From the Kenosha News on 12-26-04

Oops? You can go back to 'how it was before'

      Did you get new computer hardware or software for Christmas?  If so, then there’s a chance that it isn’t working as well as you’d hoped or that something new you installed has caused a problem.  To help ease the “day after Christmas blues,” here are some troubleshooting tips for computer problems.  You may want to clip out this column for future reference.

      If after loading a new program or making a change, something stops working on your WindowsXP computer, you can use System Restore to go back to “how it was before.”  Sorry, this feature does not exist in previous versions of Windows.  Note that this will not restore accidentally deleted files, nor will it erase data files that you have recently saved.

      To start the System Restore Wizard, click Start -> Programs -> Accessories -> System Tools -> System Restore.  If you can’t find it this way, search for system restore in Windows Help, then select System Restore Wizard from the list.  Next, you will be shown a calendar with the available, recent restore points shown in bold.  Click the most recent available date that your computer worked the way you want it to.  Click the Next button.

      Carefully READ the following screen that explains the system restore process.  Click the Next button.  WAIT while your computer performs the restore, shuts down and restarts.  If your computer has a login id and password, enter it when it restarts.  You should then see a message that “your computer has been successfully restored” to the date that you chose.  It further explains that if this did not fix the problem, you can undo the restore or choose another date to restore.  Click OK.

      If this does not solve your problem or you do not have Windows XP, here are some other troubleshooting tips:

      If a program is not working properly, you may need to re-install it.  Make sure you have the installer CD or file on your computer as well as the necessary key or serial number information.  If you are installing a new program and it won’t install properly, it may be conflicting with an existing program.  For example, an anti-virus program will generally not install if another anti-virus program is already running.  Uninstall the old one before you install the new one.  To uninstall or re-install a program in nearly any version of Windows, go to Control Panel and choose Add/Remove programs.  Find the program you want to uninstall or re-install and click the appropriate option.  If a program will not uninstall cleanly, it’s time to get and run a registry cleaning utility such as System Mechanic from iolo.com.

      Make sure you know how to contact technical support for your computer or for the item that is not working.  For example, if your internet connection has stopped working, call your internet service provider.  If a game or new program does not work properly, read the material that came with it and/or contact the program manufacturer for technical support.  Finally, there is often helpful information on the manufacturer’s web site.  Look for an FAQ – a page of Frequently Asked Questions. 

By Carol Sabbar from the Kenosha News on 12-26-04