Trouble with your Windows 2000 system? Confounded by error messages? With this handy "Troubleshooting" guide, it's easy to pinpoint and solve your own software problems. Fast! Each section opens with a troubleshooting chart to help quickly diagnose the source of the problem. It offers clear, step-by-step solutions to try right away, plus a full chapter of things to do to stay out of trouble or learn a new trick. Continuous support via the Troubleshooting "Latest Solutions" Web site provides monthly updates on additional problem solving information. Books in the "Troubleshooting" series are colorful, superbly organized, and easy to read, giving even novice users the confidence to fix it themselves without calling tech support or wasting time on futile trial and error. This book shows how to troubleshoot accessing and organizing information, running programs, networking, and more.
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- Windows won’t start correctly
- Source of the problem
- I can’t repair the computer because I can’t start it
- Source of the problem
- How to fix it
- More about booting
- Windows takes a long time to get started
- Source of the problem
- How to fix it
- Windows keeps reconfiguring my computer
- Source of the problem
- How to fix it
- Hardware profiles are for special situations
Despite all the safeguards built into the system, there are many ways to break Windows. Not only can you mess it up by deleting essential files or making the wrong settings, but hardware or software that isn’t fully compatible with Windows 2000 can do some evil things to the system. For example, you might try using an old device driver for your modem because there are no Windows 2000 drivers available for the modem. Some drivers might work just fine, but others will cause a system failure. If you used software to create your own CDs on a computer running Windows 98, you might find that your system locks up when you install the software on a computer that’s running Windows 2000. Although there’s no substitute for checking the software and hardware compatibility lists before you install or modify anything on your computer, Windows does provide a couple of other safeguards. If the system isn’t working correctly, you can try starting Windows using the settings that worked previously. If that doesn’t work, you can usually start the system in Safe Mode, with only minimal features available, and then try to fix the problem.
How to fix it
- Start Windows. When you see the "Starting Windows" message on the black screen, press the F8 key. (Depending on your computer, you might need to do this very quickly.) If your computer is set up to run more than one operating system, you can press the F8 key when you’re prompted to select an operating system. When you press the F8 key, the Windows 2000 Advanced Options menu appears, offering you several choices. Use the Down arrow key to select the Last Known Good Configuration item, and press Enter. In the Hardware Profile/Configuration Recovery menu that appears, you can select a different hardware profile if your computer has one, or you can start with the default profile. If you created a backup profile before making any major hardware changes, and if you’ve since reversed the hardware changes, select the backup profile, and press Enter. Otherwise, wait for the default profile to be used and for the computer to start.
- If Windows starts normally, reverse whatever you did that caused the problem. If you installed a program, remove it. If you installed a hardware driver, remove it. If you discover that whatever you did has already been reversed, be happyit means that Windows ignored the cause of the problem when you started up using the previous configuration.
- If Windows didn’t start normally, restart the computer, and press the F8 key to return to the Windows 2000 Advanced Options menu. Now you must select the startup option you want. Determine what you need to do, use the arrow keys to select the appropriate option, and then press Enter to start Windows in the mode you selected.
For information about creating and using hardware profiles, see "Windows keeps reconfiguring my computer" on page 268.
- Safe Mode: Starts Windows with no network connections and without most of its drivers. Use this option to correct settings, remove programs or drivers, or fix network problems.
- Safe Mode With Networking: Starts Windows with network connections but without most of its drivers. Use this option if any resources you need are on the network, or if someone is going to try to fix your computer from another computer on the network.
- Safe Mode With Command Prompt: Starts Windows without network connections, without most of its drivers, and with the command prompt only. Use this option only if you have special utilities that run from the command prompt and/or you have detailed instructions about repairing your computer from the command prompt. Repairing the system from the command prompt is not for the timid.
- Enable Boot Logging: Starts Windows normally, and records startup information to the ntbtlog.txt file (in the WINNT folder). It’s useful in diagnosing the startup problem. If the system fails to start correctly, restart in Safe Mode, and examine the log.
If you don’t have the Windows 2000 Professional Setup disks, see "I can’t repair the computer because I can’t start it" on page 264 for information about creating the disks.
