May 2000--I am fanatic about disk
hygiene. Iíve been pounding the table about this topic since the
newsletter. I continue to believe that a regular regimen of disk
maintenance is good for the system--and good for the soul.
But itís not always as easy as it should be.
Sometimes you fire up ScanDisk or Defrag and things donít go
smoothly. It runs for a while, and then--wham! You get a "drive
contents changing" message and a "restarting" message, and pretty
soon youíve burned a lot of time and gotten nowhere.
I didnít do nuttiní
Of course you havenít touched the keyboard, so the condition is a
mystery. All your programs have been closed. What could be going on?
The reality is there will always be other programs
running, even if you think theyíre closed. After all, Windows itself
is a program.
The trick here is to find the bad guy and close
The usual suspect
The most frequent cause is the common screen saver. We donít often
think of a screen saver as a program, but more often than not, itís
the culprit. Right click on an empty part of your desktop, select
"Properties" and the "Screen Saver" tab, and disable any screen
saver you have installed.
If disabling the screen saver doesnít do it, you have a couple of
choices. Perhaps the easiest is to restart in safe mode (Windows
Help has information on starting in safe mode). Safe mode doesnít
load the programs that a normal start does and will eliminate the
program that is causing the problem. It is, however, a less than
Hunting down the cause is a bit more work, but
better for your computer and your sanity in the long run. By finding
the guilty program, you can eliminate the problem rather than just
Start by pressing the Ctrl, Alt, and Delete keys
at the same time. This brings up the "Close program" window and
displays running programs. Systray and Explorer are the only two
critical programs that you donít want to close. Nothing terrible
will happen if you do close them--youíll just have to restart. But
these two programs run on all Windows computers and arenít the
source of the problem.
What else might be there? Rnaapp is part of
dial-up networking. It shouldnít cause a problem with ScanDisk or
If you have a full time antivirus program, it will
probably have a couple of programs running. In some cases these may
be hard to identify but theyíll be there.
Close anything that is part of the above group,
one program at a time. Then, run ScanDisk and if removing that
program fixed the problem, then youíre done with your detective
Use "Search" or "Find" to locate the file. Then,
right click on it, and select "Properties" to view information about
what program itís associated with. In the future, close that program
before doing disk maintenance, or if itís not a program that you
want or need, remove it.
Chances are you donít want to remove the program from your system.
You just want to keep it from starting automatically. In Windows 98
thereís a utility called MSCONFIG (go to Start, select Run, and type
MSCONFIG in the dialog box) that allows you to easily disable
programs from the startup group. If you ever want it back, just run
MSCONFIG, recheck the box, and the next time you start your PC, itís
back in the lineup.
If all else fails
Sometimes, however, none of these steps solve the problem. In that
case, drop by the
board, and weíll be glad to walk you through more advanced
Until next month, best in computing.