One Dumb And Two Smart Things – Calling That A Win

Last night / yesterday afternoon I was building a Connections server (for an internal project) when I wiped out hours of work doing something dumb.  I had spent some time downloading all the software and fixes to the server which was Windows 2008 R2 (because I have plenty of licensing for that)  and then I installed DB2 and WAS and created the WAS profile.  Next step was to run dbwizard.bat to create the databases but that’s where weird stuff started happening.  The dumb bit had already occurred I just hadn’t noticed it yet…..

The DBWizard would launch and let me move past the first screen but no amount of clicking on “Next” would let me move off the “Create, Edit, Update” screen.  Clicking ‘Back” actually took me to the next screen (!) but I couldn’t get any further than that.  I refused to believe it could be a DB2 problem because at the point in the Wizard it had no idea I was running DB2 as I hadn’t chosen my database platform because I couldn’t get to that screen.  I started from the assumption that since DBWizard is a java program my version of Java (brand shiny new updated yesterday) was incompatible.  So cue much time spent uninstalling and installing different java versions to try and fix it with no luck.  I could have run DBWizard from another machine but I wanted to fix whatever the underlying problem was.  Then I realised the dumb bit, I had installed 32bit DB2 on a 64bit platform which DB2 is fine with but the DBWizard really isn’t.  I don’t know if that was my problem (I still can’t believe on the early DBWizard screen it even knows to check) but in my attempts to fix uninstall and cleanup DB2 , I corrupted the Windows registry.  At least that’s what I think I did because on restart Windows would only boot to a grey branded screen with no login, even if I chose one of  the Safe modes or tried booting from a CD.

Since this work was about installing Connections and not fixing Windows I decided not to waste more time on it and startover.  Here come the two smart things.

1. I have a pre built Windows 2008 R2 VM disk with a 40GB C drive I use to clone and make new VMs.

2. I had downloaded and installed everything to a separate 100GB virtual disk

I detached the virtual disk from the broken VM

deleted that VM from the host entirely

made a copy of my simple VM disk

created a new virtual machine using that copy as its disk

added the 100GB virtual disk to that new VM

opened it up and changed its ip to match that of the VM I just deleted

and I was back in business.  Total time elapsed about 7 minutes

Of course I now had a D drive with software on it the Windows registry new nothing about but it was simple to just delete those installer folders and reinstall (the right) DB2, WAS etc and get back on track.  Certainly much simpler than trying to fix a broken Windows server!