Windows

Problems with Microsoft Outlook 2016: It’s a dud!

I have been using Microsoft Outlook for years through a number of iterations, starting I think with Outlook 2000, then Outlook 2003, then Outlook 2007, and then Outlook 2010. Outlook has always had it’s quirks, some of which I’ve addressed here in other posts. But it basically worked, most of the time, the way it should, and the few annoyances weren’t too difficult to correct once you knew how. Last year, with my previous version of Outlook rapidly aging and at or approaching end of life, I thought it was time to upgrade and purchased Outlook 2016. TL;DR version: Outlook 2016 was a total lemon! It is the Vista of the Microsoft Office series! Avoid at all costs! It never really worked very well for me (under Windows 10 with all the operating system upgrades as they were released as well as driver and software upgrades. From the outset, it was slow. Slow to load, slow to switch folders, slow to do anything. Often, when I switched between Outlook folders, it would display a “Nothing to see here” message so I’d have to go to another folder and then back to get the emails to display. Yesterday was the last straw. I had rebooted the computer the night before and followed my usual morning routine of coffee and checking to see what email had arrived since the previous evening. My reaction: “What fresh hell is this now?” Most, although curiously not all, of the new emails would not display in HTML but only in plain text – not very useful in my line of business. As usual, I went to Google to search for “Outlook 2016 will not display emails in HTML format”. What I learned was that this was a very common problem with Outlook 2016, that Microsoft was

Windows Mail Phantom New Message Count

I use Microsoft Outlook as my primary email client but for less urgent things (things that don’t necessarily need to have immediate attention) I also have some accounts set up in the Windows 10 Mail app. Periodically, the Mail app seems to get stuck displaying 1 unread message when in fact all messages have been read, something that has come to be known as the “phantom message”. Sometimes, the count may be higher than 1 but  the most common scenario is just 1 phantom message. People have been reporting this, complaining about it, and seeking solutions since windows 8 but it’s still an issue with apparently no clear solution. The issues seems to be caused (in Windows 10 at least) by dismissing new mail notifications in the Windows Notification area (or in the noification popup) instead of opening the Mail app to check the mail. This seems to mess up the mail synchronization function in the app. Most of the suggested solutions either don’t work at all or they involve drastic measures like uninstalling and reinstalling the app, or performing a complete reset on the app, either of which is probably going to cause a loss of your emails and even your accounts, meaning you have to set everything up all over again. Thank you, Microsoft, but if that’s my only option I think I’d rather live with the annoyance of a phantom 1 showing on the app. Fortunately, there is a solution I’ve discovered, possibly two, that actually works: Try this first: If you have a second account, or if you create a temporary one, send yourself an email to an account that is checked by the Windows Mail app. Then open the app, and click on the email to “read” it, and the unread mail count should reset

Website Push Notifications: How to Disable Them in Major Browsers

With recent browser updates, it appears that the popups asking whether you want to allow Push Notifications from websites you visit have become more aggressive – or perhaps it’s just that more websites are using this feature. We have nothing enabled on this site to use these popups but here is how to disable these annoying popups in the three major browsers for Windows. Disable all push notifications in Chrome How notifications work By default, Chrome alerts you whenever a website, app, or extension wants to send you notifications. You can change this setting at any time. If you’re browsing in Incognito mode, you won’t get notifications. Allow or block notifications from all sites On your computer, open Chrome. At the top right, click More    > Settings. At the bottom, click Advanced. Under “Privacy and security,” click Content settings. Click Notifications. Block all: Turn off Ask before sending. Block a site: Next to “Block,” click Add. Enter the site and click Add. Allow a site: Next to “Allow,” click Add. Enter the site and click Add. Choose to block or allow notifications: You can also block any sites or apps from sending you notifications. Disable all push notifications in Firefox Open up Firefox, click on the Menu button at the top right, and click Options. Click on Privacy & Security in the left pane. Scroll down to Permissions > Notifications. Click on Settings to the right of Notifications. If there are any websites already listed as okay, click on Remove All Websites. Check the box next to Block new requests asking to allow notifications. Click Save changes. Disable all push notifications in Edge Start Edge and click on the More button at the top right. Scroll down to View Advanced Settings. Scroll down to Website Permissions. I think you

