Thursday, July 9, 2009

When in Doubt, Reinstall

I think all of us with a technical orientation have a tendency to get too fancy on occassion instead of keeping it simple. This applies at a lot of levels, including design. Usually on each project I have at least one moment where I have to smack myself and get back to basics.

Yesterday I was troubleshooting a Java application that launches from a Web page, but is a stand-alone app when it runs. It was complaining that the server could not be contacted. Here was my process:
  1. Verify only one computer is affected
  2. Clear the java cache - no fix
  3. Install latest Java update - no fix
  4. Reboot computer just to be sure - no fix
  5. Start monkeying with java settings - no fix
  6. Try from a different user profile on the same computer - still broken
  7. Install a packet sniffer to monitor traffic - no obvious errors

What was the fix? Easy. Uninstall all Java components and then download and install the latest Java. Wish I had tried that a bit earlier.

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