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Yet another used system HDtune

This is a discussion on Yet another used system HDtune within the Diagnostics, Utilities and Other Software forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. Hi, I finally got another used, Win7 thinkpad, 32-bit dual-core, with more than 3gb RAM. It seems slow to download


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Old 10-23-2018, 03:57 AM   #1
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Hi, I finally got another used, Win7 thinkpad, 32-bit dual-core, with more than 3gb RAM.

It seems slow to download web pages (i.e. there's an ongoing list of URLs which animatedly flash at lower-left of screen) and even, for example, when clicking the mouse inside a textbox to key in text - there's sometimes a pronounced delay.

It came with AVG active as the antivirus,as well as IE 11. While experimenting with IE, AVG flashed a warning message stating that there's a tracker hidden in my system (or something like that). I decided to "Disable" AVG protection, and download Avira instead (which is now the active AV, even while AVG is still residing here).

To this point, i've no idea what that "hidden tracker" is all about. Of course, AVG had also invited me to "upgrade". Any solutions to this? Any idea what might sometimes be slowing up some web page or forums sites,
...or sometimes when keying into textboxes?

Here's the HDtune attachments of my new-used thinkpad - do they look OK?
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Old 10-23-2018, 04:00 AM   #2
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Attached are the last HDtune tabs:
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Old 10-23-2018, 08:36 AM   #3
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All those screenshots weren't really necessary since you didn't run any of the tests under those tabs. The Health and Info tabs will do. The disk appears in good shape and is of decent capacity.

The slowness could be a result of many other things, for example, this being a supposedly fresh installation of Windows 7, there are hundreds of updates that need to be downloaded and installed. This is probably the case since it all happens in the background, and it needs a lot of internet bandwidth, so there's the possibility of experiencing slower browsing speeds.

Another reason is a malware infection. Since the laptop is used and came preinstalled with Windows 7, we have no idea what the source of the Windows 7 image was. Software obtained from shady sources are notorious for being laden with malicious stuff. It would be better if you gave us the exact notification from AVG regarding this "tracker". It's ill adviced to keep two antivirus software on the same system, even if one's real-time protection is disabled. AVG and Avira, in my opinion and short-lived experience with them, are not the best free antivirus solutions, and if you decide to use either one of them, make sure to uninstall the other. Keeping them both can cause conflicts and performance issues. To address the possibility of active malware on your new-used laptop, I strongly suggest you start a new thread in the malware removal subforum. Follow these instructions and proceed to start a thread there. You can describe thereon what you stated here or provide a link back to this thread.
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Old 10-24-2018, 12:28 AM   #4
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Stancestans, thank you so very much! and btw, it may be running a bit quicker via the Palemoon browser, versus IE, though i'm finding it weird & inconvenient that the JavaScript-Toggle icon disappears from the toolbar when I click on various sites, including this one (whereas the AB adblocker icon does not get displaced from toolbar the way the JS one does.)

I'm not sure another thread is yet necessary.
See, first of all, the seller stated he was going to stick on the COA sticker prior to shipping to me (i forgot to check for that yet, but hope to do so upon shutting down). While the system-info states it's 32-bit, he also shipped a sealed 64-bit CD-version of Win7 Pro, for all the good that would do me via my ultra-slow basic ISP svc!

Secondly, I had run both an Avira & AVG scan (with only one being enabled during either scan).

Results:
Avira displayed that all was OK.
AVG displayed as per what i'm attaching below.
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Old 10-24-2018, 12:13 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minni View Post
Stancestans, thank you so very much! and btw, it may be running a bit quicker via the Palemoon browser, versus IE, though i'm finding it weird & inconvenient that the JavaScript-Toggle icon disappears from the toolbar when I click on various sites, including this one (whereas the AB adblocker icon does not get displaced from toolbar the way the JS one does.)

I'm not sure another thread is yet necessary.
See, first of all, the seller stated he was going to stick on the COA sticker prior to shipping to me (i forgot to check for that yet, but hope to do so upon shutting down). While the system-info states it's 32-bit, he also shipped a sealed 64-bit CD-version of Win7 Pro, for all the good that would do me via my ultra-slow basic ISP svc!

Secondly, I had run both an Avira & AVG scan (with only one being enabled during either scan).

