Windows XP develops odd bug with file checker

Tim Henderson, database editor for The Miami Herald's computer-assisted reporting team, debuted last week as The Olympian's technology columnist. He replaced Jim Coates, who retired last month from the Chicago Tribune.

c Clatchy Newspapers

Question: How do I run the System File Checker on my new HP laptop with Windows XP Media Edition? I have asked the manufacturer and Microsoft but have gotten no help from them or anywhere else.

Near the end of the program, it asks for XP Professional CD No. 2, about five times. I don't have that CD, so I just cancel the scan. I like doing the SFC scan every now and then to make sure my system files are the correct version and not corrupted.

Answer: This is a strange problem with the System File Checker.

Later versions of Windows XP have developed this strange bug, in which SFC tells you it needs a nonexistent CD from a different operating system. I gather that this is because new service packs confuse the program about the correct source of files that might need replacing.

Personally, I'm not sure I trust a program to replace my system files if it's not sure where they came from. But this bug can be overcome in various ways:

If you're prompted for the XP Professional CD, try this:

If you're prompted for the Windows XP SP2 CD, but it won't accept either that or the original Windows XP CD, try this:

Q: Among the most annoying things on the Internet are the Web sites that will not let you exit. I push the back button till I'm blue in the face, and I cannot get back to the previous site. Any cures for this, other than starting over?

A: Two possibilities:

One, you might be going to a page that automatically links you to a new page, so hitting the Back button only has the effect of reloading the page. If that's the case, use the tiny arrow next to the Back button to skip that redirecting page and go all the way back to page you want.

Two, the page might be frozen while downloading a script, or some other activity that must happen before you can use the page. You'll know this because you'll see activity on your Internet Connection but nothing obvious is happening on the page, and none of the buttons work.

If you get impatient with a page, you can always start a new browser window and keep working or use the Task Manager, available by pressing Ctrl, Alt and Delete (all three keys at once), to force the window to close.

Q: I can no longer resize photos with a right-click. I often resize photos for real estate listings and can no longer upload because the sizes are too large. There used to be an option to resize. It had always been there since I bought my laptop in 2001.

A: Here's a link to some XP "power toys" that include resizing with a right click, along with other goodies like the ability to view RAW images:

Tim Henderson is database editor for the Miami Herald's computer-assisted reporting team. Send questions to