Problems might just be gone …


For a few weeks now, I’ve been having performance issues with one of my Windows 10 laptops. I’ve uninstalled software that I rarely use, but the issue seems to have remained. What happens is that I’ll be using for example Microsoft Word and suddenly it hangs with the message “Word is not responding” and this will happen three or four times during the session. I end up having to restart Windows and hope the problem has gone away. Often this fixes the issue, but occasionally it doesn’t.

Today, while I was looking at the Task Manager application, I noticed something called ‘software reporting tool’. I had not seen it before and so I ran an online search and discovered that it is a program that checks to see if any software is going to affect the Google Chrome browser. There were reports that it has a high CPU usage when checking and the check often takes 20 minutes or so to run. The date on the file is 4th October which seems to coincide with the second time I had problems. Things seemed to improve after I removed my other printer, but then problems re-emerged a few days later.

The sites I looked at (and I always check a few to see if they say the same thing) told me that the process is not necessary and can be stopped. They also said that Google may restart the process again whenever the Chrome bowser updates. It gave instructions on how to prevent it running and how to prevent Google from restarting it. The instructions for this can be found at https://www.ghacks.net and searching for ‘how to block the Chrome Software reporter tool’.

It may not fix the problem, but the tool sends scan information back to Google, so there may be privacy issues here.

We shall see if there is any improvement.

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On another point, this was written using the WordPress editor on an iPad Mini. I had not thought of that as an option, but it seems to work quite well. I do need to understand how the HTML style tags work for formatting, but there must be a tutorial out there.

 

Too clever for my own good …


This is a little techy. I have been having a problem all week with the performance of my main laptop. Applications were slow to open and even slower to close. I scoured the internet for answers and did everything, bar re-installing Windows, that was suggested. But the problem remained, and it was getting worse. Some programs were now not even opening. Then today I had an idea. You see, I have two laptops on my home network, both with an attached printer. At the beginning of the week, I thought it would be good if I could print to both printers in an effort to save ink, as the other printer never gets used. After a couple of hours and a fair bit of stress, I got it working. I then installed the other printer on my main laptop so that it could be seen. Then all I had to do was to ensure the other laptop and printer were switched on and I could print to it. Really quite pleased with myself at that point.

I didn’t really want to have the other laptop and printer to be on all the time, so I shut both down. This was on Monday afternoon. On Tuesday, I started to notice the performance issues. As Tuesday was the day when Microsoft updates Windows, I put the problems down to that. When there was a second update pushed on Wednesday, I was convinced that everything would now be okay. Not so. The performance had improved slightly, but not so as you would notice. It was getting so bad that I began to think I had a virus or something. I searched the internet for the problem and the answers were as I expected: run an anti-virus; run an anti-malware; run a disk clean-up even reformat hard drive and start again. Well I tried all except the last one, but nothing seemed to work. Then another search, came up with something. I may have a corrupt drive recently installed. Hmmm … the only driver recently installed was the printer driver for the other printer. I thought I would have a look at that. I removed the printer from the device list (an I assume that removed the driver) and did a full reboot, rather than a restart.

Now (touch wood) it seems to be back to as normal as it was before. I had a quick online chat with the printer help desk (free thankfully). It would appear, that when the other laptop and printer were switched off any software that you can print from would be looking for the printers when the software opens. As the printer was off, it was not visible and so the delays. I’m not entirely convinced, but it does seem to have been resolved.

(Written with Word 365 – blog template)

Just lazy … that’s all … or maybe not …


I started to write this post on Friday, but put it off. I didn’t have a title then and was trying to think of reasons excuses why I haven’t posted since 5th July. And they were just excuses … ‘didn’t have time’ … ‘nothing to say’ … ‘too late/early/drunk/tired etc ‘ … you get the picture?  The only one that really seems to crop up the most is (not ‘too drunk’ although …) ‘nothing to say.’ I often sit down at one of my laptops, or the iPad with good intentions, and then nothing. So I’m going to try a bit harder over the coming months/weeks, after all now I have a paid blog, I need to get my money’s worth Be right back

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Now it may sound a little extravagant to have two laptops and an iPad, but there is a reason. Since I got my first PC back in 1995, I have had a money management application (or program as it was called back then) called Microsoft Money. It was discontinued some years ago, although Microsoft did bring out some cut-down versions, but I understand even these are now extinct. It has always worked fine with the upgrades up until Windows 8.1 came out and users were advised that ‘some’ software would not work properly in future editions of Windows. I don’t use it as part of my online banking as it never really worked with my bank, it just keeps a record of my future, past and present incomes and expenses. A a pinch I could use a spreadsheet, but I think that over the years, it would get a little unwieldy.

