Why Programs Go "Wacky"

After my last trip, I turned on my film scanner and inserted a negative strip. After many years as a photographer, I can "read" negatives and tell if they are properly exposed; these were. However, they all appeared to be washed out when scanned. Unfortunately, I was using a new film since the film I really liked had been discontinued and my hoard of it had been used up. Since Polaroid who produced my film scanner had new software on the net for my scanner, I downloaded it. They did not have the profile for this film and I really preferred the older software. So I went back to it. Now my scans were inconsistent. The same negative could either have a greenish or magenta cast to it upon different scans. Thus, I knew something was wrong, especially since these colors are opposites.

I, now, knew I had a problem. I guessed it was a conflict somewhere. I, first, went to the control panel and removed the new software which was Polaroid's Polacolor. As most of you know, not every program is fully deleted from the system. Often, or most of the time, remnants remain in the registry. The registry is a tricky business. One incorrect delete can cause problems. Here are a few ways with Windows 98 (I know it is already antiquated, but I still prefer it) to possibly correct the problem.

The first way is to make sure that the program has been deleted as fully as possible from the system. Remove it from the system by going to control panel, remove..... Then, delete any remains left that you can find. Sometimes the basic folder is not deleted. Also after deletion, Windows, does state that the program was not fully deleted and tells where"some" of the remnants can be found, in details, after you have removed it. However, that does not mean that remnants do not remain in the registry and those can cause many problems. Shut down the computer to restart in DOS. Once there, type in scanreg. This will scan your registry. Even if it says it is correct, choose to restore the registry of the day before if you have just put on and taken off the new software, for example. This might solve the problem. However, if you might have added a few programs, you might not want to do this.

Another way is to go into the registry itself. I really do not recommend this unless you understand how the registry works. Periodically, I export my registry and date it. To do this, I go to the start menu and access run. I then type in regedit. Once in the registry, I go to file and then export. I save the fileon a zip drive and date it. I, then, can go back and restore it should I have deleted something that further messed up my system.

In brief, what I ended up doing was removing Polacolor from my system and my registry and also removing the original scanning software from my system and registry and reinstalling a clean version of the old software.

I was rewarded with being able to find a profile for scanning in my negatives that was satisfactory and consistent.

Why I had a problem, initially, with very light scans, I really don't know. All I can surmise is that something got corrupted.

The next question is "how can that happen?" Unfortunately with all versions of Windows to date, a new program can throw in a dll file, for example, that kicks out an older version. This older version might have been necessary for the older software. Or I have seen two of the same version of dll files residing in the same place and the program didn't know which one to use.

If all of the above are confusing, do not worry. What I am trying to show is that these things can happen and they can be fixed.

I want to give an analogy. Many people resent having to understand the computer in order to use it. I am of the old school where the first camera I used was a Nikon F and then the Nikon FTN. Since nothing was automatic, I had to learn about F stop, film speed, etc. so that I could control how my photographs looked. With an understanding of how the camera parts worked together, I could control my shots. Now with fully automatic cameras, most people do not even think of learning these things. But these basics helped. I still use manual cameras. I, personally, do not like automatics except for certain purposes.

Unfortunately, when computers became household items, they were advertised as "No Problem Machines." It is unfortunate, but I believe true, that unless one has access to a good technician who actually knows what he or she is doing, one should try to learn how computers work.

The best way to do this is through asking questions. There are many forums on the net. Not always will the answer be correct, but one can get a consensus. The other way is to read books. Get third party books on the Windows system in your computer. When Windows 3.1 and then 95 first came on the scene, I had at least four reference books on each as well as multiple trouble shooting books. When I switched to Windows NT for a period of time, I also purchased many books to understand the operating system. When I returned to Windows 98, I was comfortable with only one.

I am not trying to scare anyone, but to have a computer that works well, one has to understand it.