Every now and then when I am sitting at my Windows XP system, an annoying error message just pops up out of nowhere. The title bar is a seemingly random four-digit hexadecimal value followed by “qttask.exe – No Disk”. The text of the message says “There is no disk in the drive. Please insert a disk into drive XX:.” At the bottom is the typical Cancel, Try Again, and Continue buttons.
The most annoying thing is that none of the button choices do anything to actual remove the error. The error message cycles back and forth showing an error message first for drive XX:, then for drive YY:, back and forth, over and over, at least 16 times.
Yes, that’s right — 16 times!!
That’s when I decided to do something about it.
But before I destroyed it, I had to find out more about it.
The qttask.exe program is a simple program that lets Apple’s QuickTime software (often bundled with iTunes) show up in the Windows taskbar. To me, the taskbar only needs to store the system’s volume control and be a place where I get a visual indication when I get mail. To hëll with everything else!
You’ll find solutions all over the ‘net that tell you (1) which registry entry to edit to stop qttask; (2) what option in the Control Panel to set; (3) to deselect the checkbox within the QuickTime software that says to display the control in the toolbar; (4) to remove and reinstall. None of that advice really matters or works. You think simply deselecting the checkbox will actually stop it from running in stealth mode?! Ha! Sooner or later, just like that bad apple MSN Messenger (that uses Microsoft’s own questionable sticky tactics), qttask will also eventually pop back.
The solution: Use the Task Manager to end the qttask process. Rename the qttask.exe file in your QuickTime directory to something else; you can even delete it as it is not used to play or view any QuickTime-associated data. Reboot. Simple!
I hadn’t planned on visiting the Santa Cruz degree confluence today, so I hadn’t planned the best route either. This was a fun confluence to visit; one of the world’s most popular, I believe!
Photo © Richard D. LeCour
I wandered around the general area by car until I stumbled upon the main entrance to DeLaveaga Park. I parked and walked a trail east. At one point I was within 215 feet of the confluence, close enough within the boundaries of the 100-meter minimum disntance to register the visit, but I was not satisfied with that. Looking up at the 215 feet I’d have to traverse, I decided that it might be better to look for another trail that would take me closer, so I kept walking further away.
At about 450 feet from the confluence, I found something that looked like a very steep and slippery trail, but probably was started due to erosion more than by footsteps. At the top I found another trail heading back towards the confluence. Following that, I soon came within 90 feet of the point. Much better!
At that point, I left the trail and hiked straight upwards. Imagine my surprise when I came within 25 feet of the confluence point and realized that there was another trail above me! Once I stood on the trail, I was only 15 feet off, so I stepped off trail once again and stood right at the confluence point. It only took seven minutes for me to maneuver myself into a position that my Garmin 76S read exactly spot on and get a picture of it at the same time.
Enter DeLaveaga Park on Branciforte Drive and park near the restrooms at the Maple Grove or Twisted Tree picnic areas. Just a few feet SSW of the restrooms is a small flight of wooden stairs leading slightly up the hill. Beyond that are dirt trails. At this point, there are three choices — left, right, and an insignificant path straight ahead to the right. Rather than meander aimlessly as I did, as the saying goes, take the path less traveled. That leads you up a hundred feet or so to another dirt trail at which point you go left. You can follow your GPS along that trail until you are within only ten to fifteen feet of the confluence!