other things

Sunday, June 4th, 2017 02:47 am
darkoshi: (Default)
Still tweaking other things on my new cell phone too.

I found out that one can remove the pages from these old family photo albums (and put them back together again). Which means that scanning the albums shouldn't be that difficult after all (as long as each page fits on the flatbed - one of the albums does just barely. The other one would require using my mom's larger scanner). Which means that's another thing I want to get done.

Firefox addons; learn how to update them to use these new WebExtensions APIs.
Which also shows me that my JavaScript knowledge is woefully out of date. It's changed a lot in 20 years.

I've just installed 2 and a half years worth of Windows updates on one of Qiao's old Windows 7 desktop computers, which we haven't used in that long. Because it has iTunes on it, and I don't want to install iTunes on my laptop. But there are a couple of items I want to get, which are only available to download from iTunes. And of course, that meant I needed to install Windows updates too, right? I dunno. It seemed the thing to do even though it took all day. Makes me think I might even be able to get updates working again on my old laptop too, if I wanted to.
Simplifying updates for Windows 7 and 8.1 - a rollup for all updates through April 2016, with only one prerequisite that must be installed first.

Researching family tree stuff. Old census records. Found out my great-great-grandmother had at least 10 children, and possibly 5 more that didn't survive.
Need to determine what kind of open-source program I should use for doing a family tree, so that the data can be exported/imported in a widely compatible format.

Want to replace all the screws for the door lock strike-plates and hinges with 3-inch long screws. And replace some of the strike-plates with ones that take 4 screws instead of 2.

I finally took down the rest of the xmas decorations and put the boxes away. My mom helped me take down the xmas tree a few weeks ago. She and Qiao are as bad as me - once I made my mind up to take them down, they both said "I think you should just leave them up", making me debate it internally all over again.

sigh, I need a fix

Thursday, March 10th, 2016 10:00 pm
darkoshi: (Default)
Don't you love these Microsoft forums? Someone asks for help with a problem, and several people reply, each with a different possible fix - some of them rather questionable. Several other people reply with messages like "Thanks so much! This totally fixed it for me!" - but most of them don't mention which of the fixes listed in that thread was the one that worked for them.


Last week I noticed Windows Update using high CPU on my machine, and realized that I hadn't been notified of any available updates since January. Whenever I booted the computer, the CPU usage would go up to a fairly constant 50%. Searching for or trying to download updates manually didn't work - no errors, but the download/search kept clocking for hours with no progress shown.

I tried several things and finally got it to work.

But today it is having the same problem as before, and what fixed it last time isn't working this time.

And then I wonder is it even worth trying to fix it. If I could finally switch over to using the new laptop, I could reformat this one and install Linux on it.

blackout curtains

Sunday, May 31st, 2015 02:22 am
darkoshi: (Default)
In place of the odoriferous curtains, I bought fabric in a pretty pattern and sewed curtains from it. I attached them to the old blackout liners with velcro strips. It turned out looking very good, such that every time I look at it, I'm pleased with my accomplishment.

Light still leaks in a bit on the bottom sides and through the pinholes in the blackout fabric where the seams are. So I'm also thinking about how to improve it yet more.

After unbending/bending the track, and cutting it. That was difficult.

Attaching board to ceiling. Blue tape marks location of ceiling joists.

Attached track to board. Velcro strip nailed along edge.

Attached board to ceiling again.

Hung liners and curtains.

With sheers and valance.

bah bah batch file

Saturday, March 22nd, 2014 04:45 pm
darkoshi: (Default)
Trying to figure out how to get the logic in a big Windows batch file to work right is about driving me crazy.

I keep running up against walls for the things that ought to be *simple*.
Like echoing a variable value.
Like comparing a variable to another value.


Consider the following.

for /f "tokens=1,2*" %%a in (tmp.txt) do (

SET var1=%%a
SET var2=%%b
SET var3=%%c

echo %%c xxx

setlocal enableDelayedExpansion

echo !var3!
echo "!var3!"

Why does the 1st ECHO statement display an output with the 'xxx' *before* and partially *overlaying* the value that was read from the file, like this???

The 2nd ECHO statement displays the correct value.

The 3rd ECHO statement displays the first double-quote character, then the correct variable value. But it doesn't display the 2nd double-quote character. WHY NOT??? How can I figure out if there are spaces on the end, if it doesn't let me display anything after it??

