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Toolbox software causing freezes


© St. Petersburg Times, published January 1, 2001

Q. My mouse arrow freezes on the screen or disappears completely. It happens no matter where I am working on my computer. I have tried holding down the Ctrl-Alt-Delete keys to reboot with no success. I have to turn off my computer to reboot. The help menu suggested that I click Start, Find, then Files and Folders. In the Named box, type hppropty.exe, then Find Now. No files or folders appeared.

A. This is a known problem and can occur if Hewlett-Packard's LaserJet Toolbox software is running on your computer. According to Microsoft, resolve this problem by following these steps:

1. Press Ctrl-Alt-Delete to open the Close Program dialog box.

2. Click hppropty, then click End Task.

To prevent this from reoccurring, disable LaserJet Toolbox. To do this:

1. Click Start, point to Find, then click Files or Folders.

2. In the Named box, type hppropty.exe and click Find Now.

3. In the list of found files, right-click hppropty.exe and click Rename.

4. Type hppropty.old and press Enter.

5. Close the Find: Files Named hppropty.exe window.

6. Restart the computer.

To enable LaserJet Toolbox, repeat the above steps to rename hppropty.old to hppropty.exe.

Restoring Notepad

Q. I had one of those dreaded hiccups with Windows 98. The Blue Screen of Death came up and my system locked up. I was unable to close the system properly, so I was forced to just turn off the power. When I rebooted, my system went through the normal ScanDisk sequence and opened up Windows. Everything seemed normal until I noticed my icon for Notepad (which I use to edit HTML) had turned into the DOS icon. I attempted to open it only to get a "file could not be found" error. I must reload Notepad. Where do I get Notepad, and can I reload it without affecting my other settings?

A. This problem can occur if you ran Setup and the PATH environment variable did not include the Windows folder, or the PATH environment variable was changed after the initial reboot during Setup. To check this, type "set" at a command prompt. This command lists the current environment variables, including the PATH setting. If it needs to be corrected, edit the autoexec.bat and make sure that the SET PATH= statement includes the Windows folder (for example, C:\Windows). Then, run Setup again. When you are prompted, choose the "Restore Windows files that are changed or corrupted" option.

Free space and RAM

Q. The hard drive of my Windows 95 PC churns a lot, especially when I switch between running applications (Netscape Navigator, Internet Explorer, etc). I notice that the size of the file C:\WINDOWS\WIN386.SWP is approaching 56MB. Is this file causing this churn, and can I delete it without adverse effect?

A. It sounds as if you need more random access memory, or RAM, or your available free disk space is critically low. You should keep at least 10 percent of your hard drive free. You may want to defragment the drive (double-click My Computer, right-click the C drive, choose Properties, Tools, Defragment). If nothing changes, then most likely it is a shortage of RAM. For Windows 95, 32 megabytes of RAM is considered bare-bones, 64MB is adequate and 128MB is highly recommended.

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