Google Adsense account page blank in Firefox

A user reported after logging-in into Google Adsense account a blank page is displayed. This only happened in Firefox. Google Chrome and IE worked fine.

First step was to disable all Firefox add-ons which immediately fixed the problem. Actual offending add-on was AddBlock Plus.
AdBlock Plus (ADP) can be quite useful add-on, so instead of disabling it you can simply add Google Adsense to AdBlock exceptions. Simply login into Adsense account, click on ADP icon and select Disable on this page.


Emails get stuck in outbox and are lost when Outlook crashes

After upgrading to MS Outlook 2010 some users started reporting an intermittent issue:
Occasionally messages get stuck in outbox even if Outlook is connected to the Exchange Server and shows that all folders are up to date. When a user clicks on Send Receive, Outlook hangs or crashes. After Outlook is restarted all messages from outbox are gone.
Sometimes Outlook would hang simply typing a message. Outlook AutoSave feature was also working sporadically, sometimes not saving messages even after 10-20 minutes when it was set to autosave to drafts every 3 min.
All this resulted in users losing some carefully crafted emails causing lots of frustration.

A quick Google search revealed number of people complaining about the same issue on MS forums, but no real solution.

First of all, we tried the following:

  • Disable all add-ins
  • Recreate new profile
  • Reinstall MS Office

Nothing helped.

Then we checked Outlook versions within a company and it appeared that all affected users were using version 14.0.5123.5000 when the rest of the company was on 14.0.6023.1000, which is actually Outlook 2010 SP1.
Installing MS Office 2010 Service Pack 1 definitely helped, but the issue wasn't completely resolved. 

Eventually we tracked that the problem was caused by users storing .pst files in network locations. Mostly it affected users who were moving with their laptops around a lot (connecting and disconnecting from the network).


MS Exchange 2007
MS Outlook 2010

Message after log-on "The total hard drive capacity in your system has decreased..."

On a DELL computer after logging on you get a warning message:
The total hard drive capacity in your system has decreased. This typically does NOT indicate a hardware failure. Contact your Help Desk if you did not personally change your system's hard-drive configuration or disable devices in System Setup.

In Addition following event is logged in Windows Application Logs
Source: OMCI
Type: Warning
Event ID: 2
Description: The total hard drive capacity in your system has decreased. This typically does NOT indicate a hardware failure.  Contact your Help Desk if you did not personally change your system's hard-drive configuration or disable devices in System Setup.

In most cases this doesn't indicate anything serious and often happens after you unplugged an external hard drive while your computer was off.

It's not a standard Windows message. It is produced by an application called Dell OpenManage Client Instrumentation which normally runs in a background.
If you want can safely remove this application from Add / Remove Programs. It can be listed as OMCI.

DELL
Windows XP

Disable Skype 5.5 Home Screen auto pop-up

Update

This issue has been resolved in Skype release 5.5.0.119

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Since version 5.5 Skype introduced a new “feature”. If “Compact View” is enabled, every time Skype starts, a second Window called “Skype Home” is displayed. For many people this is a completely useless addition, especially since the whole purpose of Compact View is to have a clean, minimalistic interface. Worst thing is that Skype don't give an option to remove or disable this annoying auto pop-up.

There are lots of users complaining about this in Skype forums and on their developer network:
http://community.skype.com/t5/Windows/Disabling-Skype-Home-autostart/td-p/46260
https://jira.skype.com/browse/SCW-3132

However as of 31.08.2011 there are no promises from Skype to fix it.

3 solutions to this problem:

  • Option 1
    Remove Skype and use something else. Google Voice or sipgate for example.

  • Option 2
    Downgrade to one of the older version. www.oldversion.com is your friend here. Be aware that old versions may have some security issues which were fixed in later releases. You may be also missing on some new features.

  • Option 3
    Third party utility. Andrew Worcester has created a little program which is specifically designed to get rid of Skype Home Screen.
    1. Download and run the KillSkypeHome.exe file.
    2. Right click on the icon in your system tray and select “Start with Windows” and “Minimize Skype on Start”.
    Now, every time Windows starts, KillSkypeHome.exe will wait until Skype Home Window appears, close it, minimize the  main Skype window and then even close itself.
    For those worried about security, there is source code available so you can inspect and compile it yourself.


Update 08.09.2011

Skype seem to be acknowledging the issue, but their responses so far have been very vague. Raul Liive, who has been assigned to the issue on Skype Developer bug tracking system "Jira" has said following so far:

17/Aug/11
Thank you all for raising this troublesome point in here and on our community.
We are working on improving the situation in-house and trying to determine the best possible solution for all the users.

19/Aug/11
Please do not start creating additional items about it.
This will not solve the problem.
Just a comment here will give forward the message.
We are working on improving the user experience there.

05/Sep/11
We are working on solution to improve your Skype user experience on this situation.
Please stay tuned for updates on this.


So, they are working to improve user experience. Sounds very much like an empty corporate talk... I think from enormous number of comments on Jira and 94 pages (so far) thread on Skype forum, they should have pretty clear view what their users want - do not show unexpected pop-ups or al least give an option to disable them!

Found quite interesting article ZDNet. It's an unrelated issue, but shows very well how ignorant Skype staff can be in handling such problems. Accidentally the issue was assigned to the same assignee (Raul Liive).

In a mean time couple of minor Skype updates were released but Home Screen auto pop-up is still there. Hopefully this will be fixed eventually, but I'm not holding my breath. Option 1 looks more and more appealing...

Update 26.09.2011

This is what Skype done in last couple of weeks to resolve this issue:

  • Closed 107 pages thread on Skype Form where people were complaining about the issue.
  • Kept ignoring growing crowd of people reporting issue on Skype Developer Network.
  • On the positive side 23.09.2011 on Twitter @SkypeSupport said "We are working on it as quickly as possible".

Update 30.09.2011

It took Skype over a month and thousands of users complaining, but finally this is fixed! In version 5.5.0.119 Skype home no longer automatically appear on startup if you are in compact view

 

Skype 5.5

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