Top 5 Most Common Windows 7 Problems and How to Fix Them

Windows7   Top 5 Most Common Windows 7 Problems and How to Fix ThemWindows 7 is a fairly cool operating system, but like most operating systems it’s not perfect. Some Windows 7 problems are bugs others happen to be features. Either way, they are annoying and all we care for is a quick fix.

Some of the most commonly reported problems with Windows 7 include compatibility with older programs, slow performance on low-end hardware, and trouble with the Aero theme and its features. In this article, I’ll show you how to fix these annoyances. For those that prefer an automatic fix, scroll down to the bottom for suggested software solutions.

1. Windows 7 Seems Slow

Windows 7 is hungry for resources. It features many visual effects that draw heavy on your graphics card and system memory. If your system was slow out of the box, chances are you can easily fix that by turning off superfluous effects.

Go to > Start and type ‘performance‘ in the search field. Select > ‘Adjust the appearance and performance of Windows‘ from the results. The > Performance Options window will open. Under > Visual Effects select > Adjust for best performance. If you would like to retain a nice interface, select > Custom and check > ‘Use visual styles on windows and buttons‘.

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2. Windows Aero Not Working

I recently wrote an article on How To Enable & Troubleshoot Aero Effects In Windows 7.

In addition to this article, you should make sure that your graphics card supports Aero and that graphics driver is up to date. However, if your computer came with Windows 7 this should not be an issue.

Finally, Aero could be disabled in your registry. Before I proceed to explain how to check and edit your registry, I must warn you! Editing the registry can cause permanent damage to your Windows installation. Please backup your registry and know what you’re doing.

Go to > Start and type > ‘regedit‘ into the > search option. Launch regedit and browse to > KEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\DWM. The value of the entry > ‘EnableAeroPeek‘ should be set to 1, rather than 0.

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3. Older Programs Not Compatible

Before upgrading to Windows 7, it is advisable to check which of your programs will be compatible. The Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor checks the most common programs. However, as I have outlined in my article How To Use Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor To Check PC Compatibility, you may have to do a manual check at the Windows 7 Compatibility Center for many other programs. Now, if you have already upgraded and if it turns out that a dear program of yours is not compatible, there is a way out: Windows 7 Compatibility Mode.

To install a program in Compatibility Mode, right-click its > installation file and select > Properties. In its > Properties windows switch to the > Compatibility tab, check > ‘Run this program in compatibility mode for:‘ and from the > pull-down menu choose the latest version of Windows of which you know that the program was running on.

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You may have to repeat this step with the program itself once it is installed. Right-click the > program icon, select > Properties, switch to > Compatibility tab, check > ‘Run this program in compatibility mode for:‘, and choose the respective Windows operating system.

Furthermore, you can change the settings for the respective program and you should explore these, depending on the issue you’re facing.

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Finally, if you went with Windows 7 Professional or up, you can use Windows 7’s XP Mode. It runs Windows XP as a virtual machine and you can install all programs that worked on Windows XP in this environment. Ars Technica has a very decent article on Windows 7’s XP Mode.

4. DVD Drive Not Found

Windows 7 can not find your optical drive? This is another issue that involves editing the registry. The warning from point 2 applies!

Click > Start, search for > ‘regedit‘ and launch it from the > results. Navigate to > ‘HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class‘. In the > right-hand panel delete > ‘UpperFilters‘ and > ‘LowerFilters‘, restart Windows and see if the problem was resolved.

If not, click > Start, type > Disk Management, and select > ‘Create and format hard disk partitions‘. In the > Disk Management window right-click on the > optical drive icon and select ‘Change Drive Letter and Paths‘. In the > Change Drive Letter and Paths window click the > Change… button and choose a new drive letter. Restart Windows and hope the issue was fixed.

5. New Themes Change Custom Icons

So you switched themes and found that some of your custom icons where changed? That’s quite annoying, but it’s easy to prevent. Right-click > desktop, select > Personalize, in the control panel windows that opens switch to > Change Desktop Icons, and in the > Desktop Icon Settings window uncheck > ‘Allow themes to change desktop icons‘.

