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Friday, 7 October 2016

No Sound on Skype (Vista)

Update 07/08/17:
The problem with Skype re-occured, probably because of an automatic update. This time I was able to make it work on Vista by downgrading Skype to version Strangely, the version designed for Windows XP and Vista did not work with the same sound problem. The version for Windows 7 and above does work, but produces a security error at startup that can be easily bypassed.

Version (Windows 7 version) can be downloaded here:

There seems to be a problem with the latest version of Skype and Windows Vista.

The program starts and appears to operate normally, but when making a call, incoming audio does not function correctly. When calling the 'Sound Test Service' contact, audio works for a few brief seconds but then cuts out.

After looking at two Windows Vista computers (a laptop and a desktop with different sound chips), I concluded that the only way to resolve the problem was to downgrade the version of Skype to one that still worked OK.

Fortunately, '' still has a copy of Skype available, and this works with the audio:

I was able to uninstall the newest version using 'Programs and Features' in Control Panel, then reinstall using the above link. I then disabled automatic updates within Skype (Tools - Options - Advanced - Turn off automatic updates - Save) to prevent the same problem occurring.

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Around the world in 80 days Access Violation 0X00580681 Error

A customer couldn't start the game 'Around the world in 80 days', purchased from Big Fish Games. Clicking on the icon resulted in the following error:

I was able to resolve the problem with the following steps:

1. Press and hold the Windows flag key in the bottom left corner of the keyboard and tap the 'r' key at the same time.

2. In the Run box that appears, type in %programdata% and click on OK.

3. In the new window that appears, locate and click on the folder titled Playrix Entertainment.

4. Press the delete key on the keyboard and click on Yes to confirm in the window that appears.

5. Click the cross in the top right corner of the screen to close the window down, then try starting the game again.

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Google Chrome no longer Supported on Windows XP or Vista

A number of customers with older systems have been getting in touch about the above message.

Google has decided to stop releasing updates for it's Chrome web browser for users of Windows XP and Vista.

Whilst this won't stop Chrome from working on these systems immediately, it will become less secure and eventually unusable.

Using an unsupported browser makes the computer more vulnerable to viruses and other technical problems, so it is advisable to take action before the end of support on the 1st of April 2016.

There are three main courses of action worth considering:

  • Stop using Google Chrome and start using a good alternative such as Mozilla Firefox. Firefox makes it really simple to transfer across any bookmarks and passwords saved in Chrome. Mozilla Firefox can be downloaded here:
  • Upgrade the computer to Windows 10 and continue to use Google Chrome. This is often quite a costly option because there is no direct upgrade path from Windows XP or Vista and the free upgrade offer only applies to Windows 7 and 8. In addition, most computers of this vintage will need upgrading to make Windows 10 work smoothly. A typical total cost might be around £200 with a Windows 10 Home license, more RAM memory and a fast SSD hard drive.
  • Replace the computer and continue to use Google Chrome. This would be more expensive but might be the best option if the computer is nearing the end of it's useful life. If it performs poorly in other areas then this would probably be the best way forward. A new computer with a reasonable specification can be purchased for £3-400.

Friday, 1 January 2016

Unable to install AOL Desktop with blank error message (Windows Vista)

I recently was asked to resolve another problem with AOL Desktop - the 'Main.idx' had disappeared from the AOL profile folder within ProgramData and the program could not start. After some checks, I decided to completely uninstall and reinstall the AOL software. Although the removal was straightforward, I could not reinstall the software no matter which way I tried. The following error 'message' kept appearing, followed by a completely white square that could only be closed using Task Manager.

Honestly, could this error be any more helpful?
Fortunately, the solution was simple - uninstall Adobe Flash Player for Internet Explorer (ActiveX). As the customer was using Windows Vista, this was unlikely to cause a problem since the latest version of Internet Explorer that runs on Vista is 9.0. This is too old to be useful, and another browser such as Google Chrome or Mozilla FireFox is required for regular browsing. I did not try reinstalling Flash Player after successfully installing AOL Desktop, so I'm not sure if similar problems would have returned or not.

Coincidentally, my very next job was also for someone running Windows Vista with a similar problem, though this was with the software for a Brother scanner. Instead of the usual controls for scanning images and files, a white space in the shape of the original program appeared. As before, uninstalling Adobe Flash Player for Internet Explorer did the trick, although the customer did comment that the program looked a bit different than it did before.

I think it's likely that there is a problem with Adobe Flash Player 20 and Windows Vista, or perhaps with Internet Explorer 9, or perhaps with any number of different programs - who knows?