Aaron Stebner's WebLog

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

November, 2005

  • Aaron Stebner's WebLog

    How to resolve "Windows - no disk" errors when launching Media Center 2005 on an HP machine


    I have heard from a few folks (mostly via comments on this blog post) regarding an issue with HP Media Center 2005 machines.  On some HP machines, customers are seeing an error message pop up when launching Media Center.  This error message has the following information:

    • Title:  Windows - No Disk
    • Text:  There is no disk in the drive. Please insert a disk into drive
    • Buttons: Cancel, Try Again and Continue

    This error does not prevent Media Center from launching, but sits on the desktop until you exit Media Center.

    We were able to track this issue down to some kind of bug in the HP Image Zone for Media Center application that is pre-installed on HP Media Center systems that appears if you uninstal the Norton Anti-virus and/or System Security suite that also comes pre-installed on HP Media Center systems.  We reported this issue to HP and also some customers have reported it, and they have issued an update to Image Zone that addresses this issue.

    A customer was kind enough to post the response he received from HP about this issue.  According to the HP support team, you can find this update for Image Zone at this location, and that should allow you to resolve this No Disk error without needing to reinstall Norton or uninstall Image Zone (which are the possible workarounds suggested in the past).

    <update date="11/30/2005"> HP contacted me today with a new location for the fix, so I have updated the link in the text of this blog post </update>

    <update date="4/9/2006"> The previous link I had posted seemed to be unreliable for some people because it was pointed to the HP FTP server, so I have updated it to a better link location. HP also appears to have updated the package since I originally posted this as well to provide some additional fixes. </update>


  • Aaron Stebner's WebLog

    What to do if I get package load failures in the final release of VS 2005?


    IMPORTANT UPDATE - I have posted an updated set of steps for working around package load failures.  Please read that blog post instead of this post because it contains additional information not listed here.  I do not want to take this post down because I want to keep the comments so others can read them, but this post is essentially obsolete due to the new blog entry I have posted.

    Since the final release of Visual Studio 2005 and the .NET Framework 2.0, I have heard from several customers who have been using beta versions of VS, SQL and .NET 2.0, and have followed the uninstall steps to the best of their ability (including trying the auto-uninstall tool linked at the top of the uninstall instructions page) but are still encountering Package Load Failure error messages in the VS IDE after installing the final release.

    If you currently have the final release of any version of VS 2005 installed (including the Express Editions), and you are encountering package load failures, here is what I recommend that you do to resolve these issues:

    1.  Try to run the VS 2005 troubleshooting tool

    Before trying the next set of steps, please download and run the VS 2005 troubleshooting tool.  This tool is built on the same code base as the auto-uninstall tool, but it has knowledge of some specific problems that existed in previous beta versions of VS 2005 and knows how to go in and surgically clean them up.

    2.  Try to run the following command line to clear out the native image cache

    Click on the Start menu, choose Run and type cmd, then type rd /s /q %windir%\assembly\NativeImages_v2.0.50727_32\Microsoft.VisualStu# and press enter to remove native images from the cache.

    3.  Manually search for orphaned files in the GAC

    I have found that there are some cases where some additional files are getting orphaned on the machine that my test scenarios haven't caught yet (because we shipped a lot of different beta versions and I don't have the time to test out every uninstall permutation, etc).  If I haven't seen the issue in my testing, it hasn't been added to the troubleshooting tool and therefore that tool won't always be helpful.

    In general, the orphaned files that cause package load failures are located in the GAC (which is located at %windir%\assembly on your machine).  So, if you have already run the troubleshooting tool and are still running into package load failures, here are some additional steps that have proven useful in identifying additional orphaned files:

    1. Download the FSnap tool and extract it to c:\fsnap.exe on your machine
    2. Run c:\fsnap.exe /bs c:\windows\assembly\ > c:\file_list.txt
    3. Look at the contents of c:\file_list.txt for any files with version number 2.0.xxxxx.xx or 8.0.xxxxx.xx where the xxxxx.xx is not equal to 50727.42
    4. Remove the files that fit this criteria using gacutil.exe (which is installed to %ProgramFiles%\Microsoft Visual Studio 8\SDK\v2.0\Bin if you have VS 2005 installed and chose to install the .NET Framework SDK tools, or can be installed by installing the .NET Framework 2.0 SDK) or by using DOS commands in a cmd prompt

    I have found it useful to import the contents of c:\file_list.txt into Excel and then sort alphabetically by column G (which is the file version column).  That makes it easier to zero in on files that have suspicious version information.

    Please note that you will need to change the paths in the steps above if you have your OS installed on a drive other than C.  Also, make sure that you include the trailing \ after the "assembly" folder name or else the FSnap tool will not work correctly. 

    4.  Help me make the troubleshooting tool better

    If you use FSnap and manually delete files and that resolves the package load failures you are seeing, I would appreciate it if you could let me know which files you removed that fixed the issue (either via the contact form or a comment on this post).  If I see common problems that the tool is not yet able to fix, I can add them to the tool and post an updated version to help everyone else out who might hit the same issue.

    Hopefully this will help resolve any lingering package load failure issues that you might be seeing.  If these steps still do not work please contact me and let me know.

    <update date="11/18/2005"> Added an additional step to clear out the native image cache based on findings I posted here </update>

    <update date="12/16/2005"> Added an updated link to a newer set of steps at the top of this blog post </update>


  • Aaron Stebner's WebLog

    VS 2005 setup fails with 1935 or 2908 error

    I have heard from a couple of customers who have tried to install the final release of Visual Studio 2005 or one of the Express Editions and have gotten 1935 (or 2908) errors with HRESULT values of 0x8002802F, and then setup failed and rolled back.  The cases I have seen so far have had the same root cause as the problem I described in this previous blog post.

    In the cases I have seen for this problem in the final release of VS 2005, the machines had the .NET Framework 1.1 installed, and the version of %windir%\system32\mscoree.dll was 1.1.4322.573 or 1.1.4322.2032.  When VS setup tried to install assemblies to the GAC, it failed because Windows Installer tried to call into a 2.0-specific API from mscoree.dll (needed because there are new processor architecture attributes on VS 2005 assemblies that only 2.0 knows about).  Since the version of mscoree.dll on the system was 1.1, these API calls failed.  This issue is described in more detail in my 1935 troubleshooting guide if you are interested.

    The underlying problem was that VS setup detected that the .NET Framework 2.0 was already installed and skipped that prerequisite step.  However, the machine did not actually have the .NET Framework 2.0 installed, but instead only had the registry key that VS setup uses to detect whether or not the .NET Framework 2.0 is installed.  I found that the machines had the following orphaned registry key/value that VS setup uses to determine that .NET Framework 2.0 was already installed:

    • Key name: HKLM\Software\Microsoft\NET Framework Setup\NDP\v2.0.50727
    • Value name: MSI
    • Data type: REG_DWORD
    • Value data: 1

    Once the customers deleted this key/value and re-ran VS 2005 setup, it detected that it needed to install the .NET Framework 2.0, and after installing that, VS setup worked perfectly.

