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Archive for the ‘Windows 7 issues’ Category

My Windows 7 rig has always been dual monitor since day one … in October 2009, within days of the official release of Windows 7.

It is an asymmetrical setup with two different size monitors, with different aspect ratios. [There is also a big difference in vintage. My smaller left-hand size monitor, a Gateway, is 7 or 8 years old.]

I don’t often see the ‘stretched’ desktop since I fire up applications as soon as Windows comes up. I sit there, with my finger on the mouse … waiting for the desktop to appear so I can get going.

Last Saturday, however, I got a chance to look at my desktop. It was a particularly nice desktop image and I stopped to admire it. Then I noticed something strange. Later on I took a screen shot, of both monitors, using Print Screen (Prt Scr), to share it with you — albeit with a different desktop image … but one that is as good to show the oddity.

So here is the screen shot (converted into a JPEG using Snipper — Prt Scr >> paste into PowerPoint >> re-size >>Snipper >> JPEG).

You should be able to tell which monitor is which. The ‘smaller’ left-hand one has the BLACK edging at the bottom. [I don’t see that. That is Prt Scr compensating for the two different screen sizes. You can also, if you look hard enough see the vertical desktop icons … marking the left-hand edge of the bigger, 24″, main monitor]

Anyway, look at the two desktops. Notice the ‘volcano’ puffing dark smoke you can see on my main monitor … to the right of the desktop icons. There is even a little red hill below it. Now look at the left-hand monitor. No volcano!

Basically the desktop image is CROPPED on the smaller monitor.

Not a big deal. Dual monitor works fine. I don’t know. I somehow didn’t think that Windows would CROP the desktop. So don’t panic. All is well. Just an oddity. As far as I know, I can’t change this. There is only one setting for the desktop and Windows 7 uses it for both monitors. If you have any thoughts let me know.

Thank you. Good luck.

Cheers,
Anura Guruge

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Last night, thought it was April Fool’s Day, I still checked for updates. [Sorry about the prank I pulled on you folks re. KB971033. I gave you enough hints that it was a joke].

To my surprise there was an Important Update — albeit just another Windows Defender Definition Update. I am surprised that Microsoft is ‘geeky’ enough to release Windows updates on April Fool’s day. No sense of humor. Or, maybe they do. I guess, as Windows’ users the joke is always on us. That is the fourth Windows Defender Update in a week. The last one was just three days ago on March 29.

All the Windows Defender Updates for Windows 7 are labeled KB915597. But next to it there is a definition number. The number for the April 1 update was 1.79.953.0.

Today, for the first time I went looking for what these definitions contained. So here is the list of the malware included in 1.79.953.0.

On a whim I checked the first new definition in that update: TrojanDropper: Win32/Alobtoe.A. [Just click on Microsoft’s hotlink … on the definitions page.] It says it was NOTED as of July 16, 2009. That is nearly 9 months ago. We are just getting an update for it on April 1, 2001?

This Windows Defender update thing gets even more interesting. On the right hand side … where it says “Change Definition Version” … click that and have a look.

We already have three UNINSTALLED definitions.

Now, as we know Avast (that I use) and AVG (that my wife uses) provides at least one update every 24 hours. Microsoft doesn’t. But, now I see that they have a backlog. In essence, IF Windows Defender is all you use, you are already UNPROTECTED. This is crazy.

I have Avast 4.8 Professional. So to me Defender is a joke. I run it just to see if it finds anything. It never has. I don’t trust Microsoft. For all I know, Defender is checking my licensing and whether I use FireFox. I am totally resigned that I have no privacy on my PC. So this is just heads up.

All the best. Good luck.

Cheers,
Anura Guruge

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FireFox 3.6.2 continues to test my patience and mettle. Crashed again last night. Second crash in 48 hours. Both times was when I was trying to upload a file via a pop-up window. I do this most days. One is from my online GoDaddy file backup site, the other at Typepad.com (where I have www.popes-and-papacy hosted).

