May 2009 Entries

Bingo Bing :)

Our new search engine, more than just search, it would be a decision engine.

In a bid to provide better search experiences, we will be releasing a new decision engine next week.  The official name is Bing.  I think it is a cool name and this would definitely improve the traditional experience people find with Search.

Today, people go to search engine to find results which are assumed the  best.  But these are mostly rated based on the number of links, word presence, meta tags etc.,  However, in a day where people search for just anything and everything, more analysis, relevance, combined with intelligent decision making would be true way for getting the best results.

For now, Bing is coming soon and you can find more about it at

As always, a new release first goes through the initial criticisms, comparisons and the denial phase before it gets adoption and I am sure, with your feedbacks and support, Bing would be a great release just as the Windows 7 Beta, we did recently.

I have used a variety of search engines, including Live and the other popular engines, but have rarely got what I want, although the engine thinks that it is the most relevant result.

With Bing, I look forward to that perfect result, I have always wanted.

Cheers !!!

Windows Vista SP2 and Windows Server 2008 SP2

The Windows team put up quick work and released the SP2 for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 despite the parallel Windows 7 work that has been keeping them busy.   So if you are running Windows Vista SP1 or Windows Server 2008, you can install SP2 released from or better turn on automatic updates and it should do the update sometime during this month.

Currently it is available for 5 languages and more general availability might be over the next few months.  Note that Windows Vista SP1 is a pre-requisite and it can be downloaded from

In the case of Windows Server, when it was released, it came by default with SP1 so this is technically the Service Pack 1 although, for versioning consistency it is SP2.

The Windows Team proactively blogs about these new releases and other updates at

The particular post which talks about this and the links for other flavours such as x64, Enterprise etc., is

For the folks interested in details about this Service Pack, it is KB948465

Cheers !!!

Error: Could not load file or assembly 'System.Transactions, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b77a5c561934e089' or one of its dependencies. The module was expected to contain an assembly manifest.

Recently, I was trouble shooting an error for my friend.  Despite having all the necessary framework and service packs installed, this error “Could not load file or assembly 'System.Transactions, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b77a5c561934e089' or one of its dependencies. The module was expected to contain an assembly manifest.  was surfacing, every time we tried connecting to a SQL Server instance using SQL Server Management Studio.

At first, I thought the issue must be with SQL Server and tried reinstalling SQL Server.   During the installation, the SQL Server Agent, SQL Server Instance and SQL Full-text filter would fail while the rest of the components install successfully.  Again, the Management Studio would fail with the above error while trying to connect to an instance running on a server (same is the case with local as well)

Then I tried reinstalling Visual Studio 2008.  It installed although there seemed to be some issue somewhere during the installation.  Trying to reinstall the Service Pack 1, repairing it, didn’t solve the issue and I was again hitting the road block.

When I did a search, there were hardly any links on an elaborate error message like above although I found one (

The solution mentioned was talking about a possible GAC Failure for System.Transactions (System.Transactions is a part of .NET 2.0 and in the machine it was already installed although some how it had been removed from GAC i.e. C:\Windows\Assembly).

Now, I found this DLL (System.Transactions) in C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v2.0.50727

I had to install this into GAC. 

If you are running Visual Studio 2005, then gacutil.exe must be present inside “C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio 8\SDK\v2.0\Bin

You would have to navigate to the above location in cmd prompt (elevated mode in Vista) and then execute

gacutil -I "C:\WINDOWS\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v2.0.50727\System.Transactions.dll"

If you are running Visual Studio 2008, you could use the Visual Studio 2008 Command Prompt (Start-All Programs-Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 – Visual Studio Tools – Visual Studio 2008 Command Prompt) and execute the above command.

Once you do that, you should be able to proceed with SQL Server installation as well as connect with other database servers or to put it simply, get rid of the above error in some other scenario.

