Updating WinXP + Free Cell Help

    October 9, 2003

I am having problems using Windows Update on Windows XP Home Edition. I noticed that Windows update was notifying me that Windows Security Update 823559 needed to be installed. It would install without problems. But the next time I booted up my P.C. Windows Update was giving me the same story. I used Windows update and found Windows SP1 update and tried to apply that as well. The Security update would fail with a message saying that the patch was not compatible with this version of Windows. I look at the Windows Update history log and find multiple failures for the 823559 patch and multiple successful updates for SP1 (which failed when installing – go figure).

I scanned my computer with Norton Anti-Virus as well as on-line at Symantec and no viruses were detected but I am afraid that without the Windows updates I may be vulnerable in the future. Can you give me any advice?

Bradley S. Behrens

Hi Bradley,

Try getting the update through other sources…IE the update catalog..or even downloads … It may not register with the QFE number/ You might also check to see if the sP1 may be before or after this update. Or you might want to check to see if the update you are looking for might have a pre-requesite qfe installed before it can register. Also check to see (you have to show every file) that there is a QFE unistall file…$NTUnistall#####$ folder. Sometime if you create that folder it can trick it into thinking that it already has that QFE installed.

By the way some will say they install but unless you are logged in as the MAIN ADMINISTRATOR — YOU KNOW the one where you have to ctl-alt-del at the welcome screen to get the old log-in… where you have to type Administrator (and then the password you selected when you installed windows) … That may be your problem — you asked for suggestions. If you are still having this problem — check to see if maybe .NET FRAMEWORK may be blocking this type of update.

Hope this helps,


Dear Carey,

My problem is that every time I try to use the defragmentation tool it fails to work.My system is ME.

I hope that you can help.

thank you,
John Phillips

Hi John,

Try booting your computer in SAFE mode and then run the Defrag tool.


Hi Carey:

I have just a very small problem but it is bugging me (pardon the pun).

About a month ago, I had a power outage in my area and when it came back on line and I rebooted the computer back to life I had lost the ability to open and play “FreeCell.” When I open it at the top where it should say “free cell” the letters are scrambled and when I click to play, the cursor stays as an hour glass.

I had a friend look at it and he could not figure it out. He asked some of his friends and they had never head of free cell doing that.

Problem – no one knows what is wrong or how to fix it.

Do you have any ideas?

Thank you for your time and informative advice in your posts.


Hi Richard!

It sounds as though your files for FreeCell (and who knows what else?) were corrupted from the improper shut down. I would recommend going to in the Add/Remove Programs section of the Control Panel, click the Windows setup tab and Uninstall the games, and then go in once more and re-install the games.

I hope this helps,

Dear Carey,

I can not get freecell to work. When I go to open the game up there are two white lines next to the freecell icon. I go to file open and the cards are displayed but I only get an hour glass and can not play the game. I’ve tried uninstalling the game and then reinstalling it off the windows cd but that did not work either. Please help me if you can.


Hi Barb,

It sounds like it’s irreparable.

This problem has been widely reported after downloading and installing Outlook Express 6 via the Windows Update feature (W98 SE).

Usually after a reboot Freecell plays fine /until/ Outlook Express is opened; thereafer, opening Freecell shows a game window without the usual grid lines. Various bad behaviors result from trying to play anyway, including an “image trail” of cards I move up to the free cells at the top.

Why don’t you try this FreeCell game instead? It’s free and much better than the Microsoft one: http://www.by-art.com/ftp/ruscell.zip


Carey Holzman owns and operates Discount Computer Repair (602-527-9723) in Phoenix, Arizona, where he offers repairs, upgrades, custom built PCs and network wiring at highly competitive pricing. His networking tips have appeared in David Strom’s book, The Home Networking Survival Guide (McGraw/Hill), and his own book on PC maintenance is currently available at local book stores, amazon.com or directly through him. His free informative web site can be found at http://www.careyholzman.com. Donate $30 to help maintain his site and you’ll get a free autographed copy of his book. Carey can be reached directly at carey@careyholzman.com.