Why does QAP sometimes look frozen or takes time to show its popup menu?

Normally, the QAP popup menu shows instantly when you invoke it (by default, pressing the Middle Mouse Button or hitting Windows +W). But there are some situations external to QAP that sometimes prevent or delay the menu display. Here are the most common causes as well as available solutions. From the feedback received on the QAP Forum, the most common cause of delay is when you have menu items saved on an offline network drive. We will cover this in detail below. But first, let’s exclude some easier issues.

 

Hardware issues

It has been reported that, sometimes, on some mouse, the wheel does not react when pressed. This can be a limitation of the mouse model or just a malfunctioning. To confirm the issue, try replacing the mouse to see if the new mouse wheel can be pressed to open the QAP menu. If, in the end, the middle button is not available, you can select another mouse trigger in Options, Popup Hotkeys or use the keyboard trigger (by default Windows +W). More info here: How do I display the Quick Access Popup menu?

Check the exclusion list

In the Options, Popup Menu section, make sure you did not specify an unwanted exclusion in the Mouse Trigger Blacklist or that you did not select Whitelist without specifying the windows where the QAP menu could be activated. To reset the default setting, select the Blacklist radio button and make sure list is empty.

The menu does not open over some windows

This is probably because these windows belong to applications running as administrator. When an application is launched with an higher security privilege level (sometimes referred as ACL for Access Control List), its windows are not accessible to applications running with lower privilege. From QAP point of view, these windows are like black holes where the mouse middle click or keyboard trigger have no effect. More info here: Why is the middle mouse button not working over some windows?

Long refresh time

The QAP menu is built when you launch the app. It is refreshed each time you save your changes in the Customize or Options windows, and when you select the menu Tools, Refresh Live Folders and Shared menus.

In addition to that, some submenu are dynamic submenus and are refreshed each time you open the menu (if they appear in your menu). Refreshing these menu is very quick and should not cause any perceptible delay. These menu are: Recent Folders, Recent Files, Frequent Folders*, Frequent Files*, Drives*, Clipboard*, Current Windows, Reopen a Folder, Repeat Last Actions, Favorites in Customize window*, TC Directory hotlist and Directory Opus Favorites.

* These menus can cause a delay if they contain items on a network drive that is offline. See Network drives offline below.

In addition, the menu can be refreshed by a background task (see Can I schedule automatic menu refresh for Live folders and Shared menus?). If this options is enabled, the menu is temporarily unavailable while it is refreshed. If you have a very large menu with numerous submenus, shared menus and lengthy Live folders, the menu will not respond for a few seconds but only while it is refreshed (every 5 minutes by default).

Network drives offline

The main cause for delays long enough to let users think QAP is frozen is when an offline network drive contains favorites (folders or files) in the QAP menu. The effect is not always the same depending on the type of resource, the kind of unavailability (computer closed or just in sleep mode) and also, probably, the network configuration. This is why the symptoms described below can vary on your system.

Frequent Folders and Frequent Files menus

When you use folders or files on a network computer (using the UNC path like “\\server\path\…” or by mounting it with a drive letter like “N:\”), Windows remembers the folders and files you used in its system folder Recent Items. QAP reads this system folder and store the data in its database. If resources saved on a network drive are used frequently, they can reach the “top 10” and appear in the Frequent Folders or Frequent Files menus. When QAP refreshes these menus, for each item, it does two things: 1) check if the file exist and 2) it checks what icon should be displayed for this resource (for example, if a folder contains a custom icon). When the network drive hosting these files is offline, there is a delay before the QAP receives an answer from Windows and before the menu can be displayed. According to our tests (on Windows 10, for an UNC path), this delay is around 20 seconds regardless of the number of items on this offline network drive.

Trying to mitigate this delay, QAP does various verifications. This is still not perfect and this will need some more work in the future versions. But, as of the current version (v10.5.6), there are a few things you can do to avoid this delay.

  • Stop retrieving icons for UNC drives: for QAP v10 only, in Options, Menu Icons, disable the checkbox Retrieve icons when refreshing Frequent folders and Frequent files menus (avoid if some files are often offline);
  • Remove the Frequent menus: by default, these menus are inserted in the In the Works submenu; select them in the Customize window and click the Remove button;
  • Disable the QAP database: in Options, Database, uncheck the Enable Quick Access Popup database checkbox; this automatically remove the Frequent menus.

Live folders on network drives

Also, you should avoid creating Live folders on network drives that could be offline. When refreshing its menu, QAP tries to read the content of the Live folder to build its menu. An offline drive will cause a delay.

With QAP v11, you could enable the new checkbox Refresh this Live Folder menu only with the command “Refresh Live Folders and Shared menus” (under the Live Folder Options) and avoid refreshing the menus when you know that a network drive is offline.

