Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Windows 7’

Internet Explorer 9 and Windows 7 taskbar previews, a broken story

image

Hello Microsoft, can you count? In the image above you can see the Windows 7 taskbar showing THREE (merged) icons/instances of Internet Explorer, although I only have ONE windows open (they seem to use multiple processes internally when you have many tabs, but why should the user care?). More importantly, in the popup shown when left-clicking the pinned Internet Explorer button, you can count 18 entries for open tabs, however in the Internet Explorer window there are many-many more open tabs.

This occurs both in Classic Windows theme and in Aero theme (using Windows 7 Ultimate – a courtesy of Microsoft to active testers of Windows 7 beta) and shows both when you see a list of titles (for many tabs) and when you’d see previews (shown when that bug makes it “THINK” you have few tabs – you might have lots more of course as shown above)

This brings to the surface the bad practice of some Microsoft teams on Microsoft Connect (former Product Feedback Center). They tend to close bug submissions very easily without checking who I the submitter (e.g. a current or former Microsoft MVP like me) and what is their past record of bug submission resolutions in all Microsoft products over the years.

I had submitted this issue in the past (sadly I currently can’t Connect to Microsoft Connect to locate it), only to see it soon closed as non reproducible without much effort to think why it might be happening (update: since I can’t find that feedback now that I made it to connect again – probably was together with some other tab-related feedback – I submitted it separately at https://connect.microsoft.com/IE/feedback/details/725397/ie9-bad-behaviour-with-multiple-tabs). For example, I believe IE chokes upon a frozen tab – e.g. one with some heavy JavaScript or Flash – and stops polling the other tabs for their title/preview etc., showing only some few as a result. Also it seems that counting IE processes as separate apps and merging them as three IE9 icons (when you only have one window with many tabs open) might play a role (might it be showing tab previews from only one of the IE9 processes?). Have they checked their source code if it is robust enough against such a scenario? Why do they feel they need to reproduce every bad software behavior reported first, instead of proactively act to be shielded against similar software behaviors?

Especially the many open tabs scenario that really makes IE9 crawl to its knees both in performance and usability, which is really sad given the effort Microsoft has spent on it. Not to speak of the many-many favorites (gathered over several years or from many synced machines – e.g via Windows Live Mesh) scenario and the very poorly designed, folder-based Favorites dialog which takes a long-long time to open up and has a miserable scrolling UI with no embedded Search filter.

Speaking of multiple tabs, in Mozilla Firefox you can set an option to remember tabs that were open at last application run so that you can shut down your PC and continue later. With IE9 only if it crashes it suggests to reopen previous tabs at next run, so unless you use the Add Current Tabs to Favorites (Folder) option of the very-very slow (if you have many favs like me) IE9 Favorites tab, you are forced to keep IE9 and your PC running if you want to checkout those multiple tabs you’ve opened, but don’t have the time to do it all in one go.

Categories: Posts Tags: , , , ,

Εγκατάσταση του λογισμικού ΓΑΙΑ ΙΙ στα Windows Vista και Windows 7

Όταν πρωτοκυκλοφόρησε το εκπαιδευτικό λογισμικό ΓΑΙΑ ΙΙ (το 2002) δεν υπήρχαν ακόμη τα Windows Vista και Windows 7, οπότε χρειάζεται μερικά παραπάνω βήματα από τα συνήθη η σωστή εγκατάσταση του.

Πρόκειται για βήματα παρόμοια με αυτά που χρειάζονται για να εγκατασταθεί στα Windows Vista και Windows 7 το Αβάκιο / E-Slate μιας και αυτό χρησιμοποιήθηκε ως πλατφόρμα (αν και με αρκετές τροποποιήσεις μου), πέραν από τις επιπλέον ψηφίδες (JavaBeans) που αναπτύξαμε τότε ειδικά για τη ΓΑΙΑ ΙΙ.

