Home Articles Legacy Windows Installers
PDF Print E-mail

Creating Installers for Legacy Windows Applications


Much of my work is focused on Configuration Management in an IT setting. But I have also had the pleasure of working on projects that were more product focused. When you need to distribute windows applications to hundreds or perhaps thousands of users then creating automated script to install and configure the Windows Application is an absolute requirement. Whenever possible, I try to keep my installation procedures as simple as possible. But it is frequently a requirement to handle a fair amount of complexity when creating installers for Windows. With C# and .net Microsoft has provided some pretty robust tools including the MS Build scripting language and ClickOnce which makes it very easy to embed a unique and immutable version ID into every C# Assembly (which us CM folks refer to as configuration items). You may still find yourself having to create installation procedures for legacy windows applications that do not use the .net managed platform. Here is how you can approach this task.

The first consideration is to ascertain which versions of Windows you will be required to support. This is obviously a moving target and you will need to consider how often you will need to update your procedures as Windows evolves. You can create a windows installer right from the Visual Studio interface but there are also a number of other Windows installers to choose from.


Here is a partial list:




I have found that some installation scripting languages are more complex than others. Sometimes the complexity is necessary to handle customization including modifications to the Windows registry. Make sure that you also test to verify that the user has sufficient privileges to make the desired changes as many organizations limits admin rights and your installation procedures may fail in very subtle and unpredictable ways. Another issue that I have run into is dependence upon a third party installation depot. Trusting a third party to host your installation can have its advantages but also comes with some risk. The worst part is that you are ceding control to another company who may have very different priorities than you do. Obviously, in this instance you need to have a clear and enforceable Service Level Agreement (SLA). You also need to have a plan B just in case the vendor simply cannot perform.


Windows has been around a long time and there are lots of ways to handle automated installation procedures. Make sure that you drop me a line and tell me about your own experiences creating Windows installation procedures!



Related Articles:

More articles by this author

Micro Focus Completes Acquisition of Serena Software, Inc. Application Lifecycle Management Acquisition Boosts Micro Focus’s DevOps Capability ROCKVILLE, Md., May 2, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Micro Focus (LSE: MCRO.L) today announced the completion of its acquisition of Serena Software, a leading provider of Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) software, under the terms of the definitive agreement disclosed on March 22, 2016. "Our customers continue to look at DevOps as a way to deploy critical applications and services quickly and with greater reliability to meet business demands," said Stephen Murdoch, CEO, Micro Focus. "The Serena acquisition extends our ability to help customers meet these challenges so they can drive greater innovation faster with lower risk." According to industry analyst firm Gartner, "DevOps implementations utilize technology, especially automation tools, that can leverage an increasingly programmable and dynamic infrastructure from a life cycle perspective."1  The experience and expertise which the Serena business brings will enable Micro Focus to help its customers develop and release applications and services faster, with greater speed and accuracy. Serena adds capabilities in software application development; software configuration and change management; and business process management to Micro Focus's portfolio of ALM solutions spanning mainframe environments, distributed systems and cloud. The combination of Micro Focus and Serena allows companies to better: Design and build business applications and services with greater accuracy, reliability and predictability; Continuously deploy existing core business applications on a wider variety of platforms to meet changing business needs; and Improve the speed and efficiency of new business services through automated release and deployment solutions. About Serena Software Serena is among the largest Application Lifecycle Management vendors with more than 2,500 enterprise customers. Serena helps the highly regulated large enterprise move fast without breaking things – increasing velocity of the software development lifecycle while enhancing security, compliance, and performance. More information is available at www.serena.com. About Micro Focus Micro Focus (LSE: MCRO.L) is a global enterprise software company helping customers innovate faster with lower risk. Our software helps customers build, operate and secure IT systems that bring together existing business logic and applications with emerging technologies to meet increasingly complex business demands. For more information, visit: www.microfocus.com. 1I&O Must Combine ITIL and DevOps to Deliver Business Value for Bimodal IT," by George Spafford and Ian Head, March 18, 2016.
Hi, I am excited to invite you to subscribe to our new online publication which provides guidance on Configuration Management Best Practices, Agile Application Lifecycle Management (including videos) and, of course DevOps. Our publication explains hands-on best practices required to implement just enough process to ensure that you can build software and systems that are reliable and secure. Based upon our new book, Agile Application Lifecycle Management - Using DevOps to Drive Process Improvement, the Agile ALM DevOps Journal seeks to promote a dialogue that is really needed in the industry today. We will discuss practical approaches to implementing the Agile ALM using DevOps best practices including continuous integration, delivery and deployment. We will also discuss process improvement strategies that work in large organizations that must comply with federal regulatory guidelines, along with smaller teams that may very well grow as they become successful. We are taking this journey together and our goal is to ensure that you have a voice and can share your experiences along with learning from other colleagues too. Enjoy Leslie Sachs's amazing column: Personality Matters and Bob Aiello's column: Behaviorally Speaking. We will also report on major incidents where organizations clearly need to improve on their ability to develop and deliver software effectively, including the recent Southwest systems glitches which resulted in thousands of flights being cancelled and thousands more being delayed. We will also bring you exciting technical product announcements such as jfrog's new xray, which helps to scan your runtime objects, including docker images, for vulnerabilities. This is an exciting time to be in the technology field. Join the revolution! You can submit your articles for publication to share your own knowledge and experience!  Subscribe to receive your copy and register so that you can comment online Bob Aiello http://www.linkedin.com/in/BobAiello @bobaiello, @agilealmdevops, @cmbestpractices This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  
Copyright © 2017 CM Best Practices. All Rights Reserved.
Joomla! is Free Software released under the GNU/GPL License.

Product News

Live Online Training