A tale of .NET woe

On November 21, 2010, in news, by

Once upon a time in a land not far from here there was a handsome Prince.  His job was to tend to a small castle.  But his job was not easy.  As part of his job duties he needed to feed the alligators that lived in the moat around the castle.  Most of the time these alligators lived quietly in the moat but every now and then when they got fed they got a little snappy and bit back a bit. 


Okay I could do this entire post in a tongue in cheek fairy tale fashion but that would hide the true facts.

I hate .NET.

I hate patching .NET.

And there are times, it makes it hard for me to urge people to patch.

“Anonymous”  was attempting to install the R2 update onto a SBS 2003 when he hit an error and couldn’t proceed.  Googling, he hit this thread which told him to remove all of the .net installation, deleting the folders and the reg keys.  He deleted .net 3.5, then .net 2, then .net 1.1.  And that’s when he hit the alligator in the moat on the head.  You see certain OS’s contain .NET by default …so you can’t remove them.  So how do you repair something you can’t remove?

And of course because by now it’s 1/2 on and 1/2 off and Remote Web Workplace depends on .net 1.1 you are kinda stuck. 

So let’s try for a repair install right?  Wrong.  This won’t work and we can’t do a repair install.  And other sources reviewed say similar things that can’t easily be done.  Of course searching other sources make it seem that if .NET 2 had been repaired from the get go it might have worked.

Searching on, still other articles hinted that you could reinstall .net 1.1 and yet it wasn’t working.  More searching at various sites and KBs leads to the .NET removal tool.  The tool ran, but didn’t help.  “Anonymous” then searched through the SBS blog and this blog where I’ve never really laid out the steps to rip out and put back in .NET 1.1 (but he obviously got the idea that I was not a fan of .net patching).

That’s where “Anonymous” then asked out on the sbs2k@yahoogroups.com list for help.  Another search brought up

How to troubleshoot Microsoft .NET Framework 1.1 installation issues on Microsoft Windows Server 2003

 http://support.microsoft.com/kb/830646 and this one was the paydirt KB article.  “Anonymous” followed the steps under the Manually Repair section.  Step 3d gave him issues because it was looking for a “Service Pack 2” cd instead of the I386 folder.  He was able to use some files from another server, and some he extracted from the netfx.cab in the I386 folder.  But the install went and he was able to install the .net 1.1 updates from Microsoft Updates successfully.

Two steps forward, one step back.  Now he hit the issue where he was missing the ASP tab from the IIS web site.  Off to searching again, and this site didn’t work, nor this one at the bottom.

Waking up in the morning with a half of cup of coffee in him, he tried C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v1.1.4322\aspnet_regiis.exe -i -enable to reregister the tab but it did not work.  Using the asptabtest.vbs from this blog also didn’t work and gave an error.

PASS: The value of Enable32BitAppOnWin64 in metabase is set to: False
PASS: The current value of Restrict_Run is: 0
PASS: Successfully registered mmcaspext.dll
PASS: Successfully registered AspNetMMC
FAIL: Registering Assembly failed with exit code: -2146232576

The article from the IIS forum didn’t help.

But noting the error, he theorized that the .net 2 install was the issue.  He re-ran the distributable and did the repair option.  Once it completed the repair of .net 2, it wanted a reboot.  Reboot and voila.  Now he used the www.sbsbpa.com and the sbs blog to flip the default web sites back to .net 1.1 as needed.

The moral of this story?  “Anonymous” admits that perhaps a repair of .net 2.0 would have made everything work.  But both he and I question …why does .NET have to be this difficult?  Why can’t it be easier to repair it?  Why is it even listed under add/remove programs?

And why can’t there be clearer instructions?  There are too many times that google helps, but not enough to get us to the finish line.


One Response to A tale of .NET woe

  1. Dean says:

    I pinned Aaron Stebner down a few weeks ago to give me a definitive answer as to what was the best way to fix a broken .Net that was part of the operating system. His answer was to pop in the OS DVD and do a repair. Here is his reply. I don’t know if he wants it published so you may want to remove it.

    “When I say repairing the OS, I mean running OS setup again and choosing the repair option. You can also reformat and fully re-install your OS if you choose to, but if you do that, you will have to reinstall any applications that are installed, plus you need to backup and restore data on the computer.

    SFC only repairs files that are protected by Windows Resource Protection (WRP). Anything else that is a part of Windows is not repaired by SFC. I don’t have a complete list of what is not repaired, but hopefully it is enough to know that it is everything except OS files (registry keys, ACLs, user accounts, service registration, etc).

    The repair options for the versions of the .NET Framework that are a part of Windows are consistent with the repair options for all other Windows components. I don’t know of any plans to offer a way to repair the .NET Framework Windows components separately from all of the other components that come with Windows.”