ad info

 
CNN.com  technology > computing
    Editions | myCNN | Video | Audio | Headline News Brief | Feedback  

 

  Search
 
 

 
TECHNOLOGY
TOP STORIES

Consumer group: Online privacy protections fall short

Guide to a wired Super Bowl

Debate opens on making e-commerce law consistent

(MORE)

TOP STORIES

More than 11,000 killed in India quake

Mideast negotiators want to continue talks after Israeli elections

(MORE)

MARKETS
4:30pm ET, 4/16
144.70
8257.60
3.71
1394.72
10.90
879.91
 


WORLD

U.S.

POLITICS

LAW

ENTERTAINMENT

HEALTH

TRAVEL

FOOD

ARTS & STYLE



(MORE HEADLINES)
*
 
CNN Websites
Networks image


How to banish those gnarly Windows errors

PC World

May 10, 2000
Web posted at: 9:08 a.m. EDT (1308 GMT)

(IDG) -- Okay, kids: What do General Protection Fault, Page Fault Error, and Blue Screen of Death have in common? Right--Bill Gates thinks they're all rare occurrences. Not on my PC, they're not. After I switched from Navigator to Internet Explorer and added a bigger hard drive, a gnarly Windows "invalid Page Fault in Kernel32.DLL" error kept popping up whenever I closed IE.

  MESSAGE BOARD
 

Let's face it: Everyone gets occasional error messages. Think of them as the price of doing business with Microsoft (and unless Bill uses Linux, he gets 'em, too). Usually, I ignore these little love notes from Windows and hope they'll go away. But sometimes, like my relatives at Thanksgiving, they don't get the hint. If you get error messages more than five times a month, it's time to take action.

With help from a Microsoft support technician and Rod Ream, my user-group troubleshooter, I resolved all my errors. I also have a cure for some of your Windows blues (and no, it's not Linux).

MORE COMPUTING INTELLIGENCE
IDG.net   IDG.net home page
  Not all Windows 2000 bugs are beaten
  Say good-bye to Windows crashes
  Make your PC work harder with these tips
  NT nightmares
  Reviews & in-depth info at IDG.net
  IDG.net's personal news page
  Year 2000 World
  Questions about computers? Let IDG.net's editors help you
  Subscribe to IDG.net's free daily newsletter for computer geniuses (& newbies)
  Search IDG.net in 12 languages
  News Radio
  * Fusion audio primers
  * Computerworld Minute

Warding Off Problems

You may not know it, but you can ward off some errors by adhering to a few simple rules. First, when booting up, let your hard drive come to a complete stop before you do anything. Windows does housekeeping at this time--scanning the Registry and loading Startup programs. Second, let all apps finish loading before you use them (closing them midstream is just as bad); otherwise, modules and drivers may get stuck in memory, causing errors.

When you do get an error message, close the system as usual, using Shut Down. Then when you reboot, run ScanDisk (Start, Programs, Accessories, System Tools, ScanDisk) and correct any reported drive problems. This may take care of the problem underlying that particular error message and possibly deflect future ones.

If a Windows error appears often, try to identify a pattern. Note what programs are active when the error message appears. If you have Windows 98 or Office, use System Info to see what's running on your PC (select Start, Programs, Accessories, System Tools). Or try PrcView (Process Viewer). In the case of my kernel error, PrcView showed that an ActiveX helper file was running--a vital clue (more on that later).

You can also use Windows itself to gather more data. After you start your system and the power-on tests finish--but before Windows 98 begins--hold down Ctrl (in Win 95, press F8 after "Starting Windows 95" appears) and choose logged. Windows will merrily record your computer's start-up procedure to a text file and save it to the root folder; use Explorer's "Show all files" option (under View, Folder Options click the View tab and select "Show all files") to view this. Then scan for the word "fail" in this document to find the files and devices that may be loading improperly.

Cash Out the Cache

If your browser crashes frequently, or if that dreaded "invalid Page Fault at Kernel32.DLL" error appears, you probably have corrupt files. In this case, begin by dumping your browser's history and cache files. In IE 5, select Tools, Internet Options, and click Delete Files (in IE 4.72, Internet Options appears under the View menu). Then choose Clear History. Next, check your ActiveX Controls. Click Settings, View Objects, and then change the View to Details. That's where I discovered three "damaged" ActiveX items. Once I removed them, my kernel32 errors disappeared.

In Netscape Navigator, select Edit, Preferences, click Navigator, and then Clear History. Next, move down to Advanced, click Cache, and click Clear Disk Cache. Close Navigator and use Windows Explorer to get to your Navigator folder (typically, C:\ProgramFiles\Netscape\Navigator\Program). Rename the Plugins folder as Plug-old, and then restart Navigator, which should create a new Plugins folder. If Navigator no longer crashes, you can either gather fresh copies of your plug-ins or start copying the old files from Plug-old into your new folder, one at a time. Be sure to restart Navigator after each new addition, and monitor for problems until you find (and eliminate) the culprit.

Still experiencing problems? Another cause might be new DLLs battling older ones. You can find some solutions in my September 1999 column. For help with even more esoteric problems, check out the Microsoft Knowledge Base. It's easy to use and surprisingly helpful.

These days, the majority of my error messages are gone. And my relatives? I just offer them Linux lessons after dinner, and the house clears out.




RELATED STORIES:
MS, Netscape battle over browser bug
May 9, 2000
Say good-bye to Windows crashes
August 2, 1999
'Stupid' computer error messages leave users befuddled
October 6, 1998
Windows 98 rescue disk lacks important component
June 12, 1998
Microsoft, Internet provider scrap over error message
July 8, 1998

RELATED IDG.net STORIES:
Not all Windows 2000 bugs are beaten
IDG.com
Say good-bye to Windows crashes
PC World
NT nightmares
Network World Fusion
Windows NT: So many complaints, so little time...
Windows TechEdge
Command CCM: Trial and error
Network World Fusion
Are we secure yet on the Internet?
PC World
Get quick access to IE 5's features with these Windows tips
Infoworld
Beat the Windows 98 hardware blues
PC World

RELATED SITES:
Microsoft Knowledge Base
CERTĘ Coordination Center
Seapine Software

Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.

 Search   

Back to the top   © 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.