The Preview Problem and How I Solved It
I've added to a couple of previous posts that were complaining about the preview function not working in CSS Sculptor. In my case, I'm on Vista Ultimate 32-bit and using CSS Sculptor 2 and Dreamweaver CS4. I don't remember when this behavior started, but it sure became serious for me when I determined that I needed the preview function in CSS Sculptor 2 to be working in order to start on a new project for a new client. When I tried it a couple weeks ago, it refused to cooperate. I would open the New CSS Sculptor Page dialog, choose a preset, and the preview would refuse to show itself. If I clicked a second time, it froze up, and I was forced to close the windows and take down Dreamweaver with it. Very frustrating.
Okay, so I complained a bit (at Ray Borduin's expense, and I apologize here for that), offered a bit of detail information in the forums, and WebAssist Support was good enough to suggest creating a support ticket and investigating further with me. Specifically, Jason Byrnes and Ray Bourdoin tried to help me out. Ray called me and took a look at the problem with me, and helped me to exclude a few possibilities, such as any need to reinstall Dreamweaver.
What did I try? Well, first, before talking with Ray, I tried everything I could find in the forums. I deleted the cache file, I deleted the Dreamweaver configuration folder, and I made sure I was running Dreamweaver as an administrator. No luck. Preview refused to work.
Next, I decided maybe my registry was somehow confused, so I bravely went and tried CCleaner for the first time, and let it do its thing. To it's credit, CCleaner did not break anything, and in fact, my system is a little bit snappier now. However, Preview continued to be be stubborn and not work.
Then I talked with Ray, and thanks to him, I didn't waste any time with Dreamweaver.
I did uninstall and re-install Internet Explorer at his suggestion, but even that had no effect.
So I asked myself: what else could it be? First thought was my security software, namely, Comodo Internet Security (both firewall and anti-virus). I had already tried "exiting" it without any positive effect, but the truth is, you can't really exit it without uninstalling it. Comodo processes continue to run in the background.
So I uninstalled it today. Lo and behold, CSS Sculptor's preview worked. I'm not sure what version I was at when I uninstalled, but heck, now preview was working. So, I thought, I'll reinstall and see if maybe I had inadvertently clicked "Block" at sometime in the past instead of "Allow". I reinstalled what I already had on my computer, namely "CIS_Setup_3.8.64739.471_XP_Vista_x32.exe", and preview continued to work. Obviously, I had cleared out whatever the problem was, right?
Well, there's a little more to the story. I found out that this version of CIS doesn't update properly, and on their forum, I read that I needed to uninstall this version and reinstall the latest. So I did. And guess what? When I ran the newly downloaded "CIS_Setup_3.11.108364.552_XP_Vista_x32.exe" file, CSS Sculptor's preview was broken. It was broken before I even restarted the computer to finish the CIS install, and it was broken after I was queried by CIS's Defense+ Alert dialog, where it said
"HTML2Image.exe could not be recognized and it is about to access the protected COM interface Shell.Explorer.2. If HTML2Image.exe is one of your everyday applications, you can allow this request."
Well, I did allow it, and it STILL was broken. I even repeated all of this, and when asked a second time, I made sure Comodo knew to treat it as a "Trusted Application". Still broken.
I'm sorry to say this, but the latest version of Comodo Internet Security is somehow preventing the preview function in CSS Sculptor from working AT ALL. I believe that this is probably true for CSS Menu Writer and Site Assist Pro as well, but I have not tested them since last week.
So for now, I have reverted back to version 3.8 of Comodo Internet Security. And CSS Sculptor 2's preview function works perfectly.
1) IMHO, it's Comodo Internet Security's recently introduced "mystery" change, NOT a bug in CSS Sculptor. Something got changed on the way from CIS v3.8 to v3.11, and it caused this issue. I will begin to work with those folks at CIS a bit to see what might be behind this obvious incompatibility and what might be done to solve it. I like Comodo, and would like to stick with their software, especially since it has up-to-now worked well and is free.
2) Now that I know that it is a problem with Comodo, not WebAssist, I am very likely to upgrade to CSS Sculptor 3!
3) I also want to express my appreciation for the patience and professionalism of the WebAssist folks who helped me, i.e., Ray, Jason, and Jimmy.
Finally, I hope that other people who have experienced this really vexing "preview" problem will find my experience helpful.