Free Stuff: Unlocker – Delete stuff even when Windows gets huffy

Free stuff is great. Useful free stuff is even better.

Even seen any of the following messages from Windows when you try to delete something?

  • Cannot delete Folder: It is being used by another person or program.
  • Cannot delete file: Access is denied.
  • There has been a sharing violation.
  • The source or destination file may be in use.
  • The file is in use by another program or user.
  • Make sure the disk is not full or write-protected and that the file is not currently in use.

Yes? Irritating isn’t it, especially when you know you’ve finished with the file and Explorer doesn’t.

Unlocker adds an option to the right-click that allows you to see directly which programs are holding locks on that file and gives you the option of forcibly unlocking the file allowing you to delete it.

I have used this a lot myself, it is a great utility. You can download the latest version and see more information on the author’s Unlocker page.

Windows XP Home to Vista printer sharing problem

HP OfficeJet V40 on Windows XP Home. Vista laptop. Let’s share the printer. Should be easy enough.

Surprisingly, it is. Especially once you remember to put both machines in the same workgroup. Vista’s default workgroup is WORKGROUP and XP Home’s default workgroup is MSHOME.

I shared the printer on XP and gave it a name (“Margaret?”). I accessed the share on the Vista machine, connected to the printer and Vista installed the drivers and tells me that the printer is ready to go. Splendid.

So, test page time. The test page says it’s printed, it appears in the print spooler, says it’s printed and disappears from the spooler. But here’s the small caveat: when I get upstairs to the printer, nothing has been printed. Yet there are no error messages or error events on either the Vista machine or the XP Home machine. To the contrary, the Vista print spooler reports the page printed fine.

The print job just vanishes into the ether. Spooky. Sorry, wow.

Fortunately, Google came to my help and pointed me in the direction of this post at Consider It Fixed: Printer Sharing Problem in Windows Vista. He reports on a solution found on the Windows Help forum which also takes you to this post on the Windows Users Group Network.

Those posts gives these steps and fixed my problem of disappearing print jobs. It also fixes “Access Denied” problems when you try to install a printer on Vista shared from an XP machine. Read all the instruction first.

  • Add your printer (in my case an Hewlett Packard OfficeJet V40) as a local printer on your Vista machine. Open Control Panel/Printers/Add a Printer/Add a Local Printer and “Use the existing port LPT1:”. Then select the make and model of your printer, etc. Do not set up the new printer as a network printer yet.
  • After Vista has finished installing the driver, right-click your new printer and open the “Properties” window. Select the “Ports” tab and click “Add Port.”
  • Make sure that Local Port is selected from the list and then select “New Port”. When the “Enter a Port Name” field comes up, manually add a new Local Port as follows: \\computer_name\shared_printer_name as the port name.
    For example, if the computer name for the Windows XP PC sharing the printer is “SlimmPC” and the shared printer is “v40” enter \\SlimmPC\v40 then select “OK”.
  • Now return to the port list and select the newly created port as the active port for the printer.
  • To test the printer, open Word and print to the newly created printer.
  • If that works, go to some of the above web posts and add your appreciation in a comment or mark the posts as helpful.

Microsoft Access 2002 – Emulate Vista Dimming / Attention Focus

UPDATE 29 June 2007: You must extract the MDB from the zip for it to work (!). It will not work on a read-only database.


While I have no intention of upgrading to Vista at this time I did note an interesting user interface paradigm that helps call undivided attention to a message box by fading every other element of the screen.


Having recently developed an application with an extensive help system that none of the users ever read, I wondered whether I could use this to force users to give at least a tiny bit more attention to short “Did you know?”-esque tips.

To that end, I wrote a form called “frmDimmer” that fades the entire working area of your Microsoft Access application and allows a PopUp form to appear above it. You can download a zip containing an MDB example.

Continue reading “Microsoft Access 2002 – Emulate Vista Dimming / Attention Focus”