The other error that was appearing occasionally before I did the above fix, in SQL Server Management Studio, was

Cannot connect to <servername>


“The system cannot find the file specified. (Exception from HRESULT: 0x80070002) (System.Data)”

This got solved as well after I GACed the System.Transactions DLL in my scenario but if there is an alternate solution, please post in comments.

Cheers !!!

Finding installed version, edition and service pack version of SQL Server

Today I wanted to find the version of SQL Server 2008 installed in my machine.  I did a quick search and the first support article from Microsoft had the answer to it

I just modified it a little bit with column headings so that if you are using it in an SP, returning it etc., it would help.  So the modified query is as below

SELECT SERVERPROPERTY('productversion') as 'Product Version', SERVERPROPERTY ('productlevel') as 'Service Pack Version', SERVERPROPERTY ('edition') as Edition

If there are better/alternate ways, please post in the comments.

Cheers !!!


Some important links

Update for .NET 3.5 SP1 (Important if working with Dynamic Data)

ASP.NET Compilation Enhancement Fix  (for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008) (for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003)

Microsoft .NET RIA Services May 2009 Preview

ASP.NET 4.0 in VS 2010 Doc

Some of them are a little old but thought worth putting them up.

Cheers !!!

PPTs opening very slowly? – Check your printer drivers - Microsoft Office 2007 PowerPoint

Recently I seemed to have issues with opening PPT files.  I am running Office 2007 for a long time now and one of the things that I use most with respect to my work is PowerPoint files.  Over the last 2 weeks I saw a certain weird behaviour with PPTs specifically related to printer options.

Every time, I try to open the PPT or unlock the system with the PPTs open, they try to print to my default printer.  The specific error message would state that the default printer could not be accessed.  I dismissed them couple of times and thereafter, the PPTs start working normally.

However, I did realize that there is some issue somewhere.  Today, any PPT I try to open was extremely slow. Initially I was opening them from a SharePoint portal, so thought, the issue must be with the network.  But when I tried opening some local PPT files, they took similar time and were simply hanging.

Did some research and seems my initial suspicion was true.  The printer driver was causing some concern here.  I opened up the printers folder and tried to remove the printer.  Now, the printer started giving “Printer cannot be removed. Access Denied” error message.  The problem was getting interesting since I made sure that it is not the default printer and neither there are any pending print jobs.

In the end I re-installed the printer driver from the vendor website and post that, I could delete the printer.

After that, the PPTs started behaving normally.  They were opening quickly and I didn't have any issue with PPTs after that.

I am still researching on what relation PPT has with printers to hook up automatically and would post once I find something significant.  Meanwhile, if anyone is aware of it, please post in comments.

Cheers !!!

Visual Studio 2010 and .NET 4.0 Beta 1 Download today


After the tremendous amount of interest the VPCs of the Visual Studio 2010 and .NET 4.0 generated, the Beta 1 bits would be available for download for MSDN Subscribers later today.  The general public would also be able to download the bits starting this Wednesday.

Visual Studio 2010 combines the power of .NET 4.0 and the tremendous enhancements done to areas such as Web Development, WPF as well as native development and provides the best so far platform for developers.

While some of the features were available as v1 in .NET 3.5 SP1 as well as individual downloads over the last few months, with Visual Studio 2010, all of these are bundled into one install and has much richer integration support for many of what developers wanted.

While it would be very hard to post all of the enhancements in one single post, to name a few, here below are some of the key aspects

  • ASP.NET 4.0 – Support for rich client side development, complete control on mark-up, business oriented data controls etc.,
  • ASP.NET AJAX 4.0 – complete client side development with JavaScript – support for UI Templates etc.,
  • ASP.NET Dynamic Data – moving away from just scaffolding to integration with existing applications, richer validation and support for entity framework.
  • WPF 4.0 – best experience for client application development
  • Developer focussed improvements in code editor (rapid code generation)
  • One Click Deployment for Web Applications
  • Lots of enhancements for native developers
    And much much more….
    While, I have had the privilege to play with some of the early builds, I look forward eagerly to install this build as much as you would be and also would love to hear from you folks on your experiences.
    Cheers !!!

