What can be done if the software used to delete files and update drivers goes wrong?

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Q: I have a Dell T5500 running Windows 10 with all updates done automatically. At the end of December, I received an email from CCleaner saying it was time to renew my license and let it update my drivers, remove unnecessary files, etc. I accepted and CCleaner did its job. But when the computer restarted, my Dell U2719D monitor’s resolution from 2560×1440 was reduced to 1024×768 with no option to reset the resolution. Carbonite was unable to complete its daily backups. The computer takes 20 minutes to start.

I tried to do a Windows System Restore to a restore point of December 23, but it failed with a “Could not find file” message.

The CCleaner user support person couldn’t roll back the changes to CCleaner, and they spent a week “maybe try this” trying to get me working again before giving up and refunding my annual license.

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I then spent $190 at a computer repair shop. They got the monitor to run at 2048×1080 but not 2560×1440, and all other things, apps, printer, internet work fine once the computer boots up. However, booting takes about 20 minutes instead of seconds.

All recommended Windows 10 fixes fail with messages like “unable to perform the expected process”. The next option is to reinstall Windows 10, which will erase all my apps, and I’ll have to reinstall everything. It will be a major pain, and I will probably have to renew the license of some applications, therefore also expensive.

Do you think a reinstall of Windows is likely to solve the startup problem?

Curtis Mobley

A: Yeah. It’s possible that reinstalling Windows over your existing installation will fix your problem. But it is also possible, I would even say probable, that this is not the case. This is because reinstalling Windows will not remove third-party drivers from your drive and one or the other of them could well be the cause of the problem.

With this level of malfunction, I would opt for a clean install, which means reformatting your disk at the start of the installation process. Yes, that means having to reinstall your apps. The good news is that you are apparently able to back up your data before doing so.

Q: I have many home movies that I migrated to 35 DVDs. I have a DVD drive on my laptop and I want to put the movies on OneDrive. Someone set me up with VLC Media Player. But the software has a number of different programs in each video file, and you need to select the correct one to watch the movie. I’ve downloaded three DVDs so far, but I’m looking for a simpler program for movies.

Does Microsoft have a media player with Office 365 so I don’t have to load the player on every PC? What’s a good program I can use to watch the movies, and where can I download it from? Does it have to be loaded on every PC or can it be embedded in every movie when I copy them to my PC?

Larry Brickman, Bellevue

A: Windows 10 comes with Windows Media Player. Although the media player no longer plays DVDs, it seems that you have already ripped these DVDs on your computer.

As for having to choose the right file to play a movie, it depends on the software used to extract the file and how it has been configured. I have USB sticks with lots of movies on them and they are all single MP4 files. One click and I snack on popcorn.

I’ve used both WinX DVD Ripper Platinum and Handbrake to rip DVDs with good results. WinX DVD Ripper Platinum is a commercial program ($55.95 for lifetime license) while Handbrake is open source and free. The latter requires a little more knowledge to use. You might want to try Handbrake and if you’re not satisfied, consider paying for a smoother experience.

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