Tag Archives: Windows-7

Microsoft Windows 7 update – ‘known issue’ never resolved

Warning: technical post with rant.

Because I’m a baby geek, I have my Windows Updates set to notify but not install. This gives me the chance to look at all the updates and decide which ones to install and which ones to ‘hide’.

Why bother?

Because of ‘known issues’ such as this one:

 

There is an issue with Windows and a third-party software that is related to a missing file (oem<number>.inf). Because of this issue, after you apply this update, the network interface controller will stop working.

Not ‘may stop working’ but ‘will stop working’. Ut oh.

Note: a ‘known issue’ is a problem introduced into the system by the update that the Microsoft developers couldn’t fix in time for that update. The problem with the ‘network interface controller’ [lovingly known as NIC] not working is that your internet connection stops working too.

Most of these ‘known issues’ get fixed as part of the next round of updates, so it pays not to be an early adopter. Sometimes, however, a ‘known issue’ comes with a workaround, or a fix. The fix for the ‘known issue’ with the NIC is this:

  1. To locate the network device, launch devmgmt.msc; it may appear under Other Devices.

  2. To automatically rediscover the NIC and install drivers, select Scan for Hardware Changes from the Action menu.

a. Alternatively, install the drivers for the network device by right-clicking the device and choosing Update. Then choose Search automatically for updated driver software or Browse my computer for driver software.

I’m not a complete n00b when it comes to my computer, and I do know how to install drivers, but it seems to me that something is missing from step 1. Where am I supposed to launch ‘devmgmt.msc’ from? I suspect it’s the Run command line but I’m not sure.

The alternative might be easier as I think I know where to find the device listing, but if the old driver has been corrupted during the ‘problem’, I have no idea what driver the pc will re-install.

Will I have to dig out the very old motherboard setup disk which I may or may not be able to find?

Or will I have to carry my pc down to the repair shop to get someone more knowledgeable to ‘fix’ the update problem for me?

For all these reasons, I have not installed that particular update, but Microsoft continues to sneak it in under each successive optional ‘quality rollup’. It’s become so ridiculous that I just have to look at the size of the update – 229.2 MB – to know what’s in it.

When I first started ignoring this nasty update, I did so because I expected Microsoft to resolve this ‘known issue’ in much the same way as they resolve most other ‘known issues’. Better late than never, right?

Unfortunately, Microsoft has no intention of resolving this particuler issue. Or perhaps they can’t. Just for fun, I followed the link to More Information today and followed the trail of updates back as far as March 13, 2018 before I gave up. The issue with the NIC, and it’s nasty fix, were repeated in each and every update.

So now I’m wondering what happened to other Windows 7 users out there. Did they all install the original nasty update, fix their pc’s and move on? Or was there a tsunami of outrage that I missed?

I’m never going to install this update until Microsoft resolves the issue because this is a problem of their own making, and no company is so big that it should be allowed to get away with such obvious cheating.

Not happy,

Meeks

 


#howto delete – Adobe Flash Player 20 NPAPI

Before I tell you how to delete Adobe Flash Player 20 NPAPI, there are a few important things you need to know:

What does Flash Player do?

“Adobe Flash Player is a plugin that allows browsers such as Firefox to display Flash media on web pages. Flash is often used for animations, videos and games. This article explains how to install Flash.

When you visit a webpage that uses Flash and the plugin is missing, you will see the message “A plugin is needed to display this content” for parts of the page that require Flash (if at all)..”

That’s a quote taken directly from the Mozilla website. But what does it mean in practical terms? It means that animations created in Flash need Flash Player to work. This often means parts of certain websites that use Flash for bling won’t work…but only ‘parts’. It also means that browser games created with Flash need Flash Player to work. Get rid of Flash Player entirely and those things will no longer work. As far as I know, many of the browser games available via Facebook [?] use Flash. So if you play them, be warned [of course you don’t have to use this version of Flash Player!]

But…having just completely deleted Flash Player from my computer I can tell you that nothing I use on a daily basis has been affected. And by nothing I mean:

  • Youtube works fine [for music videos, haven’t tried anything else]
  • Jigsaws work
  • WordPress works [obviously]
  • Soundcloud works
  • My internet banking works [Bendigo Bank]
  • And my MMOs work

In fact, everything seems to be loading faster, not just Firefox, but that could just be a weird kind of digital placebo effect.

