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Category: Information Tech

the reality of working in IT for the last decade

Photo Credit: Microsoft & Michael Cruse
An Error Occurred – Try Refreshing?

An Error Occurred – Try Refreshing?

Sometimes apps have their own mind and do not behave as we wish.  I have dealt with a problem where Microsoft MSN Money App for Windows 10 displays the following message on several tabs “An error occurred” and “Try refreshing?” with a link to “Refresh this page.”  Refreshing the page never helped.  I tried reinstalling the app, resetting Internet Explorer settings, and registering the App Store with PowerShell, but nothing corrected the problem.

I was able to fix the problem, but trying these steps is done so at your own risk. I did not look at the implications of taking ownership as described below and deleting the wrong folders will break your apps.

  • Uninstall Money by right-clicking on the Tile and choosing “Uninstall.”
  • Navigate with File Explorer to C:\Program Files\WindowsApps
    You may need to turn on the setting to display hidden folders, and you must grant yourself access to the folder by taking ownership.  This will cascade down through the folder tree.  You can do this just to the base folder and the specific sub-folders that need to be deleted if you wish (Look at Step 7 in the Ownership link or Google how to do it.)
  • Delete the three folders that start with “Microsoft.BingFinance.” DO NOT DELETE ANY OTHER FOLDERS.
  • Reinstall Money from the Microsoft App Store
  • Start the Money App!
Photo Credit: Aycock
Help – Keyboard Stopped Working in Windows 10

Help – Keyboard Stopped Working in Windows 10

At home, us parents use a Dell Inspiron laptop, and it has been working great for two years. Similarly, to most people, we are cramming to finish our taxes on time. This was not the time for the laptop to start acting up. While blissfully pecking away at the keyboard downloading statements, the keyboard on the laptop became unresponsive. A reboot did not fix the problem. However, we could enter the bios without any difficulty. While in the bios, the keyboard worked normally. I disconnected all USB connections and the power cord from the laptop. I rebooted once again, but no improvement.

I completed several searches on Google but every suggestion I found did not correct the problem. I cannot pull the battery out of the laptop quickly because it is an enclosed device. I would have to remove the back of the laptop, but I wanted to save that for my last-ditch effort. Resetting the bios to defaults, flashing the bios, and removing the device from the device manager all failed to improve the situation. I even ran the Dell diagnostics on the computer, and it came back clean. Now, the trackpad stopped responding in Windows 10, but it continued to function normally in the bios and Dell diagnostic screens.

I powered up the laptop one more time, and then shut it down with the power button by just holding it down. This is an ungraceful shutdown for a notebook. If this was a desktop computer, it is as close as I can get to walking up and pulling the power cord out of the wall. Luckily for us, the forced power down of the laptop corrected the problem. The keyboard and trackpad on the laptop resumed normal operation inside of Windows 10. If the forced power down did not work, my last troubleshooting step was to pull the battery out and then call Dell’s tech support.  If all else failed, I would reformat the computer and reinstall Windows 10.

The issue is happily resolved by performing a hard shutdown on the laptop. I actually did this step out of frustration versus intentional troubleshooting. What a lucky little turn of events…

Photo Credit: gross
Miss Me Yet?? No, Not Really…

Miss Me Yet?? No, Not Really…

Back in February, I decided to close or curtail the use of a significant number of my social media accounts. At the time, this radical action included the likes of Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, blogs, discussion forums, and general new sites. The first week was troubling as I felt a nagging sensation that I was being delinquent by not looking or logging into these platforms. For Twitter and Instagram, I did not have much of a choice as I closed my account. I also closed my tumbler account and unfollowed nearly all, if not all, WordPress blogs. There was a distinct feeling of loss as if my favorite security blanket went missing. I finally understood Linus.

After a month, the feelings of neglect and loss are all but dissipated. There is no sensation of obligation or failing to meet other people’s expectations regarding my involvement. There is a surprising upside to the amount of free time that has been created. It is a lot easier to find time to work out and see friends when you do not have as many digital obligations. This is not to say that I am some overgrown child that lives in their mom’s basement. We all have a lot of things competing for our time and attention and this is a surprisingly easy group of items to cut out to allows us to spend time more meaningfully with those that actually matter.

