Archive for November, 2009

I have seen a lot of visits HERE from folks doing searches on “Acrobat 9 and Windows 7 (issues).” So I want to help.

Yes, I have noticed an issue. The PROMPT SCREEN to ask where I want my new pdf saved does NOT appear in front of the document. It appears behind the document!

That is strange if you think about it. It could sure have ‘newbies’ guessing, seated there waiting to see what they should do next. I will have to look next time. Not sure if there is an indication on the task bar.

I have a dual monitor configuration, with my main monitor being a 24″. I also don’t, EVER, maximize any of my windows. I like to see desktop, even if I have 7 tabs open in FireFox as I have now. (In reality, given that I always have one instance of FireFox on each monitor, right now I have 13 tabs. Don’t ever accuse me of being a ‘Type A’ personality. I will take umbrage to that. I am a ‘Type A++’.) So I can usually see the PROMPT SCREEN peeking out at me from behind the document window.

Strange that. You would think somebody at Adobe saw that during testing. I had a quick look around. Can’t see any options that would affect that.

Though I had 7 days left on my free, 30-day trial, I decided to cough-up and buy my license today — today, being Cyber Monday. (I also happened to have my wallet with my credit cards up here with me since I was also helping Amazon and LL Bean with their sales figures by doing some Christmas Shopping, though I did most of it at my local Wal-Mart.)


I could get a Product Key online. Over the years I have done this a few times and had problems a couple of times getting Acrobat to activate. So, understandably I was leery.

Started with the online process. A BOX came up offering me Instant Chat. ‘Steve,’ (who in reality was probably Shankargamma Ravisutra Venkatragaman Patil in Bangalore) came online and said he could handle it. I then said can he make sure that it would activate given that I was only paying for an UPGRADE and I was upgrading from Acrobat 6 Professional. The person, it could have been a girl, was most likely from the Sub-Continent (as am I). There was no beating around the bush. Said that they were a 3rd party call center and did not have access to Adobe product registration database. I thanked him/her and closed the session. So refreshing to deal with folks who are upfront. There was no pressure or equivocation. I liked that.

My screen also said call 8xx-who-ever to talk to a live person. Tried that. There was about 23 prompts. Finally after about 4 minutes a friendly female voice came on. She, like ‘Steve,’ was all gung-ho to upgrade me. But, as you know I am paranoid. I ask lots of question. So, I asked her how this process would work. She told me she would ship me a DVD today. I said I didn’t want a DVD. I already had 9.2.0 downloaded. Just wanted the Product Key. SHE COULD NOT DO THAT!

So did the online route. It, as these things go, was relatively painless. Gave me the key on the 2nd screen after I gave it my credit card.

Here is a TIP. You can cut-and-paste it … ignoring the boxes. It works.

But since this was an upgrade it also wanted my Acrobat 6 Pro license. I had that. I typed it in (saying, I can’t believe I came up with this damn scheme).

Worked. Then it BUGGED me to Register. I wasn’t going to. Then remembered that Adobe does tell me every once in awhile that I do need a major bug fix.

All worked. Compared to the last time, which was probably 6 years ago, it was a piece of cake. As I said before, Adobe has got its act together.

So I now have Acrobat Professional 9.2 — all paid up. Checked for updates. No updates.

I will keep you posted.


Anura Guruge

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Just call it my gut-feel intuition, but System Mechanic 9.5.0 is still not right! Yes, iolo might have fixed the most blatant stability issues and jazzed up the user-interface icons BUT 9.5 appears still to be a rush release.

I put 9.5.0 to the test again today. I am making good progress on my book and I am now way ahead of my intrepid proof-reader. So I have a bit of spare time in my life, a rarity indeed. So I am using some of this ‘spare’ time to get to know the nooks and crannies of my system.

A full analysis of the system again reported 3 problems. I knew what they were without even looking. The usual: x registry errors, 1x MB clutter and 1x% c-disk defragmentation.

This time, I used Windows 7 defrag … and then went to have lunch … consisting in the main of cheese cake and caramel apple pie. Hey, I have been running every day. And I only eat sweets during holidays. Not really my fault if our guests didn’t finish the 6 pies that I bought and the big cheese cake my wife made.

When I got back sated, Window said that I had 0% fragmentation. Bingo.

But, I trust nobody, when it comes to software or PCs. So I cranked up SM 9.5. Man, they have got their act together. Said NOTHING about needing a defrag. Obviously they have a hook in with the Windows 7 defrag. When you run that 9.5 lets you off the hook.

But, did I already say that I don’t trust anybody when it comes to software? I ran 9.5 AGAIN and told it to do a deep analysis … for the second time in like 2 hours.

Now I hadn’t done anything on the PC since Window 7 did its defrag and said 0% … and 9.5 didn’t say I needed to defrag.

