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Question and Answer
Is our notebook worthless? For the past week, our 1 year old Dell Inspiron notebook with Windows 7 will shut down for no reason, or lock up and appears to be running much slower than when we first purchased it. Any ideas what could be causing this problem? How can I safely check to see what is causing this problem? And more importantly, how can we fix it? Thanks TouchStoneSoftware!
– Jeffrey D., Newcastle, WY

Believe it or not your problems are very common. There are several causes for Windows shutting down, locking up and becoming sluggish over time. Such as, corrupt or missing files, a hidden virus, malware, or spyware. You can try to do a repair of Windows or re-install Windows. Our #1 suggestion is to use a well regarded application called Reimage. In a matter of minutes, Reimage repairs & replaces corrupted files, removes virus damage & much more.

First, the Reimage preliminary scan will detect all errors on your PC's Operating System. The repair process removes and replaces damaged files found during the scan. During repair, Reimage not only removes damage, but also reverses the damage done to your Windows OS by replacing corrupted and deleted files with fresh Windows files and components from their continuously updated online database. Your PC's performance, stability and security will be restored and improved.

» Download Reimage

I've heard that you can create a system backup with Windows 7. How is this done?
– Annie P., St. Paul, MN
Yes it's true, it's called CREATE A SYSTEM IMAGE. To access it, click the START button, select CONTROL PANEL, choose SYSTEM AND SECURITY, and click BACKUP AND RESTORE. Click the CREATE A SYSTEM IMAGE link and Windows will bring up a window from which you can choose the media where you can store the backup image. Once you have made that selection, you will then be asked to choose which drives you want to include in the backup. You can choose from all the storage devices connected to your computer, including external drives and USB flash drives. After choosing what you want to back up, click NEXT and the CONFIRM YOUR BACKUP SETTINGS screen shows the amount of space required to save the backup. Click NEXT and a progress meter will then display how quickly the backup is progressing. Once it is finished, Windows will ask if you want to create a system repair disc. We recommend that you do so.

Driver Tip: Common Fixes for Driver Problems

If you are having problems with drivers after you have installed them, here are some common fixes that will solve most of your driver problems.

Restarting Your Computer — After installing a driver be sure to restart your computer. Many drivers will not work properly until the system is restarted.

Reinstall the Driver — If you are facing hardware issues, one of the first steps you should take is to reinstall the hardware driver. In many cases this will solve your problem. When you do this, Windows automatically detects and installs the hardware, like new. To do this, go to "Device Manager" on your Windows machine and select "Confirm Device Removal". Then reinstall the driver and reboot the system.

Rolling Back a Driver — This is a very easy process and there is nothing unsafe about it. To roll back a device driver means to revert to the old version. Windows will use the previous version of your driver. In your Device Manager, right click on the device and choose Properties. Click on the Driver tab, and then click Rollback Driver.

BIOS Tip: State After Power Fail

We get asked a lot of questions about what each setting in the BIOS does. Every so often we will review a setting in this space and explain what the setting does. In this issue we are going to discuss the setting State After Power Fail.

The setting State After Power Fail deals with the state of your system after the system loses power. In some systems it may be called Power On After Power Fail. In that case the setting is self explanatory. If you set Power On After Power Fail to YES, then when power resumes the system will power on. If you set it to NO, then the system will remain off when power resumes.

However with State After Power Fail, you will have several options.

The first option is a setting called Stay Off. This setting, when selected, will keep your computer off when the power is restored.

The second option is a setting called Last State. This setting, when selected, will put your system in the state it was in when power was lost.

The third option is a setting called Power On. This setting, when selected, will turn the system on when power is restored. If you have a setting that you would like explained in a future newsletter, please let us know.

» Perform a BIOS scan now!

PC Performance Tip: Moving the Windows Kernel to RAM

One of our readers asked about a Windows 7 registry tweak that gives the system a performance boost by moving the windows kernel into RAM instead of having it run from your hard drive. Anything that runs in system memory runs faster than if it runs from your hard disk.

To that end, you can speed up Windows itself by moving the Windows kernel into RAM, by executing this Registry tweak:

  1. Open the Registry Editor.

  2. Navigate to the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\

  3. CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management key.

  4. Right-click the DisablePagingExecutive item and select Modify.

  5. In the Edit DWORD dialog box, change the value to 1.

  6. Click OK.
You must reboot your system for this tweak to take effect.

If you experience system problems after performing this tweak, re-edit the value of DisablePagingExecutive back to 0.

» Perform a registry scan now!

Tech Tip
Use a Picture Password in Windows 8
Using a picture password is a fun way to keep your device secure while not having to remember a complex password. To enable it, press the Windows key + I to get to the settings charm. Click "Change PC settings" at the bottom right, and go to the Users tab. Under "Sign-in options" will be the "Create a picture password" button. This will give you the option to choose any picture, and then define three gestures anywhere on the image.

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Quote of the Month
"Technological progress is like an axe in the hands of a pathological criminal."

– Albert Einstein

Sites of the Month

Fun Sites
Listen to the best internet radio, crafted by people who know and love music.

Useful Site
Winhelponline blog
Useful site that provides Productivity Tips, Help, and How-To's for Windows.

Stat of the Month

U.S. Broadband and Pay-TV Subscriber Forecast
(Millions of Subscribers)

Global Smartphone Shipment Market Share for Research in Motion/BlackBerry
Source: IHS Screen Digest Research
January 2013

Vocab Test


The person responsible for an office's Local Area Network.

Browser Add-On


Remembers all your usernames & passwords automatically so you can login to your favorite web sites in one click.

SmartPhone App


Banjo integrates the largest social networks to provide an on-the-ground view of what's happening anyplace at anytime.

  Twitter Tip

Tweet from your Smartphone. More interesting things happen away from your computer.

iPhone App



iOptimizer is the ultimate application for getting to know your iPhone, iPad or iPod better. iOptimizer monitors the performance of your device, so that you can configure it for optimal use. It will also help you find out everything about your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch both on the system and on the user level. iOptimizer is powerful, intuitive, and extremely easy to set up and use.
Best of all — It's FREE!
(New version released
June 15, 2012)

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