You may already know that if you press the F5 key on your keyboard or choose the List – Refresh List menu item in Visual Installer’s editor, the contents of the file list (in the editor’s File List tab) is refreshed.
When a file list is refreshed, file dates and size information etc. is updated. If a file is missing at a source file path, you will be informed about that.
If you want to have the file list refreshed automatically when a project is opened, this is also possible. If you choose the Special – Editor options menu item and select the Update file list automatically option in the dialog box that is shown (see the picture below)
the file list will be updated automatically when the .VIP project file is opened.
Normally when a user runs an installation, the installer will ask for a destination folder. A default folder name and folder path is shown, but the user can usually change the folder name and the folder path, and enter his/her own.
But there are situations when the folder name and folder path must stay unchanged, but the user should have the possibility to change the drive letter.
In Visual Installer we have a special setup dialog box that is designed for this purpose. You can include this dialog box in your installation by checking the Drive option in the Dialog boxes tab in the Visual Installer editor.
If you check this option, the following setup dialog box will be shown in the installation:
In this dialog box the end-user can change the drive letter, but not the folder path. The folder path is shown for the end-user, but it is a read-only field. He can not change the path.
The CD-Menu Creator editor contains 8 main tabs, from where the most of the work to create a menu interface is made from. The last (the rightmost) tab is the Version tab.
In this tab you can enter version information for your menu project. For example company name, product name, product description and version number. In this tab you can also see the date when your menu was last created. This text field is updated automatically, so you don’t need to enter any information here.
Some of the text fields in the Version tab can also be used as variables in menu interfaces. That includes the following text fields: Company, Product Name, Product Description, and Version Number. More information about these variables is available in this tip.
Before you actually create an installation package on your hard drive or USB stick, with Visual Installer, you can test it. You can step through all setup dialog boxes in your project and simulate an installation of you files. The tip below explains how to do it:
1. Start Visual Installer.
2. Open a current Visual Installer project or create a new one.
3. Open the File menu.
4. Choose Test on the menu.
5. In the dialog box that is opened, click on the Start simulation button.
Now the simulation will start.
The simulation will look like a real installation, but no files are copied and no folders are created. The Registry will also remain untouched. There will be no changes in the computer at all, so you can run it safely to test your installation.
More tips for Visual Installer are available here:
> Tips & tricks for SamLogic Visual Installer
Sometimes it is necessary to change source folder paths for a group of files in Visual Installer’s file list. This is necessary if for example some files have been moved to another folder location or if you change computer and the folder paths that are used in the new computer are different. But luckily, this is very easy done in Visual Installer. In the tip below we show how to do this.
How to change source folder paths for a group of files
1. Start Visual Installer and open your Visual Installer project file (.VIP file).
2. Open the List – Replace – Replace source folders menu item (see picture below).
3. Enter the existing folder path and the new folder path in the dialog box that is shown.
4. Click OK in the dialog box to do the replace operation.
Now every folder path that match the criteria will be updated in the file list.
To make sure that folder paths are correct spelled and really exists on the drive, you can hit the F5 button. If the folders do not exists, Visual Installer will show a warning message and show which files in the file list that have wrong folder paths.
> How to view source paths in the file list in Visual Installer
In Visual Installer you can choose whether you want to add shortcuts (icons) for the Windows account that is used to install your files, or for all Windows accounts in the computer.
Mostly the Windows account that is used for installation is the same as the Windows account that is used to run the software or access the files. But this is not always the case. If different Windows accounts are used for installation and for daily use, you might end in a situation where there is no shortcut (icon) to access your software or files.
To prevent that this situation occurs, you can open the Program group / menu dialog box (via the List menu) in Visual Installer, and make sure that the Create program group / menu for all users option is selected in the dialog box. If not, you can select this option.
Now your shortcuts (icons) will be accessible for all users (all Windows accounts) in the computer. This affects also desktop shortcuts and other types of shortcuts.
Sometimes it is necessary to write-protect a file after it has been installed on a hard drive. If you use Visual Installer to install your files, this is very easy done if you follow these steps:
1. Open your project file or create a new one.
2. In the File list tab, select the file that you want to write-protect.
3. Choose the List – File copy options menu item.
4. Select the Turn on write protection option:
5. Click OK.
If you want to be able to update the write-protected file during a future update, you can also select the Replace also write protected file option:
Now when you install your files, the file that you selected at step 2 above, will be write-protected after the installation. You can check that this really works as expected by right-clicking on the file in Windows Explorer and thereafter choosing the Properties menu item in the local menu that is shown. In the General tab in the Properties dialog box, the Read-only check box should be checked (as shown in the picture below):
> How to set file copy options in Visual Installer
> The ‘Inst’ column in the ‘File list’ tab in Visual Installer
When you install a software it can sometimes be useful to remember the installation date. In Visual Installer you can do it by using the %DATE variable, which retrieves the current date from the system during an installation. The contents of the %DATE variable can then be stored in the Registry or in an INI file.
If you want to store the current date in the Registry during the installation, you can enter a line like this in Visual Installer’s Registry tab:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\MyCompany\MySoftware :: InstallationDate=”%DATE“
See also the picture below (the screen dump is from the Registry tab):
The %DATE variable will be replaced with the current date when your files are installed in the end user’s computer. The picture below shows how it may look like:
> Variables in Visual Installer
With the SETPERM script command in Visual Installer’s script language you can change permissions for a folder on the user’s hard disk during an installation. But what happen with the sub folders? Are the folder permissions inherited?
Yes. They are normally. But if you really want to be sure that all sub folders have the same permission settings as the main folder, you can set the permissions for them separately. For example like this:
SETPERM %DESTDIR\Documents, PERM_ALL
SETPERM %DESTDIR\Documents\Text, PERM_ALL
SETPERM %DESTDIR\Documents\Word, PERM_ALL
With this method you can also give a sub folder another folder permissions than the main folders. For example like:
SETPERM %DESTDIR\Documents, PERM_ALL
SETPERM %DESTDIR\Documents\Pdf, PERM_READ
> How to give a standard user write permission to a folder in Program Files
> Visual Installer’s Scripting Language
If you already have created a folder structure on your hard drive, with the files that you want to install, and want to create a similar folder structure on the destination drive, there is a very useful function in Visual Installer that you can use. The name of the function is Add tree and you can access it via the List menu in Visual Installer, by choosing the List – Add – Add tree menu item (see the picture below):
After you have chosen this menu item, the following dialog box is shown:
Via this dialog box you can browse to the folder, with sub folders and files, that you want to add to Visual Installer’s file list. For example like:
You can see the current folder path to the right of the Folder field name in the dialog box.
After you have selected your folder, you can click on the OK button to continue. The following dialog box will now be shown:
In the option frame (above the three buttons) you can choose how the folder structure will be built in Visual Installer’s file list. You can choose between replacing the root level of the folder tree with the %DESTDIR variable, or add the folder tree to the %DESTDIR variable.
When you have decided how you want to build the folder tree, you can press the Add files button. Now Visual Installer’s file list will be filled with the files and folders. And you can see how many files that were collected in the No. files field name in the dialog box:
To return to the file list, just press Close in the dialog box.
How to obtain only folders of a folder tree
Instead of collecting the files in a folder tree you can also extract only the folders (directories) of the tree and skip all files. In this blog post we explain how to do this.