Aaron Stebner's WebLog

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

My biography

My biography

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I currently work on the XNA team at Microsoft and have been working at the company since August 1999.  I have been on my current team since September 2007.  Prior to that, I worked on the following teams:

Along the way, I've worked on the following products (in descending order from most recent to least):

  • XNA Game Studio 4.0
  • Windows Phone Developer Tools
  • XNA Game Studio 3.1
  • XNA Game Studio 3.0
  • XNA Game Studio 2.0
  • .NET Framework 3.5
  • Visual Studio 2008
  • Windows Vista (because it included Windows Media Center, the .NET Framework 2.0 and the .NET Framework 3.0)
  • Update Rollup 2 for Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005
  • .NET Framework 3.0
  • .NET Framework 2.0
  • Visual Studio 2005
  • Windows XP Embedded SP2
  • Windows XP SP2
  • Windows Server 2003 (because it included the .NET Framework 1.1)
  • .NET Framework 1.1
  • Visual Studio .NET 2003
  • Windows XP Tablet PC Edition and Windows XP Media Center Edition (because both included the .NET Framework 1.0)
  • .NET Framework 1.0
  • Visual Studio .NET 2002

I grew up all over the country and graduated high school in Mansfield, Texas.  I went to college at the University of Oklahoma and graduated with a BS in computer science with minors in mathematics and economics.

Here is my Xbox gamertag information:

Here is my Xbox 360 Avatar:


Here is my Zune card:


  • FYI

    Yesterday, I downloaded .NET framework 2.0 from the Microsoft XP update site. BIG PROBLEMS with my apps.

    Windows started freezing (reminds me of typical WIN 98 problems). Windows Media Connect 2.0 failed. I had to completely remove the program and re-install it. Still failed. WIN XP very slow. PC is a P4 3.2, 1 Gb DDR2 RAM, 210 GB Maxtor HDD. No additional TSR programs running. My Wireless hub stopped transmitting ( DLINK 108 G). My Maxtor One Touch II (external USB) back up drive failed. Lots of problems here including some weird disabling of my anti-virus program. I found that my WIN XP firewall had changed, with some new ports opened...NOT BY ME!. I contacted Microsoft WIN XP support---> They blamed me for downloading the program- even though it was an automatic WINXP update.

    I contacted Maxtor customer support. They told me telephones have been ringing off the hook from upset Maxtor customers. The Dantz Retrospect HDD back up program included with the Maxtor One touch II back up HDD indicates that it lost all 212 restore points! I am a "little upset". I was told to uninstall .NET Framework 2.0 and reboot...and was told it was a common problem with this Microsoft download. Why didn't you put info in an FAQ? I checked first, didn't see any warning about the problems or I never would have downloaded this defective software.

    I uninstalled the .NET framework as requested by Maxtor tech support. I rebooted the computer and WIN XP home started acting "normally" again. I tried the Windows Media Connect 2 application. It failed again.

    I had to completely uninstall WMC 2.0 destroying many hours of work setting up my shared server directories from my server PC. A big mess. I cleaned out all temp directories, rebooted and re-installed WMC 2.0 and rebooted again.


    1) Dantz Retrospect working again, and I found my old restore points. It actually corrupted 4 restore points that I "did not make? - the dates and times did not fit in the actual HDD restore schecdule. It showed dates and times IN THE FUTURE? I deleted those restore points and defragged the drive.

    2) WIN XP same old self. Not as slow but crashes at about the same rate as it did before the .NET framerwork 2 update.

    3) Windows Media Connect 2.0 is working again. WMC also somehow found "most" of my shared media folders. It lost three large folders containing some media.

    4) I checked my WINXP firewall settings and set them back to pre .NET framework 2 state.

    5) My AntiVir antivirus program is working again.

    My wish: Microsoft would develop a STABLE Windows OS with NO bugs. I have tried using ONLY Microsoft apps. That doesn't work. Windows is just too unstable! Can you imagine what would happen if Windows was used as flight software on a passenger jet? What a mess that would be!

    Maybe Microsoft could come out with a minimal WINDOW program that does ONE application at a time with NO CRASHING? No fancy stuff, just one app with NO CRASHING?

  • I followed hyperlink above (BIO- Program Mgr with Microsoft Media Center)to Windows Media Center. I tried to get info on Windows Media Center newsletter. Hyperlink does not work? I need to get updates on this technology/applications.

