(updated 12/16/2012)

Suggested fixes for other problems and situations...

Recover a Windows Product Key...

Windows original CDs come with an accompanying product code, or key, that is needed to install the product. If this key is lost, or not known, for an existing Windows installation, it can be recovered.

Do a text search of the files in the C:\Windows folder. Look for "ProductKey". Files containing this text should be found - likely with the name "system.something". Open the file with Wordpad and do a text search within the document for "ProductKey". The key should be there, as entered in the original installation.

Other information may be available in the system.something file - like registered user name and organization, etc. and product I.D. This information can help confirm the legitimacy of the license.

Also, Belarc Advisor may be installed and used to reveal product keys and other licensing information for many products.

"Unable to create network socket connection"

In a situation where you are connected to the Internet and you cannot bring up any websites, yet you can "ping" sites or IP addresses (via a DOS prompt), you may see this error message. The problem lies in a corrupt installation of dial-up networking.

Try this to correct the situation...

Required : Windows 9x CD.

1) Click on Start>Run and enter REGEDIT.

2) "Export" your registry to a known location on your PC.

3) Find H_key_Local_Machine, System, Current Control Set, Services.

4) Delete the WINSOCK2 folder you find there.

5) Leave REGEDIT.

6) Uninstall Dial-Up Networking in Start>Settings>Control Panel>Add/Remove Programs>Communications.

7) Re-boot and reinstall Dial-Up Networking (which will recreate the WINSOCK2 entries in the Registry.

If this does not solve the problem do steps 1 through 6, then delete WSHTCP.VXD, WSOCK.VXD, WSOCK2.VXD, WSOCK32.DLL from the C:\Windows\System folder and WINSOCK.DLL from the C:\Windows folder, then do Step 7. These files should return after Dial-Up Networking is reinstalled.

Uninstalling and reinstalling TCP/IP networking under the Network icon in Control Panel may also be required, but do not do so unless you know how to restore all its settings.

"Windows registry is damaged. Windows will restart and try to fix the problem."

When you click OK, you may receive this same message again and again while Windows repeatedly restarts. Why?

When Windows starts, the Registry Checker tool may display this message if the registry is truly damaged, or if it finds that the copy of the registry in memory that gets loaded on startup and the copy of the registry on the hard drive don't match.

Unfortunately, the resulting restart may put you back in time - to a point at which the Registy Checker deems that the available archived copy of the registry that it keeps is acceptable. You will be able to detect that this has happened because you will have evidence of installed programs on your hard drive that won't work correctly (or at all) because they are no longer registered correctly.

Now, if the registry was truly damaged, the Registry Checker program has done you a favour, and you will be able to reinstall the missing programs and get back to where you were. If you have manually exported a copy of your registry yourself, you can restore your desired condition by importing the copy and restarting your computer - saving you the trouble of reinstalling the misbehaving programs.

If the Registry Checker simply decides that the registry is bad because the copy loaded into RAM memory doesn't match the one on the hard drive, the setback to an older registry is unwarranted. Your registry may be fine on the hard drive, may have been correctly read from the hard drive into RAM, but the RAM copy may have become corrupted due to faulty memory chips. Replacing faulty chips may keep this problem from recurring and disrupting your PC.

For more info on Windows Registry, please see this article.

Hyperlinks in email won't work (but can be made to work if copied and pasted)...

It is commonplace to send and receive hyperlinks in email. If created correctly, a hyperlink can swiftly take a recipient to a webpage of note. A problem can come up with newer versions of Microsoft software, whereby a link is there, is correct, but doesn't take a recipient out of the email program and into a browser to view the page.

Two things need be done if this is so. With all Microsoft updates applied, in Internet Explorer, pull down the Tools menu and choose Internet Options. Choose the Programs tab. Look to see that "Internet Explorer should check to see if it is the default browser" is checked and, if not, check this. When Internet Explorer starts next, it will give you an opportunity to set this default. Click on Start and look for the option "Set Program Access and Defaults". Choose this, and select Internet Explorer as the default browser. Thereafter, a hyperlink in an email should start up a new browser window and take you to the linked page.

