windows vista problem solving

How to troubleshoot performance issues in Windows Vista


The steps to troubleshoot performance-related issues in Windows Vista vary depending on the point at which the issue occurs. This article is intended to describe the steps that are used to troubleshoot performance-related issues that occur in Windows Vista. For more information about how to troubleshoot other performance issues in Windows Vista, click the following article numbers to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

950684 How to troubleshoot performance issues during startup in Windows

950686 How to troubleshoot performance issues with standby, hibernate, and resume in Windows Vista

This article describes the steps that are used to start to troubleshoot performance-related issues in Windows Vista. Performance issues that you may encounter on a Windows Vista based computer may include but are not limited to the following issues:

Applications may take a long time to start, or applications may perform slower than expected.

You may notice your computer has a consistently high hard disk usage or CPU usage.

Sound and video may appear choppy.

Performance decreases when you run certain applications or games.

Applications may become unresponsive.

Windows Aero may become disabled.

Windows Vista may take a long time to shut down.

Note Before you start to troubleshoot any performance-related issue, it is important first to set correct expectations. If you installed Windows Vista on a computer that only meets the minimum hardware requirements, but the computer does not meet the recommended hardware requirements, you may be unable to make a noticeable improvement to the performance of Windows Vista unless you upgrade the hardware on the computer, or you disable some features of Windows Vista. These features might include the search indexer or some visual effects. Computers that meet the minimum requirements are known as "Windows Vista Capable," and computers that meet the recommended requirements are known as "Windows Vista Premium Ready." For more information about Windows Vista Capable and Windows Vista Premium Ready computers, visit the following Microsoft Web site: For more information about system requirements for Windows Vista, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

919183 System requirements for Windows Vista

More Information

To start troubleshooting a performance issue in Windows Vista, follow these steps.

Step 1: Check the Windows Experience Index

Windows Vista includes a performance rating tool that is named WinSAT. This tool measures the performance of a computer, and the tool gives information about the performance in a way that is easy to understand for the end-user. The performance information about the computer is known as the "Windows Experience Index." You can use the information in this Index to determine what the expected performance levels are for the computer that is based on the rating of each component. When you review the performance rating for the computer, you see an overall score and a sub-score for individual components in the computer. The overall score is determined by the lowest sub-score on the computer. Therefore, if the lowest sub-score for a component in the computer is 2.6, the overall score for the computer will also be 2.6. This is because the component with the lowest performance in the system is considered the bottleneck. When you review this score, you can use this information to determine whether there is a component in the computer that is causing the startup performance issue. When you determine the Windows Experience Index for your computer, you can use this information to correctly set expectations about the level of performance that you can expect to achieve with the current configuration. After you set the expectations, it is important to continue to troubleshoot the issue by proceeding with the next troubleshooting step. This is because, although the computer may have slower hardware, the computer may also have other issues with software configurations that can further decrease performance. For guidance about how to make recommendations about computer performance that is based on the Windows Experience Index, visit the following Microsoft Web site: Note If the computer has an overall system score of 1.0 because the video sub-score was 1.0, this overall score may not be an accurate representation of the computer's performance. In order to test the performance of the video card in the computer, Windows Vista Display Driver Model (WDDM) drivers must be installed for the video card. If the drivers for the video card are not WDDM drivers, the sub-score will automatically be recorded as 1.0 because the card cannot be tested for performance. When you have identified performance expectations by using the Windows Experience Index, go to the next troubleshooting step.

Step 2: Check Windows Update

If a driver or an operating system component causes the performance issue, there may be an update that is available on Windows Update that addresses the issue. Visit Windows Update, and install any driver or operating system updates that are available. To do this, visit the following Windows Update Web site If you install an updated driver or operating system components from Windows Update, and this does not resolve the performance issue, go to the next troubleshooting step.

Step 3: Check for performance warnings

Frequently, Windows Vista can automatically detect any issues that are related to performance and can make recommendations about how to troubleshoot these problems. When this happens, a warning is displayed in Control Panel. To access these warnings, follow these steps:

Start button

Click Windows Experience Index .

Click Advanced Tools .

In the Advanced Tools window, click the performance-related links to examine detailed information about the computer.

After you click the links in the Advanced Tools window, follow the recommendations that appear. When you have resolved all the issues that appear in this list, restart the computer to see whether the startup performance issue is resolved. If the problem continues to occur, go to the next troubleshooting step.

Step 4: Check the Reliability Monitor

When you troubleshoot a performance issue, it is important to determine whether the problem always occurred after you installed Windows Vista or if the problem began sometime after you installed Windows Vista. You must clarify this before you continue. If the problem has always occurred, go to Step 5. If Windows Vista was performing acceptably after it was installed, and the startup performance problem only began to occur sometime after Windows Vista was performing acceptably, you can use the Reliability Monitor tool that is included with Windows Vista. This tool lets you examine the events that occurred around the time that the problem began so that you can determine any relationship between the event and the issue. To do this, you must determine approximately when the issue began to occur. When you determine the approximate time, you can examine the events that occurred around that time.

User Account Control permission

Click Reliability Monitor .

In the line graph that appears, you will see a representation of the reliability of the computer. Each vertical bar represents a day, and the height of the line for that day is determined by the events that occurred on that day. If any errors or warnings occur, the line will go down, and if no events or only informational events occur then the line will start to go up. To use this tool to troubleshoot a performance issue that began sometime after Windows Vista was installed, follow these steps:

After finding out the approximate day that the problem began, select that day in the Reliability Monitor tool.

Read the Information, Warning, and Error events that occurred on the day that the problem began, and on the two days before the problem began.

At this point, you must use the data that you have collected to start to troubleshoot why the problem might have occurred. Some possible examples of how to troubleshoot this problem are listed here. In the following examples, the most likely result is that you have to contact either the software or hardware vendor for more troubleshooting advice:

If you see that the problem started the day that a driver update was installed, you have to determine whether there is a newer driver than the currently installed driver. Then, you have to install the newer driver to see whether that driver resolves the problem. If no driver update is available, use Device Manager to roll back the driver that was installed.

If you see that the problem started after the installation of a new piece of hardware, disable or unplug that hardware, and then test to see whether the problem still occurs.

If you see that the problem started after you install a new program, check for any updates for that program on the software vendor’s Web site. If no updates are available, uninstall the program to test whether the problem continues to occur.

If the problem still occurs after you address any of the changes that you identified in the Reliability Monitor, you must contact the computer manufacturer or the hardware vendor to determine whether the computer or hardware that is installed supports Windows Vista, or whether there are any updates that must be installed to make the computer compatible.

Step 5: Disable the indexer for Windows Search

A common cause of poor system performance is that there is an application or a service that constantly stresses the hard disk. This can cause other components that are running to be deprived of the resources that they require in order to function correctly and at an acceptable speed. One potential example of this kind of application is the indexer for Windows Search. Because the indexer uses low priority I/O, performance is not decreased for most computers. This is because the indexer service only accesses the hard disk when the indexer service determines that another component of the system is not already accessing the hard disk, and the hard disk is idle. In an older computer that has a slower hard disk, the hard disk may be unable to react quickly enough to new requests for disk access from other system components. This will cause system performance to decrease. To test To test whether the indexer service is causing performance problems, disable the Windows Search service so that indexing no longer occurs. Before you do this, you have to determine whether the indexer has completed indexing the system. To check the status of the indexer service, follow these steps:

In the Programs list, click Indexing Options .

At the top of the window that appears, you see either Indexing complete or Indexing Speed is reduced due to user activity .

If you see Indexing Speed is reduced due to user activity , the indexer has not yet completed indexing the user documents and the e-mail messages on the system. If you see Indexing complete , the system has completed indexing the user documents and the e-mail messages on the system. However, the indexer remains active so that it can index any new documents or e-mail messages that appear on the system. In either case, you can test to see whether the indexer is the cause of the performance issue by disabling the Windows Search service. To disable the Windows Search Service, follow these steps:

Scroll down and locate the service that is labeled Windows Search .

Right-click this service, and then click Properties .

Set the startup type to Disabled .

Click Stop to stop the service, and then click OK .

Restart the computer.

Now, try to reproduce the performance issue to see whether the problem still occurs. Then, consider the following scenarios.

In this scenario, the performance issue no longer occurs. Additionally, you find that the indexing process had not completed. In this scenario, the likely cause of the performance issue is the Windows Search service. We recommend that you turn the service back on and leave it running to enable the index process to be completed. The system will continue to be slow during the initial indexing phase. However, when the indexing is complete, system performance will likely return to expected levels.

In this scenario, the performance issue no longer occurs. Additionally, you find that the indexing service had finished indexing. Or, you find that the performance issue did not previously exist, but that the performance issue occurred recently. In this scenario, it is likely that the database that the search indexer uses has become damaged or corrupted. In this case, you must rebuild that database. To do this, follow these steps. Step A: Restart the Windows Search service

Set the Startup type: to Automatic (Delayed Start) .

Click Start to start the service, and then click OK .

Step B: Rebuild the database that is used by the search indexer

Click Advanced .

Click Rebuild , and then click OK to the warning that appears.

Click OK to close the Indexing Options .

Note Now, the system must re-index the documents and the e-mail. However, when the indexing is completed, it is likely that system performance will return to acceptable levels. If the system continues to experience performance problems, go to the next troubleshooting step. For help with Windows Search problems in Windows Vista automatically, click Run now button from the Automated Troubleshooting Services page and follow the steps in this wizard:

Fix problems in which Windows Search is not working or searches are slower

Step 6: Disable Aero Glass

Another potential cause of performance issues in Windows Vista occurs when Aero Glass is enabled. However, the performance issues occur when the system only meets the minimum requirements for Aero Glass. This experience resembles the experience that you have when you run any software on a system that only meets the minimum requirements. In this case, the experience may not be optimal. To test whether performance issues are related to Aero Glass, disable Aero Glass on the computer. To do this, follow these steps:

In Windows Vista, right-click the desktop, and then click Personalize .

Click Windows Color and Appearance .

Click Open classic appearance properties for more color options .

Under Color scheme , select Windows Vista Basic , and then click OK .

Note When Aero Glass is disabled, the system uses the GDI method that Windows XP uses to draw the desktop. When Aero Glass is disabled, try to reproduce the performance issue to see whether the problem still occurs. If you no longer experience performance problems, the hardware may be unable to use Aero Glass to produce an optimal visual experience with Windows Vista. If you want to use Aero Glass and to avoid an adverse effect on performance, you must upgrade your hardware. In this case, you most likely have to upgrade the computer's video card. If you decide to upgrade the video card, make sure that the card that you selected has the "Certified for Windows Vista" logo. To view this logo, visit the following Microsoft Web site:  If you continue to experience performance problems, the issue most likely is not related to Aero Glass. In this case, you must re-enable Aero Glass before you continue to troubleshoot the performance problem. To do this, follow these steps:

Under Color scheme , select another color scheme (Do not select Windows Vista Basic .), and then click OK .

You may have to contact your computer manufacturer or hardware vendor to determine whether your computer supports Windows Vista, or whether there are any updates that must be installed to make the computer compatible.

Step 7: Start the computer in safe mode

When you start the computer in safe made, you can determine whether the cause of the startup-related performance issue is related to a background service or to a driver. To start in safe mode, follow these steps:

Remove all floppy disks, CDs, and DVDs from your computer, and then restart your computer.

Press and hold the F8 key as your computer restarts. Note You have to press F8 before the Windows logo appears. If the Windows logo appears, you must try to restart your computer. To do this, wait until the Windows logon prompt appears, and then shut down and restart your computer.

On the Advanced Boot Options screen, use the arrow keys to select the Safe Mode option, and then press ENTER.

Log on to your computer by using a user account that has administrator rights.

