Solving Printing Problems in Windows XP & Windows 7

Several staff members this past fall have run into this scenario; they sign in to their Windows machines to find that the icons for all of their locally assigned/network printers have disappeared and they are unable to print any file of any sort.  I have found that clearing the print spooler and re-enabling the print spooler service usually repairs this particular issue.  It is an extremely handy set of instructions to have on hand in the event that you find yourself unable to print and you need your available printer icons restored.

 Clear Printer Spooler Files & Enable the Printer Spooler Service

1.)   Click Start, then type services.msc in the Search box and press Enter or select services.msc from the Results window.

2.)   The Services window will appear.  The services are listed in alphabetical order.  Scroll down until you see Printer Spooler.  Double-click it.

3.)   The Printer Spooler Properties window will open. Click the Stop tab, then click OK.

4.)   Click Start, then type %WINDIR%system32spoolprinters in the Search box and press Enter.  This will take you to the Printers folder in the Windows Directory.  Highlight all files within this folder, right-click them, and select Delete.  Confirm that you want these files moved to the Recycle Bin.

5.)   Click Start, then type services.msc in the Search box and press Enter or select services.msc from the Results window.

6.)   The Services window will again appear.  Again, the services are listed in Alphabetical order, so scroll down the list until you see Printer Spooler and double-click it.

7.)   Click on the Start tab.  Please ensure that in the Startup Type list, the option Automatic is selected.

      Once these steps are complete, please restart the computer.  You should find that your available printer icons have repopulated in the Devices and Printers option off of the Start Menu in Windows 7 or through Start > Control Panel > Printers in Windows XP.  Please send a test print to your default printer and to any other printers on the network that you would like to test to ensure that they are functioning properly again.

 

Devin Giroux, Technical Support Specialist, UMF ITS Help Desk

Working with Windows Live Movie Maker (WLMM)

As the semester begins, I thought I’d share some of my experiences working with students using WLMM.  In doing research for this article there seems to be a consensus that the program is prone to “issues”.  I think this quotation sums it up.  “Once you start splitting videos or putting together multiple clips, WLMM begins choking.  Imported clips become corrupt, preventing you from completing the project.  If all you intend to do is put together a short slideshow or video, WLMM gets the job done without requiring too much knowledge on video editing software. However, the more content you work with, the more unstable the program becomes, making anything slightly more complex a test in patience and frustration.” 

I worked with a couple of students with this exact problem.  They had made a nice video consisting of 6 or 7 original clips, some text screens, and background music.  When they tried to play back the finished sequence there were problems.  The first clip was fine, but after a text screen the dialogue was out of sync with the video.  Later clips were not only out of sync but were repeating the audio from the first clip.  To make it even better, the errors would vary each time we tried to play back and/or export their project – but one thing was consistent – it never did play it back correctly.  The only solution I could suggest was to start over and create the video in steps.  Open a new project and import the video for the introductory sequence.  Trim it and add the first text screen.  Make sure it plays properly and then export it.  Continue with this approach until all the segments have been completed and exported.  Finally open a new project and import all of these segments.  Put them in the correct order, add the music and hold your breath.  Hopefully this little bites approach won’t choke the program (so you won’t try to choke your laptop or project partner).

Another frequently experienced problem involved trying to play the completed projects on a DVD player.  A lot of students ended up having to use their laptops.  I think the problem here is related to how the completed video was saved.  All of the WLMM “SAVE” options produce some kind of .wmv file – (remember, this is a Microsoft product).  This file can be burned on to a DVD, but what you have is still a .wmv file and it won’t play back on most DVD players  Even selecting the “BURN A DVD” option initially creates a .wmv file.  When the file has been created it automatically opens the DVD authoring program.  This is the program that transcodes the .wmv file into some flavor of MPEG2, which is then burned onto the DVD, creating a real, compatible DVD disc.  If you’re not sure what type of file or DVD you have, I have a couple of DVD players in my office to give it a test.  If it plays and looks good, you’re on your way to Hollywood.  If it doesn’t, we can probably take the .wmv file and use that to create a DVD.

