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Issue #321: September 15, 2013

Q: I have a problem that is driving me batty. When I am on the internet, I am able to click on links with no problem. However, from within my e-mail or Facebook, if I click on a link, a box pops up “Internet Explorer has stopped working.” If I click on the close button, sometimes two times, the box will go away and the link will open up. There is also a box that flashes up on the bottom of the screen but it is too fast to read. Help!

Margaret S.
Crestview, Florida

A: Sounds to me like you have something loaded in your browser that doesn’t belong there, Margaret – and I don’t mean a web page.  Unless you want to go through every toolbar and browser helper object (BHO) on your system, my advice would be to perform a master reset on IE, and start from scratch installing tools you absolutely need and nothing more.  To perform the reset operation, you first want to exit all currently running copies of IE.  Then start a single copy of it without any add-ons.  The easiest way I’ve found to do this is to click on the Start button, then enter the words “add on” in the search box.  Run the entry at the top of the menu that says “Internet Explorer (No Add-ons)”.  You’ll get a warning that all add-ons are enabled (Duh, Bill).  Once in, click the Tools menu, then Internet Options.  In the dialog that comes up, click on the Advanced tab, and you’ll find the magical button that says “Reset…”.  Before you click it, make sure you understand the impact of doing so.  It will return your browser to the state it was when it came from Microsoft, which means all every toolbar you’ve installed, all the BHOs you loaded – everything will be removed.  It should be a relatively small matter to restore things.  But please – restore only what you know you need, so you don’t end up right back in this situation again.

Q: When I go to Start/All Programs/Accessories/System Tools/System Restore all I get is a message. “System Restore Application has encountered a problem and needs to close. We are sorry for the inconvenience“.  This computer is running XP Pro.  I have tried starting the computer with the XP program disk in the CD/DVD drive, but nothing happens.  How do I “restore” the Restore Function?

A:  System Restore is just another program, and like any program, it can become inoperable or corrupt due to idiosyncrasies of the operating system, registry errors, removing power without shutting down gracefully, malware, or a host of other reasons.  Rather than waste both of our time taking random stabs at a cause, I think you’ve got the right idea in trying to restore using your original CD.  By the way, I highly commend you on still having, and being able to locate it!  If your CD drive works otherwise, but you can’t boot from it, then the boot order – which is defined in your system BIOS – is probably not configured correctly.  It’s pretty easy to change that.  Start with your computer in the fully powered-off state.  Turn it on, and watch carefully as it goes through the power on self-test (POST) procedure.  You should see a brief prompt that says to hit some key to enter the system BIOS.  Commonly used keys are Del, F2 or F10, but it could be something else.  Once in the BIOS, look for a means to configure the boot options.  It should say something like Boot Device, Boot Priority, or Boot Order.  Make sure CD-ROM appears in the list before the hard drive.  Save the new setting, and you should be able to proceed with your original plan to restore using your system CD.

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