Today hasn't been a very good day. First, I wasted several hours on the phone trying to get an account set up and then trying to be able to access an application created by Colombia's Department of Commerce (thank goodness I'm a developer and know my way around things, otherwise I'd still be stuck with that!).

The second part, however, was worse. I needed to install the .NET FX v1.1 on my Vista laptop. Not wanting to download 20+ MB to do so (big mistake #2) I got out my MSDN DVD collection and found the one containing VS.NET 2003. I put it on my dvd drive, and tried to use explorer to find dotnetfx.exe to install.

Tried is the operative word here. As soon as I double-clicked on the "VS.NET 2003" folder, Windows Explorer hanged. Soon other applications (like firefox and Word) hanged as well. Ctrl+ESC didn't bring out task manager. Alt+Tab stopped working. Win+L didn't lock the workstation either. Ctrl+Alt+Del didn't work. Massive deadlock. The only thing that kept on working (god knows why!) was iTunes. Go figure.

Popping out the DVD from the drive, which usually has cleared this kind of thing for me before didn't work either. So I ended up brute force killing vista by holding on to the power button until things shut down completely. I figured perhaps it had to do with all the applications I had opened so I rebooted and tried again without starting any applications. Big Mistake #2. Massive hang again.

Just for fone I went through it a third time. Nope, no dice. Massive hang again. In the interest of fairness I should mention that the Vista Kernel seemed to have no problem with my DVD (in fact it seemed to be reacting to everything without problems at all). It pretty much seemed Windows Explorer to be the one that caused all the problems. Why a crappy process like explorer that accepts arbitrary extensions is in control of all the key life-saver key combinations that can get you out of a hang like this, is beyond me, but there you go.

Anyway, I finally extracted the file I needed from the DVD. How? Well, I put it in my older laptop, which it running now Kubuntu 7.04 (more about that in a follow up post), copied the file to my home directory and then copied it over the network (thang goodness for samba!). Not a very pleasant experience overall, and just adds to my already big distrust of how crappy Windows Explorer in Vista is.

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Tomas Restrepo

Software developer located in Colombia.