Thursday, February 11, 2010

Troubleshooting WinSXS (Side-by-Side) problems

While attempting to run a newly-installed OmniPage Pro 17 on a Windows 2008 x64 machine, I received a cryptic and frustrating error:

The application has failed to start because its side-by-side configuration is incorrect. Please see the application log for more details.

So, what do I do? I try re-running it. I try removing and reinstalling it. I run a repair from the Programs and Features Control Panel Applet. Nothing seems to be yielding any results.

So, I decide to check out the Application Log, like the dialog box suggested.

The Application Event Log has a little more detail about what's missing:

Activation context generation failed for "C:\Program Files (x86)\Nuance\OmniPage17\OmniPage17.exe". Dependent Assembly Microsoft.VC80.MFC,processorArchitecture="x86",publicKeyToken="1fc8b3b9a1e18e3b",type="win32",version="8.0.50727.762" could not be found. Please use sxstrace.exe for detailed diagnosis.

So, I crack open a command prompt and run the following command:

sxstrace trace -logfile:omnipage.etl

The system returns the following message:

Tracing started. Trace will be saved to file omnipage.etl.
Press Enter to stop tracing...

I launch the application again, generate the error, tab back to the command prompt window, and then press Enter to stop tracing.

You can try to read the trace file, but it's not going to do you any good. You need to convert it to human-readable form with the following command:

sxstrace parse -logfile:omnipage.etl -outfile:omnipage.txt

After a few moments, you should receive a notification that it's complete:

Parsing log file omnipage.etl...
Parsing finished! Output saved to file omnipage.txt.

At that point, you can open up the result file (omnipage.txt in my case) to get a detailed analysis of what is wrong.

Begin Activation Context Generation.
Input Parameter:
Flags = 0
ProcessorArchitecture = Wow32
CultureFallBacks = en-US;en
ManifestPath = C:\Program Files (x86)\Nuance\OmniPage17\OmniPage17.exe
AssemblyDirectory = C:\Program Files (x86)\Nuance\OmniPage17\
Application Config File =
INFO: Parsing Manifest File C:\Program Files (x86)\Nuance\OmniPage17\OmniPage17.exe.
INFO: Manifest Definition Identity is (null).
INFO: Reference: Microsoft.VC80.CRT,processorArchitecture="x86",publicKeyToken="1fc8b3b9a1e18e3b",type="win32",version="8.0.50727.762"
INFO: Reference: Microsoft.VC80.MFC,processorArchitecture="x86",publicKeyToken="1fc8b3b9a1e18e3b",type="win32",version="8.0.50727.762"
INFO: Reference: Microsoft.Windows.Common-Controls,language="*",processorArchitecture="x86",publicKeyToken="6595b64144ccf1df",type="win32",version=""
INFO: Resolving reference Microsoft.VC80.CRT,processorArchitecture="x86",publicKeyToken="1fc8b3b9a1e18e3b",type="win32",version="8.0.50727.762".
INFO: Resolving reference for ProcessorArchitecture WOW64.
INFO: Resolving reference for culture Neutral.
INFO: Applying Binding Policy.
INFO: No publisher policy found.
INFO: No binding policy redirect found.
INFO: Begin assembly probing.
INFO: Did not find the assembly in WinSxS.
INFO: Attempt to probe manifest at C:\Windows\assembly\GAC_32\Microsoft.VC80.CRT\8.0.50727.762__1fc8b3b9a1e18e3b\Microsoft.VC80.CRT.DLL.
INFO: Did not find manifest for culture Neutral.
INFO: End assembly probing.

The long and short of it is that OmniPage is looking for some C++ components that it can't find in the program files directory or the SxS manifest. Specifically, it can't find the x86 platform version of the C++ components. So, I download and install the Visual Studio 2005 C++ Redistributable package (which the application vendor should have bundled), and the problem is resolved.

You can download the components here:

Microsoft Visual C++ 2005 SP1 Redistributable Package (x86)

Microsoft Visual C++ 2005 SP1 Redistributable Package (x64)


  1. Thousand thanks for posting this. I had the same problem. Obviously Scansoft has never tried their product on a Windows 7 fresh install. Amazing. Thanks!!!!


  2. Hi,

    found a nice utility to inspect the Windows Syde-by-Sie (aka. WinSxs) dependencies of any application on


  3. Hi,

    correction of the URL PeStudio:


  4. Thank you very much. God bless.