Windows 7 Fails to Start - Error Code: 0xc000000e

Screen Clip

I came home from a weekend away to discover that my PC had rebooted and the screen showed the above message, presumably after a Windows Update.  The options were to Escape or Continue.

I tried to Escape and ended back here. I inserted my Rescue Disc, which had worked on a similar occasion. The boot screen appeared but when I hit return I ended up back here. I tried the Windows 7 Disc with the same results.  I Googled the problem, most of the advice led me down the same road, with no resolution of the problem. I tried turning off and back on using the button of the front panel, sill no luck.

In desperation I turned off the computer using the On/Off switch on the power supply unit on the back of the computer. I left it for a bout 3 minutes and then turned it back on. Magic it Re-Booted and started normally.

Now't so weird as computers...


Rapid Resizer Useful On-line Tools for Creating Stencils and Resizing Drawings

Learn How to Print Patterns Exactly to Any Size

Make printable alphabet, letter, and number stencils. Great for painting, quilting, wood working, stained glass patterns, and other arts & crafts. Or make a stencil from a picture.

Automatically trace photos and pictures into a stencil, pattern, line drawing, or sketch. Great for painting, wood working, stained glass, or other craft designs.




How to Rotate a Video using VLC Media Player

This is a short tutorial on how to rotate and save a video using VLC Media Player Ver 2.1.2).
Check out this YouTube link

The full instructions can be found here: http://www.wintips.org/rotate-video-using-vlc-media-player-version-2-1-2/

VLC Version 2.1.2 official download links:

Source: http://www.wintips.org/


Make a Lo-Cost Ozone Generator - UPDATED

I was looking for simple instructions for building an Ozone Generator for use as s de-odorizer and came across this Instructable from Big Clive. Check out the site there are loads of other interesting things to make.

Re-bloged with thanks from  http://www.bigclive.com/oz.htm


Need some cheap ozone? Here's an experimental ozone generator based on readily available parts that you can build cheaply to clean up the air in your surroundings or get rid of strong odours. I think the latter will appeal to the people who grow exotic herbs in their homes, or live in damp climates where mould is a problem.
This project generally works well, but it's output depends on the components used. It's also very much a bare-bones experimental device so you build it entirely at your own risk.

This project generates ozone using corona discharge. This involves generating a high voltage electrical discharge and then blowing air past it. As the air passes through the corona the oxygen molecules are temporarily separated into individual oxygen atoms and when clear of the corona they start to recombine back into oxygen (O2) and ozone (O3). Since ozone is unstable it will readily donate the extra atom of oxygen to anything that will take it, and this results in a strong oxidising effect which can destroy odours and kill airborne viruses and mould.
Ozone has a very short lifetime, typically reverting back to oxygen again within an hour.

The most efficient way of creating ozone is with corona discharge. To create a controlled corona discharge you place an insulator between two high voltage electrodes. Without the insulator the current will arc between the electrodes and generate some ozone but also produce a lot of heat. With the insulator in place the current can't arc directly across and instead a charge is transferred back and forth in the style of a capacitor with the charge manifesting itself as a purple corona discharge. This requires the use of AC and you can get more corona in a smaller area using high frequency AC

A very common method of producing corona in a very compact form is the use of a corona plate. This is a piece of thin ceramic or glass with an electrode on each side that mirrors the other side without any significant overlap. When a high voltage is applied across the electrodes a corona line forms at the points where the top and bottom electrodes would touch if the insulator was not in the way. This arrangement is extremely efficient since the insulator can be very thin and this allows use of a much lower voltage, typically one to two kilovolts per millimetre.
The insulating material must be able to stand up to the high voltage, corona discharge and ozone, so it is generally glass or ceramic with ceramic the most common choice. The electrodes must also be able to withstand the arduous corona and ozone environment and would ideally be stainless steel with aluminium also being fairly suitable.

This is an example of a typical manufactured corona plate. The bottom electrode is mirrored on the back so that there is minimal overlap, and the high voltage is connected to the plate by the same spring clips that hold it in place.

As you can see, the ceramic is very thin at less than a millimetre. One of the main benefits of ceramic plates is that they have a very high dielectric strength, which basically means they can handle a much higher voltage without arcing through.

