Archive for the ‘Windows’ Category

TapJava 8 problems

11 Mar 2015 14:23 by Rick

There don’t seem to be many reports of this but Java 8 was a significant change from v7 and I have found at least two programs that no longer work. It is particularly difficult as the programs concerned are not actively maintained any more so there is little chance of getting the developers to make changes to allow for the new release. The problem seems to be that Java is now installed in a different place—dependent on the version number. I am testing using version 8u40

The programs concerned are

  • EasySearch v3.0.4 running on WinXP (download not working). The only fix I can find for this is to remove Java 8 and install an old version 7u76 and also force it not to update (Control Panel >> Java >> Updates). I needed the JRE x86 offline version. Java 8 had been saying that some things won’t work in Winodws XP for a while but I wasn’t expecting it to be this serious. There is the same problem under Win7 running EasySearch in XP compatibility mode.
  • YawCam running on Win7. There is a work-around for this one. Apparently the new way to find java is via \ProgramData\Oracle\Java\javapath but something this program does doesn’t work with this so you have to use the old style path which is \ProgramFiles(x86)\Java\jrel.8.0_40 . I would have reported this but the forum registration is not working.

JavaRanch [sorry, I lost the link] is reporting a similar problem.

Java doesn’t like to be told not to update—in fact it seems to ignore it and keep nagging you.

TapVMware Fusion and Windows Safe Mode

2 Sep 2012 21:42 by Rick

To get Windows into Safe Mode for some housekeeping functions the (reasonably) well known method is to hit F8 during the boot sequence to obtain the start-up menu. When you are running Windows under VMware Fusion on a Mac then this is not as easy as it sounds. Different Macs do special things with the function keys across the top of the keyboard—it is something that is not standard across different models. Sometimes F8 does brightness and other things. On my Mac Pro with wired keyboard F8 is marked as Play/Pause and most times kicks iTunes onto life. It does this whether the keyboard control is assigned to VMware or not. The various help guilds you get by searching the internet say to un-tick the “Enable Mac OS Host Keyboard Shortcuts” in the preferences but that doesn’t seem to be enough. The only way I could get anything to work was to go to Key Mappings and assign an unused “F” key to be F8 (fortunately the keyboard has 19 of them to chose from—I used F16).

TapMicrosoft – Nanny knows best?

24 Apr 2012 09:40 by Rick

Do you like to keep a few shortcuts on your desk top? Those things that you need often or might need quickly, or those in obscure places that are hard to remember. I do. I don’t like a cluttered desktop but there are some things that are easier there. I have links to stuff on networked drives (that maybe require a mount or VPN before they are visible), links to utility programs like KeePass and PuTTY and some scripts that do routine things.

Microsoft in its wisdom (Windows 7) has decided to clean these up for us on a regular basis and if they are broken or not recently used then “tidy them up” for us—i.e. delete them. It wouldn’t be so bad but there are bugs in it, so it often deletes stuff that is frequently used and are not broken by any definition. This is not directly configurable, you have to turn off the whole of the maintenance daemon but it is not a great loss. Open the Control Panel and go to Troubleshooting (or System and Security—Find and Fix Problems on some systems). Now select the Change Settings in the left margin and switch it off. Done.

You can run it manually occasionally for the other benefits—same panel at the bottom is Run Maintenance Tasks. On the panel that pops up first click Advanced at the bottom and un-select Apply Repairs Automatically. The other things it does is check logs that may be wasting disk space, that the system time is set correctly and looks for disk errors. The last is the only really useful one.

Addendum: I notice that it also affects entries in Programs\Startup as well!


10 Sep 2010 10:05 by Rick

Apparently Windows 7 Starter Edition, typically installed on new Netbooks, is very crippled. You can’t even change the background wallpaper. Illiad has a solution—and it has the advantage that you no longer see what Windows is doing to your data either.

TapFlash Bang Wallop

16 Jun 2010 15:41 by Rick

Little known fact—Adobe Flash has to be installed on BOTH Internet Explorer and any alternative browser you have even if you don’t use them.

Well known fact—Installing Adobe Flash is a pain in the backside.

The official method is to go to click on “Get Adobe Flash Player” and follow the instructions remembering to un-tick the undesirable “free offers” on the way. It goes on to perform up to two restarts of the browser using a download manager.

This process is incredibly complex, unnecessary and very prone to failure. On one of my systems the Download Manager aborts, on another it is blocked by a firewall I don’t control; on a third it wants missing plugins—just the ones I am trying to install! Even if it works you can end up with more stuff than you want.

They haven’t made it easy to avoid, whatever route you take you always get to the same “Agree and Install Now” button, but there is a way. Near the top of the Flash player install page is a link titled “Different operating system or browser”. Clicking that takes you to a menu page—select the OS you are using and Continue. Now you get two choices “Internet Explorer” and “Other Browsers”. You CANNOT select the browser you are using—that will take you straight back to where you started; but if you select the other one then the “Agree and Install Now” button does a straightforward download of an executable (without any free extras). The trick is to use each browser to download the code for the other one and then just run them. If you need them on other systems then put them on a memory stick, it saves a lot of time.

