Sunday, November 12, 2006

Microsoft Tablet PC Component has Encountered a Problem and Needs to Close...

A couple of weeks ago, I demoed my TabletPC to an internal customer who was interested in acquiring one for his boss.  When I walked into the office, I had everything ready, right down to the mindmap I'd painstakingly prepared on the new copy of Mindjet MindManager Pro 6 I'd recently won at GottaBeMobile (my thanks to everyone involved in that contest!).

Make that I thought I had everything ready.  All my extra apps, tweaks and add-ons were ready to go.  What wasn't ready? My Tablet Input Panel. You know, that basic input component that comes working on every Tablet PC and UMPC (well, the ones Microsoft call UMPC, anyone) right out of the box. Because I almost always use ritePen for input, I didn't notice it wasn't working until I was into my spiel about the various ways to input text.  Attempts to get the Input Panel to function resulted in nothing but the lovely box shown below.

A quick check in the Event Viewer provided a slightly more informative description of the problem:

How utterly humiliating!

This problem plagued me for a couple of weeks. Google searches showed that Microsoft Tablet MVP Chris H. had tried to help others with this issue in the past.  Another tableteer, Mark H. has mentioned what worked for him.  None of the stuff they suggested worked for me. Desperate, I browsed to the last backup image I had made with PowerQuest DriveImage 2002 (in December 2005; I am such a slacker) and attempted to restore the entire C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Ink folder (after killing the tabtip and tcserver processes in Task Manager). I wasn't allowed to overwrite many of the files, but it was enough. When I hit the TIP button in my taskbar, I saw my Tablet Input Panel for the first time in weeks!

Of course, System File Protection had to stick its unwanted nose in and break the TIP all over again.  The Input Panel would show up, but it was mutilated:

I ejected SFC from the game (again)* and restored the files from the backup image again.  The TIP is back, albeit too late to make a good impression.

As far as I know, my customers are still planning to buy a Tablet. I went back to what I'm more suited for--fixing computers, rather than talking about them.


*I absolutely am NOT recommending that anyone else disable System File Protection on a PC! I'm just reporting what happened.