Network drives mapped to a drive letter

If a shared drive is mounted on your system using a drive letter (like N:\), this drive is included in the Drives menu found by default under the My QAP Essentials submenu. When refreshing this menu, QAP tries to retrieve the drive’s name and free space, causing a delay if the drive is offline. If you often have network drives offline, you should remove this QAP feature from the My QAP Essentials submenu.

Follow-ups

In the next QAP releases, with the help of QAP users (special thanks to LaurentG for his tests), we will add more safety code and new options, trying to prevent, in not eliminate, these delays without having to deprive you of functionalities like the Frequent or Drives menus.

To be kept informed of these developments, subscribe to this QAP Forum thread and do not hesitate to jump in the discussion.

The Manage Icons window is too large. How can I resize it or scroll the list?

Manage Icons – Click to enlarge

The tools I am using to develop QAP does not allow to add a scroll bar to a dialog box list when it contains multiple images per row as this one. This is why the Manage Icons window is presenting the icons page by page.

Each page contains as many icons as possible according to the size of your screen. The number of rows displayed in each page is calculated based on the screen size reported by Windows. If, for any reason, Windows returns an incorrect size value to QAP or if QAP misinterprets this info (which seems to be the case when screen scaling is active), the window could be too small or, more frequently, too large. This could make the window unusable because the Previous, Next and Close buttons could be “outside” of the screen.

The solution to this is to manually set the number of rows of this window. To do it, open the Options dialog box, Menu tab, and enter a small number of rows in the Manage Icons window row zone. After testing it, increase the value up to the maximum that works on your screen.

 

More info about managing icons: Can I manage all my menu icons in one screen?

Why are QAP context menus not working in some windows?

In some setup, the QAP context menus may work well in Windows Explorer windows but not in a custom file manager.  Or the opposite.

This is generally because some applications are running with different access privileges.

For example, if your file manager is running with administrator permissions while QAPmessenger.exe (that app transmitting commands from context menus to QAP) is running with standard permissions, messages sent from the context menu could not be received by QAP. Maybe you should run your file manager with regular permission or, on the opposite, launch QAPmessenger.exe with elevated privileges.

The opposite could also be true: if QAP runs in admin mode and Windows Explorer (or your custom file manager) in standard mode, context menus in Explorer could not launch QAP commands because QAP has higher permissions than Explorer. Context menu can only call apps having privileges equal or lower than Windows Explorer has.

Please read more about Why is the middle mouse button not working over some windows?.

To find more about installation and enabling of Explorer context menu, read the Explorer Context Menus Help.

Why is the middle mouse button not working over some windows?

Most of the time, this issue is related to ACL (Windows Access Control List).

Each window in Windows is launched with a given set of rights. Basically, there are two levels:

  • user level (standard permissions)
  • administrator level (elevated permissions)

With elevated permissions (or privileges), user can make system changes that affect his configuration, security, etc. and that can also affect all other users on the system.

Quick Access Popup hotkey (by default, middle mouse button) only works on windows that have equal or lower access level. If you start an application with an higher “administrator” privileges (using the Run As Administrator Windows Explorer menu), QAP will not have the permission to open its menu over the windows created by this app. To do so, you would have to also launch QAP with administrator privileges.

Is it a good idea to launch QAP as Administrator? You have to know that every program started from QAP will the also inherit these enhanced rights. This could allow them to do changes on your system without prompting you. From a system security point of view, this may put your system at risk. In other words, you have to know what you are doing.

What is the “close menu issue”?

What I call the “close menu issue” is an intermittent issue (probably caused by Windows) preventing users from closing the QAP popup menu by clicking outside of the menu or by hitting the Escape key as they would do normally. As a result, users have to click an item to close the menu. This is annoying when a user open the menu but changes its mind and does not want to launch any favorite.

This issue occurs intermittently under Windows 7 and Windows 10 (probably also with 8/8.1). Some user are facing it frequently. Other, like me (on both Win 7 and 10), see it only occasionally. There are probably others that never see it.

I tried various methods to get around this issue but, in the end, the changes I made in my code had side-effects worse than the initial issue. For this reason, I added the option Add “Close” to menus (in the Options window, Menu Appearance tab). If this option is turned on (checked), the Close this menu entry is automatically added to the main QAP popup menu, to the Alternative menu and to all dynamic menus. This option is turned on by default.

 

What if you never encounter this issue?

If you are always able to close the QAP popup menu by clicking outside of the menu or by hitting the Escape key, you can save the space taken by the Close this menu entries. In the Options, deselect the Add “Close” to menu check box.

QAP stops loading with an error message. Can I restore a backup of my settings?

