Second hand computer blues

Hi, I recently got a 2nd hand IBM Thinkpad, it sort of works, but if you want to open a program you need to right click and start,if you try any other option the next message appears ” This file does not have a program associated with it for performing this action. Create an association in the folder options control panel”.

I can’t access the individual modules of the control panel even with a right click. same message appears. Have tried to format the hard drive to install a clean version of Windows XP but nothing happens. Almost all CD’s or DVD’s are returned with a message of “corrupted disk, can’t read” message so can’t do an installation from DVD drive.

Help. Can’t access System info but it is a Pentium 3 with Windows XP Professional installed. Unfortunately lot of pirate software as well which I have deleted and was able to get Ad-Aware 6 and Spybot Search and Destroy installed from disk drive (Yaaay). Found loads of bad bits now quarantined or deleted but have not been able to insatll any anti virus. Tried over the internet but would again do nothing. Click on Download and nothing happens.


Hi Nikki, you’ve illustrated why we don’t like second hand computers as there’s always a risk you’ll inherit a whole pile of trouble. Which is exactly what happened to you.

The first thing you need to check is that the hard drive is okay. To do this, follow our instructions checking a hard drive for errors. If a message appears that chkdsk has detected bad blocks then the hard drive is dying and it’s probably going to be best to write the system off.

Next, you’ll need to fix the file association problem, we discuss how to do this on our How to Remove Playitall page. This should fix the problems with opening files and the Control Panel.

Repairing the associations may also fix the problem with reading the optical drive, if it doesn’t then the device is probably damaged. You can pick up a cheap USB external DVD reader/burner if you really need one, however many people are finding they download software or use cloud services so an optical drive really isn’t essential.

Once you have everything running, it’s essential you give the system a good scan for malware. We show how to do this in our removing a trojan page. Make sure you do this before using the computer for any password protected sites or online transactions.

All of this sounds like it’s hard work and it is. If you need to get in a computer tech to do all of this you’ll probably spend more than a cheap netbook would cost which is why we recommend avoiding second hard Windows systems.

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    One Response to “Second hand computer blues”

    1. Thank you ever so much, I will follow the instructions and hopefully get it sorted. I have fixed loads of PC’s, built new ones and networked from 2 to 20 computers, so fairly technical minded. This one stumped though as I could not use the DVD drive to install my diagnostic software or anti virus.

      Much appreciate you fast reply

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