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One after another my favorite software vendors fall by the wayside as buy-outs and market pressure to feature enhance products result in bloat-ware, quality problems, extortionate licensing, and in the end my utter disgust and frustration.
Merrily working away one night (O.K., "merrily" isn't really a word to describe how I work, but stick with the story) when I got prompted by this important software to upgrade for "increased stability and security". I (fool that I am) clicked to follow the instructions and upgrade. That was the last time my laptop worked properly for three days. The upgrade completely hosed several aspects of my laptop's networking and at a deeper and more troubling level the "Workstation Management Interface" (WMI) layer of the PC. This is not a place to go messing, folks.
Repairing the damage was more difficult than any spyware removing I have ever done. Ultimately, I had to boot from the installation CD and copy backup registry hive files into the configuration area and also find and remove any DLL or EXE files that even looked remotely related to the application from several locations including a few in the ..\windows\.. directory tree. Once that was done, I still had work to do. I had to remove, reboot, then re-install the networking components of windows and the drivers for each of my networking cards. Still I had problems. I had to insert the XP-Pro w/ SP2 CDROM and run the protected file repair tool (SPF /SCANNOW) which takes more than an hour but repairs or replaces any missing or damaged protected windows files. Still I had problems. The system would be unresponsive then responsive then unresponsive in fits and starts. A look at the system event log showed repeated DCOM failures initializing a component (named only through a 32 bit hexadecimal identifier). Finally, I found that same identifier in an obscure configuration setting and disabled it starting. The system now seems to work and no errors are generated -- but I don't really know for sure what's not running. I suppose I'll find out at Lotusphere when I'm on stage presenting.
I'm going to withhold the name of the vendor in this case because although they're not a customer of mine, I'm involved in a bid for work with one of their competitors and it would be difficult for me to rail against one without the other (who's product I also used to like and now will not allow near my PC).
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