9.5 now said I had 17% fragmentation.

I let it go. This system isn’t exactly slow. But, I knew something was wrong.

I then had to do other things. Yes, I finished Appendix E of the book. I climbed a tree and cut a large branch off since it was close to my utilities lines. We hung up Christmas lights, etc. etc.

I was going to write about Windows Defender. Actually did some research on it.

But then that intuition thing kicked in. On a whim I did a search on “Windows 7 defrag.” This from Microsoft was the first entry I got. It was called “Engineering Windows 7 — Disk Defragmentation.


Theories, and that is what they will always be, about defrag have changed over the years. It is no longer that important that an entire file is stored in contiguous sectors. Think about.

So starting with Vista Microsoft reports defrag percentages DIFFERENTLY. Bingo. Why it said 0% and SM 9.5 said 9.5.

I looked at the files that 9.5 can’t defrag. They are, in the main, System Volume Information related files. My c-drive at 750GB is BIG. The System Volume Information files are also BIG. And I think that is what is screwing SM. The larger the drive, the larger the System Info files that SM can’t relocate!

SM needs to FIX it defrag. OK?

I had noticed this from day 1. The first time I try to save to my 2nd disk, d-drive, from Word 2007, it takes an AGE. After that it is as quick as it can be.

I have a feeling that Windows 7 caches SOME volume information about drives in memory before you get to use the drive. With the c-drive this must get done during BOOT, this being my system drive.

So this must be why there is always a palpable hesitation before my first use of the 2nd drive. Not killer. More a source of amusement that Windows 7 has to think about it. My second drive is also 750GB. So I think the size impacts the amount of data that Windows 7 caches.

I will look into this too.


Anura Guruge


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It was just four days ago that I told you, categorically, that iolo was lying low and that System Mechnaic 9.0.5 was in quiesce mode on my Windows 7 rig.

I was also bold and brash enough to make the allegation that I knew System Mechanic as well as I knew my wife of ~7 years — and I think I know her quite well.

Well, I was right.

Last night, i.e., Nov. 27, I got the long awaited and much anticipated UPDATE, viz. System Mechanic 9.5.0.

So in terms of product releases this was a BIG JUMP denoting major strides. We went from 9.0.5 to 9.5 in one audacious bound.

i installed the update last night, BUT it required a restart to activate. It was past midnight, and I couldn’t be bothered.

When I started my PC this morning, System Mechanic, WITHOUT asking me, put a Dashboard gadget on my nice and tidy desktop. So I knew the new software was up and kicking. I immediately deleted the gadget.

How dare YOU, iolo? I decide what goes on my desktop.

Ran 9.5. It didn’t crash. Ran a deep analysis. Found the usual suspects: 2x registry errors, disk fragmented, registry fragmented and 1xMB clutter. Told it to fix it. System did not crash. Good sign.

Still having trouble defragmenting my C-drive, even after I told it it can defrag ‘locked’ Windows file after a restart. I still have 14% defrag. rate. Just won’t go away.

So far, so good.

Oh! The iolo optional banner, which I promptly disabled, notified me that this version is Windows 7 certified. About bloody time.

I will keep you posted.

Anura Guruge

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A few events and ideas kind of converged, serendipitously, to make me write this post.

Yesterday, I had posted about FrontPage 2003 quirks a lady was having when running it on Windows 7.

Two days ago I posted that I finally got a Windows 7 driver for my HP P1006 LaserJet.

The other day I was thinking about the overall issue of ‘Windows’ compatibility. My background , and abiding passion, is in IBM mainframes. The core S/370 hardware architecture dates back to 1971 (or thereabouts). Software compatibility, across the decades and generations, is a hallmark of mainframe computing. The various operating systems, from OS/VS 1 to today’s z/OS, has bent over backwards to ensure this.

So, my thought process was, why is it so difficult to have ‘Windows’ compatibility.

Though I have now used Windows, daily, for 12 years, I am not a Windows expert. I can get most things done, but I have never really tried to understand how Windows work. Yes, I kind of know what a ‘DLL’ is but I cannot honestly say how it all fits together. Whereas, I used to pour over S/370 and OS/VS ‘x’ architecture documents, I can honestly say I have never read anything about the internals of Windows. So, I don’t know ‘why,’ but it bothers me that an application or driver written for XP will just stop working in a newer version of Windows, in this case Windows 7.

I was going to write today about the elusive Windows Defender. That I actually ran it the other day. But, I, for a change, wanted to find out a bit more about it before I wrote my post. So I visited Microsoft’s Windows Defender page (which, of course, I found via Google).

I was kind of looking for a ‘FAQ,’ and the nearest I found was ‘Help & How-to.’ So tried that to discover that it has a ‘drop-down’ for the various versions of Windows … my attention, of course, being caught by Windows 7.