There are two ways to start your computer when you need to use the Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional CD to repair the operating system. If your computer supports it, you can insert the CD and boot directly from it. If your computer doesn’t support booting from the CD, you’ll need to use a set of four floppy disks to start the system. If you can’t find the boot disks, don’t worryyou can create a whole new set of the disks from the Windows 2000 Professional CD. Regardless of the way you start your computer, you’ll enter Windows 2000 Setup, where you can either reinstall Windows 2000 or use repair tools to fix a serious problem.
- The first step is to assemble the pieces you need to work with. You will, of course, need the Windows 2000 Professional CD. If you need to create the Setup disks, you’ll need four blank formatted floppy disks and access to a working computer. (You can also use disks that contain material you don’t need any morethe process of creating the Setup disks will delete anything on the disks.) Label each disk as "Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional Setup Disk," and number the disks consecutively.
- If your computer can boot from a CD, and if the computer is turned off, turn it on; if it’s running, restart it. As soon as the computer has power, quickly place the CD in the CD drive. Watch the screen for any instructions about booting from the CD (usually a message telling you to press any key). Wait for the computer to start and for Windows Setup to start. Follow the instructions to run the parts of Setup that you want to use.
- If you need to create the Setup disks, insert the Windows 2000 Professional CD into the CD drive of any computer running Windows or MS-DOS. If you’re prompted to log on as another user, click the option to log on as yourself. (You don’t need Administrator permission to create these disks.) If you’re asked whether you want to upgrade your operating system, click No to cancel any automatic installation. (This might occur if you’re using a computer that’s running an operating system other than Windows 2000.)
- If the Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional CD window appears, click Browse This CD. If this window doesn’t appear, in My Computer, double-click the CD.
- In the folder window for the CD, double-click the BOOTDISK folder. Double-click MAKEBOOT in the BOOTDISK folder. When the Command Prompt window opens, type the letter of the floppy disk drive (usually a), insert the first floppy disk into the drive, and press any key. Wait for the information to be copied, and then insert the second floppy disk when prompted. Repeat for the remaining two disks, making sure to insert them in the correct order. When all four disks have been created, close the BOOTDISK folder window and close the Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional CD window.
- Return to your broken computer. Insert the Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional Setup Disk 1 in the floppy disk drive, and start the computer. Follow the instructions, placing each disk in the drive as needed. When prompted, place the Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional CD in the computer’s CD drive, and follow the instructions for repairing the existing installation or installing a new copy of the operating system. If you install a new operating system, you might lose many of your settings and might need to reinstall your programs. Installing a new copy of the operating system should be your last resort.
In a corporate network environment, Windows is usually set up using special deployment tools over a network or from a specially designed CD. If you need to fix the system, but you didn’t install Windows 2000 on your computer and don’t have the Windows 2000 Professional CD, check with the network administrator about the methods and tools he or she uses to repair problems. Trying to run the Setup program on a system that was set up over a network can cause serious problems.
Booting from the CD is by far the quickest way to start Setup and the repair process. Although most computers that support Windows 2000 will boot from a CD, some have had this option disabled in the computer’s setup (the BIOS, or basic input/output system). If your computer won’t start from the CD, check its documentation to see whether it does support booting from the CD and, if so, how you can enable booting from the CD in the computer’s settings.
You arrive at your desk, turn on your computer, and wait for Windows to start up so that you can log on and get to workand you wait…and you wait…and you wait. Why is it taking so long? Well, it does take Windows a little time to load the items that it needs to function properly, but that time can be greatly affected one way or the other by the speed of your computer and your network connections, and especially by the way you’ve set up the computer. You can usually speed up Windows’ startup time by tweaking those settings so that Windows doesn’t have to work so hard to get started.
- Start Windows, and watch as it starts up. Note what it does and where it seems to slow down. If, for example, you’re logging on to a network, see whether it’s that process that causes a major slowdown. If you’re dialing in to the network, you should expect a delay, depending on the speed (or lack thereof) of the connection and the time the server takes to verify your account. If you have a direct connection to a network that has a domain, the logon should be fairly quick. If it’s slow, ask the network administrator whether it’s possible to speed up the network logon.
