Perforce and hard-drive images

Last year when we got new development machines, we set up a master hard-drive image that network services could use if we ever had to re-image a machine. Well, that happened more often than we had hoped since we had several hard drive crashes.

While this doesn’t help with all the little tools and settings that a developer prefers, it helps in that it gives a machine that has all the necessary development tools installed. Though additional tweaking is probably done by the individual developer, it cuts down the time required to set up Visual Studio, Perforce, SQL Server etc. by several hours.

At some point network services switched the imaging software they’re using, so our image got lost and we had to redo it a few weeks ago when we had yet another hard drive crash. Then last week the next drive crashed – fortunately this time we had the image, so that machine was up and running again in a matter of a few hours.

This afternoon my co-worker who works on this machine asked me to look at a problem: he was trying to load a project in Visual Studio, and the Perforce plug-in/Visual Studio kept saying that the server binding for this project was invalid. We checked the default ClientSpec and default Username – everything was set correctly. We compared the spelling – that matched. We tried to unbind, close VS, then rebind – didn’t work. Rebooting didn’t help.

Then finally we discovered the reason: the case of the directory in Windows Explorer didn’t match the case specified in the Perforce ClientSpec. After we changed that everything worked!

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