If the problem continues after you start the computer in safe mode, the problem may occur for one or more of the following reasons:

There is a problem with underpowered or faulty hardware.

There is a problem with a driver that is installed.

There is a problem with an operating system component.

If you can verify that the problem continues to occur when you start the computer in safe mode, restart the computer in normal mode, and go to the next troubleshooting step.

Step 8: Perform clean-boot troubleshooting

If you verify that the performance issue does not occur in safe mode, start Windows Vista in a clean-boot environment to determine the programs or the services that are causing the issue. This process will systematically eliminate any of the third-party services or applications that are running on the system that could potentially be the cause of the problem. For more information about how to perform clean-boot troubleshooting in Windows Vista, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

929135 How to troubleshoot a problem by performing a clean boot in Windows Vista


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Top 10 Windows Vista Issues

windows vista problem solving

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Windows Vista – the predecessor to Windows 7 – was one of Microsoft’s hotly debated operating systems to date. During its earliest years, Vista was plagued with security issues, high memory usage problems and many more issues. As time has passed, many of the early issues have been dealt with accordingly, but is still riddled with issues. Below is a guide on how to prevent or fix these common issues:

1. Software Incompatibility

windows vista problem solving

Sorry, Microsoft Windows Vista is currently not supported.

Vista support will be added again as soon as possible. Visit more information.

It’s no secret that Windows Vista has struggled since its inception with both software and hardware compatibility issues. Software that may have worked with older versions of Windows had a tendency not to work properly – if at all – in Windows Vista. Since the software compatibility issues with Vista lie solely within the operating system itself, there are only three feasible options to attempt to combat the lack of support:

1. Try running the software in a compatibility mode of older Windows operating systems. For example, if your software doesn’t work in Vista, right-clicking the program, going to Properties, select the Compatibility tab, and choosing Windows XP may solve this issue.

2. Search – or wait – for a Vista compatible version of the software. When Vista first came out, very few software products were compatible with the operating system. Since then, many software developers have created separate versions of their programs to specifically run with Windows Vista, or with Vista and later Windows operating systems.

3. Find an alternative software online. What many new and uneducated users don’t know or understand is that many popular software products have free alternatives that may address issues of their popular counterparts; one of which can be Vista compatible. A good website for freeware applications – in which you may find an alternative to non-Vista-compatible software – is called  Gizmo’s Freeware .

2. Issues With Driver Support

windows vista problem solving

Windows encountered a problem installing the driver software for your device.

While the driver support problems in Vista are nowhere near as bad today as they were when Vista was first unleashed upon the world, users may still experience issues with drivers and malfunctioning devices. To fix these issues, it is recommended that you visit the manufacturer’s site of the malfunctioning hardware driver, and download the newest one. This should fix most driver issues as many manufacturers have created Vista-compatible drivers for their hardware.

3. Lack of Support For New Hardware

windows vista problem solving

Windows needs to install driver software for your Speed Touch 330

Because Windows Vista was released in 2007, many newer pieces of hardware don’t support on older versions of the operating system. This is due to the many compatibility issues Vista had faced in its early years; however since the release of the first service pack (also known as SP), many compatibility related issues were taken care of. To see which service packs – if any – you have installed on the computer, simply right-click the “My Computer” icon located either on your desktop or in the Start Menu, and choose Properties. When the window comes up, it will say which service pack is installed.

If you do not have SP2 installed, then installing it should remedy the hardware compatibility issue(s) you are having. To install the next Service Pack (SP 1 if you don’t have it, or SP2 if you have SP1 already), simply enable Windows Update and wait for the updates to download and install. If you need to install either or both Service Packs onto a machine with no internet access, then you can find offline installers for each in the following link:

Service Pack Offline Installers

* Remember, if you don’t have Service Pack 1 installed, then make sure to install SP1 before installing SP2.

4. High Memory Usage

windows vista problem solving

 For those unfortunate enough to trek the muddy waters of upgrading from Windows XP to Vista on the same machine in Vista’s early days, high memory requirements and usage were among the top of the problem list. And while many modern computers may be able to handle Vista’s high CPU and RAM usage, paired with the ever-increasing power and memory demands of newer software, it can make for slow response times, overall slowed performance and therefore, frustration.

Though the ultimate solution to this issue would be to either add new, faster hardware, upgrade to Windows 7 or downgrade to Windows XP, there are alternative solutions that may help boost the performance of Vista itself. Namely, Vista Services Optimizer – free software which targets both new and experienced users – allows you to tweak Vista services, so only the essentials are running, leaving behind the services that often go unused and unnecessarily slow down your computer.  Vista Services Optimizer .

5. Intrusive User Account Control (UAC)

windows vista problem solving

Windows needs your permission to continue

Windows Vista implemented what is known as User Account Control, which was supposed to act as a light blanket of security. It’s sole purpose is to notify the user that a program is being executed, and needs permission from the user in order to continue with the execution. This is to prevent unauthorized programs from running on the computer – a notorious act committed by many viruses, worms, trojans and other forms of malware. The problem, however, is that Vista’s UAC is very intrusive, in that it asks for permission of nearly every program launched, trusted or not. As seen in the picture above, this can be quite painstakingly annoying (like an over-protective parent), as even the Security Center needs to be granted permission to run.

For those who find the UAC to be a nuisance, and feel as though they are better off without it, there is a very easy fix. Simply open the Control Panel, type “UAC” (without quotations) in the search box, and click the Turn User Account Control (UAC) on or off link. This will take you to a new window where a brief explanation of the UAC’s function is written, followed by a box allowing you to use UAC to protect your computer; when the box is clear, UAC has been turned off.

6. Vulnerabilities Run Rampant Throughout Vista

windows vista problem solving

Amongst many other things, Vista has always been very notorious for having severe security issues. This is largely due to Microsoft’s lack of urgency and frequent security updates. While many of the issues that plagued the operating system in its infant years have been resolved, both the sheer time it took to implement these fixes and the slow-yet-steady update schedule Microsoft runs for Vista make it a huge vulnerability to malware attacks. For example, the picture above looks to be a legitimate security program, set out to protect your system. However, it is in fact a scam, probably spyware that has been making its way into Vista computers and tricking novice users into thinking their computer is severely infected with many forms of malware, in an attempt to scam the users into buying software that will remove said non-existent errors.

The best way to fix this issue – since there is no way to fix what Microsoft hasn’t fixed yet – is to make sure your system is completely up-to-date and that you have a good anti-virus, anti-malware and firewall software installed and up-to-date. Also, you should make sure you are at least knowledgeable about how to prevent malware, how to tell if you have been infected with malware, and how to remove the issues. A good place to go for security software is  Gizmo’s Freeware ; they have a Security Wizard that can guide new users to the best software suited to their computing needs. As for preventative tips, a simple Google search should suffice, but also a link will be provided to a  WikiHow article  explaining how to prevent malicious program attacks

7. Short Battery Life (For Laptops)

windows vista problem solving

Change your battery or switch to outlet power immediately

Your computer has a low battery, so you should act immediately to keep from losing your work.

As stated before, Windows Vista uses an unusually high amount of resources; because of this, Vista may be even less enticing to laptop owners and users than it already is. For anyone who’s ever owned and frequently used a laptop computer on the road with Vista installed, this may come as no surprise that said computer’s battery life is much shorter than if it were to run an alternative operating system. Due to high resource usage, your processor and RAM draw more power than if you were using a less resource-hungry OS like Windows XP, meaning your battery drains faster and ultimately shortening your battery life.

However, there are easy ways to fix this. For one, follow the instructions for #5 above, as this will reduce the number of unnecessary services running on your computer. Also, to ensure prolonged battery life, you may want to disable unused features, such as the Aero Visual effects.

8. Lack of Dual-Boot Ability

windows vista problem solving

Choose an operating system to start, or press TAB to select a tool:

Suppose you have Windows Vista installed on your computer, but also want to have the option of using Windows XP, for the sake of compatibility with some older programs. Now, if you’re experienced enough with using and enabling the “dual-boot” option in Windows, then you should know that you just need to install the new copy of Windows on an unused hard drive or partition; this is true with XP, but with Vista, it’s not so simple. Vista, instead, only allows the user to choose one or the other as a permanent choice, not allowing you to choose between Vista and XP during a boot.

This however, has a very simple solution. Just visit the following link and download  EasyBCD , a tool that takes away from the technicalities of setting up a multi-boot environment on Vista:, meaning you can easily add other operating systems to the boot menu.

9. Slow File Transfer Rates

windows vista problem solving

While slow file transfer rates aren’t nearly as much of an issue today as they were back in 2007 when Windows Vista was released, it still isn’t nearly as quick and effective as Windows XP or Windows 7. Originally, this was due to a bug within Vista, but even today with newer computers, users may experience slower transfer rates than in XP or 7. This issue can be remedied in a few different ways.

Microsoft claims Remote Differential Compression is a feature that increases file-copy speed, but in Vista it actually does the opposite. To turn this off, go to your Control Panel -> Programs & Features -> Turn Windows features on or off and un-check “Remote Differential Compression”. Additionally, turning off Vista’s search indexing service, giving yourself full administrative rights over the hard drive (as this is not the default in Vista) and acquiring the latest Service Packs available may help increase your transfer speed.

If the above-listed methods do not work or help much, you may also want to consider using a third-party file transfer software, such as  TeraCopy  or one of the other listed freeware solutions listed at the following web page

10. Windows Installer Errors

The Windows Installer Service could not be accessed. This can occur if the Windows Installer is not correctly installed. Contact your support personnel for assistance.

The Windows Installer errors aren’t new to Windows Vista; however, the method of solution greatly changed with Vista. It is an error users receive when the Windows Installer service becomes corrupted or unstable. This can bring out an array of frustration, and may make it impossible for some to continue with their daily lives (people using Skype for business purposes is a good example, since a lot of users seemed to have problems with the Windows Installer errors).

While the common solution to this problem in Windows XP was to unload the Windows Installer service, run a specific code via the command line and edit a registry entry, Vista made it easier to fix this issue. All you do is grab your Vista installation disc, insert it into your computer’s CD drive, reboot the computer and run the Start-up Repair. This should restore the missing/corrupt file(s) within the operating system and end the Windows Installer errors.

If you’ve lost your Vista installation disc, or your computer never came with one, then there are a few ways to acquire a new one. First, verify which version of Vista you have. Now, you can either borrow a disc from a friend, family member or neighbor, you can contact the computer manufacturer or retailer that sold you the computer for a new one (which they should provide free-of-charge if your computer DID NOT come with an  installation disc).

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How to automatically repair Windows Vista using Startup Repair

  • Lawrence Abrams
  • February 25, 2007
  • Read 2,771,999 times

Table of Contents

Overview of the Windows Vista Repair options

  • How to perform an automatic repair of Windows Vista using Startup Repair
  • Advanced Tools overview

Windows Vista comes with a rich feature set of diagnostic and repair tools that you can use in the event that your computer is not operating correctly. These tools allow you to diagnose problems and repair them without having to boot into Windows. This provides much greater flexibility when it comes to fixing problems that you are not able to resolve normally. This guide focuses on using the Startup Repair utility to automatically fix problems starting Windows Vista. The tutorial will also provide a brief description of the advanced repair tools with links to tutorials on how to use them.

How to perform and automatic repair of Windows Vista using Startup Repair

If you are having problems starting Windows Vista, then your first step is to use the automated repair tool called Startup Repair . Startup Repair is a diagnostic tool that can be accessed via the Windows Recovery Environment. In order to start the Windows Recovery Environment you must boot your computer off of the Windows Vista DVD that you purchased or that came with your computer. To start this process, insert the Vista DVD into your DVD drive and turn your computer on. Your computer will start and you should see your BIOS listing your hardware and other information. When that information is cleared, your computer will see that a bootable DVD is inserted and present a prompt similar to Figure 1 below.

