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Solutions: You can get around a corrupt user profile that clears settings on updates

I'm currently in Windows update hell. After an update, I lose my home page and favorites settings. My home page gets set to the original I have to use System Restore to regain my Yahoo home page. I made Yahoo my default browser but the problem persists. I'm sure it's some simple default setting, but I'm quite the novice. It is a Toshiba PC, Windows 7 Premium.

It sounds like a corrupt user profile and after doing some research, it appears to be a known issue in a small number of Windows 7 PCs. That's not encouraging. Aside from doing an in-place reinstall of Windows 7, your best bet may be just to create a new user for yourself.

While you have your Favorites set, start Internet Explorer and click File, Import and Export and export your favorites and cookies. Save them to a folder other than the Desktop. After creating the new user and logging in, reverse the process and import the two files you saved earlier. You'll find any files you had saved under the old user at c:\users\old-user-name.

Go to and search for "Fix a corrupted user profile." Click on the link of the same name to learn more about creating a new user and how to copy files from one user to another. If the problem persists, check into the in-place Windows 7 reinstall. Toshiba probably has some built-in tools to help you do this, so check with their support before proceeding.

You described yourself as a novice, but if you know enough to do a System Restore, you are ahead of the pack. Go slow, read everything and always have your personal data (pictures, documents) backed up to an external drive before attempting to repair/reinstall your system.

I am having a problem with this popup every time I open my computer. It is called "Smart Anti Malware Protection." I have tried deleting it in every way I know how.

It is a virus. It is too late for any antivirus you have installed to do any good since the virus most likely disabled it. You need to remove the virus without starting Windows.

To do this, go to to read about the Windows Defender Offline Beta and create your own CD/DVD. Once this is completed, boot from that CD (watch when your computer reboots, it will ask you to press any key to boot from the CD). This will automatically run the Windows Defender Offline Beta virus/malware, which will be able to eradicate any problems it finds without interference. Once you are back, reinstall your antivirus (I recommend Microsoft Security Essentials) and then from within Internet Explorer, go to Tools, Internet Options. Click the Security tab and then click "Reset all zones to default level." Click the Advanced tab and then click "Restore advanced settings."

Most viruses get installed because people allow them to run after being prompted. Of course, they're disguised as something else. Never run any program that pops up in a browser window unless you know exactly what it is.

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

Solutions: You can get around a corrupt user profile that clears settings on updates 06/10/12 [Last modified: Sunday, June 10, 2012 7:52pm]
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