Visual Basic .NET Nightmare or Guide to upgrading a Guru

Part Deux

Page 5

Installation Interruptions

It’s not always about just about upgrading VB. Upgrading the guru can require hardware & software upgrades. As it turns out before I even finished page 4 I’d already been tossed around from one maddening dreamscape to another surrounding the overall system.

What do I mean? I don’t call it a nightmare for no particular reason. It can be just that. And it’s my hope, if you get here in time, to save you from some the most horrible aspects. Learn from my mistakes.

So what happened? Well it all started with a thing they call windows update. And I was innocently sent there after installing VB Net. I didn’t think too much of it. As I wrote my pages while I was doing stuff, it only hit me after getting ready to upload page 4. Suddenly Front Page 2K would no long connect to my web space. Okay so maybe those security updates didn’t do it all on their own, but once you start making changes, it’s hard to follow back to see where it all went wrong.

Maybe it started at Fry’s. I went to get some more RAM to help run this software, because I have so much stuff running I figured the system could use it. Best deal was out of stock, okay so that might wait. But you get bored and you wander and you see a 300 gig hard drive on sale….

Yea, you know! So this was going to be the new Data drive. From 60 to 300, that should be good for another 6 years, right, right, right? Hen hen. I thought my 60 gig should have held me over longer, but it’s full of crap, as well as the good stuff! So I moved all my data to the new 300 gig.

Problem: I can’t run all three drives. Okay so I’m going to kick out the oldest, the 40 gig. I get bored, leave well enough alone and unhook the 60 gig and keep running the system from the 40 gig.

Note: Upgrading is an uphill path.

So anyway back to my wanting to post the latest page. Front Page was giving a weird error. It was not installed correctly and was going to shut down. Wait, that was before or after it no longer connected to my site? Either or, I was busy reorganizing all my data files on the new data drive, which neatly took the place of the old one as drive D. So I wasn’t sure what the problem was there. I think I spent one whole day just investigating it and trying to fix FrontPage from the repair function. No go. So, I unhook the new drive, hooked in the 60 gig, restart and it all magically worked, at first.

Now what was I going to do? I had it all going one way and now it doesn’t work. Well, I suffered it for a while. But the old system just wasn’t what it used to be, so I thought I’d install XP again on the 60 gig and see how that worked. Well 5 or 6 days later I can tell you it didn’t go so well. I have now purified the process of installing for you. Hopefully my upgrade path works for you. I made all the same old mistakes, again.

 Step One: Back up all your data! Burn it to CDs, DVDs, jump drives, networked stores, whatever you got. Make sure your data is on a separate storage drive than the one you’re going to be working with. In my case I considered the large drive (300 gig) valid. Don’t be like me in that. I also managed to keep all my data on the medium drive(60 gig) for as long as I could through this process and that was what gave me the most trouble.

Note: do not tweak Common Files folder. Although this was okay for a single install, once I started my second install, I used the same formulae. Bad mojo folks, why? Because I’d forgotten about it. Although for the past two years I’m sure it was just fine, putting the most data to the data drive makes the system and programs run better having it’s own drive.

Step Two: For me I was moving both data and system, pushing them all forward. System from small(40 gig) to medium and data from medium to large. Copy data first within the current system.

Trick 3: For this maneuver, needing access to the system to manage the files and the medium drive to get the data and the large drive to move the data to. I hooked up the large drive to the CD-ROM cable and power. With it setup to slave I copied all my data to a freshly formatted hard drive.

I should have stopped there, but now I thought it would be just as well to install on the drive this way, too.  Forgetting that I wouldn’t be happy with the letter assignment later.

Step Three: Saving your current system drive. In other words, for me I didn’t do a fresh install on the small drive where my system resided. As a matter of fact it’s still had Win ME partitioned on it.  So unplug that drive, setup the medium drive as the new master, fully install the large drive into the tower (Don’t bother closing it up yet.)

Step Four: Now format the system drive (medium). This was the last thing I did in my odyssey, it should have been the first. Format and begin install. At this point you’re no longer running from the system drive so this has to be done from the CD.

Step Five: After getting just getting your system installed make sure it’s all in working order. Networking, printers, etc. Again I moofed right over this step and found myself with everything else installed and no printer!

Issue 4: If your copy of windows XP doesn’t come with SP1 installed, any drive space over 130 gig will not be visible to it past that. I knew this, but was still unimpressed by the fact that it now saw my data drive as 130 gig and wanted to know if I wanted to format it. NO! In fact at one point I did these steps without it plugged in just to make sure the data drive was not touched (Kind of an overkill there), but just don’t mess with it yet.

Resolution: Install SP1 or SP1a to be able to access a drive over 130 Gig. I went ahead and downloaded it again because my only other location was on the data drive which was at the moment inaccessible. Do not go to windows update at this point. If need be, burn a copy to a CD first. You can still download this independently of windows update (We have issue with this site now where it won’t run on a pure XP setup, so sit back)

Step Six: Install SP1 or SP1a. You can skip this step if your XP has SP1 as part of its setup.

Tip 3: The best thing about having a large capacity drive with the uneven file sizes compared to a setup program on a disk, you can have all your Installable on the hard drive ready to go. This installs so much faster than from a CD.

Step Seven: This is where installing becomes like Alchemy, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t so this step is a try it step. For me on my last fresh install I installed VS 6 Ent. I also ran SP5 (Yes SP6 is available and I have it downloaded, but didn’t see a point to installing) Anyway, I was however installing other parts of the system while I went along which may have facilitated this install by adding files VS Install needed just to get through. If not then.

Issue 5: Running VS 6 install generates a few errors that most notably point to MSDART.DLL as the culprit. From there it spins out of control and fails to install.

Resolution: You may wish to do this before step seven. Install MDAC 2.5, I’ve also tried 2.6, 2.7 and 2.8 If you can find it, start with 2.5. That’s the one VS seems to work off of.

Step Eight: Or you can switch this with seven. If you have it, Install Office 2K. Depending on your upgrade path, you may have gone 97 straight to XP, if so if you don’t have Office 2k skip this step. Installing Office 2K should give you MDAC as part of it allowing you to install VS 6 easily. Yes this worked for me on one of my many installs.

Note: Yes you can run XP/2003 as an upgrade and just pop the disk in and out. But if you still want VS 6 installed, your going to get things from the office dll files with this install that you may not get out of Office XP. Your current programs may even depend on these files. It doesn’t hurt, just install it.

Step nine: Install office XP/2003, both if you have them. If so in order, XP then 2003.

Step Ten: At this point you may now go to windows update, barring all the things that office installs already added, your visits here should be shorter.

Issue 5: WU 5 appears to be beta software. If you have problems with it, it errors out, or will not even install itself on your fresh install, you can get around this.

Resolution: Go here This is for administrators to help them keep other version of windows going. It’s also the spot for WU 4. On the left, go all the way down and click windows update. There’s something familiar.

Step Eleven: Tailor your system to your hearts content with all applicable updates, for me; office XP service pack, Office 2003 SP, etc. And save installing VB Net 2003 for last.

Tip 4: Copy the dot net frame work setup to your hard drive and run it first. You’ll still have to resource the perquisites CD, but it won’t take as long this way. I also copied over the entire MSDN setup. After installing that X amount of times, getting it off the hard drive seemed reasonable enough to have two copies of all the same damn files.

 Finally, after a week of all this figuring stuff out, I finally have a stable install of everything. I also have my old drive with XP still installed that I can switch back to, by switching the cable and power, to look at stuff I had configured a particular way when I completely fail to remember, it’s also handy to get serial numbers and registration numbers from your shareware to reinstall.


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