It Shouldn’t Be This Hard

I figure if K gets to write about Mr. Brick, I get to write about Mr. Gates or Mr. Jobs now and then. After all, this gives you a fair idea of what I deal with day to day.

The background is that for work I needed to set up a new development environment to build an application based on Microsoft’s .Net Framework. This requires installing and configuring a new operating system (Windows) along with a number of software packages such as Visual Studio 2005 and SQL Server 2005. I figured this would simply require me to press “Next”, wait…, press “Next”, wait…, press “Next”, wait…

But it turns out that it was a bit more interesting. First up is Windows Update. This is a great feature — in theory. You click the icon, it checks for any updates, downloads them and installs them. Bingo! Good to go, right?

Well, not so fast. It turns out that Windows Update can’t just update everything all at once, so it took many rounds. It went something like this.

  • Install Windows, restart system
  • Install IIS which was included with Windows but didn’t have any option to install while installing Windows, restart system
  • Upgrade Internet Explorer in order to use the latest Windows Update software, restart system
  • Upgrade Windows Update to the newer Microsoft Update in order to get other updates, restart system
  • Run Microsoft Update to get updates, restart system
  • Run Microsoft Update again to get updates to the updates, restart system
  • Run Microsoft Update again to get the updates that can’t be installed at the same time as other updates, restart system
  • Run Microsoft Update again to get updates to the updates that couldn’t be installed with the other updates.
  • Run Microsoft Update again — okay, we’re good now.

Next up, SQL Server. There are a number of checks that are performed for compatibility, system requirements and what not. I imagine this is a good thing. Unfortunatly, my system was missing a few things — too bad SQL Server wouldn’t just install them for me. They looked like development-type components, so I went on to install Visual Studio.

While watching the progress near the end of its journey while installing this behemoth of a software package, my daze was snapped by that familiar, “ding” — Error: unable to read the file InsignificantAndDoesNothing.txt. Hmmm. That’s okay, we don’t need that file, I’ll press skip, ignore, continue… but, no. The only option is OK. At this point the progress bar does an about face and slowly retraces its journey back across the screen with the message, “rolling back installation…”

I finally work around that problem by copying all the files off the disc on to the hard drive and install it from there. So, then, back to SQL Server. Now the suspense is killing me. Will I pass all the checks? And… the… answer… is… no. Some registry counter value is wrong. I click the little help message… “go read the manual.” Thanks.

A Google search later and I have an article from Microsoft about editing registry values — didn’t work. Another Google search and I have a post on a forum about how Microsoft’s article didn’t work because I used the wrong tool to edit the registry! How many registry editor tools do you need to include in your operating system? And as far as I could tell I just need to copy a number from one place to another. Is that so hard that the installation program couldn’t have done it for me? Do I really need to go and edit the registry to install this software on a new system? Really, it shouldn’t be this hard.

Well, at this point the installation appears to be finishing up successfully and I am hopeful my troubles are behind me and I can get to some realy work — just after a quick trip back to Microsoft Update one last time…

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