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[Resolved] Active Desktop problem

Discussion in 'Earlier Versions of Windows' started by DKTaber, Nov 22, 2001.

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  1. DKTaber

    DKTaber Thread Starter

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    Since reformatting my HD about a month ago, my active desktop has become unstable. I didn't have a problem until I reinstalled the Dangerous Creatures wallpaper (the mountain lion) that I previously had as my wallpaper. Since then, about once every two days when I shut some program down (usually Outlook Express), the desktop background goes stark white (icons are still all there), and a message appears starting with "ACTIVE DESKTOP Internet Explorer encountered a problem..." Don't remember the rest of it, but in effect it gives you suggestions for solving the problem and restoring the Active desktop. Nothing it tells me works, but rebooting usually fixes it...for another day or so.

    Since the reformat, I also notice a change in the way the wallpaper appears. Before the reformat, the wallpaper appeared FIRST, the icons appearing thereafter, and at no time did I ever see the default teal (green-aqua) screen. Now I first get the teal-colored screen, followed by the icons, THEN the wallpaper appears -- absolutely reverse from the load order I had before.

    Because it seemed that the wallpaper was causing the problem, I took it off, and now have only the teal screen. Worked all day yesterday without a single crash. But I would like to have the wallpaper back. What is wrong/why can I not now set my desktop to "View as Web page" without making it unstable?

    Only clue I have is that at the time I reformatted the HD, I also installed a cable modem, and am now using IE 6.0 as my browser and OE 6 as my e-mail client. Previously had AOL (ugh!). Since the error message says the problem is with IE, I suspect it might have something to do with being connected all the time (??)... but I'm at a loss to know what to do about it.

    Any ideas......?
     
  2. Bryan

    Bryan

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    Try reregistering this .dll and see if it helps.

    Start>Run, key in regsvr32 /i mshtml.dll and press enter.

    Restart Windows after it's reregistered.
     
  3. DKTaber

    DKTaber Thread Starter

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    I did as you said, and it ended with a message saying the registration succeeded. I then rebooted, and added the wallpaper to my desktop. I won't know probably until this weekend whether or not it's still crashing, but will let you know. Thanks for the advice.

    I'm not familiar with "re-registering". What does it do, and why would one have to do it?
     
  4. Bryan

    Bryan

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    Windows .dll files are registered in the Windows registry to perform certain functions. It's not extremely uncommon for files to not register correctly during an install for one reason or another. The result is an unstable install. I had you reregister Mshtml.dll because it's an important part of Active Desktop. I don't have great hopes it will correct the problem but it's the first thing I'd try. Let us know what happens.
     
  5. Rollin' Rog

    Rollin' Rog

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    Is there any particular reason why you want "Active Desktop" enabled? It is known for its bugginess and is not required for wallpaper itself. Active Desktop is used to enable desktop links to dynamic content on the web.
     
  6. DKTaber

    DKTaber Thread Starter

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    All I know is that if I choose one of the "plain & simple" backgrounds (like "Forest" or "Bubbles"), I don't have to have Active Desktop enabled. If I browse to the Plus! folder (that I think I kept from Win95...don't think it comes with Win98) and select wallpaper from the \Themes folder (which is where the mountain lion is), a message pops up telling me that in order to use this wallpaper, Active Desktop must be enabled. So I do what it says, and the wallpaper appears.

    But you're right, I don't ever remember seeing that message before I formatted the drive and reinstalled Win98. But I do recall that when I right-clicked the desktop, the item at the top of the menu that appeared was always Active Desktop, so it must have been enabled then, too.

    I'm now not at all sure the wallpaper has anything to do with the problem. I had two HARD crashes yesterday when the wallpaper was NOT installed, once in the middle of backing up files to a CD-RW, and another time when my screen saver was running. In both cases, I had to power down (3-finger salute would not reboot it). After that, I looked at the programs that were loading on startup. Many of them were stuff that got put on when I installed my new cable modem and @home software. I unchecked all of them, and tried to use the browser and connect to the Web. No problem. Whatever those thingee's were, they weren't doing anything I can see. I did that late yesterday, and worked on the PC most of the day today using all kinds of software, and have not had a single crash. So I'm about to reinstall the wallpaper to see if the crashes return.

    In the meantime, if you know a way to install the Dangerous Creatures wallpaper (mountain lion) WITHOUT enabling Active Desktop, let me know.
     
  7. DKTaber

    DKTaber Thread Starter

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    Bryan: See my message to Rollin' Rog.
     
  8. Rollin' Rog

    Rollin' Rog

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    Ok, I'll go with that since I've never tried to use anything but a bmp picture for wallpaper. But disable Active Desktop anyway since you are not currently using the wallpaper that requires it.

    Now when you get an error message click on the "details" tab and note the modules and the address mentioned.

