Monday, November 15, 2010

Embarcadero tech support should pull its act together

For the past few days I have fought a small war with the Embarcadero registration system. For some unknown reason, Delphi XE installed fine but when I tried to register it, I got back
“No  valid  license information found for Embarcadero(R) Delphi(R) XE.
You  must provide a valid serial number in order to use Embarcadero(R)
Delphi(R) XE. Do you want to run the registration wizard again?”
The funny thing was that my registration count got incremented nevertheless! Of course I only noticed this after five failed installs when the sixth attempt told me that I’ve used my installation bonus and I can install no more Delphis :( Most probably there was some clash between the fresh Delphi XE installation, previous trial version and pre-previous [sorry I can’t tell you about it] version. Of course, I did try to fully remove all remnants of all installations but obviously I missed some important part.
At that point I did the right thing and opened a support case. A guy from Embarcadero support responded soon enough with a note that he bumped my registration count and I can retry. Of course I already knew that retrying won’t help so I asked him how to fully clean up my machine.
Then I waited 24 hours …
Next day I sent few more mails and finally got a pretty comprehensive clean-up list. Then only problem was that it was completely b0rken (as you’ll see in a second).
So I sent a response to that mail, requesting clarification of some items.
No reply.
Then the weekend occurred …
Nothing happened yesterday either. At last I sent another mail urging the support to please respond to my question and bump my registration count again (as I was already up to 10 registrations – only one of them really successful, and that one was on another machine).
Finally I got the reply. Actually, I received a mail stating that my registration count was bumped again. Nothing else. No reply to any of my questions. Nada, zip, zilch.
It looks like Embarcadero has tech support that can only do two things. 1. Bump registration count. 2. Send around bad instructions on how to remove remnants of Delphi from your system.
Sad smile
Embarcadero people, if you really want Delphi to be successful again, you should educate your tech support.
Luckily, I know enough about Delphi to clean my system even without answers to my questions so I was able to finally install XE. Hurrah!
I still have to prove that the cleanup list is really really bad, yes? Well, here it is, directly pasted from the support mail. My comments are in italic.
1. Uninstall the product via the "Embarcadero Rad Studio 2010" entry in "Uninstall a Program" in the Control Panel
I’m trying to uninstall Delphi XE so “Embarcadero RAD Studio XE” would be a better choice.
2. Remove the C:\Program Files\Codegear\Rad Studio\8.0 directory

Actually, folder is named \Embarcadero\, not \Codegear\.
3. Remove the C:\Users\Public\Public Documents\Rad Studio directory
That would trash the Delphi 2010 install. Only 8.0 subfolder has to be removed.
4. Remove the c:\ProgramData\CodeGear\Rad Studio\8.0 directory
Again, it’s \Embarcadero\.
5. Remove the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\CodeGear\BDS\8.0 registry key
Same here.
6. Remove the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\CodeGear\BDS\8.0 registry key
And here.
7. Remove the
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\{A2B58B18-5D04-4006-9713-B6945880746E} registry key
8. Remove the
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\CodeGear RAD Studio 2010 registry key
Embarcadero RAD Studio XE, not CodeGear RAD Studio 2010.
9. Remove folders with a GUID name in C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\   
In item 3, C:\Users was used. Here, C:\Documents and Settings. On every computer, one of those will not be the correct choice.
9a. You can find the specific GUID folder names to remove by browsing to the subkeys of HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\MimarSinan\InstallAware\Ident.Cache\
10. Remove the following files from Windows\System32:   
10a. *120.bpl   
10b. *120.jdbg   
10c. *120.xml   

In Delphi XE, those files end in 150, not 120. And on a 64-bit system they live in \Windows\SysWOW64.
10d. bdeadmin.*   
10e. cc32*.dll   
10f. midas.*

Dear reader, please tell me – am I overreacting? Or somebody should be fired here for not doing his/her work (and I definitely don’t mean the poor tech support guy I was talking to)?


