Q: I'm using a computer that runs on Windows XP Home Edition. I use the Task Manager function fairly often to stop software that has stopped...

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Q: I’m using a computer that runs on Windows XP Home Edition. I use the Task Manager function fairly often to stop software that has stopped functioning for some reason. This doesn’t happen often, but when it does the Task Manager is helpful in saving time over having to reboot the entire system.

Within the past couple of weeks, I get a message that says “Task Manager has been disabled by your administrator” and I cannot access the Task Manager. My PC is not on a network, and I always log in as the administrator and don’t recall disabling this function.

I’ve gone through the Windows Help topics and could not find anything about how to enable or disable the Task Manager. Can you help me get my Task Manager started again?

— Don MacFarlane, Seattle

A: Sounds like your Windows registry has been edited to prevent access to Task Manager. If that wasn’t done by you or someone else using your computer, it might be the work of malware.

To fix the problem, you’re going to have to edit the Windows registry. Be sure to make a copy of the registry before making any changes in case you need to restore it.

To make the changes, click on the Start button then select Run. Type regedit in the box that pops open, then click OK.

When the registry editor opens, find this key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System. With that key highlighted in the left pane, move to the right pane and double click on Disable TaskMgr. Type “0,” as in zero, in the Value Data field, then click on OK.

Exit the editor and reboot your computer. That should fix the problem.

Q: My Presario computer does not boot up Windows 98 any longer. I have tried using the startup floppy disk to boot, but it does not respond. The drive runs for a short while, then stops. The monitor stays black and the sleep mode on the keyboard comes on and stays, although I tried to disengage it.

Any clue what the problem is and what I can do to get this going again?

— Renate Hamaker

A: Sounds like a systemic failure to me. If you were able to boot from the floppy disk, I’d figure the problem is a toasted hard drive. The fact you can’t boot from the floppy means there may be a problem with the microprocessor or systemic problems with the motherboard.

You might run the computer by a repair shop for a quick diagnosis, but if it’s running Windows 98 I would imagine it’s an old computer so I wouldn’t invest much money in diagnosis. I’d lean toward investing your money in a newer computer.

Q: Can you please tell me how to uninstall Internet Explorer 7 and reinstall IE6?

I bought the Windows XP Home Edition on my Dell computer and I upgraded to the IE7 in the winter.

With IE7 I’ve had a number of problems I never had with IE6, particularly when opening one of my software programs with Charles Schwab.

I have been trying to sign in now for more than an hour to Charles Schwab, have rebooted and it does not help.

— Peggy Cunningham

A: Internet Explorer 6 continues to be available for download at www.microsoft.com.

Once you’ve downloaded the file, you’ll want to remove Internet Explorer 7. To do so, go to the Control Panel and click on the Add or Remove Programs utility.

Next, in the dialogue box that pops up, click on the Add/Remove Windows Components option.

Finally, in the dialogue box that appears, select the option to remove Internet Explorer. Once you’ve done so, install the downloaded Internet Explorer 6.

Because the Charles Schwab site itself indicates version 7 is the preferred version you may want to contact the manufacturer of the software you referred to but did not name.

It’s possible some settings were changed when you installed the new version and that simply going back to version 6 may not solve the problem.

Questions for Patrick Marshall may be sent by e-mail to pmarshall@seattletimes.com or pgmarshall@pgmarshall.net, or by mail at Q&A/Technology, The Seattle Times, P.O. Box 70, Seattle, WA 98111. More columns at www.seattletimes.com/columnists.