Heaven forbid what I really want to do is like this:
IF "!var3:~19!" == " " call :someOtherFunction
or like this:
IF "!var3:~-2!" == " " call :someOtherFunction

How can I figure out why the If statements aren't working, if I can't even get a simple ECHO to work right?

If I replace the double quote chars in the ECHO statement with some other chars, it still has the same problem.

It doesn't help that I was up til 2am working on this batch file last night, and was only able to get 5.5 hours sleep. Due to waking up early and not being able to fall back asleep.
On top of having woken up 1.5 hours early yesterday morning.

blue in the tooth

Monday, March 3rd, 2014 12:10 am
darkoshi: (Default)
When Bluetooth works like it should, it's great. When it doesn't, it's so much dang easier to just plug in a cable.

Like on my laptop. Couldn't ever get my old Rocketfish Bluetooth adapter to work, so I recently bought a different kind. Yesterday I installed it and it worked fine. Today, it wouldn't work even after disabling and re-enabling it, and after uninstalling and reinstalling it. The icon doesn't show up in the notification area like it did yesterday. Maybe if I unplug the adapter and reboot, then it will work again. [Nope, still didn't work.]

Like on Qiao's Win8 computer. To get the Bluetooth speaker to work a 2nd time, have to remove the device and add it back again, on the appropriate screen. No option to simply reconnect. Not even an option to disconnect, if I remember right. That seems more a design flaw with the O/S, than with the hardware... Ok, there actually is a way of doing it from the Playback Devices panel rather than the Bluetooth devices screen. But that only works for speakers & headphones, not for other kinds of Bluetooth devices.
darkoshi: (Default)
Today's Windows Updates aren't playing nicely with my computer.

The updates are getting stuck on the "Preparing to configure Windows" step. I had to force a reboot into safe mode, and had to go back to the restore point that was created prior to the updates.

I figured it must be a problem with only one of the 9 available updates. So I tried installing only the first one. But my computer still got stuck, and I had to go through the whole safe mode restore point reboot reboot reboot rigamarole again.

So then I thought it must be the first update that was causing the problem. So I left that one unselected, and tried installing 7 of the others. But it got stuck again.

It feels like I've rebooted twenty times in the last few hours.
darkoshi: (Default)
I have a text editor program on my computer, and every time I opened the program, I was getting a UAC (User Account Control) warning popup, "Do you want to allow the following program from an unknown publisher to make changes to your computer?". Along with a warning noise and darkening of the screen. As I used the program often, getting that each time was quite annoying.

I read that changing the User Account Control settings to "Never Notify" would prevent the warning popup. But I only want to prevent the warning for this program, not *all* programs. So I didn't make that change.

I read that installing the program to somewhere other than the "Program Files" folder might avoid the issue. So I tried that, but it did not prevent the popup.

Another page suggested installing the offending program under the "Users" folder. So I tried that, but it did not prevent the popup.

This page explains how to set up a task in Task Scheduler, in order to run a program with highest privileges, to avoid the warning. This method *does* work to prevent the warning popup.

However, I have an entry in my Windows Explorer context menu (which I added via the registry), which allows me to right-click on files and open them with my text editor. This passes the selected file-name and path as a parameter to the text editor. When setting up my task in the Task Scheduler, I couldn't find any way to pass the parameter to my program.

I finally came up with the following workaround, to be able to open files from Windows Explorer using my text editor, without getting the warning popup.

In Brief:
The context menu command calls Batch File #1.
Batch File #1 saves the filename to a text file and invokes the Task.
The Task is set up to invoke Batch File #2 (with elevated privileges).
Batch File #2 reads the filename from the text file, and invokes the text editor along with the filename parameter.

Rather than writing/reading the filename to a text file, I first tried saving it in an environment variable. But I couldn't get that to work, so I used the text file instead.

The Details:

My Registry has an entry like this:
with this string value:
    C:\bat\startEditor.bat "%1"

The "startEditor.bat" batch file contains this:
    echo %1* > C:\bat\startEditor_file.txt
    C:\Windows\System32\schtasks.exe /run /tn "RunEditor"

In Task Scheduler, I have a task named "RunEditor" which performs the following command:

The "startEditor2.bat" batch file contains this:
    FOR /F "delims=*" %%I IN (C:\bat\startEditor_file.txt) DO SET file2open=%%I
    start "" C:\PROGRA~2\editorFolder\editorProgram.exe %file2open%

The first batch file writes out the filename followed by an asterisk, to the text file.
The "FOR" statement in the 2nd batch file reads the filename from the text file. The default delimiter is a space, which would be a problem if the filename contains spaces. So I overrode the delimiter to be an asterisk instead (which is why the first batch file writes out the asterisk).

