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Kelly Shipman (Puget Labs Technician)

One Step Forward, One Major Step Backward

Written on May 8, 2020 by Kelly Shipman
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This was both a productive, and non productive week. In the previous blog, I mentioned that I was held up by the revelation that Autodesk installs several applications in addition to 3ds Max. Since one of the goals of this benchmark is to be able to run it on every system we build that is going to be used for 3d modeling, we also need to be able to remove all trails of software once we are done. No one likes to receive an expensive computer with a bunch of software or files they don't want, or worse, may conflict with their intended software. I spent quite some time investigating exactly what needs to be removed, and this is the list of applications that I need to remove:

  • Autodesk 3ds Max 2021
  • Autodesk Desktop App
  • Autodesk Material Library 2021
  • Autodesk Material Library Base Resolution image Library
  • Autodesk Genuine Service
  • Autodesk Desktop Licensing Service

And here is the list of file locations that need to be removed:

  • C:Program FilesAutodesk
  • C:Program Files (x86)Autodesk
  • C:Program Files (x86)Common FilesAutodesk Shared
  • C:ProgramDataAutodesk
  • C:ProgramDataFLEXnet
  • C:UsersKellyAppDataLocalAutodesk
  • C:UsersKellyAppDataRoamingAutodesk
  • C:UsersKellyAppDataRoamingAutodeskInstaller

A couple tricky issues have come out of this. First, the Material Library apps need to be uninstalled via the Windows Control Panel. Slightly annoying, but easy enough to do in AutoIt. Second is that the Genuine Service app will not uninstall until all other Autodesk apps are uninstalled, and all files from the above file locations are removed. That means my script needs to shut down any program that is running, uninstall most apps, then delete the file locations, then uninstal the Genuine Service app.

After uninstalling, and reinstalling a dozen or so times to make sure I have the correct order, and can close any dialog boxes that pop up, I have a mostly working Uninstall script. Just a couple more dialog boxes to clean up. The downside is that an entirely new problem appeared during all this that has me stumped.

Suddenly, for some reason, I can no longer launch 3ds Max after installing it. Normally when you launch Max, it gives you a dialog to accept the User Agreement, then another dialog box to sign in to your Autodesk account. Well now, it gives me the option to accept the User agreement, shows a splash screen, then closes itself. And this isn’t even with one of my scripts. If I sign in to my account in the Desktop App instead, Max still will not launch. This is completely baffling.

I’ve reached out to Autodesk, so while I wait, and to give myself a break from AutoIt, I started a small side project. With so many people at home, often trying to entertain and educate their children, I thought it would be fun to put together a blog post about game development for children. There are a surprising number of resources to teach kids programming and game design. The need to know even basic programming skills keeps growing, so this is a great time to give your kids something to do other than play games. This should be posted at the beginning of next week, so keep your eyes out for that.

Back to the Benchmark, until I hear back from Autodesk about a better way to license and uninstall their software, I’m going to have to move forward as if I don't plan on having our Production department run this benchmark on customer computers. It will only be for my use in Labs, and I’ll just manually remove the software as needed. It is not my ideal, but I’ll at least be able to get results people can refer too.

ep5tv

There is always a tension between the interests of the vendor and those of the customer. In software, perhaps this balance has been skewed too far in favor of the large vendors. One thing may safely be relied upon: if it has, the software vendors are unlikely to give any of their advantage back voluntarily.

Posted on 2020-05-08 15:18:53
Dan

You may want to check out Windows Powershell. It can be used to
script alot of the things you do in Windows. As for thoroughly removing
an application (i bet autodesk has left it's mark in the Windows
Registry. If it were me, I would get the SysInternals tools and reach
for the "autoruns.exe". Searching for "autodesk" may give you the
answer)

Also, have you thought about just a nuclear option:
clone the disk prior to Autodesk install, then reverting back to that
machine image after your benchmark?

Posted on 2020-05-08 15:25:18

That actually has been something we have talked about doing internally, but it is just clunky. Our thought was to make a system restore point before we do any benchmarking, then do a restore afterwards. That would work, but unless we can't find any other way, we would rather not add that extra time to our process. We are always trying to be as efficient as possible so people can get their systems as soon as is reasonable.

Plus, I think a lot of us are a bit stubborn when it comes to solving problems like this. It shouldn't be this hard to remove any software on your system, so we want to figure out how to do it right!

Posted on 2020-05-08 18:21:35