Our sleuth had just sat down at the boarding house dining table for his proper English breakfast of fried eggs, grilled rashers of bacon, fried sausages, baked beans and grilled tomatoes. Not only was the landlady's cat curling and spinning around this legs as he got ready to take his first bite, but suddenly a messenger arrives with a sealed envelope addressed simply, “The Data Detective – Help!”.
The message indicates that the clerk of the Detective’s own Barrister is having problems with her QuickBooks after installing it on her new Windows-8 computer. I bet you figured that they didn’t even have Windows 8 in our sleuth’s neighborhood! Never one to respond with delay, the Data Detective asks his landlady Mrs. Wilson if she will keep his plate warm while he tends to the Barrister’s clerk.
It’s a brisk walk in the foggy drizzle of the old city, but just a short distance to the offices of his Barrister. Upon arrival the clerk shows him that when she opens QuickBooks, the sizing icons at the top right of the various windows are not present. A review of the Windows menu item shows that she has opened about a dozen different windows without shutting any of them down.
As our Sleuth goes about checking various windows and settings in QuickBooks, he notices that some transaction forms appear not to fit on the screen, and some screens appear distorted when they appear. In some cases fields appear to overlap or field labels are missing, and in at least one case, a button that should be present near the bottom of the window is clearly missing.
You might be thinking that this sounds like a ‘bad installation’ of QuickBooks, but our Data Detective is aware that this set of symptoms is indicative of the effects that the Microsoft Windows resolution and font settings can have on the display of QuickBooks. Since the clerk tells him that they only upgraded to Windows 8 within the last day or so, and that is when she noticed the problems, the most likely culprit is different Windows DPI settings in Windows 8 then were configured in the clerk’s prior Windows XP computer.
Our Sleuth knows that QuickBooks is designed to work with the default settings of Windows DPI, and that anytime the DPI settings are changed it is possible to see distortions in QuickBooks windows, missing buttons or fields, and many other ‘visual’ disturbances. Our Data Detective also knows that this is an ‘easy fix’ that should get him back to his yummy breakfast in no time at all.
The first step is to shut QuickBooks down normally. Then the Data Detective hovers the mouse over the Windows 8 desktop and then right clicks, and then selects the option for Screen Resolution. Next he clicks the link to Make text and other items larger or smaller from the bottom of the display settings. He then unchecks the checkbox for Let me choose one scaling level for all my displays, which has previously been ‘checked’ by someone. (This isn’t enough of a crime to warrant detecting the culprit.) Now our Sleuth drags the slider of the Smaller – 100% slide control all the way to the left, this keeps text and other items at their normal size. He then Saves the settings. Finally after insuring that every other program has been shut-down properly our Data Detective Reboots the clerk’s computer.
Windows 8 reboots, and upon coming up normally, the Data Detective opens QuickBooks. Sure enough all of the various windows now have sizing icons, and missing buttons have ‘reappeared’ (like magic) and all of the windows are sized normally. The mystery of the missing sizing icons is solved, another case put to rest. The Data Detective thinks to himself, “With what that Barrister charges me, this will be one expensive case.” (Of course we all know that our Data Detective doesn’t charge, he makes his income from selling mystery novels for a 50-pence each.)
Upon returning to the boarding house, he enters the kitchen and looks for his breakfast in the warming over. There he finds an empty plate, quite warm to the touch. He shouts upstairs to Mrs. Wilson, “where is my breakfast?”
She looks down the open center of the 3 flights of stairs and replies, “Oh the cat ate that, but I kept the plate warm for you, just as you asked, you Dear” and our old Sleuth thought to himself, "I hate that woman's cat."
Our Data Detective has in fact learned an ‘elementary’ lesson himself for once, ‘never leave a proper breakfast uneaten’ my Dear Watson.