Gower Optimal Algorithms Ltd.

 
 

Windows MSI Installer.

   
 

 

Since April 2005 all of our CD software builds have been based on the Installshield / Windows MSI installer. Prior to this we had used the InstallShield 16 bit Windows installer but in line with other developers we moved over to this more modern system. It has proved extremely reliable in operation.

Our web downloads have since mid-October 2006 also been MSI based.

Basic Windows MSI Installer Process:

Whenever a new installation is attempted the installer checks whether an existing installation of the product is present on the machine. If there is one then (assuming the new version is later), the previous version is un-installed (i.e. files deleted) and replaced with the later version. In doing so any user database and other files remain unchanged

If the installation is of the same version as already found on the machine then the user is invited to Modify / Repair / Delete the installation (Repair is always the correct option to choose).

Accidental installation of an older version over a newer may be prevented by the installer - there are technical reasons why in certain instanced it might not. All CD's have both a date and version number marked on them and the opening screen of each application details the version number. Should such an older version be accidentally installed then, as in all other instances, the end-user data files etc will remain unchanged.

Detailed Process:

For many years all our software products have installed themselves into either a default folder or a folder specified by the end-user. This continues with the latest builds, with the names of the default installation folders being unchanged:

PALLETMANAGER : C:\PMNT ; CARGOMANAGER: C:\CARGONT; SLIPSHEET MANAGER: C:\SLIPSHEET . Whilst these do NOT conform to current Microsoft standards those installing can continue to choose to install into folders according to local practice. All application files and user files are located in the installation folder or, in some instances, sub-folders of the installation folder.

Both past releases and the latest releases are also constructed so that end-user files (application databases, data files, default values etc) are never over-written when (say) a new release is installed 'over the top' (i.e. into the same folder) as an earlier release.

Thus installations of the new Windows Installer (MSI) based files into a folder containing files installed using previous methods will retain end-user files. 

However, users should be aware of certain differences between the previous install procedure and the newer MSI approach:

The previous 16 bit Installshield installation would delete some (but not all) end-user files from a machine if an application was de-installed / deleted (e.g. using Control Panel / Add & Remove Programs). The end-user files important for each of our applications are detailed at the end of Section 2 of their respective manuals. The new MSI Installations are configured so that a de-install does NOT remove any of the end-user files when a de-installation takes place. To fully remove the application files (whichever installer is used), the files 'left-behind' should be deleted using Windows Explorer.

If you re-install an application from CD using the new MSI based installer, then if the same software release is found to already exist on the machine you may be prompted to Modify / Repair / Remove the application rather than just Install it. You MUST SELECTED REPAIR for the installation to be carried out correctly (Modify never updates files, just adds missing files). As described above any user databases / default values will be retained.

When we issue you with a new Windows Installer (MSI) based release to update a release based on the older installer then you will just need to install the new release into the same folder as used for the previous installation to retain all settings.

When we issue you with a new Windows Installer (MSI) based release (to update a previous MSI based installation - for example the Autumn 2006 releases), then the standard procedure (which is inbuilt into the installer), will be to firstly delete the previous installation (except for the end-user files which we have protected), and then install the new version of the software into the default or user selected installation folder. In doing so, once again, any end-user files found there will not be over-written.

The only aspect which users of either old style or new style installers need to be aware of is that if you upgrade an older installation (and wish to retain all settings) then you should either install the application to the same folder as previously used, or failing this, ensure that the end-user files for the application - once again as detailed at the end of Section 2 of their respective manuals, are copied to the chosen installation folder. 

Both old and new systems add an entry to the Start/Programs menu. With the more modern MSI builds any older entries on this menu should be automatically deleted. Should any entries to older version(s) remain then they should be deleted. They can be removed by using the right mouse button to highlight the unwanted entry and then selecting Delete.  (Do not remove using add/remove in Control Panel - this would remove some current application files)

 

The change over to the new installation procedure will, we believe, not be of concern to any users as we have continued to follow the installation 'rules' used by the previous installation process. 

 

Gower Optimal Algorithms Ltd, Swansea, U.K.

Page last updated 14th November 2006.