1) Εκκινούμε το πρόγραμμα “Εγκατάσταση” (.exe) της ΓΑΙΑ ΙΙ

GaiaII_Installer

 

2) Στο τέλος της εγκατάστασης κρατάμε τις επιλογές που έχει για να στήσει τη Java (θα στήσει την Java 1.3 και ας έχουμε νεότερη στημένη γιατί την χρειάζεται η ΓΑΙΑ ΙΙ) και το Blaxxun Contact VRML player. Προαιρετικά αποεπιλέγουμε το DirectX setup γιατί έχουν νεότερο τα Windows 7 (και να μην το επιλέξουμε θα μας ενημερώσει μόνο του πως υπάρχει νεότερη έκδοση όταν το τρέξει)

 

3) Στο πρόγραμμα εγκατάστασης της Java 1.3 που ξεκινά αποεπιλέγουμε το "INTERNET EXPLORER", το "FIREFOX" και όποιο άλλο web browser αναφέρει εκεί για λόγους ασφαλείας (πρόκειται για παλιά έκδοση της Java – αν θέλουμε νεότερη για Java applets στο Web Browser θα πρέπει να τη στήσουμε ΕΠΙΠΛΕΟΝ από το http://java.com όταν τελειώσουμε)

Java1_3

Java1_3_DeselectBrowsers

 

4) Στα Regional Settings του συστήματος (Control Panel) βάζουμε "Greek" (στην 1η καρτέλα "Formats") στην επιλογή "Format" και πατάμε OK (αν δεν έχουμε ελληνικά Windows ή έχουμε αλλάξει τις ρυθμίσεις τους)

Regional Settings

Regional Settings Format MUST BE Greek

Αν είμαστε σε σύστημα με πολλούς λογαριασμούς χρηστών πρέπει να κάνει ο κάθε χρήστης τη ρύθμιση αυτή μόνος του, αλλά αν θέλουμε τυχόν νέοι λογαριασμοί χρηστών που θα δημιουργήσουμε να έχουν έτοιμη τη ρύθμιση αυτή, αντί να πατήσουμε OK στο παράθυρο Regional Settings πατάμε Apply για να μην κλείσει και πάμε μετά στην καρτέλα "Administrative", όπου πατάμε το κουμπί "Copy settings…". Στο νέο παράθυρο που ανοίγει επιλέγουμε στο "Copy your current settings to:" το "New user accounts" (αφού πρώτα επιβεβαιώσουμε πως στο "Current User" λέει Format "Greek (Greece)") και κλείνουμε τα παράθυρα ρυθμίσεων με OK

Regional Settings Administrative CopySettingsToUsers

Regional Settings Administrative CopySettingsToUsers GreekFormatNewUsers

 

5) Στο φάκελο “C:\Program Files\Gaia-II\“ (μπορούμε να δούμε εύκολα τα περιεχόμενα του στο μενού Έναρξη των Windows 7 γράφοντας στο “Αναζήτηση…” εκεί τη διαδρομή του φακέλου μαζί με το τελικό “\”), κάνουμε δεξί κλίκ και επιλέγουμε Properties (Ιδιότητες) στο "Γαία ΙΙ" (.exe)

StartMenu ProgramFiles Γαία ΙΙ executable

StartMenu ProgramFiles Γαία ΙΙ executable Properties

Στην καρτέλα Compatibility (Συμβατότητα) επιλέγουμε το "Run this program as administrator" (Εκτέλεση ως διαχειρηστής).

Γαία ΙΙ executable Properties Compatibility RunAsAdministrator DoAtChangeSettingsForAllUsersIfMultiUserAdmin

Αν είμαστε σε σύστημα με πολλούς λογαριασμούς χρηστών και θέλουμε να μην κάνει ο κάθε χρήστης τη ρύθμιση αυτή μόνος του, κάνουμε πρώτα "Change settings for all users" (Αλλαγή ρυθμίσεων για όλους τους χρήστες) και μετά επιλέγουμε το "Run this program as administrator".

Εναλλακτική λύση στην παραπάνω ρύθμιση είναι η απενεργοποίηση του UAC (User Access Control) των Windows Vista και Windows 7, αλλά δεν συνιστάται από άποψης ασφαλείας γιατί τότε όλες οι εφαρμογές θα εκτελούνται με τα πλήρη δικαιώματα που διαθέτει ο τρέχον χρήστης, ενώ μπορεί να προκύψουν και τότε προβλήματα αν ο λογαριασμός του χρήστη είναι περιορισμένων δικαιωμάτων αντί για διαχειριστής.

6) Μετά εκκινούμε τη "Γαία ΙΙ" από το μενού έναρξη ή ανοίγουμε από εκεί το φάκελο "Μικρόκοσμοι" και κάνουμε διπλό κλίκ στο μικρόκοσμο (αρχείο .gaia) που θέλουμε ν’ανοίξουμε.

image

Εαν το User Access Control (UAC) των Windows είναι ενεργοποιημένο, θα βλέπουμε κάθε φορά που εκκινούμε τη ΓΑΙΑ ΙΙ ένα παράθυρο επιβεβαίωσης όπου πρέπει ν’απάντήσουμε καταφατικά.