This was the result of an experiment I did with a bit of very thin PCB laminate with copper electrodes etched on either side. It worked for several hours with the corona visibly destroying the resin that bonds the glass fibre together, until it suddenly arced through. When a plate fails the current will all tend to arc through in one small point and cause a lot of heat in that area.

In my search for suitably thin insulating material to make cheap corona plates from I completely failed to find thin ceramic sheet at anything near an affordable price. Instead I found that glass microscope slides are pretty good with a thickness of about 1mm. I also tried large slide covers that were a very fragile .2mm thick, but they were very hard to apply the electrodes to without breaking them, and also failed electrically at about 2kV.

There are a few electrode arrangements you can make that determine the number of corona lines and thus the corona output, although that will also be determined by the output current capability of your high voltage supply.
I've shown two electrode arrangements, with yellow tape representing the bottom electrode and blue representing the top one. I'll mention again that there should not be excessive overlap, since any overlap will just pass AC current like a capacitor without producing any corona.
In the above designs the two part version produces two lines of corona (one top and one bottom) while the three part electrode arrangement produces four lines of corona. Try the simple two electrode version first though, since it's much easier to make.

I used self adhesive aluminium foil for my prototype. I started by applying a piece over half the glass plate as shown above.

I then used a sharp knife to cut and peel the ends away from either side so that there was no risk of arcing around the side of the glass if the electrodes were too close to the edge.

Then I used the knife to trim away the excess foil by slicing it against the glass. (Quite a satisfying slicing action I should add.)

Then I put an identical electrode on the other side making sure to align the edges on either side accurately without too much overlap.

Aluminium is extremely hard to bond wires to, so I simply stripped some thin stranded wires and formed loops.

Then stuck them onto the electrodes with more aluminium tape. this should be fairly reliable, since the current is very low.

The easiest source of a modestly high voltage supply was from a cold cathode kit as sold for modding PC cases. I got mine from an online site called ebuyer in the UK, and it came with two rather neat 12" (300mm) blue cold cathode tubes.

Most of these 12V cold cathode supplies are very similar inside. They have a simple push-pull transformer driver with feedback windings, and a high voltage output that is usually divided into two outputs using high voltage series capacitors which also serve to limit the current through each tube.

I cut the two output capacitors off since they interfered with the operation.

And connected my home built corona plate directly across the output of the high voltage transformer.

When powered up, a thin line of purple corona should appear on both sides where the electrodes meet. If it's just a few patches of corona then you could try boosting the supply voltage up from 12V to 14V, although going higher may risk causing the high voltage transformer to fail internally. These little power supplies are not designed for open circuit operation like this, so don't push them too hard.
At this point you should be smelling ozone as a fresh smell a bit like chlorine bleach (also a strong oxidiser).

And here's the finished unit. It uses a standard 12V case fan to push air across the corona and mix the resulting ozone into the rooms air. The corona plate is attached to the fan with two bits of binding strip normally used to hold documents together. I put a blank glass plate in it to align the two bits, then glued them to the fan with resin. (Cheers to Adam Aglionby for the mounting suggestion.) A proper mounting clip would have been nice, particularly one that also made the connections onto the plate.
I powered the whole assembly from an ordinary linear plug-in power supply which was rated at 12V 500mA. I deliberately used an unregulated supply running at less than full load to try and nudge the output voltage up a bit for a better corona.
It works well and soon makes a strong smell of ozone permeate my large flat which means there's actually too much ozone being generated for an occupied area. The output can be tamed down if you reduce the voltage a bit. You should be able to guage ozone output by looking at the corona in a dark room. For low levels it may even just be a few small patches here and there on the plate.
Alternatively you can run the unit on a time switch to cycle it on and off at various points throughout the day.

I added a 100 ohm 1W resistor in series with the fan I used to make it run quieter at the expense of airflow. This is only needed if you want to use the assembly in a quiet area where the whoosh of the fan could cause annoyance.
Although this unit uses high voltage it is at low current and high frequency, so if you should make contact with the high voltage side it is not really dangerous. Do keep in mind that if anything goes wrong then the high voltage could arc and cause sustained smouldering of whatever failed. As such, make sure that the unit is not used near anything flammable.

