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Issue #381: Nov 9-15, 2014

Q: I can no longer open Excel or Works. I get a message, “click-2-run configuration failure”. What can I do? Are the programs lost?

– Dave L.
Niceville, Florida

A: No, they’re not lost, Dave. In fact, I’m pretty sure that, in a sense, they were never really on your computer in the first place. You see, Click-2-Run refers to a version of Microsoft Office that is “virtualized” and streamed from Microsoft’s servers to your system on demand. It is intended to replace the typical 30-60 minutes that it takes to download an entire trial version of Office to a home user’s PC with an initial download that only takes two to three minutes, after which you can open the first application. Click-2-Run streams Office to your PC, much the same way you would stream music or video. The applications are “virtual”, so they are always automatically up-to-date, and can run side-by-side with older versions of Office that are installed on your computer. This allows you to retain the older version for compatibility with your legacy Office files.

When Click-2-Run is used, it creates a virtual drive on your system with the drive letter Q:. The problem you are experiencing is probably related to corruption of files on that virtual device. The simplest way to fix problems with Office Click-to-Run products is to go to the Control Panel, click on “Programs and Features” and find the product in question. It should be named something like “Microsoft Office Home and Business 2010”, or “Microsoft Office Home and Student 2010”, or “Microsoft Office Starter 2010”. Click on “Change” then click on “Repair”. If that doesn’t work, you might need to remove the virtual drive, which might require you to actually uninstall the Click-2-Run product and start from scratch.

In reading up on this issue, I discovered many people expressing large amounts of anger and frustration at Microsoft. The idea of virtualized software is mighty slick, what with not having to spend an hour installing it, and then never worrying about installing patches or other updates. However, when something goes wrong, and you are a businessperson or college student who is facing a looming deadline and just wants to open your flipping word processor and get some work done, all that slickness rapidly fades away. At that point, a fully-installed version of Office seems a much better choice. The licensing is the same, and supposedly you don’t even need a new Product Key to switch. Microsoft has instructions at that tell you how to do it.

Q: When I turn my computer on I have to wait approximately 6 mins for it to boot up and ask for my password. After that it works great. It’s a Toshiba laptop running windows 8.1. What can I do to speed up this process?

– Tina N.
Crestview, Florida

A: That is an awfully slow boot time, Tina. In fact, it is so slow that I don’t think any of the regular system tweaks or mods are going to help. You could have an incompatible/out of date driver for one of your system’s devices, or you could have so much software and/or so many system services that launch at startup that your system is simply bogged down trying to deal with them all. The latter possibility could also include a malware infestation stealing your computer’s performance.

In reviewing the system specifications you provided (1.9 GHz Celeron CPU, 4 GB of RAM) I’d also have to say you may be pushing the envelope on computing power for running Windows 8.1. You say it works great after booting up, so I could be wrong. To get a look at what runs at startup, start by running MSCONFIG from a command prompt, and taking at the “Startup” tab. Disable anything that you don’t need. That takes care of applications. System Services are far more complex, and require a bit of system knowledge to know for sure which ones can be turned off without affecting your computer’s ability to function. So, I’ll tell you how to get to them, but exercise extreme caution in deciding whether to disable any of them. From the command prompt, enter SERVICES.MSC. Anything in the list that says “Automatic” in the column labeled “Startup Type” is started when Windows boots. Double-click on any you want to change.

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