Yay! for Microsoft protecting me so exceedingly well from unknown publishers, that I have to go through all this trouble to avoid those pesky warning messages. /sarcasm
darkoshi: (Default)
My laptop computer is running Win7 Home Premium (64 bit).

On 02/22, the Windows Automatic Updates included 2 optional updates - updated drivers for "Microsoft Hardware USB Mouse" and "Microsoft Hardware USB Keyboard". I allowed them to install.

After installing those, each time I booted my computer, I got 2 popup messages from my antivirus program that "Device Driver Software Installation" (system32\newdev.exe) was trying to access the internet. The first several times this happened, I allowed the internet access. But I kept getting the messages. Then I started denying the access, but still kept getting them. I could have created a rule to permanently allow or deny the access, to avoid getting the messages, but I preferred to fix the root problem so that no unnecessary internet access would even be attempted.

The messages persisted even after having installed the Win7 Service Pack 1 update.

Today I determined that if I unplugged my wireless mouse and keyboard cable before rebooting, that prevented the messages. But when I plugged the cable back in, the messages popped up again. So then I knew they were definitely related to the keyboard/mouse drivers. Also, today I started getting new messages in addition to the others (regardless of whether I clicked to Deny or Allow the internet access)... "Driver installation complete. Downloading keyboard configuration software (Microsoft IntelliType Pro)" and another that the installation had completed successfully. However, I then still kept getting the "Device Driver Software Installation" messages.

I was able to correct the problem by rolling back to the previous drivers:

Control Panel - Device Manager - Human Interfacing Devices
- right-clicked** "Microsoft Hardware USB Keyboard", selected Properties, Driver...
The Driver date shown was 12/14/2010 and the version was
Clicked "Roll back driver".
Then it showed Driver date 6/29/2010, version

- did the same for "Microsoft Hardware USB Mouse";
it showed the same driver dates and version numbers.

Now I am no longer getting the messages.

(**) - is there any other term that can be used besides "right-click"? I have my mouse set up as a left-handed mouse, and my "right-click" is actually a left click.
I was thinking "alt-click" might be appropriate, but apparently that means to "left-click" while pressing the ALT button.
darkoshi: (Default)
Forestfen was having a problem deleting files on her computer, and I finally figured out what was causing it. Her problem was that instead of having the files be deleted, they'd end up multiplied. She tried deleting them again and again, but ended up with more and more copies of the files in the same folder. The last time I tried to help her, she showed me how she was doing the deletes, and her method looked fine. We couldn't recreate the problem that day (we were able to delete the files in question), so it remained a mystery.

Today I had her show me her method again. She selected multiple files by holding down the Control key and selecting the individual files by clicking them with her mouse. Then she right-clicked and selected the Delete option. It worked fine that time. Then she tried to delete some more files, and I noticed a momentary refresh of the window.... while in the process of selecting the group of files, she had accidentally moved the mouse slightly and done a drag and drop operation. Because of that inadvertent little motion, Windows was pasting the currently-selected set of files into the same folder.

So then I showed her how to delete the files using the keyboard to select the files instead of the mouse, to avoid the problem.

I wish Windows had a way of turning off drag and drop functionality within Windows Explorer. It's so easy to make inadvertent mistakes like that because of it. A few times, I've myself accidentally moved a folder because of it. If you don't notice right away that this has happened, you could have a hard time finding that folder again, and you may think it has disappeared.
darkoshi: (Default)
Win XP SP3.
I encountered a problem due to low disk space.
While logging onto my work computer via VPN, I got an error message that my user profile could not be loaded, due to insufficient disk space, and that the default profile would be loaded instead. The computer seemed to lock up while the default profile was being loaded. So I had someone turn the computer off and back on, and cleared up some space on the c: drive via the VPN connection. When I logged in again, it still seemed to be opening the default profile (with the Windows default color scheme instead of my personalized colors, and missing my other personalized settings).

