Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Windows 7 BSOD

Hey!  I’m so excited!  I thought they got rid of the blue screen of death with Vista (though those reports were vastly over exaggerated).


I got my first BSOD in Windows 7 the other day, and I thought I’d post a screen shot for all to see:



Of course, I was only able to get the BSOD from windows 7 running in a VM.

Monday, June 15, 2009

CHM files and Vista

I’m working on installing on a new server, TFS 2008, and in the setup directories there is an Install Guide.  Being the diligent (for once) developer, I opened it up, and it said to download the latest install guide giving me a link. 

However, after downloading the new chm file from Microsoft, it wouldn’t open.  On one system, it said to check my dns server.  and on my host Vista system, it just wouldn’t display.  I opened up IE, checked the local intranet settings and didn’t see anything there.

The solution?  I right-clicked the file, and noticed that there was an Unblock button.  After clicking that, it opened just fine.  Apparently, Vista was preventing me from viewing the web pages inside the help file because they came from a different zone.


Once unblocked, the button no longer shows up, and I can read it just fine.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Stored Procedure taking forever.

Today, I came across an issue where from Sql Server Management Studio, a stored procedure was taking forever to run.  But from the application it was running just fine, and if I executed the sql from within the proc on it’s own, it ran just fine. 

Luckily, a friend, Chris Brandsma had stumbled across this about a year ago, and posted it and a solution on Elegant Code.

It’s called SQL Parameter sniffing, and MS (as well as Oracle and the others) use it to improve performance of stored procs.  However, if you have a large or sudden variance in the number of rows returned, the proc will seem to “hang up.”

At least I know what the fix is, and what to look for if it happens again on one of those “random” timeout bugs.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

VS2008 and SS Express 2008

If you’re running Visual Studio 2008 sp1 and Sql Server 2008 in Vista x64, then you’ve probably come across the error when creating a database:


“Connections to SQL Server files (*.mdf) require SQL Server Express 2005 to function properly. Please verify the installation of the component of download from the URL:


It took me several days with no real solution until I found a reference to 

Apparently there is a bug with VS2008 and Sql Server Express 2008 in that some of the files aren’t properly registered, so it doesn’t realize that you have a valid sql server install.  And to make matters worse for finding the solution, it only happens if you are using x64 everything. 


You’ll have to email Microsoft to get the Hotfix, or install 32bit sql server express.

For me, the Hotfix did work.

Monday, May 18, 2009

nunit and VS2008

I’ve recently started using NUnit on some of my side projects, and the one frustrating thing has been the lack of ability to debug the unit tests. 

I know, I can see the “run” external app on the unit test project to point to the nunit directory, or I can run nunit, manually attach to process, etc.  But those seem kinda hacky.  Or I could shell out money for other solutions.

Well, codeplex has once again saved the day:


NUnitit is a project that adds a new tools menu that will allow you to debug VS projects in NUnit without having to set the execute remote, or attach process.  It in will auto detect the NUnit install, so if you have NUnit installed in a different directory, you’ll still be fine.  And you aren’t forced to always use NUnit.  You can set your projects up for MSTest and NUnit and be able to debug both.  I hope it’s

Friday, May 15, 2009

Top 1 in a subquery…

So I came across an interesting sql problem.  I have a list of devices that could have multiple customers attached to the device.  And on the admin page, i need to list the devices and at least one customer attached to the device.

I didn’t want to display multiple rows in the table each with the same device but multiple customers.  This is how I solved it:

select * 

from devices d left outer join customers c on = c.deviceid 

        and = (select top 1 id from customers where deviceid =


The first left outer join, insures that if i have a device with no customers, I’ll still get the device results back.  If I have multiple customers, I’ll get the first one returned.  I could put other “filtering/sorting” in the subquery if i wanted, but this seemed to work enough for my purposes.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Bugged by FindControl….


I’ve always been bugged by the “FindControl” method on the Gridview, or any part of the page (I mainly use it on a gridviewrow after selecting).  So I wrote a little Generic method.  This can be added to a utilties class, or just on the codebehind page itself:


   1: public T FindControl<T>(Control searchControl, string controlId) where T : Control {

   2:         return (T)(searchControl.FindControl(controlId));        

   3:     }

To use the new FindControl:

   1: Label foo = FindControl<Label>(gvTest.SelectedRow, "myIDLabel");

This is instead of doing something like:

((gvTest.SelectedRow).FindControl("customerId") as Label).Text

Well, at least it seems cleaner to me in code.  I’m sure that there are better ways, but this works for me for now.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Amazing tool for VS 2008 and Sql Server

I was just told by a friend that I need to check out what he called “Data Dude”, which is an add-on for Visual Studio 2008. 

It adds a Database Schema compare so that you can compare two different databases.  I ran it on our beta db and dev db, and found several differences that I didn’t expect. 

Everything from triggers, indexes, columns, etc. 


It’ll let you drill down into the dependencies, allow you to make the updates, or create new items, etc:


You can easily see the differences:


Here’s the Link:

Windows Live Writer

My first post from windows live writer.  This is suppose to make blogging easier.  So we’ll see.


Update:  Adding plug-ins are cool.  I’ve added a code snippet, and this is what it looks like for formatting:

   1: foreach(bar b in foo) {

   2:  b.SayHello();

   3: }

And this is what the Code Snippet window looks like:


You can copy and paste images from the clipboard (as I just did), and this makes blogging awesome. 


So 2 cool tools today!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

How to Resize a VMWare Disk

I use VMWare, and one problem is that the default save being 16gb often runs out of space. After googling for an easy method for increasing the size, I've found several solutions involving using Linux boot CDs, tools etc. This is how I did it:

First, use the VMWare command*:

C:\Program Files (x86)\VMWare\VMWare Workstation\vmware-vdiskmanager -x 32Gb "x:\Dir\DiskFileName.vmdk"

Or where ever your VMWare workstation is installed
This will increase it to 32gb

Then go to and you can use their free version to increase the primary drive.

the free version only supports 32bit OS, so if your vm is 64, you might look at mounting the linux iso at to increase the partition.

Hope that helps.

* one thing to note, I read somewhere that you should not have any snapshots of the drive sitting out there. Also, back everything up first before trying (I made full clones, just in case).