The case of the software that broke: VS2012 & Office 15

FreakOutAndBreakStuffIt always seems to happen.  Software that worked just yesterday no longer works and you have a big deadline or deliverable due that hinges on that software.  That’s what happened to me on Thursday night and here is my harrowing tale of how Visual Studio 2012 (Release Candidate) stopped working when I had a big presentation to give on the following Friday morning…

Murphy’s Law is real.  I swear it is.  It has to be.  Anytime you have a big deliverable due, something breaks, crashes or gets in the way of you getting it done.  Stress, hair-wringing and teeth-gnashing ensues.

That’s what happened to me last Thursday evening.  I’ve been using Visual Studio 2012 Release Candidate for a while now.  To me, it’s an awesome development environment and easily the most fluid app development experience I’ve had.  I’ve never had it crash on me (hey, it’s pre-release software so there is an expectation that it might hang) and it always worked like a charm.  Until Thursday night, that is.  I had a presentations on HTML5 and Windows 8 to give on Friday morning so as part of my final demo checks, I fired up VS2012 and that’s when it happened.  VS2012 did not load up and instead I received the following, very cryptic error message in a pop up window:

devenv.exe - Entry Point Not Found

The procedure entry point _Atomic_fetch_sub_4 could not be located in the dynamic link library <WHATEVER PATH YOU HAVE>.

Umm, yeah.  That’s unnerving and completely unwelcome on Thursday night before a big presentation.  And just what the heck is an “_Atomic_fetch_sub_4” entry point anyway?!?

I thought, “OK, I’ll just uninstall VS2012 and re-install it”, thinking it must have been corrupted.  After I had re-installed it, I happily fired up VS2012 again only to go through the teeth gnashing again when the error popped up once more.

The thought that went through my mind was “I might be screwed…”.  But then clearer thoughts prevailed and I searched the error on Bing.  Luckily, I found an answer:

If you have already installed VS2012 Release Candidate on your machine and then install the Office 15 Preview, it will break your VS2012 instance.  The good news is that there is an update for VS2012 that fixes this (I had no idea about this breaking change so I thought I’d share it with you).  You can install the July Update for VS2012 Release Candidate here.

Crisis averted, I conducted my presentation and demos without any further hiccups. 

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