Thursday, November 23, 2006
Angry at ISO Images...
In theory, ISO CD/DVD images are neat. The are an exact image of a disc, which allows one to download a bootable disc, burn it, pop it in a drive, and - voila - everything is good.
Well, in theory. The reality is, that ISO images seem to be the source of much frustration. Here's an example: I recently downloaded both the x86 and 64bit ISO images for the Windows Vista release version from MSDN. (Note: By now, the 64bit image has disappeared from MSDN again... not sure why). I then was lucky enough to have someone else burn the images to DVDs. Unfortunately, this didn't work out so well. When I tried the first one (x86) on my desktop machine, it was unreadable, even though it checked out just fine on the machine it was originally burned. The 64bit version seemed to work fine. I ended up not (yet) installing on that machine though. Instead, I took the DVD to a different machine (my Tablet PC) where I thought I could do a first safe install of the new OS. Everything seemed fine at first. For about 20 minutes, the machine hummed away, copying files. And then: Nothing! It just stopped. I tried several more times. The install just stops. DVD unreadable.
So I figured I'd download and burn on my home system. This way, I would be burning the DVD on the same machine as I would ultimately install on (as yet another test scenario). The download went slow but fine. I then wanted to use Roxio to burn the image. I have used Nero in the past, but have switched to Roxio for the specific purpose of burning Vista images, because Nero seemed to have problems with that. But for some reason, Roxio didn't work anymore. Just crashed on startup with a VC++ runtime error. From when it happened, I gather that it has to do with Rixio's project explorer, which I do not even care about, but can't get past. I re-installed Roxio. I even upgraded. No luck.
At that point, I started to get pretty annoyed. I mean why the hell would I pay Microsoft for an MSDN subscription to get something delivered that I cannot install without a third party product?!? If they want to give me ISO files, shouldn't they also give me an easy way to burn it? It drives me nuts! Ah, but wait: Microsoft does in fact provide an ISO burning utility called DVDBurn.exe as part of the Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit. So I downloaded and installed that. It is a command line utility. A pain to use. But I guess if it works, that is OK. But for me, it doesn't work! Instead, I get the following error message:
WTF?!? What does that mean? And what do I do about it?!? I posted recently about MS error messages, and this is a perfect example! Who thinks that this is a helpful message? Quick, post a a reply to my blog if you know what "access 1" does exactly!
Unable to lock the volume for exclusive access 1
I assume that this is a problem with the DVD burner drive. That is what I would consider a "volume", although who knows whether ISO images could be seen as that. After all, it is a while DVD in a single file, and I can imagine that exclusive access is involved. And after all, how could access to a DVD burner not be exclusive? I am pretty sure I do not have processes just spinning away in the background burning random DVDs.
After some research I found that some people have similar problems with this utility. Some say they have this problem when media player runs at the same time. Others say it may have to do with Virus protection software. Those kinds of things. But I am not running media player at the same time, and I have turned off all virus software. To no avail!
At this point, I have not been able to burn my image to a DVD in any way my home system or my Tablet PC can read all the way through.
Also, Microsoft, here is a little suggestion: Since you have ISO burning technology and you make it available for free, just also integrate it into the shell. How about right-clicking an ISO file in Explorer and choosing "Burn to disc"? And if something goes wrong, show me a message box that says what you tried to get exclusive access to and what other processes prevented that from happening. Could it be that hard? It seems to me that Microsoft would have some people who know how to hook into the shell and how to deal with in-memory processes and resource locking. It isn't rocket science, after all...
Posted @ 7:51 PM by Egger, Markus (email@example.com)