Microsoft should reboot itself

I’m trying to install Sql Server Express, and every time I go to install it, there is yet another prereq that has to be searched for, found, located, selected, agreed to, Live IDed, downloaded, accepted, downloaded again, specified, configured, licensed, and then the WHOLE damn machine has to be restarted.

So I install .NET 3.5. Oh woops. gotta go get 3.5 SP1. Ok I go around to all the users of this server and arrange to restart the machine. I get the go ahead. I go ahead and restart. I email the people involved to say the machine is back up.

Ok, SQL server, now you say I need to go out and get Installer 4.5. So I have to go out to Microsoft, parse the incomprehensible file download names (KB97987632873463476, oh it must be that one!) and make sure I’ve got the download for Windows Server 2003. So I did, and I went ahead and installed it, and without warning, without giving me the normal prompt, it IMMEDIATELY shuts down everything. An installer program for specifically Server 2003 disregarded everything and just shutdown windows nuclear style (no shutdown warning, no nothing, the machine was down in 5 seconds). That’s just MORONIC.

This is a SERVER Microsoft. You call it Windows SERVER 2003, and yet you constantly want me to install updates and RESTART every 15 seconds! Does anyone in Microsoft know what a production server IS? This is what a production server is, its a server where in order to do a restart, I have to come back late at night and restart the server so that no one else is affected.

Why does an UPDATE to an application installer program need to restart the machine? What’s Windows’ issue with restarting constantly? Restarting a server machine takes EONS, during which EVERYONE who uses the machine cannot do so. If I have to restart, do EVERYTHING first before you force me to restart. And NEVER trick me into restarting, that’s just scummy.

Microsoft needs to reboot itself, its been live for way too long and memory leaks are rampant, they need to rethink this braindead restart for anything and everything policy, its obnoxious, stupid and unnecesary. Oh, and they should include prerequisites with their applications, that’s rule #1 for creating installers, install the prerequisites FIRST.

And now setup failed because Windows Powershell needs to be installed, of course the installer never told me this.

Why are you doing development on a production box?

I’m not. I’m setting up Sql Server, so I can move over our first Sql Server database that we just migrated from Access.

Then who are the people accessing it?

This server is used for other things. In particular, a blackberry server that allows people to sync with exchange. We don’t have the funds to build a new server for a small Sql Server database (45 megs after converted) so we are adding the Sql Server to this server rather than placing it on one of our more heavily used servers.

The details don’t matter, I was just frustrated with the poor design of the Sql Server installer.

Gad. Right now I’m kinda missing the DOS days when a program stood or fell on its own code.

From now one, whenever someone starts a thread bitching about Jerry Davis’ seeming inability to tame the hamsters, I hope someone else will post a link to this OP.

Well, I finally got the installer to run after installing powershell which mercifully did not require a restart. Then I set up an instance, and the installer gave me two choices as to what user would be associated with the service. I picked the wrong choice as I was locked out of the instance, and had no rights (it even considered me a “guest” on my own machine). So I went back into instance configuration and rejiggered a few things, and finally I was able to restore the database that I had backed up from my dev machine.

Imagine how annoyed you’d be if you used one of the versions of SQL Server you, you know, actually had to pay for…

As someone who regularly installs one of the “paid for” versions of SQL Server, we have a lot fewer problems with them. Installing a free product on your server without doing a dry run first is not Microsoft’s fault, it’s yours. I’m not saying it shouldn’t be easier, nor that I don’t sympathize with the frustration, but this is the reason why people sit down and design methodologies like pre-production testing, etc. If you are skipping them, slap yourself.

Sometimes the way things happen in small IT shops is different then the huge processes you can use in the big ones. I am part of a two person IT team, supporting three locations and 50ish computer users.

Fancy methodologies work well in their intended element, the world of the big company. Its a bit different in a small company. I’m not saying its not my fault that the server got restarted, I was just venting a bit that the installer was poorly designed. And this is just the first step, we are growing and I’m glad Microsoft gives us this option for moving up a bit (Express is allowed on servers as long as your database is under 1 gig, I believe, and some features are not allowed), and in the future, we will almost certainly be moving up to a full Sql Server. And I can guarantee the installer will be a bitch there too, its just the way that sort of software is (same thing with Visual Studio.)