    As a side note if you're really interested, you could use some of the setup reverse engineering tricks that I describe here to determine the exact location of this registry key.  In this case, the key/value are listed in the [gencomp18] section of the file named baseline.dat in the setup subdirectory of the VS 2005 DVD or in the self-extracting setup package for the Express Editions.


  • Aaron Stebner's WebLog

    How to deploy the .NET Framework 2.0 by using the MSI directly


    If you try to extract the contents of the .NET Framework 2.0 setup package and install it using the MSI directly, you will see a blocking dialog that looks like the following:

    .NET Framework 2.0 block dialog

    This type of blocking dialog does not appear when trying to install the .NET Framework 1.0 or 1.1 using the MSI directly.

    If you look at the .NET Framework 2.0 netfx.msi in Orca, you can see that there is a custom action that starts with the name CA_BlockDirectInstall_GUIH_SKU_URT.  Then, if you look at the InstallExecuteSequence table of the MSI, you will see that this custom action has the following condition: ( NOT (ADDEPLOY = 1 OR USING_EXUIH = 1 OR USING_EXUIH_SILENT = 1 OR ADVERTISED = 1 OR ProductState >= 1)  ) AND ( NOT (ADDEPLOY = 1 OR USING_EXUIH = 1 OR USING_EXUIH_SILENT = 1 OR ADVERTISED = 1 OR ProductState >= 1)  ).  As you can see from these conditions, this custom action will fire and show this block dialog unless one of those properties is passed on the command line or the product is already installed.

    As I previously described in this blog post, we created a new external UI handler for the .NET Framework 2.0.  Along with this external UI handler, we added this custom action to block the user from installing via the MSI directly as a means of more strongly encouraging people to install using the external UI handler (side note  - this is the technique described in this post on the Windows Installer team blog for using external UI handlers).

    The external UI handler for the .NET Framework 2.0 includes a command line parameter (described in this previous post) to invoke administrator mode - you can enter this mode by running install.exe /a.  This administrator mode is essentially a UI wrapper around the standard msiexec.exe /a command line parameter for creating an administrative install point (AIP) for an MSI.  It requires you to accept a EULA, then allows you to specify a location to stage the files for the administrative install point.  The interesting thing is that if you run install.exe /a and then look at the verbose MSI log file (named %temp%\dd_netfx20_a_msi*.txt), you will see that the property ADDEPLOY=1 is set while creating the AIP.  However, this property is not used at all during creation of the AIP, and it is not saved as a part of the staged MSI.  Therefore, even if you try to install the .NET Framework 2.0 using the AIP created using install.exe /a, you will still run into the block dialog shown above.

    To make a long story short, you can use the following command lines to create an administrative install point and install the .NET Framework 2.0 using the MSI directly:

    1. To extract the contents of the setup package - dotnetfx.exe /t:c:\temp /c (or you can substitute any path of your choosing for c:\temp)
    2. To create an administrative install point - c:\temp\install.exe /a
    3. To install using the MSI directly - msiexec.exe /i netfx.msi ADDEPLOY=1

    If you are interested, you can combine the steps above if you do not care about being able to extract the contents of dotnetfx.exe or create an administrative install point:

    • To combine steps 1 and 2 above to create an administrative install point without extracting dotnetfx.exe first - dotnetfx.exe /c:"install.exe /a"
    • To combine steps 1, 2 and 3 above to directly install the MSI - dotnetfx.exe /q /c:"msiexec.exe /i netfx.msi ADDEPLOY=1 /qn"

    One other item I should point out here - you will also notice when you install the MSI directly with basic UI (using the /qb switch instead of the /qn switch above), the progress dialog has a title bar and a cancel button but is otherwise blank like the following:

    .NET Framework 2.0 blank progress dialog

    The .NET Framework 2.0 MSI has been configured to be language-neutral (described in more detail here if you're interested), and there is a bug in Windows Installer that when a language-neutral MSI with no action text or error text is installed in basic UI mode, it will not display any of the standard messages in the progress dialog.  Unfortunately, this bug is present in all current versions of Windows Installer up to and including version 3.1.  I tried an installation scenario using basic UI mode on a recent Windows Vista build and verified that this bug has been fixed in Windows Installer 4.0 (which is included in Vista).

    One final thing - all of the details in this blog post apply to all .NET Framework 2.0 and VS 2005 products that use the new external UI handler we have created.  This includes the .NET Framework 2.0 SDK, the J# redistributable package, the VS Tools for Office Runtime, Document Explorer, etc.  Essentially, any setup package included as part of Visual Studio that is packaged as a self-extracting executable and contains install.exe, install.ini and install.res.####.dll will behave the same way.

    I realize this topic is a bit involved and confusing and represents a change from previous versions of the .NET Framework, so please let me know if you have any questions or run into any problems getting things to work for you.


  • Aaron Stebner's WebLog

    Media Center crashes when launched after installing KB908250 and KB910393 from Windows Update


    I mentioned yesterday that there is a new Windows Media Player hotfix (KB910393) available that will help reduce instances of digital rights management problems in Update Rollup 2 for Media Center 2005.

    We have found a problem with the way the setup package for this hotfix interacts with Update Rollup KB908250 for Update Rollup 2 that can cause Media Center to crash when you try to launch it after installing KB908250 and KB910393 from Windows Update.

    Problem description

    In this scenario (described in this newsgroup posting), after installing Update Rollup 2 for Media Center 2005 you can visit Windows Update to search for additional updates.  There will be some new critical updates available that are only offered after you install Update Rollup 2.  Included in this list of critical updates are both KB908250 and KB910393.  If you accept the default settings, Windows Update will silently install each of these hotfixes and then reboot at the end.  However, after the reboot, you will get an unhandled exception and Media Center will crash if you try to launch it.

    How to workaround the problem

    In order to repair your system and fix this crash, you can one of the following sets of steps:

    1. Download KB908250 and re-run it
    2. Reboot


    1. Click on the Start menu, choose Run and type cmd
    2. Run the command %windir%\system32\spupdsvc.exe /install "Enables Service Pack Installer to complete its scheduled post-reboot tasks"
    3. Reboot the system

    Root cause

    The reason Media Center crashes in this scenario is that the computer is left in a state where critical Media Center services (ehRecvr and ehSched) are not registered on the system.  The setup package for KB908250 runs commands to unregister these services, and then schedules a process to re-register them after the system is rebooted.  However, there is a command in the setup package for KB910393 that un-schedules the process that KB908250 schedules.  Therefore, the command to re-register Media Center services after the reboot never happens.

