Aaron Stebner's WebLog

Thoughts about setup and deployment issues, WiX, XNA, the .NET Framework and Visual Studio

October, 2005

  • Aaron Stebner's WebLog

    What to do if other .NET Framework setup troubleshooting steps do not help


    March 7, 2008 update - I have written a replacement version of these instructions.  Please refer to http://blogs.msdn.com/astebner/archive/2008/03/07/8108332.aspx instead of using the steps listed below.

    I have heard from many customers who have run into various types of installation problems while trying to install the .NET Framework 1.0 or 1.1 or .NET Framework hotfixes and service packs.  Some of my other blogs posts have described various workarounds, and I am working on an article that consolidates these workarounds.  However, there are some problems that aren't able to be resolved with the other workarounds I have posted.

    Nearly every time when I run into a scenario where my other posts do not help, I try to use the following steps to get the machine back into a known state and then install things back one by one:

    1. Download the .NET Framework cleanup tool and choose to cleanup the version of the .NET Framework that is causing problems on your system
    2. Download and install the version of the .NET Framework that you cleaned up in step 1 (such as the .NET Framework 1.0, .NET Framework 1.1 or .NET Framework 2.0)
    3. (optional) Download and run the .NET Framework verification tool to double-check that all .NET Framework files are correctly installed
    4. Download and install the desired .NET Framework service pack (such as .NET Framework 1.0 SP3 or .NET Framework 1.1 SP1) by running the setup package directly instead of using Windows Update.  Running it directly will allow the service pack setup to display error dialogs instead of having Windows Update suppress them

    Running these steps should ideally put your machine back into a known good state with the .NET Framework plus a service pack installed.  From there, it will usually work to install applications that require the .NET Framework (such as Visual Studio) or to install additional .NET Framework hotfixes (such as the security updates listed here).

    <update date="3/7/2008"> I have written a replacement version of these instructions.  Please refer to http://blogs.msdn.com/astebner/archive/2008/03/07/8108332.aspx instead of using the steps listed above. </update>


  • Aaron Stebner's WebLog

    DUAScriptGen User's Guide


    I was talking to my friend and former manager Andy this evening and he asked me where he could find the "official" location for the DUAScriptGen that Mike Hall and I wrote a while back.  He had tried to search my blog and most of the old links pointed to a now dead location on Mike's ISP site (Mike posted this update recently because that former link went dead). 

    Andy pointed out that it is fairly difficult to figure out which link is the most recent and required a lot of combing through blog archives on my site and Mike's site.  So we decided the best route to go would be to create an article on my blog site that could serve as a permalink for DUAScriptGen download and usage information.  I have posted the DUAScriptGen User's Guide with all information you should need to download and use DUAScriptGen to create DUA scripts to keep your embedded images up to date.  All of the info in the user's guide is included in a readme file in the DUAScriptGen download also in case you want to print it out and refer to it.

    As always, if you have any bug reports or feature suggestions for DUAScriptGen, please contact myself and/or Mike.  You can also send comments/questions directly to the embedded team via their blog and they will find their way to me also  :-).


  • Aaron Stebner's WebLog

    Developer Division Customer Product Lifecycle Experience (DDCPX) team has a new team blog


    I just noticed that the Developer Division Customer Product Lifecycle Experience (DDCPX) team has a team blog on the MSDN blogs site as of the end of September 2005.  The DDCPX team owns creating service packs and hotfixes for Visual Studio and the .NET Framework, and they also own additional end-user focused activities (such as creation of power toys and other "after market" solutions, and managing the bug reports that come in from the Product Feedback Center).  There is a nice description of exactly what the DDCPX team does here.  The team is pretty big, and a few of them already have their own personal blogs as well, such as Heath Stewart and Josh Ledgard (I read both of their blogs regularly).

    I encourage you all to take a look at the DDCPX team blog when you get a chance.  Personally, I'm looking forward to reading more about the supportability tools they're thinking about working on, and I might be able to help them as they start working on validation tools for .NET Framework installation state since I have worked on tools like that in the past with a couple of members of the DDCPX team (for example, this tool that verifies the file versions of all files installed by the .NET Framework 1.0 and/or 1.1).


  • Aaron Stebner's WebLog

    Useful tool - Windows XP Media Center Edition Test Kit


    I was browsing through some of the online Windows Media Center documentation we have on MSDN and I found some links that I thought were useful and I wanted to publish them as a blog post to try to enhance the discoverability.  There is a set of presentations and design documents that can be found from a link titled Media Center PC Design - Overview on the main MSDN Media Center developer page (it is the 3rd link under Additional Resources in the bottom right-hand corner).

    On that Media Center PC Design page, I found a link at the bottom of the Developer Resources section that you can use to download the Windows XP Media Center Edition Test Kit.  Until I found this test kit download site, I hadn't realized there was a publicly available version of this tool.  The product team uses this tool (called MCDiag for short) all the time during day-to-day development and debugging.  It can be used for the following tasks:

    • It provides a nice interface to quickly assess whether or not your machine will run Media Center by looking at the hardware, software and drivers installed on your machine and comparing against officially supported Media Center configuration information.
    • It lets you gather detailed system snapshot information - we use this most commonly to diagnose Media Center functional problems on machines that we do not have physical access to connect to via Remote Desktop.
    • There are a set of tests that can be run via MCDiag to make sure that your Media Center is working correctly and also to stress test your Media Center.

    I thought some of you might find this test kit useful, so I'd encourage you to install it and try it out.  After installation, you'll find all of the test kit tools and documents installed to C:\Program Files\Media Center Test Kit 2.0 RTM R1\ on your computer.

    <update 10/10/2005> When I originally posted this link to the test kit I did not realize there were issues with the test kit deleting recorded TV shows and scheduled recordings.  Please read the comments posted along with this blog post very carefully before using this test kit.  I strongly advise that you use it only on new Media Center computers prior to deploying them (or use the diagnostic part of the tool but stay away from the Tests tab.


  • Aaron Stebner's WebLog

    Good detailed description of the NGEN and the CLR Optimization service for the .NET Framework 2.0


    I stumbled across David Notario's blog earlier today, and found a really good article describing the new native image generation (NGEN) service that has been introduced in .NET Framework 2.0 beta 2.  I'm sure some of you have noticed mscorsvw.exe running in the background after installing the .NET Framework or Visual Studio and wondered why it was using processor time and what it was doing, and his blog post describes the service and lists some issues that have been encountered with the service and workarounds for them.

    Most notably, if you run into an error message that lists the CLR Optimization Service while installing the .NET Framework 2.0 beta 2 or later, you can use the following commands to disable the version of the CLR Optimization Service on your machine in order to unblock setup. 

    Note: you will need to change the build number to match the version of the service that is actually installed on your computer, you can run sc.exe query and look at the output to figure out which version of the service is currently installed

    sc.exe stop clr_optimization_v2.0.50215_32
    sc.exe config clr_optimization_v2.0.50215_32 start=disabled
    sc.exe stop clr_optimization_v2.0.50215_64
    sc.exe config clr_optimization_v2.0.50215_64 start=disabled

    In addition to describing the NGEN service, David's blog post links to an MSDN article written by Reid Wilkes (a tester on the CLR team and a University of Oklahoma alumnus like me :-) ).  Reid's article describes what NGEN is, what is new for NGEN in the .NET Framework 2.0, how to use the various commands that are supported by ngen.exe and how to decide whether or not you should use NGEN when installing your own assemblies.  I'd encourage anyone developing managed assemblies with the .NET Framework 2.0 or builidng setup packages that install .NET Framework 2.0 assemblies to read through this article.


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