Common Windows 7 problems solved

Posted: 04/12/2009 in iPhone, Tutorial, Windows 7
Tags: , , , , ,

If you’ve moved to Windows 7 recently then you might have noticed various upgrade problems, interface issues and features that seem to have disappeared entirely, among many other complications with the new system.

Don’t despair, though – while these problems can be really frustrating, answers are beginning to appear. Here are some of the best and most effective solutions around, so follow this guide and your Windows 7 installation will soon be back on track.

1. Vista upgrade hangs at 62%

Windows 7 can start causing problems before it’s even installed, as many people report their upgrade hangs forever at 62%. Which is annoying.

Reboot, and your PC should roll back to Windows Vista. You can then open the setup log file \$WINDOWS.~BT\Sources\Panther\setupact.log to view what happened. Microsoft say this is usually caused because the Iphlpsvc service has stopped responding, and just adding an environment variable to ignore it will fix the problem. Point your browser at http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx/kb/975253 for the fix.

If this doesn’t help (or your upgrade hangs at something other than 62%) then browse the setup log for other clues. And you might also try to boot and install from the Windows 7 disc, if possible, as that reduces the chance of any conflict with your existing Vista (or XP) setup.

INSTALL WINDOWS 7: Windows 7 upgrades are usually quick, but sometimes it doesn’t install at all

2. DVD drive not found

In some cases your DVD drive may not be found by Windows 7, even if it’s visible in the BIOS and using the standard driver.

The standard solution here is to run REGEDIT, browse to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\, then delete both UpperFilters and LowerFilters in the right-hand pane (UpperFilters.bak and LowerFilters.bak entries can be ignored).

No change? Resetting the drive letter has worked for some. Click Start, type Disk Management and choose the “Create and format hard disk partitions” link. If your optical drive is visible here then right-click it, select Change Drive Letter and Paths, click Change and choose a new letter. If the drive is now visible in Explorer, then repeat the process to change the drive letter back; if it’s still not visible, reboot and it should appear.

3. Aero isn’t running

If Windows 7 isn’t looking its best – transparency has been turned off, say – then the Aero theme may not have been fully enabled on your system. Click Start, type Aero, choose the “Find and fix problems with transparency and other visual effects” link, and click Next to launch the Aero troubleshooting wizard. It’ll try to identify and resolve and problems. And if it doesn’t, then install the latest driver for your graphics hardware. That could be all your system needs.

Some Aero features may be disabled in the Registry, though. For example, if Aero Peek (the ability to make open windows transparent to display your desktop underneath) doesn’t work for you, then launch REGEDIT, browse to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\DWM and make sure EnableAeroPeek is set to 1, rather than 0.

NO AERO: Windows 7’s troubleshooting wizards will fix many display problems while you watch

4. Aero Snap irritations

Windows 7’s new ability to move and resize windows, all in one movement, can be a genuine productivity boost. But if you find windows moving around when you don’t expect it then Aero Snap is more of an annoyance than anything else, though at least it’s one you can disable in just a few seconds.

Launch Control Panel, click Ease of Access, and select either “Change how your mouse works” or “Change how your keyboard works”. Then browse down to the “Make it easier to manage windows” section, check “Prevent windows from being automatically arranged when moved to the edge of the screen”, click OK, and program windows now won’t go anywhere unless you specifically command it.

5. iPhone won’t sync in Windows 7

Irritated iPhone users are beginning to report major difficulties in getting their iPhone to sync with Windows 7 systems. Particularly 64-bit Windows 7 systems, based around the P55 chipset. The iPhone is usually (though not always) recognised, but iTunes then complains that it can’t connect to the unit because of an “unknown error”, usually (though again, not always) 0xE8000065.

Disabling USB power management appears to be one solution. Click Start, type DEVMGMT.MSC and press [Enter] to launch Device Manager, then click View > Devices By Type. Expand the Universal Serial Bus controllers section of the tree, right-click each USB Root Hub entry in turn, select Properties > Power Management, and clear “Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power”.

Reboot your PC after this tweak and try again. This works for some, but if you’re out of luck then check the Apple Discussions thread for other ideas.

