.NET 2.0 and Visual Studio 2005 Patches will Required MSI 3.1

.NET 2.0 and Visual Studio 2005 Patches will Required MSI 3.1

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The .NET Framework 2.0 and Visual Studio 2005, along with SQL Server 2005 and BizTalk Server 2006, will be officially launched November 7th. .NET and Visual Studio, at least, will require that you have Windows Installer 3.0 installed on Windows NT-based platforms, including Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows 2003, and newer. If you have Windows XP SP2 installed you have at least Windows Installer 3.0. If you have Windows 2003 SP1 installed, or you have Windows XP or Windows 2003 for x64 then you already have at least Windows Installer 3.1.

For reasons that affect servicing, patches for .NET and the Visual Studio line of products including the future release of Team System will require Windows Installer 3.1. Downloading Windows Installer 3.1 and installing it now may save you trouble later and .NET and Visual Studio will still install correctly since Windows Installer does a good job of being backward compatible, at least as far as Windows Installer 2.0 in terms of some behavior.

And speaking of Windows Installer 2.0, Windows 98 and Me users are required to have Windows Installer 2.0 installed. Both shipped with Windows Installer 1.2 so you'll need to download Windows Installer 2.0.

In both cases the setup bootstrap will provide a link to download the appropriate version of Windows Installer - either 2.0 on 9x or 3.0 on NT - if you don't already have it installed.

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  • While preparing the next blog entry, I ran across a page detailing which versions of Windows Installer ship with which versions of Windows in an area of the Windows Installer SDK I don't normally browse. See http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/en-us/msi/setup/released_versions_of_windows_installer.asp for more information.
  • > Downloading Windows Installer 3.1 and
    > installing it now may save you trouble later

    I agree with that 100%, especially since one prerelease version of Visual Studio 2005 (forgot if it was beta 2 or one of the CTPs) requires Windows Installer 3.1 instead of 3.0.

    So, where is a version of Windows Installer 3.1 that will agree to install itself onto Windows XP SP2 checked build?

    One of your colleagues didn't understand the difference between 3.0 and 3.1 until I explained it several times, and then another of your colleagues understood it and also understood that the ordinary version refuses to install itself onto a checked build, but he simply said that the checked version isn't available. Guess why I don't remember for sure which preview version of Visual Studio 2005 it was that couldn't be installed because of this, and I haven't tried later versions.

    Now you're surely as interested in finding it as I am. Can you say where MSDN subscribers can get it?
  • Norman, please keep in mind that Microsoft is very diverse and expertise varies from person to person. This is true of many organizations, of course.

    I'm not aware of any publicly available checked redistributable for Windows Installer 3.1. I will try to find out for sure.

    The servicing team was pushing for MSI 3.1 but since this is not as widely deployed as MSI 3.0 (as the minimum, at least) a reboot would most likely be necessary for many users so they decided against it.

    Microsoft Update does require MSI 3.1, however, so it's likely that most users installing our patches will already have MSI 3.1.
  • Norman, we don't offer checked redistributable builds but if you want public symbols for retail builds see http://blogs.msdn.com/heaths/archive/2005/04/27/412658.aspx.
  • I'm not asking for symbols, I'm asking for Windows Installer 3.1. When one of the Visual Studio prereleases came out (as mentioned I forgot which one), it started by trying to install Windows Installer 3.1, and it refused to proceed to install Visual Studio itself unless Windows Installer 3.1 was in. The only crash box I had available at the time was a newly installed Windows XP SP2 checked build, where I hadn't yet installed a driver that I was experimenting with, so I thought it would be a convenient place to try out that prerelease of Visual Studio. That turned out to be wrong. Windows Installer 3.1 refused to install itself onto a checked build.

    > Microsoft is very diverse

    Except in the way it crushes the marketplace and reneges on warranties. OK, back to the main issue.

    > and expertise varies

    Sure, but you're pushing MSI 3.1 AND I'M AGREEING WITH YOU. I want MSI 3.1. I want a version of Windows Installer 3.1 that will agree to install itself onto a checked build of Windows XP SP2 (or Windows Server 2003 SP1), so that I can proceed next to install Visual Studio onto it. Even though some parts of Microsoft (diverse as you say) don't understand the value of finding some of their bugs and how a checked build would help them find their bugs if they would test their stuff on a checked build, I do understand it and I sometimes try to test my stuff on checked builds.
  • Norman, I wanted to let you know that we're looking to address this problem and that you should expect a new post in the near future regarding this issue.
  • Thank you. I think I raised the issue with MSDN about 3 months ago so it's good news that it will be addressed.
  • I have 2 workstations running XP Professional with SP2.  Some of the programs installed in these workstations included Office 2000 SR3, FrontPage 2003, etc.

    In preparation for migrating to .net 2, I went to Microsoft's site and did an update. In that process, MSI 3.1 was installed.  Immediately afterwards, I encounter HUGE issues with all programs in BOTH workstations that use previous versions of msi. Examples of problems I encountered:

    1. IIS loaded but shows NO server list.

    2. Doubling clicking a chart in Powerpoint 2000 caused a server application error. The message box asked if I wanted to re-install the component. I clicked 'Yes' and received a 1601 installer error.