Another common issue was “file is missing” – the yellow triangle with the exclamation point!  This had two primary causes.  Several students used the “SAVE PROJECT / SAVE PROJECT AS” when they were finished.  This option creates a .wlmp (Windows Live MovieMaker Project) file.  The file contains all the information about your project with links to the media files (videos, pictures, music, etc.).  If you copy this file and open it on another computer, WLMM will open and display your sequence as a series of yellow triangles.  A similar situation occurs if your original media files were on SD cards or an external hard drive.  WLMM will link to the files on the removable media, and when removable media goes away (SD card gets reused, roommate “borrows” hard drive) yellow triangles appear.  If you want to continue working on the project on a different computer you need both files – the project and the movie files.  First do a “SAVE PROJECT AS” to your flash drive followed by a “SAVE MOVIE” (under the options select “RECOMMENDED FOR THIS PROJECT”).  Depending on the length and number of your video clips you’ll probably need at least a 4GB flash drive.  Try opening it on the other computer to make sure everything is there and working properly.

I hope this has been helpful, and as always please feel free to contact me or stop by if you need some help – hupp@maine.edu, 778-7445, or Room 002 in the Computer Center.

Good luck in all your video projects.

Tim


Timothy Hupp
Academic Multimedia Specialist: Video Production

Are you a Multi Campus user?

Our myCampus Portal is not only for UMF users, we’ve expanded the portal to each and every campus in the University of Maine System.  So if you are taking, say, an online course at another campus, or you are teaching at another campus, you will have access to their myCampus portal too.   How do you get to the other campus portals?  Use the My Communities drop down list.  You’ll see all of the campus portals that you have access to listed here.  Click on the campus name and you’ll land on their myCampus Portal home page.Jamis multi campus tip

 

Jami Holmes
Web Services Manager

Saving Internet Files for easy access

Sometimes it’s nice to save an article from the web to read later. There are free apps /
paid apps like InstaPaper and Pocket, but you can print to a file that allows you to
read latter on your local machine.

This is how you do it:

Windows XP and Windows 7:

While reading an article you would like to read later, Click on File>>Print . Select ”
Microsoft XPS Document Writer”. It will bring up a box that allow you to save the file
to a location on your local computer. Give it a name and location, a file will be created
with the name you gave it with an file extension of .xps.

Now if you double click on the file that you just created, It will bring up the file to
read in the XPS viewer.
Macintosh OS X:

Again while in a browser select file>> Print. A box will come up with the current
printer. On the bottom right you will have a drop down list box with the word
“pdf”. Click on PDf, then select “save as PDF…” A box will come up to confirm the name
of the file and the location of the file. Make your choice then select save. It will
create a Pdf file of the screen that you were on.

Now if you double click on the file that you just created, It will bring up the file to
read in the the PDF application on your computer.

 

Brian Wight
Technology Support Specialist/Desktop Services

Screenshots: Capturing what you see!

The proverb “A picture is worth a thousand words” is as relevant in today’s virtual world as it was 100 years ago when it first became popular in the US. Trying to articulate what you are seeing on your computer screen via email or phone can be a daunting task. However capturing the image of what’s on the screen (for example an error message or diagram) and sharing by email or within a document can save time and frustration. Below are tips on how to take a “Screenshot”:

Windows 7: Has a built-in a snipping tool to capture only the portion of the screen which you wish to save. Open the Snipping Tool by clicking the Start button. In the search box, type Snipping Tool, and then, in the list of results, click Snipping Tool.
Click the arrow next to the “New” button and choose from; Free-form Snip, Rectangular Snip, Window Snip, or Full-screen Snip from the list. Select the area of your screen that you want to capture and save to a handy location on your computer.

Older Windows Versions: Using the PrintScreen key will copy the whole screen image, as a graphic, onto your invisible Clipboard, so you can paste into an e-mail message or any other program. If you add the Alt key, you copy only the front window.