WARNING: Ozone is toxic and some people are allergic to it. If you can smell Ozone the concentration is potentially toxic. Only use in a well ventilated area and only run for a short time. For permanent use consider using a timer. Do your research. Further info.

Provisionally I have purchase 2 Hug Flight Air Purifiers from Amazon - link


Run Out of Space on your SSD - How to Up-size a Solid State Hard Drive

For months I have been receiving a warning of low disc space on my C Drive. The 120GB OCZ SSD (Solid State Drive) I installed a couple of years ago certainly improved the performance of my Desktop PC, but 120GB is not much space even when you only use it for the main OS and the other stuff that is best run from the Root.

The plan was to replace the existing OCZ Vertex 3 120GB SSD with an OCZ Vector 180GB SSD. I had tried cloning the disc while installed in the PC but I could not get the Free Acronis software supplied with the replacement SSD to install so I decided to use a Freecom Hard Drive Dock Duplicator...

The beauty of this piece of kit is, it does not have to be connected to a computer and you do not need any software to clone a disc. WARNING always backup your data before paying around with a HDD. See my comment at the end of this post.


Carefully remove the drive you want to clone from your computer, beware of static, ground yourself before starting. Make sure the Duplicator is switched off.  Place your old SSD in the Duplicator slot marked Source and the New SSD in to the slot marked Target. Press the On/Off switch to turn the Duplicator On, then hold down the Dup/PC switch for 4 seconds, this should now be Red, press the Start button. The  tiny LED's along side each drive will flash and then turn Blue. The Progress Bar on the right below the Freecom badge will be Blue, these count down the progress of the data transfer, when the bar reaches 100% the transfer is complete. I waited for the Dup button to turn Blue as the Freecom imply that it will, but it doesn't. It took me a couple of hours to transfer 140GB. Turn the Duplicator Off and use the eject button to remove your New SSD.

Reinstall the New SSD in your computer, again beware of static. All being well your computer should reboot as normal only FASTER. Go into Start and type Partition in the search box.  One of the options to appear will be "Create and Format Hard Disc Partitions" Click this and the Disc Management Window will open. If the your original SSD was smaller than the New SSD  you will notice that only part of the new SSD is active. The disc has effectively been partitioned. Unbelievably the Windows Disc Manager will not allow you to enlarge the active partition to utilise all the disc space. The simple solution is to use a piece of Free software called AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard Edition. Follow the instructions on on how to resize a partition at SSDHDD.org. The general opinion is that this piece of software works without any risk of damaging the disc. Read the reviews here. I have to say it worked a treat.


My PC thinks it has had a heart transplant, the increase in performance is most welcome. Now for the heart stopper. For some strange reason I decided to put the OLD SSD back in the PC for starters. To my horror the PC would not Boot, there was an MBR problem, can't remember the exact error message. After fiddling around for a few moments I gave up and decided to put the NEW SSD in. Bingo, it booted up first go, and fast. Job done with only minimum heart failure. Still not sure what happened to the original HDD in the cloning process, but will try to find out and report back. Oh yes, shop around for your replacement SSD the prices seem to vary enormously even for the same item. The price of the OCZ Vector 180GB SSD varied from £52, what I paid for it, to £133!


Nest Smart Thermostat Can Be Hacked to Spy on Owners

Credit: Paul Wagenseil/Tom's Guide

In view of my previous post this may be of interest. A report on the Toms Guide Blog reveals that Google's Nest "smart" thermostats may not be the most secure devices in the "Internet of Things," it can be hacked into, three researchers showed today (Aug. 7) at the BlackHat security conference in Las Vegas.



Nest v Hive v Tado: tech firms tussle over UK energy market

Nest v Hive v Tado: tech firms tussle over UK energy market

Original post see The Telegraph

 Young Britons can't bleed a radiator

Re-blogged from: The Telegraph

Heating has always been regarded as a dumb utility. Some people may have a thermostat in their home, but after programming the thermostat when they first move into their house, most people promptly forget about it and never touch it again.

