Friday, January 13, 2012

Mark makes his Mom's MSE install right (or How Mark used Sysinternals tools to diagnose and resolve a install issue)

Mark's Blog - The Case of My Mom’s Broken Microsoft Security Essentials Installation

"As a reader of this blog I suspect that you, like me, are the IT support staff for your family and friends. And I bet many of you performed system maintenance duties when you visited your family and friends during the recent holidays. Every time I’m visiting my mom, I typically spend a few minutes running Sysinternals Process Explorer and Autoruns, as well as the Control Panel’s Program Uninstall page, to clean the junk that’s somehow managed to accumulate since my last visit.

This holiday, though, I was faced with more than a regular checkup. My mom recently purchased a new PC, so as a result, I spent a frustrating hour removing the piles of crapware the OEM had loaded onto it (now I would recommend getting a Microsoft Signature PC, which are crapware-free). I say frustrating because of the time it took and because even otherwise simple applications were implemented as monstrosities with complex and lengthy uninstall procedures. Even the OEM’s warranty and help files were full-blown installations. Making matters worse, several of the craplets failed to uninstall successfully, either throwing error messages or leaving behind stray fragments that forced me to hunt them down and execute precision strikes.

As my cleaning was drawing to a close, I noticed that the antimalware the OEM had put on the PC had a 1-year license, after which she’d have to pay to continue service. With excellent free antimalware solutions on the market, there’s no reason for any consumer to pay for antimalware, so I promptly uninstalled it (which of course was a multistep process that took over 20 minutes and yielded several errors). I then headed to the Internet to download what I – not surprisingly given my affiliation - consider the best free antimalware solution, Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE). A couple of minutes later the setup program was downloaded and the installation wizard launched. After clicking through the first few pages it reported it was going to install MSE, but then immediately complained that an “error has prevented the Security Essentials setup wizard from completing successfully.”:



I thought this a very interesting read and cool example of how the Sysinternals tools can be used to diagnose and resolve installation woes...

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