Microsoft KB Archive/172446

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Article ID: 172446

Article Last Modified on 11/1/2001

This article was previously published under Q172446


To help you minimize the amount of time you spend on the phone with technical support, here are several steps which you can take on your own before calling technical support. Following them may reduce the amount of time it takes for an engineer to solve your problem.


Before you begin, think back. Has the program run before? If so, what has changed? What has been added? These changes may include installing or removing new software, adding new hardware (like a sound card or a modem), or installing additional memory.

Restart the Computer

Many times, files or programs in your computer's memory may be causing a conflict. Restarting the computer can often rectify this.

Clean the CD-ROM

To clean the CD-ROM for the program, use a CD-ROM cleaning kit, or gently wipe the silver side of the CD-ROM with a soft, lint-free cotton cloth. Do not use paper cloth which can scratch the plastic and leave streaks. When you clean the CD-ROM, wipe from the center of the disc outward; do not use a circular motion.

Remove and Reinstall the Program

In most cases, the setup program has a Remove All button which removes all of the program files, but does not remove any files (such as documents or saved games) that you created on the hard drive. Use this Remove All option to remove the program completely, and then reinstall the program. Refer to the Read Me file for more information on this feature.

Check The Online Help File for the Program

There is generally either a help menu in the program (you may also try pressing the F1 key while in the program) or a help file on the CD-ROM or disk set that you installed the product from. You may also check in the folder where the program was installed or in the program group on the Start menu.

Check the Read Me File for the Program

This is usually located on the installation CD-ROM or disk set, but may also be installed into the program folder of the software. Click Start, point to Programs, and then point to the program on this list. You may see a Read Me item here. Also, double check the Minimum System Requirements on the product box. For Microsoft products, these are generally listed on the back of the box on the right hand side.

Check the Support Site for the Program

To find additional support information, connect to the following Microsoft Web site:

This site lists support options that are available to you, such as complete support site searches, Frequently Asked Questions, Troubleshooters, and links to Newsgroups where Microsoft Valued Professionals (MVP's) and other customers, who may have encountered the same problem that you are experiencing, may assist you. You may also access the same articles that Microsoft support professionals use when you call.

Obtain and Install Updated Sound and Video Drivers

To obtain and install the latest versions of the sound and video drivers for your sound card and video adapter, please visit the Windows Update Web site at the following address:

Test Under Different Situations

Is this problem consistently reproducible on your machine? Have you tried to run the program on another computer? Sometimes, the computer store from which you purchased the software may allow you to install the program on one of their computers for testing. (To save time, call the store before you take the software in for testing.) If you suspect you have a faulty CD- ROM, ask for a replacement disc.

Quit All Programs that Are Running

If you are using Windows 95/98, you may hold down the Ctrl and Alt keys and then press the Delete key (use Task Manager on Windows NT). This brings up the Close Program window which lists all of the programs that are running. For Windows 95 and Windows 98, the only necessary items are Explorer and Systray. Please note, however, that the program that you are having trouble with may have installed another item that needs to run and the program may not run if you close this item.

Printing from a Different Program

If the problem involves printing, try printing from another program, such as Windows WordPad or Macintosh SimpleText. If the item you wish to print includes images, WordPad supports this feature.

Change Your Display Settings

Try changing your display driver to run in a different display size or number of colors. To change this on a Windows 95-based computer:

  1. Click Start, point to Settings, and then click Control Panel.
  2. Double-click Display, and then click the Settings tab.
  3. Move the Desktop Area or Screen Area slider all the way to the left (the 640 x 480 Pixels setting).
  4. In the Colors or Color Palette box, click 256 Colors, and then click OK.
  5. If you are prompted to restart the computer, do so.

To change the display settings on a Macintosh, use the Monitors or Monitors And Sound control panel.

Also, some video cards support the Super VGA display driver. Check with your hardware manufacturer to determine if yours is one of them.

Note When You Receive the Error Message

Write down the exact text of any error messages you receive, and note when you receive these messages. Do you receive the error message when you start the program or when you click a particular button or menu? This information can help our support professionals find a speedy resolution to your issue, should you need to call.

Check Hardware Device

To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Shut down your computer.
  2. Unplug the device.
  3. Plug the device back in securely.
  4. Restart your computer.

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