Over the past few years, however, the price of electricity and gas in the UK has skyrocketed, rising by more than a third since October 2010. Many consumers are now taking a fresh look at their energy consumption, exploring new ways to save money.

Around 60 per cent of the energy consumed in the home is for central heating, which has traditionally been controlled by unintelligent technology. However, a new wave of smart energy management systems is starting to transform the market.


British Gas' HiveGoogle's Nest LabsPassivSystemstado°Honeywell Evohome


Operate the Raspberry Pi B+ or 2 using Remote Desktop

This article is for those interested in using the Pi for .NET development but there is useful information about how to use tour Pi remotely using Remote Desktop or via alternative options. I reblog the article here with due respect for the authors, Jen Teilans, copyright....

Getting started with the Raspberry Pi 2, for .NET developers

So you got your shiny new Raspberry Pi 2 (or the slightly older, original Raspberry Pi), and you want to do something with it as a .NET developer. Of course you’ve read the news yesterday that Windows 10 will run on the Raspberry Pi 2, but today it’s not yet available. However, even today it is possible to leverage your .NET super powers and write some code that runs on the Pi. In this short walkthrough I’ll show you how to get started.
Things you will need:
  • 1 Raspberry Pi or a Raspberry Pi 2 (obviously)
  • 1 4GB or bigger SD card (for the Pi) or MicroSD card (for the Pi 2), this will be the Pi’s “hard disk drive”
  • 1 UTP cable to connect the Pi to your router/hub/switch (so it can connect to the internet)
  • 1 Windows laptop/desktop/hybrid/tablet (of course not necessary to use the Pi, but I’ll use the Windows machine in my guide to write the SD card)
  • Optionally: USB mouse and keyboard, HDMI screen. As mentioned, this is optional since you can also run your Pi headless (without monitor attached). In that you’ll connect to it via remote prompt (SSH) and/or remote desktop (RDP, VNC …). In this guide I’ll show you both options.

Step 1: download and write the Raspbian Linux image

Since Windows 10 is not yet available for the Pi, we’ll use the typical Raspbian Linux operating system, which is based on the Debian Wheezy distro. Go to http://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads/ and download the latest zipped Raspbian image. When done, extract the ZIP file, which should contain 1 .IMG file.
Now we need to write the .IMG file to the SD card. The easiest way to do this on a Windows machine is by downloading and installing the free Win32 Disk Imager tool. When you run it, select the extracted .IMG file, select the drive which corresponds with your SD card reader and click Write. The writing of the image file will take a couple of minutes, so it’s a great time to get a coffee.

Step 2: Boot the Pi for the first time

When the image is written, insert it to your Raspberry Pi and plug in the UTP cable. If you’ll be using a mouse, keyboard and HDMI screen (instead of the headless setup): plug in those things as well.  Check the Raspberry Pi site to see where can find all the connections on your board. Finally give the Pi some power via the Micro USB cable. After a minute or 2 the Pi will be booted. If you have connected a screen, you’ll be able to see the progress. When you are running it headless, the waiting is less exciting and always feels a lot longer. :-)

Step 3: (optional) Connect to your Pi remotely

If you have connected a mouse, keyboard and screen you can skip this step. To be able to connect to your Pi remotely, first we’ll need to figure if it’s successfully booted and connected to your network. By default your Pi will have the hostname raspberrypi, so on your Windows machine open a command prompt and type ping raspberrypi. If everything is ok, you should see the Pi replying (and you’ll know its IP address). If the hostname doesn’t work, you can also check your router’s Local Network client list to find the IP address.
On your Windows machine, well need to install an SSH client. I’m a big fan of the free Bitvise SSH Client, but there are other clients as well, like Putty for example. Once your SSH client of choice is installed, make it connect toraspberrypi (or the IP address) on port 22 with username pi and default password raspberry.
When successfully connected, automatically an SSH remote command prompt will open and you can move to the next step.

