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Video drivers may be causing mouse to freeze

By JULES ALLEN, Times Correspondent

© St. Petersburg Times,
published June 18, 2001


Q. Every so often the mouse freezes and I cannot get out of it using Ctrl-Alt-Del. I end up unplugging my computer and rebooting. I took the computer into the shop, but the guy couldn't find anything. Do I need to replace the driver for the mouse?

A. The problem is almost certainly not your mouse. Faulty or outdated video drivers are often a cause of this type of problem. However, it can be caused by many things, such as IRQ conflicts or bad hardware components (devices, memory, etc.). Try eliminating the hardware acceleration of your video adapter this way: Click Start, point to Settings, then click Control Panel. Double-click the System icon and click the Performance tab, then click the Graphics button. Move the Hardware Acceleration slider to the None setting (all the way to the left) and click OK. If this fixes the problem, then the video adapter drivers are likely the problem and you may need to update them (check the Web site of the video adapter vendor). Ultimately, the solution for this type of problem would be to upgrade to Windows 2000 or the upcoming Windows XP, which is targeted as the replacement for the home PC/Windows 9x/Me user.

Reclaiming disk space

Q. I upgraded from Windows 3.1 to Win95 to Win98 SE. I need some disk space. When I click on the Disk Cleanup in System Tools, it suggests that I delete the Windows Uninstall Information if I do not want to return to the previous version of Windows. This would give me over 100 megabytes of space. Can I do it without deleting any important files at the same time?

A. If you are at the point where you feel that it would no longer be necessary to return to the previous Windows version (in your case, Windows 95), then it is safe to delete the uninstall information and reclaim the 100 MB. This will have no effect on your current Windows installation.

Tripped up while defragging

Q. While I was defragging my hard drive, I minimized it and attempted to scan an article. I got an error (ISSET_SE) and since then I cannot get my scanner, an HP 3200C, to operate. I deleted the scanner software and reinstalled it, but I keep getting a message "Failed to find ATTRIBS.DAT in any LST File on CD #1." The same message comes up on Disk 2, therefore I can't delete or reinstall it.

A. This can happen if you use Norton AntiVirus with the Auto-Protect feature. Right-click the Norton AntiVirus Auto-Protect icon in the system tray and check Disable Auto-Protect. You also may want to run a ScanDisk first to check the integrity of the rest of your system. You also can try a clean boot: Accessories, System Tools, System Information. On the Tools menu, click System Configuration Utility. On the General tab, click Selective Startup, and click to clear the following check boxes:

  • Process Config.sys File
  • Process Autoexec.bat File
  • Process Winstart.bat File (if available)
  • Process Win.ini File
  • Load Startup Group Items

Reboot and retry the scanner installation. For future reference, use the "clean boot" process when performing a defrag and never run applications while defragmenting your system.

Restoration software

Q. Regarding your advice about reloading Windows and a directory from a CD-ROM: I received three CD-ROMs titled System Restoration Kit. Is that the same thing you are referring to? I also checked C:Windows/Options/Cabs only to find it full of files. There was no way I could determine which I would use to reload.

A. Every system's restoration kit is going to be a little different, but almost certainly this is a "wipe and clean" process that restores the PC's hard drive to what it looked like when you got it. When you do this, you will lose any data that you've created since then. The files in the C:\Windows\Options\Cabs folder are the Windows install media (for whichever version you have). There should be a Setup.exe file in that folder that will initiate a reload of the Windows operating system. This type of reload will not overwrite your data or cause any data loss.

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