Clicked on that. It wasn’t about Windows Defender! But, my eyes were drawn to a BIG HEADING that said “Top Solutions.”

#5 and #6 in that list were about Windows 7 compatibility. Some good information there. Even a video about how to try and run older programs on Windows 7. So here is the link, try it.

In the process, I discovered that my FireFox 3.5.5 (on Windows 7, obviously) requires a Windows Media Player 11 PLUG-IN from Microsoft no less, so that I can play Media Player videos in FireFox. I thought one of the built-in features of FireFox 3 was that it could play any video inside a tab. Hhhhmmm. I guess you still need plug-ins.

Anura Guruge

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As I had posted earlier this month, I was foiled in my attempts to run FrontPage 2003 on my Windows 7 rig BECAUSE I did not want to install a ‘back version’ of Office, i.e., 2002, now that I had finally installed Office 2007. So I had started using Microsoft’s FREE (yes, FREE) SharePoint Designer 2007 which is based on the FrontPage 2003 code-base.

I had an email yesterday from a lady who was ‘successfully’ running FrontPage 2003 on Windows 7 — but FrontPage 2003 was refusing to recognize two of her (three) Web sites previously created with FP. She had already established that it was not a ‘FrontPage Extensions‘ issue — and all three of her FP Web sites were running on the same server.

It appears that she can access and update all three Web sites using FP’s FTP mode. FTP mode is OK, but doesn’t give you warm-and-fuzzy you can get with using FP’s ‘native mode’ — which does require Extensions to be installed at the server side.

So … this seems an annoying quirk. Anybody else experiencing anything similar? PLEASE share. Thank You.

Anura Guruge

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On a whim I checked today for my long awaited driver. VoilĂ .

They had both a 32- and 64-bit driver for Windows 7. About time. They had said that they would have one in November and true to their word they had one with at least five days to spare.

It was v. 7.01 (which is kind of cute given the Windows 7 tie-in). It was, as is always the case with drivers for HP LaserJets, a BIG download … 163.74MB. That is a big for a printer driver.

Downloaded and installed it.

They have SIMPLIFIED the process. THANK YOU.

It is now basically a plug-and-play set-up. Start up the install, plug in the printer.

In total took about 3 minutes.

The USB install was a two step process. Windows 7 first recognized and configured a generic USB port. Then the driver was installed against that port.

It was smooth. It worked. I plugged the HP P1006 into one of the back, USB ports where I had, unsuccessfully, tried my USB hubs yesterday. Per my contention yesterday, my USB ports seem to be fine. Printer was recognized and installed without a hitch.

Tried a duplex [i.e., manual, double sided] print. Worked. But one ANNOYING glitch.

With duplex printing … a TASK is started up … to enable you to reload and restart the printer. That task appears on the TASK BAR … as it should. HP dis NOT create an ICON for that. So an UGLY generic icon appears on my VERY TIDY task bar RUINING its complexion. Damn YOU HP.

Yes, I am selling my HP stock. But, as I mentioned in my November 16 post, not selling it in anger. So I had sold a December $49 call. Though the stock is still flirting with $50, I am making money on the option. So I am laughing. I do not like HP. It is a poorly run company.

But, at least I am happy, a month after my Windows 7 rig was up I finally have a printer attached to it.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Anura Guruge

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This rig has quite a few USB ports, eight I think — 2 in the front (up top), and 6 at the back. My keyboard and mouse are USB connected to two of the back ports.

Both front ports work since we (Mike & I) have used USB keys on this from day one.

So in away, I don’t need a hub. But, I had a spare hub. I got one, a Saitek, with color-changing LED, for free, from newegg.com with something that I bought. Maybe it was the power supply.

I had plugged it in a few days ago. Got a message to say that a ‘Generic Hub’ was recognized and successfully installed. I didn’t bother to plug anything in.

I plugged my USB key into the hub for the first time today. NOTHING.

Messed around. Tried all the ports. Tried my new Sony Walkman MP3 player. Nothing.

Being the consummate professional, I then tried the USB key on all the ports without the hub. Worked fine, each time.

Through Device Manager got Windows 7 to check for driver updates. Said I had the latest … but it was from 2006! Hhhmmm.

I then tried a Belkin F5U407 (which I ‘borrowed’ from my wife’s PC).

Nothing. Windows 7 won’t even recognize it as a HUB!

Yes, I visited Belkin. No drivers.

Yes, I Googled. It appears that others have had Windows 7 driver problems with USB devices. In a way I am lucky. All the USB ports seem to work.

Well, I am hoping Mike can solve this mystery. It looks like a driver issue.

I will keep YOU posted. Cheers.

Anura Guruge


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