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Reinstalling Windows may be cure for crazy mouse


I have a 2-year-old version of Windows 98, and sooner or later it always ends a session with the mouse (and everything else) locking up, going crazy or what have you. It doesn't matter what program I'm in, or what's open - it just results in a wildly jumping mouse until Control-Alt-Delete shuts it down. I tried the $5 Microsoft CD-ROM "fix" to no avail. It's a 233 MHz Pentium with 64 megabytes of RAM, a pretty ordinary machine. Your suggestions?

You can reinstall Windows to get your computer back on the straight and narrow. But first we will assume that there are no mechanical problems with your mouse, which is a big assumption. Mice get gummed up pretty easily, and when that happens they can send such a jumble of command signals to the main processor that a condition called stack overflow sets in and all freezes. So first of all, buy and try a new mouse.

If that fails, break out the manual and CDs that came with your PC and use the "restore" CD to return your operating system to its pristine out-of-the-box state.

You will get two choices for a restoration. The simplest just reloads Windows 98 on your existing drive. A more extreme fix reformats the drive and erases all your data, including word processing documents, e-mail address lists and Internet bookmarks. Try the less extreme measure first.

It is a real nuisance to have the warning sign telling me that I am about to run out of ink for my printer when I have just replaced the cartridge and the printer is working just fine. It continues to appear no matter what I do. Any suggestion as to how I might rid myself of this nuisance?

I have a printer of my own, a Lexmark, that does this same annoying thing, and I fix it by reloading the printer drivers every time I change ink cartridges.

You just pull out the floppy disk (or CD-ROM) that came with the printer and go through the same setup process as when the printer was new. It only takes a couple of minutes, and you're already being bothered by replacing a cartridge, so it's just a bit more bother.

For what it's worth, my software expert friends speculate that the printer's software is not finding a log file it is supposed to create showing past maintenance steps. It thus fails to detect the fact that the cartridge was changed. Reinstalling the drivers makes the machine create that missing log file again.

I use my PC mostly for writing. Frequently, while typing, I hit something that kicks in the "overwrite" function. But I can't figure out how to turn off the overwrite mode except by closing my file and reopening it. Would you please tell me how to turn off this overwrite after I turn it on?

You're going to slap yourself on the forehead when I give you the answer. That's what I did when I finally figured out why this perplexing thing was happening to me. I was (and you are) striking the Insert key, which is next to the Backspace, which gets a lot of use when you go over sentences to clean them up. If you hit Insert, the computer toggles between the insert and overwrite modes.

Since Microsoft Word, WordPerfect and most other programs come up with the insert function already on, any accidental touching of the key toggles it off, putting the machine into overwrite mode. Closing and reopening the program fixes this, of course, but so does simply tapping Insert a second time.

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