Mystery Pop Up

Discussion in 'Windows 7 Help and Support' started by twotix, Feb 28, 2014.

  1. twotix

    twotix Member

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    Hello,

    I was referred here thru windowsbbs.com about this mysterious desktop popup appearing at random, usually after booting to windows 7 Home Premium (64 bit). Have no idea where it is originates.
    Just wondered if anyone knows how to track this down? It is grey box stating:

    The application was unable to complete an operation

    Details:
    A duplicate value cannot be inserted into a unique index.
    [Table name = Properties Constraint name = PK_Properties]

    Any ideas please? Thank you.
     
  2. Fixer1234

    Fixer1234 Senior Member

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    It sounds like the message is generated by a program that is being loaded at startup (it is not a Windows error). It is most likely either a corrupted program, a program that is not being shut down "gracefully" or that is failing to clean up loose ends before closing, or the result of malware. Just to be safe, do a malware scan.

    If the problem happens at boot time but not every time it means that whatever is failing is not starting in the same state or condition every time. That would point to some type of information or configuration file that is read when the program is loaded and that either is sometimes not being saved correctly, or is sometimes being saved with a value that gives the program indigestion. The later case would point to a corrupted program or one with a software bug.

    Failing to properly save the file could be several things. It can happen when the program does not close "gracefully", such as your shutting off the computer using the power button instead of closing Windows, or the computer losing power and it is not on a functioning UPS. Or, it can be a corrupted program or software bug.

    If the problem is not malware or improper shutdown and it appears at random and not very often, it will be difficult to identify. The process will require time and patience. You can't use Safe mode for a problem like this because in Safe mode, you can't do most of the business for which you have the computer. You can follow a process of doing random stuff that is fast to do on the off chance that you will fix it. For example, reinstall any software that you loaded around the time the problem started (or uninstall it and wait and see if the problem goes away). Make educated guesses about likely and unlikely programs, disable the likely programs in the automated startup, and wait and see if the problem goes away.

    It gets more tedious from there. You can try to identify "programs of interest" by searching for files created close to the time you last shut down, look at those that appear to be configuration files or internal-use data files, find what program they are associated with, and if that program is automatically loaded at startup, it is a candidate.

    If you need a way to rank the suspects to limit time wasted on the least likely, I would include in the least-likely list programs from Microsoft and applications that include the words Control Panel. I would also save for last programs with a long history of good behavior (e.g., stuff from manufacturers like Adobe Systems or Oracle Corporation). You can do a one-step group elimination by disabling any programs that are not critical to the operation of your computer, like download accelerators and helpful gadgets.

    One more tool I can readily think of--some programs can be loaded manually by double clicking on the .exe file or a shortcut to it. When these programs are included in the automated startup, they are sometimes loaded with a configuration or data file specified in the command or "arguments" that control features or behavior. If the program can be run without these, it is a candidate to check. If it is not something important to load when the computer boots, like a virus checker or firewall, unselect it in the automated startup (run MSCONFIG.EXE from the Start window; in the General tab, choose Selective Startup; in the Startup tab, unselect the program; and click OK; the change will take effect the next time you bootup). Run the program after bootup or when you need it using a shortcut.

    Disable all non-critical programs in the automated startup and all suspect programs and wait for the problem to recur. If it doesn't after a period longer than the previous error frequency, it is a sign (but not proof) that one of the disabled programs is the culprit. Then start re-enabling the programs one at a time or in groups and wait again. Repeat the process until you identify the problem program. Recognize that it is possible to waste a lot of time if you conclude that the problem program is in your list and it really isn't; it is another program that just hasn't messed up again, yet. The only way to really know is to load the program manually and immediately produce the error.
     
  3. twotix

    twotix Member

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    Thanks for taking the time for your explanation. I just came from windowsbbs.com where they pronounced my system clean. Does "PK Properties" provide any clues? Thanks!

    [Table name = Properties Constraint name = PK_Properties]
     
  4. Fixer1234

    Fixer1234 Senior Member

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    Unfortunately, it doesn't. It is not unique to, or characteristic of, any specific software. It is just an internal variable name that the programmer used. It could be from virtually anything.
     
  5. twotix

    twotix Member

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    Okay, Thanks again!
     

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