    Since you mention that the error occurs when closing a program down, this is often symptomatic of "spyware" which tries to phone home when browser Windows are closed. And if you have McAffee antivirus it is a known problem there:

    http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/Q276/4/59.ASP

    To investigate spyware related issues, install and run Ad-aware from Lavasoft.

    Read the FAQ and "getting started" pages before running:

    http://www.lavasoftusa.com/
     
  9. DKTaber

    DKTaber Thread Starter

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    Rollin': I just killed the Active Desktop. I put the wallpaper on last night. Upon coming to the office this morning, I found the screen saver frozen...hard frozen...again, and I had to power down. So even after removing most of the things that were loading at startup, it still crashes.

    I don't get error messages of the "dialog" type; only ones I ever get when this happens is the "blue screen", and then only when a program is running. It usually names the modules at the beginning of the message, but these mean nothing to me. I can "note" them, but what do I do with them?

    Actually the crashes are in most cases NOT happening during program shutdowns (the early ones did when I shut down OE); they are now mostly right in the middle of a simple procedure (like PKZipping a list of files to my CD-RW), and most recently sometime after the screen saver is activated (I'm never around when these happen).

    I have Norton AV, not McAfee.

    One thing I have gotten in the habit of doing since going cable is to put the cable modem on standby before leaving the office to prevent access to the computer, which is on 24/7. I can't imagine that this would cause the crashes (i.e., the system checking the network, and not finding it since the modem is on standby, does something that causes a crash). I'm grasping at straws here.
     
  10. SavvyLady

    SavvyLady

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    As said before... you don't need "Active desktop" to display a BMP background on your desktop. So... trace down the folder for your background & see if the background file is BMP. If Im not mistaken doesn't that particular folder/theme also have a special cursor etc...
    It sounds like you may have something else going on as well eating up your resources.

    Savvy :)
     
  11. DKTaber

    DKTaber Thread Starter

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    The Dangerous Creatures wallpaper is a .jpg file. However, I just tried to use a .bmp file, and got the same message: "The wallpaper you have selected can be shown on the Desktop only if Active Desktop is enabled...."

    ????
     
  12. SavvyLady

    SavvyLady

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    Somethings wrong then...

    Wouldn't have a clue what though

    Savvy :(
     
  13. DKTaber

    DKTaber Thread Starter

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    On the basis that two people have now told me that .bmp files don't require Active Desktop, I went back to my desktop and started fiddling with the color and resolution settings. I had it set to 1024 x 768 resolution, and 32-bit color -- pretty intense on resources. First thing I did was try lowering the colors to 16-bit. When I did, Windows said I would have to reboot...which I thought strange. In the past when I was REDUCING colors or resolution, it simply applied the reduction; no need to reboot (but when you try to INCREASE anything, then it needs to reboot). But I clicked OK and let it do it's thing.

    What a shock I got. Although I had not changed the resolution, only the color level, when the system rebooted, everything was at minimum resolution (640 x 480) and 16 colors (not 16-bit...16 colors). I tried putting the colors back to 16-bit, and increase the resolution, but when I did, the resolution pointer wouldn't hold at 1024 x 768; bounced right back to min. res. I then reset the colors to just 256, the tried setting the high res. It held. Then raised the colors to 16-bit. It held. I rebooted. Aside from my icons being redistributed over the Desktop, everything looked fine.

    I then looked up a .bmp file I could use on the Desktop, and installed it. Guess what? No message about needing to enable Active Desktop; it just installed, and looks great. So I'm cautiously optimistic that whatever happened when I tried to reduce the color saturation and the video dropped back to minimum res. and minimum colors, it somehow cleared out whatever what causing the problem.

    In hindsight, this may all have been the result of having undated my NVidia GeForce video driver 2 weeks ago. It seemed to install fine, but I never adjusted the resolution or colors after that (I would not think one would have to).

    Now it's a matter of waiting to see if it locks up again when the screen saver has been on for awhile.

    Many thanks to everybody for the help.
     
  14. SavvyLady

    SavvyLady

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    Glad you got it fixed... I went thru the same scenario on my old PC... I had an ATI card & I couldn't get back to 600 x 800 size & had to change to 1024 X 768... everything was so tiny... so I adjusted the text size & all my icons etc.... Everytime I rebooted I had to set the display all over again as far as the size of fonts etc goes.
    I was sure my graphics display card was a goner. I checked device managers & updated drivers... nothing helped. So I called tech support. I had 2 cards listed in device managers... but no conflict... He had me to delete them both & let windows reinstall the proper one. It was fine after that.

    all I can say is "Go figure" LOL

    Savvy :)
     
  15. Rollin' Rog

    Rollin' Rog

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    DK', hopefully you found the answer. I was going there next :D.

    Higher color depth settings are the most intensive users of memory. Many people have problems at 32bit. You should be able to do fine at 16bit and 1024x .

    Screen savers are notorious for depleting memory resources and not always restoring them when closed.

    The other issue I was thinking about was overheating. If you have an AMD processor, it would be all the more suspect.
     
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