A couple of years ago, I decided that my laptop was running very slow and convinced K*** that I needed a new one which I got. I thought it would be a good idea to keep the older one, just in case R***’s home laptop gave in. So the old one was consigned to a wardrobe shelf to gather dust. Then, along came Windows 10 and everyone was urged to upgrade with the free upgrade. This latest version was said to be the worst for compatibility of older software, so I held off upgrading for a long time. I then had a thought Thinking smile . What I should do is keep the old laptop on Windows 7 (which I knew would run the Money program) and upgrade my new(ish) laptop to the latest version of Windows 10. That way, if Money didn’t work I could always use the old laptop. Thankfully it did work and I now have Windows 10 on both machines. I’m still very wary when updates come out and I will not update the old laptop until I know Money works on the latest Windows version.

Frantic


This is my first post using the Daily Prompt. I always need a reason to post, and often my posts just turn into a general rant.

So, here I am, frantically trying to work out how to use a ‘pingback’ when creating a post using Open Writer Live  (OWL). There is a way I’m certain, but until I find it, I’m going to have to use the WordPress App editor. It’s not that I don’t like using the editor, it’s just that I always used to use the old Windows Live Writer and so when I found OWL, I simply started to use that. I’ve tried using the blog template in Word, but there are too many distractions in Word. The old Notepad that came with Windows is okay, but I would like to stick with OWL.

That’s it for now. Just going to wait and see what happens tomorrow.

Full of cold …


Yep, I’m full of cold. It started with a bit of a cough at the beginning of the week and it’s now reached the ‘messy’ stage. Problem is, that on Saturday, we are all going for our annual ‘flu jab’. I’ve been told, that with any prosthetic heart valve, the flu vaccination is a very good, if not essential idea. Not sure if I will be able to have it. Certainly don’t feel up to having it at this precise moment.

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Bramham All Saints Church

We went to church on Sunday. Not such a big thing you may say, many people do. I used to go often when R*** was a lot younger, but as he has grown up, getting out of the house on his ‘days off’ is a big problem. I can understand too. He goes off to his daycare centre Monday to Friday, so on the weekend, all he wants to do is be in his room, doing the things that he likes to do. A bit like most of us really. If it’s not something you have to do, then why do it? Anyway, he was on respite at the weekend, and it seemed such a good opportunity to go. It was interesting seeing people that we know, but have not seen for a while. We are looking to go again on the 5th November, when R*** is on a weekend respite again. This could become a regular occurrence.

 

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Now the bathroom is finished, I’m looking to start on some decorating. I need to tidy up the paintwork in the bathroom, (ceiling and door frame to be precise) but want to have a good go at it without too many break-offs. R*** goes on respite again on Monday, so I could probably do that in one day. I then need to start on the staircase. There is not a lot to paint, but it will be the access that will be the main issue. Hopefully, if I can crack on, I should get it all done before he returns of Friday afternoon. Ideally, I’d like to have all the work done by the end of Thursday, but that may be pushing it a little. It’s all in the planning! I’m thinking though, that the doorframes, may have to wait until the following week.

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I have once again used the new WordPress editor to publish this, and the jury is still out. I have yet to work out how to publish as a draft, or in fact if I need to publish as a draft first.

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** I have just discovered the ‘Preview’ button. This seems to work as a draft mode, allowing me to check what the post looks like before posting. So no real need to post a draft first. I have also just found the Windows Store ‘WordPress.com’ app. So the next post will be using that (if I can remember) **

I sometimes hate Microsoft … beware the Anniversary Update my friends …


I must explain. I’ve never been a fan of Apple software and whenever I have considered new IT equipment, I have always looked for alternatives to Apple. I have never had an iPod, I had a unknown music player.My smartphones have always been Android phones. I would never consider an iPhone. All my PC’s and laptops have all been Microsoft. The only exception was my first computer which was a Texas computer. So you could say, I’m a fan of Microsoft. A big fan.

However … this week has been a trial, even for me. I have two laptops. One, I have had for about four years and the second one for about eight/nine months. It is a long story, why I got the second one, and I’ll not go into it today but suffice to say, it was a wise choice at the time.

So why the post title?

On Monday, I decided that my ‘old’ laptop should be fired up and have all the updates that it needed. Oh sh*t! Windows tells me that there are ‘updates ready to download’. I checked what they were, and right at the bottom of the list was update that had the number ‘1607’ mentioned. The time had come for the so called ‘Windows 10 Anniversary  Update’. This was the one that I have been dreading. I was so thankful, though that it was first coming through to the old lappy. That way I could make sure that I would not have any major issues. You see, my banking software is an old Microsoft programme called Microsoft Money.

I’ve used it since I had Windows XP. I never use the internet functions, simply use it as a computerised bank account/cheque book. When I upgraded to Windows 7, there was the fear that this software may not work. Fortunately, it did and it saved me a lot of worries. Then along came Windows 10, and with it more rumours that Microsoft Money would not work. After a lot of stress and fruitless web searching, I bit the bullet and bought a new machine with Windows 10 installed. My idea was that I would use the old machine, as a internet free machine, just for the banking app.

