How Microsoft Support Solved My Expression Web Problem

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Expression Web Problem – Solved thanks to Victor Butuza of Microsoft Support

What this page is really about is saying a big thank you to Victor Butuza of Microsoft support team.   

I also want to help people who face the same problem with publishing in Expression Web.  Actually, the very same problem occurred Expression Web’s forerunner FrontPage.  My hidden agenda is this: if you get stuck, to the point where the problem is driving you mad, phone Microsoft Support and pay their reasonable charges.

Expression Web Symptoms: 

Expression Webs reported my .htm files as having zero bytes.  Many files had their Status : Conflict (Normally the status is Changed or Unchanged).  Usually a simple ‘Publish files’ synchronizes the local and remote files and cures this problem.  Not so here, the problem returned no matter how I publish.

Other secondary symptoms include Expression slow to open the site, local and remote sites take ages to ‘enumerate’ when you try and publish.  However, eventually the web does open and the files do compare local and remote.

Fool’s gold. 

I could get the files to report the correct size by opening and updating.  Also by placing, then removing, the Don’t Publish, the file size returned to its proper value. 

I could (and did) publish to local to remote site,  remote to local and I also tried ‘Synchronize’.  Each time success was an illusion.  Then next time I opened my site there was the problem – again.  I even deleted the remote files, then published – no good, the problem reappeared.  These and numerous other techniques were a complete waste of time, so eventually I called Microsoft Support.

Victor Rides to the Rescue – The Real Solution

In a nutshell the cause was a corrupt local cache.  Probably triggered by moving my site from one machine to another.

Resolution Method A:
Clear the cache (Expression WEB Menu -> Site-> Site Settings -> Advanced TAB -Temporary File Section – > Click on Delete Files)

Expression Web Cache is located at :
Vista & Server 2008 C:\Users\<<USERNAME>>\Local\AppData\Microsoft\WebSiteCache\<<SITENAME>>

Windows 2X : C:\Documents And Settings\<<USERNAME>>\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\WebsiteCache\<<SITENAME>>

Resolution Method B:
Manually delete the files in \WebsiteCache\Sitename folder as mentioned above.

Victor talked me through both methods so I cannot confirm my suspicion that these are two ways of achieving the same goal, namely using Expression Web’s menus, and manually deleting those cached files with Windows explorer.  Incidentally, I could see the timestamps which were 3 weeks old, even though I had updated my files many times since.

Victor’s Methodology

If Victor had known the answer off the top of his head I would have been impressed.  But as a computer troubleshooter myself, I was even more impressed by Victor’s methodical approach.  I felt that Victor could solve any computer problem by a combination of knowledge, resources and a structured line of attack.

Under Victor’s direction, we downloaded Process Monitor (Procmon).  We then used the technique of making a change to the a website file, followed by judicious use of Procmon’s Filter to see which files Expression accessed.  This is how we identified the root cause, corrupted cached files at: \WebsiteCache\Sitename.

My point is that Victor Butuza (and the rest of the team) are brilliant troubleshooters.  Thus if you really get stuck with any Microsoft problem phone your local Microsoft Support, pay the fee, and regain your peace of mind. 

Other Cases Where Microsoft Support Helped Guy Thomas