Thursday, March 06, 2008

The Woes of MSN

Today's poser involved MSN Explorer.  Not many of our clients use MSN but it was bundled with Qwest DSL for awhile so there are some users out there.  In this case MSN Explorer loaded but displayed only a white screen with no headers or menus. 

I did the usual cleanup routine, downloaded Windows Updates and even ran chkdsk and defrag.  NAV had expired but this didn't seem to be a virus.  Next I checked the installed software.  Viola!  There was Incredimail. 

We don't like Incredimail.  For one thing, it is impossible to move a users saved messages to a new computer.  While it is not usually considered spyware, it does clutter up the computer.  In this case, I began the uninstall process and it immediately went to a website.  Hmmm, MSN Explorer loaded normally!

Next I finished uninstalling stuff, including the expired NAV, and rebooted.  MSN was back to a blank page!

At this point, I am not clear as to what I did next but somehow I got MSN to load a web page.  All of the headings were back.  I then went to the home page selection menu and selected MSN.  I closed everything and reloaded.  Wow!  MSN came back up normally.  Problem fixed.  Wish I knew exactly what I did!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

A New Beginning

After ignoring this blog for over two years, I have decided to begin posting again but with a different purpose.  As I go about doing various service calls, I often figure out software conflicts or come up with quick fixes that I then promptly forget.  So while returning from Sedona today, I decided that I should start writing things down so I would have something to refer to in the future.  Since LJ is primarily a family history blog, this is the most appropriate place to store my reminders.  So here is the first one.

Today's major problem was a computer that took forever to open .html files and was generally slow.  Since we had just had the machine in the shop and found no malware on it, I assumed that something had become corrupted.  I reviewed the installed software by going to add/remove programs.   Office 2003 was there but was not on the Start Menu.  I checked the Start Menu for all of the other users to see if it got moved and it was nowhere to be found.  So first step was to repair Office.  This can be done from Add/Remove Programs, without the original CD.

Next I looked for running programs.  Nero, if fully installed, puts on a desktop search utility which continuously indexes the hard disk.  This had to go.  I uninstalled the whole package. 

I also found some printer utilities running and turned these off using msconfig.

When I finally rebooted and logged in as the actual user, everything worked just fine. 

One of the other things I noted was that the user had installed several software packages of his own and not stuck to the approved stuff provided by the District.  In a business, this would not be tolerated but schools are very lax about such things.  In this case, the software was not causing any problems but that is often not the case.

So in summary, always check the status of MS Office, if installed.  Nero can cause a system to be sluggish due to indexing.  Same for Google or MS Desktop Search.  Watch for these.