Why delete Adobe Flash Player 20 NPAPI in the first place?

In a nutshell, the latest version of Mozilla Firefox uses this version of Flash Player, but the Flash Player is crap. Mozilla Firefox whined until I updated Flash Player and I’ve regretted it ever since. Despite being a supposedly agile little browser, Firefox became slower and I noticed that crashes increased in frequency. These crashes were preceded by a sudden massive slowdown – as if I were typing each letter of a word with a sip of coffee in-between. And then, instead of getting better, it would completely freeze to the point where I would have to do:

CTRL + ALT + DEL to open Task Manager and then manually END PROCESS on Firefox and Flash Player.

The reason is that this version of Flash Player gobbles up RAM [short term memory for your computer]. I suspect there is a memory ‘leak’ responsible, but Adobe isn’t admitting to it, yet.

Anyway, when your computer runs out of ‘memory’, it’s like a car that runs out of petrol – it stops. The latest version of Firefox isn’t that great on memory either, but I might save that for a future post.  For now, if you use Firefox [which uses Flash Player] and you experience ‘freezes’ then check your Task Manager to see if Flash Player is using oodles of memory.

[Note: as knowing how to use Task Manager is a great computer survival skill, I’m including it below]

How to open Task Manager in Windows 7

  • On your keyboard, press the CTRL + ALT + DEL keys all at the same time.

You will see a pale blue screen with just a few options on it.

  • Click ‘Start Task Manager’.

[Note: it’s not possible to take a screenshot of the blue screen as it seems to be ‘outside’ the Windows environment]

After you select ‘Start Task Manager’, the following screen will be displayed:

firefox taskmanager 1

The default tab [Applications] only shows which programmes are currently open. You can close programmes from this window but it’s easier to do it from the Processes tab where you can also see how much memory they are using.

  • Click the Processes tab to open it.

I can’t show you the Flash Player memory usage because I didn’t think to take a screenshot before I deleted it completely. Mea culpa. Anyway, this is the current list of processes on my computer and will do in order to show you what to do next. So you should now be looking at your version of the Processes tab:

firefox taskmanager 2

In order to see which programmes [i.e. processes] are using the most memory [RAM]:

  • click the column heading for ‘Memory [Private Working Set]’. This will sort everything in that column. If you don’t get the largest usage up the top, click the heading a second time.

Now a word of warning – unless you know what you’re doing, don’t go shutting down processes willy nilly. Some of them use a lot of memory BUT THEY’RE MEANT TO! All you want to shut down at this point is the process for Flash Player and the one for Firefox.

[Note: As a rule of thumb, only shutdown processes which bear the user name – ‘user’. NEVER shutdown anything belonging to ‘SYSTEM’]

  • Click the line that holds information about firefox.exe *32 so it’s highlighted,
  • and then click the button down the bottom that says ‘End Process’.

In the example shown below, I’m ending the process for MSPaint instead of Firefox so I can keep working on this post – because, of course, WordPress only works within my browser. But you knew that, right? 🙂

firefox taskmanager 3

Now do exactly the same thing for Flash Player and then exit from the Task Manager.

How to uninstall Flash Player for Windows XP, Vista and 7 only

If you’ve used Windows a lot you’ll know that uninstalling programmes via Control Panel doesn’t always get rid of all those pesky bits and pieces that end up as programming debris. Unfortunately, that programming debris can keep having an effect on whatever you install afterwards, so this is how to get rid of absolutely EVERYTHING belonging to Flash Player.

  • First, you will need to go to the Adobe page below and download the uninstaller.

https://helpx.adobe.com/flash-player/kb/uninstall-flash-player-windows.html

The page looks like this:

firefox Flashplayer uninstall 1

  • Click ‘Uninstaller’ as shown in the screenshot above.

You will be asked to either run or save the uninstaller. I suggest saving it to somewhere that you’ll be able to find it again. On my computer, I have a special folder called ‘Software downloads’ and everything I download off the internet goes there first. Then I scan it with my anti virus software before I actually install it.

  • Next, find the uninstaller – the file is called ‘uninstall flash player.exe‘ – and double click to make it run. If you get a message asking if you really want to do this, click yes.

