I love meaningless error messages. I didn’t take a screenshot of this particular one but it said, and I quote:
Error “Setup.rul 380″ has occurred and Setup cannot continue
This error occurred when I wiped clean a relatively new Dell Vostro 1320 machine. It’s owner somehow managed to get it thoroughly infected with all the malware from the internet. I’m serious, this guy was like a Pokemon Grand Champion – or something he “caught them all”. And he did it in 3 days too. I gave him a brand new machine straight out of the box, and got it back 3 days later with hard drive filled to the brim with malicious code. I noticed that I didn’t haven image for that particular model so I figured I would do a clean install of windows, configure it the right way and then image it before giving it back. And I ran into this error while installing drivers. In particular it was thisl Wifi driver that gave me issues.
Initially I simply assumed that this was the wrong Wifi driver. You see, what Dell usually does is give you several Wifi card options when you first make a purchase. It is usually a choice between brand (Dell vs Intel in most cases) and network support (g only, a/b/g, g/n, etc…). So when you go to their website to download drivers, or use one of the CD’s they send you with your system, you are usually presented with a list of 4 or 5 different Wifi drivers, all of which can apply to your computer. If you don’t remember which card you have you usually have to either crack the case open and look for the model number on the card, or just try each driver in turn. Most of them do a hardware check prior to install, and if they don’t detect the right card as present, they just give up an fail. This is what I thought that was going on.
So I opened op the little lid on the back of the computer, checked the model number only to find out that this was indeed the correct driver. I double checked, re-downloaded it, tried it again and I was still getting the silly Setup.rul 380 message. So I did what any thinking human being ought to do in such a situation – I googled the error message. If you are in a similar pickle, and do something else (for example call tech support) then you fail at problem solving – just so you know. I can’t emphasize this enough: googling the error message is super effective roughly 90% of the time.
The solution turned out to be quite simple. Install .NET. Yep, Dell now requires you to have .NET 2.2 or higher to install their Wifi driver on Windows XP. This is the first time I have seen this, and I’m not sure if I like it. I mean, yes – .NET is pretty much ubiquitous on Windows systems now. But it does not ship with XP by default. So this can quickly turn into catch-22 situation when the only resources available to you are the Dell driver CD and a Wifi connection. To get on the internet you need to install your Wifi driver, but the driver requires .NET and the only way to get .NET is to download it from the internet. Good job Dell!
Also, I’m almost 99.9% sure that the driver itself doesn’t not require .NET. It is probably used by the installer itself, or the annoying user interface that everyone always disables, because Windows can handle Wireless connections on it’s own pretty well.