Friday, June 26, 2009

Can't Install Java Because of Error: 25099?

Java is one of those free programs that everybody needs to have on their computer. When you buy a new computer, it usually comes pre-installed. And Java does a good job of telling you when newer versions have been released and make it easy for you to update their software. The only real downside to Java's automatic updates is that older versions are not removed in the process.

Knowing this, I've gotten in the habit of opening the Control Panel and uninstalling all versions of Java before downloading and installing the newest version. Up til now, I've never had a problem. But today, I kept getting error: 25099. Unzipping Core files failed" during installation.

Naturally I went to Java's webpage for help with error 25099, and they claim the error is caused by the "JQS.exe" file running in the background and the fix is to end this process using the task manager. So I followed their instructions and did a CTRL-ALT-DEL to call up the task manager and looked for the "JQS.exe" process in the list ... and it wasn't there.

So then I followed Java's next suggestion and called up the command prompt and typed the line they suggested, "net stop "Java Quick Starter" and hit enter. That didn't work either. I got a message back saying that process was running.

I tried a few more things, like downloading the full Java update for offline installation (that didn't work). I double checked the control panel to make sure Java was not installed (it wasn't). I tried redownloading Java several times and reinstalling. All of my attempts failed and I kept getting the 25099 error.

Finally, I was able to fix the problem by opening the Program Files folder and deleting the Java folder in there (which apparently was a remement of the uninstallation). After I removed that folder, I was able to install Java.

So if you run into this problem, and none of Java's recommendations appear to work, check the Program Files folder for a Java folder and remove it if it's there. This fixed the 25099 error which prevented Java installation in my case.

Monday, June 22, 2009

More Info on Windows 7

I've been getting asked a lot of questions about Windows 7 lately and wanted to share the answers so that everybody could benefit from them.

First, you've heard before that Windows 7 was due to be released this summer around August. The official release date (as of today) is October 22, 2009 (just in time for the Christmas season).

How did Windows 7 get its name? According to Microsoft, this release is the 7th significantly different operating system they've released, so they named it "Windows 7". What were the others?
  • Windows 1 (released November 1985)
  • Windows 2 (released November 1987)
  • Windows 3 (Win3.0, Win3.1 & WinNT)
  • Windows 4 (Win95, Win98, Win98SE, & WinME)
  • Windows 5 (Windows 2000, and WinXP)
  • Windows 6 (WinVista)
  • Windows 7 (Win7)
How does Windows 7 compare to Windows XP and Vista? Let me first say that Windows 7 looks and feels like Windows Vista. So if you're looking for Win7 to look and feel more like WinXP, you're out of luck. You'll still have to get used to the new layout, terminology and features. And like Vista, there will be several different versions of Win7 released (including Starter (or Basic), Home Premium, Professional, Ultimate, and Enterprise).

Okay, so folks hate change ... I get that. But aside from those changes, the real complaint against Vista was that it wasn't as stable as WinXP. Aside from that, Vista has some nice new features (but many folks weren't willing to give them a chance). And those features are still present in Win7.

There was another big complaint about Vista - and that was compatibility. When XP was released, any hardware or software programs that were less than four years old pretty much worked. You may have had to update a driver or two, but at least you could still use that piece of hardware or software. When Vista was released, compatibility became a major issue. Folks were forced to buy new hardware and software that would work with Vista. Unfortunately, the same will be true in Windows 7.

Perhaps Microsoft didn't have to "fix" something that wasn't broken when moving beyond WinXP. But they are in business to make money and therefore need to stay fresh by releasing new products. I like XP - but I do like some of the features of Vista too.

Except for a few startup problems from time to time, I personally never had any real trouble with Vista. I used to get annoyed by the popup window asking me if I really want to continue my action, but I quickly learned to ignore it ... and I do understand that they incorporated that extra step to help stop people from inadvertently messing up their software. So I'm willing to overlook that minor annoyance.

Why Microsoft felt the need to change the normal folder menu options from (File, Edit, View, etc.) to "Organize", "Options" and "Tools" - I don't know. But it's not hard to relearn the new naming conventions. These are some of the little changes that will annoy a lot of folks at first.

But some the advantages of the Win7 will be these.....
  • More stability (than Vista anyway)
  • Improved performance (according to Microsoft)
  • Cool features first introduced in Vista (like Gadgets)
  • Better computer search capability (personally, I hated this improved feature in Vista, but others loved it).
  • Improved Taskbar
For more information about Windows 7, click the links below:
Keep in mind that every time Microsoft releases a new operating, they eventually stop supporting older versions. So while Microsoft will continue to support XP for a little, they will eventually stop. This means that the day will come when you will no longer be able to get Windows Updates for XP - thereby putting your computer and data at risk from hackers and other malware programs.

Microsoft is in the driver seat and unless you want to dump Microsoft and go with Linux, MACs or some other system, you'll be forced to "upgrade" at some point (either through a new computer purchase or upgrading your hardware and software). So if you're still using WinXP (like I am), then enjoy it while you can and don't worry so much about the changes when the time comes.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Printing Photos Using Microsoft's Printing Wizard

Have trouble printing photos? Microsoft has a nice printing wizard that makes the process really easy. All you have to do is RIGHT click on the photo you want to print and select PRINT - then follow the rest of the prompts.

