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Unable to open programmes
Thread poster: corinne durand

corinne durand  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:06
English to French
+ ...
Nov 21, 2003

Hello!
I am having a serious problem with my PC as I have been unable to open any programme or applications for the last 2 days after downloading new programmes; My OS is Windows 98 and I have tried to start in safe mode to try and access the 'Add and remove programmes' but I can't, the 'Control panel' menu is as far as I can get, I cannot open anyhting after that. The computer starts normally, without error messages but when I click on something to open it nothing is happening. It looks like there is some space left on my hard drive, I am wondering if it may be a memory problem and am ready to try and install additional memory if it can solve the problem. My main worry is to be unable to back up all my precious information (including email data) in case I need to reinstall the OS. Your suggestions or opinions on what the problem may be will be highly appreciated.
Many thanks in anticipation,
Corinne


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PAS  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:06
English to Polish
+ ...
More detail Nov 21, 2003

What did you download?
When you click on icons, does the computer hang, or do you get error messages?
What hardware do you have (CPU, RAM etc.)?

If you reinstall Windows on top of the existing installation you will not lose your files, but that may not necessarily solve your problem.

If you can get to Control Panel, maybe you can get into Autostart in the Start menu and try to delete all your autostart programs.

Also, disable (if you can) all your antivirus, firewalls etc. software running in the background.


[Edited at 2003-11-21 10:38]


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Endre Both  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:06
Member (2002)
English to German
Give it time... Nov 21, 2003

Often, when something goes wrong in the system, it does not actually stop working, it only takes inordinate amounts of time for tasks it had completed instantly before.

So if you succeed in calling up the Control Panel, wait a few minutes (to let the computer relax after all that work), and then try double-clicking (once!) on "Add and remove programmes".

Then wait several minutes before resigning to the fact that the PC is indeed unable to open that window.

If this works, you should be able to remove the programmes you've installed (a virus scanner among them by any chance?).

Otherwise, no ideas, it's not easy to remotely diagnose such a general problem (although as I see PAS has asked a few good questions and given some sensible advice).

Endre
EB Communications


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corinne durand  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:06
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for your answers Nov 21, 2003

PAS wrote:

What did you download?
When you click on icons, does the computer hang, or do you get error messages?
What hardware do you have (CPU, RAM etc.)?

I downloaded Norton AV but as far as I know, I had not installed it yet, only extracted it from a zip and I also downloaded a CD burning programme (not yet installed) and one music track file. When I click, I do not get error messages, the PC does not hang as such, I get the timer for a few seconds, then the timer goes back to being a normal 'arrow' and nothing else happens. The Hard drive is 10GB, memory 128 and processor 500 or 600, not sure.
I will start and try endre's suggestion, thanks again.



[Edited at 2003-11-21 10:38]


[Edited at 2003-11-21 11:19]


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Sylvain Leray  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:06
Member (2003)
German to French
I had the same problem Nov 21, 2003

Endre Both wrote:

Often, when something goes wrong in the system, it does not actually stop working, it only takes inordinate amounts of time for tasks it had completed instantly before.

So if you succeed in calling up the Control Panel, wait a few minutes (to let the computer relax after all that work), and then try double-clicking (once!) on "Add and remove programmes".

Then wait several minutes before resigning to the fact that the PC is indeed unable to open that window.



Hi,
I had the same problem after a power failure, and it lasted almost 15 minutes until my computer reacted to my many desperate double-clicks... and all of a sudden, all the programms opened. The PC needed only to take a breath after so much trouble...


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corinne durand  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:06
English to French
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TOPIC STARTER
I have tried to wait Nov 21, 2003

Hi again!
I have tried to wait to open 'add and remove programmes' following endre's suggestion. I now get the error message 'there is not enough free memory to run this programme, close some applications and start again'. The only application I can see open when I do 'ctrl alt del' is explorer, I do not see an Autostart to disable in my Start menu and I am not even sure how to start in safe mode as I eventually managed to do it by chance the other day after trying several times to boot the PC while pressing ctrl,F1,2,3....12 keys.
Any other suggestions on how I could free up memory at start up or if adding a new memory module could solve the problem will be much appreciated.
Many thanks again in anticipation,
Corinne


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Endre Both  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:06
Member (2002)
English to German
Hit F8 (repeatedly) during boot-up Nov 21, 2003

...to activate a menu in which you can select Safe Mode by pressing the appropriate number key.

It is a bit tricky to catch the exact moment when to press F8, so it's best to repeatedly hit it from power-on until that menu appears (do not hold it down, though).

From what you've told, your computer should be working fine as it is, without the need to add more memory. Adding more could alleviate the symptoms, but the underlying problem would remain. Unfortunately, in spite of the explicitness of this error message, the underlying problem often is not insufficient memory, but program malfunction.

That said, even a working 5-600 MHz system could benefit from extending RAM from 128 to 256 MB.


