Saturday, March 24, 2007


Arghhh!!! I am in the middle of trying to prepare for a conference paper that I am presenting at a conference next weekend, and my powerpoint is crashing. This is only one in a line of microsoft products that are not correctly working on my computer.

About two weeks ago, my internet explorer started giving me an error report and closing the entire programme if I wanted to shut down one window. Additionally, I use outlook express and when I try to click on a link from one of my messages opened in outlook express, internet explorer will open and immediately crash. So I can't open any links from outlook express anymore.

Now, I am editing an old powerpoint presentation for my conference presentation. When I click on the embedded video in the powerpoint frame, powerpoint freezes up, and I have to use control alt delete to shut down powerpoint. So, I clicked on the troubleshooting link after sending about 10 error reports, and Microsoft recommended a bunch of updates. So, I downloaded about an hour's worth of updates, and it still hasn't made a bloody bit of difference to either internet explorer or powerpoint. What am I going to DO about my conference presentation!? I can't even put together my presentation if it keeps crashing.

Any computer experts out there who have had similar problems???


Fred said...

Any particular error messages? What version of Office? What's your OS? You could also check the Event Viewer, specifically in the Application log to see if there are any errors being logged there, that would be a good start.

If you find anything, the log will usually have an "Event ID", a number which you can plug into or Google.

Usually, you want to make sure all your software (including Windows Media Player) is at the latest version. Take your computer to the school which probably has a much faster connection than your home.

Let me know what's going on.

Talatu-Carmen said...

Hi Fred,
I just spent about two hours on the phone with the university technical support. We ended up uninstalling and reinstalling my entire Microsoft Office, but to no avail. Basically, what happens is that I open up my powerpoint slideshow, and it works fine until I click on the embedded video, and then it just freezes up, until I control alt delete. The error signature on the error report (after I control alt delete) says this: szAppName: POWERPNT.EXE szAppVer: 11.0.8120.0 szModName: hungapp szModVer: offset: 00000000

We also tried doing the "detect and repair" from the help menu in Powerpoint. Interestingly, I just did it again, and tried clicking on my video file again, and this time I actually got an error message before it shut down (the first time i've gotten it before shutting down) that says "Microsoft Office PowerPoint has encountered a problem and needs to close" (etc) It gives me the option of restarting microsoft office powerpoint and also sending an error report. This time the error report is a bit different:
AppName: powerpnt.exe AppVer: 11.0.8120.0 AppStamp 4578a99a ModName: ntdll.dll ModVer 5.1.2600.2180 ModStamp: 411096b4 fDebug: 0 Offset: 00010f29

It also allowed me to see the error report contents, but it doesn't allow me to cut and paste... and I'm not going to retype all of that in. But this is a new thing. Perhaps this is progress... (a minute later)... Alas... no... same-old, same-old

The guy from technical support was stumped when reinstalling didn't fix the problem. The only other thing that I can think of is that perhaps a piece of shareware that I downloaded to capture video stills from vcds and dvds messed up the video file extensions and is causing ppt to freeze up. I downloaded something called VLC media player, which is this fabulous little programme that allows you to take snapshots of a film, but it also seems to have converted all of my video files to VLC files now (although the file extension still ends with .mpg.) So maybe that is what is causing the problem...

I updated a lot of stuff last night. I've destroyed a lot of spyware. I've gotten rid of all temp files and done a disk cleanup. The only thing I can think of now is to uninstall the VLC player--except that I'm a bit nervous that it will leave all my videos unplayable (although they still play with Windows Media player and others...) maybe i should try that. At any rate, I have spent my entire weekend doing this rather than finalizing my presentation... arghhh!!!

Talatu-Carmen said...

oh, and I have MS office 2003

Fred said...

H'm. I would have suggested you also re-install Office. If you've already done that and you're now up-to-date with all the service packs, then that can't be the problem. As you say, it seems your issue may be with VLC (I use it myself as well). The media types that VLC plays will also be played by Windows Media Player so don't worry.

But there's no need to uninstall VLC, just dissociate the movie file type (.wmv, etc.) from being played by VLC and have Windows Media Player be the default. That may resolve the issue. Right-click on any movie file--the same as your embedded, mind--and choose "Properties". Change the "Opens With" and browse for WMP. Make sure "Always use the selected program ..." box is checked.

Let me know if that works.

Talatu-Carmen said...

Hi Fred,
I was certain that this, finally, would work, and I was about to praise you with great praises despite your reactionary politics. But I went and changed the file to open with WMP. Same thing. So, I went back and changed it to opens with Powerpoint. Same thing. My powerpoint has also taken to freezing and shaking for about 10 seconds when I first open it before calming down and allowing me to proceed with the slideshow.

So, I think what I'm going to have to do is just forget powerpoint (sad as it is because I BOUGHT Office for powerpoint) and just make a file with the video clips and click on them one by one for my presentation. It won't look as nice or professional, but at least I won't have to worry about Powerpoint screwing up halfway through my presentation. arghhhh!!!!

Fred said...

Ah, if only my politics actually affected how I did my job!

I'm sorry that didn't work for you. How about this: try to run this presentation, movie and all, on another computer to see if it's something to do with your computer.

What is the movie filetype you have? Does the video play by itself outside of PowerPoint?

You may want to try another file format, perhaps .avi if you're currently using .wmv

Look at this Google thread for more ideas.

Good luck.

By the way, if you give PP presentations as much as you seem to, you should read "Beyond Bullet Points", it's excellent.

Fred said...

Did you end up abandoning PP? Here's a link to something that may help even more (or less, as the case may be). It turns out that PP does not use WMP but something else separately! I did not know that...

Talatu-Carmen said...

Hi Fred,

Thanks for your help with this. I'll check out the link. I think I'm going to have to abandon powerpoint for this particular presentation. I took my laptop into my universities computer help desk, and they spent another hour with me and couldn't figure it out. The presentation DOES work on other computers, just not my computer. The guy said that if I could leave the computer with him for a couple days he could probably figure it out, but I can't spare my laptop right now.

Another friend sent me info about open office with a programme similar to powerpoint, and I downloaded it, but just have not had the time to sit down and figure it all out. So, I think I'm just going to have to do the primitive thing of putting the videos in a folder and opening them up one by one. VLC player opens up a lot faster than Windows media players, so that's an ok option. It just means that I won't be able to show stills from the films alongside the movies. Too bad... But I'm going to make a handout with the stills, just to make sure I'm not dependent on any kind of technology for the presentation. Too many things can go wrong if you don't have a backup. I'm certainly glad I didn't wait until today to check out my ppt presentation!

But thanks. I will check out that link.