    Currently, I am running DLINK DSM 320 RD "media lounge" connected via g 108 router (Dlink, DI 624) wi-fi network to my PC running WIN XP,Windows Media Connect server and Tversity media server.

    After many hours of work the system is running well.


    1) I wirelessly stream photos, music, videos, home security cameras and live radio and tv programs from my Internet connected PC to my home theater instead of using computer or regular tv.

    2) Super interface using media receiver hand held remote control in my "home theater" to select any media from my PC.

    3) I have about 1/2 terabyte of media stored on different storage devices on my pc; Consists of 8 hard drives with different media for each hard drive. example: music or sound from hard drive K, digital photos from hard drive J, videos from hard drive H.

    4) My hard drives can be easily swapped to another computer since they only hold data.

    5) I am using Tversity media server on my PC (free) (www.tversity.com) for streaming radio/TV, and radio scanner transmissions on the internet. I can easily watch live TV or listen to live radio from around the world in almost any language. No satellite dish or fooling around. All media is streamed via Tversity "free" on the Internet. I can also listen to live scanner type communications from airports, police and fire from cities all over the US and europe. Great fun.

    6) I send my home security camera images from a Quad switcher (from my hidden surveillance cameras around my residence) to my PC and wirelessly to my entertainment center. When someone approaches my residence. I can watch and listen to them while watching a DVD or enjoying other media and decide whether to answer the door using Picture in Picture (PIP) device. My system uses large video projected image as well as 700 watts of super sound through 6 speakers.

    very cool.

    CONS: No support from any of the software or hardware companies. I set up system on my own.

    I would like to see faster times for the TV and radio buffer from Tversity.

    I would like to see a GUI interface for Tversity. I uses only a command line set up at the server side, but I can still control functions via the remote control in my home theater. The buffer for the streaming content is way too slow. I like to "channel change" fast. It takes me about 1-5 minutes to go from live FM radio in Greece to live TV in Saudi Arabia. I would like much faster loading times.

    I would like to see more support from Microsoft support. I found excellent info from Barb Bowman at Microsoft but that is all that was helpful.

    Also I found general info at Microsoft Media Center severely lacking. Even though I have a good system running, it is not clear to me what the Microsoft Media capabilties are from just looking at your website. I have many unexplored opportunities with my system.

    FUTURE APP #1: I am currently trying a new application as follows: My neighbor across the street will be traveling on a vacation for a week. His house has been burglarized several times this year (typical for California). I am setting up some of my security cameras to also watch his house while he is gone. I am using high resolution 600 H line, lowlight level/ IR micro board cameras and I will be sending the security video of his house "live" to a website where he can watch while on his vacation. I set up the website and password for him. I am also sending live sound from a shotgun microphone so he can hear and see what is going on. All he needs is his notebook computer and an internet connection - he is using Wi-FI hot spots while on vacation.

    Future APP #2 I am arranging to have him do the same for me (security cameras at his house pointing at the outside of my residence)- if this system works. When I am on vacation I can watch my gardener, newspaper delivery, etc etc , exterior AND interior of my house etc..remotely and determine if I have any unwanted "visitors". Very cool. I have even thought of a way to use VOIP to talk to any visitor from my front door speaker while I am away. I need to figure out the time delays between video and audio first. I have one security camera watching my front door. Another camera is embedded in the front door using the "peep hole" lens.

    CONS: The Dlink DSM 320 RD software does not work "out of the box". No Dlink customer support. I use WMC 2.0, or Tversity media servers instead.

    Pros: 108 g works better than 54 g since I have many neighbors with Wi-Fi. The 108 g seems to handle packet collisions better.

  • "I contacted Microsoft WIN XP support---> They blamed me for downloading the program- even though it was an automatic WINXP update."

    This is why I dual-boot with Ubuntu Linux. Best system ever.
  • Hi Chris - I am very sorry for the response you received from WinXP support on this issue. If you are having trouble getting the .NET Framework 2.0 to install correctly, please contact me directly at aaronste@microsoft.com and I will try my best to help you.
  • Can you explain to me (as I'm new to working with Media Center) why when I'd installed MCE 2005 from my MSDN software download & also from the dvd supplied (June 2005 disc)the version states MCE Version 2002 SP2 from the system properties and not 2005. I'd discover this when I'd tried to run tweak mce and recieved the message:
    "The Media Center Power Toy can only be run on Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005."