Boot the computer from the CD or DVD

As you want to boot the computer from the Windows Vista DVD you need to press a key, and any key will do, on your keyboard when you see the above prompt. After you press the key, you should hear your DVD reader spinning up and then you will see a black screen with a white status bar at the bottom stating Windows is loading files... . After a while, the status bar will turn completely white and you will see a screen stating that Windows is loading. The Windows Setup environment will continue to load and when finished you will be presented with a screen similar to Figure 2 below.

windows vista problem solving

At this screen you should configure the Language to install , Time and currency format , and Keyboard or input method options so that they are set correctly. When done, press the Next button. You will now be at the main Windows Vista setup screen where you would normally install Vista on to a computer.

windows vista problem solving

As we want to repair the computer, you should click on the Repair your computer option. This will bring you to a new screen where the repair process will look for all Windows Vista installations on your computer. When done you will be presented with the System Recovery Options dialog box as shown in Figure 4 below.

windows vista problem solving

Select the Vista installation you would like to repair and if there are drivers you need to load in order for Vista to access any of your drives or other components , then you should click on the Load Drivers button to load them. When ready, press the Next button to continue.

If the repair process does not detect any problems starting Vista, it will display a list of recovery tools. These recovery tools are discussed further in the Advanced Tools Overview section below. As we want to perform an automated repair, we would click on the Startup Repair option under this list of tools. It should also be noted that if the repair process detected that you previously had problems starting Vista, instead of displaying the list of recovery tools, it would have automatically started the Startup Repair tool for you. When the Startup Repair tool starts, it will scan your Vista installation for any problems. If problems are found it will attempt to fix these problems automatically. This automatic repair process can be seen in Figure 5 below.

Startup Repair window

The automatic repair process can take quite a while. So please be patient as Vista attempts to find and repair any problems on your computer. During this process your computer may reboot multiple times, which is normal and nothing to be worried about. During this process you may also be presented with a dialog box asking if you would like to restore your computer using System Restore.

Restore using System Restore

You should click on the Cancel button at this prompt because there is a better System Restore option that can be used from the advanced tools list which we will cover later. For now, just click on the Cancel button and continue with the Startup Repair process. The repair process will now continue to scan your installation for errors to fix. Once the repair process has completed, if it could not find any problems, you will be given an option to send your information to Microsoft.

Could not repair automatically

When sending this information, it is important to note that you will not receive a response back from Microsoft with a solution. Instead they use this information to determine if this is a bug that a lot of people are having and that they need to rectify or if they need to create a support article on how to fix it. If you wish to send the information, then click on the Send information about this problem (recommended) option. Otherwise, click on the Don't send option. You will now be at a summary screen.

End of automatic repair

You can now click on the Finish button to reboot your computer to exit the repair process or if you would like to try some more advanced options then click on the View advanced options for system recovery and support. We recommend that you try the advanced tools if the Startup Repair tool could not fix your problems. You can also reach the advanced tools at any time during a Startup Repair scan by clicking on the Cancel button. An overview of the advanced tools can be found with links to their individual tutorials.

Advanced Tools Overview

Vista provides advanced repair tools that you can use to fix problems with your Windows Vista installation. To reach this list of tools you would start your computer using the above process and either press Cancel during the Startup Repair process, or if no problems were detected, the list will automatically be shown. The repair process will now display the System Recovery Options screen.

Vista System Recovery Options screen

This screen provides access to five tools that can help you repair your Vista installation. These tools are:

Startup Repair Startup Repair is an automated repair process that scans your Vista installation for problems and attempts to automatically fix them. When you select to repair Vista from the Vista setup screen, and Vista detects problems, this process will be started automatically. You can cancel this process at any time to access the other repair tools described below. The Startup Repair process has already been introduced above when we discussed performing an automated repair. System Restore System Restore allows you to restore your computer's configuration, driver information, and programs to a previous state while leaving your existing data intact. Using this option can typically fix a installation's problem if it is not associated with faulty hardware. In order to use this option, you must have had System Restore enabled in Vista so that there are restore points available to restore to. To learn how to use this feature you should read this tutorial: Using System Restore from the Vista Windows Recovery Environment . Windows Complete PC Restore Complete PC Restore is a feature that allows you to restore your entire computing environment from a backup image that you created previously. The ability to create backup images for Complete PC Restore is only available in Windows Vista Business, Ultimate, and Enterprise . If you have tried all possible steps to repair your computer, and have a Complete PC Restore backup image available from when your computer was operating properly, then you can use this repair option to restore that image. To learn how to use this feature you should read this tutorial: Using Windows Complete PC Restore to restore your computer . Windows Memory Diagnostic Tool Windows Vista comes with a diagnostic tool that allows you to check the memory installed in your computer for errors. This will allow you to determine if the actual memory (RAM) hardware installed in your computer is creating errors. To learn how to use this feature you should read this tutorial: How to use the Vista Windows Memory Diagnostics Tool . Command Prompt The Command Prompt repair tool allows you to open a command prompt that you can use to access the files and registry information on your computer. This is an invaluable tool for removing security threats such as worms, rootkits, and other malware from your computer and to be able to access files when Vista fails to boot up.To learn how to use this feature you should read this tutorial: How to use the Command Prompt in the Vista Windows Recovery Environment .

With the knowledge that these tools exist and how to use them, you now have the capability to repair your Windows Vista installation in the event that problems occur. No longer should you feel held captive to your computer, but rather in control of how it operates. If you have any questions on how to use the automated repair or the advanced repair tools, please ask us in the Windows Vista Help Forum .

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How to Perform a Startup Repair in Windows Vista

Fix Windows Vista issues with Startup Repair

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What to Know

  • Insert the Windows Vista DVD and reboot your PC. Press any key to force the computer to boot from the DVD.
  • Select Repair your computer on the Install Windows screen, then choose the Windows Vista installation.
  • If Startup Repair finds a problem, the tool will suggest a solution or solve the problem automatically.

This article explains how to use the Startup Repair tool when Windows Vista doesn't start properly. The Startup Repair tool replaces important operating system files that might be missing or damaged.

Boot From the Windows Vista DVD

To begin, boot from the Windows Vista DVD .

Watch for a Press any key to boot from CD or DVD  message similar to the one shown in the screenshot above. Then, press a key to force the computer to boot from the Vista DVD.

If you don't press a key, your PC will try to boot to the operating system that's currently installed on your hard drive . If this happens, just restart your computer and try to boot to the Windows Vista DVD again.

Wait for Windows Vista to Load Files

No user intervention is required here, and no changes are made to your computer during this step. Just wait for the Windows Vista setup process to load files in preparation for whatever task you might want to complete.

In our case, it's a Startup Repair, but there are a lot of tasks that could be completed with the Windows Vista DVD.

Choose Windows Vista Setup Language and Other Settings

Choose the Language to install , Time and currency format , and Keyboard or input method that you'd like to use in Windows Vista.

Select Next.

Select the Repair Your Computer Link

Select Repair your computer on the bottom-left of the Install Windows window.

This link will begin the Windows Vista System Recovery Options .

Do not choose Install now . If you already have Windows Vista installed, this option is used to perform a clean installation of Windows Vista or a parallel installation.

Wait for System Recovery Options to Locate Windows Vista on Your Computer

System Recovery Options will now search your hard drive(s) for any Windows Vista installations.

You don't need to do anything here but wait. This Windows installation search shouldn't take more than a few minutes at most.

Choose Your Windows Vista Installation

Choose the Windows Vista installation that you'd like to perform the Startup Repair on.

Select Next .

Don't worry if the drive letter in the Location column does not match the drive letter that you know Windows Vista is installed on in your PC. Drive letters are somewhat dynamic, especially when using diagnostic tools like System Recovery Options.

Wait While Startup Repair Searches for Problems With Windows Vista Files

The Startup Repair tool will now search for problems with important Windows Vista files.

If Startup Repair finds a problem with an important operating system file, the tool may suggest a solution of some kind that you have to confirm or may solve the problem automatically.

Whatever happens, follow the prompts as necessary and accept any changes suggested by Startup Repair.

Wait While Startup Repair Attempts to Repair Windows Vista Files

Startup Repair will now attempt to repair whatever problems it found with Windows Vista files. No user intervention is required during this step.

If Startup Repair didn't find a problem, you won't see this screen.

Your computer may or may not restart several times during this repair process. Do not boot from the Windows Vista DVD on any restart. If you do, you'll need to restart immediately so the Startup Repair process can continue normally.

Choose Finish to Restart to Windows Vista

Select Finish once you see the Restart your computer to complete the repairs window to restart your PC and start Windows normally.

Not using Windows Vista? Every modern Windows operating system has a similar operating system file repair process .

Startup Repair Wasn't Enough?

It's possible that Startup Repair didn't fix whatever problem you were having. If it determines this itself, it may automatically run again after your computer restarts. If it doesn't automatically run, but you're still seeing problems with Vista, repeat these steps to run Startup Repair again manually.

If it becomes apparent that Startup Repair isn't going to solve your problem, you do have some additional recovery options, including a System Restore .

You could also try a clean installation of Windows Vista .

However, if you've tried a Startup Repair as part of another troubleshooting guide, you're probably best served by continuing with whatever specific advice that guide is giving as your next step.

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52 Windows problems and solutions

Quick fixes for problems in XP, Vista and Windows 7

52 Windows fixes

  • Windows problems and solutions
  • 26 more Windows problems solved

It's a sad fact of life that no Windows PC performs faultlessly over time. Many of these problems are outside your control, but others can be introduced through user error.

It doesn't matter how much simpler Microsoft makes Windows with each successive release: problems, glitches and bugs will always be a part of it.

Each month PC magazine from Future Publishing answer dozens of reader questions, so we've trawled our extensive archives and dug out 52 of the most relevant fixes to Windows problems.

Where possible we avoid referring to software that promises to fix these; these "miracle" cures often introduce problems of their own. Instead we try to concentrate on explaining how to fix various problems using only the tools in Windows itself.

01. Missing Taskbar icons

Version: XP, Vista, 7

If icons have disappeared from the Taskbar's notification area, there are two things to try: first, press the Windows key and [R], type "regedit" and press [Enter].

Browse to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\ Software\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\ CurrentVersion\TrayNotify, and delete both IconStreams and PastIconsStream values.

Reboot, or log off and back on again. If the problem persists in XP, and you can live without it, open the Add or Remove Programs Control Panel, click Add/Remove Windows Components, expand Networking Services, and untick "UPnP User Interface". Then click OK > Next.

02. PC won't sleep

If your PC won't stay asleep it's often because a device is configured to bring it out of standby when triggered. Identify the culprit by pressing the Windows key and [R], type "cmd" and press [Enter].

Type the following line and press [Enter]: powercfg –devicequery wake_armed

Now press the Windows key and [R] again, but this time type "devmgmt.msc" to open Device Manager. Find any devices listed earlier, then double-click them and look for an Advanced or Power Management tab.

Check if the device is allowed to bring the PC out of standby – if it is, untick all the boxes that wake it. Click OK, close Device Manager and test it worked; repeat the process if necessary.

03. Quick fixes

Microsoft has developed the Fix It Center tool, which includes all of the automated fixes for various Windows problems it has released over the last few years. Download and install it from http:// , then launch the tool from its desktop shortcut.

A list of available troubleshooters for your version of Windows will be listed; if one describes the problem you're having then click the Run button next to it and see if it can resolve your problem.

04. Remove printer drivers

Version: XP, Vista

To ensure all traces of an old printer are removed from your PC, open Printers or Printers and Faxes. Right-click blank space in the Printers Control Panel and choose Server Properties (in XP) or Run as Administrator > Server Properties > Continue (in Vista).