Results:
Avira displayed that all was OK.
AVG displayed as per what i'm attaching below.
The AVG scan results as per the screenshots are negative for infections and not indicative of any "hidden tracker" malware you mentioned earlier. However, if at any time you suspect the system could be compromised by some infection, feel free to start the malware removal thread as directed.

You can safely ignore the other results of the AVG scan, especially the ones related to the Registry. Whatever you do, do not let it or attempt to "fix" those registry errors. Messing with the Registry is a big no, unless you don't mind crippling the Windows installation and starting afresh.
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Old 10-24-2018, 02:17 PM   #6
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As advised by our colleague Stancestans, one of the reasons slowness and sluggishness is due to presence of 2 Anti-virus and would strongly suggest you to uninstall AVG as it could provide many negative results.
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Old 10-26-2018, 02:34 PM   #7
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OK, I see, thanks.

Just FYI, since then i checked the COA on the underside, and it didn't appear so authentic, rather like a black/white photocopy, unlike my COA's on older laptops which are multi-colored.

Also, soon after reading your response, i had actually deleted Avira, in order to just have one AV resident. But I hope to uninstall AVG soon & replace it with Avira (at least for the near future).

Also, btw, there had been an AVG popup stating:

Your ISP may be selling your browsing & search history.
Anyone can see what you do online.
Your location is exposed.
Your IP address is visible.
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Old 10-26-2018, 10:57 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minni View Post
OK, I see, thanks.

Just FYI, since then i checked the COA on the underside, and it didn't appear so authentic, rather like a black/white photocopy, unlike my COA's on older laptops which are multi-colored.

Also, soon after reading your response, i had actually deleted Avira, in order to just have one AV resident. But I hope to uninstall AVG soon & replace it with Avira (at least for the near future).

Also, btw, there had been an AVG popup stating:

Your ISP may be selling your browsing & search history.
Anyone can see what you do online.
Your location is exposed.
Your IP address is visible.
That's AVG simply telling you that you are NOT using a vpn, and is most likely trying to get you to upgrade or buy it. Such tactics are not uncommon, unfortunately. As for the COA and genuineness of the Windows 7 installation, you will tell as soon as all available Windows updates have been installed. The online validation link is no longer working, but the fact that the COA isn't the original one casts doubt on its genuineness. What you should do is open Windows Update via Control Panel and see what it's doing. If it is downloading updates like it should, allow it time to do its thing and when asked to restart to install them, do so. Like I said before, there are hundreds of updates for Windows 7 and it's gonna take time to get them all installed, so you need to give it time to do that and if for some reason the updates are not configured yet or have been disabled, you should enable them and let it go on. You could ask the seller about the COA just to hear what they have to say about it. Something tells me the 64-bit dvd may also not be genuine.
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Old 10-29-2018, 12:16 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stancestans View Post
You could ask the seller about the COA just to hear what they have to say about it. Something tells me the 64-bit dvd may also not be genuine.
Thanks again! I'll attach some more screenshots in response to yours re: Win Updates.

BTW, the 64-bit dvd looks quite genuine to me.
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Old 10-29-2018, 12:32 AM   #10
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P.S. Is it necessary to "set up backup" to back up files?
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Old 10-29-2018, 02:32 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minni View Post
Thanks again! I'll attach some more screenshots in response to yours re: Win Updates.

BTW, the 64-bit dvd looks quite genuine to me.
Looks good. Search for the update KB971033 in the list of installed updates. It's the one responsible for validation of Windows Activation Technologies. If it is installed and the Windows activation status is not affected in the near future, then you're set. If the activation is bogus, you'll know soon enough. If the DVD looks OK to you, then that's all that matters; I really don't need convincing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minni View Post
P.S. Is it necessary to "set up backup" to back up files?
(i'm attaching another attachment)
If you have any critically important data on the computer, then it is a no-brainer that you need a good backup strategy for that data. It doesn't have to be the Windows 7 backup feature that Action Center is telling you about. It can be other third-party software, but it's nice to have the built-in option if nothing else is readily available. You may also want to create a backup of the system so that you can restore it if something breaks. If you've ever lost any irreplaceable data, then you wouldn't be asking this.
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Old 10-31-2018, 12:04 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stancestans View Post
Looks good. Search for the update KB971033 in the list of installed updates. It's the one responsible for validation of Windows Activation Technologies.
I didn't find KB971033 among the list of installed updates, so should i worry?
The only resident KB's starting with "9" seems to be KB976902 & KB982018