The process works like this ....
  1. First, find a photo you want to print and then RIGHT click on it and select PRINT (a window will popup that reads, "Welcome to the Photo Printing Wizard". Click the NEXT button.
  2. You'll see all the pictures currently stored in the folder you selected. The one you right clicked on to call up the wizard will be checked. You can check others if you want to print them too. Click NEXT when ready.
  3. Make sure the correct printer is selected on the next window (if you have more than one). Depending on your printer, you may see a button that reads, "printing preferences". you can click this button if you want to change any of the settings (such as photo printing, type of paper, etc.). Click NEXT when ready.
  4. The next windows offers several options. First, you'll want to make sure "FULL PAGE PHOTO PRINT" is selected.
  5. Scroll down and you can select the print size (4x6, 5x7, 8x10, etc.). And you can select the number of times you'd like that picture printed.
  6. Make sure you have the paper in the printer before clicking NEXT.
  7. Just sit back and wait for your printer to print the photo.
That's all there is to it. There are many different ways to print photos, but I think Microsoft's printing wizard is one of the simplest and easiest to use.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

How to Boot the Computer in Safe Mode

Safe Mode is a computer start mode that only loads the bare minimum of drivers and startup programs. The purpose of Safe Mode is to help you diagnose startup problems in Windows.

So if your computer is having boot or startup problems, the first thing you'll usually want to do is boot to Safe Mode. If you can get to Safe Mode, then often times you can use System Restore to go back to an earlier time when the computer was working fine.

So how do you get the computer in Safe Mode? First, turn the computer off (use the power button the tower if you have to). When you turn the computer back on, you'll want to keep hitting the F8 key on the keyboard until a menu comes up. In the list of options, you'll see Safe Mode. Use the arrow keys on the keyboard to select it and then hit the key on the keyboard.

Booting to Safe Mode takes a few minutes and you may see a black screen with a lot of text on it for a couple of minutes. Just be patient and wait. After a couple of minutes you should see your computer desktop again (only it will look huge and colors will be off - that's normal).

If the computer never progresses past the black screen with writing (be sure to give it a good 15 minutes) - then you've got bigger problems to worry about. You could try repeating the process to boot to Safe Mode and see if it works next time or you could try "last known good configuration" in the startup menu of options when you press F8.

If neither of those work, then chances are you'll have to reload your computer from scratch again (but make sure your data is backed up first).

Knowing how to boot to Safe Mode can help you solve some computer problems so it's good to know how to this.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Vista Service Pack 2 is Available

If you're running Windows Vista on your computer, you'll want to be sure and download and install the latest Service Pack (SP2).

As you know, Windows provides free updates to their software through the Windows Update site. It's always a good idea to download and install all critical (or important) updates. The rest are optional.

When there have been significant changes affecting the operating system, Microsoft release them in the form of a Service Pack. For Vista users, SP2 is the latest service pack. For Windows XP users, SP3 is the latest service pack.

To get SP2 (Vista users), follow the steps below:

  1. Click START button and then CONTROL PANEL
  2. Double left-click the WINDOWS UPDATE icon to open it
You will notice several options in the new window that pops us. On the left, is a link that says, "Check for updates".

In the main window, you may see a button that reads, INSTALL UPDATES (if there are any). Under that button (if it's present), you'll see a link that reads, "VIEW AVAILABLE UPDATES". If you click this link, it will show you all the updates that Microsoft has made available for your computer. If an item is checked, it will be installed on your computer when you click the "Install Updates" button. If it's not checked, it won't be installed.

It's all pretty simple in Vista. If you're not sure what Service Pack you're running and would like to check, follow the steps below.

  1. Click the START button and then RIGHT-CLICK on COMPUTER.
A new window pops us and under your operating system, you'll see info telling you which service pack you're running.

Please note that after you install a service pack on your computer, you'll have to reboot it. During the reboot process, the updates will be installed - which can take a while (about 20 minutes or so).

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Tips for Installing Internet Explorer 8

You may have noticed that Windows Updates wants you to install Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) now. They have it listed as a high priority which means that unless you make an effort to not install it, you're going to get it during a regular Windows udpate now.

Even though I'm primarily a Firefox user (and encourage others to do the same), I do recommend installing installing IE8. Doing so will help keep your computers up to date with the latest security patches. To make the experience go smoothly, I also recommend following the tips below.

After you download and install IE8, you'll have to reboot your computer. When the computer starts back up, you'll have to open Internet Explorer to finish the installation (which requires responding to a whole lot of windows).

IE8 installed a lot of new features that most people will find useless as well as slow down their computers. So my advice is to say "NO" to just about every window you're asked a question on. The only thing you really want to say "yes" to is the window that asks you if you want to use the smart filter (and by default it's checked). Everything else, you can say "no" or "don't use" or "I don't want to participate".

Installing IE8 is a bit tricky compared to earlier versions of Internet Explorer. But just go slow and take the time to read each window carefully so that you can respond appropriately and things should go smooth.