 

Για βοήθεια αφήστε ένα σχόλιο στο http://zoomicon.wordpress.com/2012/01/12/%CE%AC-%CF%8D-iota/

broken .LNK files assignment (or how to destroy and fix Windows 7)

A friend just called me this morning that their notebook with Windows 7 Starter started today showing the same icon for every Start menu item and for shortcuts (e.g. on the desktop) and when trying to open them the same program would always try to open them.

Seems he had right-clicked and done “Open With…” on a “.lnk” (Windows shortcut) file that was pointing to a missing (deleted) video file. Not knowing what .lnk files really are (filesystem shortcuts), he tried to open it with Windows Media Player.

There are several issues here that Microsoft should fix:

  1. Somebody at Microsoft changed Windows (think this happened at Windows Vista) to have “Always open with this program” option checked by default and this means users can easily damage file assignments that way.
  2. Windows doesn’t seem to protect such critical file extensions from getting reassigned by accident or by malicious code. In fact System File Protection (SFP) should take care to restore this automatically
  3. The Open With dialog shouldn’t allow one to check “Always open with this program” for critical file extensions like “.lnk”.

For older Windows versions (not Vista or Windows 7) I found a solution listed at:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/172053/en-us?fr=1

but for Windows Vista and Windows 7 the correct solution is discussed at:

http://www.makeuseof.com/answers/change-fix-file-associations-windows-7/

There a Microsoft MVP (admin of http://winhelponline.com/) points to

http://www.winhelponline.com/fileasso/lnkfix_vista.zip

  1. You download this file and unpack/execute the .reg (registry) file that is included in the ZIP archive.
  2. Then Windows will warn you that the changes will occur to Windows Registry, you accept that
  3. Then you get a message the merge was completed.
  4. From Start menu, LOG OFF (from Shutdown submenu select Logoff/Disconnect from system) and LOG ON again.
  5. If everything isn’t fine at the new log-on session, you can also try rebooting the machine.

Zune window preview at Win7 taskbar acts as mini-player with rating

image

Just noticed a nice little touch by Microsoft at Zune player when running on Windows 7. When you move the mouse cursor over the running Zune application button on the taskbar you see a mini-player in the preview window that pops up. It even has a “heart” button there to rate the current song as a favorite one (full heart) or one you dislike (broken heart). Note that songs rated as dislikes can be configured at Zune settings to not sync with external portable devices.

There is one bug there though, it only shows the album/song title (alternating at every popup of the preview [the taskbar previews are live window previews btw on Windows 7]) if the Zune application is minimized. Else it doesn’t show the title at the top of the preview window.

Tip: Quick way to change taskbar tray icon visibility

image

Windows 7 has kept the taskbar tray from previous versions of Windows, but is providing a different means of managing which icons always show up and when (e.g. can set a specific icon to show up only if they have notifications, or even to never show up on the tray). When you press the “up” arrow UI button that is just before the taskbar tray you see a popup with the hidden icons and pressing “Customize…” you see a dialog where you can set per icon options or select to “Always show all icons and notifications on the taskbar”.

A quick (and quite useful on both tablets and classic desktops/notebooks) trick though is that you don’t need to show that Customize dialog, you can just show the small popup with the hidden icons and drag an icon from there to the taskbar tray to make it always show up. The inverse is also true, you can drag an icon from the tray to that popup to make an icon show up only when it has notifications.

Note that if the Customize dialog is already open its UI gets updated with your changes on the fly, but you then have to press OK to keep the changes, pressing Cancel will undo even the changes you did via drag-drop.

Categories: Posts Tags: , , , , , ,

Tip: Display Process Task menu without right click

image

You probably know already that on Windows 7 you can right click icons for executing tasks (applications) on the taskbar and select to Pin them there. You must have also noticed that Windows 7 aware applications show common tasks there, while Windows also shows recent files opened by some application even at cases where the application is not Windows 7 aware itself.

What you probably haven’t noticed yet (found out by accident myself recently too on a Tablet PC), is that apart from right clicking on the taskbar icons to see that popup menu, you can also drag them a bit outwards and presto!, you get the popup. Very useful with tablets, since for right click you have to hold down the finger for a while which is not as quick as this nifty shortcut.