Quote:
If it is installed and the Windows activation status is not affected in the near future, then you're set. If the activation is bogus, you'll know soon enough. If the DVD looks OK to you, then that's all that matters; I really don't need convincing.
Come to think of it, maybe it isn't OEM, because it doesn't look like any of the ones on Google Images search. Just a white background, stating WINDOWS 7 PRO 64 BIT in black text, then below that on the left, the red/green/blue/yellow Windows Logo stating Windows 7, and across from that, a DVD ROM Logo. It does look very professional, just not like the ones on Google-Images, nor did it come in a "pack" with anything else. (why would anyone want to bother reproducing something like that on a color-printer, even if it can be done?)
...also if the DVD is functional, why would i need a system backup? Granted, I do have very slow internet, so 64-bit might be overkill.

Quote:
If you have any critically important data on the computer, then it is a no-brainer that you need a good backup strategy for that data. It doesn't have to be the Windows 7 backup feature that Action Center is telling you about. It can be other third-party software, but it's nice to have the built-in option if nothing else is readily available. You may also want to create a backup of the system so that you can restore it if something breaks. If you've ever lost any irreplaceable data, then you wouldn't be asking this.
I've nothing really critical. All i have is one Memorex CD-R and two USB pens (one 4gb and one 16gb, and i backup personal files & graphics onto them.) I think in my case i should just create a restore point, once i have all the software i like & use up and running.

Also, this laptop's default seems to be "none" for screen-saver-timeout.
Whereas on XP, i liked the fact that it timed-out if i'd step away for a significant period of time, and i merely clicked any button or mouse for the screen to light up again.
...is there any such convenient capability on Win-7? Or do i risk getting locked-out?

I'd appreciate if you could check out my attached Win Task Manager. Could there be a bug there causing system slowdown?
FWIW, when i first boot-up, the first time i open PaleMoon, i can count up to 35 or 40 until it opens.
...by contrast, Chrome opens at the count of five, or at most 15.
...there's also a delay (at 1st bootup) till text registers in textboxes, unlike Chrome.
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Old 10-31-2018, 06:00 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minni View Post
I didn't find KB971033 among the list of installed updates, so should i worry?
The only resident KB's starting with "9" seems to be KB976902 & KB982018
It is served among important updates and should be automatically installed unless it has been hidden. Hiding it is something that's definitely done on pirated copies of Windows 7. If Windows Update reports no more available important updates, and KB971033 is not among the installed updates, then it definitely has been hidden. You can restore hidden updates using the link on the left of the Windows Update window, then check for updates and see if the update is offered. Alternatively, you can manually download and install it from https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/971033/description-of-the-update-for-windows-activation-technologies

Quote:
Come to think of it, maybe it isn't OEM, because it doesn't look like any of the ones on Google Images search. Just a white background, stating WINDOWS 7 PRO 64 BIT in black text, then below that on the left, the red/green/blue/yellow Windows Logo stating Windows 7, and across from that, a DVD ROM Logo. It does look very professional, just not like the ones on Google-Images, nor did it come in a "pack" with anything else. (why would anyone want to bother reproducing something like that on a color-printer, even if it can be done?)
To make it look professional or genuine to the unknowing eye, and it seems to have made the intended impression.

Quote:
...also if the DVD is functional, why would i need a system backup? Granted, I do have very slow internet, so 64-bit might be overkill.

I've nothing really critical. All i have is one Memorex CD-R and two USB pens (one 4gb and one 16gb, and i backup personal files & graphics onto them.) I think in my case i should just create a restore point, once i have all the software i like & use up and running.
System Restore doesn't backup personal files and does not always revert a problem. Use whatever works for you though.


Quote:
Also, this laptop's default seems to be "none" for screen-saver-timeout.
Whereas on XP, i liked the fact that it timed-out if i'd step away for a significant period of time, and i merely clicked any button or mouse for the screen to light up again.
...is there any such convenient capability on Win-7? Or do i risk getting locked-out?
Adjust screen saver settings to your liking. They haven't been removed in Windows 7. Simply type "screen saver" in the Start menu search box or in Control Panel. You can also Google "Windows 7 screensaver settings".

