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Windows® 7 for Dummies® by Andy Rathbone

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Chapter 18. Strange Messages: What You Did Does Not Compute

In This Chapter

  • Understanding taskbar messages

  • Deciphering messages in Internet Explorer

  • Responding to messages on the desktop

Error messages in real life are fairly easy to understand. A VCR's flashing clock means that you haven't set its clock yet. A car's beeping tone means that you've left your keys in the ignition. A spouse's stern glance means that you've forgotten something important.

But Windows 7's error messages may have been written by a Senate subcommittee, if only the messages weren't so brief. The error messages rarely describe what you did to cause the event or, even worse, what to do about it.

In this chapter, I've collected some of Windows 7's most common messages. Match up an error message's subject or picture with the ones here and then read your appropriate response and the chapter covering that particular problem.

Activate Windows Now

Meaning: If you don't activate Windows, Windows darkens the screen and nags you with the message shown in Figure 18-1.

Probable cause: Microsoft's copy-protection scheme requires every person to activate his or her Windows 7 copy within 30 days after installing or upgrading to Windows 7. Once activated, your copy of Windows 7 is linked to your particular PC so that you can't install it onto another computer, including a laptop.

Solutions: Click the message and let Windows connect to the Internet to activate itself. No Internet connection? Then dial the activation phone number and ...

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