    You can verify that you are running into this exact problem by checking the following:

    • Run sc query ehrecvr and verify that it reports that ehrecvr is not an installed service on your system
    • Run sc query ehsched and verify that it reports that ehsched is not an installed service on your system
    • Look for a file named %windir%\system32\spupdsvc.inf and verify that it contains a [ProcessesToRunAfterReboot] section with commands to run C:\WINDOWS\ehome\medctrro.exe /p /f C:\WINDOWS\INF\KB908250rg.inf RunOnce, C:\WINDOWS\ehome\EhMCXIns.exe /i and C:\WINDOWS\system32\spupdsvc.exe /delete

    This problem will only occur if you install KB908250, suppress the reboot at the end, and then install KB910393 afterwards.  Unfortunately, this is exactly the way that Windows Update currently installs these 2 hotfixes after Update Rollup 2 is installed.

    We are still working with the Windows Update and Windows Media Player team to identify the best way to fix this issue.  I will post an update when we decide the right course of action.  I apologize for the inconvenience that this issue is causing.


  • Aaron Stebner's WebLog

    Available command line switches for .NET Framework 2.0 setup


    With the release of VS 2005 and the .NET Framework 2.0, we began to use a new Windows Installer external UI handler to manage installation of several of the setups that are part of the VS 2005 family, including the .NET Framework 2.0 redistributable and SDK, J# redistributable, VS Tools for Office redistributable, language packs .NET, J# and VS Tools for Office, etc.

    This new external UI handler is named install.exe, and you will find an INI file named install.ini included with each product that uses install.exe.  Install.ini expresses many configuration options for the setup in question.  I have described many of the settings used for the .NET Framework 2.0 redistributable in this blog post.

    In addition to the INI file, install.exe can be configured using several command line switches.  The following list provides information about all of the command line switches that are supported by the install.exe external UI handler in the VS 2005 and .NET Framework 2.0 family of products:

    • /a - Launches setup in administrative mode.  This mode is used to create a Windows Installer administrative install point that can then be used to install or deploy the product from.  Administrative mode presents UI that allows you to choose the location to stage the files to
    • /l <log file> - Causes setup to create a verbose log in a non-default path.  Setting this value will override the value of the VerboseLog entry in the install.ini file.  If the /l switch is passed, the log file name is required.  If it is provided, it will override the LogFilePrefix entry in install.ini.  If you choose to pass a log file name and there is a space in the path, you will need to enclose the name in quotes.  Leaving this parameter off will allow setup to create a verbose log file in the %temp% directory that has a name beginning with the LogFilePrefix entry in install.ini and ending with a randomly generated character sequence.
    • /lang #### - Specifies the 4-digit language code for the language in which to display the setup UI.  This setting overrides the OS language check and the language specified in the install.ini file.  Setup looks for a file named install.res.####.dll in the same path as install.exe and attempts to load strings from that DLL.  If the DLL with the numerical value passed in via this command line parameter does not exist, install.exe falls back to English strings (located in install.res.1033.dll).  If install.res.1033.dll also does not exist, setup will display an error dialog and exit
    • /msipassthru MSI_PROP_BEGIN"<properties with quotes here>"MSI_PROP_END - Specifies additional property/value pairs that will be passed to the Windows Installer MsiInstallProduct API (or msiexec.exe). This switch also requires that a token be used to prefix/postfix the actual command line arguments.  For example: /msipassthru MSI_PROP_BEGIN"PROPERTY1=Value1 PROPERTY2=Value2"MSI_PROP_END
    • /msipassthru MSI_ARGS_FILENAME_BEGIN<path to file with properties>MSI_ARGS_FILENAME_END - Specifies the full path to a file that contains additional property/value pairs that will be passed to the Windows Installer MsiInstallProduct API (or msiexec.exe)
    • /q - Specifies quiet install mode. Suppresses the display of all setup UI during installation
    • /qb - Specifies basic UI mode for installation.  This will cause install.exe to only show a small Windows Installer progress dialog with no other user interaction required.  This is the equivalent of the msiexec.exe /qb command line switch
    • /qb! - Extends the /qb switch by hiding the cancel button on the progress dialog during installation.  This is the equivalent of the msiexec.exe /qb! command line switch
    • /qu - Specifies quiet uninstall mode.  Suppresses the display of all setup UI during uninstallation
    • /skip_all_checks - Causes install.exe to skip all prerequisites checks that are specified in install.ini.  This may result in setup failing elsewhere because some of the checks are also specified in the MSI itself.  However, this can be useful as a troubleshooting tool if you know the state of the machine(s) that you are installing on very well
    • /watsonsilent - Causes all Watson reports generated by setup in the case of failure to be silently sent to Microsoft instead of displaying a dialog.  This command line switch is only applicable if one of the /q flags is also used
    • /watsonui - Causes all Watson reports generated by setup in the case of failure to display UI informing the user of the issue
    • /? - Displays a help dialog with information about supported command line parameters.  As I was writing this article I noticed that many of the switches that are supported by install.exe are not actually listed in this dialog.  I'll be reporting a bug to the setup team so that hopefully this will be cleaned up in a future release to present more useful information to the user

    <update date="12/7/2005"> Added a note to the /l log file switch indicating that you need to put quotes around the file name if there are spaces in the name </update>


  • Aaron Stebner's WebLog

    How to resolve invalid license data errors after upgrading to the final release of Visual Studio 2005


    I have heard from a couple of customers who have uninstalled beta versions of Visual Studio 2005 and then installed the final release.  After installation finished, they saw a small error dialog that looks like the following when trying to launch the Visual Studio 2005 IDE:

    Visual Studio 2005 invalid license data error

    Pressing OK on this dialog dismisses the IDE and VS 2005 is not usable.

    There are a couple of cases where registry data can be orphaned on the machine that causes this type of error.  Unfortunately, because this data is written by a custom action and there are some "interesting" conditions on that cusotm action in the VS MSI, running a repair of VS 2005 will not correctly fix the registry values that control this functionality.

    The following steps can be used to resolve this Invalid license data error message:

    1. Uninstall the Visual Studio 2005 product that you have installed.  You only have to uninstall the main Visual Studio product entry in Add or Remove Programs, and you can leave the other pieces installed by Visual Studio setup (such as the .NET Framework 2.0, MSDN, SQL Express, etc) alone.  The product name in Add or Remove Programs that you want to uninstall is dependent on the VS 2005 edition you have installed.  For example, for the English Professional edition, the product name will be "Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Professional - ENU"
    2. Click on Start, choose Run and type cmd
    3. Copy and paste each of the following commands into the cmd prompt to clean up orphaned Visual Studio licensing data in your registry: 
      reg delete HKCR\Licenses\17A13F5F-2dE4-4691-B332-83CA4CC38935 /f
      reg delete HKCR\Licenses\2F1682F3-6A3C-4545-AF41-6836A22276CF /f
      reg delete HKCR\Licenses\2FE88699-A1AF-410D-8049-1CB6BA8F8FF2 /f
      reg delete HKCR\Licenses\5BCBC240-27DF-49C1-8C1C-27B8463009A9 /f
      reg delete HKCR\Licenses\895E2152-C3F9-4C49-968B-15B08ADA0F37 /f
      reg delete HKCR\Licenses\95C63E85-8244-4D86-8327-579B85EC154C /f
      reg delete HKCR\Licenses\BA32367F-28F8-4AEA-848D-95AE438B3B9C /f
    4. If you are installing on a 64-bit OS, copy and paste each of the following commands into the cmd prompt to clean up orphaned Visual Studio licensing data in your registry:
      reg delete HKCR\Wow6432Node\Licenses\17A13F5F-2dE4-4691-B332-83CA4CC38935 /f
      reg delete HKCR\Wow6432Node\Licenses\2F1682F3-6A3C-4545-AF41-6836A22276CF /f
      reg delete HKCR\Wow6432Node\Licenses\2FE88699-A1AF-410D-8049-1CB6BA8F8FF2 /f
      reg delete HKCR\Wow6432Node\Licenses\5BCBC240-27DF-49C1-8C1C-27B8463009A9 /f
      reg delete HKCR\Wow6432Node\Licenses\895E2152-C3F9-4C49-968B-15B08ADA0F37 /f
      reg delete HKCR\Wow6432Node\Licenses\95C63E85-8244-4D86-8327-579B85EC154C /f
      reg delete HKCR\Wow6432Node\Licenses\BA32367F-28F8-4AEA-848D-95AE438B3B9C /f
    5. Re-install the Visual Studio 2005 product that you uninstalled in step 1 above

    After doing this, the license data should be recreated and correct and allow you to launch the VS 2005 IDE.

    <update date="10/25/2006"> Added some more licensing registry values and a new section for 64-bit registry values that need to be removed </update>

    <update date="8/27/2009"> Fixed broken link to image. </update>


  • Aaron Stebner's WebLog

    How to resolve errors opening currentsettings.vssettings in the final release of VS 2005


    I have heard from a few customers who have run into some strange behavior in the Visual Studio IDE after uninstalling previous beta versions and installing the final release of Visual Studio 2005.  They have reported seeing issues including (but not necessarily limited to) the following:

    • Visual Studio shows an error message stating that it cannot open "C:\Documents and Settings\<user>\My Documents\Visual Studio 2005\Settings\currentsettings.vssettings" for writing
    • Launching Tools | Import and Export Settings... and choosing any of the radio buttons results in an error message stating "Error 1: Reset/Export/Import was interrupted by the user".
    • Keyboard shortcuts fail to work correctly in the Visual Studio IDE

    For the customers I have worked with so far, the following steps have resolved this issue:

    1. Close all instances of the Visual Studio IDE
    2. Click on the Start menu, choose Run and type cmd
    3. Type "%programfiles%\Microsoft Visual Studio 8\Common7\IDE\devenv.exe" /resetuserdata (this command assumes that you have installed VS 2005 to the default path, so you will have to modify this command line if you installed to a non-default path)
    4. Wait 1-2 minutes for the devenv.exe process to finish.  You can use Task Manager to verify that the process has completed
    5. Restart the Visual Studio IDE


  • Aaron Stebner's WebLog

    Troubleshooting suggestions for guide download errors in Media Center


    I have heard from several customers so far who have encountered television guide download errors after installing Update Rollup 2 for Media Center 2005.  One of the customers sent me a link to a lengthy newsgroup thread that has several suggestions to fix or workaround guide download issues.  I wanted to consolidate some of the suggestions listed there and also include some other suggestions I have heard from other sources to try to unblock anyone who currently cannot get guide download working correctly.

    1. Make sure that your system clock is set to the correct time and time zone for the region you are located in.  Note also that daylight savings time ended this past weekend in the United States and also earlier in October in Europe so if you do not have the box checked to automatically adjust the time for daylight savings time changes, you may have to manually adjust your clock to account for this
    2. Eliminate possible XML parsing problems caused by previously downloaded guide data by renaming the directory %ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Application Data\Microsoft\Ehome\EPG (I suggest renaming rather than deleting in case you want to revert back to the previous data later on).  Then open Media Center, go to Settings, then TV, then Guide, then Set up Guide Listings and configure guide download one more time to regenerate this folder and (hopefully) the contents
    3. Launch Media Center, choose Settings, then General, then Media Center Setup and choose to not use the guide.  Then restart the machine, relaunch Media Center and run Media Center setup again and choose to use the guide again
    4. Re-register the Media Center guide DLL by clicking on the Start menu, choosing Run, typing cmd and then running the command line %windir%\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v1.1.4322\regasm.exe %windir%\ehome\ehepgdat.dll
    5. Temporarily disable any anti-virus, anti-spyware or firewall software that you have installed on your system, then launch Media Center and try to download guide data again
    6. Uninstall McAfee Privacy Service if you have it installed

    If none of the above suggestions work, you can do the following to look for more detailed error information:

    1. Click on the Start menu, choose Run and type eventvwr.exe
    2. Right-click on the Application event log and choose Save Log File As
    3. Save the log file as appevent.evt
    4. Locate the Media Center guide download log files.  They should be located in the directory named something like C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Microsoft\ehome\EPG\TraceHelper

    Our development team is also working on debugging a couple of guide download issues that we have been able to get access to repro machines for.  I will continue to update my blog as we find out any new information about these issues.

    <update date="12/8/2005"> Added additional suggested workaround of running regasm.exe for ehepgdat.dll </update>

    <update date="12/14/2005"> Added additional suggested workaround of disabling anti-virus, anti-spyware and firewall software on the system </update>

    <update date="1/9/2006"> Added additional log information that can be useful in tracking down guide download issues </update>


  • Aaron Stebner's WebLog

    Visual Studio 2005 IDE (devenv.exe) command line switches


    There is some good documentation available on MSDN that describes various command line switches that are supported by the Visual Studio 2005 IDE (devenv.exe).  Many of these switches have existed in previous versions of Visual Studio.

    However, I wanted to draw your attention to a new switch that was added in Visual Studio 2005 - the /log switch.  This switch allows you to run Visual Studio and cause it to generate a log file of the various activities that it does behind the scenes.  This switch can be useful in debugging problems where the IDE crashes when you try to launch it, when you encounter package load failure error messages, or when you see various other errors while using various Visual Studio features.

    The syntax for using this switch is the following:

    devenv.exe /log <full path to log file>

    The documentation currently states that the log file path is required and that it must exist before running this command line, but I have found this is not true in my experience.  I have seen this log created if it does not exist.  Also, if you do not pass in a path, Visual Studio 2005 will use the file named %USERPROFILE%\Application Data\Microsoft\VisualStudio\8.0\activitylog.xml by default.

    You can find devenv.exe in the C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio 8\Common7\IDE\ folder (if you do a default installation of Visual Studio 2005 and your OS is on the C drive - you'll have to adjust the path as appropriate on your system).