ASP.NET Sessions at Tech.Ed India 2009

I am back from delivering Tech.Ed India 2009, particularly the web platform track where I delivered three sessions across 2 days.  In addition, we also had Stephen Walther from the ASP.NET Team deliver sessions on ASP.NET 4.0, ASP.NET MVC and ASP.NET AJAX.

Over the next few posts, I would like to get all the content that we discussed during Tech.Ed India and possible videos so that even if you missed the action over there, you could benefit right here.  To begin with, the sessions focussing on ASP.NET were

  • ASP.NET 4.0 by Stephen Walther
  • ASP.NET MVC by Stephen Walther
  • ASP.NET Dynamic Data by Harish Ranganathan (that’s me)
  • IIS 7.5, Server Core with ASP.NET – Windows Server 2008 R2 by Praveen Srivatsa
  • ASP.NET AJAX by Stephen Walther
  • VS 2010 Web Deployment features by Harish Ranganathan
  • ASP.NET – A day in the life of an ASP.NET Request by Harish Ranganathan

While bulk of the above require VS 2010 bits, to begin with, lets pick up the sessions which don’t require ex.-  The session on ASP.NET Dynamic Data.  In this post, I would specify the things to get started and cover up the actual content in the next post.

Pre-requisites for this sample

1. Visual Studio 2008 SP1 & .NET 3.5 SP1

2. Dynamic Data Preview (CodePlex)

3. .NET RIA Services

4. SQL Server 2008/2005 or Express Editions

5. Northwind Sample Database

Also, you need a bunch of DLLs that you get from the above download (Dynamic Data Preview)

In the following posts, we will examine, how you can take the Dynamic Data Preview, .NET RIA Service Domain Data Source controls to build your 3 tier architecture website which uses/doesn't use Dynamic Data features.

To sum it up, Dynamic Data and Domain Data Source controls are mutually exclusive and can be used selectively according to your requirement.

Cheers !!!

Twenty 20 Action in my Tech Ed Sessions

Twenty 20 is the happening thing at the moment and most of you attending Tech Ed might worry on missing out watching it, although majority of the matches would happen only in the late evening and you can still catch up after attending TechEd.

However, to keep your Twenty20 interests alive, I am planning to maintain the theme for my sessions around Twenty20.

Although you wouldnt be able to see live matches, you would still deal with the raw data that you keep analyzing over and over again from websites and post match analysis.

That much I can ensure that your Twenty20 experience doesnt get spoiled by attending TechEd.

Well, thats like revealing too much of information and killing the suspense, but if you are regular follower of my blog, you deserve to know it upfront than the less fortuned, who dont 

See you at Tech Ed India

Cheers !!!

My sessions at Tech Ed India

If something has been keeping me busy of late, its Tech Ed India preparation.  I am delivering four sessions - three in the Web Platform Track and one in the Middle Tier Platform Track.  Just to recollect, Tech Ed India is happening this year at Hyderabad - May 13 - 15 with keynote by Steve Ballmer.

Precisely, I am talking on the following

  • ASP.NET Dynamic Data - Creating data driven websites at the speed of your thinking
  • Web Deployment with Visual Studio 2010
  • A day in the life of an ASP.NET Request
  • ADO.NET Data Services - Whats in it today and future with real world examples.

Needless to say, these are topics which are very useful for web developers and I am sure you would benefit from these sessions.  In addition, I would also be around in the Community Track whenever I am not delivering sessions.  I have worked on certain areas where I received feedback over the past events as well as previous Tech Eds and this provides an opportunity to refine my skills as well.

If you like to read more on the agenda and other details, please visit

I look forward to seeing you at Tech Ed and if you happen to spot me, just stop me and we will have a chat.

Cheers !!!