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Using an application over a LAN

Posted on 1998-07-08
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Last Modified: 2013-11-14
I have written an application that needs to be used on a LAN.  The application setup wizard takes care of registering everything on a single PC, but how do you go about writing a setup program that will setup the users PC to be able to run the application off of the LAN?  The exe will reside on the LAN, but the users PC needs all of the dll's installed and everything registered.
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Question by:jjmartin
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Expert Comment

by:electrick
ID: 1465238
Install the application in each PC as normal, then change the shortcuts on each PC to point to the .exe on the "server".
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Author Comment

by:jjmartin
ID: 1465239
Thanks for the input electrick, but there has to be a better way.  This app will be used by A LOT of users, and I have to program for the lowest common denominator.  The less the users have to do, the less likely we are have problems.  I just want the users to click on a setup program on the LAN that will setup the individual PC to use the application and automatically point to the application on the LAN.
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Expert Comment

by:tward
ID: 1465240
There is an installation program called WISE that can create shortcuts the way you want...  It costs about $69.00.

I do believe there is a way to create links using the API within Visual Basic but I have never tried it.  

You may want to check the Microsoft Knowledge Base or the Previously asked Questions here...
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Expert Comment

by:tomook
ID: 1465241
The is also InstallShield. It does nearly anything, but is a *bit* more than WISE.
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Expert Comment

by:shagnasty
ID: 1465242
Create your setup disks as normal but don't include the files that will be access from the server (The .EXE, any non-local datafiles etc).  

Have a look at the [Setup] Section of Setup.lst (Created by Setup Wizard on the first disk) - modify this and you can get Setup Wizard to create a shortcut to a file on another PC
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Expert Comment

by:tward
ID: 1465243
Right from the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

HOWTO: Create Shortcuts (Shell Links) within Windows

Last reviewed: October 30, 1997
Article ID: Q155303

The information in this article applies to:

•Microsoft Visual Basic Control Creation, Learning, Professional, and Enterprise Editions for Windows, version 5.0 •Standard, Professional, and Enterprise Editions of Microsoft Visual Basic, 32-bit only, for Windows, version 4.0

SUMMARY

Sometimes it is necessary to create shortcuts to your applications or documents somewhere on another user's system. Do this by calling the fCreateShellLink API function found in the STKIT432.DLL file that ships with the Setup Kit in Microsoft Visual Basic version 4.0 for Windows. Below are the steps that show you how to do this.

MORE INFORMATION

Shell links, also known as shortcuts, are a convenient way to reference objects within the shell name space (the hierarchical structure of objects in the Microsoft Windows 95 shell) without having to keep track of the name and location of the original object. Shell links are referred to as shortcuts in the Context menu (that appears when you right-click an object) of shell objects. They are implemented internally via the IShellLink interface.

Steps for Creating a Shell Link (Shortcut) to the Desktop

1.Start a new project in Visual Basic. Form1 is created by default.

2.Add a Command button (Command1) to Form1.

3.Add the following code to the General Declarations section of Form1:

Option Explicit

      Private Declare Function fCreateShellLink Lib "STKIT432.DLL" (ByVal _

        lpstrFolderName As String, ByVal lpstrLinkName As String, ByVal _
        lpstrLinkPath As String, ByVal lpstrLinkArgs As String) As Long

      Sub Command1_Click()

        Dim lReturn As Long

        'Add to Desktop
        lReturn = fCreateShellLink("..\..\Desktop", _
        "Shortcut to Calculator", "c:\Winnt\system32\calc.exe", "")

        'Add to Program Menu Group
        lReturn = fCreateShellLink("", "Shortcut to Calculator", _
        "c:\Winnt\system32\calc.exe", "")

        'Add to Startup Group
        lReturn = fCreateShellLink("\Startup", "Shortcut to Calculator", _
        "c:\Winnt\system32\calc.exe", "")

      End Sub

4.Press the F5 key to run the project, and then click the Command button.

NOTE: If you are running Windows NT, the above example works correctly. If you are running Windows 95, change the Calc.exe path to the following:

   C:\Windows\Calc.exe

This creates a shortcut to the Calc.exe file on the user's desktop, a program group, and a reference to it in the Startup items.

REFERENCES

Please refer to the sample on the Visual Basic 5.0 CD-ROM: Tools\Unsupprt\ShellLnk

For additional information, please see the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

   ARTICLE-ID: Q140443
   TITLE     : How To Create a Shortcut on the Desktop

Keywords          : APrgOther vb432 VB4WIN vb5all vb5howto
Version           : WINDOWS:4.0,5.0
Platform          : NT WINDOWS
Issue type        : kbhowto
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Author Comment

by:jjmartin
ID: 1465244
shagnasty, you have me going in the right direction, but I have one last problem.  If I don't include the .exe file with the setup, it does not create a shortcut for me.  Any hints on this?  The points are still yours anyway, I would just like some help over this last hurdle.
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Accepted Solution

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shagnasty earned 100 total points
ID: 1465245
1) Create a setup which does have include the exe.  Copy the [Setup] Section to a temporary file.

2) Create the proper Setup

3) Add the Setup Section back into Setup.lst adjust it to point to the exe's network location.
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Author Comment

by:jjmartin
ID: 1465246
I tried that, and it still doesn't work.  What I am going to do is change the DefaultDir= and hardcode in the network path.  This installs the proper system files on their PC, but creates a shortcut to the exe on the LAN.  The only bad part is the exe is overwritten every time somebody installes the application, but this shouldn't hurt anything.  Thanks for the help.
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