Category Archives: Windows

2048 2048 2048 2048 – “The Windows PATH Can Be a Source of 2 Tons of Fun”

tl;dr Keep your Windows 7 PATH under 2048 characters and you’ll be good – don’t and you won’t.  In related news, if you already have a lot of dev tools installed on your PC, look at your path length first if it all gets pear shaped after your VS install…

Now the non-tldr…

I recently decided to give Visual Studio 2015 a spin… Having been working a lot with Ionic (Cordova) apps lately, I was interested to see what Microsoft was bringing to the party on that front (See Here and Here)…

The installation seemingly was going smooth enough, but at the end I was greeted with a lot of yellow exclamation marks – “man, that’s no good!”

Naturally, I start reading into the borked install components, one of which is Nuget… I see a lot of people that appear to have been in the same boat as me with previous RC installs… Now, I was installing the official final MSDN ISO release, but just figured it was in the realm of possibility that some of the issues had been carried over…  So I start following some of the processes that worked for those who’d traveled this path before me…

All of which I concluded without positive or desired results…

In addition to the messed up VS install, I began noticing a lot of other issues with my PC that didn’t exist before the attempted install..  One of the most troubling ones was that none of my environmental variables seemed to properly work anymore – %windir% resulted in a “Windows cannot find”, error as did most every other variable that I tried…

Figuring something surely must be wrong with my path, I start looking there – but nothing jumps out at me and it appears valid… Interestingly enough, from a cmd prompt %path% resulted in a very small substring of my actual PATH value – “definitely sounding like a PATH issue”, I continue to think..

But not knowing what I was looking for, I keep chasing the “VS2015 broke me” assumption via Google… Which keeps me coming up empty handed – after multiple uninstalls and reinstalls.. Keeping in mind that each install/uninstall takes about 2+hr on my quad 3Ghz/16gb dev machine – so not exactly a quick process, nor a resource light one (read: “dev machine very slow”)

After many wasted hours and not being able to shake the feeling that it had more to do with changes made to my PATH during the install more than any other system changes made, I decide to search to see if there is a limit to the PATH length (and if it’s possible to exceed this limit, if such a thing does exist)… It wasn’t until I entered in “Windows 7 path variable length” into the search that I came across this post, which answered everything…

2048 it is…  A number that I probably won’t forget for a long time…  2048….

Now, of course it would have been nice if the VS installer would have warned me of this… It would have been nice if any of the errors that made it into the installer error logs would have even so much as hinted at this… But they didn’t… but in all fairness, I am betting that MS aren’t the only or biggest offenders on this front… Though I do think that if your installer requires PATH updates and then makes them automatically for me, it should probably also ensure that it’s operating within the limits of what’s allowed by the OS… This is especially true when the company behind the installer is also the company behind the 2048 char constraint in place on the OS 😉

-Matt

NTFS File System Tunneling (…is stupid …and wrong)

I will keep this short… I’ve already spent far too much time on this easy to work around peculiarity of NTFS and how it associates file meta information under the hood…

Consider this console app: http://pastebin.com/66QABWS3

If you were to actually read this (don’t feel too bad if you didn’t – the last link will explain it all) and didn’t have knowledge of the magic going on behind the scenes, you may be fooled into thinking that this application would write out “42” at some point in it’s lifetime…

Unfortunately, reasoning such as that would be based in reality – where up is up, down is down and true doesn’t equal false.  I say ‘unfortunately, due to the fact that this is not the reality that your NTFS file system (if you have one) is operating in…

It is actually operating in a place where when one thing dies, another assumes its identity and carries on its life as if it is the original thing – clearly it isn’t, but your NTFS file system assures you that it is…

NTFS is telling you: “This file that you create and then delete every 10 seconds, as you have for the last month and a half… Well, it wasn’t just created 9.9 seconds ago.. No.. It was created a month and half ago… Really it was… I don’t care that you just deleted it and then recreated a COMPLETELY NEW file in it’s place – THIS IS THE FILE CREATED ONE AND A HALF MONTHS AGO. FER-REAL-ZIES!”

Welcome to the nonsensical world of NT File System Tunneling …

-Matt

Blue Screen.

Oh the love of Windows, let me count the ways…. 0….. 0….

So, I return to Vista (aka WindowsME2007) after an extended foray into the world of Linux – eww, I know. Truth told, I wouldn’t own Vista if they hadn’t already installed it on my machine for free (I know thats not a legitimate excuse – cut me a break… ok?!). I don’t know why I did it – likely because I forgot the thrashings of my last usage, perhaps I desired a bit of domination I was not getting elsewhere in my life (from my OS)… So anyways, I am back in Vista. So I bounce over to my revamped Troy blackboard account to do a bit of late night school work.

Open Firefox -> troy.blackboard.com -> Cyber Crime -> Discussion Board -> WAIT….. Wait some more… damnit… buggy ass Java applet isn’t loading in Firefox…

Okay, so I will fire up the never used IE7…. Everything loads find… damn. Gotta love when programmers write specifically for MS viruses programs (guessing – though I use Java in firefox all the time without issues) and more over when universities force-sodomize their students with MS fanaticism (aka. ALL STUDENTS MUST USE MS WORD, Have WindowsXP, Etc… (Shhhh… I use Linux and OpenOffice – don’t tell admin))…

But I digress… So back to point… what was my point… oh yea…

So I quickly get board with doing the school work I need to be doing… So I ‘CTRL+T’ to open a new tab (way to ‘adopt’, MS douches) and head over to hell MySpace and take in the freak-show with every key-stroke (no offense MySpace readers)… Rendering is different, but not bad – after all the MySpace crones are writing for MS browsers (but in all fairness, who commercially isn’t). Load times though… well they are bad… damn flash… slowing the pages down… damn, did my Core2Duo@2ghz step down to a 800mhz all the sudde…..

WTF!?! A bluescreen of death in VISTA?!?!?!?! Using MS Internet Explorer?!?!? I thought this thing was extinct?! I have been “using” Vista for months now and this is the first I have seen of the BSOD creature…. What the hell was I thinking using a Microsoft program in a Microsoft Operating System?! I must be crazy… back to good ol’ firefox (or XP virtualized under Linux)…

I tried to grab my camera to get a picture of it in the wild but was too slow for the swift reboot that accompanied the painting of my screen blue, but luckily the windows developers decided to provide us slower souls with proof of our experience with their handy-dandy crash report after reboot!!! YEAH!!!