Thursday, 19 June 2014

Adobe Photoshop Elements won't open - says that trial has expired

Today I have been dealing with a clients PC on which Adobe Photoshop Elements 12 refuses to open.

The welcome screen opens but it then says that the trial period has expired and will not go any further.  I should say this is a legal, fully licensed copy that has worked just fine for the previous 9 months.

I tried uninstalling and reinstalling but it made no difference.  I tried lots of suggestions from the Adobe forums, but this is the one that actually worked.

You need to rename 2 folders, SLStore and SLCache, to SLStore.old and SLCache.old respectively.

The SLCache folder is at

C:\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe

and the SLStore folder is at


(ProgramData is a hidden folder so remember to 'show hidden folders'.)

Then navigate to

C:\Program Files\Adobe\Photoshop Elements 12\PhotoshopElementsEditor.exe

right click and 'Run as Administrator'.

The program should now openYou will have to sign in with your Adobe ID and provide the licence number to reactivate the licence.  You can get your licence number from your Adobe account online, if you have lost it.

From now on the desktop shortcut or any other shortcut should work as normal without having to 'Run as Administrator'.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Con men alive and well in the West Mercia and Warwickshire areas

West Mercia and Warwickshire Police have asked us to publicise this as widely as possible.  This text is written by them:
 Elderly residents are being warned about a phone fraud where victims are being duped out of cash by people posing as police.
West Mercia and Warwickshire Police have recorded 70 of these offences across Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Shrophire and Warwickshire since March this year with unsuspecting victims falling for the scam.
The offenders are targeting older people across both Forces, as part of a national scam which is commonly known as a ‘courier fraud’.
In many cases a person claiming to be a police officer will contact an elderly or vulnerable victim by telephone and inform them that their bank card has been used fraudulently.
The victim will then be tricked into thinking they are either calling or being put through to their bank, but in fact they are still speaking to the fraudsters.
The victim will then disclose banking information and will be instructed to either place their bank cards in an envelope for a courier to collect or attend the local branch of their bank to withdraw a sum of money and pass it to a courier sent by fraudsters. Sometimes the fraudsters use legitimate Taxi companies to make the pick up.
Often elderly victims are unwittingly defrauded of their entire life savings, being left distraught and traumatised in many cases.
Over the last couple of months, the number of offences has escalated, with West Mercia and Warwickshire Police receiving numerous reports from victims across both Force areas.
Detectives are working with local banks/buildings societies and taxi firms as part of the investigation into the fraud and are urging anyone else who may have been a victim to come forward.
They are also repeating warnings to the public, particularly older residents, not to go along with the scam and to report any attempts to police.
This is a national problem which has reached West Mercia & Warwickshire policing areas.
DCI Sean Paley said, “This is a heartless and callous fraud with the offenders targeting elderly and vulnerable people who are trusting and willing to help who they think are bona fide police officers”.
“We are urging the public, particularly older people, to be aware of this fraud and not to go along with it. Genuine police would not phone members of the public in this way and certainly would never ask you for your bank details or ask you to send money.
“Because of the nature of the fraud and the vulnerable victims involved it is believed this offence is currently under-reported, therefore we would urge the public to come forward and tell us if they have been contacted by these people.
“We appeal to members of the public, banks and taxi drivers to be on their guard and report any suspicious activity of this nature to the police immediately.”
If you receive a phone call of this nature, police advise you to:
• Do not give out any information and end the phone call immediately. Wait at least five minutes to clear the line from the scammer before making any other calls, or use another phone. Make sure you have a dialing tone.
• Report the offence as soon as possible to police by telephoning 101.
Please remember:
• Your bank will never attend your home.
• Your bank and the police will never collect your bank card or cash
• Your bank and the police will never ask for your PIN.
Anyone with any information about this fraud can contact police
on 101, quoting Operation Ardent.

Monday, 15 April 2013

How to embed your Blogger blogs into your webpage

I was asked in a forum that I participate in, how I embedded my blogs into my webpage.  I tried to reply in the forum but its autoformatting kept corrupting my code snippets so I thought I'd just write a blog page on how to do it and link to that instead.

These instructions are taken from this webpage and the credit for this technique goes to that page's author.  I'm just simplifying it into simple steps.  To see an example in action you can go to my main webpage to see the links and just view my source code if you need more help.

1.  First you need to work out what the URL is for your blog's RSS feed.  This is easy to do.  Go to one of your blog posts, scroll right to the bottom of the page and you will see a link that says

Subscribe to: Posts (Atom)

Hover over this link and the main part of your URL will pop up - make a note of it.

In this blogs case it pops up with .

To get the RSS URL just add ?alt=rss end of the link so you have:

Obviously you should end up with your own blogs link and not mine.

2.   Go here and download yql_js_widget.js

3.   Upload this javascript file to the same directory that your web page html file is in.

4.   Insert this code in to the head section of you html code:

     <script type="text/javascript" src="yql_js_widget.js"></script>

5.  Insert this code wherever you want the blog links to appear (I suggest you copy and paste it), but remember to change my link URL for your link URL:
     <ul id="widgetContainer">
     <li><script type="text/javascript"> 
     var config = {};
      var format = '\<li\>\<a href=\"{link}\"\>{title}\<\/a\>\<\/li\>';
      var yqlQuery = "select * from feed where url='  /default?alt=rss' limit 3";
      yqlWidget.push(yqlQuery, config, format, "widgetContainer");

6.  And that's it.  You may have to fiddle with CSS etc to get it to look as you want but you should now have the links to your 3 latest blogs on your web page.  If you want more or less, then alter the limit number in the code above.