    Also note, the file devenv.exe is the name of the IDE executable on the main Visual Studio editions (Professional, Team System, etc).  For the Express Editions, each IDE executable has a different name:


  • Aaron Stebner's WebLog

    List of all possible Media Center guide download errors


    I've published an article that contains a full list of the possible error codes that can be encountered while trying to download Media Center guide data.  This list includes some suggested remedies for each error, and also describes how to navigate through your Application event log to locate the error codes and error strings so that you can match them to the list.  If you are running into guide download errors in Media Center, I encourage you to check out the Guide Download Error Codes article to see if any of the information in it can help resolve the issue for you.


  • Aaron Stebner's WebLog

    How to get Sonic CD/DVD burning software to create a log file for debugging


    I learned a cool trick last week that might be useful if you are running into issues while using the built-in Sonic CD/DVD burning software in Media Center 2005.  The following steps will enable creation of a log file for debugging purposes:

    1. Click on the Start menu, choose Run and type notepad %windir%\ehome\createdisc\soniclog_mce.log
    2. Click Yes to create a new file in this location
    3. Close Notepad and click Yes to save the file

    Once you have created this file, any subsequent times that you use Sonic burning functionality inside of Media Center, it will write to this file.  This file has to already exist before Sonic will write to it however, so it will not log any error information until you manually go and create a new file with the expected name in this location.

    If you run into any issues with CD/DVD burning, please create this log file and include it when contacting me or your customer support representative.  I'd also encourage you to open up the log file and take a look at it yourself as well.  There are some errors that have relatively simple workarounds that can be determined simply by looking at the error log information.

    Hope this helps....


  • Aaron Stebner's WebLog

    How to perform a customized command line install for the .NET Framework SDK 2.0


    Now that the final release of the .NET Framework 2.0 redist and SDK are available for download, I wanted to share a story about a scenario that I helped a team with here at Microsoft a couple of weeks ago.  They wanted to be able to do a command line install of the .NET Framework SDK 2.0 with customized installation options so that they did not have to install all of the documentation and samples.  They were able to run the SDK setup in full UI mode and uncheck the boxes in the setup UI for QuickStart Samples and Product Documentation and that gave them the bits they wanted.  However, they weren't able to figure out how to install the same set of bits in an unattended manner.

    I couldn't find any documented way of doing this, but given my background working on the setup team for the .NET Framework and Visual Studio and some of the tricks I've learned over the years about reverse engineering setup packages I decided to see if I could figure out how to accomplish this.  Here is what I did to learn how to do this kind of customized install:

    1. Install the .NET Framework 2.0 redistributable
    2. Install the .NET Framework 2.0 SDK in UI mode and check only the Tools and Debugger option
    3. After installation, go to the %temp% directory, locate the file dd_netfxsdk20msi*.txt and open it in a text editor such as Notepad
    4. Search for the string Command line: to find the command line that the .NET Framework 2.0 SDK external UI handler passes to the MSI to start installing
    5. Create a script that runs the following command lines to silently install the .NET Framework 2.0 redist and then the 2.0 SDK with the same command line that I found in the log file in step 4

    I ended up creating a script with the following command lines to silently install the .NET Framework 2.0 redist and the customized installation of the 2.0 SDK:

    To install the redist

    dotnetfx.exe /q:a /c:"install.exe /q"

    To install the SDK

    You can use one of the following 2 options, depending on whether or not you want to be able to customize the installation location as part of the unattended setup.

    1.  If you want to customize the install location, you will need to extract setup.exe in a separate step.  This means you need the following 2 command lines:

    setup.exe /t:c:\temp /c

    followed by

    msiexec.exe /i c:\temp\netfxsdk.msi USING_EXUIH=1 REBOOT=ReallySuppress ADDLOCAL=URT_SDK_ENU_X86_IXP_SETUP, GUIH_ARP_VSDIR_HIDDEN_URT_SDK_ENU_X86_IXP, Servicing_Key, NGWS_SDK FRAMEWORKSDK.3643236F_FC70_11D3_A536_0090278A1BB8=C:\Program Files\Microsoft.NET\SDK\ /qn /l*v c:\temp\netfxsdk.log

    2.  If you do not want to customize the install location, you can use the following command line:

    setup.exe /t:c:\temp /c:"msiexec.exe /i c:\temp\netfxsdk.msi USING_EXUIH=1 REBOOT=ReallySuppress ADDLOCAL= URT_SDK_ENU_X86_IXP_SETUP, GUIH_ARP_VSDIR_HIDDEN_URT_SDK_ENU_X86_IXP, Servicing_Key,NGWS_SDK /qn /l*v c:\temp\netfxsdk.log"

    Please note - I added spaces after the commas in the ADDLOCAL command lines above to make them display nicely in web browsers, but you need to get rid of those spaces to get the command line to work correctly if you try it on your own machines.

    <update date="11/29/2005"> One of the comments below demonstrated a problem with the syntax of the SDK install command line parameters that I had originally listed.  I have provided a couple of different options to get around this issue </update>


  • Aaron Stebner's WebLog

    Update on root cause of Digital Audio Service error


    I posted a blog entry about a month ago about an issue that started appearing after customers install Update Rollup 2 for Media Center 2005.  Sometimes, while playing back live or recorded content, Media Center will stop displaying video and show a blue overlay screen with the text Digital Audio Service.  When I originally posted my previous blog entry, I had only heard from 2 people who were running into this issue, and both of them were able to resolve the issue by updating video and TV tuner drivers on their systems.  Since then, I have heard from many more people, and updating drivers has not helped in most cases (as you can see in the comments on that previous blog post).

    Unfortunately, I don't have an exact root cause or fix to pass on yet, but I have been able to learn more about what we think is happening in these scenarios.  Some of this is still speculation because we are trying to reliably reproduce this issue in our test lab and are so far basing our investigation on the diagnostics reports that some of you have been kind enough to send me so far.

    There is an algorithm in the stream buffer engine (SBE) that detects dropped frames and attempts to synthesize replacement frames to minimize glitches and freezes while watching video from analog signals.  Once the dropped frame rate gets high enough, this algorithm stops being effective because there are not enough good frames to use to synthesize replacements from and we will halt video playback.  Media Center sets a threshold for dropped frames to decide when to stop trying to create replacement frames in this scenario.

    The Digital Audio Service overlay message is a new message introduced in Update Rollup 2.  It is designed to catch and report low frame rates in DVB-T signals as opposed to letting the video glitch and freeze.  There is a different threshold that controls when Media Center decides to show this Digital Audio Service overlay than the threshold I previously described in the stream buffer engine for analog signals.  It appears that the threshold for this frame dropping rate is set lower than the frame rate threshold for the stream buffer engine for analog signals and therefore Media Center shows this error prematurely in some cases.