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Another common issue, which only seems to occur in older laptops, is that Windows 7 falsely reports an empty battery and subsequently shuts down. ITExpertVoice provides a workaround, preventing Windows 7 from shutting down when it thinks the battery is empty. Unfortunately, this may leave you with a sudden laptop death when the battery really runs out.

Finally, many Windows 7 problems can be fixed in an instant using handy tools. MakeUseOf has reviewed FixWin in the article How To Fix Common Windows Problems In A Snap With FixWin. Another option is QuickFix, which contains 21 common Windows 7 fixes. Since it is a portable app, it could one day help you out of a virus attack or restore default Windows 7 behavior.

Which other issues did you run into on Windows 7 and how did you fix them?

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If you have any questions related to what's mentioned in the article or need help with any computer issue, ask it on MakeUseOf Answers—We and our community will be more than happy to help.

36 Comments -

StabbyMcdougal

Microsoft’s Fix It site is pretty useful too: http://support.microsoft.com/fixit I think their cd/dvd fix it tool fixes the drive problems in the article too.

StabbyMcdougal

Microsoft’s Fix It site is pretty useful too: http://support.microsoft.com/f… I think their cd/dvd fix it tool fixes the drive problems in the article too.

StabbyMcdougal

Microsoft’s Fix It support site works pretty well for fixing common issues. They even have a tool for fixing cd/dvd problems like in the article. It can be found here: http://support.microsoft.com/f

metazai

Like “most” operating systems? Which are the perfect ones, then? I’d like to try one!

=+)

Tina

Well, probably none, but since I haven’t tried all of them, how am I supposed to know? Fact is, that this is also a matter of what you need and what you like. So some flavor of Linux might be just perfect for one person, while lacking tons of features for another. So in essence, it’s hard to generalize these things.

metazai

Like “most” operating systems? Which are the perfect ones, then? I’d like to try one!

=+)

Monte

Having ran most Intel Operating Systems this one is a little better than some, worse than others.

The main gipe I have is the change in explorer. Unlike pre Vista Windows OS’s you can customize each folder you make on your desktop, unless I missed something somewhere along the line…

Nice post.

Monte

Having ran most Intel Operating Systems this one is a little better than some, worse than others.

The main gipe I have is the change in explorer. Unlike pre Vista Windows OS’s you can customize each folder you make on your desktop, unless I missed something somewhere along the line…

Nice post.

Cmjhonline

How to replace Quick launch! How to retain compatibility across other computers on home network (not win7) and avoid “home” net?

These are a few of the real issues. Aero problems? Not in the same league.

Cmjhonline

How to replace Quick launch! How to retain compatibility across other computers on home network (not win7) and avoid “home” net?

These are a few of the real issues. Aero problems? Not in the same league.

Justin GR.

Thanks for that DVD Drive Not Found fix. It was driving me crazy.

Tina

Glad we could help.

Edsn_card

What about the task host window? It always shows up almost every time I shutdown my computer (1 program still running)… How do you fix it, it’s kind of annoying.

Edsn_card

I have already tried the hotfix but it’s still there. Any help please, I’m running windows 7 starter.

Tina

I recommend that you ask this on MakeUseOf Answers. Please include in your question that you have already tried these hotfixes and what else you have tried to fix it. Thank you! http://www.makeuseof.com/answers

Edsn_card

Thank you.

Tim Brookes

Great tips Tina – though my main Windows 7 problem has to be the price ;)

Tina

Well, no fix there, but a workaround called Linux.

TLW

Tina, I promised myself I’d stop trying to fix things. Every time I do it on my own, I do more harm than good. The lure of self taught knowledge gets me in trouble every time. This could be worse Tina. At least now I create a restore point before I screw up my Win7. Duck :)

ck

one thing that annoys me with win7 is i have my directories in list view and when i check on a file/folder on the right , the window automatically scrolls left.
is there a fix for this?

