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Solutions for Common PC Problems and Possible Fixes for Windows ME

Note: These tips are intended to help computer technicians or those knowledgeable in computers. These tips are assuming you have already done some of the basic trouble-shooting* and are still experiencing a problem.

*Basic trouble-shooting, as defined here, shall include, but is not limited to scanning the hard disk drive for virus', running SCANDISK on the hard disk drive and repairing any errors or lost allocation units, removing all items from the Windows StartUp group and Load= and Run= lines in the WIN.INI file, finding and deleting all .TMP files and all Internet Brower Caches as well as verifying the Standard CMOS setup is correctly configured.

Q. Windows Media Player 7 constantly crashing.

A. Remove all items from StartUp (using MSCONFIG) and see if
the problem still occurs. A software called AYPaste is known to cause this

Q. While transferring large files from one PC to another, the network speed seems to drop and the process seems to take much longer than it should.

A. Limit Windows VCACHE setting to 32 Meg regardless of the
amount of RAM on the system.  I suggest you download and install Cacheman
(www.outertech.com). This application lets you change the VCACHE settings
easily. Set maximum disk cache to 32768 and CHUNKSIZE to 512.

Q. Why is my hard drive constantly active?

A. When you are not using Windows, the operating system will
reduce the swap file size (since it is not being used) and the 'System
Restore' software is making back-ups of critical files. Also, if you have a
Sound Blaster card, a piece of software called Disc Detector constantly
polls the drives for new media. To disable this, you will find an icon in
the Control Panel labeled Disc Detector.

Q. I am running Windows Me and until recently when you inserted a CD it would automatically start. Suddenly that does not happen. I have to start it manually. I have checked to see that the Auto Insert flag is checked in device manager and it is. Does anyone have any idea why this would happen or a work around?

A. Type REGEDIT in the run box, then open HKEY_CURRENT_USER,
Microsoft, Windows, Current Version, Policies, Explorer. Right click on
NoDriveTypeAuto to change the setting to 95 00 00 00

Q. No matter what I set the access privileges for in network control panel, after I shut down the machine and log back in again the access goes back to user-level. It will not stay on share-level no matter what I do.

A. Try making the change in Safe Mode and then re-starting
in normal
mode.  Be sure to click OK after making the change.
To start Windows Me in Safe mode:
1. Click Start | Shut down | Restart | OK.
2. Hold down the CTRL key until the Windows Startup Menu appears.
3. Enter the number for Safe mode and press ENTER.

Q. Why can't I see computers listed in my network neighborhood, but I can find them using the Search function?

A. The problem might been that during the set up of
HomeNetworking Wizard, Microsoft somehow names your Workgroup to be "Mshome"
(the default value) EVEN THOUGH you have specified your own name.  Here is
the fix:

- Start -> Run -> regedit
- Find "Mshome" (which should be in My
- Right click on Workgroup (on the right hand panel) -> Modify
- Change the "Value Data" to whatever your Workgroup Name is.

Q. My A: drive keeps being activated even though I am not using it. How can I prevent this from occurring?

Click Start, Click Settings, Click Taskbar and Start
Menu, Click the Advanced tab, Click the button labeled "Clear."

Q. NetBEUI is not in the list of network protocols available

A. Click Start, click Run, type MSCONFIG (hit enter), click
the button labeled "Extract File." For the name of the file you want to
restore, type NETBW.INF. Restore from your Windows Millennium CD (if your CD
is your D: drive, type: D:\WIN9X). Save File In: C:\WINDOWS\INF
Once the file is restored, NetBEUI should now be available as a protocol
option in your network properties.

Q. When I reboot my Windows ME, sometimes i get a whole lot of the following messages: "windows could not upgrade the file %1 from %2 %1:%2" What is causing this?

A. You have disabled SYSTEM RESTORE and you have deleted the
_RESTORE directory. As a result, Windows cannot find the directory necessary
to create a restore point.

Q. What's the minimum and recommended ('sweet spot') amount of RAM for Windows ME?

A. http://promiseraid.tripod.com/info/mem1.jpg &

Q. Windows Explorer always starts in My Documents. How can I change that so it always starts at the root of the C: drive?

A. Right click on the Windows Explorer icon, select
Properties and change the Target to C:\WINDOWS\EXPLORER.EXE

Q. Where can I find information about upgrading from Windows 95/98 to Windows ME?

A. Check here:

Q. Where can I find more information about System Restore and possibly how to disable it?

A. http://www.3dspotlight.com/tweaks/windows/windows-2.shtml

Q. Script Error with My Network Places

A. You have Tweak UI installed and have changed the first
item to appear on the
desktop from My Documents to something else. Change it back to My Documents.

