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Thread: Computer Problem: applications won't load, windows (lowercase "w") won't open

  1. #1
    Just The Big Picture macro's Avatar
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    Computer Problem: applications won't load, windows (lowercase "w") won't open

    Apparently I can't construct a google search that will turn up the answer I'm looking for, so I'll post it here...

    I have a PC in which applications refuse to load. It doesn't matter if you double-click the shortcut on the desktop, use the Start Menu, or click on the small icons on the taskbar in an effort to run an application or open a window, the PC acts as if you didn't do anything. Same goes for trying to open My Computer, Recycle Bin, Control Panel, etc.

    On the other hand, the programs that automatically load into the System Tray on startup WILL run when you click their System Tray icons.



    I have used the System Recovery disks to restore the system to the state it was in when it came out of the box, but the problem persists. In fact, before the System Recovery, the problem could sometimes be overcome by rebooting, but since the System Recovery, that no longer appears to work.

    Since the software has been wiped clean and restored, I'm guessing this must be a hardware issue, but what is it? Why would the programs that load into the System Tray work fine while everything else refuses?

    Would appreciate any insights!

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  3. #2
    Just The Big Picture macro's Avatar
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    Re: Computer Problem: applications won't load, windows (lowercase "w") won't open

    I've now found that if I go to the DOS command prompt and type some commands...any commands...and then return to Windows, the problem fixes itself, until I reboot. Then it may return or it may not. I'm guessing no one has seen this before?

    By the way, this is an old Windows 98 machine from 2000 that I'm trying to salvage for someone. The part that's puzzling me is that the system has been freshly wiped cleaned and restored.
    Last edited by macro; 02-28-2007 at 12:24 AM.

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    Re: Computer Problem: applications won't load, windows (lowercase "w") won't open

    Quote Originally Posted by macro View Post
    By the way, this is an old Windows 98 machine from 2000 that I'm trying to salvage for someone. The part that's puzzling me is that the system has been freshly wiped cleaned and restored.
    could be the Bios decaying...when the Bios started to go in my last computer all sorts of weird pointless crap started happening, especially after the re-formatting.
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    Be the ball Roy Tucker's Avatar
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    Re: Computer Problem: applications won't load, windows (lowercase "w") won't open

    Quote Originally Posted by macro View Post
    I've now found that if I go to the DOS command prompt and type some commands...any commands...and then return to Windows, the problem fixes itself, until I reboot. Then it may return or it may not. I'm guessing no one has seen this before?

    By the way, this is an old Windows 98 machine from 2000 that I'm trying to salvage for someone. The part that's puzzling me is that the system has been freshly wiped cleaned and restored.
    This system is running Windows 98?

    That's a head-scratcher. Sounds like some kind of environment variable or softlink type thing that gets resolved at run-time. But I'll be danged if I know what it is or how to diagnose it.

    About the only thing I can suggest is get all the latest and greatest Windows 98 patches for it (if Microsoft still supports it and still issues patches that is).

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    Re: Computer Problem: applications won't load, windows (lowercase "w") won't open

    Quote Originally Posted by macro View Post
    By the way, this is an old Windows 98 machine from 2000 that I'm trying to salvage for someone. The part that's puzzling me is that the system has been freshly wiped cleaned and restored.
    Cue Indiana Jones:

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    Re: Computer Problem: applications won't load, windows (lowercase "w") won't open

    Sounds like to me you're computer is just getting old and ready to take a crap. Reformating it won't help, just frustrate you more.

    Suggestions I can make that might be cheap is-- try adding more RAM. It may even be a memory issue, where it's not loading due to a lack.
    Try getting a XP disc and updating the Windows, as well.

    If it's the BIOS taking a crap on you, it would blue screen and pretty much after the booting up it would just freeze.

    Five years is also about the average life span of a hard-drive, so I mean theres a list of things that could be going wrong.
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    Just The Big Picture macro's Avatar
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    Re: Computer Problem: applications won't load, windows (lowercase "w") won't open

    Well, I got the thing purring like a kitten, with one exception: It still occasionally refuses to open applications and windows after a reboot. I discovered that if I go to a DOS prompt and then immediately type "exit" to return to Windows, the problem is solved. It behaves just as it should.

