Friday, November 9, 2018

Troubleshooting Your PC for Dummies

As soon as I opened this package  I knew I'd goofed. "Now Updated to Support Vista!"?    ...well, it's by the same author as the version I thought I was buying, and I do in fact have a Vista machine  which I've refused to let die because it can play games that simply don't play nice with Windows 10.  Even if the specific steps are different, the  general steps may still apply today. So I read it, and...well, I'll have to be more careful about buying used books in the future.  Troubleshooting Your PC for Dummies, 3rd edition, is definitely a intro computer users' guide; while it assumes users are generally familiar with using Windows,  it doesn't get into the kind of specifics that the most recent edition does.

The above shot is from the table of contents for Troubleshooting and Maintaining Your PC All in One For Dummies, 3rd Edition, not Troubleshooting Your PC for Dummies, 3rd Edition  As you can see, it's a methodical walk-through of everything that happens during the startup sequence,  (I assume)  offers information on how to figure out if it's bad RAM or a failing power supply or whatever.    The similarly titled but drastically book I've just read was far more basic,  explaining what common errors meant,  reviewing the proper method of uninstalling programs (instead of just deleting their files), running antivirus and system restores ,  guiding readers  to their Control Panel -- helpful to beginners who  have never explored  beyond the desktop and their documents folders. 

Although I still want to add a guide like this to my tech resource library, it won't be this one, given the relatively shallow level of information and the  constant attempts at humor which must have been a for Dummies specification. What's worse, some of the information is...not quite right. For instance, the author tells readers that if the User Account Control window pops up, they're probably in the middle of something they shouldn't be doing. As someone who frequently customizes games -- adding clothing and objects to The Sims, say, or custom maps to Civilization -- the UAC  was a chronic nuisance, refusing to allow even my admin account to unpack files from compressed folders into the Program Files directory, even after I authorized it.   I wound up creating a "landing" folder in a directory UAC wasn't so touchy about, unpacking items there, then  moving them from the landing to their intended directory (with UAC demanding I confirm the action, not to  be ignored).   There's probably a way to turn UAC off, but I wouldn't want to disable Windows calling foul on any actual intrusions.   In sound troubleshooting, the author suggests a system restore before users have even made sure that a volume problem isn't just limited to one file, or one program. 


  1. Cleo, myself and others have recently been perplexed by something weird that google has done to their comments availability recently... it's now impossible to comment on a google blog without becoming a google site oneself... don't know why they did this, but i have the impression that they want more of my money...

    1. That's not good! I'll search about and see if there are custom widgets to get around that..


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