Saturday, 10 June 2006

If you install too much stuff then...

...these tools might help you out: Safarp,Startup Delayer, ShellExView

It may be obvious from the rest of the website that I install and try out a lot of different software. And yes... sometimes it doesn't work right, and I don't always install it under a virtual machine first, and my machine can get in a bit of a mess.

So there are a few tools that I use which have helped me get out of trouble in the past

Safarp is a simple little replacement for the add/remove control panel. The main benefit for me is that Safarp loads fast. In fact it loads faster than the time it takes me to even find the add/remove control panels applet. When I was having problems on one machine, Safarp was able to load the list of installed applications when the add/remove control panel applet was crashing every time I ran it. Safarp runs happily from a USB stick and so I carry it with me everywhere for those emergency uninstall moments.

Startup Delayer steps in when my machine is so clogged that I have to sit back and wait 5 minutes after boot up to get started - I guess I could uninstall stuff and figure out a way of setting up profiles so that only the apps I need are going to be running. Or I could just use R2's Startup Delayer to load the applications in the background in a time order that doesn't get in my way. I use Startup Delayer.

ShellExView helps when I have installed applications that use the context menu but don't play nice. When windows gives errors periodically after using the context menu, that often means that one of the context menu applications isn't working properly. By using ShellExView I can disable the various applications in the context menu until I work out which one is causing the problem. The good thing about being a tester is that I can, more often than not, make the periodic problems predictable and repeatable. The investigative skills I've learned when raising defects are a boon here. And that means that when I disable an application I know exactly what to do to check if the problem has gone away. ShellExView has been indispensable to me in the past, and it runs happily from a USB stick.

All of the above applications are free, so give them a try

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