Windows Q&As: Unblock Hotmail, Boot Linux in Windows, PC Hangs On Startup And Many More

Welcome back to another segment of “Ask a Windows Expert,” where you ask a question and we get a Windows expert on the case to research and find an answer to your question. Today, we have an inbox a bit fuller than usual, but we’ve also gotten a lot of questions that do not relate to Windows. Please make sure – before submitting a question – that your inquiry relates to the Windows operating system or hardware running it. If you would like to submit a question that could appear in the next segment of this series, click on the “Ask Our Experts Now!” button found on the right sidebar of any page of this site. With all that said, let’s get started!

Q: My Hotmail account has been blocked. How can I solve this problem?

A: Locks often happen to accounts that have been detected as taking part in activity involving spam or fraud. If you have done neither, it’s likely that your account has been compromised and the person using your account has sent out emails to spam others. In rare cases, some email that you have sent has been interpreted or reported as spam. Under any circumstance, Microsoft allows you to remove this block by obtaining a code that will authenticate your cellphone.

To get such a code, click “Add a Phone” in your Hotmail interface when you log in.


Once you enter your phone number, the interface will send you an SMS with a code. You will have 15 minutes to type in the code and authenticate your phone. If those 15 minutes pass, request a new code and Hotmail will send one right away.

Another reason your account could be blocked might involve an issue on Microsoft’s end. If that happens, you just have to wait until they resolve it. Wait about two or three days. If you’re in a hurry, you can contact them about this.

Q: I tried booting Puppy Linux from a USB drive on a computer that already has Windows. How come this doesn’t work? I have the ISO file on the USB drive.

A: The way the question is phrased is how we interpreted what you sent to our inbox. In order to enjoy the benefits of booting from a USB drive, the drive has to be bootable in the first place. The second problem is that you can’t just stick an ISO file on a drive and expect it to boot. You must extract the contents to the drive, as those are important.

Windows allows you to format a drive with a boot sector so that it can be picked up by your computer before attempting to boot from the hard disk. Format your USB drive and, under the formatting options, select “ISO Image” under “Create a bootable disk using.”


Select the ISO image you’d like to copy to the USB drive and let it do the rest of the work. Once formatted with an operating system, you can use it as a bootable drive! If you continue to have problems, come back around and we’ll answer any other questions you have.

Q: My computer is running an x86 version of Windows 7, and it shows only 2.99 GB of usable RAM. How can I get it to recognize all 6 GB?

A: Because of the limitations with x86 logical registries on the processor, the computer cannot recognize any value above 4,294,967,296. That’s exactly 4 GB of addressing space on your RAM. You must run an x64 version of Windows to solve this problem. Otherwise, you’ll never be able to use more than 3-4 GB of RAM.

Q: My computer is hanging on “Starting Windows.” How do I get past this?

A: There are two major reasons this could happen: Either your hard drive has a couple of bad sectors in a system-allocated space, or your RAM isn’t functioning like it should. It’s more likely a case of the former than the latter.

To fix this problem, you should turn your computer off by holding down the power button (also known as a “cold boot”) and turning it on again after about 5 seconds. Windows will know that its bootup process was interrupted for some reason or another, but it still doesn’t know that there was a problem. Once you cold boot your computer a few times, it might get a whiff of something wrong going on, which is when it will start running a utility called “chkdsk.” This checks your system disk for errors and attempts to fix them. Once everything is solved, get yourself a new hard drive.

For the second, and rather unlikely, problem, just replace your RAM with some spare cards and check to see whether your computer boots up normally using the new spares. If it still hangs on “Starting Windows,” assume that the hard disk is still the problem.

There’s yet another rare chance that one of the system files that Windows depends on has been over-written, modified, or infected in some way. This requires a reinstallation or repair of Windows using the installation DVD.

Q: I run Windows 7 N Edition. How can I install Windows Media Player on it? I can’t find it anywhere.

A: Windows 7 N Edition was meant for the European market, which legally requires Microsoft to allow for fair competition, letting users choose whether they want to use Internet Explorer or another browser. Likewise, this version also comes without Windows Media Player, allowing for other media players to take a bit more market share. If you’d like to install WMP on your computer, download the Media Pack for Windows 7 N and KN here.

Q: A friend of mine bought a new computer with Windows 7 installed, but it no longer supports Outlook Express 6. How can I export the emails into a readable format on the new computer?

A: Outlook Express 6 has been superseded by Windows Live Mail. You can download Windows Live Mail as part of the Windows Live Essentials package here. Once you have installed it, click “File -> Import -> Messages -> From Microsoft Outlook Express 6.” This will allow you to get all of your friend’s email into that platform, in a readable form. Hope this helps!

Got Your Own Question?

Please submit all inquiries using the “Ask Our Experts Now!” button in the right-hand sidebar on any page of this website. If you have something to discuss regarding the questions asked in this segment of the “Ask a Windows Expert” series, please use the comments section below. That’s all, folks!

Miguel Leiva-Gomez
Miguel Leiva-Gomez

Miguel has been a business growth and technology expert for more than a decade and has written software for even longer. From his little castle in Romania, he presents cold and analytical perspectives to things that affect the tech world.

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