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Here’s a nice error message for a Friday afternoon:


Ouch, catastrophic failure!  Hang on, “catastrophic’”, really??  My computer didn’t explode, I’m still alive, I can even click the OK button to make the catastrophe go away.  Okay, what I was trying to achieve wasn’t possible for some reason, but to call it catastrophic is a little exaggerated.

But I guess it beats the useless “an unexpected error has occurred” message any time.  Because, an error, isn’t that by definition unexpected?  Unless you have an application with a button called Generate Error!

I had the pleasure of encountering this message while attempting to add a new Analysis Services connection to my SSIS project.  For some reason, probably a DLL that didn’t load as usual, not all controls were available and when I specified the server name, I got that message after clicking the OK button.

Here’s another variation, received through another button on that same screen:


So now it’s catastrophic and unexpected, sounds more like it! Smile We even got the error number: 0x8000FFFF, well of course!

Most important: I was able to “fix” this issue by restarting my BIDS (2008).

Have fun!



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Quick post to ask a moment of your time.

Have you ever wanted a feature in the BIDS to quickly identify package variables which have become obsolete?  Well, I’ve been involved in the cleanup of existing packages and I can tell you, that feature would be very handy!

After a search on the internet, it turns out that one of the planned features for the BIDS Helper contains exactly that.  The request is a bit wider than what I need, but at least “highlight unused variables” is part of it.

All I’m asking now is just a minute of your time to vote for that feature request.

Have fun, and thank you!



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Lately I had been getting annoyed by Visual Studio crashing on me while working on ETL packages.  The crashes seemed somehow related to debugging a package because they usually occurred after I clicked the “Package execution completed. Click here to switch to design mode, or select Stop Debugging from the Debug menu.” link.  But I couldn’t really pinpoint why or when exactly they occurred.  Now I’ve got an explanation, and a solution!

How did I get to the solution?  Well, today I decided to click the “Send to Microsoft” button on the infamous crash pop-up window.  And from it I actually got a link to a fix for the issue.  Apparently the issue is not related to Integration Services in particular, it is a much broader Visual Studio shell issue that occurs in Visual Studio 2008 with SP1 when you’ve got a combination of undocking windows and changing window layout.  And that is indeed what I usually do when debugging a package!  When the package stops executing I often execute the following scenario:

  • double-click the title bar on the Output window to undock it
  • enlarge the undocked Output window to almost full-screen so I can have a good look at the errors
  • double-click the title bar to dock the window back to its original place
  • click the “Package execution completed.” link (or hit the Stop Debugging button)

And that’s exactly the second scenario described in this Microsoft Support article because when you stop debugging, the IDE switches the window layout back from debug to design.

I have now installed the hotfix and the issue is gone.  Beware though if you also use WPF, better read through the whole article and comments on the download page first.

Hmm, this may also explain some other unexplicable crashes I’ve seen lately.  Makes you wonder doesn’t it :-)


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