I cleared up even more space on the c: drive, and tried logging back in several times, but still kept getting the default colors and settings.
I finally was able to get my original profile and settings back by doing the following.

The user profile folders are stored under C:\Documents and Settings\.
There were several folders there. (To avoid divulging my actual login ID, let's pretend my logon id was aaaabbbb and my logon domain was cccc.)
Under C:\Documents and Settings\ were the following folders, as well as some others which were not relevant.

I determined that the "aaaabbbb" folder appeared to be the one with all my personalized settings. Renaming the aaaabbbb.cccc.* folders and then logging in to the computer resulted in a new aaaabbbb.cccc folder being created, and the default settings still being shown.
So then I again renamed the aaaabbbb.cccc folder to something else, and renamed the "aaaabbbb" folder to "aaaabbbb.cccc", and logged back on.
This time my personalized colors and settings were shown.

I don't know if this was a good way of fixing the problem, but at least it worked.
darkoshi: (Default)
On my old computer/OS, I felt that the window that was shown to make you confirm you wanted to shut down (or logoff or whatnot) after you clicked the menu item to shut down, was a waste of time. I thought, "I wouldn't click to shut down, if I didn't want to shut down!"

Now, on Win7, I occasionally click the shut-down item on the menu when I really intended to click something else. Then I'm disgruntled that the computer right away starts shutting down without out at least *confirming* that I really wanted to do so.

computer babble

Saturday, January 16th, 2010 08:21 pm
darkoshi: (Default)
With a widescreen laptop display, moving the taskbar to the left or right edge of the screen instead of having it at the bottom, gives your windows more vertical space. But when the taskbar is on the left or right edge, the Start button is always at the top. When you click the Start button, if you then want to click on "All Programs", you have to move the pointer a long distance downwards. It would make sense for the position of the Start button to be customizable, so that you could choose to have it at the bottom instead of the top.

The only way I've found to be able to change the color of scrollbars in Windows 7 from that boring gray-blue color, is to choose the Windows Classic theme, and then to customize the colors. I wish I could have Aero and have colorful scrollbars (etc.) at the same time.


Using my laptop in conjunction with a regular wireless keyboard, I noticed myself leaning forward over the table a lot, in order to see the screen better. But I came up with a solution. I now have the laptop sitting on a large dictionary, with the front edge of the laptop sticking out over the edge of the dictionary. This way I can move the laptop closer to me, partially *over* my regular keyboard. It also raises the laptop display up so that I don't have to look down as far to see the screen.

I tried hooking up the laptop to my desktop's LCD monitor, since the monitor is larger than the laptop's display. But the screen doesn't look good when displayed on the monitor, like the laptop isn't able to output a high enough resolution to look good on the monitor.
darkoshi: (Default)
Well, I found a work-around. When I connect the camera to the computer and download the files using a USB cable, then the files' last-modified dates are changed to the current date. (That did not happen when doing the same thing on an XP machine.) But if I take the memory card out of the camera, and use the laptop's memory card reader slot to transfer the files, then the files' last-modified dates aren't changed.

I checked the Canon website to see if maybe I needed an updated driver for the camera, but the website says that XP, Vista, and Vista 64 don't require a driver (Win7 wasn't even listed).


I shouldn't dwell on this issue anymore. I have a solution, or rather work-around, so I shall just use the memory card reader slot from now on.

Now, I may make brownies.

Or edit some photos.

Or search for a new color to put in my hair.

Or take Zorro for a walk in the rain.

Or search for a different shower fixture.

Ok now, do something and don't just think about doing them.
darkoshi: (Default)
After downloading photos I've taken with my digital camera to my computer, I generally edit the photos (crop/brighten/etc.) and rename them so that the file-name includes the date the photo was taken, as well as some descriptive text of the content of the image.

Before editing the photos, I've been in the habit of opening a command prompt and doing a directory listing of the photo files. The directory listing shows the original file-names along with the dates the photos were taken (the dates the files were last modified). This way, when I edit the photos in my image editor and save them (thereby changing the files' last-modified attribute), I can still see when the photo was taken, when renaming the files, based on the dates shown in the open command prompt window. Keeping a Windows Explorer window open on the directory does not offer the same functionality, because Explorer automatically refreshes the dates when the files are re-saved... Ah. I see now that when you choose to display the folder with the "Contents" view in Explorer, then it shows the dates the photos were taken (the file creation date, I presume), which is what I need.