    Am I not running MCE 2005? Your thoughts on this would be appreciated. Regards. rc
  • Hi Aaron
    Looks like your Daddy was justifably proud of you. I am proud of your accomplishments also.

    Delynda, in our office, found your stuff on the net so thought I would write and just say hello.

    We all wish you the very best.
    Al Adams
  • Hey Al! Great to hear from you, I appreciate the compliment. I hope all is well with you and your family...
  • Thought I should post something. My sister was asking me about a blog I had on the web a few weeks ago, and when I told her I never published a blog, she looked at me like I was crazy. I finally remembered to google my name tonight, and found your blog. Anyway, I'm Aaron Stebner too, but I live in Akron, OH and am a PhD Student in the college of engineering at The University of Akron. I do work in vibration analysis and control methods. I'm not sure if we're related up the line somewhere, but it's a small world...
  • Hey Aaron - that is too funny.  I've heard from a couple of people named Stebner since I started blogging, but you're the first one with Aaron as a first name  :-)  It would start to get scary if your sister is named Courtney like mine...My family is all from Michigan originally (at least as far back as I know of), so I wonder if we're related somewhere up the chain?
  • It is definitely possible. I know that my great-grandfather is from Boston Heights, OH, and quite a few of his sons went to different parts of the country including Florida and I think Oklahoma. My dad had a pretty good family tree drawn out a few years ago, I'll check with him the next time I see him and see what I can find out. My grandfather and his offspring all stayed in the NE Ohio region. My grandfather was Hugh, and I know he had a brother Orville but I don't remember the rest of his siblings' names off of the top of my head. Oh yeah.. my sister is Amy as is my grandmother. None of the relatives I've grown up around are named Courtney.
  • Hey Aaron - I'd like to see that family tree if you get a chance to send it to me via email.  My dad's family is all from the Saginaw, Michigan area, but I believe one of his grandparents came over from Europe and I'm not sure about the others....
  • I just spoke with my dad, and my Grandfather, Hugh, was actually born in Michigan. His father's name was Adolph, and my dad thinks he was born in Canada, and his parents came over from Germany, but he's not 100% positive. My dad said he'll get the family tree out sometime in the next few days, he was in the car when I talked to him. I'll keep you posted.
  • Hey Aaron - I asked my dad for info about what he knows about his side of the family too.  His grandmother (my great grandmother, who is still alive and just turned 100 a couple of weeks ago) was briefly married to my grandfather's father, but I don't know anything about him other than that his last name was Stebner.  I always grew up knowing her 2nd husband as my great grandfather (and my dad grew up knewing him as his grandfather).  That would be interesting if our paths crossed somewhere up the family tree...
  • Hey you seem to know your stuff. Could you help me out with my problem?

    So I was checking out how to get music, videos, and pictures from my PC to the Xbox 360. Apparently, I needed Microsoft Windows Media Connect. And I need to download it from " http://www.xbox.com/en-US/pcsetup/ ". So I go through the downloading process, and at the end of the setup I am told that I need the .NET Framework installed. So after a little bit of searching around on the net, I finally download the " Microsoft .NET Framework SDK (English) 1.1 ". After a VERY long time, the download is complete. I re-run the setup for the Microsoft Windows Media Connect, and yet the same message comes up telling me I need the .NET Framework installed. What do I do now?
  • Hi Aaron,

    hope you're doing well.

    I came across your blog while searching for troubleshooting information while installing .net framework 1.1

    I am a photographer in India & use Nikon Capture NX to process my images.

    I bought a new Compaq laptop which has an AMD Turion X2 processor & comes pre-loaded with Windows Vista Home Basic.

    The Capture NX[http://support.nikontech.com/cgi-bin/nikonusa.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.php?p_faqid=14187&p_sid=6Kdpc4zi&p_lva=61#] software I use requires .net framework 1.1 to be installed. If not already installed it is automatically installed before Capture NX is installed by the installer and only then is the capture software installed.

    Here is where I am facing issues. Almost at the end of the .net framework 1.1 installation some exception occurs & rollback is performed. Thus aborting the Nikon software's installation too.

    I am not too well versed with the system side of windows & so your blog [http://blogs.msdn.com/astebner/archive/2005/08/23/455401.aspx] did not make much sense to me, although I knew something of this kind is what is happening to me.

    Would appreciate if you could help me out in this. Thanks a ton in advance.



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