Ask Rick 2009 & Houston We Have a Problem 09



Ask Rick 036, 23/03/09, Houston 122, 04/04/09


Disappearing Thumbnails in Vista

I have Windows Vista Home Premium.  The problem I have is that my Pictures folder used to show thumbnails of the images but now it just shows icons.  I have gone through all the Help suggestions but to no avail.  I have also tried the web forums but without success. Any help would be very much appreciated.

Brian Taylor, by email


In what appears to be a moment of madness Microsoft fiddled around with the way Vista displays thumbnails, not once, or twice, but three times, so here's a couple of things to try. Your first stop should be the Tools menu in Windows Explorer, go to Folder Options then the View tab and right at the top make sure that 'Always show icons, never thumbnails' is checked. If that's okay open System Properties (Winkey + Break > Advanced System Settings), select the Advanced tab then under Performance click the Settings button. Scroll down the list and ensure that 'Show thumbnails instead of icons' is ticked. I have also come across cases of the thumbnails disappearing after installing or updating Adobe reader, in which case the 'Repair' option on the Adobe Reader Help menu should help.


Although not directly connected to this problem, several readers have asked how or why the caption or filename label under the thumbnails keeps disappearing. This happens when you change 'View', from Thumbnails (or icons) to Details, say. If you hold down the Shift key when doing so it toggles the caption on and off. Don't ask me why, it just does...



ApsGetInterfaceCount Error Message

I have a HP laptop and am running Windows XP. Once I have switched it on I get a message box that says: 'The procedure entry point apsGetInterfaceCount could not be located in the dynamic link library wlanapi.dll'. This message has been appearing for about three weeks or so and I have (maybe foolishly) been regarding it as merely an inconvenience. After spending time liasing with my ISP we have between us basically failed to overcome the problem and they suggest the issue may be to do with my computer. 

Peter Seddon, by email


Your ISP's support staff are right in that it does have something to do with your PC but they should hang their heads in shame for not knowing the answer. This is a very well known problem and it is almost always due to Windows XP Service Pack 3, which I'm guessing was installed on your PC at the same time as the message started appearing. SP3 loads a new version of the wlanapi.dll file and this disagrees with some wi-fi adaptor drivers. The solution is to update the driver from the PC or wireless adaptor manufacturer's website. There's more about this problem in Microsoft Knowledgebase article 950720 at:


Past Imperfect

I have recently found and old family snap going back 70 years. My cousin (now 80 years old) and I are the remaining survivors, and she has asked if, with modern technology, the print could be enlarged and improved, as she would dearly like a copy. The images are clear although a bit dark. I have managed to get a slightly improved larger print by thrashing about in the dark as it were using the various options on Zoombrowser and Picasa 3 but I don't really know how I did it. Do you have any tips please on how I might improve this photo? My computer runs on Windows XP

Eddie Gaskill, by email


As photographic prints age the contrast range tends to get narrower, so they either look washed out, or go dark, as in your case. This can often be rectified using a facility called Gamma Correction, which distorts the contrast range, making it 'non-linear', so that the differences between lighter and darker parts of the image become more exaggerated. I suggest that you try an excellent freeware image-editing program called PhotoFiltre ( This has a set of easy to use Gamma adjustments, along with the more familiar brightness and contrast controls, and between them you should be able bring the picture back to life. PhotoFiltre has an infinite 'undo' facility, so it doesn't matter if you get it wrong, you can have as many goes as you like. PhotoFiltre also has a versatile print facility that lets you quickly change the size of the image using a slider bar. 


Vista Backup Error

I have a Compaq PC running Windows Vista Home Premium and I have tried using Backup to copy my files onto a DVD-RW. However, during the process I get an error message, error 0x8007045D.  Do you have any idea what the problem is and how to solve it? 

Ken Black, by email


There is a known bug in the Vista backup facility; I am sure that Microsoft is working on a fix as we speak but until then I have a temporary workaround. Open System Properties (see the first question) and this time select the System Properties tab. Uncheck all listed drives and click Apply. This switches off System Restore and clears all Restore Points, which seems to conflict with the Backup utility. Now recheck the box or boxes and click the Create button to set a new Restore Point. You should now find that the Backup facility works. If it doesn't then you may have a more serious hard drive or file system problem, in which case see Microsoft Support article 952272 at:



Remove Hotmail Live Ads

My Windows Live Hotmail shows continuous advertising on the right hand side of my screen, which is very annoying if you have a small laptop screen. Can you help?

Hildegard Wilder. By email


It can be done but not, as far as I know, in Internet Explorer, so the first thing to do is download and install the free Firefox browser (, Once it is up and running install a free ad blocker add-on. There are several, try Windows Live Hotmail Ad Remover at: or, if you want to do it manually, there's a set of instructions for changing Firefox configuration scripts at:





© R. Maybury 2009 0203

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