Switch to the Driver tab – if your driver is still present, select it and click Remove. If you're using Vista you should leave "Remove driver only" selected only if the drivers were provided by Windows. Click OK followed by Yes > Close.

05. Verify system files

The System File Checker (SFC) tool enables you to scan for – and replace – corrupt and missing fi les. If you use XP you can use it to scan your entire drive, while in Vista and Windows 7 it can verify individual fi les and folders too. If you have an installation CD, keep it handy in case it's needed.

Step 1. In Windows XP

Click Start > Run, type "sfc /scannow" and press [Enter] to check your entire drive for errors. Have your installation CD handy in case you're asked for it.

Step 2. Vista and Windows 7

Click Start, type "cmd", then right-click cmd.exe and choose Run as Administrator > Continue. Type "sfc /scannow" and press [Enter] to check your entire drive.

Step 3. Scan and replace

Alternatively, type "sfc /SCANFILE=path \fi lename" and press [Enter], replacing path\fi lename with your chosen fi le – such as c:\windows\system32\riched32.dll.

06. Program compatibility problems

If you have issues with a program check its website or Google the program's name, version number and your version of Windows to see if there are any issues with it.

Avoid installing system software not listed as compatible with your version of Windows, otherwise try installing it as normal; if it fails, Windows 7 may offer to apply compatibility settings to it – see if these work.

If the program installs but won't run, right-click its program shortcut and choose Properties > Compatibility Settings. Select your old version of Windows from the list and click OK.

If this fails, try ticking "Run this program as an administrator"; in Windows 7 you can also click "Help me choose the settings" to gain access to the Program Compatibility Troubleshooter.

07. PC keeps rebooting after Windows Update

If your PC gets stuck in a cycle of rebooting during the update process, you need to undo the updates using System Restore. If your computer came without a Windows disc, look for an option to access recovery options, or tap [F8] before Windows starts loading, and then choose "Repair your computer".

If you have an installation disc, boot from it, select your language and then choose "Repair your computer". In both cases, when the menu appears, choose System Restore to undo the update.

08. System Restore not working

If you're having problems restoring your computer to an earlier state, try booting into Safe Mode (tap [F8] as your PC restarts) and running System Restore from there.

In Vista and Windows 7 there's also another option: you can also run the tool directly from your Windows disc (see tip seven, above) if you can't access Windows.

09. Windows Media Player missing songs

Tracks missing from Windows Media Player? Try clicking Start > All Programs > Accessories. If you're using XP you should select the Command Prompt, or in Vista or Windows 7 right-click it and choose Run as Administrator.

Switch to the folder containing your music using the cd command (for example, cd music cd my documents\my music), then type " attrib -s *.* /d /s " and press [Enter].

Once complete, open Media Player and press [F3], or choose Tools > Advanced > Restore Media Library (in Windows 7) to access all your music again.

10. Action Center

Click the flag icon in the Taskbar's notification area to access the Action Center. Here you can get an at-a-glance look at problems, plus launch a series of troubleshooters to help quickly fix the problems that plague you, without getting your hands dirty.

11. Show printer ink levels

If you've just upgraded to a new version of Windows and can't access your printer's ink levels, the bad news is that Windows installed a basic driver without the function.

Check the manufacturer's site for a dedicated driver and – if it exists – install that.

12. Fix Windows driver problems

Most hardware problems can be traced to the drivers, the software that enables them to work with Windows. When it comes to tracking down problems, the first port of call should be Windows' own Device Manager – here's how to troubleshoot problems using this useful tool.

Step 1. Open Device Manager

Press [Windows] + [R], type "devmgmt. msc" and press [Enter]. Look for yellow exclamation marks next to troublesome hardware devices and double-click one.

Step 2. Get error details

Look on the General tab for an error code and description of the problem – if a troubleshoot button is present, click it to see if you can fi x the problem easily.

Step 3. Search online

If no fix is forthcoming, use the error details as part of your web search – try a general search first, then add your hardware's make and model if necessary.

13. Resolve ReadyBoost conflict

Version: Vista, 7

Your PC can only use one ReadyBoost device at a time, and some computers come with built-in flash memory already configured for use with ReadyBoost.

To resolve this conflict click Start, rightclick Computer and select Manage, then under Storage choose "Disk Management" to verify the existence of such a drive. Look for a program called Intel Turbo Memory Console (type "Intel" into the Start menu's Search box) and open this to disable the built-in drive in favour of your own.

14. Folder settings not remembered

If you find you can no longer customise folders to look and behave how you want, the solution involves some editing of with two Registry subkeys – BagMRU and Bags – which are found in two separate locations: Shell and ShellNoRoam under HKEY_ CURRENT_USER\Software\ Microsoft\Windows.

Think this sounds like too much hassle? No problem, just open the Microsoft Fix It Center tool (see tip three) and run the "Diagnose and repair Windows Files and Folder Problems" wizard. This will do the hard work for you.

15. PC keeps rebooting

If your PC restarts unexpectedly after briefly displaying a blue screen, then it's encountered a STOP error. If this keeps occurring you need to identify it.

In Vista and Windows 7 you can stop Windows automatically restarting from the Windows boot menu that should appear; if you use XP click Start, right-click My Computer and select Properties > Advanced tab. Click Settings under "Startup and Recovery" and untick "Automatically restart" before clicking OK twice.

Now when the STOP error occurs you'll see a blue screen with details of the error message; note down the description, any files it refers to, and the STOP error code. Then search the web for these terms to hopefully find a solution.

16. Blocked startup programs

If you get this message after starting Windows, it means one of the programs set to start with it is attempting to work with elevated privileges. This is symptomatic of older programs, so either source an update or an alternative program if you can.

Right-click the message, choose "Run blocked program" and select the errant tool in question. Then click Continue when prompted.

17. Fix file-sharing problems

Verify your PCs are on the same network – wireless or wired – and all on the same workgroup (click Start, right-click Computer and select Properties; in XP you need the Computer Name tab). Is File and Printer Sharing enabled?

Check from the Network and Sharing Center in Vista/Windows 7 – ensure your network is Home or Work. In Windows 7 click Choose homegroup and sharing options > Change advanced sharing settings; in XP right-click a folder and choose Properties > Sharing tab.

Disable password protected filesharing in Vista or Windows 7 if sharing with PCs running XP, and check your firewall has placed your network in a trusted zone.

18. Access denied error on system files

Version: XP

Not long ago dealing with "access denied" errors relating to system files or the Registry involved downloading a tool and typing out a complex script.

Now you can resolve this issue – sometimes found when installing SP3 – by downloading a dedicated fix-it tool from .

19. Low memory error

Fix this problem by making sure Windows is set to handle your virtual memory settings; open the System Control Panel and either click "Advanced system settings" or switch to the Advanced tab.

Then under Performance click Settings, select Advanced and click Change. You need to verify that either "Automatically manage paging file for all drives" (in Vista or Windows 7) or "System managed size" (in Windows XP) is selected, then if necessary click Set > OK, rebooting when prompted.

20. No sound in Windows

Before running the Microsoft Fix It Center tool (see tip three), open the "Sound" or "Sounds and Audio Devices" Control Panel.

Select the Playback or Audio tab, and verify the device is set to be the default; if not, select it from the list to fix the problem.

21. Create a repair disc

If your PC didn't come with a Windows installation disc, click Start, type "backup" and click Backup and Restore.

Select "Create a system repair disc" and put a blank CD or DVD in your writeable drive to create a bootable disc with the "Repair your computer" options on it.

22. Where's GPEDIT?

If you're running one of the Home editions of Windows, you'll find the gpedit.msc tool is missing. If you're instructed to fix a problem using this tool and you're running Windows XP, visit here to find the equivalent setting in the Registry.

Alternatively, for the Home edition of Vista you can download an Excel spreadsheet with the various settings from here .

23. System Restore problems

Restore points are cumulative in reverse – each new one only saves what's changed – so old points rely on newer ones to work; if one corrupts then all older ones are lost. That means the older a Restore point, the less reliable it is, so avoid using anything but the most recent one.

Open Disk Cleanup (Start > All Programs > Accessories > System tools) and – if prompted – choose "all users". On the More Options tab delete all but the newest Restore point. If all else fails, disable System Restore and lose all Restore points, then re-enable it.

For XP use the tool here ; in Vista and Windows 7 open System Protection, untick all the boxes and click Turn off System Restore > Apply. Tick your system drive again and click Apply to switch it back on.

If you're plagued with specific error messages, or System Restore doesn't work well, you'll find useful solutions here.

24. Text too small

If you're struggling to read the text on your screen simply right-click the desktop and choose "Personalization" or "Properties". In Windows 7 click Display, or in Vista select "Adjust font size (DPI)"; in XP switch to the Settings tab and click Advanced.

Select a larger size to suit you and click OK twice followed by Yes > Close, rebooting if prompted. Certain programs will throw up warnings – in Vista and Windows 7 you can right-click the program shortcut and choose Properties > Compatibility tab, then tick "Disable display scaling on high DPI settings".

25. Video display problems

When playing back video on your PC, does the screen appear too light or dark, or is the colour balance all wrong? That's because the video uses special "overlay" settings in place of Windows' own.

To resolve this, right-click the desktop and look for an Nvidia or ATI option; if it's not there, choose "Personalization" or "Properties" instead. Choose Settings or Display Settings and look on the tabs for a video or advanced option.

Once located, make sure the video settings are set to that of the player, and not your graphics adaptor. When this is done, save your settings to resolve the problem.

26. Use Event Viewer

Windows records all major events, including errors and warnings, which can be accessed for troubleshooting. Press the Windows key and [R], type "eventvwr.msc" and press [Enter]. Now expand Windows Logs and click on a log.

Click Filter Current Log, tick Critical, Error and Warning and click OK. Click an event that occurred around the time of your problem: each event will provide more information about your problem – if there's a link to more help online, select it.

Some events won't produce any extra information, but many will; you may even get possible solutions to try, but if not, make a note of any extra detail to use in a Google search.

Current page: Windows problems and solutions

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Fixing Windows Vista, Part 3: Top Troubleshooting Tools


Do you think Windows Vista is slow, crash-prone, or unreliable? Join the crowd.

Over the past year, reviews of Windows Vista by mainstream media outlets, the technical press, bloggers, and ordinary users have been, for the most part, scathing. And many of those bad reviews were absolutely accurate. My co-authors and I just completed an extensive post-Service Pack 1 revision of our book Windows Vista Inside Out . Over the past year, we installed, upgraded, and used Windows Vista on a broad cross-section of hardware designs from nearly a dozen manufacturers. During that time, we experienced some of those same performance, reliability, and compatibility issues ourselves. What we found was simple: With a clean install on well-supported hardware, everything worked just fine. But toss in an incompatible application or a flaky video, storage, or network driver, and performance could suffer. Badly.

Over the past year or so, we have also observed steady and occasionally dramatic improvements in the Windows ecosystem. Most of the large issues in Windows Vista were effectively resolved by a series of updates delivered via Windows Update, including more than 500 fixes that were rolled up into Service Pack 1 . Third-party hardware makers, many of whom were slow to get working Vista drivers out the door , have since released updates that can make a huge difference in the Vista experience.

Today's conventional wisdom, based on more than a year's worth of relentless negative publicity, says Vista is hopelessly broken. In fact, my experience says the exact opposite is true. I proved the point in the first installment of this series , where I restored a sluggish $2500 Sony Vaio notebook to peak performance in a few hours. And I think anyone with a modicum of PC smarts can do the same.

In 2008, there is no excuse for a PC maker to ship a Vista-based system that is anything less than fast and reliable. Sadly, many of them still do a terrible job, loading new PCs (especially notebooks) with outdated drivers, crapware, and overbearing security software that can result in a terrible Vista experience.