An option to reduce memory use (even if this may not be the ultimate solution):

Click on Start -> Run.
Enter "msconfig" without quotes.
Click on the "Autostart" tab and uncheck the entries. There may be some which are necessary for the system to work though, so this is NOT entirely without risk--but maybe you find some spyware or software that you recently installed and which can be deactivated without hesitation.

Restart and see what happens. Or if you don't want to take chances, report first what you see on the msconfig "Autostart" tab.

Endre


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 10:06
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Once a year I had to format my disk Nov 21, 2003

With Win98 I had to format my C-disk regularly. It takes a lot of time, but helps. Better move up to 2000 or XP. They are not flawless either but mor stable.

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Robert Zawadzki  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:06
English to Polish
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Memory chips failed? Nov 21, 2003

I have seen similar symptoms, when one of the memory chips failed. As many people advise you to upgrade memory anyway, I'd suggest that you take out all the old chips and only then insert new ones. Memory is quite cheap these days. Neverthless I cannot guarantee it will work...

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corinne durand  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:06
English to French
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Thanks again... it sounds like it is getting worse!!! Nov 21, 2003

Thanks to all for your suggestions and comments. I have been able to start in safe mode by pressing F8 and just cancelled some programmes by accessing the programmes files and deleting them which does not seem to be the best solution as I now get error messages about files missing at startup. Anyway, I did not get anywhere by entering msconfig on the run menu as nothing happened when I tried to type this in, and therefore could not get access to the Autostart menu. I am now trying to access the add and remove programmes once again and have got nowhere so far, however my PC has started to emit some strange clicking noises a few minutes ago, as well as the normal computing noise... it seems to have stopped now but it sounded worrying... I think I will try and get new memory, however, do you think there is a risk I won't be able to install it under the current situation?
Sorry for asking yet another question, and many thanks again for all your help!!!


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Karin Adamczyk  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 03:06
Member
French to English
Call a technician Nov 21, 2003

corinne durand wrote:

snip, snip, snip

I do not see an Autostart to disable in my Start menu and I am not even sure how to start in safe mode as I eventually managed to do it by chance the other day after trying several times to boot the PC while pressing ctrl,F1,2,3....12 keys.
Any other suggestions on how I could free up memory at start up or if adding a new memory module could solve the problem will be much appreciated.
Many thanks again in anticipation,
Corinne


The absolute worst thing you can do is to try pressing various keys or try various things when you don't *know* what you are doing. I read in a later message that you have deleted files that were needed for startup.

Simply adding memory will not solve your problems. If you have deleted startup files, they are gone and memory will not bring them back.

You will need to reinstall your operating system and all programs and yes, your data will be gone unless you have someone who knows what they are doing help you back it up first.

If you just reinstall an operating system over another one with problems, your problems will still be there.

If you earned your living with huge machinery, would you trust yourself to make repairs without the required knowledge or would you have to call in an expert?

The same goes for computers when you earn your living with them.

Good luck,
Karin Adamczyk


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Carolyn Denoncourt  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:06
Member (2004)
French to English
+ ...
Get professional help -- it will save your data. Nov 21, 2003

Corrine,
It is easy to get caught up in following suggestions and trying fixes, but without experience in computer troubleshooting you may make your problem worse. Your main goal is to preserve your DATA. All programs can be re-installed, but your data is your treasure. It should not be difficult or expensive for a computer repair business to access your hard drive and backup your data to another drive for later restoration after they find the trouble on your PC. Take only the computer box to a computer shop. They will have a monitor, keyboard, mouse, and connections to use with it. Then if you go to that trouble, I would upgrade the operating system. Your hardware sounds capable of handling it.
Carolyn


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Endre Both  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:06
Member (2002)
English to German
Careful with unusual sounds Nov 21, 2003

...they often originate in the hard disk, where your precious data are stored. So if that sound comes back (and, if your data is dear to you, even earlier), turn off the computer immediately and get it to someone who can try to make a backup on a new drive before looking into the problem in detail.

In fact, it is very advisable to have two hard drives and to make regular backups of vital data.

Endre


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corinne durand  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:06
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks to all Nov 21, 2003

Yes, this is my next course of action, in the hope that as much as possible of my data can be saved as it has been a few months since my last backup unfortunately...


Many thanks again,
Corinne


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Doru Voin  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 10:06
English to Romanian
+ ...
Relax Nov 21, 2003

corinne durand wrote:
as it has been a few months since my last backup unfortunately...


Hi Corinne!
I understand from your post that:
- your OS boots normally
- doubleclicking or otherwise launching an application has nor viewable result

I have two news for you. One is good and the other is very good.

Your computer booting means there is nothing wrong with your hard disk. This is the good news. The very good news is that re-installing your OS does NOT mean you loose inormation saved on your hard drive, as long as you do not format it.

Please take your time and try to launch different types of applications (i.e. not only Office application, but also .txt files, html files and so on). Also, try hitting Ctrl+Alt+Del (alternatively, right click on your toolbar and select Task Manager) to see what is happening. What I suspect is that your got infected with some virus. Now this MIGHT be a problem. Let me know what info is displayed in Task Manager, if any.

Regards from Bucharest,
Doru Voin


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