Q. Windows Update Setup says: "A previous program installation was never completed. You need to restart your computer to complete the installation before running Internet Explorer Setup. Setup will now close."

A. Delete c:\windows\dxwininit.bak.  You should now be able
to proceed with the installation of IE 5.5 SP1 Windows Update!

Q. Cannot enable DMA on hard drive.

A. You must contact the manufacturer of the hard drive and
download the utility used to enable or disable the Ultra ATA 33/66/100
capability on drives that support this feature. Drives are typically shipped
with the fastest DMA mode enabled. If you do not have a special 80 wire IDE
cable, or your motherboard does not support UMDA 66 or UDMA 100, you must
set the drive to UDMA 33 mode.

Q. When I click on the Start button, the sidebar that says Win ME has disappeared and there is a long bar of pure black.

A. There is a minumum requirement of 8 icons being listed on
the start button. If you have 7 icons or less there is no way to display the

Q. When I try to use the search function in the Start Menu nothing happens.

A. If TweakUI is installed, go into it and click on Desktop
and make sure "Search Results" is checked.

Q. Kernel32.dll errors while running Windows Me

A. add the following items to system.ini [386 Enh] section:

MinSPs = 10
PerVMFiles = 65

Q. Low memory errors.

A. Use the MaxFileCache setting in the System.ini file to
reduce the maximum amount of memory that Vcache uses to 512 megabytes
(524,288 KB) or less OR Use the System Configuration utility to limit the
amount of memory that Windows uses to 512 megabytes (MB) or less.
Vcache is limited internally to a maximum cache size of 800 MB.

This problem may occur more readily with Advanced Graphics Port (AGP) video
adapters because the AGP aperture is also mapped to addresses in the system
arena. For example, if Vcache is using a maximum cache size of 800 MB and an
AGP video adapter has a 128-MB aperture mapped, there is very little address
space remaining for the other system code and data that must occupy this
range of virtual addresses.

Q. When you choose shut down, the screen goes blank and you get the "Windows is shutting down", then the screen goes black and it NEVER says "It is now safe to turn off your computer".

A. Go into the BIOS, select "Power Management Setup", under
"Video Off Method" choose "V/H Sync+Blank"

Q. Computer receives a general protection fault while attempting to install Windows 98 or 95.

A. Check voltage settings on CPU, check memory, replace CPU.

Q. When the computer is turned on for the first time each day, the lights come on but there is no video. Turning the computer off and then back on, or pressing reset then allows the computer to boot properly.

A. Bad power supply.

Q. Computer beeps or buzzes intermittently while on.

A. Bad power supply fan or CPU fan or bad keyboard (sticking

Q. While doing a defrag, the computer keeps starting over, making defragmentation take forever.

A. Press CTRL-ALT-DEL one time and select END TASK on every
item that is listed EXCEPT for Explorer and Systray.  You will have to press
CTRL-ALT-DELETE each time after you select END TASK.

Q. MediaPlayer 7 gives me an 80004005 error when I try to play a CD.

A. Turn off the digital playback option in MediaPlayer 7.

Q. I plugged the headphones into the outlet on the CDROM player and get no sound.

A. Turn off the digital playback option in MediaPlayer 7.

Q. Network keeps getting disconnected or lots of collisions on hub.

A.  Plug and Play has set the IRQ or other memory address
and is sharing it with another device.  Both devices can not be active at
the same time.  I recommend setting the Network card manually using the
software that comes with the card or downloading the software from the
manufacturers web site. Use an IRQ and memory address that is not currently
in use and go in to your computer's BIOS and, under Plug And Play, select
MANUAL and turn off the IRQ that you assigned to the network card.

Q. Network is very slow

A. Visit this page for more info:

Q. How do I make a bootable floppy with Windows ME?

A. Just format a floppy and copy IO.SYS and COMMAND.COM from
C:\WINDOWS\COMMAND\EBD onto the floppy. Instant bootable floppy, just like

Q. When you turn the computer on, the lights come on, but there is no video.

A. Bad monitor, bad video card or video card not seated
properly, broken/bent pin(s) on monitor cable, broken/bent pin(s) on
keyboard connector, switch on bottom of keyboard is set to XT instead of AT,
RAM is bad or not seated properly, CPU is bad or not seated properly, power
supply is bad or switch in back of power supply is set to 230v instead of
115v, CMOS may need to be cleared and reset.  If this is a new system, the
CPU voltage, multiplier and clock settings may not be properly set on the
motherboard or BIOS/CMOS.

Q. After installing an application such as Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel, or Corel SmartSuite, the computer freezes intermittently in these programs.

A.  RAM is bad or not seated properly, CPU voltage,
multiplier or clock settings not set correctly, bad video card or bad video
card drivers.

