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Issue #562: April 29 – May 5, 2018

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Q: First, let me thank you for your great column and help to all of us non-techies out here.  My Windows 10 desktop computer has hung up of the first start for about the last 10 weeks. Occasionally it will come on the first time but only maybe about 1 of 20. Any time after about the first 10 seconds I push the restart button and it restarts and finishes the start sequence properly.

I just found that I cannot “paste” into the boxes on your web form. Is that by design or my computer problem? I was going to just snip and paste the machine properties.

– George C.
Shalimar, Florida

A: Well, please allow me to return the compliment, George, and say thanks to you for being a loyal reader, and one of my most prolific content contributors.  A quick check of my archives tells me that I’ve used your questions in at least eight columns over the years, which has to be some kind of a record.  Seriously though, good, usable questions can be difficult to come by, so I appreciate your periodic queries, as they are part of what keeps the column chugging along.

Moving right along, I’m interpreting this problem as a computer that seems to hang during the boot process.  I have to say, I have computers that routinely take over a minute or more to boot, so it seems like hitting the old reset button “any time after about the first 10 seconds” is really expecting a lot from your computer.  I have to wonder exactly what you’re seeing that leads you to conclude it has hung.  Do you check for hard drive activity?  Is there a mouse cursor on the screen, and if so, does it move with the mouse?  If you hit Caps Lock, or Num Lock, does the LED indicator turn on or off?  If you answer “yes” to any of these, your computer probably is not hung, but rather, is busy doing some kind of necessary housekeeping before coming fully to ready for you to use.  There are countless things that might cause such a condition.  Improper shutdown for example (not using the Start->Shutdown method to power off) can cause Windows to have to re-build file indexes, virtual memory files, and lots of other internal stuff.  Another example is updates that require the system to restart, and may need extra time to complete during the boot process.  Regardless, I can tell you with certainty that the one thing that you don’t want to do when this is going on is pull the plug on the process!  Unless you’ve verified with absolute certainty that the computer is genuinely locked-up, the safest course of action is to just leave it be to finish whatever it’s doing behind the scenes.

If you’re genuinely convinced that your PC is having problems with booting, there are limited diagnostic methods available for you.  Probably the best one I can think of is to create a boot log.  A word of warning before doing so: boot logs are highly technical, and can be thousands of lines long.  But they do a pretty good job of letting you know what’s going on that Windows isn’t displaying on the screen while you wait for it to come up.

It is almost always the case with procedures that require detailed explanations, or the recitation of a lot of steps to follow, and this one is no exception.  So, I’ll do what I usually do in these cases, and refer you to a site out on the Worldwide Web that contains instructions on how to accomplish the task.  In this case, I recommend you visit TinyURL.com/IGTM-0562, and read what LifeWire author Tim Fisher has to say on navigating the Startup Settings Menu in Windows 10.

As far as your problem pasting in my web form, I don’t think the answer lies in either of the choices you gave me.  That is to say, it’s not by design, and I don’t think it’s a computer problem.  You used the term “snipped” so I’m guessing you tried to use Snipping Tool to paste a screen capture?  That form is comprised exclusively of text entry fields, which don’t allow a picture to be pasted into them.  You can, however, save a screen capture to your local drive, and upload it using the “Upload a screen capture or other image” selector near the bottom of the form.

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One Response to “Issue #562: April 29 – May 5, 2018”

  • GEORGEC22 says:

    Good afternoon. I appreciate all of your kind words about my questions.

    I want to give you an update on my “haunted” computer. Some time after I wrote to you about the problem the issue solved itself. I say that cautiously because I am not sure just what happened. It seems to me that there was a Windows 10 update and after that it no longer took a restart for a successful boot. In fact the boot was(and still is) faster than it had been before.

    You questioned if I had given the boot sufficient time before trying a restart. Yes, I had left the computer in the initial startup phase at least an hour and it did no good. I had also taken it to a computer shop and that technician could not find the problem.

    At this point you probably think that I have every problem solved and all is well. Unfortunately that is not the case. Now I will tell you why I am calling this a haunted computer.

    Ever since the boot problem went away, the keyboard will not work until the computer is rebooted. Yes, I have given it hours (overnight) to try to solve itself. Everything about the computer works just fine, except I cannot type anything. No keys on the keyboard work. This is one of the better quality hardwired Logitech keyboards.

    Even though this computer seems to be working perfectly as I sit here now, I have lost faith in it. I do not know what it will do next. Therefore, I have ordered and received a Dell OptiPlex 3050 to replace it. Now I have to go to all of the work to get the programs I use onto the new computer.

    Hopefully I will not be bothering you with any new problems anytime soon. I will continue to read your great column. And one of these days I am going to get to Niceville to see your top rated Christmas lights.

    Thanks again for all of your assistance to us non-techies out here.


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