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People who bought the Presario 5800 series in droves in the run up to Yule have bombarded Compaq with complaints of persistent system freezes whenever they try to use their machines. One user posted this message on Compaq's bulletin board: "I have not had a session with it [the 5838] that the system has not frozen up. When it freezes I can not even turn the system off using the power switch. This happens most of the time when I am online with Prodigy. Once it happened while using the Start button power down mode. Last night while using prodigy to down load McAfee's latest updates it hung up after using the modem performance window." Another, Australian reader, complained of the same problem saying: " I recently bought a Compaq Presario PC and my experience will interest anyone who has recently bought one or who is thinking of buying one. I loaded the same software I had on my old PC. The Compaq kept locking up. Not even Ctrl Alt Delete would kill that process and get the PC going. I would have to turn the power off and on (wait for scandisk, redo what I had been doing)" He said that Compaq's advice was to run the Quick Restore CD it supplies, which contains Win98 SE plus many proprietary Compaq programs which load on boot. He said: "Quick Restore formats your hard drive before re-installing Windows plus the Compaq programs. After doing that a few times (5 or 6 hours each time by the time I installed my software), with no improvement, I decided to try my old version of Windows. That didn't work because the Compaq needs some drivers that aren't in Windows. They're on the QuickRestore CD but not in a format that Windows can use. So I ran Quick Restore again." He said that when he logged onto the Compaq web site to see if there was any information about lockups, he got a shock. "I was amazed to find there are hundreds of postings from customers with that exact problem. They run a few programs, try to logon to the Internet and the machine locks up. Compaq's solution is to use MsConfig to stop any programs from loading at startup. A customer pointed out that he didn't want to run his PC without the sound card software and without virus protection." Compaq does have a document on its support site which gives a solution to the freeze problem on Presarios, and which can now be found here: Lockups on Presario Models. (The link was unavailable or down for several days over the holidays). Another consumer who posted a message on the Compaq support forum said that the problem could be solved by using a Windows 98 CD separate from the package and which does not load any of the Q drivers, which seem to drain system resources. We will be happy to post Compaq's response to these problems and are available by e-mail over the extended UK Yule festivities. ®

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