Just doing my part to keep my life a little simpler…

Photo Credit: LaFLamme
Some Thoughts on Encryption

Some Thoughts on Encryption

The controversy regarding Apple’s resistance to decrypt an iPhone that was utilized by terrorists has created a national conversation about the role of encryption in modern society. This is a tricky topic that has been a long time in the making. Watching the cable news last week has seen political leaders, pundits, talking bobble heads and technical evangelists weighing in on the debate. Now, we have a court issuing its first decision that may influence the outcome of the disagreement between Apple and the FBI.

I deplore what the terrorists did in San Bernardino. There is no justification for their actions or any other person who engages or supports the attacking of civilians. I wish the government to use all legal means to bring any co-conspirators to justice and use their available tools to penetrate these evil networks.

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Dragon Professional Individual 14 “SendKey Canceled”

Dragon Professional Individual 14 “SendKey Canceled”


Another conflict occurred that required me to disable the advanced security setting in Adobe Acrobat.  This error has not happened since this setting was changed.

Original Post:

I have recently upgraded to Dragon Professional Individual (NaturallySpeaking) 14.  I use this application extensively to capture initial thoughts while preparing for writing projects and completing drafts of documents.  I have been a loyal Dragon user for multiple years and have found it to increase my productivity substantially.  Recently, I upgraded to Windows 10 and Dragon Professional Individual 14 and all went well for two weeks.

Starting yesterday, “SendKey Canceled” errors started to occur while using Dragon.  Additional information listed “at line 1 in script Dragon Voice Commands Automation.” and the system would appear unresponsive.  I would press control-alt-delete to lock my computer screen.  When I unlocked the screen, I could cancel the error message.

After doing a fair amount of Google searching (watch out for the malware “fix links”), I can see this is caused by a software conflict.  I started to uninstall updates and applications to see if I could track down the conflict.

For me, the application creating the conflict with Dragon was GIMP 2.8.14.  Once I uninstalled my favorite image editing application and rebooted, the error went away.  In the last several hours of dictation, it is not returned.

This is not to say that there is a problem with GIMP or Dragon.  For me at least, these two applications just do not want to play well together right now.

Photo Credit: Groenmen
So Many Cords – Where is Wireless Charging??

So Many Cords – Where is Wireless Charging??

I was just picking up around the house and noticed just how many darn power cords we use. We are a gadget-based household; I am a techie to say the least. We have smartphones, tablets, laptops, computers, music players, and every other conceivable electronic device ever made under the sun.

I just collected everything and plugged them all into charge; we must have 12+ power cords. I have a total of five (5) different connectors on these devices.  One connector would be outstanding, but how about the world standardize on two (2) or three (3)?  These devices are spread throughout the house, so you do not realize just how many you have. I feel as if I may need to build an ultimate charging shelf to keep all this straight.  Challenge – Go and Collect all of your devices and cords.  How many do you have?

I KNOW in a couple more years wireless charging will be the standard. IT CANNOT COME SOON ENOUGH! I do look forward to the time when I can walk in, toss my devices down, and know they are getting charged. Besides, how is that children seem to eat power chargers like Tic Tacs? It is crazy! I think that I should start assigning them a home.  Funny, I never thought about tracking my power cords before, but it might save me a trip or two to Verizon to replace the wondering power cords.

Enough…back to the to-do list…

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Windows 8.1 Playing Nice…Network Connected

Windows 8.1 Playing Nice…Network Connected

For over a week, my Windows 8.1 Enterprise installation has been reporting Limited Connectivity while connected to our corporate wired local area network. It was odd that it only happened on the LAN and not on WiFi. Actually, it was irritating to no end. All the Metro Apps would not access the Internet even though the desktop apps worked online just fine.

I completed several Google searches and tried everything I found. I updated my Network driver, reset WinSock, replaced network cables, and executing several netsh commands. If I logged in locally, the problem continued. However, when I connected to my home network (wired), I did not receive the same limited connectivity error. This does not seem a problem with hardware or the underlying OS.

I was going to wipe and reload the OS. I removed the computer from the domain, removed BitLocker, and clear personal data. Luckily for me, I had an immediate need to get some work down so I put my computer back into the domain. I rebooted and logged back in. Oh my – the problem went away. Removing the computer from the domain, and putting it back in, and the problem was corrected.

My network is showing connected and happy. No OS wipe and reload required.


A week later, the problem returned. I wiped the OS, and so far, it is working much better. Last time it worked for a week or so before the problem started. I hope that this time, that will not occur.