    Possible causes for high dropped frame rates include the following:

    • Outdated drivers
    • Older tuner cards
    • Non Media Center processes running on the system that are CPU-intensive (because processor time otherwise used to process video frames is being spent elsewhere)
    • Weak signal strength

    In cases where the Digital Audio Service overlay appears, you will see that playing back the same video in Windows Media Player will work because WMP does not have this frame replacement algorithm or varying thresholds.  However, it is likely that you will see some type of glitching around the same time in the video playback as you start seeing the overlay in Media Center.

    The frame dropping thresholds that I mention above are all controlled within Media Center code, so unfortunately that means there is not a way to configure a registry setting to make the Digital Audio Service overlay appear less frequently or never.

    We will be spending more time trying to isolate a repro case and determine possible fixes or workarounds for this issue and I will post additional updates as I get them.


  • Aaron Stebner's WebLog

    How to select an audio channel if the Audio menu does not appear in Update Rollup 2


    I recently heard from a customer who lives in Spain and has been using Media Center 2005 for a while.  After installing Update Rollup 2 for Media Center 2005, they reported to me that they could no longer change the audio channel for their television shows from stereo to SAP because they could not find the Audio menu in the TV Settings menu on their system anymore.  After digging through the source code and asking around on the team a little bit, here is what I found out about this scenario:

    In Media Center 2005, there was an Audio menu under Settings | TV.  This Audio menu contained an audio channel spinner that let you choose between stereo and SAP.  It also contained other spinners and text boxes that could be used to configure captioning for television shows.  The Audio menu was configured to always be displayed in the list of TV Settings menues, no matter what locale you lived in and configured your OS for.

    In Update Rollup 2, the captioning settings have been broken out into a separate menu under Settings | TV.  This left the stereo/SAP spinner as the only item in the Audio menu.  Therefore, we added a condition to the Audio menu itself so it would be hidden in locales that did not support SAP.

    In the case of this customer, they indicated to me that Spain technically does not support SAP, but they do support NICAM DUAL, which works roughly the same way to deliver alternate audio tracks for television shows.  However, Media Center treats Spain as a locale that does not support SAP and hides the Audio menu entirely.

    I am not sure if there are any countries or regions other than Spain affected by this logic change in the Audio settings menu in Media Center 2005.  There is not any workaround to enable this menu in an affected country or region, but there are a couple of registry values that can be updated to cause Media Center to use the SAP audio channel instead of the default stereo channel.

    You can click on the Start menu, choose Run, type cmd, and then run the following 2 commands in a cmd prompt to set the registry values necessary to enable the SAP audio channel in Media Center 2005:

    • reg add "HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center\Settings\VideoSettings" /v PreferredLanguageID /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f
    • reg add "HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center\Settings\VideoSettings" /v SAPOn /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f


  • Aaron Stebner's WebLog

    Adding assemblies to the Add References dialog in Visual Studio 2005


    I heard from a customer and a Microsoft employee asking how to register new assemblies so that they will be listed in the Add References dialog in Visual Studio 2005.  I have always done this in the past by using the Browse button and finding a copy of the assembly on my local drive, so I did a bit of research to try to figure out how to pre-populate assemblies in the list for the Add References dialog.

    Unfortunately, installing the assembly to the GAC does not automatically populate it into the Add References dialog, even in Visual Studio 2005 (and this despite the fact that this MSDN document claims that assemblies in the GAC will be listed in VS 2005).

    Here are some options I found that worked for me when I tried them on my machine:

    1. Add a new sub-key under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\.NETFramework\v2.0.50727\AssemblyFoldersEx (or the same sub-key under HKEY_CURRENT_USER if you want the assemblies to appear only for the current user instead of all users).  The default value of the sub-key should be the folder path that you want Visual Studio to look in for assemblies to include in the Add References dialog.  This registry path is specific to VS 2005 and the .NET Framework 2.0 and will not work for previous versions of VS or the .NET Framework.  It is documented in this MSDN document.
    2. Add a new sub-key under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\.NETFramework\AssemblyFolders (or the same sub-key under HKEY_CURRENT_USER if you want the assemblies to appear only for the current user instead of all users).  The default value of the sub-key should be the folder path that you want Visual Studio to look in for assemblies to include in the Add References dialog.  This registry path is global and any folders listed here will be processed by VS .NET 2002, VS .NET 2003 and VS 2005 as well as the .NET Framework 1.0, 1.1 and 2.0.  It is documented in this KB article.
    3. Place a copy of the file in the folder c:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio 8\Common7\IDE\PublicAssemblies.  This path is dependent on the version of Visual Studio that you have installed and whether or not you installed it to the default path, so you may need to adjust it as needed for your system.  The path that I list is for a default install of VS 2005.

    I am not an expert in populating the Add References dialog, and this list is mostly intended to be a list of options that I discovered that worked correctly when I tried them out in my limited scenarios.  If you need to add assemblies to the Add References dialog, it appears based on my research that the options I listed above are in the order of preference.

    In other words, you should use the AssemblyFoldersEx registry value if it is feasible for your scenario.  If that is not possible because you are running VS 2002 or 2003 or want to add your assembly to the Add References dialog in all versions of Visual Studio instead of just a specific version, then you should use the AssemblyFolders registry value.  If there is some reason you cannot use either of those registry values, copying your files to the PublicAssemblies folder will also work, though that is not the recommended approach.

    <update date="11/29/2005"> Adding more detailed information about recommendations for which option to choose </update>


  • Aaron Stebner's WebLog

    Cannot pre-install .NET Framework 2.0 during the T13 stage of OS setup using svcpack.inf


    I have heard from 2 customers this past week who were trying to pre-install the .NET Framework as part of the T13 phase of OS setup (in their cases, Windows XP).  They were including the .NET Framework 2.0 setup command line in svcpack.inf and then copying svcpack.inf into the i386 directory of their OS install location.  Their svcpack.inf looks similar to the following:

    Signature="$Windows NT$"



    dotnetfx.exe /Q /C:"install.exe /Q"

    However, both customers found that the .NET Framework 2.0 setup failed in this scenario.  The error in the verbose MSI log file for .NET Framework 2.0 setup is the following:

    Error 1406.Could not write value DW0200 to key \Software\Microsoft\PCHealth\ErrorReporting\DW\Installed.  System error .  Verify that you have sufficient access to that key, or contact your support personnel.

    One of the customers worked around this first error by deleting the DW key during OS setup before installing the .NET Framework 2.0.  However, when doing this, they then encountered the following error:

    MSI (s) (9C!A8) [23:03:15:484]: Product: Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 -- Error 25007.Error occurred while initializing fusion. Setup could not load fusion with LoadLibraryShim(). Error: The handle is invalid.

    Unfortunately, I don't know of a way to workaround this second error.

    This scenario used to work with .NET Framework 1.0 and 1.1 setup, but it has been broken by some of the changes made to setup in .NET Framework 2.0 (the registry key listed above and the custom action to install assemblies are both new in .NET Framework 2.0 setup).