Windows 7 issue: can’t copy filename of files on read-only media

Just came across one more case of trying to over-protect users and in the way losing functionality (maybe originally unforeseen functionality, but which is nevertheless useful to many end-users).

At Windows 7, Microsoft doesn’t allow you anymore to press F2 or click on a filename to enter edit more for it when the file resides on a read-only media (like a DVD-ROM).

Moreover when you right click the file and select Properties, the filename field at the properties dialog is at a disabled editbox and somebody from the Windows UI team must have taken “disabling” an editbox literally, making the action disable even selecting and copying text from it instead of just making it read-only.

So one would think they would be able to right-click the file, select Copy and then Paste the filepath onto an editbox. No, again no one thought of also putting a text flavor with the full file path on the clipboard so that user could paste it to a textbox (Clipboard supports multiple data flavours for copied items and when you paste an app can select which flavours it knows and might care to use). Think I have suggested that to Microsoft long time ago, but still not implemented.

 

image

Running E-Slate (Αβάκιο) on Windows 7 and Vista

For those who wonder what E-Slate is, it’s a componentized authoring environment for the creation of (interactive) educational microworlds, see my previous post for more info.

As I mentioned at that post, the latest official version (ignoring any unofficial / experimental versions that you might find around at some educational research labs’ websites) doesn’t work out of the box on Windows Vista and Windows 7, so below I provide some easy steps to make it work there too.

First of all, you navigate to http://e-slate.cti.gr with your web browser.

ESlate_1

The you follow the download link on the left and locate the English and Greek installation files for Windows.

Note that the official version was never released for the Mac (although we had working prototypes running on both MacOS and MacOS-X), cause at the time Apple’s own JVM (MRJ) had serious issues (if I remember well they’ve moved on by now to use the official Java code under the hood). Some RA.CTI team has even recently made it to run one of the latest experimental E-Slate versions on Linux too (full source-code is now available with these latest versions).

 

ESlate_2

Note that the installer also installs documentation, source code for the code parts and components that were OpenSource at that time (e.g. the Logo scripting engine) and several demo microworlds. However you can download more microworlds from the “microworlds” link on the left.

 

Then you download and run the appropriate installer (English or Greek, so that you get localized content in the demo microworlds). Do accept/allow at any security prompts for the installer to function properly.

ESlate_3

 

Follow all the steps at the installer (just press Next etc.) and just press OK at the following dialog to ignore it (the URL provided is broken by now with Sun Microsystems having been acquired by Oracle and anyway Java 1.3 is quite old [there’s 1.6+ now]).

ESlate_4

You should instead install the latest Java Virtual Machine (JVM) from http://www.java.com

ESlate_5

 

After these steps, you have to fix E-Slate launcher to work with administrator rights if UAC (User Access Control) is enabled on Windows Vista or Windows 7 (which is the default setting), or if the current user doesn’t have administrator rights (you’ll be asked for the administrator password in that case when you do that setting change). So right click the E-Slate shortcut (“Αβάκιο” if you installed the Greek version) on the desktop and select “Properties”.

ESlate_6

At the properties dialog displayed, click the “Compatibility” tab and then select “Run this program as an administrator” and press “OK”.

ESlate_7

From then on you’ll be able to either click an E-Slate shortcut to launch the E-Slate Container (the editor) or double-click a .MWD file (an E-Slate Microworld storage file) to open that microworld in the E-Slate Container. Make sure you reply “Yes” to the

The 1st time you launch E-Slate you’ll see a dialog like the following popup, to select the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) to use with E-Slate (assuming you did install Java from http://www.java.com). Make sure you select the greatest version (there are some duplicate entries there due to recent changes on how JVMs register themselves with the system – those that have the same “in …” part at the end are equivalent).

ESlate_8

The E-Slate launcher will remember this selection in the future, unless it can’t find the JVM you had selected anymore. To select another JVM make sure you hold down CTRL key when launching E-Slate (e.g. can press CTRL+OK at the security prompt Windows UAC shows when you run E-Slate with administrator privileges or hold CTRL when double-clicking a .MWD file or an E-Slate shortcut if you are running it using an administrator account and UAC is disabled).

The above instructions also apply to software based on the E-Slate environment, like the fine education software GAIA II I had built together with several educational and research partners from Greece. If you have any problems, just drop a question at the comments section. Will be glad to help…

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 928 other followers

%d bloggers like this: