Compgeeky (not-so-tough) Puzzle… and Weekend Linkfest

For those of y’all who find computer puzzles off-putting, scroll on down to another post… ๐Ÿ™‚

I need to get back to simulating work in a bit, but meanwhile… As computer puzzles go, this one wasn’t all that enigmatic or difficult (pretty easy, in fact), but it came at a time when I was caffeine deprived and preoccupied with other things.

Between one CLICK and the next (well, almost :-)), every web page I tried to access came up with a not found error. Email client (Opera) started reporting network errors attempting to check or send email.

Check another coupla comps on the network. No internet/network problems there.

OK, the obvious things: try pinging other comps on the network from the problem comp. No joy. Definitely the problem comp is the problem, but where?

Rebooted the router and released/renewed network connection on the problem comp, anyway. Renewed all right. Tried some pages. Hmmm… same error. Clear cache, reload. Loaded… partway, then stopped.

Well, there were other things I could have tried, but I decided to update/change my NIC driver and… bob’s your uncle. Smoothe sailing, now.

How did the NIC driver become corrupted? Your guess is as good as mine. Could have been any number of things–including the fact that all these problems started when I uninstalled Network Magic!

Aha! Yeh, I try these kindsa apps out so I can either recommend them to folks who can’t afford an onsite network admin person or recommend they stay away from this app or that.

And I have to say Network Magic was a mixed bag. I had a well-oiled machine going on my network before I installed it, and, for a while, Network Magic seemed to be OK. But then the little things started bugging me.

It couldn’t see or talk to the Linux/BSD machines. Dumb. Real dumb. That was enough to put me off it, but not enough to kill it for folks who have a Windows-only network, so I kept it around for testing a bit longer.

Hmmm… network printers dropped in and out of availability for no discernable reason. Strange. Lotsa griping and complaining from the app about Windows computers with automatic updates turned OFF (the only reasonable way to fly with Windows, IMO, given the number of “updates” from Me$$y$oft that have fragged folks’ computers). Nag, nag, nag.

Killer? Every time it needed web access, it ignored the system default browser and invoked Internet Exploder, the world’s crappiest browser.

Nope, couldn’t recommend it. So, uninstalled.

Now, I recognize that unless I can nail down a definitive cause, associating the NIC driver corruption with the uninstall of Network Magic that occurred immediately before the network problem occurred is potentially a post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy, but…

I just ran a Registry scan using two different registry scanners I have come to rely on as safe and…

Over 6,000 errors noted by one in a Registry that scanned as OK the day before.

With only the Network Magic uninstall and the NIC driver change as any difference.

I think I’ll recommend folks avoid Network Magic. You think?

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Trackposted to Pirate’s Cove, Perri Nelson’s Website, Blog @, , and Jo’s Cafe, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

47 Replies to “Compgeeky (not-so-tough) Puzzle… and Weekend Linkfest”

  1. Pingback: Pursuing Holiness
  2. Installers and uninstallers can be a real pain to deal with on any system. Especially if they don’t clean up properly after themselves. With Windows apps that can be tricky. If they use the registry, the installer might put some registry keys in, and the application or drivers might do so as well during normal operation. The uninstaller typically doesn’t know about the application generated keys, and misses them.

    This is a failure in the application and installation development process. I can think of a few Microsoft apps with this problem, but I’ve seen it mostly with third party apps.

    Shared DLLs is another common problem. If the usage count isn’t managed right, the DLL might be considered unused when it’s still being used, and then it gets deleted during uninstall, breaking the other app that uses it.

    I recently encountered this problem with the CyberLink software that came with my video camera. I downloaded an upgrade package and ran it. The installer required that the original software be uninstalled first.

    The problem was, the “master” installer was running two coordinated installs. So the first piece was uninstalled, and the upgrade installed, then the second piece was uninstalled, noticed that there was a shared DLL no longer being used and deleted it, even though the shared DLL had been replaced by the first installer.

    After the “upgrade” neither application worked. I had to completely uninstall and re-install from scratch.

    Something similar may have happened with Network Magic for you?

    Believe me, I feel your pain. (Oh Lord, I sound like WJC)

  3. Yep, Perri, pretty much my experience, which is why I always use (and abuse and pummel and shake *heh*) software before I recommend it to others. I have a pretty good idea what users can do to misuse, mess up installs/uninstalls all by their lonesome, so when I find an app that WILL install well, run well and do its own lil handy-dandy thing w/o causing problems or being too rude (rude apps like Quicktime and Real Player need not apply for my stamp of approval–:-)) and then uninstall w/o causing major problems, THEN I can recommend ’em for an everyday ordinary joe or josephina to use.

    I imagined what the normal user would do when faced with the mess NWM apparently made and thought, “Hmmm, they’d probably call me… but I’d have to admit it was software I’d recommended, so no joy on billing.” *heh*

    And THAT’S why I do stupid things with stupid software. So others don’t necessarily have to.

    But 6,000+ reported Registry errors after a piece of software uninstalls is something of a record for me. Not nice at all.

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