Compatibility mode fun

Last week and this week had me upgrading a certain piece of software that desperately needed it. We're moving from a version released about 2006 to one released this year. The 2006 version (v06 for this blog-post) was installed on a Server 2003 32-bit install, and was written at a time where 64-bit was still in the future a fair piece for most offices. As you'd expect v11 was written with 64-bit in mind, heck, it's a .net 3.5 app so it should work just peachy.

The problem comes with upgrading this package. Not only am I upgrading several major point revs, but I'm also installing to Server 2008 R2 which is unavoidably 64-bit. Happily, there is a migration path. I have to upgrade to v08 first to deal with a data-conversion routine no longer present in v11, and then move up to v11.

The thing that had me pulling my hair was how to get v06 to install to Server 2008 R2. The migration documentation was pretty clear on how to migrate v06 to a new server:

  1. Install the software to the new server
  2. Export this one reg-key in HKLM/Software on the old server
  3. Stop the services on the new server
  4. Import the .reg file on the new server
  5. Copy over the datafiles to the new server
  6. Start the service.
Straight forward! However, there was a problem.

v06 didn't install right to 2008 R2. Whatever it was using for installing the needed service wasn't creating everything it needed to create. Even after I nudged things along, it was pretty clear that all was not right. In the end I had to set the installer executable to run in "Server 2003 SP1" compatibility mode. THAT got it installed, yay.

But the reg-import clearly wasn't giving it the data it needed. It was only after I threw "procmon" at it to see where it was trying to pull registry data from that I noticed it was doing it from some new place. Down there in HKLM is a new reg-key for 32-bit applications on 64-bit installs, called [HKLM/Software/Wow6432Node/]. Since this is my first time going to the registry level for this kind of pure-32 application, I hadn't run into this before.

Sure enough, the install created the needed nodes under THAT reg-key instead of HKLM/Software like the upgrade doc said. A simple search-and-replace on the exported .REG file for "Software/$Vendor" to "Software/Wow6432Node/$Vendor" and reimport got it all going again.


And the upgrade to v08 worked just fine, as did the upgrade to v11. Whew.