Saturday, June 09, 2007

Windows Live Writer - Tips

The Windows Live Writer team blog just posted two tips for dealing with WLW issues:

Issue One: WLW Installation Failure

Seems that if you had installed WLW or another Microsoft "Live" program in one language, then attempt to install WLW in another, different language (even if the first was uninstalled), then the WLW installation will fail.

The solution takes a small bit of work as well as a special uninstall application download.  Then you will need to reinstall WLW (as well as any of the other "Live" applications).

Issue Two: System Hang Launching WLW

Again (why does this not surprise me?) the issue seems to be with the update services.  When you launch WLW (and I confirmed this by monitoring the startup process with Process Explorer) additional services are kicked off by WLW whereby it goes to the Net to check for updates.  That update check can cause a svchost.exe process to ramp up to near 100%.

This solution involves shutting down the Windows Live Setup Service.

Fortunately for me, my observations didn't seem to show that is a problem that I have.  But it was interesting to see this update process kick off.  I think the WLW team should just place an option in the program to allow users to easily set the option for update checks to "on" or "off."  That's something most software applications have standard.

Just for kicks I tried to follow the steps listed anyway.

The first time I did it (with WLW not running), I got an error on the net stop command that the service didn't exist.  The sc config command also seemed to error out.

The second time I tried, I waited until I saw the service kick on with Process Explorer, then I ran the net stop command and it did indeed stop the "Windows Live Setup Service."

However, the sc config command still seemed to error out.

So I'm wondering if something is a bit off with the instructions provided for this second issue.

I'm not too worried about it, but it would be nice to easily turn off the auto-update check process from within the application itself.

Changing the Windows Live Writer window color scheme

I had been poking around on Windows Live Writer some more and just noticed a little paintbrush icon with a down-arrow in the top right corner, right next to the help icon.

Clicking it provided a color palate that lets you pick one of several colors, as well as an advanced button that allows a wider choice, or your own color blend.

After some experimentation, I found a color choice I liked, and applied it.

The color pick was pleasingly applied across several locations of Windows Live Writer; the toolbar, the sidebar, and the bottom status bar line. It even applied gradient lines in the sidebar highlighting the "Drafts" and "Recently Posted" sections in the "Open" box.

I'm really impressed about how smoothly this little color changer works and integrates the color choice across the application.

Nice little touch!

I'm using a Red-94 Green-47 Blue-0 Hue-20 Sat-240 Lum-44 combo for a nice retro look that compliments my desktop right now.

It's the continuing small little touches like this that really delight me with the Windows Live Writer blogging tool.

I just hope the developers continue to incorporate feedback from WLW fans into future versions.

Write On!


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