- Most startup delays occur immediately after you’ve logged on. At that point, Windows is working on all the extra, time-consuming tasks it’s been assigneddisplaying the contents of open windows, for example, and restoring network connections. To prevent an open folder window from appearing when you start Windows, close all your folder windows before you log off or shut down Windows. To eliminate or reduce the number of network connections that Windows has to restore, disconnect any network drives you don’t need. To do so, in My Computer, right-click the mapped network drive, and click Disconnect on the shortcut menu.
- The next step is to determine which programs are starting automatically when Windows starts, and to prevent them from doing so if you don’t always need them at startup. On the Programs submenu of the Start menu, point to Startup, and examine any programs listed on the submenu. These are the programs that start automatically when you start Windows or when you log on. Drag any program you don’t need at startup from the Startup submenu into another location on the Start menu. You’ll be able to start the program when you need it by clicking its name on the Start menu. If you do leave programs in the Startup folder, make sure they’re not configured to run tasks that could take a long time (otherwise, be prepared to wait uncomplainingly for the task to be completed). For example, if you have a mail program in the Startup folder and you’ve configured it to download an address book each time it starts, the startup time will increase substantially.
- Not all programs that start automatically are shown on the Startup submenu. To see which other programs are set to start when Windows starts, on the System Tools submenu of the Start menu, click System Information. In the left pane of the System Information window, double-click the Software Environment item to expand it, and then click Startup Programs. In the right pane of the window, note the programs that are listed, and then close the System Information window. Most of these programs probably do need to start when Windows starts, but, if you identify a program that shouldn’t be included, check the program’s documentation for information about preventing it from starting automatically. Sometimes you’ll need to uninstall and then reinstall the program, using different installation choices so that it isn’t set to start automatically.
- Programs can be scheduled to run in other ways too. To see whether a program is scheduled to run when you log on, on the System Tools submenu of the Start menu, click Scheduled Tasks. In the Scheduled Tasks window, see whether a task is scheduled to be run at logon. If so, right-click the task, and click Properties on the shortcut menu. In the dialog box that appears, either clear the Enable check box on the Task tab to prevent the task from being run, or, on the Schedule tab, reschedule the task, and then click OK. Close the Scheduled Tasks window when you’ve finished.
- Yet another way a program can be set to run when you start Windows is with a logon
- scripta set of special instructions that are run at logon. If you created the logon script, we’ll assume that you know how to edit it to remove unnecessary programs. If you didn’t create the script, don’t try to modify ityou could create a situation in which you can’t log on at all. Instead, try to obtain an updated script from the network administrator or from the person who created the logon script.
- Another long delay in logging on can occur if your computer is set to use offline files, either from your network or the Internet. For information about modifying the way offline files are synchronized, see "Windows takes a long time to shut down" on page 248.
Don’t leave a CD or a removable disk in its drive unless you need it. When Windows starts, it tests each drive, and, if it finds a CD or a disk, it reads the contents, which adds to the startup time.
When you add hardware to or remove it from your computer, the change is usually detected when you start Windows, and Windows makes the proper adjustments to your system. This is usually a good thing. However, if you routinely use your computer in two or more different configurations, this repetitive detection and reconfiguration can be annoying and time consuming. For example, if you use a scanner connected to a serial port in one configuration, and you use the same serial port for a modem in another configuration, you’ll have to spend time working with Windows to configure one of the devices each time you change the configuration and restart Windows. Fortunately, Windows provides a simple and convenient way to avoid this problem: you can create a separate hardware profile on your computer for each different configuration you use. When you start Windows, all you need to do is select the profile you want to use, and Windows is all set without installing, uninstalling, or disabling support for different pieces of hardware.
- Windows usually starts with a single profile on your computer that records your current configuration. This profile will be your starting point, so make sure the computer is configured properly for one of your configurations. If you made any changes to the configuration, restart the computer. Log on to the computer as the Administrator.
- What you’re going to do is copy your main profile and then modify it to create a second profile. To copy the profile, right-click My Computer, and click Properties on the shortcut menu. On the Hardware tab, click Hardware Profiles. In the Hardware Profiles dialog box, click your current profile if it isn’t already selected, and click Copy.
