with unnecessary software? Simpler is always better. Whenever you modify the registry it is a good idea to set a system restore point and know how to get back to that point if needed.

I have Norton antivirus and a friend said I should use Microsoft Security Essential because it is free and just as good. I wonder if it is just as good.

Norton Antivirus is a great product, and I'm a big proponent of "if it's not broke, don't fix it" when it comes to making changes on your PC. However, if you want to save your money the next time the subscription comes due, you will not be losing anything by switching to Security Essentials. It is just as good, integrates with the operating system and runs with minimal resources.

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

Solutions: 'Upgrade' wiped out Acer laptop 12/21/12 [Last modified: Friday, December 21, 2012 7:31pm]
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