If you unbox a new PC and it performs like a slug, you're likely to just live with the frustration (and maybe even blog about it), because everyone knows that Vista sucks. Right?

I believe you have every right to expect excellent performance from Windows Vista, and I'm going to back that conclusion in today's post, the latest in my Fixing Vista series, with details on how to use Vista's built-in tools to find and fix the problems that stand between you and an excellent Vista experience. Specifically, I believe all of the following statements should be true:

  • On a new PC built with up-to-date hardware, Windows Vista should start up in a minute or less and shut down in 30 seconds or less.
  • Video performance and audio playback should be smooth and glitch-free.
  • Programs should open quickly and do their work without affecting your ability to perform other tasks.
  • File transfer speeds should be limited only by the capabilities of your hardware (disk, controller, and network).
  • System crashes should be nonexistent, and application crashes should hang the faulting program only, without affecting other programs.

If any of those conditions fail, you have a PC that needs fixing. Despite what you might read from self-proclaimed experts, there is no secret formula, magic bullet, or special MakeRocketShipGoFast registry hack that will suddenly send your system zooming into warp speed, nor do you need third-party diagnostic or repair software. Instead, the formula for getting excellent performance out of a Windows Vista PC is much more prosaic: start with quality components, make sure every piece of hardware has the right drivers and every piece of software is up to date, and fix any performance bottlenecks.

In this post and its accompanying image gallery , I’ll introduce you to four built-in tools you can use to track down and fix performance problems.

Page 2: Let Windows identify performance issues

Page 3: Gather hidden system details

Page 4: Get the most out of Task Manager

Page 5: Learn to use Vista's amazing real-time performance sleuth

Next -->

Let Windows identify performance issues

Open System Properties

In the System dialog box, click the Windows Experience Index link in the center of the dialog box.


Don't get seduced by the numbers. Those ratings are crude and mostly designed for marketing. Instead, click the Advanced tools link in the Tasks pane on the left side of the dialog box.


And now we're getting somewhere. Windows Vista monitors performance constantly. If you've been experiencing performance problems, they're going to be called out at the top of this dialog box. In this example, Vista's diagnostics have identified programs and drivers that are making startup and shutdown take longer than they should.


Click any of the links in this section to open a dialog box with precise, detailed information about the driver or program causing the problem. Armed with that information, you can look for an updated driver or a change in settings that can restore performance to excellent levels.


On this particular system, I discovered that Intel had indeed issued a more recent driver. A quick download, followed by an update (no reboot required), and that performance problem was history.

Gather hidden system details

But beyond those gross findings, the WEI numbers aren't worth staring at for more than a few seconds. But the detailed system information is far more interesting and useful. To display the full listing, go back to the Performance Information and Tools page and click the View and print details link just below the index numbers:


Clicking that link leads to a page that shows details about the major subsystems in your PC:

  • Processor shows the make and clock speed of your CPU
  • System displays the manufacturer and model of your PC, the amount of installed RAM, how many processor cores are present, and whether the system is capable of running a 64-bit operating system
  • Storage lists all available hard disks and media drivers, along with the amount of free space available on each one
  • Graphics provides details about your graphics adapter, how the GPU and system memory are being used, the current system resolution, and which display driver is currently in use
  • Network lists the name and model number of all available wired and wireless network adapters

In the example shown in the screenshot gallery, I've highlighted some of the more interesting details:


Armed with this information, you can search the PC manufacturer's website for the latest BIOS; BIOS updates released in the past year or so can have a huge impact on performance and reliability. You can also track down up-to-date drivers for graphics adapters and network cards, both of which are likely to have a significant positive effect on performance.

Get the most out of Task Manager

First, learn how to open it up: The old shortcut was Ctrl+Alt+Delete. You can get to Task Manager one click faster if you learn the direct shortcut: Ctrl+Shift+Esc. You'll also want to click the Show processes from all users button in the bottom left corner to see system-owned processes as well:


(If you prefer to go straight to the elevated version of Task Manager, without any annoying User Account Control dialog boxes, use the shortcut method I describe on page 4 of the previous installment of this series, Fixing Windows Vista, Part 2: Taming UAC . That lets you set up a scheduled task you can run any time, with UAC automatically approved.)

In the screenshot gallery, I explain how to make the following tweaks to Task Manager:

  • On the Processes tab, click the CPU heading, which sorts the display of running processes so you can see those that are putting most demand on your processor.
  • Customize the display of columns to show the Process Identifier (PID) of each one. That can come in handy when using other tools.
  • Sort the Services tab by PID to see which services are grouped under a single instance of Svchost.exe. If that service group is hogging CPU resources, you can narrow down the list of potential offenders here.
  • Finally, click the Performance tab to see rough graphs that show CPU and memory usage.


But for anything more than rough snapshots, click the Resource Monitor button at the bottom of the Task Manager Performance tab to open the amazing Resource Monitor program, which I describe on the last page.

Learn to use Vista's amazing real-time performance sleuth

In the course of writing our soon-to-be-published update to Windows Vista Inside Out , I spent a lot of time with Resource Monitor. (That's its official name, but you might also hear it called Perfmon, or Performance and Reliability Monitor, or Resource Overview. Don't get hung up on the name - just learn how to use this tool.)

The main Resource Monitor window consists of five collapsible bands. The screen shown here has the Resource Monitor and CPU bands expanded, with the other three bands collapsed.


Each of the four graphs in the Resource Overview section displays a different, live aspect of system performance. (Hint: You can pause the display any time by clicking Stop or Start from the Monitor menu.) Each graph tracks the most recent 55 seconds of its assigned metric, and each graph has a blue and a green line. For the CPU graph, the blue line indicates the amount of the CPU allowed by current power management settings, while the green line tracks the total load of all running processes. This system is using the Balanced power scheme, which means the CPU is throttled down for normal use but makes more processing power available when applications demand it.


If you move the mouse pointer over a graph, it turns to a crosshair. Click once to expand the corresponding band below the Resource Overview. Click again to collapse that band. The default sort order for the CPU details band is the last column, Average CPU, which helps you spot which programs are making persistent use of the processor.

By expanding the details band for each of the four areas that Resource Monitor tracks, you can quickly scope out performance bottlenecks. The heading for each band includes aggregate statistics, while the expanded area lists details. Under the Disk heading, you can click the Read (B/min) or Write (B/min) headings to sort the display and see processes and the exact files with which they are working.,


Likewise, you can use the detailed statistics in the Memory section to see which programs and processes are using the most RAM. You'll find far more detail here than in the rudimentary Task Manager display.

In my experience, most Windows Vista performance problems can be solved by fixing one or two issues. The trick is finding those issues. I hope with the information presented here you're better prepared to get past those snags and allow Vista to achieve its full potential.


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windows vista problem solving

How to Access the Windows Recovery Environment (Windows RE)

This article applies to Windows Vista and Windows 7/8.x/10.

The Windows Recovery Environment (typically referred to as Windows RE or WinRE) is partially analogous to the Windows Recovery Console of Windows 2000/XP.  Most computer manufacturers or administrators configure Windows systems with Windows RE installed to a local hard drive. In addition, current versions of Windows will automatically install and enable Windows RE when Windows is installed or upgraded. If Windows RE is functional, Windows will automatically run it if a boot failure is detected. Windows RE may also be accessed manually if it's installed to a local hard disk and is enabled. The method used depends on the version of Windows:

Windows Vista / Windows 7 Press and hold the F8 key early in the system boot process. Then select the Repair your computer option from the boot menu that appears.  Note: If your computer uses the F8 key for the BIOS Boot Menu (ASUS boards, for example), make sure to start pressing the F8 key after the BIOS screen has passed and before Windows has started to boot. In some cases, it may be easier to press F8 early to open the BIOS Boot Menu and then select the Windows drive to boot and immediately press F8 again. Windows 8.x Press WinKey+I and click the Power icon. Hold down Shift and click Restart . Click Troubleshooting and then Advanced options to bring up the repair options. Windows 8.1/10 Press WinKey+X to open the Quick Link menu. Click Shut down or sign out , then hold down Shift and click Restart . (In Windows 10 you can also open the Start menu, click on Power and then Shift -click Restart .) Click Troubleshooting and then Advanced options to bring up the repair options. Note: If you would like to enable using F8 to access the Windows 8.1/10 legacy Safe Mode menu (as with Windows 7) please refer to the instructions at the end of this article.

If Windows RE is not installed or is unable to boot from the internal drive, access it as detailed below. Please note that the prompts and screens shown vary depending on the version and type of Windows boot media used, but the basics are the same.

  • Insert the Windows installation disc/UFD, Repair Disc, or Recovery Drive and restart the computer. Note: If you are running Windows 7 and don't have a Windows 7 DVD, you can create a System Repair Disc by running  Start >> All Programs >> Maintenance >> Create a System Repair Disc . If you are running Windows 8.x/10 you can create a Recovery Drive or Repair Disc by opening the Control Panel and running the Recovery program.
  • Press a key when the Press any key to boot from CD or DVD message appears (this prompt is not shown on some types of Windows boot media). If you don't press a key quickly enough, you will need to wait until the computer has finished booting and then reboot the computer and try again.
  • After the initialization process completes, you may be prompted to select a Language to install , Time and currency format , and Keyboard or input method .  Configure each of these settings and then click Next .
  • If shown, click the Repair your computer option that appears near the bottom of the window to access Windows RE.
  • If Windows RE scans for existing Windows installations, let it finish. If using the Windows 7 RE, make sure the Use recovery tools that can help fix problems starting Windows option is selected.
  • In Windows Vista RE and Windows 7 RE click Next . In the Windows 8.x/10 RE click on Troubleshooting and then Advanced options to access the repair options.
  • Important: At any point during these procedures, if you are following manual repair instructions, please cancel any automatic repair options offered by Windows RE and instead select the option to run the Command Prompt. 

Enable using F8 to access the Windows 8.1/10 legacy Safe Mode menu

Windows 8.1/10 can be configured to enable pressing the F8 key on boot-up to access the legacy Safe Mode menu used by Windows 7. This is supported on both MBR and GPT Windows installations.


  • Boot into Windows. If you are booting multiple Windows operating systems using the Windows boot manager, boot into the newest version.
  • Open an Administrator Command Prompt.
  • If you have a single Windows operating system and want to enable pressing F8 at boot-up to access the Safe Mode menu, run the following command: bcdedit /set {default} bootmenupolicy legacy When booted to the legacy menu, select the Repair Your Computer option to boot to Windows RE. Once it has loaded, click Troubleshooting and then Advanced options to bring up the repair options.
  • If you have multiple Windows operating systems installed or want the legacy boot menu to display on boot-up, run the following command: bcdedit /set {bootmgr} displaybootmenu yes This will make the legacy boot menu display on each boot-up without needing to press a key. The default OS will boot after the timeout period has expired. To access Windows RE you will need to highlight the desired Windows installation and then press F8 . On the Startup Settings menu press F10 for more options and then press 1 (or F1 ) to launch the recovery environment. Next, click Troubleshooting and then Advanced options to bring up the repair options.

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Fix Blue Screen of Death (BSoD) Errors in Windows Vista

This guide shows you how to fix blue screen of death errors (or BSoD errors) for Windows Vista .

If you see a blue screen error, but Windows Vista restarts immediately and you can’t read the error text, follow these instructions to disable the Automatically restart option:

  • Right-click on My Computer
  • Go to Properties
  • Go to the Advanced tab
  • At the Startup and Recovery section, click the Settings button
  • At the System failure section, make sure the “Automatically restart” option is unchecked

If you can’t boot into Windows, try booting into Safe Mode, follow the instructions above and then restart your computer again. To boot Windows Vista in Safe Mode, follow these steps:

  • Restart your computer
  • Press F8 before the Windows logo appears
  • Use the arrow keys and select “Safe Mode” from the boot menu
  • Press Enter

General fixes

Most Blue Screen of Death (BSoD) errors in Windows Vista can be fixed by following any of the below methods.

