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Random Windows and Software Issues
Feb 8, 2012 - Jim Bernstein
Paul writes in with a troubleshooting question
Question: Windows Vista is a pain! I have a Toshiba Laptop that came with Windows Vista, bought new 5 years ago. I only use it for emails and search online; occasionally, I may want to type a Word page or copy\paste into it. It demands the PURCHASE of Office Live\Microsoft Office, using a Product Key. First, I refuse to buy something I didn't ask for. Second, I don't even know what a Product Key is or where I can find it in my laptop.
By not purchasing this product, it prevents me from working with many tasks, such as seeing PowerPoint presentations with sound, using Word, making changes in my Kingston and Verbatim flash drives, etc. I save typed Word docs in my office (Windows 7) on these flash drives, and when I get home, I can only read. A note comes up stating something about a 'compatible mode'. Also, I can be in the middle of anything and Windows Vista decides to 'configure' and it takes me out of whatever I am doing, internet and all, shuts off all of my programs and stars the three steps; after it finishes, it re-starts my computer, but I have to go through the sign-on all over again.
My computer runs very, very slowly; sometimes it takes me 10 minutes (no lie) to open an email. I attach pictures in my emails and send them home to forward to friends, and that is a painful task due to the length of time it takes to open each email to see the pictures, and then to forward them. I use Yahoo and AOL. My anti-virus is AVG. I had a lot of toolbars and deleted them all thinking it caused the slowness of the computer. I am tired of all of these issues.
Can you help me? Thank you.
Answer: Many computer manufacturers will install a trial version of Microsoft Office on their computers that let you use it without restrictions for a set period of time, usually 60 days. After that if you don't buy it and put in a valid product key it will either stop working or only work with limited capabilities. If you don't want to buy the software then you will need to find another way to work with your Word and PowerPoint files etc. Microsoft offers free viewers for their software that will let you view Word or PowerPoint files etc. but not make changes to them.
There are other free office software products that will let you open your Microsoft Office files such as OpenOffice and AbiWord.
Your other issue sounds like it's with Windows Update which is used to keep your computer up to date with patches for Windows. You can configure Windows Update so it downloads and installs updates automatically or manually as well as pick the time when it does this.
Windows Vista should not be restarting your computer automatically but should rather be reminding you that it needs to be rebooted over and over until you do it. You can try this group policy fix to see if it prevents Windows from automatically rebooting your computer after updates.
As for speeding up your computer there are a few maintenance methods you can try outlined here.