Let’s just Blame Windows.

Adobe Premiere and Photoshop are a critical part of the application set I use daily to produce videos and online content. Therefore, I (actually Microsoft) owns an Adobe Production Premium to edit and create all my thegeekstories.com

Some months ago, I installed a beta of Adobe Soundbooth CS3. And a beta of Adobe Premiere Pro CS3. In retrospect, probably this was the root cause of my headache.

Having installed my new Production Premium on my Vista laptop; Setup.exe brings up a notice that SoundBooth CS3 could not be installed as I had previously used a Beta. OK, using the Adobe supplied WinCS3Clean script (written in Python, BTW), I de-installed everything and attempted to install a fresh.

No go. None of the applications that make up the Suite would install. “Components Failed to Install”

Reading the installer help support files suggests using msconfig.exe to restart without startup applications; no go. Restart in safe mode (F8 at startup) and install. No go. Move the installer DVDs (4x) onto the hard drive and install from this image. No go.

This time, it is my usual practise has been to “blame the OS” (note: even the install notes for Creative Suite CS3 on MacOS X runs to 23 individual points!) . Launch the Setup.exe as Administrator. No go. Run WinCS3Clean as Administrator, and use the Windows Install Clean Up. No go. Log into the Microsoft network just in case there is some weird Group Policy thing on my account. No go. 

Finally, I stumble across this on the Adobe support site: “License has Expired” . Right; my serial number has already been recorded and the apps cannot be installed again. Whilst not the exact error I was seeing, it seemed to be where I was ultimately at as the next step.

It worked.

What the? I notice that there are a couple of steps prior to removing this file. Re-installing onto another PC “as a test” and most probably re-installing your whole OS . If I hadn’t removed this cache file, I may have resorted to a complete OS re-install step.

The problem ultimately was Adobe’s draconian and flawed install process. Not the OS. I want my 24 hours of lost productivity back, please.

If I had reinstalled the OS, yes the problem would have been fixed. But it’s like opening an almond nut with a H2 Hummer going at 100. It will surely solve the problem; but lesser force and better information earlier can open the nut, too. And save lots of time and a barrell or two of oil.

Oh, and as a part of my near scorch the earth clean up, I de-installed Acrobat 8 Professional. Having not used Professional for anything apart from reading PDFs in the last 6 months, I am not going to re-install it.  Using the .xps format printing out stuff I need to keep is great.

How does someone who doesn’t have a day to install software navigate this? How does someone who hasn’t been installing Windows and Adobe applications for 10+ years get through this?

Parallels 1884 Vista Quick Notes (and update)

Download the 21Mb update to Parallels (to build 1884)

Boot Windows XP to ensure all is OK before I install Vista. Windows XP “seems” to boot a little faster. Unable to quantify exactly how much.

Backup existing 15Gb Windows XP .hdd, just in case. Create a new 15Gb image to install Vista into.

Pararllels settings:

Parallels settings

Install into the fresh 15Gb image, 1024Mb of RAM allocated to image. Vista is marked at (experimental) as OS. Installing onto a MacBook Pro with 2Gb of RAM and MacOS X 10.4.7

  • Beta 2 Build 5384 DVD (thanks, Frank Arrigo at Microsoft Australia)
  • Started install at 11:05am
  • Vista install auto-restarted at 11:35
  • Vista install auto-restarted at 11:43am
  • Questions (location, time, username) at 11:46am
  • Vista install auto-restarted at 11:47am
  • Into Vista Beta 2 at 11:50am
  • Install Parallels Tools from the Parallels VM menu. Note that these don’t seem to be signed drivers, so ignore all the warnings and install away
  • Manual Vista Restart
  • On restart, if the “Welcome Center” doesn’t appear, choose it from the Start menu. Click on Add Hardware.
  • Vista found network card, and automatically configured network. Also note that Vista also finds “PCI Bridge Device” which I asked Vista to ignore
  • Restart; Vista found network card, and automatically configured network. Note that the Network Adaptor settings for the Parallels VM set “Bridged” worked OK

In short, it works. Note that I haven’t stress tested this; and the Parallels guys say its experimental. Beta OS on experimental hypervisor virtualization. Your mileage may actually turn into inchage quickly.

vista login

Vista Desktop first questions

RC1 Note from 8:20pm

You cannot install Vista RC1 on Parallels. Bugger. ISO, DVD burnt or upgrade from Beta 2 to RC1. None of these paths work.

***STOP: 0x000000A5 (0x0001000B, 0x50434146, etc)

The ACPI Bios in this system is not fully compliant to the specification. Please read the Readme.txt for possible workarounds, or contact your system vendor for an updated bios.”

WindowsXP Reinstall

What a few days. My Windows XP install on the Dell has been unstable for a few months; and I thought I had managed to recover XP enough to have a stable platform. Unfortunately, on Friday night it finally exploded. Also two Outlook .pst files went west (thank goodness for backups!). Completely erased the hard drive, reinstalled XP, and all the required updates. Sometime between installing these updates and the virus checker, I was infected with a ping-flooding virus. All is cool now. Just recovering the final pieces now.