Step 4: Configure & update your Raspberry Pi

The first command we’ll execute, either using the attached keyboard/screen or the remote SSH prompt) is sudo raspi-config which will configure Pi. (FYI: sudo is the command to run an application with elevated privileges.)
When the config tool has started, select 1 Expand Filesystem and hit enter. This will make sure the entire size of your SD card will be used. It’s not necessary to reboot when prompted. Secondly it’s probably wise to change the pi user’s password using option 2 in the config menu. Next, move to the fourth config optionInternationalization Options, to change your locale, timezone and keyboard layout (unless you are ok with the defaults). Finally you can choose Finish to close the config tool (you can always run it again). When prompted choose Yes to reboot the Pi.
Once the Pi is rebooted, connect to the command line again (either via SSH or locally). We need to make sure our Pi is running the latest and greatest packages, so execute the following commands:
  • sudo apt-get update (to make sure your source list is up-to-date)
  • sudo apt-get upgrade (to upgrades all installed packages)
This is quite important since if you source list of packages is not up to date, the apt-get install command could fetch older versions of the packages you going to install in the next steps!

Step 5: (optional) Enable Remote Desktop connections and/or VNC

When you are running headless, it’s very interesting to be able to connect to the GUI via the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). When you are using a connected screen, you’ll be able to see the GUI on the screen of course, but you can still enable RDP. So in the remote SSH command prompt, or in the local prompt via the keyboard/screen, type sudo apt-get install xrdp. When prompted hit enter or Y to confirm the installation of the XRDP package.
Additionally we need to do the same for the XTERM package, so type sudo apt-get install xterm and confirm again. Now we are ready to connect to the Pi using RDP: on your Windows machine you can open the Remote Desktop Connection application and tell it to connect to raspberrypi (or its IP address). When prompted enter the pi username and your chosen password. If everything goes ok, you should be able to see the Raspbian desktop.
Instead of RDP, it’s also possible to use VNC to connect to the GUI remotely (and in some scenarios I actually prefer this since VNC leaves your session open when you disconnect the client, so you can easily connect to it again). To install a VNC server (optional for this guide) type sudo apt-get install tightvncserver. When this is done, you need to start the VNC server by typing vncserver (the first time you run it, it’s going to ask you to choose a password). On your Windows machine you can download the VNC Viewer (or another VNC client) to connect. By default, the tightvncserver will be running desktop 1 on port 5901, so from the VNC client connect toraspberrypi:5901.

Step 6: Install Mono and MonoDevelop

If you want to run .NET code on the Linux OS, we need to install the excellent open source Mono .NET Framework. To make sure you will get the latest version of Mono, we need to add additional package repositories. First add the Mono Project GPG signing key by typing in the (remote or local) command prompt  sudo apt-key adv –keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com –recv-keys 3FA7E0328081BFF6A14DA29AA6A19B38D3D831EF. Then typeecho “deb http://download.mono-project.com/repo/debian wheezy main” | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/mono-xamarin.list for the first repository. Now enter echo “deb http://download.mono-project.com/repo/debian wheezy-apache24-compat main” | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list.d/mono-xamarin.list for the second repository.
Cool, now we are finally ready to install Mono: enter sudo apt-get install mono-complete. When prompted hitenter or Y to confirm the installation of the complete Mono framework. Give it some time to complete, it takes like 5 minutes.
Of course you can use your trusted Visual Studio to write .NET code for the Pi, but there is also an open source IDE from the Mono project: MonoDevelop. Let’s install this one as well, just because it’s fun. :-) In the prompt typesudo apt-get install monodevelop. Again when prompted hit enter or Y and wait for the install to complete.

Step 7: Use MonoDevelop to write some C#

Now let’s use the MonoDevelop IDE to write the traditional Hello World console application. If you’ve done step 5, you can connect via RDP to the Raspbian GUI. If you are using a connected screen, type startx in the command prompt to start the GUI. In the Start menu, you can find the MonoDevelop IDE in the Programming category.
Once started, you can choose FileNewSolution to create a new Console Project (don’t forget to give it a name). The template already gives us the Console.WriteLine, so you can just hit F5 to start a debug session and see the output. Pretty cool isn’t it?

