D&D Character Builder crashes under Parallels

I had the D&D Character Builder running fine under a Parallels 5 Windows XP Pro virtual machine. But then a few weeks ago I ran a bunch of updates – both Windows and Parallels updates. Following the updates, the Character Builder would crash after trying to perform an update or launching the program. All of the following failed to fix the problem:

I didn’t have any useful snapshots of the virtual machine, so going back in time was not an option. At last I got fed up and installed a completely new Windows XP virtual machine, ran all the Windows updates, installed the Parallels Tools, then installed the Character Builder. SUCCESS!

When the Character Builder installs, it first automatically downloads and installs the .NET Framework. My guess is that the updates I ran somehow introduced an incompatibility between the .NET Framework and Parallels or the Character Builder. If I had it to do over again I would have tried this:

  1. uninstall Character Builder
  2. uninstall .NET Framework
  3. install Character Builder, allowing it to install .NET Framework itself

I’ll bet that would have worked, but I’ve already spent way too much time on this and don’t feel like testing my theory. Hopefully this blog post will help out anyone who finds themselves faced with this same irritating problem.

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