Fixing an ‘Initialization of SteelSeries Engine failed’ error

Initialization of SteelSeries Engine failed. Please reinstall Engine and try again.

Yesterday morning when I booted up my PC I was greeted with this error message:

Initialization of SteelSeries Engine failed.
Please reinstall Engine and try again.

Not again! I thought. I’d experienced this before and had needed to get help from SteelSeries tech support to resolve it. I suspected that it had been caused by a recent Windows 8 update, but I don’t know for sure.

Here is how I resolved it:

  1. Clear temp files
    In Windows Explorer I typed %temp% into the address bar and pressed Enter. This is a shortcut to C:\Users\[USERNAME]\AppData\Local\Temp. I selected all files and deleted them. (A few files are still in use so just skip past these.)
  2. Close SSEngine.exe process
    The next step is to make sure the SteelSeries Engine process isn’t still running. Ctrl+Shift+Esc brings up the Task Manager. If the SSEngine.exe process is still running (under the Processes tab) then close it.
  3. Uninstall
    In Control Panel > Programs and Features uninstall the SteelSeries Engine application.
  4. Clear AppData\Roaming\SteelSeries
    In Windows Explorer, in the address bar, type %appdata%. This is a shortcut for C:\Users\[USERNAME]\AppData\Roaming. Locate the directory called SteelSeries and delete it.
  5. Clear AppData\Local\SteelSeries_ApS
    Do the same at C:\Users\[USERNAME]\AppData\Local. The directory there for me is called SteelSeries_ApS. Delete it.
  6. Unplug mouse
    Unplug the mouse from its USB port. Wait 10 seconds then plug it back in.
  7. Download drivers
    Now download fresh drivers from SteelSeries support. Do not rely on previously-downloaded drivers.
  8. Install as administrator
    Right click the installer and select ‘Run as administrator’, then follow the on-screen instructions and install the drivers.
  9. Reboot
    You should now find that your computer reboots without any initialization error message.

As well as reinstalling the Engine drivers I also took the opportunity to upgrade the mouse’s firmware.

It was then just a case of recreating my custom profile to make my mouse behave as much like a Microsoft Intellimouse Optical as possible (left-hand side buttons: back; right-hand side buttons: forward), as well as setting two sensor speeds (red 1600 dcpi for me, blue 800 dcpi for the children).

It worked.

Error 3–impossible to install hooks?!

I switched on my PC at work this morning and was presented with this dialog box:

Error 3 - Impossible to install hooks

No idea which application it’s from.  I don’t remember installing something called “Error 3”.

It’s wrong, you know. I’ve installed loads of hooks in my time. Admittedly, installing them on the back of a hollow door is tricky, but it’s certainly not impossible.

What would have been a more accurate message would have been this:

Error 3 - Impossible to lick own elbow

Norton AntiVirus 2009 vs ZoneAlarm Pro 7.0.483.000

So, this evening I thought I’d give Symantec Norton AntiVirus 2009 a go.  I uninstalled AVG Free 8.0, rebooted, started the installation process which was surprisingly fast until …

The system locked when it got to starting services.  I waited.  And waited.  Reboot.

Nothing!

Reboot again.

Nothing (again)!

System restore.  The Norton AV installer ran on reboot and got further this time: it was trying to connect to the Norton online account (or something similar).

System restore further back.  Reboot.  But then AVG wouldn’t work and I got this message:

@AvgErrorCode_0x0253 %FILE% = “C:Program FilesAVGAVG8”

Downloading the installer and doing a repair fixed it.  Phew!

ZoneAlarm

And then … then I discovered that it would appear that Norton AntiVirus 2009 has an issue with ZoneAlarm Pro 7.0.483.000 — which I know is going to prompt Tim and Mike to leave comments to the effect: Why are you using ZA anyway?!

What I’m trying to determine now is whether the latest version of ZoneAlarm Pro (version 8) works with Norton AV 2009 … does anyone know?

Wrong version of IE

So there I was, answering support calls in our helpdesk call management system when I copied a URL into the address bar of Mozilla Firefox 3.0, hit return and …

Well, I was a little surprised to read the following title bar text:

And this error message on the page.

Sorry, this application is not supported on this version of your browser. Your version of Internet Explorer needs to be upgraded to 5.5 or above.  Please contact your System Administrator.

Darn! I knew I should still be using Internet Explorer 5.5.