Q. Can not recognize printer or other device attached to parallel port.

A. Go in to the computer's BIOS/CMOS setup and in the
section entitled Integrated Devices/Peripherals make sure that the Parallel
port is enabled and set to EPP mode, if given a choice of 1.7 or 1.9, select
1.9.  Do not select ECP or SPP mode. Also, possible bad cable or the cable
may have a broken or bent pin. Also, possible bad printer or other device.
Always make sure the device is ready, in the case of the printer, ensure the
power is on, paper is in it, ink or toner is installed the Green Online
light is on before starting diagnosis. A printer self-test can determine if
the printer is bad. See your printers owners manual, or visit the
manufacturers web site for details on how to do this with your specific

Q. Modem dials out but there is no connection.

A. Some phone systems require you to dial a 9 first, try
adding a "9," to the front of the phone number you are dialing.

Q. When installing a piece of hardware from on old computer to a new computer, Windows locks up or gets General Protection Faults.

A. Find out what IRQ the hardware device is using.  Some
older Sound Blasters have two IRQs, one for the sound card and one for the
built in controller for the CDROM. Make sure to disable both of those IRQs
in your BIOS under Plug And Play (select MANUAL and turn off the IRQ(s) that
the hardware device is using).

Q. Modem says NO DIALTONE when you try to dial out.

A. Phone cable is bad or not connected to the proper port in
the back of the modem or possible bad modem or you have voice messaging or
some other phone service that causes your dial tone to 'stutter' letting you
know you have messages waiting or you are on a PBX system which requires you
to dial a 9 first before getting a dial tone.  In either case, you can turn
off your modems ability to check for a dialtone. To do this, click on Start,
Settings, Control Panel and then double-click on Modems.  Make sure your
modem is highlighted, if not, click once on it, and then click on Properties
(NOT Dialing Properties).  Click the Connection tab, and then click on the
Advanced button. Under Extra Settings type in "AT X0" without the quotation
marks and then click OK until you are back to the Control Panel. Close the
Control Panel and try dialing out again.

Q. One of your hard disk drives is stuck in 16-bit mode.

A. Try going into Control Panel and re-detecting new
hardware.  If you are still in 16-bit mode on your hard disk drive(s), click
on Start, type REGEDIT and hit Enter. Then type CTRL-F and in the field that
appears type "NOIDE" without the quotation marks and hit Enter.  It may take
a while to search and while it is searching it may appear the computer is
locked up, be patient. If it finds a NOIDE in the registry, it will
highlight it. Delete this entry and then close the Registry, it will
automatically save your changes. When you re-boot, all hard disk drives
should be in 32-bit mode.

Q. CDROM is in 16-bit mode.

A. You may need an updated driver from the manufacturer if
your CDROM plugs into a proprietary controller card or sound card. Also, if
your CDROM has a proprietary controller card or sound card attached to it,
it's IRQ and/or DMA settings may be conflicting with the BIOS/CMOS Plug And
Play settings. Make sure to disable those resources in the Plug And Play
section of your BIOS/CMOS.  You may also be loading MSCDEX.EXE in your
AUTOEXEC.BAT.  If so, edit the C:\AUTOEXEC.BAT file and type "REM" without
the quotation marks at the beginning of that line.

Q. Modem fails to respond, or is intermittent and causes lockups.

A. The modem, if internal, is more than likely configured to
an IRQ or COM port that is already in use.  I recommend setting the modem to
COM PORT 4, IRQ 3 and verify the BIOS/CMOS Integrated Peripherals settings
have the COM PORTs defined as COM1 (2F8) and COM2 (3f8). Do not set them to
AUTO (if that is an option in your BIOS/CMOS).

Q. Sound Blaster AWE 64, no sound (speaker icon in system tray).

A. Go into BIOS/CMOS and DISABLE ACPI. This setting can
usually be found under the section entitled POWER MANAGEMENT SETUP.

Q. What is a Cross-Over cable?

A. A cable sends and receives data, right? So if pin 1 and 2
send data and pins
3 and 6 receive data, when you plug it into the computers they'll butt

That is what a hub, switch or router is for.  On a 2 pc network, you need
the receive and send wires reversed on one end of the cable so the data
being SENT from one can be RECEIVED by the other. Otherwise you are trying
to SEND data to a computer's SEND data port.

It would be like trying to talk into the ear piece of your phone. Doesn't
work real well since that's a speaker, and not a mic. (It's an output, not
an input). You cannot plug an output into another output or an input into
another input. At least, not if you expect it to work. You must plug one
output into anothers input. Didn't your parents have this talk with you yet?

Where can I get one and how much?
CompUSA, Fry's Electronics, Best Buy... they all have those crossover
cables. How much? $5-$20 depending on length.