How would you recommend running pre-production testing in a shop like this? I installed Sql Server Express on my dev machine a while back. I already had the prerequisites at the time on my dev machine.

I doubt the full Sql Server includes the prerequisites. I use Visual Studio professional and when I installed 2008, it had a number of prerequisites not included as well (not to mention failing to install at all until I completely reinstalled the OS on my machine).

Windows needs apt-get!

I had to run a search to find out what that does, but this part sounds pretty handy. We do no Unix stuff here, so the extent of my knowledge of Unix is what I learned from having a Mac back when OS X 10.2 first came up.

Everything is going much better now, and Sql Server is looking pretty good (even Express).

Once upon a time I worked for what was, at the time, Microsoft’s largest outsource support partner. (The company went under, of course.) We used the same Knowledgebase that end users use, but we also had access to some development/internal articles that weren’t in the public KB. My favorite was one called: “How the SQL Server Installer Crushes Your Will to Live”. It was written just like a how-to, and it was one of the funniest tech articles I’ve read, next to Gadarene’s (I think it was Gadarene?) “Fuck You, Netscape” rant posted here about 7 years ago.

There was also a legit article in the bug KB about “Earth Spins the Wrong Way on Its Axis in MS Encarta”, which was good for a laugh.

So, even Microsoft developers share your hate for the SQL installer.

Keep in mind this is a company that takes 43 people to implement 9 different menu items to sleep or shut down Vista.

Sometimes Barney Starts Playing Peekaboo on His Own
The Office 2003 spelling checker incorrectly identifies the word “Iqaluit” as misspelled

I like “Changing channels frequently may kill your USB devices” and “Powerpoint centimeters are not the same as real centimeters. Intentionally.” “You may only use dates between 1970 and 2037” and “Calculator does not subtract two numbers reliably.”

ooh, “Computer starts playing classical music randomly.” I had to deal with that over the phone once. And “January 1 may appear as February 1”
Oh, god, why, why?

Edit: So I searched for the article… and google gave me "Did you mean: How the SQL Server Installer Crashes Your Will to Live "

… I’ll accept that.

That doesn’t cut it one little bit–I’m a one-man systems group in a company about the same size and we don’t have these problems. “Test it on a non-production machine first” is NOT a “fancy methodology”, it’s the right way to do it. Don’t you have some workstation class hardware to test on?

If not, how good is your job security when your boss can’t even spare $1500 to prevent this kind of ludicrous reboot-fest on a production server?

Seriously. If there’s no budget for even a simple test machine, that means the next revenue shortfall is going to come out of someone’s paycheck or ass. I learned that one firsthand.

Because unless you want to do a limited subset of things, Linux and OpenOffice are still worse.

(I’m a sysadmin. I have 45 Red Hat and 2 Ubuntu machines doing a lot of number crunching and GPU-accelerated computing very well, thanks)

I know, I know. But…
Powerpoint centimeters are not actual centimeters, intentionally? Calculators can not subtract two numbers? And don’t forget the… was it bignum? error in Excel 2007?

If additional server hardware is out of your budget VMware Server is free with some restrictions. It might be a good way to modularize functions on your server so one thing crashing or rebooting doesn’t take the whole works with it.

Then you can keep SQL in it’s own VM, Lotus in it’s own VM, Exchange in it’s own VM… ect. Then rebooting SQL doesn’t hurt anything else.
Also install Linux, osx86, windows 7 beta, 64 bit, ect. on your own computer. Then poke them, try to tweak them till they break then figure out why they broke. Computers are bloody minded idiots and the more you know about what makes them act bloody minded the more you can avoid it. Different OSes show you different ways of doing things, and what’s common across the computer world. Poking things and messing with them teaches you more about their eccentricities.
Here’s a fun project on your home machine. Install a second windows to a second partition so if you kill it then it’s no worries. Then go to services and see which ones you really need. Try to disable as many as you can and still have a working machine. You’d be surprised how many run that aren’t needed, and you leave knowing what does what, and what depends on what alot better.

I once had XP running on 256 megs of ram, Firefox eating 110 megs yet the system has a whole didn’t use the swapfile much at all.