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Registered: 06-2006
Location: Castle Belgalor
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Fix Windows Errors

Every computer user will, from time to time, face an error message. Some are completely harmless and can be simply dismissed, but others will keep coming back and annoying you without ever explaining what’s actually gone wrong.

Below is a list of the most common error messages you are likely to see during day to day use of Windows XP and Vista. I’ll also show you the most likely cause of each one and how to go about fixing them. None of my solutions I’m showing you require any advanced technical knowledge.

[PROGRAM NAME] is not responding
This appears in both XP and Vista, although the error message and options are slightly different for each operating system. In both cases, the culprit is usually a program that’s taking longer than expected to complete a function.

Before clicking ‘End Now’ (XP) or ‘Close the program (Vista), it’s worth giving the program a chance to complete what it’s doing. This error message can often appear when a program is still running but trying to do something difficult. If a program keeps producing the error I recommend checking for any updates or like I do most of the time, re-installing the program.

404 – Page not found
Regardless of which internet browser is being used, a 404 error message will appear if the page you’re trying to visit cannot be found. The message is sent by the website itself, so this shows that there’s no problem with your computer or internet connection. It’s just that the page you want doesn’t exist on the website. To rectify it, check the web address has been entered correctly.

Alternatively, remove all the characters after the domain name and try searching for the page from there. For example, try instead of It’s also worth noting that 404 error messages can be customised by each site, so they don’t always look the same.

Cannot uninstall [PROGRAM NAME]
The exact wording of this error will depend on the type of program you’re trying to remove and what went wrong during the process but there are a few methods that can actually usually fix it.

First try re-installing the program in question, this should replace the uninstallation files, allowing you to remove it successfully. If this doesn’t work there are many programs that can help with removing troublesome software. I use TuneUp Utilities 2009 when uninstalling programs as it includes a dedicated uninstaller tool. It gets rid of everything (including the folder in the Program Files) section.

Your system is running low on virtual memory (XP)
Modern computers usually have at least 512Mb of memory installed, but when the amount of temporary information that needs storing exceeds the memory they write some if it to the hard disk. The space used to do this is know as Virtual Memory. If this space hasn’t been set up correctly, though, Windows will start to complain.

It’s usually best to let Windows decide how much virtual memory should be available. To do this, right-click on My Computer and select Properties. Now click on the Advanced tab, then under Performance, the Settings button. Click on the Advacned tab once more and, at the bottom, click change. Make sure the ‘System managed size’ option is selected and click the Set button. Finally, click OK and restart your PC.

Error moving file or folder
This error appears if you try to move a file when it is currently open in an application (for example a document in MS Word). It’s easy to do this by accident if your try to move a folder when one of the files inside is open. Similarly, try do delete a file that’s being used and the error message ‘Error deleting file or folder’ will appear.

In or to successfully move or delete the file, you will first need to exit the program that’s using it. Vista produces a ‘File in use’ error under the same circumstances. It also has a ‘Try Again’ button. If you close the application that’s using the file, clicking this will move or delete the file as requested.

If you can’t see any programs using the file try waiting 10 seconds before retrying, and if that doesn’t work then restart the computer then try to remove or delete the file again.

The system has recovered from a serious error
This message appears after a PC has restarted following an error. More often than not, you won’t need to do anything other than decide whether or not to send an error report to Microsoft. However, if this message repeatedly appears every time Windows starts, even when no error has occurred, head to the support site at Microsoft where you can download a file to fix the problem. I’ve added the link for the site below

Link: Micorsoft Support

The so called Blue Screen of Death, a blue screen with white text occurs when there has been a serious problem with the computer. Once it appears, there’s no way back into Windows without restarting the computer.

Each BSOD will be accompanied by and error code, of which there are far to many for me to list here. Since Windows automatically restarts the PC when it experiences a BSOD this code is easy to miss. To change this, right-click My Computer icon, select Properties and from the Advanced tab click Settings under Startup and Recovery (in Vista, click Advanced System Settings link to reach this screen).

Remove the tick from the Automatically Restart Box and any BSODs will remain on the screen, allowing you to jot down the error code. Entering this code into a internet search engine will usually provide information on what is causing the error and how to fix it.

If you get this error when there is actually a disc in your CD or DVD drive, it’s worth heading to the drive manufacture’s website to check for an updated driver or firmware. If there are no updates, or they have no effect, it could be that the drive doesn’t support the type of disc you’re trying to read or write to. To find out which formats are supported, download a copy of a free DVD Identifier tool from the link below.

Link: DVD Indentifier Tool

Many forms of removable storage such as USB memory sticks or keys and memory cards, have a write-protect switches, and these can easy to activate by accident. When the switch is activated, you won’t be able to copy files to the device or delete any files on it. To remove the write-protection, you will usually need to flick a switch or move a slider on the storage device.
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