Friday, July 16, 2010

A Hiccup on Ancestry.com

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In the interests of helping other users that might experience similar problems at some point in time...

When I used Ancestry.com yesterday and this morning, I was unable to view record images. I went to the Ancestry Site Comments message board to see if anyone else had complained about this problem. They hadn't, so I posted a message there asking for help:

"When I click on "View Image" from a record summary, the URL starts out: http://search.ancestry.com/Browse/InstallAdvancedImageViewer...%...

It appears to be trying to install an Advanced Image Viewer. I get no image and it appears to cycle for several minutes trying to install it. I finally stopped it. I am using Windows XP and Internet Explorer 7. I have not added or deleted any software in recent days.

What did Ancestry.com change in the last two days? I checked the Help section and see lots of info about the Enhanced Image Viewer. Is that the same as the Advanced Image Viewer?

Frankly, the "fixes" on the Help page are really complicated - I don't have time to go through all of that to fix something that Ancestry.com caused.

Or am I the only victim here? I have no clue - nobody else has posted about it on this board. Of course, I renewed my subscription two days ago..."

I rebooted my computer, and that didn't solve my problem. So I went to the Help link at the top of the Ancestry.com home page, put "Advanced Image Viewer" in the Search field, and selected the "Troubleshooting the Enhanced Image Viewer" item from the list.

This recommended clearing my computer cache (Temporary Internet Files) and cookies. I did that, and opened Ancestry.com and can now see images. I had only 50 mb of Temporary Internet Files set, so I increased that some. The computer seems to work faster on the Internet too (probably until the cache fills up again!).

The downside is that every website that I have an account with requires me to use my username and password because I deleted my cookies.

The lessons learned here are:

* Use the Ancestry.com Help link when you have a problem. There are 1,434 FAQs available. Use the Search box to narrow your search.

* Check the Ancestry Site Comments message board to see if someone else has your problem and what they did about it.

* Apparently the "Advanced Image Viewer" is the "Enhanced Image Viewer" - but this is not stated explicitly anywhere. Words mean something... I thought they might be different.

Of course, I've wasted about two hours trying to make this work...and I don't think it was my fault, but who knows?

Disclosure: I am not an employee, contractor or affiliate of Ancestry.com, and have received no remuneration for this article. I am a fully paid US Deluxe subscriber to Ancestry.com.

4 comments:

mybabyjohn said...

At the bottom of that message about the enhanced viewer you will find a short sentence something like "or continue on without the enhanced viewer" click on that and carry on truckin'.

Moultrie Creek said...

Randy, most browsers have options for clearing your cache (Internet Explorer calls it temporary files). I set mine to clear everything but cookies every time I shut down my browser. That way I don't have to stop at a very inconvenient time (these things never happen at a convenient time!) and wait for my system to delete a bunch of files.

Debbie Blanton McCoy said...

Randy, I use a free program called CCleaner each night to delete my internet cache. You can designate certain cookies to keep so that they are not deleted. That way the cookies with your sign-in information to the sites that you use often are not deleted.

Susan Petersen said...

I had this problem repeatedly several months ago. A reboot always solved it, but as another person wrote, clearing the cache was part of the solution as well. I've found that Ancestry runs a lot faster on Chrome, but when you open a newspaper image, the 'find next hit' option isn't available in Chrome. So I'm back with IE when I'm doing newspaper research on the site. Firefox also worked better than IE but when I started to upload photos, it crashed.