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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: freeimages.com/Alan 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: www.nuance.com
Dragon Professional Individual 14 “SendKey Canceled”

Dragon Professional Individual 14 “SendKey Canceled”

Update:

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: freeimages.com/Javier Ramirez
Back to School Night

Back to School Night

Google is taking over Macs in schools!  Chromebooks and Google Classroom seem to be making some serious inroads in the K-12 education.  For every Mac we saw tonight, I saw a technology cart full of Chromebooks.  It is fascinating to see the adoption of technology in the classroom. The students seem to love it and enjoy the content. Teachers were more dubious.  With all new technologies, some glitches were experienced and some people adapt to new technologies faster than others.

A couple of teachers seemed less than thrilled, but everyone else had positive comments as to the role of the new electronic tools. Many teachers prefer the Chromebooks to Macs for the students.  They commented on cost and the benefit of having one for every student.  In addition, they liked how students could start on an assignment at school and finish it at home.  They days of “I forgot my assignment at home” are gone since all the data is stored in the cloud.

It will be fascinating to see how the technology evolves over the next decade.

Photo Credit: www.microsoft.com
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.

***Update***

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.

Opportunities at the Application Layer

Opportunities at the Application Layer

I saw a headline earlier today that Bill Gates spent the day installing Windows 8.1.  I too, in my free time, have spent the last couple days beginning to set up a new Windows 8.1 laptop.  I am certainly known to be an advocate for Microsoft since I built much of my career on their products, but by no means would I consider myself a fanatic.

The installation of the operating system has gotten easier with every release of Windows since the early days.  No matter if you are a Microsoft or Apple fan, I would argue that every release of the operating system for both platforms continues to get better with time.  I certainly am not enjoying the wipe and reload process related to replacing a laptop, but it is certainly better than what 5 or 10 years ago.  Back then, it was a balmy 8 to 10 hours to complete the job.

The operating system is probably the easiest part to get installed.  Drivers and Windows updates come down extremely easily. My frustration with the entire process continues to be the application layer.  It takes absolutely forever to install all the applications and utilities back on your computer after replacing the hardware or just completing a fresh start with a clean operating system.

It will take about an hour to get an operating system installed and patched, but it could easily take me 4 to 6 hours to download install and configure every application utility that I use.  Each time I do this, I always swear that I am going to make an image of the hard drive before I start using it.  The idea being that the very next time I need to do this, I can just drop an image on it and be done.  Needless to say, I never do it for some strange reason.  Maybe it is just my own morbid fascination with the process.

The market is beginning to challenge application providers to come together with easier and more portable application installation and preference retention methodologies using the cloud.  It unquestionably should not be that hard to track all of your application settings and write those preferences to the cloud. Imagine the very next time you install the software and login, it will bring down all of your preferences to the device.  Time Saver!!

Google with Chrome certainly has done this and Microsoft has made significant strides with the latest version of Office that are tied to a Microsoft account.

These are two examples where the software manufacturers got it right, but there are myriad of other applications and utilities out there that do not leverage this simple time-saving and customer beneficial enhancement.  Mobility is driving innovation with applications that span all platforms and remember whom you are no matter what device you are using.  This is the new frontier and opportunity for all application vendors to innovate and modernize their platforms to become more customer-focused.

The “Big Players” are moving to Software-as-a-Service

The “Big Players” are moving to Software-as-a-Service

One of my team members has a picture of a rural home that was in for an unlucky day as a funnel cloud heads toward it. The picture is captioned by “The Cloud, it is coming for your data.” Every time I see it, I crack up just a little. We are amidst of a Cloud revolution, and it will change the world as we know it. Web 2.0 is only the beginning.

The online services lead the way, the enterprise is just starting to look, but the software players are actively investing. The software giants’ move slower than the “web guys” but have deep pockets and are the real market makers. So, what am I talking about???

Well, Adobe announced it is moving some of its core software to the Cloud and will sell it as a SaaS product. Microsoft has commented that it will take a cautious strategy by playing both sides of the fence for a while supporting both boxed and cloud software versions. For now at least, Microsoft will keep boxed software and subscription Cloud-based software for a few years.

I don’t buy the Microsoft position. Adobe is leading now, and Microsoft will not be far behind. The SaaS opening makes so much sense for these companies. Let us consider a few wins that SaaS offers…

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