Evey Has All Kinds of Problems

I have tried all I can to fix this, I am sure your the only one who can do it.  When my computer was a year old, I needed to update my virus protection.  Norton had been installed on it when I bought it, so I went to their web site and bought a CD for Norton internet security 2005. Because I was running the same one for 2004.  From the minute I loaded it, I have an error message. "Either there is no default mail client or the current mail client cannot fulfill the messaging request..  Please run Microsoft Outlook and set it as the default mail client."  My first try at fixing it was to uninstall and reinstall.  But this didn't work so I then wrote to Norton.  I wrote to them  so many times and did all they told me to do and the last thing they told me was to change the registry, I have a extended warranty I paid extra for my computer, so I called best buy, and they said, I have to carry it in, and they don't work on this problem anyway. I will have to pay for it.  I tried to set it going through outlook and then tools and then to the options, but where I would change it is grayed out. It will not change from there.  Then I went into add and remove, and deleted outlook from the left side and rebooted and same thing, same message.  I had even paid best buy extra to make me disks to restore my computer.  When I called them and talked to their geek squad, they told me not to try to run them on my own.  So now, Norton wants me to pay them to talk to someone to help me fix this, or I can pay best buy to fix it.  I have already paid plenty and I have a 2 thousand dollar computer.  I need to set Out Look as my e-mail default. Thanks so much for all your letters. I know if any one has the correct answer it will be you.  Thanks again, Evey

Evey, you probably don't want to hear this, but we're going to tell you this anyway - we can help you fix your computer - BUT....

Sometimes, you just have to get tough and realize that all the help and advice in the world are not going to put Humpty Dumpty back together again. The surest (and quickest way) to ensure your computer will work like you want it to again is to wipe out your hard drive and install Windows XP all over again. If you have a Windows XP disk that's great. If you have a "recovery disk" that your computer manufacturer included with your PC that will be even easier for you (although it is not the best choice - we'll explain later).

It appears you have many things wrong with your computer. And fixing one thing does not fix them all. It looks like you've been going 'round and 'round with this for awhile and no one seems to give you the advice you need to get your computer running the way you want it to run. And, if you paid $2000.00 for your computer, it should run EXACTLY the way you want it to. The only way you're ever going to get your computer running the way you want it to again is to start from the beginning. That means formatting your hard drive and starting all over again. But, it's not as bad as you think. Really.

But, and this is important, before you do anything else, you need to understand that if you do what we suggest you're going to lose all the data that is currently on your hard drive. So, the first step is backing up those important files, pictures, email messages, etc. that you do not want to lose. If you don't back them up you're going to lose them. So, take whatever time you need to take and backup your important files to CD or DVD and keep that DVD or CD handy - because you're going to need it when you format and reinstall Windows XP.

And before you start with the formatting and reinstallation process, make sure you have all your software installation disks, driver disk/recovery disk (that should have come with your computer) and make sure you have saved any emails with software registration keys to a safe location (any location other than the hard drive you're about to format). You can use a flash drive to save your registration emails if you like - or you can put them on the CD/DVD with the other files you've backed up. But, whatever you do, save them somewhere OFF your hard drive and note where you've saved them.

And one more thing. Do not install Norton again. Install something less pervasive and less resource-intensive. Install AVAST anti-virus or AVG and a good free firewall like Kerio (free version for home/personal use). Add www.avast.com and http://www.sunbelt-software.com/Kerio-Download.cfm to your Favorites. That way you'll be able to find them fast after you've reinstalled Windows. The first thing you're going to have to install is an anti-virus program - so install AVAST (free for home and personal use) before you install any other programs. It is far less resource-intensive that Norton and gets along much better with other programs than Norton. It's a lot more user-friendly and doesn't put its fingers into everything on your computer, like Norton. Plus you won't be held hostage every year and have to pay their ransom each year just to keep your computer protected. In other words, you'll save a lot of money too. Your computer and your wallet will thank you!

Since you're going to lose your favorites if you don't save them, back them up too. If you want to do it the easy way, download a copy of Email Backup Guardian (the trial version is free for 15 days and it will backup your Favorites, your email messages, account settings, etc.. And, the trial version will function just fine - you don't need to buy it unless you want to use it longer than 15 days...which we hope you will!) And make sure you save the backup file that Guardian creates to another location other than your hard drive. You can put it on the CD/DVD with your other backups if you want. Just remember you're going to have to move it back to your hard drive (after you get done reinstalling Windows) before you can use the "RESTORE" feature to restore your email and Favorites.

Oh and one more thing too. If you have a lot of passwords/usernames for sites you need to log into, we strongly suggest you download Roboform and set it up. Once you have it set up, make sure you use its backup feature to backup your Roboform to another location (other than you hard drive).

Are you getting the idea that proper preparation is the key to a successful reinstall of Windows? It is and you're going to be glad you took the time to be as thorough as you can before proceeding. 

And now that you've done everything above and verified your backup data and made sure it's all safely stored on CD or DVD you can now boldly go where many fear to go. You can begin the process of wiping out your hard drive and reinstalling Windows XP.

But wait! Remember the information below assumes you have a Windows XP CD! We cover what you need to do if you don't have a Windows XP CD later :-)

While you're in Windows, insert your Windows XP CD-ROM into your CD drive. Let the CD auto play. And choose "To set up Windows now press ENTER". On the next screen choose "To continue installing a fresh copy of Windows...press "ESC". This is what you want to do. So press the ESC key and choose C:\Windows "Microsoft Windows XP Home" (or "Microsoft Windows XP Professional if you have the PRO version).

A fresh installation will wipe out ALL of your data. That means EVERYTHING including Norton (yeah!) and Microsoft Office, Outlook, etc. Once started, the setup program will run on auto-pilot for the most part. But you'll have to stick around because you will be required to enter the 25 digit Windows key (it will be on a sticker on the back of your computer - most likely). After Setup is nearly complete you'll need to give your computer a name, choose your time zone, etc.  You  can install additional features and change any of your choices anytime after Windows XP is completely installed.

Once the Windows XP installation is finished you will need to install your drivers first (from the driver disk provided by your computer manufacturer).
To see a graphical tutorial on reinstalling Windows XP using the Windows XP CD, see this page.

Now, what happens if you don't have a Windows XP CD? Then you probably have a so-called recovery disk. This makes things easier for you, because the recovery disk will restore you computer to the same condition it was in the day you turned it on for the first time. That's good and bad. It's good because it's easy. All you have to do if follow the instructions that came with it. It's bad because it's probably going to put all the junk back on your computer that was on it when you bought your computer. This is not the way to setup Windows if you want the best performance and the purest installation. But it is the simplest way. If you have both a recovery disk and a Windows XP CD, we'd advise you to go with the CD installation as described above.

After you're done with reinstallation of Windows XP (or using the recovery disk) you should find that once you've reinstalled all your programs (and we're warning you again, take that Norton Internet Security Disk you bought and throw it away or give it to someone you don't like - because it will slow your computer down at best and conflict with lots of software programs and cause you great aggravation at worst. And who needs that? Not us. Not you.

Let us know if things work out for you. We'd really like to know. And most of all, we hope this helps you and others who have incurable computer problems :). Sometimes the easiest thing to do seems like the hardest thing to do at first.

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