FAQS! FACTS! FAX! 624 (05/08/08)
Q. Each time I start my Windows XP
computer an annoying little window appears on the desktop saying, in effect,
the following file is missing. If I delete the window it carries on as normal,
but I'd like to scotch it. The file is: C:\Windows\system32\hwufstkx.dll
I have tried searching for it but almost
immediately am told that no such file can be found. Google does not recognise
it either. Can you shed light on this minor irritation please?
Frank Millington, via email
I can find no record of it either, are you sure you copied it down correctly?
Since the program that is seeking the mystery file launches automatically with
Windows it should be reasonably easy to get rid of or fix, as there are only
two places to look. The first is the Startup folder on the All Programs list on
the Start menu. If there are any shortcuts in there that you don’t recognise,
or do not want then delete them. (You
can easily restore them from the Recycle Bin if you change your mind).
The other more likely
place is the Startup list, which controls the launch of components and
Services, like automatic updates and so on, most of which you do not need and
just waste resources; it’s also where some malware programs like to hide.
To access the list type
’msconfig’ (without the quotes) in Run on the Start menu, and select the
Startup tab. Hopefully your mystery entry will be there, and from the path you
should be able tell which program it belongs to. If it is something you want to
keep try re-installing the program, otherwise uncheck it and reboot. When
Windows reappears there will be a message box referring to the System
Configuration utility, check the ‘Do not show this message again…’ box and all
should be well.
Q. Many times you have recommended the use
of the system configuration utility msconfig and it has got me out of trouble
on a number of occasions but just recently, when I tried to use it on my XP
Home PC I got the message ‘Windows cannot find msconfig’. I haven’t made any
big changes recently and my I have the latest Windows updates, so what has
happened to it?
Mike Willis, via email
Several viruses and malware programs delete or stop system tools, including
msconfig and ‘regedit’ the Registry editor from working as part of their
strategy to avoid detection and removal. The first thing to do is make sure
your AV program is up to date, run a complete scan then use a malware cleaner
like AdAware, A-Squared and Spybot (preferably all three). They are free and
links to the downloads can be found at: http://tinyurl.com/2woy5u
you have the all-clear check to see if msconfig.exe is still on your system, if
so it should be in: C:\windows\PCHealth\HelpCtr\Binaries. If it is, and
clicking on it opens msconfig then there’s a damaged or missing Registry key.
If you are comfortable editing the Registry and know how to make a backup (see
also next question) open regedit and work your way to:
If MSCONFIG.EXE isn’t
in the left pane recreate the key (right-click > New), if it is there its
Data Value should be: C:\windows\PCHealth\HelpCtr\Binaries\MSConfig.exe
If msconfig has been deleted
then you can restore it from the XP installation disc, pop it in, type ‘cmd’ in
Run on the Start menu to open a command window. At the command prompt enter:
‘expand D:\i386\MSCONFIG.EX_ -r C:\Windows\PCHealth\Helpctr\Binaries’ (where D
is the drive letter for your CD/DVD drive, so change if necessary).
Q. You are always telling
us that before we do anything to or near the Registry that we should back it
up, simply how is this done? Please also explain the routine on how to back it
up and where to store the back-up copy and then how to use if it all goes
Terry Allum, via email
A. It’s good advice because even
quite small glitches in the Registry can stop Windows from working. The classic
manual method – good for all versions of Windows -- is to use the Export
facility on the regedit File menu. Give the file a name – usually today’s date
– then click Save. By default the resulting ‘*.reg’ file is saved in My
Documents but it doesn’t matter where it goes, as long as you remember where you
restore a manual Registry backup all you have to do is click on the *.reg file
and it will be automatically written back to the Registry. Since Windows ME you
can also backup the Registry and other important System Files using System
Restore (Start > Programs > Accessories > System Tools).
Q. My friend has a laptop running Vista
Home Premium. Every time we put a blank CD in Vista asks to format it. How can
we fix this?
Rob D, via email
You make it sound as though it is a problem. I suspect that your friend has a
third-party CD/DVD burning application on his machine, probably Nero or Roxio
and it is asking if you want to prepare the CD for UDF (Universal Data Format)
writing, which makes the disc behave like a USB flash drive or floppy; remember
Unless your friend has
a compelling need to use this facility I would uninstall the application and
use Vista’s built-in CD/DVD burning utilities. The equivalent facility in Vista
is called Live File System, and you can tell it to select this by default, or
one of several other options when you insert a disc. To change it go to
AutoPlay in Control Panel on the Start menu. There you will find the various
options on the drop-down menus next to Blank CD (there’s another set for blank
DVDs) and they include Burn files to disc using Windows (that’s where you’ll
find the Live File System), Burn an Audio CD, Take no Action and Ask every
time. If you have any other CD/DVD burning applications they will usually show
up on the list as well.
If you have a computer
problem write to: firstname.lastname@example.org