System thread exception not handled

November 4th, 2012 Paul Wallbank Posted in Hardware, Windows 8 No Comments »

I’ve upgraded my computer to Windows 8 and now when the system starts I’m getting a blue screen with the message “System thread exception not handled”. Can I fix this or should I go back to Windows 7?

The system thread exception not handled error in Windows is almost always because of a device driver playing games. In this case something in your computer has software that is not compatible with Windows 8 so it needs to be updated.

Fixing it depends upon whether your can upgrade the driver to a version that works with Windows 8. Of course you first have to figure out what is causing the problem.

In the first instance, try starting the computer with all peripherals unplugged – no external drives, printers, scanners or cameras – of course you’ll still need a keyboard and mouse plugged in.

Should the system still have a Blue Screen Of Death, or BSOD, then you’ll need to start the computer in Safe Mode, if start in safe mode hasn’t been enabled on your version of Windows 8 you’ll have to call a support person or go back to Windows 7.

Once in Safe Mode, you’ll need to navigate to Device Manager through the Settings link on the Charms bar (swipe the right hand side of the screen or move your mouse over to right of the screen). From there you’ll be able to track to Hardware and Sound and then Device Manager.

When you’re in device manager, delete and item with an exclamation mark, for the video change the display adapter settings to Microsoft Basic Display adapter.

Restart your computer and see what still works. You’ll almost certainly be prompted to re-install several drivers and you may need a computer with an Internet connection to download the required software.

When looking for Windows 8 drivers you’ll find many vendors won’t have released them yet. In which case the latest Windows 7 drivers should do the job.

In some cases the System thread exception not handled might require a BIOS update from the computer manufacturer, you should contact them before doing this.

Overall Windows 8 is a very good and stable operating system however upgrading any computer can be fraught with risks and frustrations. Generally if your computer is working fine on Windows 7 then leave it alone.

Laptop turns off after five minutes

August 2nd, 2012 Paul Wallbank Posted in Buying a computer, Hardware No Comments »

My laptop turns itself off after five minutes when unplugged from the mains. Is the charger broken or is the battery worn out?

It’s probably the battery as the computer is running for five minutes so it’s getting enough charge to start but little else.

You can check this by looking at the battery icon on the computer, if it shows a lightning bolt across it then the battery is charging.

If it’s not, then you may be able to purchase a replacement charger for under thirty dollars.

Should it be the battery that has failed then its unlikely it can be replaced for a reasonable price, so you have to accept this computer will be have to plugged in until you decide to replace it.

How to free up space on a Presario

March 22nd, 2012 Paul Wallbank Posted in Hardware No Comments »

I have a problem with an error message telling me that I am running out of space on Presario (D). The message keeps appearing several times in the one sitting no matter what I do. Can you tell me how I can solve this very, very irritating problem. I am using Vista.

A full hard drive on your computer can be very irritating. There’s a few things you can do to free up space which we’ve covered in the Speeding Up A Computer post.

The CCleaner tool is really good for tidying up the hard drive so we’d recommend running that. Just make sure you’ve backed up any data first.

You may find your hard drive is simply full and there’s not much more you can do with the existing one.

It is possible to upgrade to a bigger drive but given the cost of computers and the labour involved in moving data to the new disk often make it cheaper to buy a new system so it’s worthwhile checking your options.

What memory should I use?

January 31st, 2012 Paul Wallbank Posted in Hardware No Comments »

I wish to upgrade the RAM in my Dell Dimension 3000 from 2x512MB to 2x1GB.  The current ram is DDR400.  I have used the memory scanner and it recommends DDR333. Which one should I use?

While the Crucial website tool is useful, it’s best to keep all your computer’s memory slots consistent. Sometimes motherboards don’t like mixing different types.

In your case, you’re looking at swapping out all the memory and given Dell installed DDR400 memory to start with, it’s probably safer to stick with it.

Play it safe and go with the DDR400.

Windows XP system won’t start

November 17th, 2011 Paul Wallbank Posted in Hardware, Windows 7, Windows XP No Comments »

My superseded XP PC tower will no longer fire up. When I switch it on all I get is an intermittent beep. Someone suggested that my RAM is kaput. Any comments? Alternatively is it possible to load my new Windows7 PC with XP as well as I have programs that will not run on Win7?

The Intermittent beep is what’s called a POST (Power On Self Test) error. When you turn the computer on it runs through a set of tests before trying to load up the operating system, in your case XP.

Because the computer has found an error before the video system started, it has to use beeps to communicate what the problem is and your motherboard manual should tell you what the POST error codes mean.

Often an error like this is due to something like the RAM modules or one of the expansion cards working itself loose so it’s worthwhile getting the local computer tech to have a look or – if you’re confident – pop the box yourself and make sure all the cards are firmly seated in their sockets. Remember to ground yourself first.

It is possible to run most XP programs on Windows 7, a service for this is Windows Virtual PC.

How to change a drive letter in Windows 7

July 5th, 2011 Paul Wallbank Posted in Hardware, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP No Comments »

I have a external Seagate hard disk, I use this external hard disc with my sony laptop with Windows 7, a few days back i hide one folder in my external hard disc with free hide folder software, and that time my external hard disc notification is (I:).

Now I try to unhide the folder with same software but i can coz my external hard disc notification now showing is (J:),so the sofware shows that the folder name or path not find coz (I:) does not appear. please help me how I change the my external hard disc notification (J:) to (I:).

