Monthly Archives: February 2006

Testing? What’s testing?

The latest Windows Live Messenger beta release is being distributed by CVR update (the "You must upgrade your client" prompt). After allowing it to do its thing, I’m prompted to either Repair or Remove the application entirely. Did it download the wrong thing? I hit Repair anyway, and after the installation was complete, started up Messenger and was presented with the old build once again.

First thing to do — check the Microsoft Installer package (MSI) it’s downloading which is lovingly found in your %temp% folder. The file size appears to be different from the previous build’s MSI as does the digital signature. So, what’s going on here?

It was pretty obvious after this result what was happening, and a quick look into the latest and previous MSI using the Orca tool confirmed it. Build 562 is ProductCode {B835B495-9BE4-4C9F-929B-1DFEE3D189B3} and 566 is ProductCode {B835B495-9BE4-4C9F-929B-1DFEE3D189B3}. See anything similar?

Why does this matter? The first thing the MSI Service does after being instructed to load a MSI is check to see if the product is already installed. In order to handle upgrades there’s also an UpgradeCode, so your ProductCode should be different for each build/version but your UpgradeCode stays the same.

But someone at Microsoft forgot to change the ProductCode for build 566 of Windows Live Messenger. The MSI Service sees my previous installed build with the same ProductCode, launches the old cached MSI (which is stored in \Windows\Installer for interest) and therefore will simply "repair" the old version.

The fix? Click Start, then Run, then "%temp%" and click OK. Then copy the latest file in the folder to the desktop after the previous version has downloaded the new file. Then click Cancel, close Messenger, launch the setup from the desktop, click ‘Remove’ and then once its removed, run the setup again. The uninstaller won’t remove any settings,

Since you have to remove the previous version to install this build and running the previous version is required to download the bits, you can see why this is such a problem.

Unfortunately no one over in Redmond bothered to test the MSI before they sent it out and forced us to either figure this out or go back to 7.x.

Very disappointing. I’ve seen some also "let’s not bother to test" in some other Microsoft beta programs recently, with links with (note: wwww) and htp:// (note: htp) contained in beta chat .ICS files. It’s not that hard to test these things before sending them out!

However, at least at first glance this build looks nicer, might even be worth all the effort required to install it!