I bought this used XP tower from friend in my building year ago. It was her father-in-laws's. He could not shut it down either. I am 63 and know nothing about the Registry. When you go to start-shut down, it reboots itself. I have been shutting it down by holding the power button until light goes off, but read online it damages your machine. I see a box come up when it shuts down this way but it is too quick to make note of it. Something about dll. What should I do? Just leave it on all the time?

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If I ever get a used computer this is what I would do (and what I recommend for you)

  • take an image (Macrium Reflect is free and easy to use)
  • wipe the hard drive and repartition
  • install the operating system from scratch

The image would allow me to recover anything in an emergency. Wiping, repartitioning and reinstalling the OS guarantees that there are no suprise nasties lurking about (trojans, viruses, malware, etc). If the computer comes with a recovery partition then use that to return the computer to a pristine state instead of repartitioning.

It didn't come with a disk so couldn't reinstall the OS. But thanks!

Press the Start button, choose Run, and paste into the Run box..
control sysdm.cpl,,3
Or go Control Panel, System, and choose Advanced tab.
There select Startup and Recovery Settings button, on that page deselect the Automatically restart checkbox. You system should now sutdown correctly.
Your problem likely arose because upon shutdown an error was being detected, and XP was set to restart upon an error [you do mention a dll error box flashing].
Age is no excuse. Be proud that you're tackling stuff.
I always make and update images, as RJ suggests. Fortnightly, roughly.

No age is no excuse but never had class or learning about computer so don't know how to fiddle with registry. I downloaded the file from above. Thank you so much for your assistance. I'll have to look up how to wipe a hard drive and repartition. I know this XP has backup but don't know about recovery.

Most users never need to enter the registry, or make modifications specifically. Did the fix above solve the shutdown problem, or do you still need help with that?
Before you wipe and reformat, if that is what you wish to do, make sure that you have the Product Key - it is likely on a sticker on the side? of the tower. If not, use software to extract it eg Magical Jelly Bean [yeah, I know... damn hippies...], and record it for use with your new installation. Another is WinKeyFinder - google them.
With XP you will need a disc - XP cannot be downloaded as can Windows 7. Borrow one of the same type as your installation. For example, both those keyfinder tools will give your Product ID also; if it contains -OEM- then you have an OEM installation, for example, and will need an OEM disc.

Yes it did! First I have to find out how to wipe and reformat, then borrow the XP OS from my friend at church to reinstall it; have the Product Key; hey I am an original ex-hippie haha; and don't know what OEM is. Will let you know what happens.

OEM=orignal equiptment manufacture, the maker/builder of the computer

If you want to burden your brain with knowledge and not dope and incense, then this covers the vagaries of installing with OEM discs: http://wiki.lunarsoft.net/wiki/Product_IDs#Windows_XP_complete_list_-_English_locale
And this, a grab from anandtech.com, tells how to modify XP discs to allow installation from the wrong medium version. eg retail to OEM, as here, or vv.:
"Full retail (FPP) media can easily be modified to accept OEM product keys, and vice versa. Copy the CD to your hard drive. Locate and open SETUPP.INI (i386 directory) in Notepad. There should be a line similar to:


Doesn't matter what the number actually is (it will be different for Home, Professional, and other packages per the Lunarsoft WIKI chart). Just change the last three digits, whatever they are, to "OEM" (without quotes). e.g. Pid=76477000 would become Pid=76477OEM to go to an OEM media. Change the last three digits to the number shown on the Lunarsoft WIKI page to go from OEM to that version of retail.

That's should be all there is to it. Save and burn back to CD, and it should work with the appropriate product key."
I've not had to do this stuff, but both sites are reputable. And you are only risking a cd.
Damn hippies. Tsk....
A bit more.... I've not used Macrium Reflect, I have Minitool Partition Wizard Home [free]; it's rather good and so I have no urge to check other softwares. You might at least glance at their site.
If the hard drive has been well used then I would suggest deleting all the user crap files, next running CCleaner [google], using Partition Wizard to create some free space at the back, copy into it the working sys [you burn their free bootable cd to do that; it has to be done "offline" because components of the system cannot be copied whilst in use]. Next I would wipe the remainders of original partitions [formatting, quick or otherwise does not do this] mainly to remove traces of old partition boundaries. Partition Wizard will do this from the bootable cd. Quick format and install. [A full format does the same setting up that a quick does, plus checks the disc surface - slowly, rarely necessary].
And there goes your weekend.

Thank you for all your help and assistance. Will try Minitool instead of other. I have been saving my files and folders and favs on a CD-Rom. Have plenty of them empty! And I haven't done dope since 1973 and we are not allowed to burn incense in this building or is infraction.

Atta girl!! Fiddling with the 'Registry' is a bit like sneaking into the Head Of School's office and fiddling in the filing cabinets. Misplace any folders/files there, and you wind up in a lot of trouble!
Sad to hear " And I haven't done dope since 1973 and we are not allowed to burn incense in this building or is infraction." But the price of progress is sometimes very worthwhile, especially now that the World Wide Web is far better at expanding the mind, than dope ever was!

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