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Alan_B

SideBySide Error on comctl32.dll - Conflict between x32 and x64 variants. Why ? ?

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And incidentally, why do they live in Windows\winsx instead of being separated between system32 and sysWow64 ! !

 

Quad Core Windows 64 bit 7 Ultimate + SP1 4

 

There were NEVER any SideBySide Errors concerning anything at all until 2nd May on the arrival of

SoftonicDownloader_for_notepad-portable.exe on E:\Downloads (FireFox delivery target on Secondary HDD)

 

I would like to know if the PRESENCE of a toolbar installer is a good reason for a SideBySide error,

Or whether an almost new Windows 7 installation is corrupt with a 0.5% probability of a malfunction for every Download.

So far I have amassed 217 downloads. Does Windows need to be fixed to avoid a future SideBySide Error.

 

The error occurs immediately Win 7 notices the presence of this file. NOT upon execution of the file.

Does Win 7 (in)validate EVERY *.exe file that it sees, or only those with some sort of Auto-Run attribute ?

 

Why does Windows 7 go berserk over an EXE file that is NOT being used but just sitting on a non-system secondary drive ?

Should W7 make a pre-emptive strike against something that is never going to be used ?

 

Why does Win 7 repeat this error message only 2 or 3 times a week, even though I use the P.C. 3 times a day ?

 

Why would Win 7 be concerned about conflict with 64 bit comctl32.dll due to a 32 bit executable downloader...

(since they obviously want their toolbar installed I doubt that it restricts itself to 64 bit machines.)

 

I have an image of C:\ taken on 1st May before the arrival of downloader with its problems.

I have restored that image and get the same SideBySide Error every time it gets a sniff of SoftonicDownloader :-

 

Immediate, when powered up with E:\Downloads already holding downloader...

 

Delayed when powered up with E:\Downloads\Unzip already holding downloader...

Delayed until Windows Explorer looked at (BUT DID NOT TOUCH) the contents of E:\Downloads\Unzip.

 

Immediate, when Flash Drive G:\ is plugged in with downloader...

 

Immediate, when it arrives in E:\Downloads after pasting into Firefox Address Bar

http://universal-downloader.en.softonic.com/64000/64241/ud_200/SoftonicDownloader_for_notepad-portable.exe

At a once per month precautionary check of the event logs I saw SideBySide errors caused by SoftonicDownloader...

Comodo A.V. has scanned it as clean;

Google search for "Portable Notepad" found the Softonic "Bait and Switch" website, and I downloaded this along with others for evaluation;

I never previously executed it because I was satisfied by my evaluation of another candidate;

I am horrified by the unethical behaviour :-

It claimed to offer "Notepad++ Portable 5.9" but instead they downloaded their ToolBar Installer,

and when I finally tried it there was no way to get the promised PORTABLE from them without first accepting the toolbar,

and only when I allowed them to INSTALL the toolbars did they POLLUTE MY DESKTOP with NotepadPlusPlusPortable_5.9.2.paf.exe,

which is a legitimate Sourceforge Portable application that Sourceforge would have CORRECTLY delivered to E:\Downloads.

Although I consider their behaviour unethical, their down-loader does not appear to be malevolent malware,

but it appears to cause grief to Windows 7 Ultimate,

unless of course it is the fault of Microsoft for creating two conflicting variants of comctl32.dll,

in which case I would like to get Windows fixed so it does not make the same mistake with a different future download.

 

I have chosen to avoid any taint and made a clean start from the clean image 1st May,

and re-done the upgrades and installations that took me a month to select.

 

Below is the small print - the actual messages which have probably pointed me in totally the wrong direction.

 

The SideBySide Error reports :-

Activation context generation failed for "E:\Downloads\SoftonicDownloader_for_notepad-portable.exe".

Error in manifest or policy file "" on line . A component version required by the application conflicts with another component version already active.

Conflicting components are:.

Component 1: C:\Windows\WinSxS\manifests\x86_microsoft.windows.common-controls_6595b64144ccf1df_6.0.7601.17514_none_41e6975e2bd6f2b2.manifest

Component 2: C:\Windows\WinSxS\manifests\amd64_microsoft.windows.common-controls_6595b64144ccf1df_6.0.7601.17514_none_fa396087175ac9ac.manifest.

