Fixing problems can give you a glimpse of something terrible
secretGeek .:dot Nuts about dot Net:.
home .: about .: sign up .: sitemap .: secretGeek RSS

Fixing problems can give you a glimpse of something terrible

I was over at a friend's place today, and there was much swearing about F***ing Vista, and "F***ing Microsoft" because he couldn't get Live Messenger to install succesfully on Vista (Home Premium).

Live Messenger is one of the main things he uses on the computer -- so its broken state meant that a large portion of his investment in a new computer was total waste. Very frustrating stuff.

My friend was pretty certain that I wouldn't be able to fix the problem, because:

  1. he'd spent a long time on it himself (he has a macgyver-like ability to solve problems)
  2. another friend, who is a talented and successful sysadmin had spent many hours trying to fix the problem.

In fact, he was so certain I would fail that he made this generous offer:

If I succeeded at getting Messenger to work on his computer, he would give me the opportunity to take a photo of his fresh new vasectomy wound, and share that photo with the readers of this blog. Seriously.

Too good to pass up, I cracked my knuckles and sat down at the computer.

Well, i tried to diagnose the problem, and i was stonewalled immediately.

The Live Installer (WLInstaller.exe) was failing, and giving no reason, no detail, no error code -- nothing you could use for "direct" troubleshooting.

Worse still, there was absolutely no evidence in the event log.

That was a pretty big fail, on the part of WLInstaller.exe. As usual, I'd like to take a baseball bat to the live team. But Vista didn't seem to be to blame at all.

It is far too easy to blame the Operating System whenever there's a problem on the machine. Does Vista deserve to be cut some slack? Maybe just innocent until proven guilty would be a fair place to start from.

I had momentary visions of using (sysinternals) Process Monitor and Fiddler to see what was really going on. But then I took my usual troubleshooting tactic: JFGI.

Turns a lot of people have trouble installing Messenger if they're behind a proxy.

The file 'WLInstaller.exe' is just a shim that is supposed to grab the real installer files from the internet. But if your machine is behind a certain type of proxy (I don't know what type in particular) then it won't be able to download the real installer files (the .msi).

This forum post, "Install WLinstaller.exe via proxy in Windows Live Messenger", gave a link to download the .msi file directly, and bypass using the broken WLInstaller.

It worked a treat.

You will be pleased to know that I declined the ensuing photo opportunity. I can only imagine that you missed out on seeing something like this.





'lb' on Sun, 27 Jul 2008 11:01:08 GMT, sez:

Oh -- and that article i linked to at the end, was found courtesy of Jeff Atwood on twitter. Sickening stuff Jeff, sickening stuff.



'Haacked' on Sun, 27 Jul 2008 18:45:30 GMT, sez:

Uh, I'm hesitant to ask what is it about you that your friend would think *that* is such a great reward?



'OJ' on Sun, 27 Jul 2008 19:27:01 GMT, sez:

I'm with Haacked. If a mate offered me the chance to see his severed nads as a reward for fixing his machine I'd laugh nervously and change the subject.

:)

On a more serious note, could you have gotten away with installing another MSN client?



'Jon Schneider' on Mon, 28 Jul 2008 12:46:29 GMT, sez:

I ran into a similar issue as well recently trying to install Live Writer from behind my proxy server on my work laptop (http://blog.jonschneider.com/2008/04/fix-windows-live-writer-install-we.html). My workaround ended up being to just take the laptop home and install from there.

Seems like the QA folks on the Live team could benefit from adding "user is behind a proxy server" to their test matrix. (The developers should have this case in mind too, of course!)

I wonder how your MacGyver-like friend missed finding the issue with his own JFGI attempt, assuming he made one? Pasting an unfamiliar error message into Google (or the executable name or and any other relevant information in cases where no error message is available, as with the case you encountered) is such a low-cost, potentially-high-benefit (i.e. finding the solution immediately) approach to troubleshooting that it's almost always the first thing I try these days.



'none' on Tue, 29 Jul 2008 18:18:26 GMT, sez:

JFGI, the Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis fixes installs?




name


website (optional)


enter the word:
 

comment (HTML not allowed)


All viewpoints welcome. Incivility is not tolerated, such comments are deleted.