    I don't have much experience with customizing OS installations using the various methods that are available, so I asked these customers why people might want to use svcpack.inf to install the .NET Framework as part of OS setup as opposed to other methods that have been shown to work for the .NET Framework 2.0 (such as using the GuiRunOnce section of winnt.sif or setting a RunOnceEx registry value to launch .NET Framework 2.0 setup on first boot of the OS).  Here is what they told me:

    1. Many prefer using svcpack.inf because it allows them to avoid setting OEMPreinstall=Yes in winnt.sif, which breaks F6 functionality for mass storage drivers
    2. It was common with the .NET Framework 1.0 and 1.1 because it worked reliably, and installing it through svcpack.inf meant it would alread be installed so that other setups that rely on the .NET Framework will also install correctly afterward

    I am going to try to look into possible workarounds to get .NET Framework 2.0 setup to work when launched by svcpack.inf in the T13 phase of OS setup.  However, for now, please be aware of this limitation and update your OS install scripts accordingly.  In addition, if this scenario is important to you, please go to the bug form for this issue on the MSDN product feedback site and click on the link to vote on this bug so that the product team will better understand the importance of making this type of scenario work.

    Also, if anyone has any tips and tricks that can be used to get this to work, please post a comment on this blog post or contact me and let me know.


  • Aaron Stebner's WebLog

    SonicWALL firewall may interfere with Media Center guide downloads


    A couple of folks have reported issues to me via my blog about errors downloading television guide data in Media Center 2005 when they install a SonicWALL firewall device on their network.  Our guide download team has debugged this issue on a Media Center system that a Microsoft employee reported this problem on and found the following:

    SonicWALL has an option in one of their settings pages (diag.html) which allows you to enable or disable HTTP byte range requests as part of the gateway anti-virus filtering process.  If that setting is turned off (which it is by default on the SonicWALL device we debugged on), then guide downloads will not work within Media Center.

    If you have a SonicWALL device on your network and cannot get guide download to work, you can use the following steps to resolve this issue:

    1. Navigate to http://<your_router_IP_address>/diag.html from a computer on your network (by default this URL will be
    2. Enable the setting to allow HTTP byte range requests in the gateway anti-virus filtering process
    3. Reboot the SonicWALL firewall device
    4. Attempt to download guide data within Media Center again

    The underlying cause for this issue is that the guide download service in Media Center relies on the background intelligent transfer service (BITS) in Windows, and the BITS service requires the ability to request and receive byte ranges to support key scenarios involving data throttling and download restarting.


  • Aaron Stebner's WebLog

    Suggestions for guide download errors in Media Center caused by the BITS service


    As I have previously written here, there have been some guide download problems in Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 after applying  Update Rollup 2

    How to diagnose guide download errors

    You can use the following steps to look at the Application event log to try to determine the root cause of the guide download failure:

    1. Click on the Start menu, choose Run and type eventvwr.exe
    2. Open the Application event log
    3. Find any errors or warnings with the source name of Media Center Scheduler

    If you find that the errors are caused by the Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) not being detected as installed or being configured incorrectly, the following sets of steps can be used to resolve the issues in most cases.

    How to fix BITS configuration errors

    Various errors can occur when BITS interfaces are not registered or the registry settings are corrupted.

    To fix this error, repair the BITS service by using the following steps:

    1. Download and install the Windows XP SP2 support tools
    2. Click on the Start menu, choose Run and type cmd
    3. Run "C:\Program Files\Support Tools\bitsadmin.exe" /util /repairservice /force from the command prompt

    Note: the above command line assumes that you installed the XP SP2 support tools to the default location.  You will need to adjust the path to bitsadmin.exe as appropriate if you installed the support tools to a non-default path

    How to enable the BITS service if it is disabled

    This error occurs when the BITS service is disabled, does not exist, has been deleted from the services application, was stopped while download was in progress, or if any service that BITS depends on failed or was deleted.

    To fix this error, enable the BITS service by using the following steps:

    1. Click on the Start menu, choose Run and type services.msc
    2. In the list of services, right-click Background Intelligent Transfer Service, and then click Properties
    3. In the Startup type list, select Manual and then click OK

    If these steps do not resolve the problem, you may need to enable the services that BITS depends on by doing the following:

    1. Click on the Start menu, choose Run and type services.msc
    2. In the list of services, right-click Background Intelligent Transfer Service, and then click Properties
    3. In the Background Intelligent Transfer Service Properties dialog box, click the Dependencies tab
    4. For each service listed under This service depends on the following system components, select Manual in the Startup type list and then click OK to enable the service


  • Aaron Stebner's WebLog

    How to fix IR learning problems that occur after installing Update Rollup 2 for Media Center 2005


    I have heard from a couple of folks who have had trouble getting IR learning to work for their universal remote controls after installing Update Rollup 2 for Media Center 2005.

    As I described in this blog post, Update Rollup 2 installs an updated set of IR drivers (via KB888795), among other things.  Unfortunately, there is a design flaw in the Windows driver installer - it will always writes this registry key anytime a new IR receiver device is enumerated by plug-and-play.  The IR rollup package that is installed as a prerequisite of Update Rollup 2 forces such an enumeration when it upgrade the IR drivers.  Also, this registry key can be overwritten if you plug in a new IR receiver.  Doing so will cause the new device to be enumerated by plug-and-play, and the driver installation overwrites the registry key.

    Whenever IR drivers are updated (such as when you install Update Rollup 2), it is necessary to update a registry value to re-enable IR learning in universal remote controls.  You can do so by using the following steps to reset the necessary registry value and then rebooting your machine to cause it to take effect:

    1. Click on the Start menu, choose Run, type cmd and click OK
    2. Run this command:  reg add HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\HidIr\Remotes\745a17a0-74d3-11d0-b6fe-00a0c90f57da /v EnableDebounce /t REG_DWORD /d 0 /f
    3. Reboot to cause the change to take effect


  • Aaron Stebner's WebLog

    How the .NET Framework can get reverted and cause problems for Update Rollup 2 for MCE 2005


    I have previously written about component registration failure errors that have been seen in some instances after installing Update Rollup 2 for Media Center 2005.  As I described here, the primary root cause we have seen for this type of error is that the version of mscoree.dll in %windir%\system32 gets reverted from the .NET Framework 1.1 SP1 version to the .NET Framework 1.0 SP3 version.

    After investigating this issue a bit more, we have found some scenarios that will cause this file to be reverted like this.  In particular, the following set of steps will cause this to repro:

    1. Install Media Center 2004
    2. Install the .NET Framework 1.1
    3. Install the .NET Framework 1.1 SP1
    4. Upgrade to Media Center 2005

    What happens behind the scenes in this scenario is that the Media Center 2005 upgrade performs the equivalent of an OS reinstall but without reformatting the partition that the OS is installed to.  The .NET Framework 1.0 SP3 is a part of the OS in Media Center 2005, and it is a design philosophy of OS setup that it will install any files that are a part of the OS regardless of whether or not there are later versions of those files already present on the file system.  The reason for this is that computers could be in unknown states with higher versions of some files, but the bits that were shipped on the OS are known to work well together and be tested as a single unit.

