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FIX: Slow compilations when using strong name

To all...

I have experienced this problem and recently so has my co-worker which led
me to try to solve the problem. Before I give you the fix, let me give a
brief overview of the problem. Hopefully this will be indexed efficiently by
google so that others with this problem can quickly benefit from it.

The problem manifests itself when on a Windows NT 4.0 domain and building
assemblies using a strong name key generated with the SN.EXE utility. I
cannot identify when the problem started, but it was definitely related to
the client and not the server because the problem occurred at different
times on two different machines. (We're talking months apart...) The problem
is that compilation takes an unacceptably long time (~15 seconds PER
PROJECT). If you disable the network interface, the problem goes away. If
you do not strong name your assemblies, the problem goes away.

I saw that one person solved the problem by changing the machine-based key
containers option with the SN.EXE utility. While this fixed the problem on
my machine (temporarily) it did not help at all on my co-worker's machine. I
turned on auditing (for every failure) and found an event log entry in the
security log that resembled the following:

Type: Failure Audit
Source: Security
Category: Detailed Tracking
Event ID: 596

Backup of data protection master key.
Key Identifier: (guid omitted)
Recovery Server:
Recovery Key ID:
Failure Reason: 0x3A

According to MSKB article 309408, this is from the DPAPI and there is a
workaround detailed in article 331333. I know, it looks like it has nothing
to do with VS.NET and the compilers, but in fact it does.


By adding the following registry value, the problem has been fixed on both
mine and my coworker's workstations and I could not be happier. Below is the
registry entry, but I suggest you read the KB articles before importing it
because it changes the way the DPAPI functions on Windows XP on a NT 4

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Cryptography \Protect\Providers\df9d8c

On a side note, the fix also corrected this very annoying little problem I
was having with Windows Messenger when I would open a new conversation
window it would lag for a few seconds before allowing me to type. Perhaps it
is related.

I hope I have made someone's day as I have certainly made my own. I was
beginning to consider not strong naming anything anymore. :) 15 seconds per
project in a solution with 8 or so projects was becoming quite annoying!!

Please email me if this fix helps you. I'd be happy to hear from you.

Josh Einstein (Apokalips XIII)

Nov 15 '05 #1
  • viewed: 1297

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