Web pages with search engines won't come up, but are replaced with another...

  • "IGetNet is a keyword-search service implemented as an IE Browser Helper Object and a process run at Windows start-up (WinStart.exe or WinStart001.exe) which writes to the Hosts file. Once this modification has occurred, every time you try to contact MSN or Netscape's search sites you are re-routed though IGetNet's servers. The IGetNet server checks to see whether your search includes a keyword they have sold to one of their advertisers, and if so, redirects you to that site."
  • Problem files include : 'BHO.DLL', 'rsp.dll' and 'WinStart.exe' in the Windows\System folder, or 'BHO001.DLL', 'rsp001.dll', 'Install_All.DLL', 'Update_com.DLL', and 'WinStart001.exe' in the Windows\System folder.
  • See problem details and the complete fix at pestpatrol.com.

  • Accessing HP Pavilion BIOS and Restore functions...

  • Info for the HP Pavilion 753n, and perhaps other HPs...
  • In order to get into the BIOS of an HP Pavilion, use F1.
  • The Pavilion comes with a hidden partition on the hard drive that contains the restoration procedure and source files. A second partition is the one that the user sees. No disks accompany this PC on purchase - the Windows license is embedded in the HP partition. To access the restore function, tap on F10 on boot up until it appears. The restore function can do a non-destructive restoration that may leave user data in place, or the function can freshly format the user partition and reinstall all software as it was on the day of purchase.
  • There are some quirks with the HP product that prevent Windows update procedures from running correctly. Visit the HP website for any drivers and for HP's own updates before attempting the Windows update.
  • HP's help line is in the Toronto area, at 905-206-4663, or toll free at 1-800-474-6836.

    Accessing IBM BIOS...

  • Info for the Netvista, and perhaps other IBMs...
  • In order to get into the BIOS, hit F1 on startup. F12 on some models also works.
  • The Boot Order Sequence is slightly hidden by a menu layout that makes the user have to drill down to get at the bootable objects.

  • Turning off System Restore...

  • System Restore, a Windows Millennium and a Windows XP feature, is similar to the "Last Known Good Configuration" in Windows NT and Windows 2000. You can use System Restore to restore the computer to a previous state, using the backups that it makes of selected system files and program files. Unlike the "Last Known Good Configuration" feature, System Restore maintains multiple restore points. This gives you the choice of restoring your computer to any number of previously saved states.
  • While this is a desirable feature, in some cases it should be temporarily turned off. For example, if the computer is infected with a virus, then it is possible that the virus could be backed up by System Restore. By default, Windows prevents System Restore from being modified by outside programs. As a result, there is the possibility that you could restore a virus-infected file, or that the on-line scanners would detect the virus in that location.
  • Disabling System Restore does not delete or remove any of your personal data from your computer. The only files removed are those that System Restore created, the restore points. Using System Restore to revert to a previously saved restore point does not affect any of your personal data files or any items in your My Documents folder.
  • Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition...
  • The System Restore feature is enabled by default. To disable System Restore:
  • 1. Right-click My Computer, and then click Properties.
  • 2. On the Performance tab, click File System, or press ALT+F.
  • 3. On the Troubleshooting tab, click to select the Disable System Restore check box.
  • 4. Click OK twice, and then click Yes when you are prompted to restart the computer.
  • To re-enable System Restore, follow steps 1-3, but in step 3, click to clear the Disable System Restore check box.
  • Microsoft Windows XP...
  • To turn off Windows XP System Restore...
  • 1. Click Start > Programs > Accessories > Windows Explorer
  • 2. Right-click My Computer, and then click Properties.
  • 3. Click the System Restore tab.
  • 4. Check the "Turn off System Restore" or "Turn off System Restore on all drives" check box
  • To re-enable System Restore, follow the same steps, but check the feature "on".

  • With an Asus P4S533MX motherboard, the secondary IDE channel does not work...