But still, the reason for my bewilderment....
Here I am, using Windows 7. Yesterday, I downloaded photos from my camera to the computer, and today I edited a few of them. In the Explorer window, using the "Details" view, it shows the files' last-modified dates correctly. For the photos I already edited, it shows today's date. For the rest, it shows the dates I took the photos.

But when I do a directory listing of the same folder from a command prompt, it shows yesterday's date for the photos I did not edit yet. That is the date I downloaded them from the camera, not the date they were created or last modified! Then I tried using the "/tw", "/tc", and "/ta" options which are supposed to control which date is displayed (last written/modified, created, or last-accessed), but for all options, the listing still only includes yesterday's and today's date! There doesn't seem to be way of seeing the file's actual last-modified date from the command prompt window in Windows 7!

Oh, good golly, even worse....
Even in Windows Explorer, when you right-click an unedited photo file and view its properties, the created, modified, and accessed dates all show the date the photo was downloaded from the camera!

Maybe there's a Windows setting somewhere that lets you control whether a file's original dates are kept when it is copied from external media, versus the dates being updated to the time of copy? This never was a problem when using XP, and it doesn't make sense to me why the date functionality would have been changed.

When I copied my files from an external hard-drive to this computer, the files' last-modified date wasn't changed. That was after I had installed Windows 7. So why it is working differently when I'm copying files from my camera, than when I copied files from the external HD?

where is it?

Saturday, January 2nd, 2010 01:53 pm
darkoshi: (Default)
I don't understand why Windows has removed the menu-bar from most of its programs. Am I more daft than the average user, or do other people also have to randomly click on the various icons in the program window, as well as right-clicking everywhere in the window, while trying to find the darn File-Open or Edit-Undo** (etc) options?

So... I've double-clicked a video file, and it opens and plays in Windows Media Player. But where is the File-Open option in order to open a different video file? I don't want to open a Library or create a library, I just want to open a file in a folder on my C: drive. I can't figure out how to do it except by switching back to my Windows Explorer window and double-clicking the other video file there!

And why, in WMP's "Now Playing" view, is the little icon for "Switch to Library" in the top-right corner of the screen, but when you click that and open the Library view, the "Switch to Now Playing" icon is shown in the bottom-right corner, instead of the top-right corner which would have been consistent?

AAHHH!!! I FOUND IT!!!! In the Library view, in the lower left-hand corner where it shows the current file-name, right-click the file-name, and it then displays a context menu which contains File-Open! Naturally, the file-name is in the bottom-left of the Library view, because if they had put it in the top-left corner, it would have been consistent with the Now Playing view, and nobody wants consistency in their user inteface, right?!
When you right-click the file-name in the Now Playing view, the context menu does NOT contain File-Open. Tricky, tricky media player, haah!!! But I found it anyway, you idiotic user interface!!!

** (updated) There's a little curved arrow icon near the top left of the window; that's how you access the Undo function.
darkoshi: (Default)
If you hover the cursor over the top edge of a window so that it changes to the up-down pointer, and then double-click, it resizes the window to the maximum height while not changing the width. This can be handy.


I dislike that when you drag a window to the top edge of the screen, it is automatically maximized ("aero snap" feature). But I like the half-width maximization that you can get by dragging a window to the side edges of the screen; this makes it easy to tile 2 windows side by side, when you need to see both at the same time. Therefore, I won't disable this feature. This page shows how one could disable it.


Deleting the "Extended" string value under HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Directory\shell\cmd in the registry causes an "Open Command Window Prompt Here" to display in the context menu in Explorer when clicking a folder. The Extended part makes the context menu only show up when you shift-right-click (that was working, but I don't want to have to press shift to get it).


The default height of the Start Menu is less than the screen height; therefore you may need to use the vertical scroll bar to scroll through the All Programs list.
To make the Start Menu taller, you can do this:
- Open the Start Menu Properties window
- Select the "Store and display recently opened programs in the Start Menu" checkbox (don't worry; it can be unselected again at the end)
- Click "Customize" and set "Number of recent programs to display" to a large number such as 30.
- Click OK and again OK.
- The Start Menu will be taller.
- Now you can go back and unselect the "Store and display recently opened programs in the Start Menu" checkbox. That will cause the Customize window to display zero in the "Number of recent programs to display" field, but the Start Menu will remain the taller size.

(This is also mentioned here).


