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Old 10-08-2004, 10:58 AM   #1
chrisemersonnc
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Question XML File Corruption??

-- Short & Quick Version ------------------------------------------------------------
Anyone here ever see XML files get corrupted like this? I've never seen anything like it. I had 63 XML files and somehow, 11 of them got corrupted like this. If anyone recognizes this problem or has any ideas, please let me know.

For anyone interested or who wants to know more details, read on for the extremely "Long & Detailed" version of my situation....

Thanks,
- Chris


-- Long & Detailed Version ------------------------------------------------------------
I've haven't been this stumped by a computer issue like this for quite some time. Perhaps the answer is so simple I can't see it, or else it really is some strange new Flash/XML problem that no one has seen before (I'd find that hard to believe)? Either way, here is a detailed account of the steps that led up to the file corruption. (NOTE: Mention of FileSys2 below refers to SwfStudio's FileSys2 plugin)
--------------------------------------------------------------

--> I developed a Flash application for my company. It is compiled with SwfStudio with FileSys2 and SysInfo plugins active.

--> On application startup, the program uses Flash's loadXML() and some FileSys2 directory sniffing to load a big stack of standard XML files into a standard Flash XML() object.

--> Throughout the application, the XML files loaded on startup are parsed via the in memory XML() object --> *Important: They are NOT loaded from the file system again*

--> Besides loading XML files and FileSys2 directory sniffing on startup, the application's only other "filesystem" actions are that the users results are saved to an xml file in a subfolder nearby the application's exe file. (i.e. C:\Program Files\My Application\myresults.xml).

--> The application was recently deployed on 11 laptops and shipped to a customer

--> The initial setup of those 11 laptops involved the following steps:
--------------------------------------------------------------
1.) Leasing/Purchasing 11 ACER laptops with WinXP Pro pre-installed
2.) Removed/disabled all ACER crap, useless XP services, installed Tweak UI (auto-logon configured), moved the WinXP PageFile to the D: drive (nothing installed on or using that drive), installed WinXP Service Pack 2 and disabled the Windows (SP2) firewall.

- Laptop #1 -
3.) Copied the applicaiton from our network to the C: drive.
4.) Tested the entire application (worked 100%).
5.) Copied an application shortcut to the Start Up items
6.) Created a CDR of the application files from using WinXP's "Write files to CD" built-in CD-burning application.

- Laptop #2 -
7.) Copied laptop #1's CDR files to the C: drive.
8.) Tested the entire application (I'm fairly certain it worked 100% - but I was told this - I didn't see it w/my own eyes).
9.) Copied an application shortcut to the Start Up items

- Laptop #3 - 11
10.) Repeated steps #7 and #9 on the remaining laptops (assumed that having exact same hardware on remaining machines didn't call for step 8 on each laptop)
--------------------------------------------------------------

--> Skip ahead 2 days to the client event on location

--> About halfway through the application event (all 11 laptops in use), some users ran into a problem where it seemed like the XML content for the section they were at never loaded or had some kind of problem.

--> After digging into the XML source subfolder to investigate the problem(i.e. C:\Program Files\My Application\DATA\page_12.xml), we
found that that particular XML file had garbage/unicode characters in the 2nd half of the file where there used to be content! - Some kind of file corruption??

--> Upon further research, we found that 11 out of 63 xml files had this same problem! (on laptop #4)

--> Most (if not all) of the users ran into the same problem - so, though I haven't yet confirmed this, one would assume the corruption was the same on all 11 laptops.

So my main question is:
-----------------------------------------------------------
** Has ANYONE ever seen this kind of XML file corruption before??? **
-----------------------------------------------------------


Post-Trauma Notes/R&D:
-----------------------------------------------------------
--> Theory: Possible that repeatedly shutting the application down DURING the XML file loading/sniffing could have corrupted the files? So far, attempting to reproduce this does not seem to corrupt anything.

--> Fact: Laptop #1, which was not shipped to customer - has ZERO file corruption.

--> Fact: The corruption does not seem to be consistant in all affected files. Some files have the garbage/corruption in the 1st half of the file, some files have it at the end.