Method #1: Install Windows updates

If Windows Updates aren’t installed automatically in your Windows Vista system, you need to update the system manually:

  • Go to Control Panel
  • Click Windows Update (or System and Maintenance and then Windows Update)
  • Click Install. If the Windows Update window says that Windows is up to date, go to the next method below.

Method #2: Check installed drivers

Many BSoDs errors are caused by misconfigured or damaged device drivers installed. To fix a BSoD error caused by incompatible drivers, you need to remove the installed driver and restart the computer or make sure you have the latest available driver for your computer.

Search on your computer’s manufacturer website for the latest drivers available.

Method #3: Startup Repair

The Startup Repair utility of Windows Vista can potentially fix blue screen errors as it automatically scan and tries to fix your computer.

To run Startup Repair, follow these steps:

  • Insert the disk and restart your computer
  • Press any key to start Windows from the installation disk
  • Choose your language
  • Click Repair your computer
  • At the System Recovery Options screen, click Startup Repair
  • Remove any inserted floppy diskettes, CDs, DVDs or USB drives

The Advanced Boot Options screen in Windows Vista

  • Select a keyboard layout and then click Next
  • At the System Recovery Options window, select Startup Repair

If “Repair your computer” doesn’t appear in the Advanced Boot Options screen, it means that your computer doesn’t have the necessary recovery files to perform this procedure.

Method #3: System Restore

For a full guide on how to restore Windows Vista, follow our guide Restore Windows Vista from here.

Method #4: Reinstall Windows Vista

Reinstalling your Windows Vista may fix the blue screen errors your computer has, but it’s recommended to try any of the methods listed earlier before you proceed with reinstalling the operating system.

If the blue screen error is from an installed device drivers, then it’s possible to have the same error appear again in the fresh installed Windows Vista if you use the same driver.



The 0x000000ED blue screen error code is also called UNMOUNTABLE_BOOT_VOLUME.

For situations where the UNMOUNTABLE_BOOT_VOLUME error is caused by incorrect or outdated information regarding the Windows partition in the boot configuration files (BOOT.INI or the BCD) for NTLDR or BootMGR, Easy Recovery Essentials can normally recreate the boot configuration with the correct settings and parameters to allow for Windows to boot correctly:

  • Download Easy Recovery Essentials from here. Choose your Windows version (XP, Vista, 7 or 8) before you go to download
  • Burn the image. Follow these instructions on how to burn the bootable ISO image very carefully, as making a bootable CD can be tricky!
  • Boot into Easy Recovery Essentials

Easy Recovery Essentials Automated Repair

  • Choose your Windows installation drive’s letter (usually C:\) and click Automated Repair

Easy Recovery Essentials Repair Complete

  • Once the process is complete, click Restart

We covered how to fix the UNMOUNTABLE_BOOT_VOLUME blue screen error for Windows Vista here.


The 0x0000007B blue screen error is also named “INACCESSIBLE_BOOT_DEVICE”. The cause for this error is usually data corruption.

The 0x0000007B error

To fix this, try any of the following methods explained below. Make sure you have all the hard disk cables connected properly before doing so.

Method #1: Run the chkdsk utility

You can use the chkdsk tool to check (and sometimes repair) your hard drive for data corruption.

  • Insert the Windows Vista installation disk and restart your computer
  • Boot from the disk
  • Choose your operating system and click Next
  • Choose Command Prompt
  • Enter the following command and hit Enter afterwards: chkdsk /f /r

Method #2: Rebuild the BCD

With the Bootrec.exe (ships with Windows) you can repair the boot configuration data.

You can access Bootrec.exe with your Windows Vista installation disk:

If you don’t have the installation disk, use Easy Recovery Essentials to rebuild the BCD.

  • Insert the disk and boot from it (press any key, when prompted, to boot from it)
  • Choose Repair your computer
  • Select your operating system from the list and click Next
  • Select Command Prompt and enter this command: bootrec /rebuildbcd

0x00000024 (NTFS FILE SYSTEM)

The cause for the Blue Screen of Death (BSoD) error 0x00000024 or NTFS_FILE_SYSTEM can be disk data corruption.

The 0x00000024 error

Try running the chkdsk utility tool to fix this error. Your hard disk might be damaged, so consider replacing it.

If the chkdsk utility software doesn’t work, remove any new hardware you added and uninstall any new software or device drivers you installed.

To uninstall software or drivers, boot Windows Vista into Safe Mode.

How to run the chkdsk utility:

  • Insert the Windows Vista installation DVD
  • Press any key to boot from the installation DVD
  • Choose your operating system, then click Next
  • Choose Command Prompt, enter the following command and then hit Enter : chkdsk /f /r

More information about this error is available in the “Fix 0x00000024” guide .



On Windows Vista systems, to fix the Blue Screen of Death (BSoD) error with the code 0x0000007E or name SYSTEM_THREAD_EXCEPTION_NOT_HANDLED, try any of the following tips:

  • Enough hard disk space available
  • BIOS updated to the latest available version and compatible with your system
  • Your device drivers are compatible with Windows Vista and your system



To fix the 0x0000008E or KERNEL_MODE_EXCEPTION_NOT_HANDLED blue screen error, in Windows Vista, following these tips:

  • Your BIOS up to date. Your computer’s manufacturer website should have the information you need on how to update the BIOS

Before you update BIOS or if BIOS isn’t causing the 0x0000008E error, make sure the cause for this error isn’t a newly installed device driver or software.

If so, boot your system into Safe Mode and uninstall anything you recently installed, including any drivers.


The 0x00000050 error

To fix the 0x00000050 or PAGE_FAULT_IN_NONPAGED_AREA blue screen error in Windows Vista, try these tips:

  • Check if the hard disk cables are connected properly
  • Boot Windows Vista into Last Known Good Configuration
  • Remove new installed drivers or software

To boot Windows Vista into the Last Known Good Configuration mode:

  • Choose “Last Known Good Configuration (Advanced)” from the boot options menu and press Enter



To fix the 0x000000D1 or DRIVER_IRQL_NOT_LESS_THAN_OR_EQUAL_TO blue screen error in Windows Vista, boot your system into Safe Mode and remove any new installed device driver.

This error is usually caused by an incompatible driver, uninstalling it should fix the issue.

To boot Windows Vista into Safe Mode, follow these steps:

  • Press F8 repeatedly before the Windows Vista logo appears
  • Choose the Safe Mode option from the boot options menu and press Enter



To fix the 0x000000EA or THREAD_STUCK_IN_DEVICE_DRIVER blue screen error in Windows Vista, make sure you have the latest video adapter driver installed on your system.

0x000000EA is usually caused by a faulty video driver. Removing it or updating it to the latest available version should fix the issue.

If this doesn’t work, consider updating BIOS to the latest version or changing the video card entirely.

More Information

Linked entries.

  • System Recovery Options in Windows Vista
  • Boot into Last Known Good Configuration

Support Links

  • The NeoSmart Support Forums , member-to-member technical support and troubleshooting.
  • Get a discounted price on replacement setup and installation discs: Windows Vista .

Applicable Systems

This Windows-related knowledgebase article applies to the following operating systems:

  • Windows Vista (all editions)

Propose an edit

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Just one Terminal command brings nostalgic Windows 7 and Vista aesthetics to your Windows 11 PC

If you miss Windows Vista or 7, here's how you can bring the vibes back to Windows 11 or 10.

What you need to know

  • DISCLAIMER : Running third-party scripts may potentially harm or render your device unusable. Proceed with caution. 
  • A script called Revert8Plus can transform Windows 11 or 10 with visual aesthetics from Windows 7 or Vista without functional differences.
  • Tamper protection in Virus and Threat Protection Settings in Windows must be turned off for the script to work.

According to StatCounter's January report , Windows 10 still dominates the market share with 66.47%, followed by Microsoft's two-year-old OS, Windows 11 , which holds a 27.83% market share. This is a significant improvement from December's 26.54%, which could indicate that users are transitioning to Windows 11 ahead of Windows 10's end-of-support, which is slated for October 2025 .

Users have outrightly highlighted the design flaws consistent with Microsoft's latest OS, especially in the Start menu, coupled with strict minimum requirements to run the OS, as some of the main reasons for their hesitance to upgrade to Windows 11 . Windows 10's Live Tiles, a popular and favorite feature among most users, is also seemingly missing in action in Windows 11. 

As a result, there's an emergence of third-party apps designed by developers to solve some of these issues, including Stardock's Start11 or the Files app. And now, there's a new way to transform your Windows 11 or 10 into older and unsupported Windows operating systems, including Windows 7 or Vista.

Users can achieve this via a third-party script dubbed Revert8Plus, as spotted by BetaNews . The installation process is pretty straightforward; you only need to launch the Run box and enter the script. The transformation process takes some time, depending on the features you'd like to include while overhauling your OS. 

RELATED: Remembering Windows Longhorn

It's critical to note that you must manually turn off tamper protection in Virus and Threat Protection Settings if you're running Windows 11 on your device. However, the third-party script will do this automatically if you're using Windows 10, Windows 8.1, or Windows 8.

A dated theme for Windows 11

When you opt for the Windows 7 aesthetic during the transformation process, your OS will spot Windows 7's taskbar, Start menu, login dialog, dated boot screen, and more. The transformation process also ships with neat features and tools like the beloved Windows Media Center.

The same also applies to Windows Vista. Revert8Plus only changes the look and feel, not other functional elements of the OS (think of it like a traditional theme).

WARNING: When installing this third-party script, you potentially run the risk of rendering your device unusable. As such, we strongly recommend that you exercise caution.

You may also encounter some issues with Revert8Plus since it's not fully compatible with all Windows versions, as highlighted in the list below:

  • Windows 8 -- Fully Supported -- 100%
  • Windows 8.1 -- Fully Supported -- 100%
  • Windows 10 1809 -- Fully Supported -- 100%
  • Windows 10 21H2 -- Fully Supported -- 97%
  • Windows 10 22H2 -- Fully Supported -- 97%
  • Windows 11 21H2 -- Supported -- 80%
  • Windows 11 22H2 -- Supported -- 80%
  • Windows 11 23H2 -- Supported -- 80%

Finally, when running the script, you can revert to your operating system setup by uninstalling the theme-related programs installed on your device.

Would you use it? Are your nostalgic feelings for Vista strong enough to go back in time? It's straightforward enough if you do, so let us know in the comments or share some screenshots of your results!

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Kevin Okemwa

Kevin Okemwa is a seasoned tech journalist based in Nairobi, Kenya with lots of experience covering the latest trends and developments in the industry. With a passion for innovation and a keen eye for detail, he has written for leading publications such as OnMSFT, MakeUseOf, and Windows Report, providing insightful analysis and breaking news on everything revolving around the Microsoft ecosystem. While AFK and not busy following the ever-emerging trends in tech, you can find him exploring the world or listening to music.