Two reasons can explain this error message:

The easiest way to solve this issue is to restore your latest settings backup. You can do it by renaming your current QuickAccessPopup.ini to QuickAccessPopup-broken.ini and renaming your latest backup to QuickAccessPopup.ini.

  1. Open the QAP working directory in your file manager. In the Customize window, select File, Open QAP working directory (pre-v10 users, see What’s the QAP working directory?).
  2. Close QAP before renaming the settings file: select File, Exit Quick Access Popup.
  3. Rename QuickAccessPopup.ini to QuickAccessPopup-broken.ini.
  4. Rename your latest backup, something like QuickAccessPopup-backup-20190925.ini (the last part of the file name is the backup date in “YYYYMMDD” format) to QuickAccessPopup.ini.
  5. Restart QAP.

Why does dialog boxes sometimes refuse to change folder?

 

First, make sure the change folder in dialog box option is enabled. See: Can I change folders in file dialog boxes (Open, Save As, etc.)?

There seems to be an intermittent issue noted in Firefox (and possibly other apps) that interrupt the change folder action initiated by QAP.

Normally, QAP introduces a 100 ms delay at a given step when changing folder in dialog boxes. Making this delay longer may help. In my tests, it increased success rate in Firefox dialog boxes (without resolving the issue completely, unfortunately).

To change this delay, select Options, Various Advanced Options and update the value as shown below. 100 is the default value (in milliseconds). Increase it to 200 (or more) to see how it improves changing folders in Firefox or other apps.

 


Feel free to use the comment box below to give feedback on this issue.

 

Why are buttons icons so small in the Customize window?

This is probably because you are using QAP on an HDPI-devices (like Surface Book). On these screens, icons on QAP Customize window may not scale properly. See this example (taken from QAP v8 but this has not changed since): on the left, the Customize window on a standard desktop PC and, on the right, the same window on a Surface Book.

The scaling effect also impacts icon sizes in QAP popup menu. You could compensate this scaling by changing menu icons size in Options but this would not fix the buttons icon size in the Customize window.

Thanks to QAP user Jörg Giencke, you can use this tip from brianapps (the developer of Sizer 4.0): right-click the Quick Access Popup executable icon in Windows Explorer, select Properties, then Compatibility, check Override high DPI scaling behavior and select System from the dropdown list. This goes for Windows 10 Creators Update (and other Windows 10 version on HDPI-devices?). After that, everything displays just fine on Surface and other HDPI devices.

It is recommended to reboot the computer in order to enforce the change and clear out older settings or window displays.

I upgraded from a pre-v8 QAP version, why don’t I see the icons in my menu?

2016-12-30-18_03_19-manage-icons-quick-access-popup-v8NOTE: The following info is for users who upgraded to QAP from a version before v8.

Icons management has been greatly improved when QAP v8 was introduced. To make sure QAP won’t overwrite the custom icons you have added to your menu, QAP will not update your icons automatically to the new icons. I prefer to let you oversee the replacement of old icons using the new Manage Icons dialog box.

A bit of background…

If you started using QAP before v8, your menu includes icons taken from Windows system files shell32.dll and imageres.dll. These icons library files are installed with every Windows version. To use one of these icons, QAP had to specify their positions (numeric index) in the library.  The issue with these files is that, from one Windows version to the other, icons were added, removed or moved in the library. This caused me headaches and a lot of tedious work to keep track with these always changing index numbers for the various Windows version of QAP users.

In addition, if you upgraded to a new Windows version, chances are that some of your icons were replaced with an image not related to the favorite.

With QAP v8+, this headache is behind us. I decided to invest some money to buy a licence to include the nice icons from Icons8 (you can help me share this expense, if you wish). With my own icons library, I now rely on stable library file named JLicons.dll. If you installed QAP with the “Easy Setup” mode, this file JLicons.dll is saved in the shared applications folder C:\Program\Data\JeanLalonde\. If you preferred the “Portable” mode, the file is included in the portable ZIP file and must be kept in the same folder as QAP executable file.

Now, to see these new icons, please use the Manage Icons dialog box and click on the default icons on the right side of the screen to select them.

 

 

QAP is running but my Settings window or my Edit Favorite windows are not visible. What happened?

Right-click the QAP icon in the Notification zone to open the QAP system menu

This page relates only to QAP releases before v9.4.

Each time you exit Quick Access Popup, the position of the Settings window or the Edit Favorite dialog box are saved in the settings file and restored the next time you open them.

The most probable explanation for these windows to “disappear” is that the configuration of screen configuration changed and that last position of the Settings or Edit Favorite window are now not visible on your current screen(s) configuration. This could also be explained by Windows reporting an incorrect position.

To restore the default position of the Settings window, open the QAP system menu (right-click the QAP icon in the Notification zone) and select Restore Settings window position.