    After performing this upgrade, the file %windir%\system32\mscoree.dll is updated to the 1.0 SP3 version that is included as part of the OS in Media Center 2005.  However, the .NET Framework 1.1 and 1.1 SP1 are still considered to be installed by Windows Installer and Windows Update.  That means that if you visit Windows Update on a machine that has been upgraded in this manner, you will be offered Update Rollup 2, but not be offered the .NET Framework 1.1 or 1.1 SP1.

    One of the commands run during Update Rollup 2 setup specifically calls the 1.1 version of ngen.exe, but that version of ngen.exe will not work correctly with the 1.0 SP3 version of mscoree.dll, so setup detects this error and stops running any further registration code.  That leaves the machine in a state where some Media Center components are not registered.  In order to get Media Center fully registered and recover from this scenario, you can run the following steps:

    1. Install the .NET Framework 1.1 SP1 or a later version of the .NET Framework such as the .NET Framework 2.0
    2. Click on the Start menu, choose Run and type cmd
    3. From the cmd prompt, run %windir%\ehome\medctrro.exe /o /p RunOnce to complete Media Center registration that was previously skipped


  • Aaron Stebner's WebLog

    One root cause identified for protected content playback errors in Update Rollup 2 for Media Center 2005


    As I have previously described here and here, some folks have run into problems playing protected content after installing Update Rollup 2 for Media Center 2005.  Our team has identified one potential root cause for this problem and I wanted to outline it here.

    If you install Windows Media Player 10 after installing Update Rollup 2, the WMP 10 setup will revert some critical files related to digital rights management (DRM), and that will result in error messages that look like the following when trying to play protected content:

    Secure storage protection error dialog

    Ordinarily, there is no need to install Windows Media Player 10 on Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 because this version of Media Center already has this version of Windows Media Player.  However, we have seen some applications that include a copy of WMP 10 with their package, and unfortunately WMP 10 setup is not correctly handling a couple of cases where later versions of some files are already installed on the machine.

    We are working on a fix for Windows Media Player setup so that it will no longer revert DRM files like this in the future.  Also, we are working on a fix to restore DRM functionality without losing licenses.  I am not sure when either of these fixes will be ready, but I will post updates when I know more.

    If you have already installed WMP 10 after Update Rollup 2 and do not want to wait for the fixes we are working on, you can use the workaround in this Knowledge Base article to reset the DRM system on your machine.  There is one step that should be added to that article that is not there currently - before deleting the Windows Media DRM folder, you need to close any programs that might be holding files in that folder in use.  Specifically, make sure to close Media Player and Media Center, and run the command net stop ehRecvr to stop the Media Center Recording service immediately prior to trying to delete that folder.

    Please note also that resetting the DRM system will cause any previously acquired licenses to be lost, so you will have to reacquire them from the content providers or restore them using the license backup and restore feature in Windows Media Player (if you made backups prior to installing Update Rollup 2) to be able to play any pre-existing protected content.

    There is a new hotfix available as of 4/14/2006 that is designed to fix protected content playback issues in Update Rollup 2 for Media Center 2005.  Please try out this hotfix if you have DRM/protected content playback issues in Update Rollup 2.

    <update date="4/15/2006"> Added a link to a new DRM hotfix that is now available in case people find and read some of my older blog posts in an attempt to fix this type of issue </update>


  • Aaron Stebner's WebLog

    VS 2005 beta uninstall instructions are missing the MSDN Library


    A customer contacted me this week after reading my blog post about uninstalling beta builds of VS 2005 and the .NET Framework 2.0 in preparation for installing the final release.  After following the officially documented uninstall instructions, they tried to install the final release and were prompted to uninstall the MSDN Library for VS 2005.  When they tried to uninstall MSDN using the entry in Add/Remove Programs, the uninstall failed with a generic "fatal error" message and they were stuck with MSDN and could not install the final release of VS 2005 or the .NET Framework 2.0.  I took a look at the instructions page, and sure enough - it currently does not list the MSDN library in the set of VS 2005 uninstall instructions at the bottom.

    If possible, I recommend that instead of manually uninstalling that you use the automated removal tool that is linked to at the top of the uninstall instructions page.  The automated tool does include a step to uninstall MSDN if it is present on your machine so you will not have to worry about running into this problem.

    However, if you have already uninstalled all of the other parts of VS 2005, then the uninstall tool will fail to remove MSDN just like if you try to manually remove it using the entry in Add/Remove Programs.  The most reliable way to resolve the MSDN uninstall crash is to use the following steps:

    1. Re-install the .NET Framework 2.0 beta build
    2. Uninstall the MSDN for Visual Studio 2005 beta build from the Add/Remove Programs control panel
    3. Re-uninstall the .NET Framework 2.0 beta build

    If these steps do not work, you can also try to use steps similar to those located here for manually uninstalling programs that have uninstall bugs.

    I have mentioned this issue to the VS setup team and they are working on a refresh of that page to include the MSDN uninstall step.

    <update date="11/11/2005"> Added a link to make it easier to find the .NET Framework 2.0 beta 2 installer in case you need to re-install it to remove MSDN </update>


  • Aaron Stebner's WebLog

    Final official versions of VS 2005 Express Editions are now available!


    To accompany the VS and SQL 2005 launch event that happened today in San Francisco, the Visual Studio 2005 Express site has been updated to offer links to the final released version of the various Express Editions.  Here are some useful links to get started:

    Express Edition readme information

    Download locations for each Express Edition

    Getting started guide for each Express Edition


  • Aaron Stebner's WebLog

    How to specify the exact time for Media Center guide downloads


    I received a question from a customer today asking how they could update their Media Center television guide download time.  It had been set for 4:50am and they wanted to change it to some other time in order to not be woken up by a dialing modem sound.  I looked at the TweakMCE tool, but that didn't offer any configuration settings for guide download time.  Then I found the registry value that is used to control guide download time:

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center\Service\EPG]

    Unfortunately, the value in question is a REG_QWORD, so it is very difficult to manually change it to a specific time of your choosing.  Fortunately, the customer found out that there is a tool that Peter Rosser wrote that lets you specify the exact time that you want guide downloads to happen.  You can read about and download a copy of his tool at this location.

    Note that after you change the preferred Media Center guide download time, you will need to stop and restart the Media Center Scheduler service by running net stop ehsched and then net start ehsched (or if you'd prefer, by rebooting the computer).

    <update date="11/14/2005"> Added note that ehSched needs to be stopped and restarted for the time change to take effect </update>


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