    Again, the computer belongs to my mother-in-law, and she only uses it for Web browsing and email, so it suits her needs fine. They were ready to go out and plunk down $400 or more for a new PC, so at least they saved that money.


  9. #8
    Be the ball Roy Tucker's Avatar
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    Re: Computer Problem: applications won't load, windows (lowercase "w") won't open

    Quote Originally Posted by macro View Post
    Well, I got the thing purring like a kitten, with one exception: It still occasionally refuses to open applications and windows after a reboot. I discovered that if I go to a DOS prompt and then immediately type "exit" to return to Windows, the problem is solved. It behaves just as it should.

    Again, the computer belongs to my mother-in-law, and she only uses it for Web browsing and email, so it suits her needs fine. They were ready to go out and plunk down $400 or more for a new PC, so at least they saved that money.

    Well, it still sounds like an OS bug to me. You can either just learn to live with it or try the update route. Microsoft does still issue Win 98 patches... http://www.microsoft.com/windows98/d.../corporate.asp (doesn't that sound like a job with a future, like writing COBOL code).

    But you may introduce more problems than what you started with. I'd just teach the m-i-l to do the DOS window thing and be done with it. It's not worth the hassle.

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    Just The Big Picture macro's Avatar
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    Re: Computer Problem: applications won't load, windows (lowercase "w") won't open

    Thanks for the input, fellas! Roy, I think I'm done with it. If it starts malfunctioning badly again, I think I'll help them choose a new one. Oh, and Dracodave, I found an old 32MB PS100 memory lying around and added that the the whopping 64MB that was already there. I won't encourage her to install Photoshop or anything!

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    Re: Computer Problem: applications won't load, windows (lowercase "w") won't open

    Quote Originally Posted by Roy Tucker View Post
    Well, it still sounds like an OS bug to me. You can either just learn to live with it or try the update route. Microsoft does still issue Win 98 patches... http://www.microsoft.com/windows98/d.../corporate.asp (doesn't that sound like a job with a future, like writing COBOL code).

    But you may introduce more problems than what you started with. I'd just teach the m-i-l to do the DOS window thing and be done with it. It's not worth the hassle.
    Surprisingly, my wife's company is trying to entice all those wonderful Java and C++ programmers they have to try learning some COBOL. Apparently, some places (like banks) still run a lot of batch jobs in COBOL and all of their COBOL programmers are getting close to retirement. She says its getting expensive to keep those guys on, because they know there's no one else around to do the COBOL.
    Burn down the disco. Hang the blessed DJ. Because the music that he constantly plays, it says nothing to me about my life.

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    Just The Big Picture macro's Avatar
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    Re: Computer Problem: applications won't load, windows (lowercase "w") won't open

    Quote Originally Posted by Yachtzee View Post
    Surprisingly, my wife's company is trying to entice all those wonderful Java and C++ programmers they have to try learning some COBOL. Apparently, some places (like banks) still run a lot of batch jobs in COBOL and all of their COBOL programmers are getting close to retirement. She says its getting expensive to keep those guys on, because they know there's no one else around to do the COBOL.
    Hmmm...I had two COBOL courses in college! Haven't they been talking about the death of COBOL since the late 80s?

  13. #12
    Be the ball Roy Tucker's Avatar
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    Re: Computer Problem: applications won't load, windows (lowercase "w") won't open

    Quote Originally Posted by Yachtzee View Post
    Surprisingly, my wife's company is trying to entice all those wonderful Java and C++ programmers they have to try learning some COBOL. Apparently, some places (like banks) still run a lot of batch jobs in COBOL and all of their COBOL programmers are getting close to retirement. She says its getting expensive to keep those guys on, because they know there's no one else around to do the COBOL.
    Yep, I've got a friend up at WPAFB that does a tidy COBOL consulting business. But he's in his 60's and does it as a hobby to get out of the house.

    I used to have it on my resume but took it off because I was afraid someone might try to rope me into it.

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