A strange issue with a MSI 1603 and a Lotus Notes Hotfix.

We’re currently deploying Fix Pack 3 for Lotus Notes 8.5.3.

But before we do that, we need to do an uninstall of s Post Fix Pack 2 RSS hotfix.

The uninstall was failing with a MSI error 1603.  Aaron Stebner’s post on locating 1603 error causes was not helpful with this.  I tried installing Fix Pack 3 over the RSS Hotfix but it failed.

The uninstall command we were using looked something like this:
msiexec.exe /i ClientUpdate.msi

There are some products which state that their uninstall string is to use the msiexec.exe parameter “/i”.  “/i” for install.  This was one of those products.*

I changed the “/i” for an “/x” (uninstall).

Fixed! (kind of).  The uninstall was now reporting a MSI error 1605
This action is only valid for products that are currently installed.

But we make progress!  The “/x” uninstall, even though it returned a 1605 error, managed to remove the references to the RSS hotfix from the Registry.

Which then allowed Fix Pack 3 to install.  Success!

* -  I suspect that some products do this so they get the opportunity to display a “nag” screen aka “Do you really want to uninstall me?”

Application FooBar.exe was randomly locking our computers.

Time Travel Tracing The customer reported that their computer was being randomly “Locked” while they were typing.  I’m sure our initial thought was “What are they smoking there?”.

But we had some other reports of the problem as well, so we couldn’t discount it to the hallucinations of one user.

We were stumped, so we called Microsoft in to determine what was going on.

Microsoft Premier Field Engineering gave as a utility called “Time Travel Tracing” also known as TTTracer.  It created a log file we shipped to Microsoft for analysis.

The answer back?  FooBar.exe was sending a “lock workstation” command to the operating system.

So what is TTTracer?

Well in the words of several Microsoft employees:

Time Travel Tracing (also known as iDNA tracing) consists of two elements:
-          an utility to capture TTT trace (available to everyone)
-          an extension to Windbg that allows to load the trace for analysis (available only internally)

The novelty of this tool is that when the trace is loaded into WinDbg, it allows the user to move back and forth in the process execution time.

Thanks to this capability, it helps us debug the Windows interoperability behaviors without the need to reproduce the problem or remote live debugging.

As of now, the tool only allows to capture user mode processes.
This is how we troubleshoot Windows interoperability issues in the Open Specifications support team

In order to troubleshoot this problem, I had the customer get a Time Travel Trace, something we often call an iDNA dump. An iDNA dump is analyzed like any other memory dump, but unlike a traditional user-mode dump that contains the contents of memory at a particular moment in time, an iDNA dump contains a “recording” of user-mode memory over a period of time. It’s kind of like Tivo for the debugger, and in situations where a problem is easily reproduced in short time, it’s a great way to dig into problems.
Image or ImageButton without ImageUrl Causes HTTP GET for Default Document

TTTracer basically uses an instruction emulator to
run the code in a sand box which records stuff along the way, which is
also the reason why you won’t see it for kernel-mode code soon.
Jake Oshins, Windows Virtualization Guy

"This advertised application will not be installed because it might be unsafe. Contact your administrator …"

This advertised application will not be installed because it might be unsafe.  Contact your administrator to change the installation user interface option of the package to basic.

Since I am my administrator …  I had to look into why AweSync was not installing on my freshly reimaged work Windows 7 PC.  I’d double click on the installer and it produced the error captured above:
”This advertised application will not be installed because it might be unsafe.  Contact your administrator to change the installation user interface option of the package to basic.”

I consider AweSync a trusted application, and certainly not unsafe.  So a digging we go.  Google wasn’t useful so I ran the install with the following command line:
   msiexec /i "awesync.4.14.0.msi" /lv c:\data\awesync.log
to get a installation log file.

Looking at the log file, the culprit was “ERRCA_UIANDADVERTISED”.  For reasons unknown, the default install settings for AweSync was preventing it from detecting Lotus Notes.  I don’t know why AweSync wasn’t actually installing but I expect that there was some old HKEY Current User registry information hanging around.  Remember how I said I had reimaged my PC?

Running the AweSync with the basic interface option seemed to fix the problem:
   msiexec /i "awesync.4.14.0.msi" /qb /lv c:\data\awesynca2.log

Update:
Since fixing the problem, the best explanation I’ve seen for why running the install with the basic interface option is this:

Running an installer with the basic user interface mode performs only the actions contained in the installer’s Execute sequence and bypasses the error noted above in most cases.
Soumitra Mondal’s WebLog

Still happy with AWESync for Lotus Notes

Especially when someone from the AweSync Dev Team writes:

I’m from AweSync team. Thank you for the review. BTW: if your Lotus Notes username is changed you can contact our support and your product key will be reactivated without any fees. So, you will be able to activate it with a new Lotus Notes username.

(my emphasis)

I’ve used other Lotus Notes related products which expect you to buy a new license.  One product costed $220 per license, which made the pain of changing Lotus Notes account names, well painful.

Now, with the AweSync license at $20, I’d be willing to buy another license if I needed to, as AweSync is a bargain for the price.  AweSync doesn’t have to do that, but I like the fact that they’re willing to.

I’m also chuffed that someone from AweSync found the time to read my post about AweSync and CalSync.  The last company to do that?  LastPass.

Syncing Lotus Notes Calendar to Google Calendar

There are two ways I know to do it, CalSync and AweSync.

CalSync – Free.
“This is a one-way sync program that will sync your Lotus Notes Calendar to your Google Calendar. No installation is required. Includes many options such as automatic syncing at specified intervals. Requires .NET Framework 2.0 to be installed. ”

CalSyncv17

The good point about this program, is that it is free.  My biggest niggle with the program is that I can’t get CalSync to remember the default Google calendar settings.
Note that CalSync only syncs from Lotus Notes to Google Calendar (ie. it’s a one way sync).

You can download it here.

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