When to Reload Your PC's Operating System

"When is the right time to reload my PC's operating system?" This is a question that experts have been trying to answer since Windows(r) first became popular back in the 1990s. Most personal computers start out working fine, but then, over time, their performance gets progressively worse. At some point, the computer is so dysfunctional that there's nothing left to do but just erase everything and start fresh.

Windows introduced us to the registry, a central repository that stores critical information about how your computer should be running, what software is loaded, and how it is configured. When you install or remove software, and make changes to settings and configuration options, Windows is constantly updating the registry with these changes. Over time, the registry can wind up with a lot of incorrect entries that can direct Windows to do things that it doesn't need to do.

Here are a few questions to answer when trying to decide whether it is time to reload your OS:

  • Has your favorite application stopped working and even after reinstalling, it won't run correctly?
  • Has your computer slowed down doing the most basic tasks?
  • Are you consistently getting the dreaded "blue screen of death"?
  • Has some of your hardware stopped working?

If you are experiencing any of the above, we recommend that you try a few of these fixes:

  • Update all your drivers to make sure you have the latest ones installed
  • Scan your computer for viruses or spyware using a commercial anti-virus program like McAfee Internet Security
  • Run a registry cleaner software to automatically correct the invalid or incorrect entries
  • Uninstall old programs that are no longer being used
  • Check for updates to any software that cause the system to run slower
  • Replace suspect hardware

If none of these fixes restore your PC back to the original performance levels you had when you first purchased it, it is probably time to start from scratch and reinstall Windows. If the PC is several years old, it may even be time to retire it and start fresh with a new computer. Run a RegistryWizard™ scan now to determine if you have any issues that can be fixed to improve your PC's performance.

Need a Fast and Easy-to-Use Office Suite for your Netbook?



Ever wish there was a quick and simple way to create, edit and share documents on your netbook?  Now you can with ThinkFree Mobile Netbook edition - a software suite designed to meet all your office productivity needs on the go. Built on the robust and proven ThinkFree Mobile platform, ThinkFree Mobile Netbook delivers fast and easy-to-use word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation applications.

ThinkFree created the office software suite with portability and user convenience in mind. The suite includes 2 GB of integrated online web storage for convenient file management across all of your netbooks, laptops, and PCs. 

When you make edits on documents using your netbook, all your changes will be automatically synchronized online, updating your other computing devices.  If you need to collaborate with others, ThinkFree Mobile provides seamless document sharing with other readers or co-authors.

Key ThinkFree Mobile Benefits

  • Convenience - Using the built-in file manager, you can easily synchronize documents stored on your netbook with your home computer or laptop 
  • Compatibility - Experience the best overall round-trip compatibility with Microsoft Office documents, spreadsheets, and presentation file formats, including the latest 2007 version
  • Instant Productivity - Immediately view your document, edit your presentation, or run your spreadsheet calculations 
  • Tiny - This office suite only uses only 40MB of your precious netbook hard drive space
  • Flexibility - Even if you aren't connected to the Internet, you can work on your documents and then when you go online, all your changes will be automatically synced with your online storage
  • Cross-platform - Windows and Linux netbook users can enjoy all the benefits of ThinkFree Mobile regardless of their current platform 

Download a Free Trial of ThinkFree Mobile Netbook 

Both ThinkFree Mobile Netbook Edition for Windows and ThinkFree Mobile Netbook Edition for Linux are now available for an introductory price of $24.95 (regularly $39.95) each.

Simply enter the coupon code PTECH at checkout to receive the 35% discount. As a bonus, you will also get an extra 1 GB of online document storage (2GB total). This limited time offer expires July 31, 2009.

Order now and save 35% on ThinkFree Mobile Netbook

For more information, please visit http://product.thinkfree.com/mobile/netbook

Surviving the "Blue Screen of Death"

Having your machine suddenly stop working for no apparent reason is extremely frustrating. On Microsoft Windows-based computers, such failures often result in the appearance of a solid blue screen containing a cryptic message in white letters. This is commonly called the "Blue Screen of Death" or BSOD.  Whenever the Windows operating system encounters an error from which it cannot recover, a BSOD is displayed.

Common hardware problems that generate a BSOD include faulty memory, a failed disk drive, or even an excess of dust on the circuit boards inside the computer. Software failures that often lead to BSODs involve improperly-installed, obsolete, defective, or otherwise faulty drivers.

A driver is the code that tells Windows about a hardware device and how to control it. Other problems could arise from improperly configured registry settings or faulty installation of Windows. Poorly written application software can also trigger the BSOD, although that is becoming increasingly rare.

It is possible for a trained computer professional to review the BSOD error message to determine what specific failure occurred, but if you are a typical computer user, you can rarely gain useful insights from this information. That doesn't mean that there is nothing you can do. Here are some simple steps that can help you track down problems and save a trip to the repair shop:

  • If the BSOD resulted from trying to use a specific piece of hardware, look for visual indications that the device is working such as lights coming on, disk spinning, etc. Try replacing the device if it completely dead.
  •  If there are no obvious physical problems, replace the device driver using the installation disk that came with it. Better yet, update the driver to the most recent version.
  • If the BSOD is intermittent or unrelated to any particular activity or piece of hardware, feel the computer case.  If it is hot, check to make sure your PC's fans are working.
  • If the computer case is not hot, try running a virus scan. There are several anti-virus products available that should identify the virus and remove it.

Should none of these techniques work and the problem persists, the failure may be related to problems with the RAM or hard drive. For most of us, this means it is time to back up our critical data and seek out a repair facility. For More Information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Screen_of_Death 



When to Reload Your PC's Operating System

Need a Fast and Easy-to-Use Office Suite for Your Netbook?

Surviving the Blue Screen of Death



Tell us what you think and win an iPod Nano!ipodnano

To win, please fill out our survey for this month!

Erin Kelley
June's iPod Nano winner

Enter Now!





McAfee Ad

Free Tools

Registry Wizard LogoRegistryWizard
RegistryWizard's complimentary scan will automatically identify registry problems and provides a complete registry report detailing harmful system conflicts and errors. Is your PC corrupted with errors?

Perform a registry scan now!

Everest LogoLavalys EVEREST Ultimate Edition
An industry leading system diagnostics and benchmarking solution for enthusiasts PC users, based on the award-winning EVEREST Technology.

Download now!

Browser Add On


A browser add-on for Firefox that lets you select text and automatically copies it to your PC's clipboard.


Follow Us on Twitter



Techie Site of the Month

Techie Buzz


Fun Site of the Month

How Stuff Works


Summer Savings!

Get $10 Off on RegistryWizard 
Offer Expires July 31, 2009


Newsletter Archive

IPod Nano Win Ad

Would you like to re-publish an article from this newsletter?


Phoenix Technologies (or TouchStoneSoftware) grants you permission to re-publish an article in this newsletter as long as the following conditions are met:

  • The article is not modified in any way
  • Phoenix Technologies (or TouchStoneSoftware) is given proper recognition as the original author, and a link to our website www.touchstonesoftware.com is included with your publication. 
  • If you have any questions regarding re-publication, please contact ,   

Phoenix, Phoenix Technologies, Phoenix SecureCore, Embedded BIOS, Phoenix Freeze, FailSafe, HyperSpace, PC 3.0, TouchStoneSoftware and the Phoenix Technologies logo are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of Phoenix Technologies Ltd. All other marks are the marks of their respective owners.