To disable animations...
System Properties - Advanced (tab) - Performance (section) .. Settings (button) ... Visual Effects (tab)
- Select the "Custom" radio button and then unselect any of the following:
"Animate windows when minimizing and maximizing" and
"Animations in the taskbar and Start Menu".
"Fade or slide menus into view"


The following registry change can be done to prevent (delay) the mini-windows from popping up when the mouse hovers over the taskbar.

HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Software \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Explorer \ Advanced
- Create a new DWORD (32-bit) value named ExtendedUIHoverTime
- Double-click ExtendedUIHoverTime and click Decimal
- To increase the hover delay to 5 seconds, type 5000. Type 10000 for 10 seconds and so forth…
- The change may not take effect until after rebooting.


To get the QuickLaunch toolbar to work like it did in XP...

For all the icons on the taskbar, right-click and select "Unpin...." to remove them, and do the following to instead create Quicklaunch icons.

1. Right click on a empty space on the taskbar and click on New Tool.
2. In the Folder line, type or copy:
%userprofile%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch
3. Click on the Select Folder button.
4. You now have a Quick Launch toolbar on the taskbar.
NOTE: Click on the arrow to see your Quick Launch shortcuts.

6. To Remove Quick Launch Toolbar Icon Text or Title -
A) Unlock the taskbar.
B) Right click on the Quick Launch toolbar title name, then uncheck the Show Text and Show Title by clicking on them. (See screenshot below step 5B)
C) Lock the taskbar.

8. To Have Quick Launch Toolbar on Left Side of Taskbar -
A) Unlock the taskbar.
B) Left click on the dotted lines of the pinned taskbar programs of the left side and hold, then drag it to the right past the Quick Launch toolbar and release.
C) The Quick Launch toolbar is now on the left side of the taskbar.
D) Left click on the dotted lines of these and hold and drag them to make any adjustments to how you want them place on the taskbar.
E) Lock the taskbar.

Then save your desktop theme - the page says you need to do that.


I like that with Window 7, you can use drag and drop to rearrange the open programs/buttons on the taskbar. But you can't separate different instances of the same program - they are all grouped next to each other, even if they were started at different times, after other programs were started. You can only drag and drop the whole group.

"You might notice that multiple buttons representing the same program remain grouped together on the taskbar, whether you've chosen to display the expanded button labels or not. In previous versions of Windows, windows appeared on the taskbar in the order you opened them, but in Windows 7, related windows always appear next to each other. "

It makes sense that some people would like that functionality, but I prefer to have them shown in the order I opened them, not always next to each other, and to be able to drag and drop individual instances of a program.

There's a program "Taskbar Tweaker" at the bottom of this page that lets you do this. In the program, select the "Don't group" option. The settings also include an option for running the program at startup.


KatMouse is a nice little utility which lets your mouse scroll the window which is under it, even when that window does not have the focus. This is especially useful for Windows Explorer, as you can click in the left pane to open a folder, and then scroll the right pane without first having to click there to give it focus.

WizMouse is another utility similar to KatMouse. It apparently includes functionality for horizontal scrolling (of non-focus windows?), but that part does not work for me. It also does not work for scrolling non-focus windows when the Task Manager has focus; therefore I prefer KatMouse.


I've been having a problem with "TrustedInstaller.exe" ("Windows Modules Installer") causing continuous hard drive activity, for up to an hour or more (until I terminate the process).
My Windows Updates configuration is set to check for updates but ask me before downloading or installing them. There were no updates in progress at the time of the excess hard drive activity.
I also have Indexing ("Windows Search") and Superfetch disabled.
I haven't been able to figure out what is causing the problem.
For the time being, I've disabled the Windows Modules Installer service, but I need to remember to turn it back on. Otherwise I may not get any more updates.

Update: Today I restarted the Windows Modules Installer service, and TrustedInstaller started back up with a lot of disk activity, mainly in the c:\windows\system32\config\COMPONENTS** files, and also the c:\windows\winsxs\ files.

Based on this page, the COMPONENTS files correspond to the HKLM\COMPONENTS hive of the registry. So for some reason TrustedInstaller appeared to be continuously updating that part of the registry. After about an hour, the hard drive activity stopped, and the TrustedInstaller process was no longer running. TrustedInstaller has not restarted again in the last hour, so hopefully it is finished doing whatever it was doing, and won't start again.