MS Office 2007 installer fails – resolved

When trying to install a version of Microsoft Office 2007 (in my case – Professional), windows installer after about 20-30% gives out “Windows installer service cannot update one or more protected windows files. Setup failed. Rolling back changes…” and just as promised rolls back the progress bar to the beginning. Naturally nothing is installed and any attempts to repeat the procedure yield identical results. After several minutes searching I came up on a rather curious workaround on this thread. Suspishio suggests:

go to your XP CD and locate the file fpault.dll in I386\FP40EXT.CAB\fp4autl.dll

Extract that dll file into C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\web server extensions\40\bin and retry the install.

I can only guess what the reason behind this is, however it worked for me as well as it did for the original poster who was trying to install Visio 2007. Thanks Suspishio.
It turned out to be much more time efficient to quickly patch up the install with this quick fix rather than look for the real root of the problem. I just hope it isn’t a sign of a bigger issue to surface down the road. If anyone has any insight on this – feel free to share your opinion in the comments.


DELL perc raid background initialization process

Thought I’d share my experience with a DELL perc(4?) SCSI raid with you (U320 SCSI 68 PIN), particularly whether or not it is safe to reset server while background initialization process is running.

I had to do an upgrade involving swapping out 4/4 hdds on a PowerEdge 800 server over the weekend. I had prior raid experience on DELL and HP servers, however I approached this one the same way I approach any major RAID maintenance – as thought it is my first one. I prefer that strategy because based on my experience any small mess up can transform a 6 hour job into a 20 hour job, and especially if this is your first time working on any specific controller it is always good to pay close attention to what is going on. I’ve created a full plan of action before hand and made sure there is an all-inclusive multi-layered backup scheme before I started pulling anything out (always a good idea when dealing with RAID).

Preparation and backup took up most of the time. Swapping the drives was an easy task – take the old ones out, set the new SCSI ID’s, put them in and that’s that. To configure this particular controller I had to use a utility which could be accessed by pressing Ctrl + M during boot up (there was a prompt). My setup involved 1 physical drive (system) as RAID0 and 3 more disks under RAID5 configuration.

One thing I noticed which interested me was that although I could manually initialize the raid0 array (A0) without any problems, the raid5 array (A1) wouldn’t initialize. It turned out raid5 started automatic background initialization procedure shortly after it was created (dell manual states 0-5 minutes after creation). I know that such tasks can take a substantial amount of time, especially on larger disks (I had three 300GB drives), so naturally my question was whether or not this background process had to be completed before I could proceed to restore data. I’ve searched the DELL manuals for the answer, however found only this paragraph:

he background initialization should be allowed to run to completion. If cancelled, the background initialization will automatically restart within 0 to 5 minutes. Other processes such as read and write operations are possible while the background initialization is running. Other processes, such as creating a virtual disk, cannot be run concurrently with a background initialization. These processes cause the background initialization to cancel.

(from http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/software/svradmin/1.9/en/stormgmt/cntrls.html#275766)

which confused me even further. On one hand it states that the process can’t be bothered; on the other it suggests that you can read/write to disk while this is happening – all without a mention of ¬†whether or not a restart (which is required to do anything further) is going to interrupt it or not. ¬†Searching the forums revealed similar situations but no definite answer. I received the answer from DELL support (chat) that you CAN indeed restart the server and work on restoring data or other read/write operations on the drive while the background initialization process is ongoing. Given this information I proceeded to soft-reset the server and restore the server data (I used acronis v10) which saved me few hours of waiting time.

This is a basic summary of what I did and is not intended as a step-by-step guide. Please make sure you know and understand the workings of RAID and the exact steps that you need to do on the particular system you are working on before you attempt to do anything. When working with RAID even a small mistake can cause you to lose all data. Consider yourself warned.

September 2017
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