Step 8: (optional) Use Visual Studio to write code

If you want to write a bit more code, you probably want to use the goodness of Visual Studio, instead of the limited (but nice!) MonoDevelop IDE. It’s actually very easy: on your Windows machine fire up Visual Studio! Remember Microsoft recently made Visual Studio Community edition available for free, individual developers, small organisations, students … so there is no reason to not use it!
Create a new Console Application (targeting .NET 4.5.1), write the code and build the project. Now we just need to copy the compiled .EXE of the Console Application to the Raspberry Pi. Using the Bitvise SSH Client, this is pretty easy since it contains an SFTP client as well. From the Bitvise SSH Client main window, click on the New SFTP window button which will then show you at the left side your local Windows file system and on the right side the Raspbian file system. Copy the .EXE file for example to the Raspbian Desktop folder.
Once copied, go back to the GUI session (either locally or via RDP) and double click on the copied .EXE, which should show your code in action.
If you prefer to run the Console Application in the command prompt, navigate to the location of the .EXE file and type mono NameOfYour.exe.

Check back to the original post for update information and comments.


Creative Suite CS2 FREE Download

I needed a copy of Illustrator for a small job involving vector images. I normally use Photoshop but there are some things Photoshop cannot do. I tried to use my usual alternative vector editor, Inkscape but it would not do what I wanted.

The only answer was to get my hands on a copy of Adobe Illustrator. Whilst searching for an answer to my problem I discovered an old link to a free copy of Creative Suite CS2. I remembered the link as there was a lot of noise on the internet when it first appeared. Adobe were apparently giving away a FREE copy of Creative Suite CS2 which in its CS6 version cost in the order of £900. Creative Suite contains Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and a few other bits and pieces.

My investigations resulted in a download of Creative Suite 2 onto Windows 7 (64bit), so ignore all the rubbish on the net about compatibility and availability. There are a number of locations for downloading, but I used this link on the PC Advisor Mag website.

I downloaded the files from the Adobe website, you do, however, need an Adobe identity. They even supply a Product Key that works.

The only snag is the installation is a bit of a nightmare and the instructions on the Adobe site are less than helpful but the info to help is out there, this is the main link for the advice I followed.

Only problem I found with using Illustrator CS2 is it will not open .eps files from the more recent versions of the software. However, I did  discover a workaround for this. Open a new document and "Place" (import) the old .eps file in it.

This whole Creative Suite package offers a great solution for those who are short of cash. Despite being over 10 years old, these versions of  Adobes flagship software have plenty of mileage in them.

Useful contacts & links for making stuff via - process.arts

This is such a useful resource I have taken the liberty of reproducing the information in full with due recognition of the brilliant blog at process.art


The Shrimp

The Shrimp

The Shrimp circuit is an Arduino Uno substitute with a component cost of around one tenth the price of official Arduino boards. You can hand-make the circuit on breadboard or stripboard, learning about the components as you go, and remix the circuit freely for your needs.


Optical Character Recognition (OCR) Options

This information on OCR is reblogged from computers.tutsplus a really useful source of tutorials on all things computer...

Google Drive OCR

Google Drive makes it painless to go paperless. Its collaborative documents, spreadsheets, and presentations already help curtail paper usage, but its OCR feature helps curb the paper mess even more so.  

OCR, or Optical Character Recognition, is the most important tech to help you go paperless. Scanned documents on their own are only glorified pictures of your documents, but let your computer recognize the text and they instantly become a ton more useful. 


Abbyy Fine Reader On-Line 

Perhaps one of the most well-known OCR developers is ABBYY, which produces many different paperless management programs. In this tutorial, I'll show you how you can use their web app FineReader and its OCR technology to convert PDFs, scans, and other image files into editable text.



Raspberry Pi B+ SD Card Format Problem - Solved

I had considerable difficulty getting the 8G Micro SD card required for my recently acquired Raspberry Pi to format. I was using the recommended SD Formatter utility via a micro SD card adapter using the Card reader slot on my monitor and the slot on my PC front panel. In both cases I received the error message "SD Formatter disc not supported". I eventually the penny dropped, I tried using an external SD card reader, worked straight off, problem solved.

The question is why?

Link to Raspberry Pi - Getting Started


Disable Google Auto-Backup

I recently reinstalled Picasa and in doing so inadvertently turned on Google Auto-Backup. As I have rather a large number of images on my HD I quickly ran out of space in my Google Account. As this includes storage of emails for Google Mail that proved rather irritating. 