So back to updating the old machine. What the hell, I thought. There is no choice, it has to be done, and I could always ‘roll back’ if the banking app did not work. Three hours later and Windows tells me that my laptop is “Preparing to install the update” or words to that effect. It does not actually call itself the Anniversary Update. That’s probably a media thing. After another three hours or so, the ‘installation’ is at around 63% and I really need to sleep. So I leave it to do it’s thing and hope that it will be all done in the morning.

Morning arrives (06:30 to be exact) and I’m looking at the laptop with an air of disgust. All I have is that blue/grey  screen that shows between turning on and the desktop appearing. Something amiss I fear! No time to do anything now, so I press the power button to shut down. Speedily move on to me getting home from work. I fire up the machined and after a few minutes the damn thing tells be that it is rolling back to my original set-up. The update failed! Down hearted, but not deterred, I click on the Windows update again and the whole process repeats.

Now with the echo of that film ‘Groundhog Day’ in my head, the same thing happens again. Exactly the same as before. Fail! I am now thinking that a Mac has serious possibilities. I scour the internet for possible causes of the failure, and one seems to strike a chord. Someone with an unpronounceable name that looks about 11 years old, suggests that any peripherals such as a printer or an external hard drive be unplugged. I unplug the printer and start again for the third (and as I said to the wife) final f**king time. Of course, the process needs to be left overnight to finish. Another sleepless night ensues.

It’s now 06:10 Wednesday morning and I’m tiptoeing around trying to see if the update worked. ‘B**lcks’ I say quietly. It looks like the same has happened. Same old blue/grey screen. I press the power and go off to work in not the best of moods. Fast forward again to home time. I power up the cursed machine, expecting the worst. Not at all! The thing powers up and it all looks good. A few checks, and it seems like third time lucky. The update has taken! First thing I do, is check the banking app. It works! Everything I try seems to work. Of course that stupid ‘Edge’ browser thing is still stupid, but I have updated! I survived! I can now concentrate on the real issues of the day. That being ‘Great British Bake Off’ going to Channel 4 and Angeline and Brad splitting up.

Now all I have to do, is wait for my main laptop to tell me the update is ready and it all starts again!

An old friend returns …


The thing about getting a new computer is that you never remember what software you need, until you realise it’s not on your new machine. Now I thought I had been clever, and had made a list of the stuff I use all the time. Which is fine in as far is it goes. Then you start to do some work or something and you find that you haven’t got that little bit of software that you always use, but never think about. Still, I think I’m almost there now. The old machine is in the spare room (in case I need something) and I’m beginning to get the hang of Windows 10. It has it’s pro’s and con’s, but I think a lot of it is just familiarity. It too me a couple of weeks to get used to Windows 7 after XP, and I still miss some of the things that XP did, but we move on.

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Now, to the title of this post “An old friend returns …”! The old friend in question is my first blogging editor (back to Windows XP here) good old ‘Windows Live Writer  (WLW). I always felt it was one of the best tools for the job, and was very disappointed when Microsoft decided to no longer support it. Since then I have used a variety of editors and am still inclined to use the Blog Post template in Microsoft Word and occasionally I will use the WordPress desktop application.

Yesterday, whilst reading an article about Windows 10 compatibility issues with some older software, I saw a mention of WLW and how much it was missed. There was a list of alternatives, but near the top was a link to a website called ‘Open Live Writer’ which wimageas offering Open Live Writer as a free download. My initial thoughts was that this must one of those awful clones that seemed to perpetuate throughout the internet. After a little bit of research it looks like pressure from users made Microsoft turn WLW into an open source application and the result is Open Live Writer.

I downloaded it this morning and have used it for this post. To all intents and purposes it looks and feels the same as before. Everything seems to be as I remember WLW, and it feels quite nostalgic to be using it again. I shall test it further over the next few weeks and see how it goes, but things look promising.

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On a completely different tack, my INR blood test seems to have been a bit off the wall. INR is the International Normalised Ratio and is a measure of how much longer it takes the blood to clot when oral anticoagulation is used. For example, if your INR is 2 the blood is taking twice as long as normal to clot. I have a range which my INR has to fall within, of between 2.0 and 3.5 with a target of 2.5. Since I have been taking an anti-coagulant, my INR has usually been within the range, with the occasional blip. However, since middle of December I have three times been ‘over my limit’ so to speak. I have put it down to what I have eaten and drunk (which does have an effect), but it made me wonder if stress could be a factor. Over the December/January period, it has been quite a stressful time what with Christmas (humbug) and work. I asked the doctor at my medication review, and although he had not heard of stress being a factor, he did say that stress does have an effect on our metabolism so in theory there could be a link. However, I got the impression that he thought it was probably down to food and drink.