Changing drive letters is a nuisance on Windows Systems which often causes these sort of problems.

The easiest solution is to unplug any devices that have changed the hard drive letters, this includes other external drives, mobile phones, thumb drives or any other device with storage.

If this doesn’t work, you’ll have to change your drive letters manually. We covered this in a previous post, Changing a Drive Letter, which covers the instructions for Windows NT, XP and Vista.

For Windows 7, the instructions are similar and to get to the Administrative Tools panel you click on the Start Button, select Control Panel and the Administrative Tools.

You may have to change the letter of whatever device is hogging the I: drive and then change the J: to I:. The drive will have to be plugged in for this to work properly.

These instructions should help you change the drive letter on a Windows 7 computer.


Why does my computer slow down when I play games?

July 2nd, 2011 Paul Wallbank Posted in Hardware 3 Comments »

I have a 2-year-old PC running Windows 7 32-bit with all updates current. I have 4 GB of RAM. When I try to play Computer games for relaxation, after 2 or 3 minutes the whole action slows down. When not game playing the PC seems to work fine, it is only when I start up a game that the slowing down occurs. I have run ScanDisk, Check disk,defragged and run Mal and Spy ware checks, but still with no effect. I am running AVG for security, but nothing seems to help. Is there something that you can suggest, either some program or systm check that might be able to help me please?

Figuring out why your computer slows down when playing games depends upon which type of games you play on computer. Most web based games run on Adobe Flash while others use various programs to create the graphics you see on screen.

If these are Flash games you are using, the first step is to reinstall Adobe Flash and see if that fixes the problem.

For other platforms, you might want to check with the specific game websites to see if there is an upload available.

Another thing that will slow your computer when playing games is your computer’s graphic capacities. It may well be that your computer takes capacity off the main processor to run the graphics rather than use a dedicated Graphics Processor Unit (GPU), so a game will drag resources from the rest of the system and slow it down. This is quite common with cheaper computers.

There are usually settings you can use to change how the computer allocates resources, but the best solution to games slowing down your computer is to install a dedicated graphics card that will improve the system’s performance. This will probably cost a few hundred dollars including installation.

iPhone camera roll album is hidden by Albums heading

July 1st, 2011 Paul Wallbank Posted in Hardware, mobile phone 4 Comments »

When I open photos on my iPhone, my camera roll album is hidden under the top header “Albums” and I can’t open the roll. How can I access the iPhone’s camera roll?

This problem where the Albums header hides the iPhone camera roll seems to be a bug in the recent iOS software update which Apple will probably fix soon.

Fixing the Albums heading from hiding the camera roll can be done by doing a hard re-start of the phone.

Hold down the “Home” key, the big button on the front, and the off button on the top of the iPhone at the same time and hold both down for ten seconds.

The phone will restart and the iPhone Albums heading should no longer hide the camera roll album.

Should I fix a ten year old laptop computer?

June 25th, 2011 Paul Wallbank Posted in Hardware No Comments »

I was given a friend’s computer after she died. I think the hard drive is over 10 years old. It’s a Compaq Presario Colorreal with Windows XP. I had a lot of trouble with very slow functioning and then trouble getting connection. TPG weren’t able to solve the problem so I just cancelled them after months of back & forwards with them. I haven’t used it since.

I was thinking of getting a new hard drive and keeping the other parts of the system. That is, a Compaq FP7317 screen, Dlink ADSL router DSL-502T, and HP psc 2310 all-in-one printer, scanner and copier.

A friend has suggested i could get a re-conditioned hard drive for about $200 that would be ok. he got one with a 12 months warranty and was very happy with it.

I’m wondering whether to do this or get a new hard drive, or just get a wireless laptop.

I dont have a lot of computer skills or knowledge. I mainly want it for emails, letter writing, internet research and maybe EBay and photo storage.  It would be handy to take it away on trips, etc.

I find the magazines so technical it’s hard to understand what may be best.

Can you give me any advice ??

You’re looking at spending at least $200 for a new hard drive for this computer that, given its age, could have any component fail at any time.
On top of this, replacing the hard drive means reinstalling Windows and all the associated software, so there’s at least several hours work in getting the computer running after replacing the hard drive.

Given you can buy a good modern and new notebook computer for under $500 running the latest operating system and which will be compatible with new equipment it’s really not worthwhile refurbishing the old computer.

It’s best to let this machine go.

Why does my computer shut down when I plug in a device?

June 15th, 2011 Paul Wallbank Posted in Hardware No Comments »

When I connect my ipod/mobile/cd to computer and I open its folder/subfolder the computer gets restarted. Even after scanning above said icons I could not get rid of said problem?

The problem is your computer’s power supply can’t deal with the power load, each device draws some power from the system and when you start using them the computer deals with the overload by shutting down.

To fix this, first look at what you have currently connected to the computer. It may be you have a printer, scanner or external hard drive that is drawing a lot of power. Disconnecting these may resolve the problem.

Another fix is to purchase a powered external USB hub to plug your phone, iPod and other devices into. The power will be drawn through the mains connection to the hub rather than your computer. Some devices, like iPods and printers don’t always like this solution however.

If your computer is a desktop system you can also upgrade the power supply for under a hundred dollars, if you’re not comfortable doing that yourself the local computer tech will be able to do it for you.