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2009-06-11

SOLVED: Corrupted WinSxS Policies


I had my system partition screwed up last week. I spent nearly a week to fix the problem, that's unfortunately not as obvious as those which can be solved by automatic tools. Maybe I should share more on this later.

Anyway I believe I've made my computer working again, okay, mostly working.

Some of the files are corrupted, causing me a little bit trouble. This is the first message I saw when I booted into the system again:
Event Type: Error
Event Source: SideBySide
Event Category: None
Event ID: 58
Date: 10/6/2009
Time: 9:15:55
User: N/A
Computer: *****
Description:
Syntax error in manifest or policy file "C:\WINDOWS\WinSxS\Policies\x86_Policy.9.0.Microsoft.VC90.CRT_1fc8b3b9a1e18e3b_x-ww_b7353f75\9.0.30729.1.policy" on line 0.

For more information, see Help and Support Center at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/events.asp.


Need not to explain much. My system was complaining that it cannot understand a file that it was supposed to know. But what the hell is that? Google told me that it's something related to Windows Side by Side, a feature in Windows XP that keeps different versions of the same DLL for different applications to use. Ooops, that could be an headache. It probably meaned that some files related to the unknown dll was corrupted.

I didn't really pay attention to this problem until I failed to run my Live Messenger to chitchat with my friends, as well as the Visual Studio 2008 for working. Repairing/re-installing Live Messenger didn't help, and I definitely didn't want to launch the time consuming repair/re-installation process of Visual Studio unless I had no other choice...

These are some addition error messages I got in event log:
Event Type: Error
Event Source: SideBySide
Event Category: None
Event ID: 59
Date: 11/6/2009
Time: 0:28:16
User: N/A
Computer: *****
Description:
Generate Activation Context failed for C:\Program Files\Windows Live\Messenger\msnmsgr.exe. Reference error message: The operation completed successfully.
.

For more information, see Help and Support Center at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/events.asp.


Event Type: Error
Event Source: SideBySide
Event Category: None
Event ID: 59
Date: 11/6/2009
Time: 0:28:16
User: N/A
Computer: *****
Description:
Resolve Partial Assembly failed for Microsoft.VC90.CRT. Reference error message: Manifest Parse Error : An Invalid character was found in text content.
.

For more information, see Help and Support Center at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/events.asp.


Event Type: Error
Event Source: SideBySide
Event Category: None
Event ID: 59
Date: 11/6/2009
Time: 0:41:58
User: N/A
Computer: *****
Description:
Generate Activation Context failed for C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio 9.0\Common7\IDE\devenv.exe. Reference error message: The operation completed successfully.
.

For more information, see Help and Support Center at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/events.asp.


The path of the file gave us some hints that it might be those Visual C++ libraries not working, so I downloaded the redistributable packages and installed immediately, hoping that the problem could be fixed easily. Life is always not that easy. The problem couldn't be fixed. I then noticed that the file name part of the file "9.0.30729.1.policy" looked like the standard MS version strings (X.X.X.X), so I asked Google again on the version "9.0.30729.1". Well. it's the SP1 of VC 9.0. I downloaded the Visual C++ 2008 SP1 Redistributable Package and install again without hesitation, and then, hurray! The problem has been solved. File closed.

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