All done? Okay, we have now uninstalled Flash Player from the main areas of the computer, but there are still some leftovers to get rid of. This is not hard, but if you have not done anything like this before, it can feel a little scary. Just take it slow, check each step and generally do NOT go messing with anything else. At least not until you know what you’re doing. 😀 [I learned that the hard way]

How to find the leftovers

Now you will navigate to 3 different locations on your computer, deleting Flash files and folders in all three.

  • Click on the Start button and

firefox run 1

  • type the word ‘run’ into the search box as shown above:

Windows displays the closest matches to your search word and displays the Run command at the top of the list.

  • Click the Run command as shown.

With the Run dialogue box displayed:

  • Click inside the box as shown and type the following EXACTLY:

C:\Windows\system32\Macromed\Flash

The colon is a colon, not a semi-colon. The slash is a backslash [found under the Backspace button on most keyboards] and THERE ARE NO SPACES.

firefox run 2

When you are sure you have typed the address in correctly [it’s an address on your computer rather than the internet],

  • click the OK button.

At this point you’re just driving to your destination. Nothing will happen if you take a wrong turn! If all went well, you should now be looking at a screen similar to this:

firefox run delete 1

Essentially, the Run command we used simply acts as a shortcut to the folder we want to delete – i.e. Flash.

How to delete a folder

Now that we’ve arrived, we’re going to delete the whole Flash folder, including whatever is still inside.

Make sure the Flash folder is selected – i.e. click on it to highlight the folder like so:

firefox run delete 3

Next, RIGHT click on the Flash folder. This will cause the context sensitive menu to be displayed. One of the options on this menu is Delete. Click the Delete option to delete the Flash folder:

firefox run delete 2

Just two more folders to delete and we’re done!

**Go back to the Start button and type Run into the search box as before. But this time when the little dialogue box opens,

  • type in the following:

%appdata%\Adobe\Flash Player

% does mean the percent sign on your keyboard! And don’t forget to use the backslash under the Backspace key. Your Run dialogue box should now look like this:

firefox run delete 5

  • Click OK.

Again, the Run command will take you directly to the folder we need to delete. In this case it’s called ‘Flash Player’. Click on it to make sure it’s highlighted, then RIGHT click on it to display the context sensitive menu. Select the Delete option to delete the Flash Player folder.

Lucky last!

Repeat all the steps from ** above but this time, the Run dialogue box should contain this :

%appdata%\Macromedia\Flash Player

The Run dialogue box should look like this:

firefox run delete 4

  • Click OK.

When you are looking at the Macromedia\Flash Player folder, RIGHT click on Flash Player and select Delete from the context sensitive menu.

And that’s it. Flash Player is completely gone from your computer. At this point, you are ready to install an earlier, less buggy version of Flash Player, safe in the knowledge that there are no leftovers to screw things up. Or, you can do what I’m going to do, which is to leave Flash Player off entirely.

If anyone is truly desperate to put a version of Flash Player back on, please let me know in comments and I’ll put together a separate how-to for that.

Phew.

Cheers

Meeks


Windows 7 for Beginners – Folders

Whenever you start learning something new, the hardest part is always the terminology. All the words are in English, but they are often used in ways that are counter intuitive. Folders is one such term.

In the physical world, you can have a manilla folder, or a plastic book-like folder, or you could just have a hanging folder in a filing cabinet. The one trait all those physical objects share is their ability to hold things – usually pieces of paper.

Computer terminology has borrowed that idea of holding and grouping things for the folders on a computer, but there the real world analogy ends. On a computer, folders can hold everything from documents and music, to applications [like Word or Excel or your favourite browser].

Computer folders can also contain other folders, lots of them, and those sub-folders can contain folders of their own.  Once you realise that, the similarity to real world folders becomes very thin indeed. The terminology, however, remains.

Understanding folders

An easier, more visual way of thinking about folders is to picture the trunk and branches of a tree :

win 7 tree pic 2

In the graphic above, the Desktop is the trunk of the tree. From there, 7 main branches lead to important categories of ‘things’, including the Control Panel and the Recycle Bin. However for you and I, the most important branch is the one called ‘Libraries’.

As you can see, sprouting from the main branch of Libraries are smaller branches that lead to Music, Videos, Pictures and Documents. And finally, hanging off Documents are two folders called ‘Public Documents’ and ‘My Documents’.

