Dreamweaver Hangs at Start Up
Dreamweaver has been hanging at start-up
Since earlier this year this has been an occasional problem; not everyday, but often enough to be annoying, and requiring a Task Manager operation to end it.
Dreamweaver is still the only HTML, CSS and PHP editor I am willing to use. Maybe there are other HTML tools that are nearly as good, I don’t know; what it comes down to is a matter of personal preference. I have used various versions of Dreamweaver since 2000, including; Mac – DW4, DW8, DWMX, DWCS4 and for Windows, DW4 and DW8.
The version currently in use is DW8 for Windows. Not new, but it does everything needed.
Dreamweaver Extensions from DMX Zone
Like most Dreamweaver users, every now and again I look at what extensions are available. Some I try, most turn out to be fairly useless, and many are just bad news. Gone are the days when Macromedia had an extensive range of approved plug-ins, for a wide range of functions. These days, the decent plug-ins are commercial (Dreamweaver is definitely not supported by the OpenSource community). However, to my way of thinking, it seems a bit extravagant to purchase extensions often costing a significant percentage of the purchase price of the app… Ten commercial extensions can cost more than the full app, and each tends to only have a single purpose. In any case, mostly there are other ways to include what these extension provide, like HTML, Java, CSS, etc. (But I get lazy sometimes)
Sometime in the early part of the year, I found DMX Zone… ‘Dreamweaver MX Zone’ or so one would think. So I tried an extension – CSS Transform, which comes along with a required sign up, update notifier and new release notifier extensions as well.
The CSS transform was only ever tried once; it has limited functionality, and the transform is easily accomplished in better ways with CSS3 anyway. This free downloadable is simply a hook to get people signed up for the too frequent spam e-mail advertising the commercial extensions they sell. Simply put, if the commercial extensions, averaging $49 each are as poor as the CSS transform offered, I would not consider any of them.
The Dreamweaver Hanging Symptom
The start-up hang only started around the time of installing these DMX Zone extensions. DW 8 has been used since 2005, and only after 6 yrs does it start hanging! There seems to be a strong case for the DMX extensions being the cause.
A couple of months back I uninstalled all DMX extensions from Dreamweaver. For a few weeks of daily use, no more start-up hangs, no more annoying pop-ups telling me there were 15 new extensions available, no more pop-up telling me the installed extensions were out of date…
Then guess what, Dreamweaver started hanging on start-up again. Then another pop-up, this time telling me the DMX Zone updater was out of date!
Another clue; on starting Dreamweaver, with the DMX extensions installed, a second instance of DW would appear in the taskbar. When Dreamweaver hung on start-up, a second instance appears in the taskbar – co-incidence – I think not.
Removing DMX from Dreamweaver
Attempting to fix the hang: A bit of research on the net found this article on cfclove.org and I had a look at Windows Registry. (The article mentions Temp files, and has nothing to do with DMX Zone extensions.) However, maybe a step in the right direction. Looking through the Registry, I found over 50 folder references in HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/to DMX extensions; just like a bleeding virus duplicating itself numerous times.. all these HKEY entries for a simple CSS extension (not forgetting the required updater and notifier). Seems a lot like malware to me.
So, today every registry entry to DMX anything has been deleted. It may be purely my imagination, but Dreamweaver also seemed to start-up a lot quicker afterwards. Time will tell if the hang on start-up has been cured.
A couple of weeks later
There have been no hands on start-up so far, however the DMX ‘new extensions released’ notification started to appear again. Clearly I had missed something in the registry, and there was another executable file hiding somewhere on the hard drive.
I have noticed several other Dreamweaver users looking for information to remove DMX from Dreamweaver. After all the time and effort spent to track down the registry entries, I think it would have been quicker and more productive simply to un-install the Dreamweaver application, and re-install using a custom install folder name to prevent the DMX residuals from infecting the program.
DMX extensions and extension manager can probably not be considered malware in the true sense of the word, however, the way it persists in remaining active in the application is so close to virus behaviour as to raise serious questions.
- Does the REQUIRED DMX extension manager / notifier / updater report back to DMX, providing information about the use of Dreamweaver or other information?
- Does it pose a security risk?
I cannot answer these questions. All I can say is I will not be using any DMX product again, definitely not on my production machine. I may however at some point in the future, when time permits, install these on a clean testing system, to compare file and registry entries before and after. This will be an interesting project, and if I do get the opportunity to perform this test, will publish my findings.
Until then, my only advice is “Stay away from DMX extensions“. There are too many unanswered questions about the behaviour of these add-ons.
A Common Problem
Since first writing this article, It has been read often. The article is getting found in Google and other search engines by Dreamweaver users looking for information on the extensions, particularly the DMX induced Dreamweaver Hang, and, as mentioned, the problem in removing these extensions.
A final remark on DMX Zone Extensions
While the site claims to be for ‘everything Dreamweaver’, a lot of effort has been put into promoting their own app called Advanced HTML Editor 5. Dreamweaver does not need any HTML editor ‘added-on’ – it is already an accomplished and powerful HTML editor. Dreamweaver users are unlikely to purchase another HTML editor when the preferred tool Dreamweaver is an industry standard like Adobe is to Graphics and DTP. Clearly promoting this alternative on a website presenting itself as specialising in Dreamweaver is at the very least a conflict of interest.
A word to the wise for anyone considering using DMX Zone extensions. The commercial extensions they sell may be fine and safe to use, provided they can be removed EASILY with nothing left behind in the file system or registry, but the free ones leave much to be desired. The same functions can be found from any source of CSS scripts, are easier to implement in your custom style-sheets, and won’t write entries all over your registry.
If you are a DMX Extension Author, please feel free to inform me why this article is incorrect, and why I should change my opinion about the brand. .