Playing around on my XP machine I noticed that there is a difference between FireFox 3.6.2 and FireFox 3.6 rc2. So I reinstalled FireFox today. Not sure whether it will help. Install finished normally. BUT, when I went to restart Windows 7 for the Windows 7 Update … I got a message that FireFox was not installed properly and needs to complete its installation. It did that. Not sure what that was all about.

Hope this helps. Good luck.

Cheers,
Anura Guruge

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Windows Update KB980182 was a cumulative security update for IE 8 for Windows 7. Here is a list of the security exploits it supposedly fixed. I rarely, if ever, use IE … but decided to install this update for the rare occasions I fire-up IE.

Last night I also installed KB915597 — the latest Windows Defender definition updates. That is the second one in four days, and the seventh during the month of March. Wow.

So far, so good. KB980182 insisted on a restart. So I restarted. I am still alive. So, so far so good.

Just to let you know. We probably will get more updates next Tuesday … since we will be in April.

Good luck. All the best.

Cheers
Anura Guruge

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There are a couple of ‘security’ conferences taking place right now where professional hackers from around the world are showcasing their considerable talents to win cash prices and kudos.

A couple of them managed to hack past IE 8 and get into Windows 7, maliciously, with ease. But, other hackers also managed to skirt past security on FireFox running on Windows 7. So that is not good. As far as we know none of these ‘exploits’ are being exploited right now to hack into Windows 7 systems. All it means is that there are people out there who know how to do it, IF they wanted to.

No updates from Microsoft or Mozilla as yet.

So just a heads up. Here are two good links you may want to read: < link1> & <link2>.

All the best.

Cheers
Anura Guruge

P.S. No Windows 7 updates today, i.e., March 26, 2010

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Since I now appear to be the arbitrator of Windows 7 updates, I checked too see if there were any … today … a Thursday.

There were TWO. I was surprised. One was a new Windows Defender Update. Qu’est-ce que c’est passe?

We had one yesterday, and another today. Is Windows 7, like Democrats, under attack? Don’t get it.

Also an OPTIONAL update for the Realtek PCIe GBE controller. That is what I have on my ASUS motherboard.

That also happens to be the second in 4 days. What is cooking? I guess the update is OK. My Ethernet is still working … otherwise I would not be typing this.

Not good. Just a heads up.

Good luck. All the best.

Cheers,
Anura Guruge

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Just two Windows 7 updates this week, i.e., March 24, 2010.

One was the usual Windows Defender Definition Update, the 5th in March … and the other KB980302, Update for IE8 Compatibility View List [i.e., an update to the list of Web sites that look ‘better’ in IE 8 despite not meeting the latest and greatest Web design guidelines].

I installed them both. System is still up. I haven’t restarted. Didn’t have to. Might restart soon. I am BUSY again.

I did this for YOU folks, just to make sure the updates are OK.

Good luck.

Cheers,
Anura Guruge

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Over the last few days there has been much made by a statement by a Microsoft blogger that claimed that Windows 7 SP1 will only include minor updates.

I think people are MISINTERPRETING what this guy said … and he … and Microsoft are happy to perpetuate that misnomer.

This Microsoft blogger is a Windows VIRTUALIZATION expert. His blog is mainly about virtualization.

I think what he meant was that Windows 7 SP1 will only contain minor updates to Windows 7 virtualization. Think about it. That would make sense. Windows 7 virtualization probably doesn’t require that many fixes right now.

In my opinion SP1 has to be somewhat significant. Lots of Windows 7 BUGS that Microsoft is not currently fixing with updates … the padlock on icons probably being the most annoying of these.

So, I think, and I could be wrong, that we need to be careful about this ‘only minor updates’ comment.

Good luck.

Cheers,
Anura Guruge

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In general it is fair to say that Windows 7 disk I/O isn’t as fast as one would have hoped. [The slow USB transfer issue is a whole different ball of wax and let us not touch that in this post].

Yes, Windows 7’s background search indexing will exacerbate I/O sluggishness further, and unless you spent much of your time searching for files I recommend that you disable search indexing.