Due to lack of space, I haven’t labelled the smaller branches leading  from Music, Videos and Pictures, but they too have folders attached to them. For example, Music has folders called My Music and Public Music.

In the following examples I will only talk about the My Documents folder, however the same rules apply to all folders.

computer iconTo see what this tree structure looks like in action, double click the Computer icon   on your desktop. The following window is displayed :

nav via my computer window

The tree structure circled in red does not look like our graphic of the tree, but each indentation signifies a branching.

The indentations should be easier to see in this closeup :

tree indentations

Thus Libraries is indented from Desktop, and Documents, Music, Pictures and Videos are all indented from Libraries.

Now let’s have a closer look at the ‘Documents’ branch of Libraries.

To expand the branches of the tree structure, either double click Documents,  or click the small arrow in front of it.

document tree

You should now be able to see the two yellow folder icons  in front of ‘My Documents’ and ‘Public Documents’.

At this level of the tree structure, Windows 7 creates the categories and folders in order to make using Windows programs easier.

Unfortunately there is a price to pay for this ease of use, and it’s the same price you pay in the real world  when you chuck all your important documents into one very big box – finding things becomes difficult.

To make life easier, Windows has created a folder called My Documents, and will automatically save documents to that folder unless told otherwise. Think of My Documents as that big box I mentioned, or a black hole…

If you’re reading this, you probably already know about the black hole. What you may not know, however, is that you can organize your documents by creating your own folders within My Documents.

How to create your own folders

Creating your own folders is a simple, 3 step process.

Step 1   If you are still in the Computer window, click My Documents.   If not, double click the Computer icon –  – on Desktop, expand Libraries, expand Documents, and then click My Documents.

Step 2   Up the top of the Computer window you should see a number of options.

new folder option

The one we want is ‘New Folder’. Click ‘New Folder’.

Step 3   Windows displays a new folder with the default name – ‘New folder’ – highlighted in blue :

new folder name

Simply type in the name you want to give this folder and press Enter. Just remember that the name of the folder should be that of a category or logical group. For example, if you write a lot of memos, you could group them by recipient name, or month, or subject matter.

As I already have all the folders I need, I have named my new folder ‘1 Testing’, and there it is :

new folder done

How to use your own folders

Once you have created your own folder[s] you can drag and drop existing documents into them – much like you would file papers in a filing cabinet.

Simply click on the document you want to move, and keep the mouse button held down as you slowly move the file to its new location. This is the ‘drag’ part.

When the correct folder is highlighted, release the mouse button and the document will ‘drop’ into the folder you have selected :

drag and drop

In the screenshot above, I dragged a file up to ‘1 Testing’. The shot was taken just before I released the mouse button.

Saving a new document directly into a folder

Dragging and dropping existing documents into folders is tedious and time consuming. A faster, easier way to organize your documents is to save them directly into the correct folder[s] right from the start.

To demonstrate how this is done, open Word 10 and type something onto the blank page that is displayed.

Next, select the File tab, and click either ‘Save’ or ‘Save As’ :

where is Save As

[Note: I prefer ‘Save As’ because I remember when clicking ‘Save’ would automatically save my new document into My Documents. Nowadays, ‘Save’ is smart enough to know when you have not selected a location for your file and politely asks you to select one, but old habits die hard.]

After you click ‘Save As’ [or ‘Save’], a new page opens showing the Windows 7 folders. Under Libraries, expand Documents to show ‘My Documents’. Now expand ‘My Documents’ to show the new folder you created. Mine is called ‘1 Testing’ :

saving to 1 testing

Double click your folder to open it. Now you are ready to name your document as you would normally.

Type a name for your file and click the Save button.

You have now learned how to create and use folders.

The next time you want to edit, or print a particular document, you can use your named folders to narrow down your search to just a few documents instead of possibly hundreds!

This how-to is part of an assignment I have to do for my Certificate IV in Training and Assessment. It takes the place of work-based training so I would really appreciate any comments you might have, or any questions as your feedback will become part of my training process.

Thanks in advance,

Meeks

p.s. This is my 400th post. I honestly can’t believe it. Time really does fly when you’re having fun!


%d bloggers like this: