Category Archives: Workshop Tales

Specific fixes and repairs carried out for our customers on hardware and software in the hope that the information may be useful others.

Google Chrome not upgrading problem – reverts to previous version

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On a Dell Inspiron Desktop Tower PC running Windows 10 Home 64bit, recently upgraded from Windows 7 Home Premium – there was a very odd problem with Google’s Chrome Browser.Chrome version dialogue

Firstly the version was rather elderly 58.58.3029.110 and wasn’t auto-upgrading, secondly no link for uninstalling was viewable in Control Panel or Settings:Apps. All attempts to run the online installer made no difference. Manually deleting the installation folders and Registry entries would be ‘magically’ reversed if any installer (even later versions) was run or existing link was activated.

Working on the guess that this was an ‘enterprise’ issue – running the latest Chrome Browser for Enterprise MSI (installer – scroll down past the bundles) restored an Uninstall link.

Chrome Uninstall Link Uninstalling using this link seemed to work – but any installer would still produce the ‘magical’ reversion described above.

Using the Offline Chrome Installer (or 32 bit) from a different Local Administrator Account temporarily resolved the issue but the ‘magical’ reversion eventually returned.

Googling revealed a few other similar cases, at least one user being ridiculed on a support forum! After yet another reversion I started to examine the individual processes in Task Manager and discovered (using Open file location) they were bogus entries running from outside the Chrome Installation folders, also realized that they were named Chrome (32 bit) unlike the genuine version.

So this is a Virus which enforces the use of an old Browser version for its own purposes – which I could not deduce. There were at least two bogus folders in Program Files of a similar nature. I had tried at least two AV scanners before finding the culprit.

BIOS update for HP Microserver G7 N54L

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If you install Windows 10 on a HP Microserver you might find that the Network Ethernet Port cannot be accessed by the OS.

The solution might be a BIOS update using firmware upgrade SP64420.exe download. Version 2013.10.01 (A) (15 Nov 2013) can be found here.

After creating the Update USB and booting to it the update finished untidily at a command line prompt – but was successful.

Procedure Video

Windows 10 Freezes and Unresponsive soon after log-on – Problem Fix – uninstall McAfee Anti Virus

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The symptoms for this problem are that Windows 10 suddenly freezes shortly after logging in. The screen stops updating, the mouse and keyboard are unresponsive. The particular PC seen with this was a Toshiba Satellite C70-A with Pentium Processor. When restarted in Safe Mode the machine ran and repsonded normally. The issue was caused on this particular machine by McAfee LiveUpdate Anti Virus. By uninstalling the McAfee software in Safe Mode and restarting everything was back to normal. On this this machine the McAfee subscription had already expired.

If you suspect this may be a problem and you have enough time to start the task manager [CTRL+SHIFT+ESC] look for a McAfee Scanner service taking a high percentage of your CPU time!

Sage Payroll Reinstallation Update Problem – Tip – Solution

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When you run the sage payroll installer on a pc that already has or had a previous version installed you will hit the dialogue picker which invites you to choose which installation you wish to update. This might be what you require – if not then there is no obvious method to force a ‘fresh’ installation ignoring whatever happened before, and you might even have a dialogue asking you to choose from an empty [unpopulated] list – you are unable to proceed.

After uninstalling the application and then deleting the program folders etc attempting to by-pass this problem the really critical tip is to look in ‘C:\Windows’.

If there is a ‘Payroll.ini’ file rename/delete it or move it somewhere else if you are cautious.

Obviously take care and back-up data and/or the system if you are working on a live installation.


WiFi Printer unreliable connection fix

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I have been asked to fix various printer connectivity problems that seem to have the same characteristics:

  1. WiFi Printer connected to network/router by wireless only
  2. Windows PC trying to access printer seems to work ok initially then loses connection after some time has passed.

Apple computers do not seem to be affected and switching devices on/off can temporarily resolve the issue. I have seen this affect HP and Epson printers and running an ethernet connection from the router to the printer – if the printer has a network socket – seems to fix the problem.

After following the manufacturers troubleshooting advice many times I now believe this is connected with the intelligent network scanners that the manufacturers install with the device drivers to allow for changes of IP address. If you look at the the Port tab under the printer properties you will see that a special entry (for HP it’s called:  <SerialNo> HP network re-discovery port monitor) has been created. If you find the IP address of the printer and add or select an existing port entry using this IP address rather than the ‘special’ entry the problem may be solved.

