Educational Software Thread, Exploring Science 9 - erasing hard disk! in Technical; As this forum is for "Having a problem with the stange quirkes which you encounter in many educational software titles?", ...
As this forum is for "Having a problem with the stange quirkes which you encounter in many educational software titles?", this one might just get the award!
I've just given (in July) our head of science a new Win7 laptop with all the usual sciency stuff on it (Exploring Science 7,8 and 9 for KS3; 21st Century Science for KS4) all of which have worked for years on XP in the past. He'd logged a call on the help forum (where the well behaved staff log cases, rather than ringing us, stopping us in the corridor, sending kids, shout out of the.... ok another story for another day) saying that Exploring Science wasn't working on his laptop.
I went to have a look, and proceeded to set the compatibility settings on wrapper.exe to XP SP3, which worked fine (as it kind of did on the similarly structured DIDA stuff) on 7 and 8, but then when I did 9 it froze at a white screen with nothing on it. when I killed wrapper.exe with task manager, there was only the recycle bin on the desktop, a black desktop background rather than the theme pic... so I restarted explorer: no change. Sims was running at the time as he was due to take a register in 5 mins, so I said do your register then reboot it, which he did - then brought it down to me as it was failing to boot with a BSOD.
(this gets stranger)
Booted off a windows CD to do startup repair: no joy. Booted off a PE pendrive and ran chkdsk: nothing major, no joy. Looked at what was on c: (still in PE): very little! the only stuff left on C: is what was in use at the time - it's as if you'd run cmd and typed
rd /q /s c:\
(we're not done yet)
so I reimaged it (I don't have a specific image for him with the 8+ CDs of content but do have a general one for the laptop) and copied all the CDs back in (all the stuff runs from the CD folders - it's how we've always done it) thinking that however unlikely it was that running ES9 could have caused the problem this morning, but also having just spent 2 hours copying the data back in, I ghosted it before I did anything else. Thinking that some little $h17 had replaced the wrapper.exe with a batch file or something that would erase the C: drive, but not taking any chances, I did ES9 first - and blow me it happened again - and that's straight of the CD - erased the hard disk apart from what was running!
I restored the ghost image I'd made, and tried a different tack: installing it using setup.exe rather than going straight for wrapper.exe: same result as before "library not registered" without compatability mode, empty hard drive with compatibility mode!
Has, erm anyone else seen this, or am I going doolally?!
I once heard of a program deleting all the files in a directory it was installed in, not just its own, so if you accidentally installed in c:\program files instead of c:\program files\myapp, it wiped your whole program files dir
It's truly bizzare - it's not like it even has a data store AFAIK so what on earth a routine to delete whole directory trees is doing in there is beyond me and why 7 and 8 of the same software should be ok is just... baffling. And this is when the program is being RUN - not installed or uninstalled!
All I can think is that other titles (ICT4Life, DIDA) that do have a data store use the same wrapper.exe but (whilst they are as buggy as hell) they don't behave quite like this!
Moving on, any suggestions as to how I get the damnd thing to behave - a VM (either the M$ XP one or a virtualbox) is about the only thing I've come up with...
Last edited by BatchFile; 24th September 2012 at 10:48 AM.