SYNCING FEELING: iTunes on Windows 7 won’t always see, or sync with, your iPod

6. Windows 7 themes change your custom icons

Windows 7 has some spectacular new themes – there’s a great selection at the Microsoft site – but installing them can have one annoying side-effect. If you’ve previously changed a system icon like Computer or the Recycle Bin then that could disappear, replaced by the equivalent icon from the theme pack.

To prevent this, right-click an empty part of the desktop, select Personalize > Change Desktop Icons, clear the “Allow themes to change desktop icons” box and click OK. Your icons will now be preserved, and the only way to change them will be manually, from the same Desktop Icons dialogue.

7. Taskbar problems

We like the new Windows 7 taskbar, but many people seem less than impressed with the new approach to taskbar buttons, finding it difficult to tell at a glance whether an icon is a running application or a pinned shortcut. If this sounds like you then there’s an easy way to restore more standard taskbar buttons, though – right-click the taskbar, select Properties, and set Taskbar Buttons to “Never combine” or “Combine when taskbar is full”.

You can even restore the old Quick Launch toolbar in just a few clicks. Simply right-click the taskbar, click Toolbars > New Toolbar, type %userprofile%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch in the folder box and click Select Folder. The Quick Launch toolbar should then reappear, and you can move and resize it to suit your needs.

STANDARD TASKBAR: Just a few seconds work and your taskbar has that retro look

8. Missing Explorer folders

Click Start > Computer in Windows 7 and you’ll find system folders like Control Panel and the Recycle Bin are no longer displayed in the left-hand Explore pane. This seems like a backward step to us, but there’s a quick solution. Click Tools > Folder Options, check “Show all folders”, click OK and all your top-level system folders will reappear.

9. Missing applets

Windows 7 installs quickly and takes up less hard drive space than you might expect, but in part that’s down to cheating – Mail, Movie Maker, Photo Gallery and other applets are no longer bundled with a standard Windows installation. Instead you must download the programs you need from the Windows Live Essentials site.

Installing Live Essentials will also get you potentially unnecessary extras, though, like an ActiveX control to help in uploading files to Windows Live SkyDrive. And the Windows Live Sign-In Assistant, which can be useful if you want to switch between multiple Windows Live accounts. If you have only one Windows Live account, and no plans to use Live SkyDrive, then these can safely be removed from the Control Panel Uninstall A Program applet.

TAKE YOUR PICK: You can install as many, or as few of the Live Essentials programs as you like

10. Too many minidumps

By default Windows 7 now keeps the last 50 minidump files (memory images saved when your PC crashes). If you’re keen on using dump files to troubleshoot crashes then this is good news, but if you’ve no interest in that kind of advanced debugging then minidumps are just a waste of your valuable hard drive space. In which case you should run REGEDIT, browse to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\CrashControl, and set MiniDumpsCount to 1. Windows will only now keep the last dump file and you’ll free up a little hard drive space.

11. HP Multifunction Printer problems

If you’ve an HP multifunction printer with its “Full Feature Software solution” or “Basic Driver solution” installed then, after upgrading to Windows 7, you may find the printer stops working. Press the buttons on the front of the printer and nothing will happen; launch the software manually and you’ll see reports that it can’t connect to your hardware.

The problem is that a few files and Registry entries have been lost in the migration to Windows Vista, and even reinstalling the original HP software won’t help. Fortunately there’s a new version of HP Solution Center that should get everything working again, though, and you can find out more about it at the HP support site.

12. Hidden extensions

And, of course, no list of Windows annoyances would be complete without a mention of Explorer’s default settings, which even in Windows 7 remain to hide file extensions, as well as system files and folders.

To fix this, launch Explorer and click Tools > Folder Options > View.

Clear the “Hide extensions for known file types” to show file extensions, reducing the likelihood that you’ll accidentally double-click on virus.txt.exe in future.

And as long as there are no novice users on your system who might go poking around in Explorer, we’d also choose to “Show hidden files and folders” as well as clear the “Hide protected operating system files” box. It’s often important to see these files when you’re troubleshooting, or following problem-solving instructions from someone else.

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Comments
  1. Brent says:

    Thanks for the article sorted my HP multifunction printer problem.

    🙂

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