I recently took a new job managing a group for software developers. While they excel at developement they are not very good at installing thier efforts. We have 200 plus remote clients who we dial into and deliver patches to the software. That means we copy new dlls and data files to their PC's. No messing with the registry. They have built a home grown installer out of batch commands that fails 14% of the time and has no uninstall process. The remote desktops are NT.

I looking for a package that will alow me to bundle up the changes as an exe, that can be run without user interaction, Provide auto back out of changes if a step fails, and uninstall option.

Simple is better. A year from now all the clients will be lan connected and we will be using a file sync solution form remoteware. So I'm looking to stop the bleeding untill then.
Do you have any suggestions?
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Your description of your situation is the stuff that makes people have fond thoughts of running naked into rush hour traffic.
I would firstly suggest that you entertain a consultant that specializes in installations. There are a few of us about and you may well find one in your area.

As to the tool, without a detailed knowledge of the application itself, it’s required dependencies or supported systems and their likely service pack status, etc.. Any “use this and all of your trouble will be solved” would be somewhat difficult.

I would probably start with Wise Installation System 9.
The language is easy to use and the installations tend to be much less complicated.

Answered 11/24/2003 by: Robo Scripter
Orange Senior Belt

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There are a number of applications out there that will let you package changes into an executable for deployment, there is a good list right here.

I'd ask how bad do you want roll-backs on failures? This is the feature that pushes you twoard a Windows Installer implementation and this is a technology that can be difficult to get your head around without some dedication. On the other hand, an EXE-style install is a relatively simple thing to put together and does not require the same level of administration that MSI installs do (managing source, self-healing, updates, etc.).

If you can live without the roll-back on failure, go for an EXE setup program, there are dozens of them and most are relatively simple and easy to understand. If you need to go Windows Installer, I would recommend investing in some books/training so you can manage it properly.

Best of luck!
Answered 11/24/2003 by: bkelly
Red Belt

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