Quote:
I'd appreciate if you could check out my attached Win Task Manager. Could there be a bug there causing system slowdown?
FWIW, when i first boot-up, the first time i open PaleMoon, i can count up to 35 or 40 until it opens.
...by contrast, Chrome opens at the count of five, or at most 15.
...there's also a delay (at 1st bootup) till text registers in textboxes, unlike Chrome.
That sounds and looks absolutely normal to me. Browsers are not known for fast startup. What you describe is expected behaviour on systems using a hard disk drive. Chrome's user interface appears faster, but it doesn't become usable immediately. The browser environment continues loading in the background and that takes a little longer, so even if the user interface appears, it doesn't become immediately responsive to user interaction.
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Old 11-02-2018, 03:55 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stancestans View Post
If Windows Update reports no more available important updates,
Thanks again for all your helpful info!
Actually Windows did want to install 1 important update today (as well as 2 optional ones). But since i selected "check for updates and decide if to install", i'm postponing downloading it, since i'm considering disabling updates altogether, as i gather they're a major nuisance.

Quote:
...and KB971033 is not among the installed updates, then it definitely has been hidden.
actually it wasn't hidden, since upon selecting "restore hidden updates" it yielded nothing.

I manually installed KB971033, and it now displays among the list of updates.
But other than that, it didn't notify me whether this is a pirated system (or not).

I don't know how to find out from seller whether the DVD he sent is genuine. It seems he gets his stock from a large school system, and refurbishes them. For all i know, the DVD might be from the school-system. In other words, perhaps school-systems acquire from Microsoft, mass-reproduced DVDs which look like what i described?

Quote:
Adjust screen saver settings to your liking. They haven't been removed in Windows 7. Simply type "screen saver" in the Start menu search box or in Control Panel. You can also Google "Windows 7 screensaver settings".
What mainly had concerned me, was that if i'd choose screen saver in Win7, i'd get locked out, by comparison to XP wherein i'd press any key to automatically turn the display back on. Or is that not the case?

Quote:
That sounds and looks absolutely normal to me. Browsers are not known for fast startup. What you describe is expected behaviour on systems using a hard disk drive. Chrome's user interface appears faster, but it doesn't become usable immediately. The browser environment continues loading in the background and that takes a little longer, so even if the user interface appears, it doesn't become immediately responsive to user interaction.
I see... I still wonder if another Firefox-type browser other-than-palemoon might be faster.
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Old 11-04-2018, 02:18 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minni View Post
Thanks again for all your helpful info!
Actually Windows did want to install 1 important update today (as well as 2 optional ones). But since i selected "check for updates and decide if to install", i'm postponing downloading it, since i'm considering disabling updates altogether, as i gather they're a major nuisance.

actually it wasn't hidden, since upon selecting "restore hidden updates" it yielded nothing.

I manually installed KB971033, and it now displays among the list of updates.
But other than that, it didn't notify me whether this is a pirated system (or not).

I don't know how to find out from seller whether the DVD he sent is genuine. It seems he gets his stock from a large school system, and refurbishes them. For all i know, the DVD might be from the school-system. In other words, perhaps school-systems acquire from Microsoft, mass-reproduced DVDs which look like what i described?
With KB971033 installed, you would have already seen a message about Windows not being genuine, so it's all good. See if you can download Windows 7 here using the product key on the COA. If you can, you'll be better of keeping that copy instead of the one supplied with the laptop.

Quote:
What mainly had concerned me, was that if i'd choose screen saver in Win7, i'd get locked out, by comparison to XP wherein i'd press any key to automatically turn the display back on. Or is that not the case?
Not the case. I wonder where you got that notion from.

Quote:
I see... I still wonder if another Firefox-type browser other-than-palemoon might be faster.
The new Firefox is pretty fast. I would recommend Waterfox, but there is no 32-bit release.
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Old 11-04-2018, 02:59 AM   #16
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Scroll down to method 2 https://www.wikihow.com/Change-Scree...ngs-in-Windows
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Old 11-04-2018, 05:39 PM   #17
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OK, i already set up a screensaver for 10 min. absence & will see how it goes in future.

As for Firefox, is their most recent version OK, and where's my best bet to download it from?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stancestans View Post
With KB971033 installed, you would have already seen a message about Windows not being genuine, so it's all good. See if you can download Windows 7 here using the product key on the COA. If you can, you'll be better of keeping that copy instead of the one supplied with the laptop.
But what if the COA sticker isn't genuine? (as i'd said, it looks to me like a dark photocopy)

Also, did you mean I should make a copy of Win7 on external storage? How much room would that take up?