JD Wohlever

Remove some of the column features (Date modified, rating, etc.) Right click on a column heading, and uncheck it on the window that pops up.
Also, you can right click on the column heading, select SIZE ALL COLUMNS TO FIT.
Once your happy with the view, Click TOOLS on the main menu bar, FOLDER OPTIONS, Select the VIEW Tab, click APPLY TO FOLDERS, then if prompted say YES.
Now all folders of that type (Pictures, Videos, Documents, or Music are the four basic “types”) will all be set-up the same way everytime you open that type of folder.
To change the TYPE of folder, in Explorer right click on the folder in question, click PROPERTIES, click the CUSTOMIZE tab, the select OPTIMIZE THIS FOLDER FOR… and select a choice. If you check mark the “Also Apply to this template to all subfolders” as well, then all folders nested within the folder your customizing will take on the same TYPE you are adjusting. Then when your done click OK.

Hope that helps.

ck

one thing that annoys me with win7 is i have my directories in list view and when i check on a file/folder on the right , the window automatically scrolls left.
is there a fix for this?

Tina

I recommend that you ask this on MakeUseOf Answers. Please include in your question that you have already tried these hotfixes and what else you have tried to fix it. Thank you! http://www.makeuseof.com/answe

Tina

It’s a feature, not a bug! ;)

It actually scrolls right, but the item you selected jumps to the left side of your window.

I could not find a fix for you. However, there is a long discussion thread on the Windows Technet forum and no fix was posted to it. So I’m afraid, there presently is not fix. http://social.technet.microsof

Martin Lburke

The most common problem with Windows per say is the fact its Micro$oft and will be faulty/flawed no matter what you do. Best solution is to use a Mac – Can’t afford a Mac run Linux (ubuntu) both will out perform anything from micro$oft and never need anti-virus software

Makeuseofdupc

A really annoying “feature” is that you can no longer arrange files within a folder manually. (You can on the desktop… but why not within folders?) I use this very often, grouping things by their meaning to me — not just by date or name. I could use a command-line interface if I just wanted things by date or name. Why why why?!?!?

Anonymous

how about Steal Focus that can no longer be disabled :(

JD Wohlever

Remove some of the column features (Date modified, rating, etc.) Right click on a column heading, and uncheck it on the window that pops up.
Also, you can right click on the column heading, select SIZE ALL COLUMNS TO FIT.
Once your happy with the view, Click TOOLS on the main menu bar, FOLDER OPTIONS, Select the VIEW Tab, click APPLY TO FOLDERS, then if prompted say YES.
Now all folders of that type (Pictures, Videos, Documents, or Music are the four basic “types”) will all be set-up the same way everytime you open that type of folder.
To change the TYPE of folder, in Explorer right click on the folder in question, click PROPERTIES, click the CUSTOMIZE tab, the select OPTIMIZE THIS FOLDER FOR… and select a choice. If you check mark the “Also Apply to this template to all subfolders” as well, then all folders nested within the folder your customizing will take on the same TYPE you are adjusting. Then when your done click OK.

Hope that helps.

Lisa

#1 problem I have (and have heard from several others) is Windows 7 not allowing me to download or save something because it says I’m not the “Administrator.” Has anyone run into this or better yet, solved it?

TechGyo

Thanks for the helpful tips.. i had the issue with the applications not detecting in win 7

glebarr

most programs on my system freeze up when I click them, then a small window appears saying program is not responding and states it is looking for a solution…it seems to happen after my computer has been idle for several minutes

Bika5h

is front pannel useless inwindows 7??

Blitzhammer

I just recently started having problems with Win 7 locking up. I can be in the middle of a game, or surfing the web like now… and it will freeze. Sometimes it’s only temporary, lasting anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Other times.. I have to hit the power button and restart it. Other things I have noticed as well.. it had issues booting up once… gets hung on the windows screen with the spinning logo. And just tonight, it failed to recognize one of my hard drives after I woke it up.
Not sure what is going on with it…. any suggestions?

Blitzhammer

I just recently started having problems with Win 7 locking up. I can be in the middle of a game, or surfing the web like now… and it will freeze. Sometimes it’s only temporary, lasting anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Other times.. I have to hit the power button and restart it. Other things I have noticed as well.. it had issues booting up once… gets hung on the windows screen with the spinning logo. And just tonight, it failed to recognize one of my hard drives after I woke it up.
Not sure what is going on with it…. any suggestions?