    3. The wireless network icon disappears from the Notification Area of the task bar; other workstations in the domain could no longer communicate with these two workstations.

    4. Norton Antivirus icon disappears from the Notification Area of the task bar and refused to run even when access from 'Programs' Error message indicating that various options were not properly installed shows up instead.

    The list just goes on and on.  I tried methods suggested in KB315346 but they didn't help.  In the end, I had to do a Repair directly from Windows Installation CD and revert everything back to MSI 3.0, then everything works just fine.

    I have spent the past 6 days using a third test machine (same configuration as the other 2) to try to install VWD2005 Express Edition, SQL2005 Express Edition, etc.  Everything works fine until I'm asked to install MSI 3.1, and the same problems popped up once MSI 3.1  (or MSI 3.1 V2) has been installed.

    This is just driving me nuts and I'm wondering if anyone can shed light into this situation.


    A Very Frustrated Want-To-Migrate-To-2.0-But-Can't-Programmer
  • JWong, sorry to hear about all the troubles. Installing MSI 3.1v2 shouldn't have any effect on things like IIS, since IIS is an operating system component installed using a different technology for Windows components and patches, but something else might be happening under the surface - though I admit I've never seen these.

    The issues with Office are definitely peculiar. The MSI team typically does a lot of work to remain backward compatible, but something is apparently not working. Unfortunately there is little I can do to help you with specific problems regarding the MSI engine. I would recommend contacting Product Support Services at http://support.microsoft.com and they will work with the appropriate teams to help solve these issues.

    Keeping in mind that I appreciate what you're going through, Developer Division Setup and Servicing test many scenarios including those like yours. Unfortunately we can't test every possibility. In your first paragraph, though, you mentioned that MSI was one of the updates. Do you remember (and you can look in the install history for Windows Update or Microsoft Update, too) what else you installed? This information could also greatly help Product Support Services.

    The reason we require MSI 3.1v2 is because of some problems introduced in MSI 3.0 as a feature. This was one thing that did break backward compatibility and something that affected patching for complex product installs like .NET and especially VS. We wanted .NET itself to require MSI 3.1v2 but that would've required an extra reboot and no one felt that was an optimal user experience.
  • Thanks Heath.

    Over the past 48 hours, I have:

    1. Reformatted my drive and did a total and complete reinstallation of Windows XP SP2 plus ALL software, except NAV2005 (I heard from others that it could be the source of the problem).

    2. When to Microsoft.com, did all the updates, including installer 3.1.

    3. Worked on the system for a day, everything SEEMS to work fine.

    4. Went and bought myself VS2005 Standard Edition.

    5. Installed VS2005 - BUT ERROR OCCURS WHEN INSTALLING SQL2005 EXPRESS.  The log is as follows:  

    [03/13/06,15:20:08] Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Express Edition x86: [2] Component Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Express Edition x86 returned an unexpected value.

    6. Restart the computer - AND THE PROBLEMS SERVICED ALL OVER AGAIN!!!!

    7. Went and checked RPC Service. It says 'Started,' but all the buttons (Start, Stop, Pause. . .) are greyed out. When I clicked the 'Dependencies' tab, I get "Win32: Access Denied."  Same thing happens to all other services that are related to RPC  (e.g.: TCP/IP NetBios Helper).  All of them yielded the "Win32: Access Denied" message when I clicked on their respective 'Dependencies' tab.

    This is just getting out of hand.  I'm a small time consultant. The days I don't work, I don't get paid. It's going on 9 days now and I have not done a thing for any of my clients because of this issue. The cost of upgrading to .net 2 is getting prohibitive!!!!

  • JWong, please contact Microsoft Product Support Services (PSS) at http://support.microsoft.com. That error is not helpful and full verbose logs will need to be collected and analyzed. If this is determined to be an error with Windows Installer then the issue will be escalated to the appropriate team, such as the Windows Installer team.

    All buttons for the RPC service are also disabled on my machine as is typical. It's likely that with other issues a deeper problem is going on but I cannot, unfortunately, be much help for all system problems. PSS will better analyze and route your issue accordingly.
  • Hi Heath:

    Well, after $245 and 2 days of working with PSS, it is finally determined that it was NOT the MSI 3.1 installer, but one of the recent security updates, that caused all my problems.  Specifically, something in the domain group policy is preventing the Com+ components to load.

    The solution PSS came up with is for me to put my work station into an Organization Unit and then disable inheritance of domain group policy for that OU. That seems to have solved the problem and everything is working okay for the past 3 days.

    Having said that - and not being picky - I must add that PSS was NOT able to explain WHY this is happening, whether this is a BUG in the security update (which I suspect it is), or how rare/common the situation is  ("Yes, we've seen a few cases" was the response when asked). And, needless to say, I was NOT able to get my money back "it is probably not a bug but something else with the domain" (although they couldn't pin-point what that 'something' is).

    Thanks for all your help again. I thought I should let you my experience in case you run across other people who have the same problem.
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