Macs: Press Command-Shift-3. (Command is the key with the propeller on it, next to the Space bar.) You hear a snapshot sound, and you get a graphics file on your desktop—a picture of the entire screen image. If you press Command-Shift-4 instead, you get a cross-hair cursor; you can draw across just one portion of the screen. Or, if you now tap the Space bar, you turn the cursor into a little camera icon. You can now click on just one window or toolbar that you want to copy. In both cases, you can hold down the Control key to copy the image to the Clipboard instead of leaving a file on the hard drive.

Culture of learning?

In sitting in an online session on culture yesterday, a question was asked about where we think our higher education institution sits in having an operating culture of learning. Naturally, the first answer was “duh, that’s what we do”. But is it? Of course that is the environment we create in the classroom and I think we do a great job of it. But, what about in our own offices and I say that coming from a support department in an area that changes nearly overnight. And why does it matter? We already focus on efficiency, communication, trust, and all those things that are important.

This culture is is important and here is why. As I watch the trends of the questions we are asked by the campus on a daily basis, they are changing. There was a time when the role of IT was to determine and control the technology of the campus. Today that is no longer the case. Consumer technologies are driving the way we connect and process. Our job today is to facilitate as best we can. So back to culture of learning, it is more than just knowing how to do the next thing. It is about having created a supportive environment that encourages both individual and group autonomous inquisitiveness. Without it, we have created teams that work only from a top-down model that awaits further instruction and the real talents and passions of our colleagues are never brought forward. We cannot facilitate today’s needs and goals based on purely hierarchical models.

So what do we need to do? It is encourage our colleagues to tackle something new. Allow for mistakes and silly questions. Remember, negative criticism doesn’t belong in this space. And yes, question your teacher and your boss.

Fred Brittain
Executive Director for Information
Technology Services

Changing Your Password

You may have received a message recently in regards to a new UMS practice requiring password changes every 180 days. For those who haven’t received the message, most likely because you’ve changed your password in the last 180 days, you can find the email below. It’s been policy to require frequent password changes for quite some time now, but there was no technical enforcement mechanism. The University of Maine System is now at the point of making this policy a requirement.

So, as always, we won’t ask you to send your password to us (through email, over the phone, etc), nor will we provide you with a link to change it. When your password is nearing expiration, you’ll receive an email from accounts@maine.edu. If you doubt the authenticity, please contact the UMF Helpdesk at either 778-7300, or drop us an email at itshelp@umf.maine.edu. All management of your userid can be accomplished in myCampus. When you login, a UMS ID Management menu item should appear on the left hand side. Included here are all of the account management tasks your likely to perform. To determine the last time you changed your password, click the Account Information link. The menu also includes handy links for changing your password, resetting your password, and changing email forwarding.

***************************************************

From: UMS Account Management Services
Date: Thu, Oct 4, 2012 at 6:59 PM
Subject: Notice: University of Maine System password management changes
To: UMSACCOUNTMANAGEMENT@lists.maine.edu

This email is to inform you of changes in password management for your University of Maine System password. This is the password that you use to gain access to such services as UMS mail, Mainestreet and Blackboard.

Passwords will now expire every 180 days. If you don’t change your password before the 180 day mark, you will no longer be able to log into any service that is dependent on that password, including those listed above. You will, however, still be able to change your password for the next 180 days, and then you can resume normal use of your credentials with the new password.

You will be informed that your password is expiring 30 days before its expiration, and then again at 2 weeks, 7 and 3 days prior to expiration.

New passwords should meet the guidelines in section 8.3.1 of the UMS Information Standards (http://www.maine.edu/pdf/POLICYSTANDARDS.pdf) and in particular must be at least 8 characters long and contain both upper and lower case letters, at least one number or special character.

Be careful where you change your password!

A common practice by hackers is to pose as local IT service people in mail and ask you to change your password or confirm you are using your account by supplying your password. This is a ploy to gain access to your account, and is called Phishing.

Here’s how you can distinguish between a legitimate password expiration notification and a Phishing attempt:
– we will never ask you to send us your password in mail – password expiration email will always come from accounts@maine.edu – we will not send a direct link to the password change page, but will tell you how to get to it. – the password change utility will always be on a maine.edu URL

The web page for changing your password is at accounts.maine.edu and choose the “Change your password” link. You may change your password anytime – you don’t have to wait for your notification email..

