Windows 10 Task Bar Partially or Completely Non-Functional

On one of my older computers recently updated to Windows 10, suddenly only a few icons would appear in the task bar (specifically the Start menu, Cortana, Task View, and New Notifications). None of them was functional, however I could still right click on the task bar to bring up Task Manager. Apparently this is a common issue that seems to be related to Cortana. Most online solutions suggested either removing search functionality totally or using the powershell to run the following:

Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register “$($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml”}

None of this worked for me. A surprisingly simple and non-intuitive solution completely solved the problem for me. Taken directly from Windows Central Forum user Raheem Baker do the following:

1. Go to the desktop, right click anywhere, hover your mouse over new and then click shortcut
2. When you are making a shortcut it will ask you to type a location. type in “msconfig”, click next and then it will ask you what you want to name the shortcut name it anything you want its not imprtant.
3 . A shortcut for msconfig will show up double click it and click on the boot tab at the top. once in the boot tab enable safeboot and the click network underneath it and then click apply then OK it will ask if you want to restart you should restart it
4. Once it is restarted you should go to ms config again and then turn off safe boot and the apply and restart again and hopefully once you have done that things should return to normal

For me at least, problem completely and permanently solved.



Adobe Acrobat “No Pages Selected To Print” Error

I almost lost my mind this morning trying to print specific pages in a large .pdf file from Adobe Acrobat Pro (Adobe Acrobat X version 10.1.15). No matter what I did, I repeatedly received the error message “No Pages Selected To Print”. One suggestion I found was to go to View->Show/Hide->Navigation Panes->Page Thumbnails and select the pages to print. This did not work for me. This suggestion by Karl Heinz Kremer did work:

Open up Acrobat’s preferences: Edit->Preferences->General

Select the “Security (Enhanced)” category.

Deselect the setting “Enable Protected Mode at Startup”

Restart the application.

One Possible Solution To The Chrome Memory Leak

Like many people, I have had an issue with the Chrome memory leak. In a nutshell, the computer inevitably slows to a crawl and Windows Task Manager shows at least one chrome.exe process taking up >1GB of memory (and growing). I first tried to partially inactivate the Adobe Shockwave Player as suggested here (related, also see here). This seemed logical as one of my symptoms was that Shockwave would regularly crash in the browser. This did not work, but completely inactivating Shockwave did as follows:

  1. Go to chrome://plugins
  2. Click the “details” tab on the far right.
  3. Control f and search “Shockwave”.
  4. Click “disable” at the bottom of the listing (there may be more than one listing; In addition to Adobe Shockwave Flash plugin I also have Adobe Shockwave for Director plugin).
  5. Reboot browser

If this fixes your memory leak problem, it might be a good idea just to remove Shockwave entirely in the control panel. As far as I can tell Shockwave does absolutely nothing useful for me, however some people play Shockwave-based games. I am just happy to have my browser back.

Regarding multiple (sometimes MANY) chrome processes running in Windows, this is due to the fact each tab and extension has it’s own Windows process. If you want to keep memory usage down, keep track of memory usage by your tabs and extensions. All Chrome processes can be reviewed by right clicking the title bar and selecting “Task manager”. Extraneous extensions can be removed by going to chrome://extensions/. This way you can reduce total memory usage by Chrome.

Connecting Ubuntu To Enterprise WPA/WPA2 Wireless Networks

I had difficulty connecting to my university secure Wi-Fi network through Ubuntu 13.1. Basically, I kept getting a CA certificate error. The solution was remarkably simple for me. I only had to manually change the “Authentication” to Protected EAP (PEAP). Full Wi-Fi Security connection settings as follows:

Security: WPA & WPA2 Enterprise

Authentication: Protected EAP (PEAP)

Anonymous identity: (blank)

CA certificate: ca-certificates.crt (located in File System-etc-ssl-certs)

PEAP version: Automatic

Inner authentication: MSCHAPv2

May not be this simple for all people, see also here.