  • GraniteStateColin "Windows 10's Live Tiles, a popular and favorite feature among most users, is also seemingly missing in action in Windows 11." I loved Live Tiles and the highly configurable Start Menu of Windows 10 and miss them dearly, but I don't think that's true for "most users." I believe MS had clear and compelling data that most users in fact did not use them at all, never configuring their Start menu. This is part of why they dropped that for Windows 11. At least now Windows 11 has folders in Start. With their addition, while still an extra click to access an app compared to the grouping possible in Windows 10, that's good enough that 11's other features beat out 10 for me. The only real pain point I have is the lack of Jump Lists with pinned apps in Start (they work from the Task Bar and All Apps lists, but I also need them for all the other apps that don't make the Taskbar, but are worthy of pinning to Start). That is a daily source of wasted time frustration for me. Reply
  • bradavon Windows 10's Live Tiles, a popular and favorite feature among most users, is also seemingly missing in action in Windows 11. They weren't Popular amongst most users. what've you been smoking? 😆 Live Tiles had a loyal fan base yes but to say "most users" even know what they are is ridiculous. I thought the idea was great, the execution was terrible. Windows 10 Start Menu out-of-the-box was a total utter mess. People hated Angry Birds Live Tiles flying in their face. They also date back to Windows Phone 7 in 2010 and were initially hamfisted into Windows 8. Windows Notifications is the closest replacement, appreciate not quite the same. Reply
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windows vista problem solving

Free Easy-to-Follow Windows Tutorials

Windows Vista’s biggest problem

windows vista problem solving

Driver problems

Since Windows Vista’s launch, the drivers have been a big issue. Lots of hardware components (old and new) had no drivers for Windows Vista or, even if they had, their quality was very poor. One of the most prominent examples is Nvidia . When the GeForce 8800 graphic cards were launched, they were labeled as “Designed for Windows Vista”. It is only natural that many people asumed the graphic cards would work well with this operating system. Unfortunately that was not the case, as the Nvidia drivers had lots of issues. There were numerous posts on Nvidia’s official forums commeting the bad state of the drivers. Some users even built internet pages such as to gather evidence for a class action suit. Since then, Nvidia worked hard on the Windows Vista drivers and released many new and improved versions. However, their latest driver – Forceware version 158.24 – still has plenty of issues. For example, popular games such as World of Warcraft have low frame rates while others crash during play or have corrupted textures.

Nvidia is not the only company that has these issues. Other big hardware manufacturers such as Creative , renown for their sound cards and sound systems, have similar problems. When Windows Vista was launched, their drivers were mostly in beta stages. Even though they released so called “final versions”, their drivers had plenty of issues. Lots of users complained on the official forums and, after a while, Creative announced the ALchemy Project – a project that aims to offer complete DirectSound3D support for Sound Blaster X-Fi products in Windows Vista. Unfortunately, old sound cards such as the Audigy 2 series are not yet supported. Due to lots of users’ request, they started the development of ALchemy for Audigy sound cards. However, according to Creative, this products will be offered as a “low-cost” upgrade.

Having bad drivers is always better than having no drivers. Even today there are companies that do not offer Windows Vista compatible drivers for their hardware. For example, Mustek – a company famous for their scanning solutions, has still no drivers ready, not even in beta stages. Since the launch of Windows Vista and until today their driver download page has remained unchanged. The only thing they bothered to do was to state that “Currently we don’t provide drivers or updates for Windows Vista” . They have no forums and when we sent an e-mail asking for some feedback regarding Windows Vista drivers we received no answer.

Unfortunately Mustek is not the only example. There are other companies doing the same thing and lots of customers suffer.

Application compatibility

Drivers are not the only problem. Lots of applications do not work either on the new Microsoft operating system. That’s because many software developers created applications that function only if the user has full administrative privileges. With the introduction of UAC (User Access Control) and other system changes, lots of old applications have problems. The most prominent example of an application that was incompatible with Windows Vista is iTunes . Whenever the Windows Vista “Safely Remove Hardware” feature was used, it corrupted the user’s iPods, requiring a full restore. Also, iTunes text and graphics had display issues with Windows Vista. However, upgrading to iTunes v7.2 or higher solves these issues.

Lots of other applications had or still have problems. Most of these problems are encountered with applications that install legacy drivers in order to function. These applications can be CD/DVD burning utilities, VPN applications, virtualization solutions or even security suites. Other applications just refuse to install even though they could work on Windows Vista. This problem is due to the poor design of their installer. For example, some applications ask for the installation of Microsoft.NET Framework version 1.1 or 2.0. They won’t install even though Windows Vista has a newer version of .NET Framework.

Just like with any other new operating system, problems are inherent. What matters most is that both hardware manufacturers and software developers act in a proactive way and offer the required support to their customers in a timely manner. Unfortunately, Windows Vista’s launch revealed many problems even though Microsoft released it to computer hardware and software manufacturers, business customers, and retail channels, months before it was released worldwide to the general public.

Hopefully, both computer hardware and software manufacturers will fix their issues as soon as possible. And, maybe, they will learn from their mistakes so history won’t repeat itself with every new release of a major operating system.

Related articles: Will Windows 7 Have The Same Problems As Windows Vista? How to run older applications in Windows Vista Solve your computing problems with Problem Reports and Solutions

33 thoughts on “Windows Vista’s biggest problem”

Hardware Support Nightmare I currently recommend Vista to my friends ONLY if they will be purchasing new hardware to go along with the operating system. I have plenty of hardware that is currently not compatible with the operating system. To date: – My 2-year-old Tablet PC from Acer does not have a powerful enough video card to run Vista’s AERO user interface, althouth the computer rocks in every other spec. – My HP Scanjet 6300c with auto-doc feeder has been abandoned by HP. No Vista support will be available for my scanner. Go search for a Vista driver on the HP website and you’ll see what I mean about “abandoned”. – My Belkin Pre-N wireless PC Card adapters will not be supported in Vista. – My Netgear Prosafe VPN firewall has a VPN client that is currently not supported by Vista. Netgear refuses to give an estimate on the availability (beta or otherwise) of an updated client. – My HP printer does not have native drivers for Vista. They tell me that it is compatible with a DeskJet 990c, which means that the truly awesome photo capabilities of this printer are lost until a driver is released. – My wife’s HP photo printer has a driver, but prints garbage. The quality of the printout from the computer is worthless. She now has to copy the image file to a flash drive, transfer that to the printer, and then print directly from the printer interface. Worthless.

In my opinion, the hardware vendors are viewing Vista as an opportunity to increase sales. They are basically forcing me to discard MANY pieces of perfectly functioning equipment and purchase new equipment replacements. I find this tactic unscrupulous and unacceptable. But as a consumer what can I do?

New hardware purchased along New hardware purchased along with Windows Vista will not solve problems with the new operating system.

I purchased a new Acer 5920 about a month ago (it’s 12/26/07 at the time of this writing) with Vista Home Premium pre-loaded on it and after about 2 weeks of using it, the time it took to transfer from my old laptop to the new one, the Vista operating system has introduced more problems than it’s worth!!! Acer didn’t even bother to provide CDs so the operating system could be be re-intalled, as if any idiot would really want to. But, it would at least be the best option without purchasing a full blown version of Windows XP serperately.

Anyone who has ever purchased a new computer to replace an old one, more than once, can understand the inherent problems with doing so without the added problems of dealing with a beta version of an operating system represented as a proven version. Windows Vista is obviously still a beta version. Unproven. Untested. Released, without being responsible for, and without a warning…USE AT YOUR OWN RISK!!!!

Acer, as well other computer manufacturers (and/or assembly companies) are as guilty, if not more so, in providing their product with such beta software. It’s given to them free of charge from Microsoft, without support, to perpetuate the software as a marketing scheme. Take note the word “scheme”. Check your dictionary, as a consumer the word “scheme” is NOT to your benefit.

Will Acer OR Microsoft address these issues to their consumers satisfactions………….they never have!

SO….buyer beware!!! Do not pay money for any computer with Vista installed and no means to downgrade the operating system to a time tested proven version or a CD, or other reliable storage source not requiring an internet connection, to re-install the operation system supplied with the hardware.

“Hopefully, both computer “Hopefully, both computer hardware and software manufacturers will fix their issues as soon as possible. And, maybe, they will learn from their mistakes so history won’t repeat itself with every new release of a major operating system.”

This is all very well to say in the windows world – but look, for example, at Ubuntu. Ubuntu generall has a few issues when it is first released but within several weeks most major issues have been patched. Mac OS X hit the mainstream with very few issues – admittedly issues are still being found but on a far fewer scale than the 30 or so security updates that hit my Windows Update last week.

I’m not a Mac or Linux “fanboy” but I can see why so many are, and why the feeling with Microsoft for the majority of “alpha geeks” is boredom.

— In my opinion, the — In my opinion, the hardware vendors are viewing Vista as an opportunity to increase sales. They are basically forcing me to discard MANY pieces of perfectly functioning equipment and purchase new equipment replacements. I find this tactic unscrupulous and unacceptable. But as a consumer what can I do? — Of course they do. A lot of hardware companies were looking for increased sales from the Vista release. But most people don’t fall for it and stay with XP as long as its supported.

So what can you do? Try out Linux (e.g. ). It’s free and you can get a Live-CD that boots and runs from CD/DVD, so you can have a first look without installing anything permanently. I have a 10 year old scsi scanner (Microtek ScanMaker 330) here, as well as a 10 year old isa soundcard (althoug I rarely use it anymore), that are still supported by the latest Linux-Distros. XP refused to work with these two. There are no forced upgrades in Linux-land.

Ubuntu – same problem You recommend people to try Ubuntu. I very much like Linux distributions but with it you have similar problems.

If you go to the Creative website you will notice that they do not offer any drivers for Linux. Both older sound cards such as Audigy 2 ZS and new ones such as X-Fi Fatal1ty have absolutely no driver support for Linux.

The same story regarding Mustek – no drivers for Linux.

What should the consumers do? Start writing their own drivers? 🙂

I think my mother will choose not to migrate to Linux nor Windows Vista.

Where The Drivers Are For Linux, looking at the hardware manufacturer’s site for drivers is looking in the wrong place. Most hardware manufacturers do not create the driver’s for Linux — people in the Linux community volunteer their time to do so, despite the fact that the hardware vendors frequently refuse to tell the people who already BOUGHT the hardware how to actually program for it.

The major reasons hardware manufacturer’s to hide how to actually access their hardware are simple: money and control. The hardware manufacturers want to maintain control over their hardware “interfaces”, so they can make oodles of cash “licensing” these “technologies” to third parties. Microsoft encourages this by building in special features that make certain hardware work better than others, and secrecy deals so the hardware maker can be assured MS won’t tell anyone how things really work.

Once “trusted computing” starts really being swindled into every desktop, you will see this become a much more pronounced problem as the trusted computing gang begin dictating exactly who can even get in the game… pay up for the “licensing” and “testing” and “certification” and whatever else it takes to be “trusted”, or your hardware won’t work. Drivers won’t run. You’re hardware or software company won’t exist.

All of this nonsense doesn’t help the end user/consumer one bit, it it does prevent rival manufacturer’s from building compatible competing products, which would help everyone else a LOT.

The Linux community generally doesn’t bother with such under-handed nonsense. Someone spends the hours, days, weeks, or more, of their own time experimenting, hacking, or “reverse-engineering” how a piece of crippled hardware or software works, and writes an open source driver from scratch for it. Since it’s open source, others can add their contributions.

Before long, you have projects like OSS or ALSA where hundreds or thousands of like-minded hackers have collaborated to discover and build a general purpose sound system that can talk to hundreds of sound cards, yet makes it easy for sound programmers to write new programs for.

You don’t go to Creative for Linux drivers for Creative cards. Creative won’t write the driver because its not in their best interest, yet. You go to the Linux community around your version of Linux. In most cases, for sound, you end up at ALSA, which probably already came with your version of Linux. On RedHat Linux and many other variants, the sound card is detected and configured during install of the base OS itself, and you never have to install “the driver” yourself in the first place. The same goes for video, printers, scanners, drives, etc. You go to the Linux community for Linux support.

And, as the numbers of free/libre’ users increase, the market impact is being felt too: hardware vendors who are open with their users about how to hack on the hardware find their hardware being supported, and more importantly: purchased. More and more people are basing their hardware buying decisions on whether or not that hardware works with Linux. If not, there is probably an alternative that does, and still works with Windows, which they buy instead. Video companies like Nvidia and ATI have already learned that lesson and produce drivers for Linux, or give out the information that the Linux community needs to write their own driver.