    One of the front USB board connectors may be upsetting the secondary IDE channel recognition. Check that the wiring of the connectors has the VCC wire to the rear of the case. If the connector plugs are 4- and 5-wire, make the 5-wire into a 4-wire by moving the ground wire over beside the others - the posts on the board are setup for 4-wire.

    Windows Explorer crashes when accessing folders with many images in them...

    When accessing folders with many images on them, Windows Explorer gets busy with something and ultimately crashes with a handful of errors. The error message attributes the error to Windows Explorer and to a part of it, or a call from it "Modname: NTdll.dll". Explorer shuts down and can be restarted, but as soon as another folder with many images in it is accessed, the same problem will recur. This error occurs with the Windows XP operating system, and may occur with other operating systems.

    Solution : the error seems to have to do with Explorer trying to make thumbnails out of the image files for Adobe Photoshop (or some other Adobe graphics program). This is a default option, and it can be turned off.

    1. Open Windows Explorer

    2. Open a folder that has image files, but not one that crashes on you.

    3. Right-click on any image file and choose Properties from the menu.

    4. Click on the "Photoshop image" tab and uncheck the "Generate Thumbnails" option and click on "Okay".

    Explorer will no longer try to generate the thumbnails, and will no longer crash.

    Note : Adobe products manage memory poorly, and this problem can pretty much be blamed on their low-quality programming. Adobe GoLive has similar gross errors in it, relating to mismanaging data saving.

    Windows Explorer Search Companion component fails with error referring to missing files...

    To resolve this problem, follow these steps to reinstall the Search Companion files:

    1. Log on to the computer by using an account with administrator permissions.

    2. Click Start, click Run, type %systemroot%\inf, and then click OK.

    3. Locate the Srchasst.inf file.

    4. Right-click the Srchasst.inf file, and then click Install. This reinstalls the files that Search Companion uses.

    This technique would be useful for other similar components of this, and other, programs comprising Windows.

    Internet Explorer has become corrupt in Windows XP...

    To reinstall this component, try...

    Method 1: Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.x Repair for Windows XP

    Method 2: Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.x Repair for Windows XP

    Windows Explorer has no folder pane (greyed out)...

    The problem of the Grayed out Explorer Folders Pane has been traced to a single registry key.


    The Default value for this key points to the file which builds the Explorer Band. That file is either Shdocvw.dll or Browseui.dll. The file varies according to which version of Internet Explorer is installed. If this entry is not correct, the Pane will not be built.

    Internet Explorer 5.5 uses Browseui.dll

    All other Internet Explorer Versions use Shdocvw.dll

    For more details, visit this link...

    Changing the drive letter of a disk drive...

    For Microsoft Windows users:

    For Windows 2000, Windows XP users...

    Users who wish to change the CD disc drive letter in Windows 2000 and Windows XP must have Administrator rights. If you are logged in as a user that does not have these privileges, log out and log in as a user account that does have these rights.

    Errors related to "scripting"...

    Windows Scripting, comprised of the Visual Basic Scripting Engine and JScript, can become corrupt and need reinstalling.

    Follow this link to Microsoft's page describing scripting, and, if necessary, repair or upgrade your version of scripting by downloading and reinstalling it.

    A flash memory device "requires formatting", but fails to accept it...

    If any drive (including a flash drive) has lost its formatting only, it need be formatted only. If it has lost its partitioning, it will need to be partitioned, prior to formatting.

    To partition a drive in Windows XP, you need to get into the Disk Management area. Right-click on My Computer and choose Manage (or click on Start > Settings > Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Computer Management > Disk Management). Expand the "Storage" tree until Disk Management appears and choose it. You will see partitioning information on any drives in, or attached to, your computer.

    Look for the "removable" drive. It is likely showing as having unpartitioned space. Right-click on it and choose to "partition" it. Once partitioned, it can also be formatted - either in Disk Management or in Windows Explorer.