If you ever have a question about password expiration or any question related to your UMS userid or password, don’t hesitate to contact your campus IT helpdesk as listed below.

Campus – Email – Phone
UM – help.center@umit.maine.edu – 1-207-581-2506

UMA – 1-207-621-3475 (Augusta)
– 1-888-867-5434
– 1-207-262-7746 (Bangor)

UMF itshelp@umf.maine.edu – 1-207-778-7300

UMFK – helpdesk@umfk.edu – 1-207-834-7818

UMM – ummhelpdesk@maine.edu – 1-207-255-1237

UMPI – marteen.hester@umpi.edu – 1-207-768-9626

USM – helpdesk@usm.maine.edu – 1-207-780-4029

ITS Techsupport – TechSupport@Maine.edu – 1-800-696-HELP (1-800-696-4357)

Why Personal Wireless Routers and Printers are Not Your Friend

I know, they seem so convenient, but bringing your own wireless router or printer onto the UMF network causes more problems than it solves.  The reason is those devices cause interference that slows down the real UMF wireless access points that supply internet access to everyone.

The reason is most wireless routers broadcast on one of three frequency channels, and they’re the same channels that our (or just about anyone else’s) wireless access points use.  For example, if your device is broadcasting on channel 6, and it’s near one of ours that’s also using channel 6, neither one will work well.  (And it wouldn’t help even if you changed your channel, because ours are using all three – not to be selfish, but because it lets use provide more wireless coverage.)

Any time two devices are competing for the same channel, they have to take turns communicating, and that slows down both devices.  It’s similar to what happens when you’re driving, and the radio goes back and forth between two stations as you move from town to town.  If you’re able to pick up both signals, the radio can’t play one or the other all the time.

Some people bring wireless routers, thinking it will help them get a better signal. But it actually does the opposite–and it affects your neighbors. You should be able to connect just fine without it, and if you can’t, please stop by the Help Desk or call us at 778-7300 to let us know, so we can fix it. Or, if you have a wireless printer, most of them also have an option to connect directly using a USB cable.

Finally, if you’re still on the fence about whether to give up your wireless router, it might help you to know that we can see all of them, and when one becomes a problem, we can disable it remotely to prevent its interference. It would probably be easier to just turn it off yourself, and your neighbors will thank you.

Firefox Shortcuts

Top 10 Firefox shortcut keys everyone should know

Below is a listing of the top 10 favorite Firefox keyboard shortcuts. Learning these shortcuts will greatly improve your productivity and overall experience with Mozilla Firefox.

1. Ctrl + T and middle-click

Pressing Ctrl + T will open a blank new tab or if you want to open any link in a new tab press your middle mouse button (often the scroll wheel) to open that link in a new tab.

2. Ctrl + Shift + T

Oops, close a tab you didn’t want closed, press Ctrl + Shift + T to undo any tab close. Pressing this multiple times will undo multiple closes.

3. F6

Quickly get to the URL address bar by pressing this function key.

4. Ctrl + F or /

Pressing Ctrl + F will open the find feature. Using this you can quickly find text within the same page. If you wish to do a quick find and have Firefox scroll to the text location as you type press forward slash (/) instead while in the browser.

5. Ctrl + W

Close the tab you’re currently in.

6. Ctrl + Tab or Ctrl + Shift + Tab

Move between open tabs.

7. Ctrl + D

Open bookmark window for page currently viewing.

8. Ctrl + <plus>, Ctrl + <minus>, and Ctrl + 0

Pressing Ctrl + <plus symbol> will increase the font size, pressing Ctrl + <minus symbol> will decrease the font size, and if you wish to reset the font size back to the default press Ctrl + 0.

9. F11

Make the screen full screen, removing all toolbars and status bars.

10. Ctrl + J

Open the Download Manager window.

*********************************

Hope these are helpful.

Angela LeClair
Technical Support Specialist-Customer Service and Operations