- In the Copy Profile dialog box, accept the proposed name or type a descriptive name for the new profile, and click OK. In the Hardware Profiles Selection section, click the option to wait until you select the profile. Click OK to close the Hardware Profiles dialog box, and click OK again to close the System Properties dialog box.
- Although you’ve created a new profile, any hardware changes you make now will be stored in the original profile. To set up your new profile, shut down Windows. Make any hardware changes you want, and then start the computer and Windows. During the startup process, you’ll see the Hardware Profile/Configuration Recovery menu. Use the Down arrow key to select the profile you just created, and press Enter.
- Log on as the Administrator, and do whatever you need to do to configure the hardware on the computer exactly as you want it. Test your setup to verify that everything is working properly.
- If you’ll be using one profile most of the time, right-click My Computer, and click Properties on the shortcut menu. On the Hardware tab, click the Hardware Profiles button. Click the profile that you want to be your default profile, and use the Up arrow, if necessary, to move the profile to the top of the list. In the Hardware Profiles Selection section, click the option to automatically use the first profile, and set the number of seconds to a value long enough to allow you to select a profile at startup.
- If at some point you find that you use one profile exclusively, and you’d prefer not to see the Hardware Profile/Configuration Recovery menu at startup, you can delete the profile you no longer use. To do so, right-click My Computer, click Properties on the shortcut menu, and, on the Hardware tab, click the Hardware Profiles button. In the Hardware Profiles dialog box, click the profile you don’t use, and click the Delete button. Click OK, and then click OK again.
Profiles are used primarily with portable computers, but they can be used in any system on which you have two or more configurations. A portable computer that has a docking station usually has two profilesone for when the computer is docked and the other for when it’s undocked. In most cases, Windows creates these profiles automatically. When you start the computer or change the docking state, Windows usually detects whether the computer is docked and selects the appropriate profile. Create additional profiles only if you’re having problems. You can also create a profile before you make extensive changes to your system. That way, if the system doesn’t work correctly after the changes, you can restore the hardware setup to the way it was, and then start Windows using the profile for the original configuration.
Table of ContentsAcknowledgments Page x
About this book Page xi
How to use this book Page xi
Troubleshooting tips Page xiii
How to troubleshoot Page xiii
The Troubleshooting web site Page xvii
Access to the computer Page 2
I can’t make changes to my computer settings Page 4
Too many people can access my files on the network Page 6
Other people can access the files on my computer Page 8
Date and time Page 10
The date or the time is incorrect Page 12
The date or the time is in the wrong format Page 14
Desktop Page 16
I can’t get the Desktop to look the way I want Page 18
My Desktop needs some serious housecleaning Page 20
Some Desktop items are missing Page 22
Some Active Desktop items aren’t working properly Page 24
The Active Desktop is disabled Page 26
Dial-up connection Page 28
I can’t log on remotely Page 30
I can’t set up an automatic remote connection Page 32
I can’t connect to my Internet service provider Page 34
Disk storage Page 36
The disk is full Page 38
I can’t open a file or folder Page 40
It takes such a long time to find a document Page 42
I’m denied permission when I’m working on a removable disk Page 44
Dual boot Page 46
An operating system won’t start Page 48
My Windows 95/98/Me installation eliminates dual booting Page 50
Encryption Page 52
My files aren’t encrypted Page 54
I can’t decrypt my files or folders Page 56
Faxes, receiving Page 58
Fax isn’t configured for answering and storing faxes Page 60
I can’t receive a fax Page 62
I can’t read a fax Page 64
A fax call doesn’t wake the computer Page 66
Faxes, sending Page 68
I can’t send a fax Page 70
The faxes I’ve been sending look weird Page 72
The information on my fax cover page is wrong Page 74
Folders Page 76
I can’t get my folder windows to look the way I want Page 78
My folder windows don’t display all the information I need Page 80
I can’t open my folders in separate windows Page 82