    Warning: partitioning a hard drive by mistake (the C: or perhaps a D:, or another removable drive) might result in serious data loss. Be sure to select the correct "removable drive" - perhaps take out all others so as not to get confused as to which one is the one in need of partitioning.

    After installing DSL for the first time, Sympatico swears that the problem is your PC...

    After Sympatico installed a new DSL line connection, the Internet could not be reached. The modem showed a steady DSL light, and Sympatico reported a strong, clear signal, but the PC could not connect to the Internet with either a broadband connection created in Windows or with Sympatico software, or with a router in the mix, nor with the Sympatico 5200 Speedstream modem used as a router.

    The PC in question could readily connect to the Internet at another location, on another DSL line, using the all of the variety of connection types that would not work at the new location - including using the new user ID and password off-location (even though Sympatico techs say this is not possible).

    Several levels of technical support at Sympatico could not fix the problem. PCN declared that it was a Sympatico line problem early on the the process, but to no avail. Finally, after some 10 days since the connection was initially installed, Sympatico technicians off site called to ask if the connection was working now, and it was. When asked what the problem was, they admitted that "the cross-connection had not been built". While this was not terminology that PCN could have used to express to Sympatico what to look for at their end, PCN did specifically state to them several times through the process that the problem was their line.

    The Add/Remove utility in Control Panel comes up empty...

    Normally this utility contains information on all installed programs, but this utility can lose this information if some key DLLs become "unregistered".

    To resolve the problem in Windows 2000 and WIndows XP, try this...

    Click on Start > Run and enter CMD (short for command prompt). A black window should open, showing a directory path with a flashing cursor at its end. Enter these three commands and say okay to the prompt following the completion of each. (They take just a couple of seconds each.)

    regsvr32 mshtml.dll

    regsvr32 shdocvw.dll -i

    regsvr32 shell32.dll -i

    These commands must be entered exactly as shown. Hit the "Enter" or "Return" key to complete each command.

    Type "exit" to close the command window.

    The list of installed programs should now appear again when you open the Add/Remove utility.

    (Follow this link to another description of the solution.)

    Windows XP is corrupt, needs reinstalling, on a PC with existing data...

    Remove the drive and "ghost" it onto something as a backup for the data. Reinstall the drive.

    In the BIOS, set the boot order to put the optical drive first.

    Insert the Windows XP installion disk, and boot to it.

    Choose "Setup Windows".

    "Please wait..."

    F8 to agree.

    "Searching for previous versions of Windows..."

    When found, choose "Repair".

    PC may again boot, with data and software is preserved.

    Updates will need to be re-done, and some drivers may need to be reinstalled.

    Error 58, missing (unnamed) DLL...

    This error may occur when attempting to update Windows 2000.

    A solution seems to be to run SFC (system file checker), an inherent part of Windows, to restore missing or corrupt system files. Your original Windows installation CD will be required.

    Click on Start > Run, type in "cmd" and hit enter. This opens a Command window. Type "sfc /scannow" to have SFC check your system files. If any are found to be missing or corrupt, they will be restored from the installation CD during this process.

    Close the Command window once done. Re-boot the PC. The error has a good chance of being corrected. If it persists, a re-installation may be required.

    Illegal System DLL Relocation...

    Locate and install this update - WindowsXP-KB935448-x86-ENU.exe - to resolve an issue where certain third-party applications may not start, and you receive an error message: "Illegal System DLL Relocation" after you install security update KB925902 (MS07-017). After you install this item, you may have to restart your computer.

    This information is from Microsoft, Update for Windows XP (KB935448).

    Unable to open any .exe files...

    This problem occurs if the .exe file association in the registry is corrupt.

    Download exefix_xp.com utility and save to Desktop. Double-click the file to run it. This utility fixes the exefile association in the registry automatically.

    Make a copy of regedit.exe called regedit.com. Run it.

    Navigate to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT \ exefile \ shell \ open \ command

    Correct the default value to read "%1" %*


    Navigate to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.exe

    Set default value to exefile

    If unable to use Windows Explorer, try navigating with Internet Explorer.

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