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Multiple Computer Problems - Taskbar, Print Spooler and iTunes

High Desert Ranger

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My wife's computer is a Dell Dimension 4100. 256mb of Ram and a 40gb Primary HD and a 500gb Storage HD.

Not sure when the problem first started to occur. Could have been when I installed SP3 for XP.

My wife had decided to clean up unused programs off the computer and had deleted Quicktime. (A required components for iTunes). Then iTunes doesn't work and still doesn't. So I downloaded Quicktime from Apple only to find out that it requires XP SP3 so I downloaded that and installed it. Then installed quicktime. Then I tried iTunes and it didn't work.

Somewhere in there I lost the taskbar (No it is not hidden), the taskbar has a mind of it's own and 10% of the time it will reappear on restart.

Then I find that the Print Spooler wither doesn't automatically load or crashes during load. If you go to Services and manually start it, it works just fine till the next restart.

When trying to load iTunes I get "The folder 'iTunes' cannot be found or created, and is required. The default location for this folder is inside the 'My Music' folder."

I really want to get the Taskbar working 100% because it's freaking annoying.
All else is secondary.
 


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Bryan22

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sounds like you've got a whole lot of troubles going on. the easiest way to fix it all would be to back up what you don't want lost and do a complete reformatt. A lot of people are taken back at the thought, but it's really not that hard and only takes an hour or 2 after you've got all your files backed up.



you live in the "high desert" like lancaster palmdale area?
 

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I'm almost positive your issues started with SP3 (well, aside from deleting the programs lol).

From everything I've heard over & over again, you should install a Service Pack only after a fresh install of Windows. As I understand it, there's just too much clutter in the registry and other areas for stuff to not go wrong if you've been using it for a while and have a lot of programs installed (a Service Pack is a HUGE deal, almost everything within Windows is altered by it).

Agreed, back up any files you need on that primary drive, then format & reinstall Windows, install the Service pack upgrade(s), then reinstall all your programs. At that point it should work smoothly.
(also upping your RAM to 1gig or so will help a lot as well. 256meg is really choking the system)
 

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Be careful installing windows if you dont know what you are doing. I just did this same this last week and I had a big headach getting everything working right after. Apparently reinstalling xp got rid of my audio and video drivers and messed me all up. I had weird resolution and everything was way out of proportion and I could not reset it to something better since I didnt have the driver. I also had no sound at all since I lost that driver too. I had to go to dell.com and redownload the drivers and install them to get it working right. It was a BIG headach to figure it out. Almost had me pulling out my hair when my internal modem for dial up quit working right. I had to take it off and take it out and put it back in just like when I bought it.
 

Mark_88

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You may be able to salvage the OS at this point by doing some registry hacking and uninstall the SP3 if you archived it...but it would be just as easy to reinstall XP...

If you want to go the registry route it's not that difficult, but it can destableize XP if done incorrectly...and since you are pretty close to that already...

Only temp fix I could suggest is to go to the Task Manager, enter the processes section, highlight explorer.exe and click on end task...that shuts down the desktop...then you can click on Applications, select New Task and type in explorer.exe to restart the desktop...but that's not going to correct your start menu disappearing act...
 

Chris.S.

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^^
You guys seem to have missed the fact that the problems started BEFORE he installed SP3.


Have tried using a restore point? I'd start by trying that. If you don't know how long these problems have been developing use the oldest restore point your system has.

Have tried uninstalling/reinstalling Itunes? That would likely fix that app, but doesn't deal with the other issues.

Beyond that I'd agree that you should back up whatever you need to and reformat the HD. Sounds like it's an older machine so it should probably be done anyways just as matter of maintenance...

If you do decide to reformat, just make sure you have ALL the necessary discs to put it all back together (drivers etc). Dell is usually pretty good about sending them out when you bought comp.

Dell customer support is usually pretty helpful if you just play dumb and act like you didn't know the warranty period was over.
 

Bryan22

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restore points are good for some things, but trying to use one to "uninstall" sp3 is gonna leave him with tons of bugs nad a big pain in the ass. i stick with my original post. :)
 

superdave1984

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almostclueless

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Nothing runs better than a fresh OS install.....but I'd probably run spybot and avg first if I had a machine that was acting up.
 

Bryan22

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i like to reformatt about once a year just to keep all the crap that builds up on a computer over time from causing confusing problems. Kinda like changing the oil in my truck instead of draining a little bit and adding a quart.
 

budro

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Print Spooler

If you have a USB HP printer or scanner. Remove the software from the control panel then delete the printer from the printer control panel. Restart and reinstall it. Ran into this problem in our offices many a time.
 

High Desert Ranger

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sounds like you've got a whole lot of troubles going on. the easiest way to fix it all would be to back up what you don't want lost and do a complete reformatt. A lot of people are taken back at the thought, but it's really not that hard and only takes an hour or 2 after you've got all your files backed up.



you live in the "high desert" like lancaster palmdale area?
Don't really want to do a re-format because of installed software that we no longer have original CD's to.

Live in the Victorville area
 

Bryan22

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you can try doing just a 'repair' instead of reformatt. go about it pretty much the same as you would a reformatt. just follow the instructions... i used to know a website with a sort of walkthrough but i can't find it now. i don't remember now it's been so long, but it's not very hard. might fix some of the problems. and if you don't allready have a virus scanner and a spybot finder, you should invest. http://www.safer-networking.org/en/spybotsd/index.html
 

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ok, here is what I would do...

First of all, see if you can go back to a restore point before SP3. This will get you back to the original problems with iTunes and quicktime. If you cant do this, then go to the next step anyways.

The advice above on unhooking and uninstalling the usb printer is excellent. do this. I have had a few aggravating problems caused by usb devices, especially printers...
uninstall iTunes and Quicktime. make sure you get thier update program as well.
Download ccleaner from http://www.filehippo.com/download_ccleaner/
run it and clean all of the temp files and clear all of the caches of your internet and media players.
now do a scan for invalid registry entries. this will probably take a while. after you fix the registry errors, do a start up scan. disable and remove anything that you do not need, ie acrobat updater, quicktime updater (should be uninstalled by now..) The only things you need in start up are your antivirus, video and a few other system related items. my rule of thumb is if it is a third party software that has no relevence to the hardware or the operating system, it goes.

defrag your harddrive. this is very important, it will make installing stuff better, as it all goes to one contiguous section of your harddrive. run your spybot and antivirus scanners (after they are updated of course)

And if you can afford it or get a deal, get another stick of RAM for that computer! I think that this is your major issue with the taskbar. I would put at least another 256mb in, and if possible, 512. Then go in and adjust your pagefile to use a minimum of 1.5 times your physical RAM. with the 256, I would go as far as to use twice that.

reinstall Service pack 3 if you were able to go back to a restore point before.

reinstall printer drivers and hook up printer.

reinstall iTunes and Quicktime. be sure to go back in and disable them in the start menu... they do not need to phone home for an update everytime you run the computer

Hope this helps...

AJ
 

srteach

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I've installed SP3 on 25+ machines with no problem. The biggest problem with SP3 is when it gets installed on a computer that has malware on it. Usually semi-FUBARs the machine and causes the problems you are experiencing. First, run multiple anti-malware programs (many free), backup data, then try a REPAIR install of XP. This will usually save data that is on the HD. Failing that, reinstall XP, add SP3, reinstall programs.
 
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