When Windows 10 won’t open links from your email in your browser

I have used Microsoft Outlook as my email client for years and I’m currently using Outlook 2019 (after a year with the very buggy Outlook 2016). Periodically, after an update of some kind or just seemingly out of the blue, clicking on a link in an email no longer opens that link in my default browser, Firefox. There are reports of the same thing happening in Chrome and Internet Explorer, as well as with links in the Windows 10 Mail app. Yesterday, it happened again. When this happened in the past, there was a quick and easy Microsoft Fix-It script that would resolve my problem. Of course, I went immediately to my trusty Fix-It script only to pop up a message that it would not work with Windows 10. The next step was to google the problem for Windows 10. The suggested fixes I got through Google either didn’t work or seemed unnecessarily tedious and complicated. Not encouraging. But there was a common thread, both in the old Microsoft Fix-It and in some of the suggestions from what Google found for me: Resetting the default browser to the Microsoft product (previously Internet Explorer, now Microsoft Edge in Windows 10). The following solution works for me: Exit from Firefox or your default browser (it turns out this is not required). Go to Default Programs in Windows Settings or Control Panel. Select Microsoft Edge as your default browser. Click on the link in your email to make sure it opens a tab in Edge. Then close Edge. Restart Firefox (or your preferred default browser). Reset your default browser back to the one you prefer: Under Options for your browser, select “Make Firefox (or Chrome, etc.) my default browser”; or Go back to Default Programs in Windows Settings or Control Panel and reset

Customizing and Tweaking Windows 10

Windows 10 is proving to be a very nice update to Windows 7 or 8, but that doesn’t mean you can’t improve it further.   I started with Start10, the first Windows 10 Start menu alternative. This recreates the Windows 7 type Start menu while still giving you links to Windows 10 features. The cost is $4.99 USD (or $3.99 USD if you previously purchased Start8 for Windows 8). Some other utilities, tweaks, and fixes: Ultimate Windows Tweaker (Windows 8) Freeware (works with Windows 10 Free Windows 10 Training Videos Enable Windows 10 Desktop Wallpaper Slideshow, Here’s How Hide Those Annoying Live Tiles From The Win10 Start Menu Three Windows 10 Start menu tweaks that subtly improve your experience | PCWorld Eight Lesser-Known Windows 10 Features and Settings Worth Exploring How to Fix: Windows 10 Antivirus Missing Fix iTunes On Windows 10 Not Detecting / Recognizing iPhone, Here’s How Set Windows 10 File Explorer To Open This PC Instead Of Quick Access, Here’s How | Redmond Pie Libraries – Move above This PC in Windows 8.1/Windows 10 And an invaluable aid to troubleshooting and customizing Windows 10: Windows 10 Forums Finally, some concerns about privacy issues with Windows 10 have been expressed in a number of places. See this for some clarification: Windows 10 Scan-and-Block Piracy Fears May Be Unfounded  

Windows 10 File History Problems

There are still a few bugs in Windows 10, as might be expected with a new operating system release. One of these bugs is in the File History utility – something that first appeared in Windows 8. The issue I encountered was that the option to exclude folders, although Windows 10 appears to accept the new configuration to exclude certain folders I specify, simply doesn’t work. File History continues to store those folders on the backup drive. In my case, there are some very large folders which I back up to a separate external drive (i.e., music/mp3 files and photos), which within a  couple of days completely fills up primary external backup drive. I haven’t yet found a workaround for this problem. A search at Microsoft reveals that this is not an isolated issue; indeed, there are other problems noted with File History suggesting that it is not yet a reliable backup strategy – see this answers.microsoft.com search. In particular, see this post, which to date has no replies. For now, my solution was to turn off File History entirely until either I can find a fix or workaround, or Microsoft fixes the problem.

Upgrading to Windows 10

I started off upgrading just one laptop this past weekend, figuring if I ran into problems it was not essential and any downtime would be inconvenient but not mission critical. However, the upgrade went so smoothly that I went back the next day and upgraded my desktop and my wife’s laptop. There were a few glitches… On the first laptop, Outlook stopped working with an error message to the effect that I didn’t have permission to access the Outlook mailstore. I fixed that (a permissions issue) fairly quickly. I think the cause was that for the first upgrade, my laptop, it was a password protected laptop and Windows 10 encouraged me to switch that login in to my Microsoft login. I didn’t have that problem on the desktop or the other laptop because they weren’t password protected to begin with and I ignored the Windows 10 recommendation to use my Microsoft login. On the desktop, Outlook has twice silently refused to open links in Firefox. That’s another quick fix too… apparently this is a glitch that plagued some Windows 8.x installations as well and there is a Microsoft Fix-It that will automatically fix the issue for you using some registry entry repairs. It does require a reboot and in the process sets the default browser back to Windows Edge but that too is easily fixed by loading Firefox and responding yes to the query to make it my default browser. Yesterday, there was an automatic update from Windows 10 fixing various bugs, although I don’t know specifically what they were. Overall, though, despite the little glitches, I have to say this was an easy upgrade. If you have already upgraded, what was your experience?
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