Friday, March 30, 2012

Do you miss seeing your Lenovo drivers ordered by release date?

IBM used to have a page where you could view all the drivers for your
system ordered by their release date. Since the IBM/Lenovo "System
Update" app has always been pretty unreliable, seeing the driver
releases ordered by date was always (for me, anyway) the best way to
make sure my system was up to date.

Lenovo, in all their wisdom, got rid of the ability to order drivers by
release dates. But, thankfully, there's a workaround!

Here's what you do. Go to the Lenovo support site and enter your system
type here: .
Then, click on the "Subscribe to driver updates" link in the upper-right
corner. That will take you to an RSS page. Don't subscribe to it if
you don't want to! But from here, you'll be able to see all the driver
releases ordered by date. Voilá!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Uninstalling HP's SmartPrintButton Extension from Firefox

I detest printer drivers. Well, not so much the drivers themselves, but all the useless junk that always comes with them. Sometimes you can find drivers that come separately from the entire software suite, but more often than not, you're stuck installing some sort of crap in order to be able to print to your new printer. Ugh.

Case-in-point: I just bought an HP Laserjet 1606dn. I chose the absolute minimum installation necessary in order to print to the thing. But, I still ended up with a "SmartPrintButton" extension, uninvited, in my firefox add-on panel. Ugh (again)!

Even worse, this extension was "locked" - i.e., there was no "remove" button I could click to get rid of thing. I tried removing it by starting firefox in safe mode, but that didn't get the job done.

Finally, I went to my firefox extensions folder (C:\Users\username\AppData\Mozilla\Firefox\yourprofile\extensions) to track down the culprit and exterminate him. It turned out to be not so easy as that, though. It seems that in newer firefox installations, extensions just put an encoded .xpi file in your extensions directory. The extension files themselves then seem to be scattered across your hard drive.

Since I had recently installed my printer, I looked for the .xpi file with the most recent modification date (you can click on the date column header in windows explorer to sort by date). I moved the file named "{578e7caa-210f-4967-a0d3-88fe5b59a39f}.xpi" out of the extensions directory, restarted firefox, and voila! No more SmartPrintButton extension. Phew.

Your SmartPrintButton file might be named something different than mine. And if you didn't install your printer recently, you might then have to take out extension .xpi files in groups, restarting firefox each time, to figure out which file corresponds to SmartPrintButton. But armed with these techniques, you should be able to hunt down the right file.

I hope this helps some folks out there!