Q. Start button is empty, does not say "Start" and tabs in windows are blank. All buttons are blank, no text in them.

A. Go to your display settings, click on the Appearance tab
and choose the Windows default scheme. This occurs when the text color
chosen is the same as the background color.

Q. Drive letters opening when starting Windows

A. If you're using Norton Internet Security 2001 or Norton
Personal Firewall 2001, change the settings in the program to not load at
startup.  Create an entry in Start|Programs|Startup to launch the program
from there.  There's a timing problem, causing these products to launch
explorer windows.

The following link from Symantec's website provides a better description of
the problem and gives a link to a step-by-step fix.


Q. Password is not being saved and/or login screen keeps coming up when Windows 95/98 starts.

A. There are numerous settings that need to be set
correctly, so we will add/reconfigure each one to insure it is properly set.
Go to the Control Panel, double-click the icon entitled "PASSWORDS." At the
top of the screen there are tabs. Click the tab titled "USER PROFILES"and
make sure the option "All users of this computer use the same preferences
and desktop settings."
Click OK.
While in the Control Panel, see if you have an icon called "TWEAK UI", if
so, double-click it, find the tab that says Paranoia, and make sure the
option "Clear Last User at logon" is NOT checked.  Click OK.
Back in the Control Panel, double-click on the icon titled "Network" and
make sure you have the following components installed:
Client for Microsoft Networks
Dial-Up Adapter

If you have any other components, remove them, these are the only three you
should have (unless you have a network card or are using AOL). Check to see
that "Windows Logon" is selected for the "Primary Network Logon" listed
Double-click "Client for Microsoft Networks" and make sure "Log on to
Windows NT domain" is NOT checked. While in that window, make sure that
"Quick logon" is selected. Click OK.
On the tabs at the top of the screen, select "Access Control" and make sure
the option "Share-level access control" is selected.
Click OK.
If you are asked to re-boot, say NO.
Close the Control Panel.
Double-click My Computer
Double-click Dial-up Networking
You should see the icon used to dial your ISP here. Right-click on it and
On the tabs at the top of the window, select the one that is titled "Server
Under ADVANCED OPTIONS, the ONLY item that should be selected is "Enable
software compression". Please make sure that "Log on to network" and all of
the other options are not enabled.
Below that, it says "Allowed network protocols"
Make sure the last option, "TCP/IP" is the ONLY item selected.
Click OK.
Close any open windows.
Click on Start.
Click on Run.
Type COMMAND (hit enter).
Type CD \Windows (hit enter).
Type DEL *.PWL (hit enter).
Type EXIT (hit enter).

Click Start
Click Shutdown
Choose "Restart"

When Windows comes back up, a login screen should be displayed. For the
name, type TEST (hit enter)
For the password, type nothing, just hit the enter key.
If Windows asks for password verification, hit the enter key again.

That's it, you're all done! The next time you restart Windows, the logon
screen should not come up, and when you dial your ISP, the option to save
your password should be enabled.

Q. Windows 95/98/ME always asks for a logon password.

A. To prevent Windows from prompting you for a password at
startup, follow
these steps:

Click Start, point to Settings, click Control Panel, and then double-click
the Network icon.

On the Configuration tab, click to select Windows Logon in the Primary
Network Logon box, and then click OK.

When you are prompted to restart your computer, click No.

In Control Panel, double-click Passwords.

NOTE: If you cancel the network logon dialog box when you first start your
computer, the Change Passwords tab may not be available. You must logon so
the Change Passwords tab will be available.

Click the Change Passwords tab, click Change Windows Password, select any
check box items you want to be included in the change, and then click OK.

In the Change Windows Password dialog box, type your current Windows
password in the Old Password box. Leave the New Password and Confirm New
Password boxes blank, click OK, and then click OK.

NOTE: If you have forgotten your old password, please see the following
article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

Microsoft's Policy Regarding Missing or Invalid Passwords

Click the User Profiles tab and verify that the All users of this PC use the
same preferences and desktop settings option is selected, and then click

On the Start menu, point to Find, and then Files or Folders. Type *.pwl, in
the Named window. Look in (all) "Local hard drives". Select Include
subfolders, and then click the Find Now button. Rename the extension on all
".pwl" files to ".old".

Shut down and then restart Windows.

NOTE: If ".pwl" files are not disabled, the passwords from those files can
be detected by Windows and the Windows Logon request continues to appear.

If the issue has not been resolved, this issue may be caused by the TweakUI
tool in Microsoft Windows 95 Power Toys. If you have installed Microsoft
Windows 95 Power Toys, and are using the TweakUI tool, please see the
following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
TITLE : Hiding the Last Logged on User Name in Windows 95
For information about how to cache your Microsoft Windows NT domain
password, please see the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

TITLE : How to Cache Your Windows NT Domain Password in Windows 95/98

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