Spent a few hours chasing down a problem with my office computer last night. It’s just remarkable how many ways our computers can go wrong, isn’t it? Honest, I would gladly give up much of my job security if it meant our technology would work more reliably.
The symptom: the computer starts up and presents a login screen; when the name and password is entered, the screen goes black and stays black, with nothing except a mouse cursor that moves around quite happily. Lots of hard drive activity as if the system is starting normally.
It wasn’t the first time this had happened but it never lasted long before. […] continued
Sharp-eyed Microsoft Office users might have noticed that the default fonts are changed in Office 2007. The old familiar names are still there – Arial, Times New Roman, Verdana, and Courier New – but the defaults are newcomers Cambria, Calibri, and more.
Microsoft had originally proposed standardized fonts for the Internet in 1995 and built Arial, Times New Roman, and several more deeply into Windows XP and Microsoft Office. They became ubiquitous across the web and virtually every computer user has them installed on their computers. For more than ten years most web sites have been designed with just a handful of fonts, usually Arial, Verdana, or Times New Roman. […] continued
Microsoft released a preview of Windows Search 4 today, an update to the Windows Desktop Search program that is built into Windows Vista and can be installed separately on Windows XP. The search programs index everything on your computer that matters – the full text of your documents, the tags on your photos and music files, every word of every item in Outlook – and do lightning fast searches for anything, as fast as you can type in the letters of a search term. I’ve written frequently about Windows Desktop Search – here are some posts with more information and links. […] continued
Windows XP will stop being sold by computer manufacturers (Dell, HP, and the rest) on June 30, 2008.
Too many people have been writing too much nonsense about Windows Vista, creating the perception that it should be avoided. The approaching deadline will cause a flurry of articles and much handwringing about Microsoft’s evil motives in forcing people to move to the terrible horrible no good very bad Vista. It’s a struggle to maintain perspective.
This article lays out the timeline for Windows XP sales and support, along with some historical background. Take a deep breath and take the time to understand that Microsoft is following a timeline that has been in place for many years; it has already extended the time for Windows XP to remain on the market, but it is following its longstanding practice to stop distributing it. […] continued
If you have any difficulty installing Vista Service Pack 1 or dealing with problems after installation, Microsoft is offering unlimited installation and compatibility support until March 18, 2009. Support by email or online chat is available for anyone;
phone support is only available to tech professionals and companies with support contracts. (04/01: phone support is also available for anyone. Sorry!) Here’s the page with support information. […] continued
Searching in Vista quickly becomes second nature. Clicking the Start button and typing the name of a program brings it up immediately – no need to hunt through the long list of program folders. There are immediate results from opening the “Documents” folder and typing a word in the upper right hand corner, or by searching all locations with a click on Search on the Start menu.
Google complained that Microsoft had made it too easy for people to search for things and the EU threatened to start another expensive round of litigation, so Microsoft rejiggered the Search options in Vista Service Pack 1. […] continued
Windows Vista Service Pack 1 is available today through Windows Update.
Here’s the announcement of the general release of SP1, and here’s a technical note about a handful of reasons that might account for SP1 not being displayed to you on the Windows Update page. Generally that’s because another update has to be installed first.
If you’re running Windows Vista, you should install Service Pack 1 at a convenient time. In about a month, it will be offered through the Automatic Updates system and your computer will become more insistent about it. Here are a few more details about what to expect from SP1. […] continued
My office computer is a powerful Dell tower, with an Nvidia video card and too much software. I choose software carefully, but I use a lot of programs and there is an alarming number of icons down by the clock. I am constantly installing new software, upgrading programs or installing security updates, and removing things that don’t pass muster. It doesn’t surprise me when things get a little messy and I have to troubleshoot problems that develop. Lately, though, it feels like everyone is in the same position and we’re all seeing strange conflicts and crashes and unresolvable problems.
Adobe Photoshop Elements 6 was running slowly. That’s where the problems began.
I started in the Adobe support forums, learning about tools in the program to optimize the database and reading about problems that other people had reported that were not quite the same but left open the possibility that the problem was in the program itself. Since my photos and the Adobe catalog were on a network server, I turned on offline files to see if a locally stored copy would speed things up. (Not really.) But programs were crashing and the system was freezing more often than I could explain just with problems in Photoshop Elements. […] continued
Microsoft has been researching speech recognition for more than fifteen years. It has released enterprise products like Speech Server for telephony systems, and built rudimentary voice commands into Windows Mobile so that a woman whispers “Say a command!” in my ear when I push the wrong button on my phone. (A striking invitation but she never does anything interesting.) Bill Gates gave a speech last week where he predicted that within five years more Internet searches will be conducted using speech recognition than a keyboard.
He might have a point. Windows Vista has a new generation of speech technology built in, waiting for you to discover it. […] continued
Windows Desktop Search is deeply built into Windows Vista and can be added for free to Windows XP to index files and Outlook folders for instant searches. By default, it indexes everything on your individual computer and presents results from everywhere – mail, files, whatever matches the words you type in. Frequently that’s exactly the right thing to do.
As you use it more, though, you may want more control over the searches. Here’s two tips that might help.
First, a quick reminder that an additional bit of software is required to be able to search files located on a network share – a company server or another computer. […] continued