 

These two manifests stipulate the files "comctl32.dll" located at

C:\Windows\winsx\amd64_microsoft.windows.common-controls_6595b64144ccf1df_6.0.7601.17514_none_fa396087175ac9ac\

C:\Windows\winsx\x86_microsoft.windows.common-controls_6595b64144ccf1df_6.0.7601.17514_none_41e6975e2bd6f2b2\

 

The properties describe the file as "User Experience Controls Library"

It seems to me that these files may be involved in the detection of SideBySide errors,

so are they issuing a vote of non-confidence in themselves ?

I have run "sfc /scannow" and found no errors.

 

I am concerned that comctl32.dll is described as "User Experience Controls Library"

and I wonder how this is related to the System event logs which at the time of SideBySide Errors are saying

"Application-Experience : The Program Compatibility Assistant service started successfully"

i.e. Is Win 7 saying that Microsoft have an incompatibility between the dll's that should detect

"A component version required by the application conflicts with another component version already active"

 

Regards

Alan

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Perhaps Sonic Downloader is one of those programs that replaces a windows .dll with one of its own.

 

Perhaps each time your Windows sees it , it knows what is it going to try to do.

 

Have you tried replacing your version of comctl32.dll?

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Perhaps Sonic Downloader is one of those programs that replaces a windows .dll with one of its own.

 

Perhaps each time your Windows sees it , it knows what is it going to try to do.

 

Have you tried replacing your version of comctl32.dll?

 

I had the problem after the download but before I ever executed,

but just in case :-

 

I selected the earliest Macrium image file of Windows 7 immediately after installation at 4th Feb 2011, and mounted as G:\

I used wincmp3 to compare

C:\Windows\winsx\amd64_microsoft.windows.common-controls_6595b64144ccf1df_6.0.7601.17514_none_fa396087175ac9ac\comctl32.dll with

G:\Windows\winsx\amd64_microsoft.windows.common-controls_6595b64144ccf1df_6.0.7601.17514_none_fa396087175ac9ac\comctl32.dll

They were declared to be identical and hexadecimal pairs showed wincmp3 was in binary mode and had not defaulted to text comparison.

 

I repeated the comparison with the same "identical file" result when comparing the C:\ and G:\ versions of

Windows\winsx\x86_microsoft.windows.common-controls_6595b64144ccf1df_6.0.7601.17514_none_41e6975e2bd6f2b2\comctl32.dll

 

I am aware of Alternate Data Streams.

Is this a possibility I should consider ?

And if so how would I investigate ?

 

Regards

Alan

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Thanks, Hazel.

 

I downloaded and searched Windows\winsxs and found nothing.

Then I searched Windows with only 23 results, one in Windows\inf and 22 in Windows\System32.

 

Then I searched E:\DOWNLOADS and found 140 streams.

It looks like every *JPG photo from my son has a stream ! !

 

There is no evidence of a Softonic stream on my system.

 

I was a little disappointed that Nirsoft would not scan G:\, the mounted image of C:\ as first installed.

Even after closing and restarting Nirsoft it did not consider G:\ a viable target

 

Whilst typing the above I started scanning the entire C:\.

Surprised to see that it has now finished with a total of only 28 items, none of them softonic.

 

My final questions - I HOPE ! !

 

1.

Is it normal for Windows 7 to recognise that a particular file has not been previously seen on a secondary drive,

and because it is a *.exe file it decides to evaluate whether it causes a SideBySide Error ?

 

2.

Is this SoftonicDownloader the only file my computer has seen which requires a "Component Version" of comctl32.dll that has a conflict,

and all the other exe's have needed dll's other than comctl32.dll,

or is comctl32.dll always involved and always without conflicts if the application was correctly designed/built,

and the problem here is just that SoftonicDownloader is not compliant to standards ?

 

3.

May I assume that my system is good and has no intrinsic SideBySide errors built in,

and the problem is only dud applications that should never have been released.

 

Regards

Alan

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I can't really think of much more that may help you Alan, I'll just keep my fingers crossed for you and that you manage to work it out.

 

Good luck :)

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