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Issue #40: April 27, 2008

Welcome readers!  I hope you found It’s Geek To Me at its new Sunday home without too much confusion.  Look for my column here every week from now on, and don’t forget that current and back issues are always available on the web at

Q: After my computer has been dormant for a while, I can usually resume work by pressing the spacebar or other keys to bring it back to life.  However, there are other times when the only way I can proceed is to do a hard reboot.  Here are my power settings:  Monitor off at 20 minutes, System Standby 30 minutes, and Hard drive 1 hour.

– Todd P.
Niceville, FL

A: I’m glad you included your power settings, Todd, but more information about the computer’s state when the problem occurs would sure help me answer this better.  When this happens, are any of the case LEDs (power, HDD, etc.) illuminated?  How about the keyboard LEDs (Num Lock, Caps Lock, etc.)?  Is the computer’s fan running?  I noticed you didn’t indicate any power setting for System Hibernation; is it disabled?  Without more information, I’m going to guess that one of two things is happening.  If LEDs are on, and/or the fan is running, you may simply not be waiting long enough for the computer to recover from Standby mode.  If the hard drive was spun down and parked, it can take a little while for it to recover, and your system may appear lifeless while that happens.   If there are no lights or fan, then it’s probably not in Standby mode, but rather is either hibernating, or has shut down completely.  You may very well have a genuine problem with your computer’s power control settings, I can’t tell you for sure without knowing more.

TIP OF THE WEEK: I continue to get a lot of questions that say stuff like “My computer keeps showing an error that says ‘The instruction at (some address) referenced memory at (some address).  The memory could not be “read”.  Click OK to Terminate the program.’  What causes this?”  Only in the rarest of cases is this enough information for me to proffer a solution for you.  When you encounter an error like this, the first thing you should do is look in your computer’s Event Log to get more information about what process was running that caused the problem.  You’ll find instructions on how to view the Event Log in my Aug 30, 2007 column, which you can read here:

Be sure and join me for the First Tuesday Lecture Series at the Robert L.F. Sikes Library in Crestview on Tuesday, May 6th at 10:30 AM.  I’ll be giving a presentation on the advancement of audio technology from the originalEdison cylinders to modern MP3 players and flash memory.  For more information, contact Reference Librarian Sandra Dreaden at 850-682-4432.

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