A site devoted to discussing techniques that promote quality and ethical practices in software development.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Firefox kills Windows Journal Writer in Fujitsu T4310 Windows 7 Tablet

I am rather shocked and annoyed to discover that Firefox 3.6.3 causes the Windows Journal Note Writer to crash in a Fujitsu T4310 Tablet PC running Windows 7. Initially I suspected it was caused by the Adobe Flash plug-in in Firefox but after many hours of painful cycles of recovery to factory settings that I have managed to nail it down to Firefox.

The machine is brand new and hence I can afford to reset it back to factory settings when things goes wrong.

For those new to Tablet technology, Journal is a key component that allows user to scribble electronic ink onto a document. It can be a blank page to start with or you can print an existing document to the Journal so that you can scribble notes on it or to highlight parts. Without it operating a Tablet is pretty ordinary.

The machine is installed from distributed image and then connects to the Internet by WiFi to retrieve all the Windows updates current to May 13, 2010. At each stage, the Windows Journal is fired up to ensure that it can render the blank page and that I can print from say Adobe Reader/IE8 to a Journal file. The Windows Journal still works even when IE8's Adobe Flash plug-in is installed. During my experiment, Microsoft Security Essentials or AntiVirus are not installed.

The installation of Firefox 3.6.3 proceeds without any trouble. I cannot launch Windows Journal or print from any program that once works to Journal Note Writer the moment Firefox is installed. Printing from Firefox causes the Journal to crash.

All the crashes cause Event ID 1000 and pin-pointed to mostly "C:\Windows\System32\msvcrt.dll" or occasionally to "C:\Program Files\Windows Journal\NBDoc.dll". In all events, the exception code is 0xC0000005, which means Access Violation and the fault offset for MSVCRT is the same. Here is a typical Event message:
Log Name:      Application
Source:        Application Error
Date:          5/13/2010 11:55:08 AM
Event ID:      1000
Task Category: (100)
Level:         Error
Keywords:      Classic
User:          N/A
Computer:      ABCD-PC7
Faulting application name: journal.exe, version: 6.1.7600.16385, time stamp: 0x4a5bc80a
Faulting module name: msvcrt.dll, version: 7.0.7600.16385, time stamp: 0x4a5bda6f
Exception code: 0xc0000005
Fault offset: 0x00009c7f
Faulting process id: 0x14d4
Faulting application start time: 0x01caf25012163ca9
Faulting application path: C:\Program Files\windows journal\journal.exe
Faulting module path: C:\windows\system32\msvcrt.dll

Finally, after I've uninstalled Firefox, I launched a command prompt that "Run as administrator" and to apply the following steps to recover the Windows Journal:
In the "C:\Program Files\Windows Journal" directory
1) Run
Regsvr32 /u NBDoc.dll
Regsvr32 NBDoc.dll

2) Run
Journal /repairnotewriter

If you happen to run the last command in a CMD running as the log in user, a message box will inform you that it cannot find the specific file.

3) Then reboot.

When the machine is restarted, you can try to bring up Journal. It may still crash or it may bring up the Windows Journal Recovery dialog box as the last one you tried to print from Firefox did not go to completion. Do not choose to recover and this should bring up the blank page. You can then close the Journal Writer to complete the recover process.

You may also choose to launch the Journal Writer with an existing JNT file when launching by itself fails.

After the Windows Journal is restored (with Firefox uninstalled of course) you can print from IE or any programs.

I have been a long time Tablet user and is still using my P1510 running XP with Firefox and I have never seen this bizarre interference.

If anyone has any idea what is exactly happening in the background causing them to be hostile to each other or similar bizarre interference, I would like to hear from you. If you have a way to fix this, it is even more welcoming.


Ryan said...

I am having the same issue with my Toshiba tablet. I love using Journal to sign documents but now everything crashes. Please, if you know how to fix, let us know. Thanks!

Cowdozer said...

Hi Leon, you recently asked me on my blog if I have this problem as well. I did some investigation and tried to reproduce what you're seeing, but it all seems to work fine for me. Hopefully it will get fixed in a later version of Firefox. Maybe try submitting a bug to Microsoft as well, in case it's partially a Journal issue. Good luck!

Blog Archive