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Issue #462: May 29 – June 4, 2016

Q: I do not believe I have ever missed an article you have published. I hope you have a long career with our local paper. About a month ago, whenever I opened a word doc (Win 7, Office 2010) I got the spinning circle/jumping cursor problem. I have read numerous “fixes” from Google with people having the same problem. Maybe I am doing something wrong by changing printers, booting in safe mode, etc. Have you seen this problem? Not a show stopper but extremely annoying.

– Barry B.
Niceville, Florida

A: Always nice to hear from a die-hard fan, Barry. Thanks for being an avid reader. I do need to tell you though, that my column is entirely freelance, and I am not, and never have been an employee of your local paper, or any other paper. I’ll keep bringing you I.G.T.M. as long as I think I still have something to offer to all you Geeks out there, and if your local paper ever decides to stop carrying the column, it will remain available on my website at

To answer your question, no, I have not seen that problem, but it didn’t take much looking on Google to find other users with the same complaint, as you said you did. The “spinning circle/jumping cursor” sounds like the standard Windows wait cursor, which any running software – including Windows itself – can display when there is some time-consuming operation in progress, and it wants to inform you so that you don’t think the computer is simply ignoring you. If it’s happening continuously, rhythmically (every few seconds), or even frequently when you’re not booting or accessing large files, that is an indication that something is definitely amiss. Since you’ve already researched this, I’m not sure what I can offer you beyond what you already looked up, but here goes.

When you say “changing printers” I hope you mean changing printer drivers because that was one of the potential fixes I read about. In fact, one person simply changed the default printer to the “Microsoft XPS Document Writer” that has been hanging around Windows since WinXP SP2. If you do this and the problem goes away, visit your printer manufacturer’s website and look for an updated driver. Now, when you say “booting in safe mode” I think what you really want to try is running Word in safe mode. Yes, Word actually has its own version of safe mode, where it runs without loading any add-ins that may be installed (and you probably have them, whether you know it or not). To run Word in safe mode, use the key combination WinKey+R to open the “Run” dialog, and in the line marked “Open:” type winword /safe then click “Ok”. If the problem goes away, one of your add-ins is causing it, and you’ll need to determine which one. There is a good how-to on Office 2010 add-ins at that should show you everything you need to know.

• • •

 Q: We have three different computers in my office and they were all built by a local IT company and loaded with Windows 7 Ultimate. You say that Windows 10 is ready to upgrade but my IT guy says don’t do it. Wait for the bugs to be worked out. I don’t know what to do?

– Alan F.
Santa Rosa Beach, Florida

A: Well, not to be too flippant about it, Alan, but you pay him for advice, while my advice is free. I’m not saying he’s wrong, but “wait for all the bugs to be worked out” is a rather inane reason not to upgrade. Does Win 10 have problems? Sure, but so does Win 7. A better question might be: While there are some cool new features in Windows 10, is there some compelling reason to upgrade your business systems? In other words, will you gain some big advantage by upgrading? I’m going to guess probably not – at least, not right now. However, keep these things in mind: First, Microsoft’s offer to upgrade to Windows 10 for free was only good for 1-year. That year is up on July 29, 2016. If you don’t upgrade before then, you’ll pay a license fee for each of your three PCs. Second, Windows 7 was two major releases of Windows ago, and mainstream support for it ended way back on January 13, 2015. That means that free phone and online support ended at that time, and Microsoft stopped issuing non-security updates (no more bug fixes or Service Packs). Security updates (updates to fix vulnerabilities in the software) are scheduled to continue until January 14, 2020. Hopefully, your IT guy will have come to terms with upgrading you before then.

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