Important update for 23andMe customers

This was just sent to me from 23andMe. I thought some people might be interested. I have thoroughly enjoyed their service, lay person website, and playing around with my raw data in a more scientific manner. I wish for their continued success.

Dear 23andMe Customers,

I’m writing to update you on our conversation with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and how it impacts you.

If you are a customer whose kit was purchased before November 22, 2013, your 23andMe experience will not change. You will be able to access both ancestry and health-related information as you always have.

23andMe has complied with the FDA’s directive and stopped offering new consumers access to health-related genetic results while the company moves forward with the agency’s regulatory review processes. Be sure to refer to our 23andMe blog for updates.

We stand behind the data we have generated for customers. Our lab partner adheres to strict quality standards that are part of the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 – known as CLIA. These are the same standards used in the majority of other health and disease-related tests.

You are among the first people in the world to ever get access to their genomes. You are genetic pioneers. Thank you for your ongoing support and we look forward to continuing to serve you.

Anne Wojcicki
Co-founder and CEO, 23andMe

Getting Ubuntu To Dual Boot With A Windows 8 Laptop (Or, Getting Ubuntu To Recognize Windows 8).

This is not the sort of thing I would normally post on this blog, but I wasted so much time doing this I thought it might be useful for someone else who is trying to do the same thing. I am a very casual user of Linux (primarily Ubuntu), and I am not a fan of the command line. I have been using Ubuntu on and off for several years now on a single boot machine. This installation refers to installation off of a USB key. The primary issue for me was the (I think very common) error in which Ubuntu cannot detect Windows 8.

Hardware: Lenovo ThinkPad Twist; Processor: Intel CORE i5 @1.70GHz; hard drive: 400GB; memory: 4GB

Software: Windows 8.1 Pro; Ubuntu 13.1

Step-by-step instructions which worked for me. Do this at your own risk. Partitioning hard drives is not for the weak of heart. There is a very real chance that something catastrophic could happen, so back up your data before beginning.

  1. Open disk management in Windows 8. This can be done using the search function of Windows 8. Alternatively navigate to control panel – system and security – administrative tools – computer management – disk management
  2. Find the primary Windows 8 partition (probably the largest). Right click and choose “shrink partition”. Shrink the partition with however much space you will need for Ubuntu. I chose 100,000MB (100GB). Once done, leave this space as “free” (i.e., don’t format it).
  3. Insert USB key containing Ubuntu into your computer and reboot. The Ubuntu site has very good detailed instructions on how to prepare this key for installation.
  4. Disable “secure boot” in the BIOS if enabled. You can enter the BIOS by pressing a key on startup (usually listed on the startup screen). In my case it was the “Enter” button.  While in the BIOS, also make sure the boot order shortcut key is enabled. In my case it is the “F12” key. NOTE: I am not positive if disabling secure boot was required for my success.
  5. Save and exit BIOS. Press boot order shortcut key (F12 for me).
  6. Select USB key.
  7. Follow Ubuntu on screen prompts; I suggest ignoring the connect to the internet warnings and connect once everything is installed.
  8. At this point, Ubuntu could not detect Windows 8, and one of the options was do “Something Else”.
  9. This brings up a partition manager which is painfully vague.
  10. Find the free space partition you just made (~100,000MB, but probably not exact), and click on it and format  it as “ext 4” and mount it as “/”. DO NOT FORMAT IT AS THE FULL SIZE! Reduce by ~10 GB so this can be used as swap memory. NOTE: this size is probably overkill for swap memory, but to be honest I just wanted to see if I could get all of this to work. Some sites suggest swap memory size should be similar to RAM size.
  11. Find the ~10GB free area reserved in #10 and format it as “swap”.
  12. Select the ~90GB partition you created in step #10 and install Ubuntu here.
  13. If you are lucky, everything will now work, including a dual boot screen at startup (managed by Ubuntu).

Interesting note: this laptop is a touchscreen laptop/tablet hybrid. The touchscreen still works in Ubuntu with no issues. Screen rotation does not work. I have not investigated if there is a workaround.