This would require updating if the IP address of the printer gets updated by network changes – so perhaps a fixed IP address would be more reliable.


Dell 1720dn Unable to connect to LAN network problem by changing fixed IP address setting

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My client’s Dell 1720dn Mono Laser Printer had been re-located and physically connected to a new router on a different IP segment. 192.168.1.x to 192.168.0.x which stopped communications with the local PCs which were updating their own IP addresses (DHCP) successfully. The printer’s fixed IP could be seen by printing the configuration reports but the old style ‘flashing lamps with two button menu’ system is difficult to use under pressure! The Solution to Fix this is a factory reset:

  1. Power off the printer
  2. Open the front cover (push the button on the left side)
  3. Press and HOLD both the ‘Cancel’ and ‘Continue’ buttons (Right-Triangle + Red Cross)
  4. Continue to hold the buttons and power the printer on.
  5. Continue to hold the buttons until all light cycling activity has stopped.
  6. After the lights have stopped cycling  and the “Error LED” light on the control panel is solid (could take up to 30 seconds), release the buttons.
  7. Close the front cover to complete the Factory Default reset process.


YouTube Video Demonstration


A possible alternative fix that I didn’t try:-

  1. There is a utility on the Install Disk to set a static IP address. Connect the network cable and power on the printer.
  2. Press and hold the Continue button for 2-3 seconds to print a network settings report.
  3. Obtain the MAC address of the printer from the network settings report. The MAC address is the value listed under the Standard Network Card section as UAA.
  4. Insert the Drivers and Utilities CD.
  5. When the Drivers and Utilities CD screen appears, click the Set IP Address link.
  6. When the Set IP Address Utility window appears, enter the MAC address in the box under Discover Print Servers, and then click Discover.
  7. Click to select your printer in the box under Configure Print Servers, and then click TCP/IP Settings.
  8. When the TCP/IP Settings appears, enter the TCP/IP Address, Subnet Mask, and Gateway Address.
  9. Click Apply to save the settings, and then click Close to exit the utility.

Dell Inspiron 1545 lost Wireless connection to router problem fault – Function Keys Inactive not responding

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My client’s Dell Inspiron 1545 Laptop running Windows 7 was failing to connect with its wireless router even after re-starting or re-booting both devices. Although not immediately obvious the Function Key functionality/operations were also disabled or non-responsive. Pressing the combination Fn + F2 did not activate or de-activate the Wifi ON/OFF hardware confirmation responses, or any other Function key combinations, like screen dimming. This problem is in essence the same as a notebook pc with a physical hardware toggle switch for the wireless system – but in this case you can’t just switch it back on! The solution to Fix was to go to the Windows Mobility Centre (laptop only Windows feature) – from the start button search type ‘MO..’ then click ‘Windows Mobility Centre’ set the  Function key mode to ‘Function Keys’ Not ‘Multimedia’, close the dialogue, then use Fn + F2 to re-activate the wireless.

Brother QL-700 Label Printer update to Windows 10 problem

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After updating from Windows 7 Professional to Windows 10 on an HP Compaq DC7900 Small Form Factor PC the label printing functionality failed.

Although possible to edit labels with the on-board P-Touch Lite software, when trying to print, an error dialogue opens stating that the PC cannot communicate with the printer. The solution in my case was to update the editor software using the P-Touch Editor Lite Update tool from the Brother Support Site.

As a bonus the software seems to send the labels to the printer much more quickly than before.

Link to Brother Support Site

This video on YouTube covers the same issue-


Subsequently on moving to a different PC I discovered shutting down the Quick Editor would cause the computer to ‘hang’ and be unusable until it had been re-booted. The partial fix for this was to make sure I used the Windows ‘Eject’ feature from the explorer window or the same feature in the Task-Tray tool (Remove Hardware or Eject media) after exiting the Editor or BEFORE switching off the QL printer itself.

Later I discovered that a ‘proper’ printer icon wasn’t appearing in the Devices & Printers dialogue and choosing the option to add a printer resolved all the issues.

PostgreSQL 9 installation problem on Windows XP

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PostgreSQL 9.1 on Windows XP Pro 32 bit Installation Failure/problems

After using the Windows Installer for this system the server would not start and could not be started manually from the services management console. Whilst trying to troubleshoot this problem I discovered that reinstalling and changing the default data folder location seemed to resolve the issue. I guess this must be a permissions problem when the data folder is left within the program folder on Windows XP, i had no such problem on an alternative Vista system.

I used the alternative data location of ‘c:\postgresql\data’.