We use a corporate version of MSN messenger called Microsoft Office Communicator.

Somebody recently left the company, as a result I thought I would delete him from my contacts in Communicator. I right-clicked his name in Communicator and selected ‘delete this contact’. Communicator then crashed. Restarting Communicator fixed the problem and I successfully deleted him this time.

Cut to 10 minutes later when I switch to Outlook to read my mail.

Outlook is displaying my folder list down the left hand side as normal but where the inbox listing and reading preview is I see a large message:

‘Microsoft Office Communicator 2005 has not closed the file …… properly…’

So I click click the silly office icon and select exit.

Restarting outlook shows the same dumb message.

So I quit Outlook again and search for any sign of it running. No minimised windows on the start bar at the bottom. Nothing amongst the seemingly endless list of icons in the system tray. Nowt.

This is where a normal user presumably rings support. Knowing a little more about computers I brought up task manager and started searching for something Outlook related. There it is OUTLOOK.EXE sitting there happily running with no visible UI elements for the user to interact with.

Killing this and restarting Outlook obviously fixed the problem. Dumb.

Why do I care that Communicator broke outlook

Why do I need to know that there are hidden processes running in the background of this GUI operating system.

Why do I need to know how to kill those processes.