Windows Cannot Find HELPCTR.EXE

Audience: Fellow Techs, Power Users

Recently, I received a call for computer repair in Marysville. The client was getting an error in Windows XP that Windows cannot find HELPCTR.exe. Upon further discussion with the client, I found out that he had recently uninstalled a trial of AVG 2012 anti-virus. A little searching with Google showed that the problem was most likely caused by a missing registry key. Since I was providing tech support over the phone I didn’t want to have the client running regedit.exe himself, so I did a little more searching for easy solutions (yes, I could have started a remote session at this point). My diligence paid off when I found this:

This page contains a registry file to correct the observed error. After verifying the file I directed the client to the fix. He ran it, and upon seeing that the Help and Support link now worked, declared me a genius. (Truth be told I ride on the shoulders of giants.) Special thanks to the author of for his great resource.

Now, in regard to AVG 2012 I can not say for certain that it caused the problem, but it would not be the first time I have seen an uninstalled program break registry links before.

Stay safe out there,


This week in Malware

– recommended audiences: Home-user to Tech

I would like to have a weekly recap of Malware news on my blog. I think this would be useful to raise awareness a among home-users and maybe help inform a few fellow techs out there. This is my first edition. Feel free to give me your thoughts on this idea.

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The Number One Rule of Computing

The Number One Rule of Computing: Back it up! (imho)

target audience: home user

If you are reading this blog, then you probably live in a world full of data. Data that you depend on, for work, finances, travel, entertainment, and more. Without this data you day-to-day life would be turned on end. And yet, this data along with the technology that reads it can be fickle and fragile. I think most everyone has at some point tasted the bitterness of failure from forgetting to save a document. Many people have hung their heads in defeat as critical hardware went to an early grave. And a few people have even suffered theft, fire, or floods. Murphy can visit in many forms, so it is critical that we back-up all of our important data. It is not my intent to discuss specific products, or deliver a complete how-to (look for future articles) but rather to explain several varieties of back-up. Read on to find out the basics of back-up solutions for the home PC.

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Why read my blog?

I’ve been thinking a lot about the direction of this blog. Who do I want to cater to? What will I right about? And most importantly, how do I set it apart? Here are my current thoughts.

I want this blog to be helpful. The reason I started a computer repair business is because I saw a need for affordable, personal, convenient help among home PC users. I want this blog to be an extension of that helpful spirit. My blog will, therefore, focus on basic techniques and 3rd party programs to make the PC user experience more enjoyable.

Perhaps the biggest threat to the home user is the legions of Malware that abound on the “interwebs.” Because of the propensity of these threats, I will devote a lot of articles to viruses, spyware, trojans, rogues, etc. Prevention being worth gobs of cure – and easier too – I will endeavor to focus on preventative measures and education.

I, myself, am interested in some more technical aspects of computing. And, I believe it is important to share helpful information with other techs. Therefore I will write more technical articles from time to time. Because of the varying degree of technicality to my articles, I feel I should add a difficulty level to further articles.

But how will I set my blog apart? Well, a primary focus on home-users is one key item. Other than that, I am open to ideas. Please leave your comments letting me know what you would like to see.