Remember look at the source code here if you are struggling.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Running HMRC Basic PAYE Tools on a network with multiple users

This post will only be of interest to UK readers.

If you run a small business, then you probably know that HMRC provide a free tool to enable you to do your PAYE calculations.  In its basic installation, it installs on a PC and stores it's data locally on that PC as well - and you can't easily move that data onto a central server for multiple user access and easy backup.

However by ringing up HMRC tech support and jumping through numerous pointless hoops, you can find out how to move the data to a location on the network that suits you better.  Here is how to do it.

First take a backup of your existing database (using the backup function inside the PAYE program) - you will need it later towards the end of this process so do not skip this step.

Navigate to the Program Files directory on the computer HMRC PAYE Tools is installed on. Go to the [HMRC] folder then the [payetools] folder. On a 64 bit PC you will probably need to look in 'Program Files (x86)'. Open the file called “bpt-sys.cfg” with Notepad.

Inside the ”bpt-sys.cfg” file, change the “userdatamode=0″ to “userdatamode=2”. Changing the userdatamode value to 2 will enable the HMRC PAYE Tools application to recognise the custom userdatadir location you specify in the same bpt-sys.cfg file (in this case, we want to store the database on the network drive instead).

Change the “userdatadir=” field to the location where you want the Database Location to be stored. In my case, it will be stored to: Z:\HMRC\PAYE where Z:\ is a mapped network drive on the server

Close and save the file.

Open up HMRC PAYE Tools, and go into [Options]
Navigate to the [Application Settings] tab at the top and you’ll now notice the “Database Location” field has now changed to the location you specified in the bpt-sys.cfg file earlier.

You can also modify the “Backup Location” to be stored on the server as well rather than on the local computer.

Now restore you database back and your HMRC PAYE Tools database should now be stored on the network drive instead.

With thanks to whoever posted this guide upon which these instructions are based

Sunday, 12 August 2012

SBS 2008 Slow Shutdown

Let me be clear from the start that I am not claiming credit for this; That goes to a chap called Gordon Carlisle who posted this solution to SBS 2008 slow shutdown in his own blog a while ago.  I'm just repeating it because it is so useful and it has helped me.

Consultants like myself often bemoan the fact that some SBS 2008 installations take an age to reboot. In my experience, taking 10 minutes to shutdown is not unusual.  I knew that it was Exchange causing the problem but had not realised the solution was so simple.  All you need to do is add a script to shutdown in group policy that will shutdown Exchange first.

First create a file named Exchstop.cmd and save it to C:\Windows\Exchstop.cmd. In this file needs to be the following.

net stop msexchangeadtopology /y
net stop msftesql-exchange /y
net stop msexchangeis /y
net stop msexchangesa /y
net stop iisadmin /y

Now in the Default Domain Controller Policy go to

Computer Configuration > Policies > Windows Setting > Scripts > Shutdown

Click Add and browse to c:\windows\Exchstop.cmd

Click OK

Now see how fast your server shuts down.

Internet Explorer opens then immediately closes

This one has been driving me mad for a few days.  I have a customer's PC on the workbench and the one remaining problem is that when you open Internet Explorer, it flashes up for a fraction of a second then immediately closes again.  Because of this, I can't even run Windows Update.

The PC is running XP SP3 and has IE8 installed.  I tried resetting IE8, I tried reinstalling IE8 all to no avail.  None of the suggested Microsoft fixes worked.

Whilst trawling the web for a solution, I came across a fix suggested by Kai Sch√§tzl who has written a simple program that re-registers all the dll's that IE uses.  And it worked a treat!!  The fix apparently works on IE7, 8 and 9 and on XP, Vista and 7.  It supports both 32 bit and 64 bit Windows and IE.

So if you have the same problem, go here and grab the fix.  Thanks Kai.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Westen Digital warns of fake hard drives on sale in the UK

Buyers beware.  This text is taken from the PCR news site. It was written by Matt Grainger and was published on 11 June 2012.

UK retailers need to be on the lookout for ‘too good to be true’ deals involving Western Digital hard drives.

The vendor has acknowledged the presence of fake internal and external hard drives in the UK channel and talking to PCR, one WD executive revealed that the vendor had first become aware of the issue when some faulty devices were returned. When the serial numbers were checked, they were found to have been fake and therefore ineligible for warranty – leaving the retailers out of pocket.
Apparently, the process of identifying where the devices were being brought in was a relatively simple process but due to ongoing legal investigations, we are unable to identify the companies involved.

“WD is aware of the situation that some faked drives were discovered in the English distribution channel; we are taking this very seriously and are currently carrying out an investigation. All parties involved have co-operated fully with WD’s investigation of this matter – the numbers we have seen or heard are extremely small in proportion to many millions of drives we ship quarterly,” said Western Digital’s EMEA head of public relations, Daniel Mauerhofer.

“Specific to this case, internal hard drives are at issue, and they were easily determined to be fake due to inaccuracies on the drive labels. We don’t believe this is a completely new problem. WD is making a concerted effort, with the help of law enforcement agencies, to protect consumers from WD hard drive counterfeit activity. The flooding in Thailand last Autumn was not a starting point, and we can’t say for certain whether or not it has increased those illegal activities. WD is recommending to buy through authorised distribution channels.”