To be fair to Windows 7, it now has to deal with much bigger disks, with many more files, many of them larger, than XP. I used to have dual 60GB drives on my XP system. I now have dual 750GB Western Digital Caviar Black SATA drives. These aren’t the fastest disks that I could have got, but they are also not, by any means, slouches¬† either. They are high-end, high-performance SATA drives.

I had noticed, from day one (i.e., October 23, 2009), that the INITIAL access to my non-system drive [i.e., drive D, as opposed to C] was unexpectedly slow. I think it is a caching issue. I think Windows 7 does some directory caching to speed up SUBSEQUENT I/O. But, it takes time to do the initial cache the first time you access a drive. You don’t see this on the C-drive because this most likely happens during system start-up.

Sometimes Windows 7 takes a few seconds to display the folder content thumbnails on drive D. Kind of amusing.

Yesterday, however, I discovered another small, but annoying, Windows 7 BUG. Yes, another one.

Succinctly stated, Windows 7 does not dynamically update the THUMBNAIL icon of files — in this case JPEG image files. Thus, the thumbnail does not reflect the updated image! Yes, YIKES.

Here is what I was doing.

It is my youngest daughters 4th birthday tomorrow. I was making her a 4 page booklet so that she will be familiar with the Chucke E. Cheese’s protocol on the day — though she is no stranger to that joint. I had moved half dozen or so of our pictures to this new folder … and I was then using PAINT.NET to takeout the background. I would then save the new JPEG without the background into the folder. The BASIC problem is that Windows 7 would NOT update the thumbnail image to show that I had removed the background. So my AFTER icon was same as my BEFORE icon! That is annoying.

Here … look at this folder view:

That was what I would see. Look at the TWO thumbnails in the middle of ROW 1. See how they look the same.

Now here is the same folder view, AFTER I increased the thumbnail icon size:

Look at the thumbnails on the TOP row and the last thumbnail. AGAIN, I STRESS, I didn’t change the files between these views. It is JUST a case of Windows 7 NOT updating the thumbnail icon to reflect what is in the file. So see the images … cropped and with background removed … in the 2nd view. But, if I hadn’t ENLARGED the icons I would have still seen thumbnails that showed me the BEFORE image.

Crazy.

Talk about NOT-WYSIWYG. Not good.

Good luck.

Cheers,
Anura Guruge

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Per the Windows 7 Action Center Reliability History my last FireFox 3.6 hang was on March 3, 2010. 13 days ago.

NOT SO. I had one last night.

FireFox 3.6 (rc2) became very sluggish … so much so that I thought I was on a Vista system. Then I remembered. I have only used Vista at BestBuy.

I have narrowed the scenarios when FireFox 3.6 gets its knickers in a twist. Suffice to say that in most instances it involves sites running scripts — JScripts.

I tend to have tabs open with LOGGED on sessions. I have blogs on both WorrdPress and TypePad. They both require that I LOGON to their services. So I invariably have two open tabs with active, LOGGED ON sessions. It is also not unusual for me to have active, open sessions with Fidelity.com, amazon.com, Google, Yahoo and CraigsList.

I also hit at least 300 different sites a day, and have a minimum of 12 tabs open, across two instances of FireFox (on two separate monitors) at least 12 hours a day. Most days … 14 or 16 hours. So I create quite Web wake.

I need to CLEAR MY HISTORY … everything … not just the cache … on a regular basis.

It would appear that my problems last night was to do with my HISTORY overflowing the comfort level of FireFox 3.6.

I deleted everything. Cookies, cache, sessions etc.

That helped.

So, if you are experiencing FireFox 3.6 crashes … PLEASE try clearing HISTORY of EVERYTHING.

Yes, this has been an age old cure with FireFox. You would think they would have got over this hang-up. Appears not to be the case.

We are DESPERATELY in need of FireFox 3.7. But, in the meantime, FLUSH your history. OK?

Good luck.

Cheers
Anura Guruge

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