 

I'm the co-author of TimeSnapper, a life analysis system that stores and plays-back your computer use. It makes timesheet recording a breeze, helps you recover lost work and shows you how to sharpen your act.

 

NimbleText - FREE text manipulation and data extraction

NimbleText is a Powerful FREE Tool

I wrote this, and use it every day for:

  • extracting data from text
  • manipulating text
  • generating code

It makes you look awesome. You should use NimbleText, you handsome devil!

 

Articles

The Canine Pyramid The Canine Pyramid
Humans: A Tragedy. Humans: A Tragedy.
ACK! ACK!
OfficeQuest... Gamification for the Office Suite OfficeQuest... Gamification for the Office Suite
New product launch: NimbleSET New product launch: NimbleSET
Programming The Robot from Diary of a Wimpy Kid Programming The Robot from Diary of a Wimpy Kid
Happy new year 2014 Happy new year 2014
Downtime as a service Downtime as a service
The Shape of Your Irrationality The Shape of Your Irrationality
This is why I don't go to nice restaurants any more. This is why I don't go to nice restaurants any more.
A flowchart of what programmers do at work all day A flowchart of what programmers do at work all day
The Telepresent Man. The Telepresent Man.
Interview with an Ex-Microsoftie. Interview with an Ex-Microsoftie.
CRUMBS! Commandline navigation tool for Powershell CRUMBS! Commandline navigation tool for Powershell
Little tool for making Amazon affiliate links Little tool for making Amazon affiliate links
Extracting a Trello board as markdown Extracting a Trello board as markdown
hgs: Manage Lots of Mercurial Projects Simultaneously hgs: Manage Lots of Mercurial Projects Simultaneously
You Must Get It! You Must Get It!
AddDays: A Very Simple Date Calculator AddDays: A Very Simple Date Calculator
Google caught in a lie. Google caught in a lie.
NimbleText 2.0: More Than Twice The Price! NimbleText 2.0: More Than Twice The Price!
A Computer Simulation of Creative Work, or 'How To Get Nothing Done' A Computer Simulation of Creative Work, or 'How To Get Nothing Done'
NimbleText 1.9 -- BoomTown! NimbleText 1.9 -- BoomTown!
Line Endings. Line Endings.
**This** is how you pivot **This** is how you pivot
Art of the command-line helper Art of the command-line helper
Go and read a book. Go and read a book.
Slurp up mega-traffic by writing scalable, timeless search-bait Slurp up mega-traffic by writing scalable, timeless search-bait
Do *NOT* try this Hacking Script at home Do *NOT* try this Hacking Script at home
The 'Should I automate it?' Calculator The 'Should I automate it?' Calculator

Archives Complete secretGeek Archives

TimeSnapper -- Automated Screenshot Journal TimeSnapper: automatic screenshot journal

25 steps for building a Micro-ISV 25 steps for building a Micro-ISV
3 minute guides -- babysteps in new technologies: powershell, JSON, watir, F# 3 Minute Guide Series
Universal Troubleshooting checklist Universal Troubleshooting Checklist
Top 10 SecretGeek articles Top 10 SecretGeek articles
ShinyPower (help with Powershell) ShinyPower
Now at CodePlex

Realtime CSS Editor, in a browser RealTime Online CSS Editor
Gradient Maker -- a tool for making background images that blend from one colour to another. Forget photoshop, this is the bomb. Gradient Maker



[powered by Google] 

How to be depressed How to be depressed
You are not inadequate.



Recommended Reading


the little schemer


The Best Software Writing I
The Business Of Software (Eric Sink)

Recommended blogs

Jeff Atwood
Joseph Cooney
Phil Haack
Scott Hanselman
Julia Lerman
Rhys Parry
Joel Pobar
OJ Reeves
Eric Sink

InfoText - amazing search for SharePoint
LogEnvy - event logs made sexy
Computer, Unlocked. A rapid computer customization resource
Aussie Bushwalking
BrisParks :: best parks for kids in brisbane
PhysioTec, Brisbane Specialist Physiotherapy & Pilates
 
home .: about .: sign up .: sitemap .: secretGeek RSS .: © Leon Bambrick 2006 .: privacy

home .: about .: sign up .: sitemap .: RSS .: © Leon Bambrick 2006 .: privacy