I searched for a way to turn Auto-Backup off but clearly Google don't want you to turn it off so the advice is hard to find. Lots of red herrings with links to "How to turn of Google Auto-Backup " only to discover when you open the link the info tells you how to turn it ON but not OFF!!!

Eventually I found the advice I was looking for  at this location link

Here are the instructions:-

Google+ AutoBackup? can be disabled, Uninstalled, or set to only back up certain folders. 
AutoBackup gets installed automatically when you install or update to the latest version of Picasa. 
To Adjust Google+ Auto Backup settings: 
Look for the AutoBackup icon in the system tray on the bottom right. It is pinwheel with 4 blades in the Google colors. It may be hidden, if so click on the up-arrow to the left of the system tray to show the hidden icons.
It is bottom left in the image
Click on the pinwheel an select Settings...

Make sure it is signed in to your Google account associated with Picasa
Make sure the folders you want to backup are listed and selected, or unselect all of them if you don't wish to use autobackup at the moment.
You can also Pause AutoBackup if it is slowing something down too much. 
To Uninstall Google+ Auto Backup:
If you don't want to use Google+ AutoBackup at all, uninstall it as follows:
Go to the Windows Control Panel.
Select Programs or Uninstall Programs.
Find and select Google+ Auto Backup in the list of installed programs.
Uninstall it.


This computer is not running genuine Windows - My Solution - Updated

Have you had a warning that your Windows 7 operating system is not valid? (I think you can also get this message with W8) See screen grabs below. If so this may be a Windows update problem. If you follow the links it leas to a page offering you a genuine copy of Windows for a fee! Which looks like a Microsoft ransom scam to me. I know my Windows version is legit so what is going on. I think it is to do with the last Windows Update I installed. If you get this message I would suggest that you make sure you have the latest Windows Update installed. Reboot using a Rescue Disc (you know you should have one cuz they work, make one now) or from the Windows CD if you have one. Some PC's and Laptops have a rescue or recovery option on the hard disc which can be activated by pressing an Function key. Your original instructions should tell you which F key. There are other options but this one worked for me.

UPDATE - 15.12.14: My celebrations were premature. The pop-up returned. I am working on it and will post a further update when I have a solution.

UPDATE 2 - 17.12:14 If all else fails try the simple approach. This is the solution posted on the Microsoft website... and it worked, I think...

To activate by using a direct connection
Open Windows Activation by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, right-clicking Computer, clicking Properties, and then clicking Activate Windows now.‌ 
If Windows detects an Internet connection, click Activate Windows online now.  Administrator permission required If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation. 
NB if Windows detects that your copy of Windows is valid this may be as far as you need to go. If your activation time has expired it may be necessary to enter the product key as below.
Type your Windows 7 product key when prompted, click Next, and then follow the instructions.

First message screen...

2nd screen, seen if you click the Resolve option...

3rd screen shows "Buy Genuine Windows" tab when it opens, this is the "Troubleshoot" option...

If your Windows activation period has expired your computer functionality will be reduced and the desk top will become black with a permanent message shown in the bottom right-hand corner.

To make a system repair disc, click the "Start Button" and type System Repair in the search box, click "Create a System Repair Disc" option and follow the instructions. You will need a blank CD to hand.


Terry Gilliam - Monty Python animations

It looks simple but I suspect it is much more difficult that TG makes it look. This is great advice from a creative genius. Worth a try, lets get snipping and clicking...


Google Chrome - Restore Last Session

If you have come to Google Chrome from say Firefox you will find the difference in the user interface irritating to say the least particularly when it comes to restoring your last session after an unexpected or accidental shut down.

This worked for me: Open Chrome and Right click on a New Tab, the first option should be a clickable option to Restore, Click and your last session should be restored. I have had the Restore option appear greyed out. If this happens go to Settings> History and click the most recent activity, when this opens repeat previous advice. Hopefully your last session should open.

This was a bit of a suck and see effort on my part as the advice in the various forums I checked were very confusing. If you know a better way post a comment.