--> Fact: The corrupted XML files have the exact same "File Modified" date/time AND "Filesize"! as the original (and uncorrupted) files.

--> Unknown: Not sure (yet) if all 11 laptops have the exact same corrupted files.

--> Unknown: Not sure if the CDR used to copy files to laptops #2-#11 had the corruption (someone threw the disc away already).

--> Unknown: The only "error" item in Event Viewer is Some message about ACPIEC which I still can't figure out - so not sure if it's related or not.

--------------------------------------------------------------


So - that's my situation. I've zipped up two example files - the source [uncorrupted] and the laptop corrupted version. Please refer to these to *see* what I'm talking about.
Download Here...

If anyone has advice or theories, please let me know. Thanks immensely in advance,

- Chris

Last edited by chrisemersonnc; 10-08-2004 at 12:55 PM.
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Old 10-08-2004, 02:06 PM   #2
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1. check all other laptops for errors.
2. get all laptops and reformat to original specs (before given to client).
2a. mark all xml source files as 'read only'
2b. save the original cd with program installed on client computers
3. re-deliver goods to client.
4. sit with client for 1-3 days and watch how the users use the software you created.
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Old 10-08-2004, 02:08 PM   #3
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good luck.
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Old 10-08-2004, 02:24 PM   #4
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Thanks for the reply, tg... good advice...
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Old 10-08-2004, 04:26 PM   #5
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yeah, i'm not sure its a problem in flash, its either something on their computers/user error, or is somthing in swfStudio/filesys2. i've been using flash/xml for awhile now with no problems what-so-ever.
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Old 10-08-2004, 11:07 PM   #6
Jacob Kerr
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hey,

LOL. All I have to say is you should not have installed service pack 2 on the laptops!

=).

Service pack 2 has cuased countless problems.

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Old 10-08-2004, 11:08 PM   #7
Jacob Kerr
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Hey,

To add to my comment service pack 2 is know to cuase problems with flash projector, and many other things of that sort.

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Old 10-08-2004, 11:12 PM   #8
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Can you be abit more specific on that projector issue, Jacob kerr???
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Old 10-11-2004, 10:11 AM   #9
Jacob Kerr
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Hey,

I dont know alot about it, but I read from this forum some were that service pack 2 cuased several problems with flash projecter, and several other things with flash. I bet it has every thing to do with service pack 2. The CEO of my company had alot of problems with service pack 2 and flash also. Service pack 2 has cuased alot of problems for many people (I am sure you already know this just about everyone does).

If I had more time I would find a link for you,

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Old 10-11-2004, 10:16 AM   #10
chrisemersonnc
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Jacob - Thanks for the heads up. I am interested in finding out more about any SP2/Flash issues. When you get time, throw a link or two our way will you?

Thanks for your input,
- Chris

PS. I have this issue posted on a few msg boards - here's some follow-up I posted on one of them Friday - just in case any of you are following the details of my situation...

------------------------------------------------------------
>> This makes me believe the files were copied from a
>> bad CD or the copy from the CD to the laptop got
>> messed up somehow.


Yeah - that's the conclusion I've come to today as well (I'm leaning towards the iffy CDR at the moment). Today I booted up another one of the affected laptops and I found that the corruption was IDENTICAL to the 1st laptop I found corrupted files on - identical files and identical garbage characters.
I'd also think the corruption would have to stem from a bad CD, not the "copying the CD files to the laptop" process - because otherwise, how would all the laptops have the identical corruption?

>> Have you tried running file comparisons against a good
>> source to see if it was just the XML files that were
>> corrupted? It's hard to believe the corruption would
>> have been limited to just your XML files if it was a bad
>> CD or a failed copy.


Yeah - from what we can tell, it really was JUST those 11 out of 63 XML files that were corrupted. No *.swf, *.exe, *.mp3 or *.flv files were corrupted from what we could tell (the ones I've run so far have opened/run w/out a problem).

Coming from a completely different angle.... have you EVER heard of Flash's loadXML() or FileSys2 causing ANY kind of file trouble like this?
------------------------------------------------------------
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