Tag: <span>Task Manager</span>

It’s getting very techie around here isn’t it, last one for a … well… a couple of days at least.

If you are anything like me when you sit down and turn on your computer you really want it to start as fast as possible. You don’t want to have to wait until Windows loads and then wait again until all those other little programs load, no you just want to get right to work.

Of course you can’t because, probably unbeknownst (ohh I love that word, must use it more often) to you, there are several little programs all trying to run at startup. A lot of these will be small programs that you’ll never notice as they don’t do anything except check for updates, but they still take time to start and take system resources whilst they are running.

One way to see what is running is to call up the Task Manager – for XP users, right-click the taskbar and select “Task Manager” from the menu, for other Windows users I think CTRL+ALT+DEL will bring up the required dialog but be careful you only do that once or you’ll reset your machine… maybe… I can’t remember to be honest. In the Task Manager window there is a “Processes” tab and this lists all the programs running on your machine. There will be quite a few in there, as Windows uses around 30 little programs for a variety of different things. Now you CAN close programs from there – highlight the program in the list and click the button, bottom-right, that says “End Process” – but you need to be careful. Again XP won’t let you close anything that Windows NEEDs to have running. As with most things of course YMMV.

Alas Task Manager is only handy when everything has already started, but what if you find yourself continually closing programs just after you start Windows? Where do they come from? How do you stop them!

Enter a little applet which, when installed, you can access from your Control Panel. Mike Lin’s Startup Control Panel is it’s name and I’ve been using it for years. It will list EVERY program that tries to run at startup, with each startup area (user specified (your startup folder in the Start menu), common programs, and any sneaky hidden ones in your registry), and it allows you to stop them from running or delete them from the startup list so you never need to worry about them again!

It’s a simple solution that, over time will save you hours of closing programs, and it can help if you’ve got any nasty programs trying to keep themselves hidden. It’s well worth a look and, best of all, it’s free (donations welcomed though).

Anyway, that’s not why I’m here, in fact I’m not supposed to be here, I’m supposed to be in the garden.

Tech

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I love new software. I try and contain myself and diligently read reviews, virus scan downloads, check and double-check my system before and after installing anything; I’m almost, once might say, anal about it. I was the same when I got my copy of Office 2003. Sort of… ohh ok I barely glanced at anything before shoving the CD in and installing everything.

Anyway, I’m not writing about that, I’m writing this so I don’t forget, and hopefully it will be useful info for others. Others that have Office 2003 installed. Others who get annoyed when, instead of closing down, Outlook 2003 disappears to the system tray and then won’t re-open, instead presenting you with the following error message:

Outlook is not responding. If you are using an Exchange server e-mail account, you can cancel pending server requests by clicking the Outlook icon in the notifications area, and then clicking Cancel Server Request on the shortcut menu.

I have a problem with this. There IS NO CANCEL SERVER REQUEST option! I’m definitely NOT running Exchange server, so… simply.. WTF?

Panic not, dear reader, I have the solution, hours minutes on Google gave me the following advice:

If you leave Microsoft Outlook 2003 running for a few minutes, THEN shut it down, it does exactly what it says on the tin. Shuts down. Properly. No icon in system tray, no annoying error message and no killing of processes required (where would we be without Task Manager?).

Simple.

Now, I would blame Microsoft here, as unless I’m mistaken this is essentially a silly bit of code logic that is getting me (and many others) into this situation. But I’m not going to, and you shouldn’t either. In fact if anything I have to applaud the product team for producing something that is a huge improvement over it’s predecessor. Bravo Microsoft.

I honestly can’t imagine how many different configurations, scenario’s and the like that they have to test their product against before shipping, and I often wonder, for all the sniping remarks, just what percentage of problems that arise are actually down to errors in the software (PEBCAK?) It’s also worthwhile remembering that the vast majority of Microsoft employees are human beings like you and I, trying to make a living under the extra stress that being a Microsoft employee inevitably brings (from both sides as well).

So, if you thought you were going to get a moan, tough. I happen to think that Microsoft make good software products. Yes there are better ones, but they are many and varied, and everyone has their own x of choice meaning that each of those other products isn’t really competing with Microsoft, but they are competing with each other. No Microsoft is not perfect, yes I don’t agree with some of their business decisions, and yes Macs look MUCH better than ‘IBM-compatible’ boxes.

And, as I seem to have lost the thread of what I was talking about, I’ll go now.

(If you find the thread, please don’t pull it, the entire site may just well unravel before your very eyes…)

[UPDATE: This ‘fix’ may not solve your problem. Another thing to try is to view the Properties of your Inbox (right-click) and uncheck the “Automatically generate Microsoft Exchange views”. If like me you are using Outlook to access a POP3 account then you won’t need this… and as the error message mentions Exchange… well ya never know]

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