Diagnosing Unstable Software Can Lead to Obscure Causes

March 19, 2013

So often when someone asks me a question about why CorelDRAW isn’t working right, I’ll ask about other things on that person’s system. “If the problem is in CorelDRAW, why in the world are you asking about something else?” Today I want to share a story about a recent problem I had on my system that shows how two seemingly unrelated pieces of software can cause major problems. No, CorelDRAW is not involved. I just want you to understand that the solution may be the last thing you would have suspected.

I use software called MailWasher Pro to help keep the influx of spam to a minimum. If you want to know more about Mailwasher, I wrote about it in MailWasher Spam Filtering Software. After installing a recent Windows Update, it wouldn’t run at all. I was simply getting the dialog box below.

Pretty scary looking dialog box, isn’t it? I tried to “repair” the install of Mailwasher and that didn’t fix it. I checked is to see if a new version of Mailwasher was available as it might address the issue. There wasn’t a new version, but I still uninstalled and reinstalled to see if a fix was possible. No luck.

So it was time to contact the Firetrust (makers of Mailwasher) support department and let them know about the issue. Many users provide no details at all when they ask for help. Heck, most people who contact me don’t even provide the name of the software causing problems!

I told them what I had already tried. I sent them the dialog box shown above. I explained how the problem came right after installing the latest Windows update. The answer I received back (quickly, I might add) was shockingly dead on! They explained the problem was caused by FastPictureViewer Codec Pack. Why is that shocking? I had never told them it was on my system!

The answer provided was to simply uninstall the FastPictureViewer Codec Pack. I didn’t want to do that as I find it useful. So my next step was to see if there was a newer release that might solve the problem. There was a version released a couple of weeks ago and the notes even said that a very obscure format had been removed because it was problematic. I downloaded and installed the new version and all was fixed.

After reading this story, I hope you all understand that seemingly disconnected software installed on your system can have conflicts. As we all have very different things installed, it can be extremely difficult to find the solution to some problems. Getting an answer also requires you to help the person providing support by giving them more details than “It Doesn’t Work.” I also have to give a thank you to Firetrust support for absolutely nailing the solution. After I found out that the newer version of FastPictureViewer Codec Pack solved the problem, I made sure to e-mail them with my findings and a big thank you.

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Foster D. Coburn III

Foster D. Coburn III is author of 13 best-selling books on CorelDRAW and has been a contributor to numerous technology and graphics-related magazines. Foster has taken many projects, including this Web site, from the early design stage through to a finished piece. He has been a featured speaker at many graphics conferences. His first Web site was built in 1995 and he has been working exclusively in WordPress since 2013.

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