Using QQ on Windows XP: Bug Fix with Chinese Input Method

Dell Inspiron Mini IM10v 1011, memory upgrade to 2G really made the difference. Processes are running much faster now.

Dell Inspiron Mini IM10v 1011, memory upgrade to 2G really made the difference. Processes are running much faster now.

My QQ international version 2.11 (1369) was released in 14 September 2015. It is old, very old. While there have been updates for the Android versions, none have reached Windows. The Mac version is QQ International 3.1.1, released at the same time.

I have tried to use QQ with Ubuntu, but it simply does not work and has not received support for many years. Long ago I tried installing Wine and then QQ but it did not connect. It is well known that QQ is unsupported on Linux.

My QQ runs on a very old Inspiron Mini 1011, 2009, Win XP home, SP3, 2002 with the max of 2G ram. While it is not powerful by today’s standards it should be adequate to run a browser and QQ. As I well know that Tencent 腾讯, the owners of QQ, has in the past given user information to the Chinese Government as evidence to prosecute and incarcerate Chinese people, I treat QQ with some respect. This computer runs nothing else, including any other logins to web sites or email. QQ is banished to this lowly laptop. There is adequate power in the Inspiron Mini 1011 for this Chinese chat program.

In tandem with QQ on this Win XP laptop I have QQ International running on a modern smartphone. They work together very well. When my laptop is giving trouble I can always use the smartphone, but input is not as convenient on the smartphone, and I am not a speedy typist, made even slower by Chinese.

On this computer I added Chinese language input, simplified, using the directions from Pinyin Joe. my install included:

  1. enabled East Asian languages, which does not come standard with XP.
  2. After I added the Chinese input method “Microsoft Pinyin IME 3.0” (MSPY), to my English keyboard

This worked well for about 2 years. A couple of days ago I started experiencing random freezing when using QQ. Of course I pretty much always input in Chinese. As this is a Chinese messaging app, this is pretty much a given. The only solution was to , find QQ, kill it and restart. This was annoying.

I at first thought that Tencent had made some change to QQ, and that when I uploaded an image QQ would then freeze, but then the freezing started happening when I had not uploaded or received an image. The freezing then started when I was using Notepad in Chinese, which had nothing to do with QQ. Only then did I realize that the Chinese input IME might be the problem. In Notepad whenever I tried typing the character for Mother 妈, Notepad would freeze and become unresponsive.

As an interim fix I was typing Chinese into Notepad and then pasting this Chinese into QQ. This worked very well but was laborious. It also proved that QQ was not the culprit. When you are working with software that is this old, anything is possible. Newer would be better.

The Fix
The fix I tried today was to update the IME to the Free Traditional IME 2010 Update. This update gets me an IME circa 2010, much better than the original Microsoft Pinyin IME 3.0. This update is specified by MS for traditional Chinese for Microsoft Office 輸入法 2010. i do have a couple of versions of MS Office on this computer but rarely use it. Thankfully it also works for simplified Chinese. I now have Microsoft Pinyin SimpleFast 2010 (blue) and New Experience 2010 (red). So far I see no difference.

The documentation says “If you like word and phrases based conversation we recommend you to use MS Pinyin – SimpleFast 2010”. “If you like sentence based conversation, we recommend you to use MS pinyin – New Experience 2010”. Both are a joint effort between MS and the Harbin Institute of Technology.

It will take a couple of days of testing to see if this fix actually solved the underlying problem. I will save a breakpoint just in case. Fixing old software is fraught with difficulty. Running a 3 year old messaging program on a 16 year old operating system, using 9 year old hardware is fraught with potential trouble.

Virus Protection
Virus protection, which used to run on this laptop, was the reason the previous owner discarded this computer. Win XP and virus protection with this hardware is too onerous to run. There are limitations and risks to this setup. I also run behind two independent routers.

I am also careful about not getting a virus. This is not a computer to go venturing out in the wild internet. I generally stick to Google Translate, search and very few other sites. I do a regular check for viruses and unknown programs running on the system. Most of the superfluous Win programs are disabled. Win XP has long been dead and buried.

Browser Support
I have found that using Firefox ESR 52.9.0 (32 bit), which as of 28 August 2018 is no longer supported, that I cannot often get to my QQ QZone, something like a Facebook wall. Instead I now use Opera 36.0.2130.80, which seems faster and allows me to connect every day. This is an upgrade, and is still supported

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