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Spark 2.5.8 Vista Issues in Domain Environment

We’ve been using Spark.exe for about 2 weeks, in addition to pushing Spark.exe thought GPO we also pushed a VB script to change the permissions on the Spark folder to “Domain Users” full control and disabled the UAC (required to lauch Spark the first time to complete the unpack). Since then, we’ve run into numerous issues that I wanted to share.

  1. UAC - Must disabled, to allow Spark to unpack/complete the setup process. Various software products do not work correctly when the UAC is disabled.

  2. Random Install Issues - We had about 4% of the machines we pushed not work. We checked all settings and there was nothing different from the other machines, but on these machines “Spark.exe” was stuck needing to be unpacked. In troubleshooting, we logged in as an administrator and completed the setup without any problems. Upon relaunching as a user, Spark would still reference the administrators profile and causing it to fail to start (symptom: click Spark.exe and nothing happens). It should have prompt the user to create a new profile in the users home directory “C:\Users<user name>”.

  3. Random Hangs on Reboot - We have had ~10% of the users with Spark report that their machines started to hang on “Restart”. We’ve seen this on people with/without Administrator rights. We’ve take 3 of these people, and removed Spark and not had a restart issue in 4 days. All other users are still experiencing the issues.

  4. Outlook Hangs - This has just become visible by our helpdesk tickets, since the install we’ve about ~6% increase in users having outlook hang, advance search in outlook not return any results, etc… We usually have to terminate outlook and do a repair to get things working, but the problem is reoccurring. We were not having any problems before Spark.exe.

We’ve not pushed out any other updates, during the Trail with Spark so we know it’s isolated to something in Spark or something between Spark and our other applications. We standard desktop configuration, so it’s very possible it’s a conflict between multiple applications.

Based on these problems, we are going to immediatly uninstall Spark 2.5.8 across the domain. I’ll report back the results, but if these problem disappear it’s clear that there is something in our organization that does not like Spark. In terms of app performance, Spark runs quick and nobody had any issues using the application.

Here is some quick facts about our setup, maybe somebody will see something that triggers a flag into why Spark isn’t working for us.

Network

  1. Domain (Win2K3 Native Mode)

  2. Gigabit 2 desktops

  3. Group Policy - Software Installation

  4. Openfire server is Win2K3 IIS with LDAP intergration

Desktops (Spark 2.5.8)

  1. DELL OptiPlex 755 (2-4GB RAM)

  2. Vista Business SP1

  3. Kaspersky AV

  4. MS Office 2007

  5. Adobe Acrobat Std

  6. All users low privilege (domain users)

During the writing of this, I’ve had 3 more reports of people not being able to restart without holding down the power button. Pin wheel of death on the PC, once we remove the software I’ll report back the results.

We evaluated a few of the other clients, but we loved the UI/Features of Spark. Too bad it doesn’t have a dedicated team of paid individuals to keep the product moving along… cause it’s really a great product!!!

We uninstalled it for a few more problems, but the issue persisted. I had 3 people send the entire day trying to track down the program and it turns out that “Kaspersky” released a buggy software update that has done more damage than the worm it was trying to protect us against. This seems to be pretty wide spread, but it’s only been cropping up for a few days on the form. A 20 minute wait for TS, and they offered version X of a beta hotfix that seems to have solved the problem.

We’ll be pushing Spark back out, using the updated .MSI provide that includes the fix for security permissions (Domain Users, Full Control).

Zach