Windows Help Desk (Part 1) - Autoplay not working, ReadyBoost failure, Remove contacts

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4/11/2012 9:40:37 AM

Autoplay not working

I recently reinstalled Windows XP from scratch to remove some malware. During the process of reinstalling various applications and bringing Windows XP back up to date, the Autoplay function has stopped working. I’ve tried the drive properties (via the Autoplay tab), but nothing I do has brought it back. Any input you can offer would be greatly appreciated.

Description:                     Restore Autoplay: If this dialog box doesn’t appear, follow our tips to get it back

Restore Autoplay: If this dialog box doesn’t appear, follow our tips to get it back

Our solution

This sounds like one of the applications you’ve installed - probably a security-related program - has disabled the Autoplay function as a security measure. Browse to 967715 and you’ll find two tools that you can run. Try the Enable Autorun tool first. If it doesn’t work, try the Disable Autorun tool, followed by Enable Autorun to get things going again.

In Dan’s case this resolved his problem with Autoplay. If this doesn’t work for your PC, you can also check that the Shell Hardware Detection Service is running and set to Automatic. You can do this by clicking “Start> Run”, typing services.msc and pressing [Enter]. Scroll down to “Shell Hardware Detection” - if it’s stopped and isn’t set to automatic, double-click it to open its Properties dialog box. Click the ‘Start’ button to set it running again and change its Startup Type to “Automatic”. This should then resolve the problem.


ReadyBoost failure

I’ve been trying to get an SD card to work with ReadyBoost on my ASUS X535 series computer, running Windows Vista with 2GB RAM. I’ve tried two cards and both times I received a message saying: “This device does not have the required performance characteristics for use in speeding up your system.” Please can you tell me what this means?


Our solution

SD cards are notoriously less reliable than USB drives when it comes to using them for ReadyBoost, which is a source of frustration as they’re more discreet and take up less space. There are two principal reasons why you’re unable to use SD cards with ReadyBoost - either your internal card reader isn’t fast enough, or the SD card itself isn’t fast enough. When shopping for cards, look for a series 6 or 10 card, which should be quick enough. Also check to see if there’s a driver update for your card reader in case that can help.

Some other ReadyBoost users have reported success after retesting the problematic SD card until it’s accepted by the software. Sometimes this can take multiple attempts before it works. Other users suggest performing disk checks on the card, while still others recommend trying to reformat the card in NTFS format.

It’s worth noting that ReadyBoost is no substitute for more RAM - if you want to push the performance envelope further, it’s worth upgrading your RAM to 4GB.


Can’t email pictures

I’ve been trying to forward pictures by right-clicking them and choosing “Send to> Mail recipient”. Everything works fine right up until I click “Send”, when I receive the following error in Windows Live Mail: “The host “smtp” could not be found. Please verify that you have entered the server name correctly.” Can you offer any assistance, please?

Our solution

Dennis had installed Windows Live Mail specifically for the purpose of sending photos through his Windows Live (Hotmail) account, and it had initially worked with no problems. We verified that the server settings were correctly set up, and even removed and re-added his Windows Live account, all to no effect.

Because Dennis was simply using Windows Live Mail to forward pictures this way (he usually checks his email online), we pointed him towards an alternative program in the form of Thunderbird ( After setting this up, Dennis reported that the picture-sending function was working correctly again.

Switch App: If you can’t send pictures through your email app, try switching to another one


Quick questions

Am I right in thinking that a Mi-Fi device works in the same way as a Wi-Fi router, only using a mobile broadband internet connection?

Spot on, Mi-Fi devices contain a mobile broadband modem and a Wi-Fi access point, typically for up to five devices. They work in the same way as a wireless router.


What size photos should I incorporate in a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation I’ll be giving with a projector?

You’re ultimately limited by the maximum resolution supported by the projector - if it supports full 1080p high definition that means photos don’t need to be larger than 1,920 x 1,080 pixels.

Faster SD Cards: A circled 6 or 10 indicates a high-speed SD card


Remove contacts

When I accessed my contacts ‘ in Windows Live Mail this morning, lo and behold all of my Facebook contacts were also there. I’ve tried to remove them using advice in forums, but they’re still there. Can you help please?

Our solution

This happens when your Facebook account has been linked with your Live Mail account. You’ll need to start by deleting the contacts manually, then immediately unlink your Facebook contacts in order to complete the task.

Description: Remove contacts Live Mail 

Remove Contacts: Unlink your Facebook account to prevent contacts returning to Live Mail


You can do this through your web browser: log into, then click the “Contacts” link on the left-you should hopefully see Facebook listed somewhere under ‘All contacts Click this and the contacts list will be filtered to show only your Facebook contacts in groups of 25. ft’s fiddly, but if you tick the ‘All’ button immediately above the first contact in the list, then click ‘Delete you’ll remove the first 25 people from the list, and the next 25 will come into view. Click “All” followed by ‘Delete’ again until the list is completely empty. Next, click ‘Manage Services then click ‘Remove’ next to Facebook. This should ensure that your Facebook contacts are removed and don’t come back. Unfortunately, though, if you wish to view any part of Facebook through your Windows Live account, you have to live with the contacts being automatically synced - so if you were to link your account to Facebook again, the contacts will immediately return.

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