Plus Linux guys spread the word on their grapevines: “hey, I called these guys about hardware X, and they are Linux friendly. Hardware Y hung up on me.” That word of mouth ends up on webpages and is having global impact.

And yes, ultimately, since the hardware manufacturer’s don’t tell people HOW to actually access and use the hardware they already bought, the Linux community did exactly what you said: the [hardware] consumers wrote their own drivers.

And, as a personal note, if my 4-year old twins can use Linux, then I think your mom will be okay with it. Check out the One Laptop Per Child project to see how its possible.

Ubuntu: incorrect My Creative Audigy 2 ZS works perfectly under Ubuntu. But the reason is indeed that not the hardware manufacturers write those drivers, but the community does, like someone else wrote before me.

nVidia writes drivers for Linux, Creative doesn’t. But that doesn’t mean that your soundcard doesn’t work under Linux.

Seems like a lot of hardware Seems like a lot of hardware and software company got too comfortable with not having to write drivers or software for a new operating system in the past 7 years. Lots of companies just completely abandoned drivers for their older hardware and software and started working on their new stuff.

I didn’t have really any issues with drivers for the hardware that I have. The only minor problem I had is that ATI doesn’t make Vista drivers for anything older than the 9550. I had SLI set up but wanted to use 2 monitors so I thought I could use my old ATI 9200SE for that, but wasn’t able to get proper drivers from ATI.

Drivers and Mustek. Mustek have lost a customer in me forever! I wonder how many more there are like me?

I emailed them several times about scanner drivers and had no reply whatsoever, not even an automated one! I gave one scanner away and have another cluttering my room. I bought and Canon and although I had to download the Vista drivers I am delighted with it.

My main issue is the My main issue is the constant wireless drop offs I experience in online gaming. Every few minutes there is a lag spike which affects me, effectively making me a sitting duck. It is due to the automatic polling for wireless networks that Vista performs (its equivalent of the wireless zero configuration in XP). I have downloaded a tool called Vista Anti Lag as well as batch scripts that alter the netsh settings for AutoConfig on the WLan but these have not been much help unfortunately. If I had not bought a new computer I would never have gone with Vista.

Window’s vista is NOT user friendly At first, Windows Vista seemed like the right choice for me, (it seemed so user friendly) but now, there are several programs that just don’t seem to work with vista. I bought a Creative WebCam (ironically with the word “Vista” is in it’s title), but everytime I try capturing any video, the program that came with it shuts down. I’m not a computer expert, but I know enough that it’s not a “user error”. Also, I built my computer so that I could edit video, and everything was going well with Sony’s Vegas video editing software, until I tried saving a video to my hard drive, and then the program crashed, and continues to crash every time I try it. I know I’m probably being a computer illiterate moron, but if anyone has any advice, please let me know.

Download the latest versions Try to find and download the latest version of drivers and software. Hopefully they will be more Vista compatible.

vista Hi, I wished i had found this site before purchasing a vista basic upgrade for my toshiba laptop. problems one after another ,now back on my trusty xp.Should microsoft offer new programs before they are fully compatibale. My vista upgrade is in the bin

Windows Vista All of your comments were right. Most of applications softwares were not compatible with windows vista also with hardwares. These certain problems will apprehend by software and hardware manufacturers with compatibility of windows vista. We have patience to wait, to me windows vista is a user friendly and great because of highly organize O.S. in future. Thanks to Microsoft for job well done…

So i guess, Its safe to say that the majority of the complaints here are from people who upgraded to Vista from XP? Did any one with a new computer with the software built in have alot of problems?

Vista issues with new computer We just purchased a new Acer Aspire installed ready with Windows Vista. First off, I can’t stand Vista…it feels like a dumb downed version of XP. I found it difficult to locate display controls, etc. anything above the very basics. Once I learned my way around, within the first two days of installing the Nvidia GeForce 8800 card and games that ran fine on XP issues developed.

Not one of my games (ER, Sims 2, Missing, etc.) will run with the video card/Vista. I downloaded the latest Vista driver for the video card and this didn’t help at all. The Nvidia web site admits that the driver does not resolve all the issues customers have experienced and they are running a forum requesting customers to explain the Vista problems. I am also having problems watching videos on the internet, etc.

I’m very frustrated…does anyone have a solution?

i did. i brought a brand new HP computer, with all the stuff built in for vista, and it works like a charm. had it for almost a month now with no errors, nothing not running right, and all my games running in tip top performance! or maybe i just got lucky? i dunno. im liking vista tho. and id say buy a new computer that comes with it. AND have at leased 2gb of DDR2 ram, vista is a small hog, but not much. runs WoW and Battlefield 2142 with no prob and all settings on high.

Vista Black out! Basically after using the internet explorer for a few hours or just watching a video on youtube i get a black screen straight away, so i have to avoid using ie for too long or watching videos.

i dont know what to do, whether to reboot the system or send the laptop back?

and it kind of freezes so i could only take a pic on my phone of what it looks like:

any help would be great

Message I see there is a message appearing in the middle of the screen. Can you please tell me what is saying?

compatibility with programs that require windows xp or older I have just recently purchased a computer with Windows Vista. The problem is that I am attending college now and have an instructional disc that I cannot use do to it needing and older version of Windows. I have contacted Hewlett Packard no luck there. I contacted the MCGRAW HILL site which makes the instructional cd and have never heard back from them on the problem. SO far no luck from anyone. Is there anyone that knows what I can do to fix this problem? Someone said something about a code.exe file. I would greatly appreciate any help with this problem.

Compatibility mode Try to run the programs you are having problems with in the so called “compatibility mode”. This guide should help.

HP Photosmart C3180 printer I am unable to install the above printer on to my HP Pavilion dv6000 (only a few weeks old), no matter what I have tried. I get the same error: To install driver software an interactive window station is required!! Can anyone explain this to me. A call to the seller, and HP support, has not solved the problem. In fact it would seem that HP support do not know what they are talking about.

Hp 6300 scanner I too have been stuck without a vista driver for my Hp 6300 scanner. Hp does not have a driver and suggest to go an purchase another Hp scanner with vista driver.

Hp has lost a customer. I will purchase another scanner, but it won’t be an Hp. In addition, neither will I purchase any Hp equipment. I am through with them.

Hello ! Im from Sweden and I Hello !

Im from Sweden and I have an brandnew HP Laptop with Windows Vista , and I have soo much problems with Vista that I decided to go back to Win XP , im a advanced user since 15 years and this is the worst operativ system I know.

MVH Peter Bengtsson

windows vista keeps saying this copy of windows is not genuine.. i have a laptop and i have had problems with it since the first month i had it….everytime i activate it a few weeks later it doesnt work and says that this copy of windows is not genuine and i try to access with reduced funtioanlity but it wont bring up the internet or the number so that i can call hewlett packard and reactiviate it…please help me if you can ….thanks so much..

windows vista sucks and so google toolbar,they always give us all information for the usa when we need canada info. i had so many problems with windows vista i hate should provide us with a cd to fix all the errors on our computer. they suck and so does microsoft and so does bill gates for inventing a software and didnt know how to solve the problems,yet there are no solutions for fixing we suffer.i never had a problem untill i got windows vista. as far as im concerned windows xp was better.

Windows vista deleting duplicate files and removing shortcuts I recently bought a laptop and not being a computer whizz have quickly came across a couple of problems….Firsly, I find the mouse on the laptop tricky to use and whilst trying to get to grips with it have managed to copy files into different locations !! I dragged my favorites folder and into music in error !!! and now have favorites on desktop and in music??????when i delete the one in music it deletes the original from desktop?????? how do i delete the copy i have created leaving the original??????

Also i have deleted various pictures downloaded from my camera…but have noticed various shortcuts which have been left behind?????when io try to delete these shortcuts it says error picture not at this location please find location and try again . The picture is deleted and therefore doesnt have a location…so how do i delete the shortcuts?????? I have tried F5 etc……..can someone help me!!!!!!!!!!!!1

Compatibility with vista I read quickly through the commects and may have a solution. If it is already posted forgive me. Right click on the application and left click on properties, Click on compatibility and run as what ever operating system your software likes

ITS WORTH IT First of, vista in my opinion, in spite of its flaws, is the most powerful operating system around. It’s a giant step up from XP and a million times better than apple’s “leopard”. I speak from experience because I use Vista Business for my job and Vista premium for my personal laptop, and have found them both to be very powerful and AMAZINGLY secure. Also for all you “haters”, you should’ve known that when you buy the latest and greatest software, it’s probably a good idea to do the same with the hardware, because other wise, it’s like putting a Lamborghini engine in a beat down pinto. Granted it is irritating when your drivers take a crap on you, but the first generation of ANYTHING has problems, Microsoft is working hard to get these problems solved, and my estimation is that in a year or so, this new software, should be problem free (or close) P.S. I don’t work for Microsoft

Problems with sofware and drivers I found installing drivers difficult and I am almost at the point of returning to XP.

I have a mini DV Sony camera, which I bought less than 2 years ago. There are no Vista drivers for it. I still have not tried an iLink Firewire cable to see if it will work with my new tower computer (I haven’t got round to buying a cable yet) but I think Microsoft has really shot itself in the foot with Vista.

Many Codecs do not come pre-installed with Vista and so I had to hunt around to get my machine to be able to read all the various MPEG formats.

When I try to burn more than 1 CD or DVD in one session, the computer crashes for no apparent reason.

Since sofware is more expensive than the computer itself, I don’t think most people want to replace the whole thing in one go.

Even anti viral software is temperamental. Norton security which comes with it, is useless. AVG Internet Security 7.5 works OK with it but I have still had a lot of viruses even with that and Spybot plus Spyware Doctor running. I am convinced the reason for these Viruses and Trojans are security bugs in Vista…..

My computer is an hp My computer is an hp pavillion slim line pc, s3123w, with windows vista home edition, and everytime I hook it up to my monitor, it turns the screen a blueish-purple color. If anyone could help me with this problem it would be great. Thanks in advanced.

Cant download ANYTHING! Saved my money, got brand new ACER computer with Windows Vista Home Edition. I was so excited! And now? I have had it a week now and I HATE IT! I have had nothing but problems with it. I’ve tried running programs as Administrator and I’ve tried disabling programs. Nothing works. I get something downloaded off the internet and when it comes to activating it I keep getting the message : Download of file has been canceled or interrupted. File not completely downloaded. or it says that : Windows has closed { client } program and is searching for solution to problem. Then says that it couldnt find a solution at this time! I cant run any Adaware, I’ve had problems with my anti-virus, cant run and IM programs and it even has started doing this with programs that I installed on disc. My computer also did not come with back up discs. Also to mention that I am periodically loosing my internet connection. It says connection lost and dosnt offer reason why or even trouble shooting. This has really screwed up downloads, like I wasnt already having enough problems! Its like Vista is out to get me! Just when I think something is going to work its like Vista figures out what I’m doing and re-routs me again! I miss my Windows XP! Is there any way to fix or get around all this garbage?



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Error message says Problem with PnP devices

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Sandeep Ghatuary

Hi Charles Hobbs,

·          What happens when you try to access the PnP device?

I would suggest you to try the steps below and check if it helps.

Step 1: Follow the provided article.

Step 2: If the above step does not help us to diagnose the issue, uninstall the drivers for USB [Universal Serial bus] host controller and restart the computer. Let Windows install the generic drivers and then see if it helps you to fix the issue.

a)     Open Device Manager by clicking the Start button, then Device Manager in the search box.‌

b)     If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

c)      Look for the device under USB [Universal Serial bus] host controller, right click on it and select Uninstall.

d)     Reboot the computer.

e)     On reboot, Windows should re-install the drivers automatically.

Step 3: Run the “fixit” from the provided article.

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