I don't recall downloading a new system since the Windows98 era which used to periodically flash the horrific blue screens. And i seem to recall it was a nightmare to [restore/download], with no success, due to the untrue instructions.

Can i expect the same frustration with trying to download Win7?
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Old 11-04-2018, 10:18 PM   #18
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P.S. Important Update to my last post above:

I just tried screen saver for the 1st time (see my attached screenshot, which is my setting).

I went out for a couple hours, and when i got back, the screen was dark.
I pressed a key on keyboard, and it lit up to a blue screen with an Orange Icon at center, which stated that i'm locked out. It also offered the option to click the orange icon, or to "Switch User".

So i clicked the orange icon, and things went berserk from there on.

For example:
  • There were minimized windows in the taskbar which refused to display a popup offering the choice of which window i wish to maximize. Rather, there was just a quick flash displaying them, but not actually letting me open them!

  • If i'd try keying into the search-engine textbox, it went berserk, automatically keying this:
    <kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk

  • Ditto if i tried keying into the DuckDuckGo searchBox that's built-into the PaleMoon toolbar.

  • Also, I couldn't paste images into IrfanView, as in Control-V.

  • VERY oddly, when i clicked Bookmarks, a list of names i didn't recognize displayed, such as Kyle, yada, yada. (Could be those names are kids from the school system wherefrom this laptop came from. So perhaps the seller had never deleted the alternate users from this system, and they're on a different part of this system, and somehow, it switched to that section when i clicked back from screensaver mode?

  • Above all, naturally, i immediately scanned with BitDefender which detected Zero threats.

Any way to avoid the ScreenSaver pandora's box in future?
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Old 11-05-2018, 05:05 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minni View Post
As for Firefox, is their most recent version OK, and where's my best bet to download it from?
It (the new version known as Quantum, released late last year) won me back from Chrome, so it's more than OK for me. I can't say if it'll be OK for you though, so you're gonna have to try it for yourself and form your own opinion. You should always download software from its author's website. For that matter, you should get Firefox from https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/new/ and nowhere else. A quick web search would have led you there.

Quote:
But what if the COA sticker isn't genuine? (as i'd said, it looks to me like a dark photocopy)
If the COA is not genuine, then the product key is also not genuine as well as the Windows installation that is using it. In that case, you would be using Windows illegally and you'd have to purchase a license or recovery media from Lenovo or NOT use Windows.

Quote:
Also, did you mean I should make a copy of Win7 on external storage? How much room would that take up?
No, that's not what I meant. All I'm saying is that since the genuineness of that Windows 7 64-bit DVD is in question, it is better to download Windows 7 straight from Microsoft, instead of relying on the questionable copy on that DVD. That's what I would do. It's all about trusting the source and integrity of the OS. However, IF the dvd looks good to you and you see no big deal about its genuineness, then you DON'T need to download Windows 7 from that link.

Quote:
I don't recall downloading a new system since the Windows98 era which used to periodically flash the horrific blue screens. And i seem to recall it was a nightmare to [restore/download], with no success, due to the untrue instructions.

Can i expect the same frustration with trying to download Win7?
No frustrations. All you need is a genuine Windows 7 product key, which should be on that COA. IF the COA has a genuine OEM product key, the only obstacle you may face is the Microsoft webpage linked to earlier will recognise the OEM product key and inform you to contact the manufacturer of your pc (Lenovo) and obtain the recovery media from them. If that happens, then you won't be able to download Windows 7 from Microsoft using that product key. However, if that isn't the case, you will be offered with download options for either 32-bit or 64-bit Windows 7 which you can burn to an empty DVD or to a flash disk for use to reinstall or repair Windows if the need ever arises. Again, I repeat, you don't have to do any of this IF you're OK with the supplied DVD.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minni View Post
P.S. Important Update to my last post above:

I just tried screen saver for the 1st time (see my attached screenshot, which is my setting).

I went out for a couple hours, and when i got back, the screen was dark.
I pressed a key on keyboard, and it lit up to a blue screen with an Orange Icon at center, which stated that i'm locked out. It also offered the option to click the orange icon, or to "Switch User".

So i clicked the orange icon, and things went berserk from there on.

