The good, the bad, and the ugly

This picks up from where “So much for rest and relaxation” left off.

Good: The work crew didn’t finish, so we didn’t have to go in to move equipment.

Bad: They rescheduled it for the 29th. Good thing I didn’t have plans for then, eh?

Good: I went in anyway to finish updating my laptop, since I’d already planned my day around that.

Bad: I’m still in awe of how primitive Windows software updating is.

Good: I got everything installed and updated … except for one last product.

Let’s review …

On a new machine, before it actually gets used for anything, I install all the typical software I expect to use (or need to support), install all the updates, “touch” all the programs to get past the agreements, registrations, and initial setups. I do all this as Administrator.

Then I log in as my regular (administrative powers) user and touch everything again, to get past the agreements, registrations, and initial setups. Because some programs do have per-user setups, but others haven’t quite figured out how to deal with global (machine-specific, non-user specific) settings, and some are just insanely anal about accusing you of being a pirate and insisting on verifying and validating your right to use their precious software.

Finally, I defrag, recreate the page and hibernate files as contiguous chunks, empty all caches and history, delete all temporary files, defrag again, and create an image backup. I do all this to get a known good image, up to date, configured like I want, ready to be restored at a moment’s notice.

You know what’s coming next …

Ahem. So I’ve done the Administrator part above — everything has gone smoothly, if tediously, all the programs are working, there have been no errors, so now I’m ready to install a firewall. I install virus software and then firewall software last, because I don’t want to be slowed down and/or nagged while I’m doing the earlier installations and so their scans will pick up all the previous software in one pass. One of the reasons I do this at my office is so I’m behind the company firewall in the meantime.


The company uses ZoneAlarm Pro on their laptops. Lately the installation has often, but not consistently, been a little flaky, but otherwise installs ok. So I decided to install Free ZoneAlarm on mine.

Oops. Something about not finding ordinal 23 in vsdata.dll, over and over again — that’s one I’ve not seen before. Reboot. Restart the installation. Apparently goes ok.

Except on reboot Dell’s connection manager bombs. And the Network Connections folder won’t open. And shutdown hangs at the “Saving your settings” window.

Reinstall. Now things appear to work ok.

Log in as my regular user. Previous symptoms.

Reinstall as regular user. Now things appear to work ok.

Log in as Administrator. Broken.


Apparently, last installer wins, other users broken.

Give up in disgust and go home, to deal with it tomorrow (now today).

This morning I uninstall ZoneAlarm, clean it out of the registry, etc.

I still have a system that, while it does connect to the network (that has always worked throughout all this), the connection manager usually won’t start, and the Network Connections folder usually won’t open, and it won’t shut down cleanly, hanging at the “Saving your settings” window.

Great. I’m OCD enough that I want a clean, untainted (so to speak) image for backup. Now I have to decide whether to try to fix this, or start over from a bare-metal installation. Arrrgh. I’m gonna put this off until after Christmas at least.

Have I mentioned lately that I detest Windows?

About hornlo

Geek. Curmudgeon
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