TapFirefox 3.5 Extensions

2 Jul 2009 06:12 by Rick

Rather quietly, certainly without the fanfare of version 3, Firefox 3.5 was released a couple of days ago.

This is an update to my earlier post about difficult extensions bringing the version numbers and locations up to date. There are still a few that I found that could be simply hacked to enable them to load. I haven’t altered the functionality at all, just changed the maximum version number to 3.* and tested them. They work on my system but you use them at your own risk on yours.

Stop-or-Reload Button 0.2.2 — The page says it works up to Firefox 3.0 (but it doesn’t even do that). The Hacked version still works with Firefox 3.5.

UK Threat Level 0.16Hacked version 0.16.99

British English Dictionary 1.19 — The page says it works with Firefox 3.6 but it doesn’t. The Hacked version 1.19.99 still works with Firefox 3.5. This extension is also suitable for Thunderbird 2.*. It is not entirely clear if this dictionary is needed for Firefox 3+ or if there is one built into the English (British) basic download.

Google Pagerank Status 0.9.8 — Although the web site doesn’t say so, the version there is now 0.9.9 and does support Firefox 3 but not 3.5. Hacked version

Objection 0.3.3 doesn’t support Firefox 3.5 though they are working on a version 0.4. Update 6 Jul 2009: v0.3.4 is now available.

Minimize to Tray (Windows) doesn’t work with Firefox 3 — The Hacked version also works with Thunderbird 2.*.

TapMacOS with Safari 4

17 Jun 2009 11:30 by Rick

This is a companion post to the previous one about Windows without Internet Explorer, which now seems to be possible.

It has been discovered that, once you install Safari 4 on MacOS, you cannot remove it. The only backwards route is to reinstall the operating system from scratch. This is a seriously BAD THING. Microsoft got a lot of stick for embedding IE deep into Windows so it could not be removed (possibly not deliberately, but as a consequence). There are many reasons that you may wish to remove an application—shortage of space is only one. It was possible to remove the Beta versions so why not the real thing? It is possible to remove Safari from Windows.

TapWindows without IE

15 Jun 2009 10:45 by Rick

There is some talk around about Microsoft issuing a special version of Windows 7 for EU countries which doesn’t have Internet Explorer bundled in.

In some senses, this is good news; it exposes the lie that Internet Explorer cannot be removed from Windows because its use is deeply embedded into the operating system. It also means that Windows Update will have to be able to work with alternative browsers (or another mechanism altogether); something it can’t do at the moment.

On the other hand, I don’t see why they need to ship without it at all. Potentially the machines become useless for the average consumer who can’t access the web even to download a browser to access the web! There are suggestions that Microsoft are just posturing.

Apple ships machines with Safari which is a very similar situation so I don’t see why Windows shouldn’t ship with IE—so long as it is possible to remove it if people don’t want it. In practice, I don’t remove Safari, I just don’t use it except for cross browser code checks, and it would be the same with IE; but it would be nice to know that I could. A similar situation should exist for Media Player/iTunes verses competitors.

TapOedipus Mac

6 Jun 2009 10:12 by Rick

Windows is like my body. It will take virtually anything I throw at it with little more than a hangover afterwards. Normally it is wide awake and ready for anything but it has a tendency to sulk and sometimes will embarrass me in public. Just occasionally it gives up altogether for no explicable reason. As it gets older it gets a little fatter and slows down. There are visible scars from past accidents and mistakes that never quite fade away. One day it will fail to boot altogether.

Linux is like my mates. There are lots of them and they are always good for a laugh, but a little bit naughty. A few drift away and I never hear from them again but new ones come along. Some remain faithful but begin to look a lot like me; they buy a suit and get a bit over weight.

MacOS is like my mother, always telling me to wash behind my ears and nothing but the best is good enough for her boy. She is always there for me and everything I do is the greatest. She doesn’t mind when a few mates come around so long as she doesn’t have to talk to them. One day I will take a friend out but I expect that when I look closely, she will be a lot like my mother.

TapHomegroups on Windows 7

14 May 2009 09:13 by Rick

I have been reading about the new features of Windows 7 and one that looks attractive is the concept of Homegroups. This is an extension of the home networking facility which consolidates the files of all participating machines and users into common libraries. So, for instance, if you have multiple PCs on your network, each with multiple users then all their music folders are consolidated into one music library while the files themselves remain on the owner’s account. This is an extension of the “My Music” and “Shared Music” across multiple machines and accounts in a more transparent way. This has been available for a long time in Windows Media Player but the mechanism has been moved back into the O/S and extended to other libraries such as videos and pictures. There are not a lot of details, but I presume that this is for read only and write always goes local. The libraries involved are Music, Pictures, Videos and Documents and the sharing also includes printers. What it fails to mention, of course, is that it only works when the relevant machines are switched on!

An article I was reading on Windows Secrets, which is a lot more informative, suggests that Documents are handled differently from others. It says that “Homegroup setup makes sharing the Documents Library optional” but I can’t see why that should be given special treatment. Surely your Gangsta Rap collection and the pictures from your naughty weekend in Brighton could be just as sensitive?

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