How to post a problem (and get it answered)

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An old salt from the mainland
Before you post a problem, try and do the following:

1. Read all the stickies - the problem may be known
2. Search - Common issues such as those dealing with Serial Keys or graphics problems have been posted a thousand times. Try reading any threads which seem to cover similar problems to the one you are experiencing - the solution given may work for your problem too
3. Please, please try and include the following in your post:

1. Description of the problem, including exact error message if you are recieving one. Include as much information as possible. If you have tried anything to resolve the problem, include this too. The more information about the problem we have, the easier it is to duplicate or narrow down exactly why the error is occuring. The sooner we can do this, the quicker the problem will be resolved.

Windows XP users - your system is most likely configured to automatically restart on an error. If your machine resets without warning, this is likely to be what is happening. To stop this, go into control panel. Select System, Advanced and then click on the Start Up and Recovery tab. Deselect the "automatically restart" checkbox and try running the game again. Rather than a reset, you should see a blue screen error message. Make a note of this and include the actual error message (usually the first two lines) in your post

2. System Specs. If your not sure, go to start -> run and type dxdiag. Hit enter, and the direct X diagnostic tool should open up. You can get your basic system information, such as memory, ram, processor and operating system on the first page. Under the Display or Video tab you should see your video card details. Include the manufacturer name, card name/type (eg. Geforce 6600) and driver version or date. The Sound tab shows similar information for your soundcard, again if possible give the manufacturer, name and driver version or date.

So an ideal example post would go:

I cannot get the game to start up. The cursor changes to an hourglass, but nothing happens. When I open task manager, M&B is not listed as a process. What do I do?
Specs: Windows 98, 256Mb Ram, 1.3 Ghz Intel, Nvidia Geforce 2 Ti, Creative Audigy

By the way, it would be nice (not to mention common courtesy) if you  respond to posts if a given solution works. Not only does it make the people who helped you feel warm and fuzzy, but it lets anyone experiencing similar problems see how to go about fixing their problem. It also helps to build up a picture of what works and what doesn't, which can be incredibly useful for finding common problems.
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