How to kill a persistent error message; more how to prevent a computer from requiring dual boot
Q: I have an HP desktop computer running Windows 10 with all the latest updates installed. I keep getting the following error message: “Bill’s Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G – Device has stopped responding or has been disconnected.” I click “OK” to remove the message, but this message appears when I am not near the computer with my phone. I googled for an answer but nothing seems to work.
— bill skelly
A: Assuming that you usually connect your phone to your computer using a USB cable, there are several possible causes for this. Let’s start with the simplest fixes first. Restart the computer and the phone, then connect the phone and disconnect it again.
If that doesn’t fix the problem, I would reinstall the USB device drivers. To do this, open Device Manager, which you will find in the Control Panel. Scroll down until you see Universal Serial Bus Controllers. Right-click any entry whose name contains “hub” and uninstall it.
Restart the computer and Windows will reinstall the USB drivers.
Q: My brother has dementia and I have him in a continuing care facility. I have his computer that he no longer uses. I know most of the passwords he’s used before. But I can’t find the right password for his HP computer and he can’t remember what it was. My question is, is there a way for me to bypass the password and gain access?
— Darrell Larson, Lacey
A: There are actually two ways to access this computer.
First, if your brother signed in using a Microsoft account, you can try resetting the password. After an unsuccessful login attempt, click on “Forgot your password?” Windows will then pop up a window asking if you want to verify by having a code sent via SMS or email.
If your brother didn’t sign in using a Microsoft account – or if you don’t have access to his phone or email – then you’ll want to try PCUnlocker. Using PCUnlocker walks you through burning a bootable disc that will allow you to start Windows and bypass, remove, or reset local administrator and Windows user passwords. The utility costs $19.95, you can download it from top-password.com. Full disclosure: I haven’t tried the program myself, but I haven’t seen any reports of problems with it.
Q: I have a 4 year old 64 bit Dell EXP 15 Model 9560 Signature Edition. It is currently running Windows 10. Over the past two years I have had two main issues with the laptop. First, it still requires a dual boot to start. When I first turn it on I get the Dell logo and nothing else until the screen goes blank. I then do a hard reboot, wait a few minutes, then start the laptop, after which it turns on. Sometimes it gives me a screen saying Windows didn’t load completely with two options to “fix” the problem or restart. I usually choose reboot because the repair option is usually not helpful. I’ve searched the internet for this problem, and it seems common, but there’s no solution I can use.
Second, a minor issue is that the system setting for brightness keeps resetting to a much lower level than what I chose. Every time I start the laptop, I have to reset the brightness to a 50% level, which remains while the laptop is in use. After shutting down or entering sleep mode, the brightness resets to the lower level, approximately 25%.
— Mark Finman
A: There are several things you can try.
First, check if the fast startup feature is enabled and, if so, disable it. You can find Quick Start in Control Panel under Hardware and Audio/Power Options.
If that doesn’t fix the problem, I would go to Dell’s support site and make sure you have all the latest drivers and BIOS for your computer.
As for the brightness change, I suspect it’s configured with “adaptive brightness” enabled. Go back to Power Options in Control Panel and click “Change advanced power settings”. You will see a toggle switch to enable or disable adaptive brightness.
If these steps don’t solve your starting and brightness issues, it’s time to call a technician.