For example:
  • There were minimized windows in the taskbar which refused to display a popup offering the choice of which window i wish to maximize. Rather, there was just a quick flash displaying them, but not actually letting me open them!

  • If i'd try keying into the search-engine textbox, it went berserk, automatically keying this:
    <kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk

  • Ditto if i tried keying into the DuckDuckGo searchBox that's built-into the PaleMoon toolbar.

  • Also, I couldn't paste images into IrfanView, as in Control-V.

  • VERY oddly, when i clicked Bookmarks, a list of names i didn't recognize displayed, such as Kyle, yada, yada. (Could be those names are kids from the school system wherefrom this laptop came from. So perhaps the seller had never deleted the alternate users from this system, and they're on a different part of this system, and somehow, it switched to that section when i clicked back from screensaver mode?

  • Above all, naturally, i immediately scanned with BitDefender which detected Zero threats.

Any way to avoid the ScreenSaver pandora's box in future?
Sounds like you have a keyboard problem. You either have a malfunctioning keyboard or a stuck key. Screensaver doesn't cause any of that.
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Old 11-05-2018, 05:43 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Stancestans View Post
You should always download software from its author's website. For that matter, you should get Firefox from https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/new/ and nowhere else. A quick web search would have led you there.
Thanks - I downloaded it, and the installer displays in Downloads as only 313kb. How is that possible, if Palemoon installer is 34,070kb?

Quote:
If the COA is not genuine, then the product key is also not genuine as well as the Windows installation that is using it. In that case, you would be using Windows illegally and you'd have to purchase a license or recovery media from Lenovo or NOT use Windows.

No, that's not what I meant. All I'm saying is that since the genuineness of that Windows 7 64-bit DVD is in question, it is better to download Windows 7 straight from Microsoft, instead of relying on the questionable copy on that DVD. That's what I would do. It's all about trusting the source and integrity of the OS. However, IF the dvd looks good to you and you see no big deal about its genuineness, then you DON'T need to download Windows 7 from that link.

No frustrations. All you need is a genuine Windows 7 product key, which should be on that COA. IF the COA has a genuine OEM product key, the only obstacle you may face is the Microsoft webpage linked to earlier will recognise the OEM product key and inform you to contact the manufacturer of your pc (Lenovo) and obtain the recovery media from them. If that happens, then you won't be able to download Windows 7 from Microsoft using that product key. However, if that isn't the case, you will be offered with download options for either 32-bit or 64-bit Windows 7 which you can burn to an empty DVD or to a flash disk for use to reinstall or repair Windows if the need ever arises. Again, I repeat, you don't have to do any of this IF you're OK with the supplied DVD.
...ah, i think i see now. Just to be clear, can i attempt this:
Enter COA key, and if MS doesn't refer me to Lenovo, Select 32-bit option, Download to external storage (which i'd need to buy, and i've no idea which/where. Any recommendations? I more often than not wind up with buyers' regret - i.e. you can't imagine what i'm dealing with now in real-life, so i'll probably have to postpone this indefinitely as i've done with lotsa other stuff which require "best value".

Quote:
Sounds like you have a keyboard problem. You either have a malfunctioning keyboard or a stuck key. Screensaver doesn't cause any of that.
Well, it's true that my computer isn't responding so well to my keystrokes & mouse-strokes, but i've been using the same keyboard/mouse w/my XP laptop, and all this didn't happen there. The only thing i experienced on that one, was the type of delays which everyone used to experience with dual-PS2 adapters. Note that with this system, my mouse is plugged directly to USB, whereas my vintage Dell keyboard (which is for-me more ergonomic than my USB keyboards) is plugged to the purple part of adapter, and the adapter, in turn, is plugged to USB hub.

Maybe i'll try switching to a USB keyboard for awhile, however uncomfortable, just to test it.

But i'm still convinced that it was directly correlated to having gone away for hours, since i came back to windows which i couldn't maximize and so forth. I don't see how that could have been related to my hardware.
There's also the fact that i suddenly saw a bunch of alien names in my Bookmarks list (such as Kyle, whom i suspect to be a student at the school system wherefrom this laptop originated.

That's why i'm convinced it has something to do with my initial setup of the system, where i wasn't sure whether i was supposed to select homegroup (or whichever Qs i'd been asked when i booted this laptop for the 1st time.
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