“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” - Steve Jobs

Windows Installer is Stupid

I really dislike the Windows Installer system. Really. Since I flipped over to the Mac and only run Windows for the stuff I really need to (like Visual Studio) inside Parallels, I really dread when I have to install something. In MacOS X it is so…painless. In Windows…root canal.

Take tonight. I had to re-install Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate. Now I have often noticed how when an MSI fires up it does this painful enumeration of volumes. I don’t really know what the hell it is doing, and haven’t cared enough to find out. But tonight, not thinking, I tried to install said package while I had a couple of remote FTP volumes mounted. They were mounted on the Mac side, mind you, and only visible to Windows as network shares via Parallels. But for some unknown reason, the installer tried to do something with these volumes.

Of course, it was not immediately obvious that this was happening. Outwardly, the installer simply looked like a hung app…uh, exe. Nice. Googling the problem, I found a thread where an MSFT guy suggested looking at the logs in %TEMP% (useless), and then as a last resort, running Procmon.exe to see WTF it was doing. And that is when I saw it trying to access these FTP volumes. So I unmounted the volumes and presto, bingo, the installer “unhung”.

So Windows Installer people, leave my volumes alone. Just assume I want to install on “C:” because most apps break if you don’t anyway.

Categories: General
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