  1. Thanks; I'm alerting support about this. It's certainly wrong.

  2. Just reading your posts raises my heart rate. I understand they need to protect their IP and revenue stream, but putting a bad taste in your mouth has the opposite effect.

    They are losing mind share to Microsoft. Now isn't the time for draconian DRM.

    I wish them (and you) luck with it.

  3. To clarify few points...

    I don't mind having registration problems. That's what happens when you are installing all kinds of weird versions of software on your system. Happens to best of us.

    I do mind receiving cleanup list that would trash half of my installed Delphis. And I definitely mind not getting answers to my questions but only template responses.

  4. Anonymous20:20

    I have told Emba the same since several years.

    1. Leave InstallAware
    2. Leave MSI based installer
    3. Remove .net from all RAD Studio components.

    Those technologies don't work. I see that almost every day. For example InnoSetup is able to clean up every bit. After a cleanup you have exactly the system as it was before the installation.

  5. Anonymous20:32

    Hard to believe that in this day and age developers still put up with this bullshit. Wake up Embarcadero, before it's too late!

  6. Anonymous21:47

    "Embarcadero tech support should pull its act together "

    They should have pulled their act together along time ago.

    Mark my word. Their losing customers more and more each year. They lost our company (Purchases of Delphi and Interbase licenses). We now only have one license of Delphi (2010). We wont upgrade any further. We have moved all development to Java. We maintain a delphi 7 and delphi 2010 license for legacy code. We said goodbye to Embarcadero and thee silly maintence fees and outrageous upgrade prices.

  7. Anonymous22:28

    Well, I'm only starting a company, and Embarcadero sales did everything to _keep_ me from buying their product. If I weren't this self-hating massochistic Delphi geek... (who isn't these days?)

  8. The majority of these problems all stem from the same root cause: A draconian registration/activation procedure that was borked.

    We had an almost identical problem in the past, where a perfectly valid serial # refused to activate yet each attempt to do so bumped our activation count until we reached the point where even if the activation attempt were successful, it would have been refused due to us exceeding our activation limit.

    The solution is not to fix the support desk so that when this happens proper support is given, the solution is to fix registration/activation.

    Similarly, my developer account has a whole bunch of Turbo Explorer licenses associated with it. Licenses I never use and do not wish to have polluting my account.

    Embarcadero's response is that they cannot allow me to delete those licenses as they could then be used by someone else! WHO CARES?!? They are FREE licenses!!!

    At the very least, allow me to tag licenses as in use/no longer in use, for my own purposes, i.e. to filter the list of "active" (from *my* perspective) licenses.

    If a draconian and flawed registration/activation systems is to be imposed on a user community, at least make it serve SOME useful purpose TO that community!!

  9. It's not good that their removal instructions are so awful. It does read like something that was created correctly for D2005 or similar, then updated over time by people with varying levels of cluefulness. Time for them to send it back to the clueful person for an update.
    The rest... excuse me if I regard that as usual behaviour. Like others, I'm used to dealing with resellers instead of the Borland/Codegear/Embarcadero Sales Prevention Department, because it's actually possible to buy from our local reseller.
    I'm surprised Embarcadero don't sell a "C# for Delphi programmers" course and offer an "Upgrade to Microsoft" path. That definitely seems to be the approach their sales and support people prefer us to take.

  10. Anonymous06:04

    Any company that doesn't take care of its most loyal customers will not be around for very long.

    Even when you want to drink the best coffee brew in the world, it doesn't help if you can get served.

  11. Anonymous07:04

    It's a pity.

    So much for their QC department's work.

    EMB has been boasting that they are more QC conscious and are testing everything extensively.

    Looking at your experience I feel that for EMB QC is nothing but a big JOKE!

    Thanks got our company's management did not think of upgrading from Delphi 2007 to the latest version.

  12. Wow, that and the Update 1 / DDevExtension fiasco in the same week-end...

  13. I got the same problem. They tried to help me, and were more responsive than in your case, which I appreciated. But in the end I had to fix it myself by just creating a new windows account and installing into that :-(