My folder windows aren’t set up for certain types of files Page 84
I can’t manage my folders Page 86
Games Page 88
My game won’t run Page 90
My mouse doesn’t work in some games Page 92
I can’t play an Internet game over a shared connection Page 94
Hardware installation Page 96
The device wasn’t detected Page 98
The device was misidentified Page 100
The device doesn’t work Page 102
Internet Explorer Page 104
It takes so long to download web pages Page 106
I don’t like the font or the font size on some web pages Page 108
Web pages in other languages are unreadable Page 110
Internet Sharing client Page 112
My network connection to the ICS host computer is broken Page 114
My computer uses the wrong connection to connect to the Internet Page 116
Internet Sharing host Page 118
I couldn’t get ICS installed Page 120
I installed ICS, but I can’t find other computers Page 122
Keyboard Page 124
My keyboard doesn’t work Page 126
My keyboard doesn’t have the characters I need Page 128
Characters are repeated when I don’t want them to be Page 130
I get characters I don’t expect on the screen Page 132
I can’t navigate Windows with the keyboard Page 134
Logging on Page 136
I can’t log on Page 138
I’m not required to use a password to log on Page 140
I can log on only locally Page 142
Someone else’s name is listed when I log on Page 144
Modems Page 146
My modem isn’t detected Page 148
My modem can’t dial a phone number Page 150
I can’t exchange data over my modem Page 152
My modem is really slow Page 154
Mouse Page 156
My mouse doesn’t work Page 158
Parts of my mouse don’t work properly Page 160
I can’t control my mouse Page 162
I can’t find or follow the mouse pointer Page 164
The mouse pointer looks strange Page 166
Multiple monitors Page 168
The secondary display adapter isn’t working Page 170
The computer starts on the wrong monitor Page 172
My programs, windows, and dialog boxes are displayed on the wrong monitor Page 174
My monitors are in the wrong place or are the wrong size Page 176
Outlook Express Page 178
I can’t manage my messages on the mail server Page 180
I spend too much time (and money) on line Page 182
My e-mail messages are mixed up with other people’s mail Page 184
Someone out there might be reading my mail Page 186
Power options Page 188
My screen is resting when I need to work Page 190
My computer doesn’t wake up correctly Page 192
Hibernation doesn’t work as I expected it to Page 194
There’s no Standby option Page 196
My computer won’t go into Standby mode Page 198
Standby doesn’t work as I expected it to Page 200
Printing, local Page 202
My printer doesn’t work Page 204
I try to print a document, but nothing happens Page 206
The printer isn’t performing as I expected Page 208
The separator page is wrong or is missing Page 210
Some people are unable to use my printer Page 212
Printing, network Page 214
The printer isn’t set up for my system Page 216
MS-DOS programs won’t print over the network Page 218
Programs Page 220
I can’t manage my programs Page 222
My program suddenly stopped working Page 224
A program that ran in an earlier version of Windows won’t run now Page 226
An MS-DOS program won’t run Page 228
Screen Page 230
My screen crashes at startup Page 232
My screen’s performance is really slow Page 234
I can’t change my screen’s display settings Page 236
The screen flickers and is hard to look at Page 238
Part of the Desktop is missing Page 240
Shutting down Page 242
I can’t shut down Windows Page 244
I’m working, and Windows suddenly shuts down Page 246
Windows takes a long time to shut down Page 248
Sound Page 250
My sound system doesn’t work Page 252
I can’t play, hear, or record what I want Page 254
Voices echo or sound choppy in Internet or conference calls Page 256
There’s no (CD) music in my life Page 258
Starting up Page 260
Windows won’t start correctly Page 262
I can’t repair the computer because I can’t start it Page 264
Windows takes a long time to get started Page 266
Windows keeps reconfiguring my computer Page 268
Start menu Page 270
Some items I want aren’t on the Start menu Page 272
An item on the Start menu doesn’t work Page 274
The Start menu is disorganized Page 276
Taskbar Page 278
The taskbar is missing Page 280
The taskbar is the wrong size or is in the wrong location Page 282
The items I want aren’t on the taskbar Page 284
Toolbars Page 286
The items I need aren’t on the toolbars Page 288
I can’t find the items I want on the toolbars Page 290
The toolbars are too big or are in the wrong place Page 292
APPENDIX A Page
Installing a service pack Page 295
APPENDIX B Page
Editing the Registry Page 297
APPENDIX C Page
Gathering information Page 299
INDEX Page 303