chain of fail

Fact: Customer’s laptop was doing something strange – if he opened Outlook Express, Windows dropped into 8 bit colour mode. You could set it back to 32 bit temporarily, and closing and re-opening OE didn’t reproduce the problem, but it came back after you rebooted and opened it again.

Fact: My first reaction was that it was some kind of video driver problem, except it was a Dell laptop with an Intel 945 chipset and I’ve never seen Intel video cause any kind of problems. I tried the latest driver from Dell anyway, but no dice.

(The official 945 driver from Intel refused to install, saying I had to have the one from the original manufacturer. Dell loses five points for the proprietary BS there.)

Fact: Opening Outlook Express on XP causes Windows Messenger to open, because Messenger is what handles your contacts if you use OE.

Fact: A little digging around revealed said customer’s kids – or possibly angry karma goblins – had apparently changed Messenger to use 256 colour compatibility mode. Leading to 8 bit colour the first time he opened OE after booting.

Fact: I uninstalled McAfee Security, and his laptop’s boot time halved. Seriously internet, Antivir is where it’s at now.

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