Welcome back to another segment of “Ask a Windows Expert,” where a resident Windows expert from MTE answers a question about any version of Microsoft’s operating system, no matter how complicated. Are you having any trouble with your computer while running Windows? Click the “Ask Our Experts Now!” button on the right-hand side of any page here! Don’t be shy. Ask any question and we’ll have an answer for you in the next segment.
Q: I accidentally shut off my laptop in the middle of a factory reset. Now, it doesn’t even turn on. How can I resolve this?
A: This seems to be a hardware problem, especially if you’re not seeing any sign that the computer is powered on. A blank screen isn’t one of them. If you are sure your computer isn’t powering on, this might be resolved by removing the battery, unplugging the laptop, and holding the power button down for about 30 seconds. After you’re finished, place the battery or connect the power cable. It should run fine again. If you continue to have problems, come on in the comments section and we’ll try to help you out. Most likely, this wasn’t caused by your factory reset interruption.
Q: My computer is saying “Windows update cannot currently check for updates because the service is not running” every time that I try to run Windows Update. How can I resolve this?
A: This often happens because something in your computer’s “SoftwareDistribution” folder became corrupted. To correct this problem, you’ll have to stop related services, clear the data in the folder, and start WU services again. Here’s a simple step-by-step way to do it:
- Go to your Start menu, type “
services.msc” in the search box near the bottom and press “Enter” on your keyboard.
- Stop the “Background Intelligent Transfer” service and the “Windows Update” service. Both of them are necessary to complete this process.
- Go to your “Windows” folder and delete all the contents inside of “SoftwareDistribution.”
- Start the aforementioned services again.
When you type “services.msc,” you should reach a window like this:
Once you’re done, your Windows Update service should be as clean as a whistle. If it isn’t, come on back and we’ll try to solve the problem.
Q: When I go to the “Uninstall Programs” option in the control panel, I see one program occupying an incredible amount of space that I don’t have on my hard drive. What can I do to fix this?
A: You can’t fix it. Windows just makes an estimate based on some arbitrary metrics. Sometimes, it pops up with an eye-popping number like this. Just ignore it. This shouldn’t affect your experience, save for the fact you’ll have that annoying number show up every time you access “uninstall programs.”
Q: I just installed an SSD on my computer. Although the computer detected it and installed drivers, it’s not showing up under “Computer.” Is there a way to fix this?
A: There certainly is! Your SSD probably didn’t come pre-formatted from the manufacturer. This means you have to format the SSD from disk management. Click the Start menu, type “
computer management” and select “Disk Management.” You can format your SSD from here by right-clicking its unallocated space and using your preferred corresponding option. Once you’re done with the process, your computer should see the drive. If it doesn’t come back around and we’ll solve the problem with you.
Q: Do I need a widescreen monitor to use Windows 7?
A: Absolutely not! Windows 7 supports all the resolutions and aspect ratios that XP did. While widescreen monitors are in style now, you can rest assured that Windows 7 can run on any 4:3 monitor.
Q: My computer is crashing while playing games. Everything else works fine. What could be wrong?
A: More likely than not, this happens because of your graphics driver. It probably stopped responding. Try updating drivers and come back if you continue having problems. If you’re already using the latest driver, try rolling back. If this continues repeating, try using a spare graphics card and see if the problem continues. This kind of issue happens on graphics cards that have fried, although it could be a driver issue as well, since the driver is used to help the computer communicate with the graphical device interface. If you’re using an on-board graphics device, you should really consider buying a dedicated one, as this problem is bound to happen with on-board chips.
Q: I need a program that can help me view PowerPoint, Excel, and Word files. Please let me know what I can download to view these files without installing Microsoft Office.
A: If you still want to use something from Microsoft, use their viewers, found in this link. If you want something similar to MS Office that’s free, try using LibreOffice (formerly known as OpenOffice). You can find LibreOffice here.
Q: I just accidentally killed my computer’s feed to my monitor. I was attempting to adjust the screen resolution and my monitor just shut off when I applied settings. Now, the computer works continually with the monitor off. How do I get it back on again?
A: This one’s not that hard to resolve, but you’ll need to use the process of elimination. There are two chief reasons this could have happened:
- You attempted to adjust the resolution to one that’s out of the monitor’s range. This often happens to flat-panel LED/LCD/OLED/AMOLED displays because they are often sensitive to these kinds of parameters.
- You somehow fooled Windows into thinking you’re running more than one monitor, also telling the operating system that you don’t want your current monitor to be the default one.
For the first cause of the issue, just attempt to change the resolution in safe mode. Normally, a confirmation appears, giving you 15 seconds to click “OK” before it resets the settings the way they were before.
For the second cause, simply press “Win+P” twice and wait a few seconds. If your monitor still isn’t showing anything, try it again and keep repeating until you get your monitor back.
Did We Miss Your Question?
If you didn’t see your question here, let us know by asking the question again and mentioning that it wasn’t answered in the previous release of Ask a Windows Expert. Be sure that your question is related to the Windows operating system or hardware that runs it. Until next time!
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