It always seems to happen like this…


I’m presenting at the Microsoft Academic Faculty Summit 2004 on Monday, so what’s the worst possible thing that could happen late Friday afternoon ? – yep, you guessed it, a total machine meltdown, I have no clue what happened, I was uninstalling ActiveSync 3.7.1 to install a “dogfood” build of ActiveSync – the uninstall froze and could only be killed through task manager, the hard drive was going nuts… Once I killed the A/S uninstall most of the contents of my hard drive had gone missing (good job all my current projects are tucked up safely in SourceSafe) – Add/Remove programs still showed everything as being installed – most of the programs I wanted to “repair” or “re-install” wouldn’t.


So now it’s about 8:30pm on Friday night, and I need a fully operational laptop for Monday morning – and, I’m moving offices next week (over to building 118) so also need to finish packing – everything just seems to happen at once, right ?


There’s nothing for it but to wipe the Toshiba M200 and re-install everything from the ground up… me thinks this is going to be a long night… How does that make me feel? a bit like this I guess


The total install time from O/S through to all the development tools was about eight hours – I made it home at about 4:30am – I’m thinking there must be a better way to do this… I might spent a few of your earth hours pulling a mixture of ScriptIt and a host app together to see if I can automate a complete machine install from a product server – eMbedded Visual C++, Platform Builder, Virtual PC 2004, Windows XP Embedded, Visual SourceSafe etc… – the number of times I need to re-image machines for conferences this tool would be a lifesaver… I will let you know how I get on…


Oh, and the worst thing about the whole incident… Starbucks doesn’t open until 5am !!!


– Mike


Comments (5)

  1. David Cumps says:

    One way to be a bit safer is to do a clean install and then make a ghost image out of it, that way you can start over any time without the time spent on installing things.

    Ok you still loose all of your content, but when you need to format everything is gone as well

    But I admit, it would be sweet to somehow be able to automate a full install with various applications

  2. Mike says:

    Yeah, I’d thought about Ghosting, that would be ok for my laptop (since I know the hardware config isn’t going to change) – when I’m setting up the "Master PC" for a conference before Ghosting, that’s the time consuming part – Ghosting isn’t going to work in this situation because you don’t know what the hardware config is going to be…

    – Mike

  3. Simon says:

    I think this is a case of that version of the activesync install being set to remove everything in the install directory – but the install directory was set to Program Files or the root of the drive.

    I’ve seen it happen before with other applications like that…

  4. System Restore? says:

    One of the many wonderful features of XP that Microsoft undersells (and people sticking on older versions of Windows miss out on :-P) is "System Restore" — accessible from Start/Accessories/System Tools or simply Help & Support. Would this have not worked in your case Mike? Too many parts of the OS deleted?

  5. Mike says:

    I think in this case the laptop was hosed, I couldn’t add/remove anything from Control Panel – I’ve used System Restore a couple of times when I’ve installed 3rd party drivers that haven’t worked correctly – thanks for the suggestion though…

    – Mike