Computer and Software Support

Software Troubleshooter

Read the Safety Procedures. Very Important!!!


If you can't boot to windows or having a problem inside of windows, Give the following steps a try. Some steps do not work for all operating systems. Also some steps may be inaccessible depending on the problem that you are having. If the step doesn't apply, then skip to the next one. You might have been brought to this troubleshooter from another troubleshooter. Some of the steps here may be duplicated from the other troubleshooter. If you have already done the step, then skip to the next step. It would be a good idea to just repeat the step. This will ensure that everything has been covered. You do not have to complete all steps below. Once the issue is resolved, you can stop there if you would like.

Important: Be sure to back up your data before doing any troubleshooting (if you cannot access it from windows, you may need to purchase an external hard drive case, put the hard drive in it, and connect the drive to another system to back up the data) The majority of the procedures on this page is not designed to harm your data. However corruption can cause harm to the data or cause the troubleshooting step to harm the data.

When a computer is turned on, it goes through a boot process before going to windows or other boot device (such as a CD-ROM). Click here for an explanation of the boot process.

Click on the hyperlink for instructions for that step.

  1. Try rebooting the computer. Why reboot computer?

  2. Before troubleshooting there is specific questions you need to answer Click here for the questions.

  3. Update your anti-virus software and run a full scan to see if you have a virus.

  4. Run Malwarebytes (If it finds spyware, reboot and run it again. If it finds threats again, continue with the next step)

  5. Try running CHKDSK /R

  6. Run SFC.

  7. Boot to Safe mode and check for bangs in Device Manager.

  8. While in Safe mode, run Malwarebytes again

  9. Look at Event Viewer to see when the errors began

  10. If the issue you are experiencing is sluggish or slow performance from a particular software, you can limit the number of cores the software can use

  11. If problem began when you installed hardware or software, try removing the hardware or software and see if the problem goes away.

  12. If a program will not run in Windows 7, try the compatibility troubleshooter

  13. Disconnect printers, scanners, and other peripherals and see if issue goes away. If it does, then its something to do with it.

  14.  Try Last known Good Configuration

  15. If you can't boot to normal mode, try Safe mode

  16. Limit MSCONFIG and check for a virus. (Windows 98, ME, and Windows XP) (Be sure to return MSCONFIG to original state after troubleshooting unless you want to leave it that way)

  17. Delete Temporary Internet Files, Cookies, and clear History

  18. Try a System Restore. (Windows Me and Windows XP)

  19. Look at performance and / or task Manager

  20. See how much memory you are using to the amount of memory that is in the system. You may be using more than you have. When you do not have enough memory, the system will use part of the hard drive as virtual memory. This usually causes the system to slow down.

  21. Check the amount of free space you have on your hard drive.

  22. Try Defragging the hard drive.

  23. Try disabling Firewalls

  24. Try disabling Anti-virus (if that doesn't work, turn it back on but if it does than either there is a conflict or the anti-virus thinks something that is running is a virus)

  25. In normal mode, Check Device Manager for bangs.  (A bang is a !, X or ? next to the device. The !, X or ? indicates an issue)

  26. If the problem you are having is using a certain program, Look at Software and see if it is listed here.

  27. Try the windows installer cleanup

  28. Take a look at  Video Problems, and Computer Problems. See if one of these issues applies to your issues. 

  29. Sometimes a program can cause issues with virtual memory, to see what programs are using the most virtual memory, click here.

  30. Some anti-virus software CDs are bootable and allow you to scan for a virus outside of windows, if yours has that feature, boot to the CD.

  31. Use the virus and spyware troubleshooter to see if your system is infected with a virus or spyware that your anti-virus or anti-spyware software didn't detect.

  32. See if you have the latest drivers for your system

  33. If you are having an issue with a particular program or hardware, see if there is an update or patch for it at the manufacturer's website.

  34. Check to see if you have the latest Direct X and run the Direct X diagnostics

  35. Check hardware Problems for any possible hardware issues that may apply to your issue. 

  36.  Create another windows logon user account. Make sure it is set to Computer Administrator. If the problem occurs on this account then we know it is not the profile that is corrupt. If the problem goes away then the profile is corrupt. (Windows XP)

  37. If you have an error message, do a search for it at and at the knowledge base of

  38. Set BIOS to default and clear NVRAM (Check your computer manual or manufacturer for instructions. Each system is different on this)

  39. Check to see if there is a newer BIOS version. (Only update BIOS if you are experiencing an issue with the system. Sometimes updating the BIOS can cause other issues)

  40. If you are having network issues, run the Network Diagnostics.

  41. Try installing the latest windows installer from Microsoft.

  42. Do a repair of Internet Explorer.

  43. See if you can boot to a bootable floppy disk. You can download a utility to make the floppy bootable here

  44. Try using the Recovery Console (Windows XP)

  45. Try a scanreg /restore. (Windows 98 and Windows ME)

  46. Run a scan for virus. (make sure your anti-virus is up to date)

  47. Download and run the memory diagnostics.

  48. Try removing all PCI cards from system and see if problem goes away.

  49. If you have more than one stick of memory, try one stick at a time in each available slot. (some memory requires all memory to be installed but others don't. Click here for information on memory) Be sure the memory is seated. Instructions on installing memory

  50. Run diagnostics on the hard drive. (click here to get the diagnostic software)

  51. If you have a diagnostic utility that is designed for your system, run the diagnostics on the system.

  52. Check for updates for your hardware and software. There might be a patch for a hardware or software on your system that might fix the issue. (Note: Sometimes installing an update can cause other problems, so only update if you are having an issue)

  53. Run windows update

  54. If you have have Microsoft Office, run Office Update.

  55. If you have Office 2000 or older, try deleting (will not work for Office XP or newer office programs)

  56. If the issue is dealing with the Internet, try the Can't Browse Internet Troubleshooter

  57. If the account is limited, that could be causing the problem. Some software programs do not support the windows XP feature of limiting accounts. (Windows XP)

  58. If the system is rebooting or shutting off Try the Shuts off or reboot troubleshooter.

  59. Try removing the CMOS battery

  60. Sometimes a piece of hardware can cause a software issue. Try reseating PCI, Video, memory, IDE drives, SATA drives, and power to the system. If that doesn't work, you can try removing all non-essential internal devices (such as sound cards, modems, extra memory and any other device not needed for the operation of the system) See if the problem goes away. If it does, then it might be the hardware that you removed.

  61. If you have another hard drive that has no data on it to save, you can install it and then load the operating system. If that fixes the issue then you know it is either the hard drive, or the software is corrupted. If it doesn't resolve the issue then it is something outside of the hard drive and software.

  62. If you have access to diagnostics, run diagnostics on the system, especially on hard drive, memory, CPU and motherboard.

  63. Try a Repair of Windows. (Windows XP) (usually doesn't work and can harm personal data. Use as last resort before reinstall of operating system)

  64. If the issue you are having is with your CD-ROM or DVD-ROM click here. (Use this step as last resort before re-installing the operating system.)

  65. Before reinstalling the operating system you can try another hard drive.

  66. If the issue is software and dealing with Internet Explorer or connecting to the Internet, try reinstalling Internet Explorer (as a last ditch effort before reinstalling windows)

  67. If your system has an RTC Jumper, you can try resetting it. (This sometimes can harm the system. Use with care)

  68. Re-install Windows.

  69.  You can try removing the battery from the system for 30 seconds. (Be sure to remove the power cord and drain the power by pushing the power button for five seconds while the power cord is removed to drain power from system.) NOTE: This sometimes damages the motherboard so use it as last resort!



If you are still having issues you can email me with your problem. Please include the following when you email me.