What do you do when your laptop simply won't work unless you run a lengthy Registry scan and and fix the errors found? One reader had this problem, with most of the errors reported concerning 'invalid COM' references. Our Helproom expert offered advice.

QUESTION My 18-month-old Windows 7 laptop grinds to a halt every time I try to use it. Finding and fixing any Registry errors and hard-drive corruption using Iolo System Mechanic solves the problem until the next restart. I've uninstalled the programs I don't use and clear the cache twice a day. I don't know what to do next. Many of the faults reported by Iolo concern invalid COM references. Jaki Collins

HELPROOM ANSWER It's difficult to diagnose this issue without further information, but the fact that a clean-up utility is able to alleviate the problem suggests that it isn't the laptop's hardware at fault. If the issue is recurring regularly, it's possible that you're running low on hard-drive space.

The Windows Registry contains hundreds of thousands of entries, which makes the 20 or so errors reported by System Mechanic a drop in the ocean and somewhat irrelevant.

Check your remaining disk space next time the problem occurs. You've already uninstalled the applications you don't need, but some additional spring cleaning may be required to free up enough space for Windows to store the temporary files it creates during normal operation. Keep at least 15 percent of your drive's capacity free.

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