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Issue #442: January 10–16, 2016

Q: Some, but not all, of my MS Outlook 2007 have the famous red x where a picture should be. This is not the same red x that is placeholding until I download the pictures. I previously used an online MS tool that was supposed to fix the problem but it didn’t. Any suggestions? This happened with both Windows 7 and Windows 10.

– Terry P.
Fort Walton Beach, Florida

A: This problem does occur frequently, and I wish that Microsoft would come up with a way for Outlook to self-heal when it happens.  The symptoms make it look like the software or the pictures themselves have somehow become corrupted or deleted, when what’s actually happening is the settings for a temporary directory that Outlook uses are on the fritz.  Since is a common problem, I’m going to forego all the less-common solutions, such as you having certain e-mail senders blacklisted and having Outlook set-up to disallow images from being displayed.

The problem is most likely in the registry, and the Microsoft FixIt that you tried should have been able to fix it. It’s possible that the FixIt needs to be run with Administrator privileges in order to accomplish its mission.  This is a different thing than simply running it from an account that is a member of the Administrator group.  So before you do anything else, find that FixIt again, right-click on it, and from the context menu, select “Run as Administrator”.  You’ll need to know the Administrator account password to do this.  If the automated procedure still doesn’t fix things, there are some manual things you can try, which are too words to describe here.  So, here is the link to a forum where the issue, and several possible solutions are discussed in detail: Good luck!

• • •

 Q: What is a script error? Why am I getting it? Is it a registry error, as I have read? Is there anything I can do about it? I get it when Facebook is running and sometimes my genealogy programs.

– Valerie M.
No City Given, Florida

A: Back in the early days of the Worldwide Web, pages were written almost exclusively in a language called Hypertext Markup Language.  If you look at that term closely, you might notice the letters HTML in there, which you often see at the end of a URL in your browser’s address bar.  HTML worked great, but it was static; which is to say, it couldn’t adapt to the needs of the many and varied systems accessing the page.  It couldn’t serve-up different page content to support various users’ choice of browser and computer platform.  If couldn’t track user data, such as login information, and user preferences.  There are quite a few other things it couldn’t do, but you’d need to understand a lot about web programming to understand them.  To extend the capabilities of HTML, a company called Netscape Communications Corporation created a technology called Javascript that worked alongside HTML to allow web page authors to write logic, or decision making paths into their pages.  Javascript (not to be confused with the programming language or the software platform that are both named Java) allows web pages to act very much like software that is installed on your computer, all within the confines of your web browser. 

When there is a bug in a script, or when something a script attempts to do appears suspicious to your system’s malware scanner, you get notified that a script error has occurred, and are usually given the option to terminate the script. No, this is not a registry error, and no, there really isn’t anything you can do about it.  But take this piece of advice to heart: If you’re getting repeated script errors, either you’re on a website of questionable character (one that is trying to penetrate your system’s defenses) or you already have a malware infection that is trying to use Javascript to redirect your browsing activities for its own purposes, such as to force you to view certain advertising, or use search engines not of your choosing.  If you can make the problem go away by staying off certain websites, that’s your best choice.  Otherwise, you should go on a search and destroy mission for the malware that’s causing the problem.

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