26th December 2006

Technology- (Con)Fusion

posted in Technology |

I have been in hell with my main work laptop since Friday. On Friday I tried installing the Visual Studio SP1 upgrade.
The first time I tried the upgrade I didn’t realize that I’d need 2+ GB of free space so the installer failed.
VS SP1 apparently still has a bug where if the install fails, the roll-back fails horribly, corrupting your
.NET 2.0 install. Trying to run the VS SP1 setup or repair the .NET 2.0 gives you the cryptic error message “Error 25007.Error occurred while initializing fusion. Setup could not load fusion with LoadLibraryShim(). Error: The handle is invalid.”.

Since then I’ve spent 3 days uninstalling and reinstalling things and trying to find advice on web-sites
for how to fix the problem. Most of the advice didn’t help but I finally found a suggestion
in the end of this post that solved the problem. By deleting the c:\Windows\WinSxS\Policies directory, I could reinstall .NET 2.0 and proceed from there. What a nightmare.

I’m a little reluctant to point this out since there were some very good people on the team, but its pretty clear that some of the fundamental underlying problem is the technology called Fusion. This was an ambitious effort to fix some of the system fragility problems with the registry and dll-hell on Windows. The result can only be described as a fix that is 10x worse that the problem. The registry certainly has its problems, and most developers had figured out how to rename DLLs with strange version #s when they made incompatible changes. Things were fragile but a reasonably skilled Windows power-user or developer could fix them. With fusion the model is so much more complex and the databases are more opaque so pretty much the only people who can fix problems are the developers on the Fusion team. Its incredibly easy to get the wrong thing in the GAC (global assembly
cache) or otherwise make some minor configuration mistake that is almost impossible to fix.

Who knows, maybe this is a product opportunity. It seems like pretty soon there might be a big market
for fusion repair tools. Go for it…

There are currently 4 responses to “Technology- (Con)Fusion”

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  1. 1 On April 20th, 2007, Sinish Gopi said:

    First of all I want to say thanks to you. I had the same Fusion issue while installing .Net Frame work 2. I struggled a lot to find out a solution to install Framework 2. Finally I deleted C:\WIndows\WinSxS\Policies directory as you said. Now all are working fine.

    Thanks you so much
    Thanks Again
    Sinish Gopi
    Sr. DBA
    sinishkg@yahoo.com

  2. 2 On May 13th, 2007, Sarav said:

    Thanks a lot. Had a horrible time with the similar issue, until I saw this.

  3. 3 On August 1st, 2007, Bing said:

    I messed up with (honestly, I think the real culprit is the service pack for visual studio) the visual studio 2005, .net framework 2.0 and sql server 2005 installations. After a spree of manual deletes and registry work, I still couldn’t reinstall any of them. I couldn’t reinstall windows xp either for it’d be too much trouble and I don’t have enough permission to do so myself. I uninstalled everything I could and reinstalled sp2 but it just didn’t work.
    I almost gave up until I found this post. Thanks so much for this, you really saved me.

  4. 4 On September 3rd, 2007, Steve said:

    Fantastic, you have saved me heaps of grief trying to get around this problem. Thanks a million !

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