Trying to bring a computer back to life

By | April 23, 2011
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Lisa is trying to bring her niece’s computer back to life
I’m a lifetime subscriber and love to read all of your tips an appreciate that you guys are so helpful to those of us who struggle with computers sometimes. I need your help. I’m trying to help my niece get her computer back to at least access to picture files we want to save before we dump her hard drive, but she has left the computer get so slow and I believe “infected” that I can only get to log in and when I try to access her files to drag them to a USB drive, it freezes up and I can’t get past it.

Would registry mechanic or reimage be my choice to get first, and then how would I install it if we can’t really get to it on the internet without waiting an eternity. She has broadband and was using AVG free edition, and was updating but I think it wasn’t quite enough for all the party poker and Facebook she was doing. Any advice you can offer would be appreciated. God bless for your kindness to others.

Our answer
Hi, Lisa. Thanks very much for your nice comments. The first thing you should try before “dumping” the hard drive is booting into Safe Mode with Networking. You can do this by shutting down the computer and restarting it and tapping the F8 key while the computer is restarting. Select “Safe Mode with Networking”. Don’t worry, the screen will look rather strange, and all the text will seem very large. This because in Safe Mode, Windows only loads the drivers necessary to run Windows and to provide you with networking (Internet access). There will be very few background programs and services running; this should enable you to move those files from the hard drive to the USB drive.

While you’re in Safe Mode, you might want to try running an online virus and spyware scanner like HouseCall – http://housecall.trendmicro.com/ and see what it finds. You never know, it just might help.

Before you dump (and we assume you mean format – not replace – the hard drive) you should certainly give Reimage a try. It has worked for hundreds of our subscribers, and it may work for you. If it doesn’t work for you – because the computer (or hard drive) is so far gone, you can get your money back right away. Reimage works by first checking he system and the hard drive for missing or corrupted system files, then scans the PC for malware, spyware and adware. After Reimage determines what Windows files need to be replaced, it replaces them with pristine copies of genuine Microsoft Windows files. Then it removes any infections. After it’s completed its scan and done its work, it will ask you to reboot. The entire process will take from 45 to 90 minutes on average, so you won’t have to wait long to find out if Reimage can work its magic on your niece’s PC.

Registry Mechanic is a registry optimizer and cleaner; it is not a PC repair tool. Registry Mechanic can keep healthy PC healthy, it can clean and optimize the Windows registry, and it can fix problems with the registry. We now recommend Registry Commander instead of Registry Mechanic for several reasons. In any case, a registry cleaner/optimizer is not meant to be a Windows repair tool like Reimage.

After trying both the Safe Mode – to save those files your niece wants to save – and Reimage, you’ll know for sure if anything can be done to fix that computer. You will always have the option to “dump” the hard drive and reinstall Windows, if that is the only way to fix the computer. Formatting a hard drive and reinstalling Windows should always be a last resort.

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