Tired of trying to install Expression Web 2 over and over again only to have the installation crash with an unhandled exception error? Sick of seeing the dialog “An What1unknown error has occurred” during Expression Web 2 setup? No, it won’t cost you $19.95 plus shipping and there are no easy payments needed. Below is a list of some of the known reasons why the installation of Expression Web 2 can go south on you, ending in one of these cryptic crashes. Keep in mind that if you can get a log file of the failed installation, that will help you identify what’s going on. Most crashes in the setup phase of Expression Web 2 are going to be related to the .NET Framework 3.5 or .NET Framework 2.0, though this will not be the case for all.

Case 1 – Bad install of the .NET Framework 3.5 or Framework 2.0

Description: This scenario may be the easiest to resolve as it just involves removing the .NET Framework 3.5 from Add/Remove Programs (Programs and Features on Windows Vista) in the Control Panel and then allowing the Expression Web 2 setup to install Framework 3.5 as part of the setup process.

Solution: For crashes in the setup program, this is almost always where to start. If a removal and reinstall of Framework 3.5 does not resolve the problem, try the following to resolve, in order:

1. Download Aaron Stebner’s .NET Framework Cleanup tool either from here or from here. The cleanup tool is publicly available and the user’s guide can be found here.

Steps for using the .NET Framework Cleanup tool:

  • Open the downloaded ZIP file and run the cleanup_tool.exe. You must agree to a license agreement and then you should see main cleanup utility screen with a drop-down box. Select .NET Framework 3.5 from the list and click the Cleanup Now button.
  • After this is finished, restart the machine if the tool asks for a restart and try the install of Expression Web 2 again. If the installation succeeds you don’t need to go onto step 2, though I highly recommend it. You should always install the latest service packs for your software.

2. Install service pack 1 for .NET Framework 3.5. This can be downloaded from here: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=AB99342F-5D1A-413D-8319-81DA479AB0D7&displaylang=en

If installing SP1 for .NET Framework 3.5 does not resolve the Expression Web 2 installation problem, check to see if you have Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 installed. If so, try removing it after you uninstall Framework 3.5.

Note: If you have removed Framework 3.5 and you receive an error saying that .NET Framework 2.0 cannot be uninstalled because it would affect other applications that are installed, remove .NET Framework 3.5 and 3.0 first, then uninstall Framework 2.0. If you still get the same error, you can remove the following registry key (per the following MSDN blog http://blogs.msdn.com/astebner/archive/2006/05/16/599565.aspx):

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft \.NETFramework\v2.0.50727\SBSDisabled

and/or

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft \.NETFramework\v2.0.50727 SP1\SBSDisabled

If you are receiving an error during the installation or uninstall of the .NET Framework 2.0, refer to the following Microsoft KB article:

Framework 2.0 manual Removal - http://support.microsoft.com/kb/908077

or, Aaron Stebner’s blog: How to manually clean up a failed .NET 2.0 install - http://blogs.msdn.com/astebner/archive/2005/04/16/408856.aspx


Case 2 –
You may have uninstalled .NET Framework 3.5 Service Pack 1 and then installed Windows Vista SP1

Description: This scenario may not affect many people, however it has been seen in at least one situation. If you have had Service Pack 1 installed for .NET Framework 3.5, uninstalled it and installed Windows Vista SP1, then tried to install Expression Web 2 the install may crash on you. A log file will show a line identical to the one below, though the public key token may vary:

Error: Exception has been thrown by the target of an invocation.Could not load type 'MS.Internal.ResourceIDHelper' from assembly 'WindowsBase, Version=3.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=31bf3856ad364e35'.

Solution: Reinstall .NET Framework 3.5 Service Pack 1, then reinstall Expression Web 2


Case 3 – Check the Windows\Fonts folder for anything out of place

Description: If you click on the link of the error dialog that says “what does this error report contain” you will see the exception details:

Error Signature

Event Type: clr20r3 P1: xsetup.exe P2: 2.0.133.0 P3: 480e9622

P4: xsetup P5: 2.0.133.0 P6: 480e9622 P7: 199d P8: 39

P9: system.typeinitialization

Or if your error log says anything about system.typeinitialization, you should check the Windows\Fonts folder.

Solution: In one confirmed case, the installation was crashing because the Arial Narrow font was not actually present in the Fonts folder. Instead, the user had a shortcut to the Arial Narrow font which pointed to an invalid location. How this happened in the first place we aren’t sure, but deleting the shortcut allowed Windows to automatically replace the font from the backup file cache and setup succeeded normally afterward.

You can also switch to a Details view to view the files in the fonts folder and look for any files that have a size of 0 KB – this would indicate a possibly damaged font file. If deleting the file doesn’t work or is replaced by another zero-byte font file then this may indicate a problem with that particular sector of the hard drive. In that case, click START and in the RUN command line type CMD. From the black command prompt window type CHKDSK /F and hit ENTER – it will say the volume is in use and that you will need to reboot the machine. Reboot and allow the check disk scan to take place. It should be able to find any broken chains, bad clusters or sectors and repair them. After it is finished, look back in the Windows\Fonts folder and check the font files to see if the file is still at 0 KB.

Last but not Least – Remember that setup support for Microsoft Expression Web and Expression Studio is always free and doesn’t count against any support incidents that may come with your software. If you’ve become overly frustrated with the problem, give Microsoft support a call and have a case set up. The support engineers will be able to get your installation back on track.

-Will Buffington