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Solutions: Windows XP file system corruption could prevent program changes

I am running Windows XP. When I go to add or remove programs I get this error message: An exception occurred while trying to run "C:\WINDOWS\system32\shell32.dll,Control_RunDll "C:\WINDOWS\system32\appwiz.cpl." I can't add or remove any program.

Sounds like something got corrupted or clobbered in your file system. Try running the System File Checker: Click Start, Run, type COMMAND and click OK. From the command window type sfc /scannow and press enter. Make sure you leave a space between the sfc and the /scannow.

Two programs are on my computer that were not there when I shut down last night. "ATI Problem Report Wizard" and "AMD VISION Engine Control Center." They look formidable, and I don't know if I need or want them. When I logged in this morning, a black and white window opened C:\Windows\System32\WinSAT.exe and Windows System Assessment Tool. What's going on?

It sounds as if your system is experiencing video adapter/driver issues (ATI) and the WinSat program sometimes will run when it a detects a change in video mode, for example, when the normal default "Aero" mode is turned off. The AMD Vision Control Center is likely notifying you of a found video issue. Your video is likely integrated in your AMD chip. It could be a problem with the video adapter or corrupted video drivers. The drivers you can download from either ATI's or AMD's support site, but I would contact the tech support of your PC maker and see if they can help determine the exact problem.

I have a Dell Latitude D430 running Vista that often slows way down and occasionally freezes, especially when viewing video content. I know Adobe Flash can be very buggy and sometimes get a message that it has stopped. I checked the task manager and noticed that "smcgui.exe" was using a lot of CPU during these episodes. I use Symantec Endpoint Protection and think this is part of my firewall. Would it impact the speed of my computer?

You are correct that "smcgui.exe" is part of the Symantec firewall process and yes, it could impact your system speed. One possible solution from Symantec was to change the communication method setting to "Pull Mode" from the default "Push Mode." But I would contact Symantec to get up-to-date information. If your Symantec program is out of date and you need to renew, consider first the free Microsoft Security Essentials. That along with the default Windows firewall is more than adequate in the case of 99 percent of home PC users and you will take a step toward uncomplicating your system.

For your Flash issue, try right-clicking on any Flash video and choose Settings. Try checking or unchecking "Enable Hardware Acceleration" to see if either of those settings makes a difference in your speed. And visit the Adobe site to make sure you have the latest version of Flash installed.

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

Solutions: Windows XP file system corruption could prevent program changes 08/21/11 [Last modified: Monday, August 22, 2011 10:56am]
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