Boot-Up Error Messages

Don Trauger

We’ve all seen them at one time or another. You start your computer and everything seems fine then all of a
sudden an error message pops up. Sometimes you have to “OK” it to complete the boot and other times closing
or just ignoring the message works. Regardless of your method, your computer may seem to work fine but it’s
trying to tell you “I feel sick”.

Once in awhile the message is just informational but more than likely there’s a hidden problem with a system
file or application. The first thing to do is to write down the full message. Pay particular attention if the
message has an error number associated with it. Using Google to input this error information is a great way to
search for answers to the problem. Chances are others have experienced the same issue and you will often find
what is needed to make corrections. A search on Google does not require a word for word entry of the error message.
Simply use a few of the main keywords plus the error message number if available from the message.

Another place to look when you have a problem is in Administrative Tools in the Control Panel. This computer
module logs all kinds of events in your computer both normal and abnormal. Click Performance and Maintenance
then click Administrative Tools. Next click the Event Viewer. There you will see listed, among others, Application
and System. Click Application then scroll down the list and try to match the time of the event to the time when
you experienced the error. Note any items that have a red circle or yellow triangle. Double click the offender
for detailed information. There’s usually a link to Microsoft Help and Support for help in resolving the error.
Repeat the same procedure for System. You may safely ignore any yellow triangles (Warning) in the Application
area referring to “Userenv” should you see them.

If a program or application is causing the error message on startup it also means it’s trying to load during
boot-up. You may be able to correct this by telling the program not to load when you start your computer. Click
on Start, click Run and type “msconfig” (no quotes) and OK the window. Next click the Startup tab. When the window
opens look at the list of programs that have checks next to them. You may be able to match information in the
error message or from the Event Viewer to the program that is causing the problem. Remove the check from the
program, OK the window, and choose to Restart the computer. As I’ve said in previous articles, the only checks
required are the ones for your Anti-Virus/Spyware/Firewall programs. What if the error is caused by the Anti-Virus
program? Read the error carefully. Maybe all that’s needed is a setting to be reset once you open the program.
In other cases it may require you to uninstall and reinstall the program.