Install Overwrites Newer Files

In Windows 95, App Install/Setups used to give a warning when an install of an app was going to overwrite an existing file having a newer date/version than the file to be installed. Then it would allow you to keep the existing file or let the overwrite happen. I think I have only seen that once under Win98.

Is there some system option I can set to get that feature back or is it a function in each app install that firms have just stopped using? Or might there be a Setup or Install command line option that can be used? InstallShield seems to have the necessary options, for example, but how do I invoke them?

While I have my system pretty well in order using SFC, there are times when knowing of a change after the fact is not as good as having the opportunity to stop the change before it happens.

Who is Participating?
agkozakConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Well, to throw in my last two bits, scullytj, I really agree with Fred Langa (the fellow who wrote the article I referred to) that it's unfortunate but true that this will remain a bit of a problem.  If there's no \Windows\VCM folder, and no \Windows\Verback.log file, that's good -- it means that when you installed Windows, no existing .DLLs were replaced by older ones or ones in different languages.  However, as MasseyM properly pointed out, that doesn't mean that badly written installation programs haven't checked with you before overwriting newer .DLLs with older ones.  Here, I think you just have to be vigilant.  smeebud's advice is very good, and if I were you I would reject this message as an answer, let smeebud post a token answer, and accept it, as that's about as good as you're going to get.  You can't really tell what some of these installation programs do, and many of them screw up all sorts of things.

If you do have version problems with .DLLs, there is a useful freeware tool called DLLView which displays all of the current processes running, the .DLLs they're using, and the dates and version numbers of these .DLLs.  As you said, this is only useful for after-the-fact situations, but I really think this is as good as it gets (I feel your pain).  By the way, if naughty installation programs irk you as much as they do me, I would recommend getting Regmon at the same site -- it allows you to monitor everything programs are doing with the registry -- you can even save its output to a file, and scrutinize it later if you don't like the file associations, vel sim. that the installation program has set up.

Again, smeebud and his buddies may very well come up with even more ideas, but they're unlikely to be exactly what you want (unless there is some installation program monitor utility that I don't know about).  I'd give the points to smeebud (you might even up the score, as he's obviously put a lot of thought into this), and wait for further comments, which can still be posted after your question is "answered."  I hope I'm wrong, but I really don't think you're going to get what you want -- this is a major problem with the concept of .DLLs and the hubris of some program developers.


A. G. Kozak
scullytjAuthor Commented:
Edited text of question
The function is built into the setup programs... It has nothing to do with the OS... The setup progam will check the current versions of certain files.. If they are older than the ones in the setup package, it should prompt you...
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scullytjAuthor Commented:
The warning and option used to work regularly. Explain what's different.
My Foolproof Installation And Removal Method
Well, nothing is Foolproof, but this works for me-:)
Take 5 extra minutes on installations and you will always have a uncluttered system; and
maybe prevent yourself from having to format your harddrive and reinstall Win95.

Utilities Needed:

1. Get WRP, free.
WRPV3.ZIP is the Best and easiest Registry Backup/Restore
I've Seen. Download HERE
It's a well written batch file operation that saves your,
And will restore all to there original state if needed.
This has save my tail on many occasions.

2. Wmatch.exe. This small free utility you can
Download HERE

It's 199.526 in size.
WMATCH lets you place the filenames of two directories in side-by-side windows, and
then shows you which files are the same and which are different. It will also delete, copy
or move files.

OK. 1st thing to do is make a new directory, I call mine A-win, then a subdirectory called
A-sys. Putting these on a separate drive is preferable, but if you don't have a separate drive,
the new directories will do just fine.

Now, open two instances of you file manager side by side.
Highlight all the files [not folders] in C:\Windows and Drag them to A-win, thus copying
Then do the same with C:\Windows\Systems.
Highlight and drag all files to Subdirectory A-sys.
Now you have a easy to get at backup of the important files.

For instance in this case A-win A-sys

3. Monitor your Installation with "" Download HERE
Everyone should have this freeware Or  
This is a real MUST HAVE for testing software. Small and easy.

4. Cleansweep, or another good Installer/Uninstaller monitor that records
changes to ALL system records.
Including C:\Windows files, C:\Windows\System files, System.ini, Win.ini,
Config,sys, Autoexec.bat, Protoco.ini, and most Important, your Registry.

OK, the installation begins:

1. Run Inctrl3 in two Phase Mode.

2. Run Wmatch and make sure that there are no "Different" files between
C:\Windows and A-win, nor C:\Windows\System and A-sys.

3. Run WRP backup for a fresh copy of your important system files.

4. Close all running applications; you must leave Explorer in your
Task Manager/Ctrl+Alt+Del on.95 won't run without it.

5. Start your Cleansweep Monitor.

6. Click Start.....then Run.....then type or browse to the setup program and run your

7. If the program says to reboot, go to your Cleansweep Monitor 1st and Stop the
Monitoring, save the report to a text file, name it the name of the "program.txt".
Close the Monitor then reboot.
Not all programs need rebooting on installation.
OTHERWISE, After the installation of your new software you should run it once before
you stop Cleansweep Monitor.
Most of the programs store their settings not only during the installation but during the first
start. To log these modifications too, it is recommended to start the program once, open
some windows before you stop and save your Cleansweep Monitor log.

8. That's it. You now have all changes recorded and the ability to completely uninstall it if
you don't like it.

9. If you're going to keep it, run Wmatch.exe and copy all new files to their corresponding
directories; A-win and A-sys.
If you want to uninstall it. Run Cleansweep remove. That takes care of everything in most
cases. If your removing the application either right away or soon, when you do, re-boot to
Real Dos Mode and CD to WRP, EXAMPLE:
C:\WRP>RESTORE [enter] and it will put your registry and other system files right back in
the exact shape they were in before the installation.

10. Run Wmatch to see that it shows no differences in your windows files or your
windows\system files periodically.

11. This sounds like a lot more work than it really is.
It's about 5 extra minutes on installations and you will always have a uncluttered system.

To get the little utilities go to
 Installing and Uninstalling:

Regards, Bud
   Keep Your System Uncluttered
scullytjAuthor Commented:
You have a good method of recovering from an overwrite situation. But I can do that now with SFC in Win98. I want to prevent the overwrite like it used to be.
This should do it scullytj
Description of the System File Checker Tool
Article ID: Q185836

The information in this article applies to:

Microsoft Windows 98


This article describes the System File Checker tool in Windows 98.


System File Checker checks for damaged or replaced system files, and then prompts you to replace any files that do not match the original Windows 98 files.

To start System File Checker, use the following steps:

1.Click Start, point to Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, click System Information, and then click System File Checker on the Tools menu.

2.Click one of the following options:

- Scan For Altered Files
- Extract One File From Installation Disk

NOTE: If you click Extract One File From Installation Disk, you can specify the file you want to extract.

3.Click Settings, choose the configuration you want to use in System File Checker Settings, click OK, and then click Start.

Regards, Bud
scullytjAuthor Commented:
I stated in my initial query that I know how SFC works.
If you go to
and type System File Checker
there are a number of 98 articles that make it clear the SFC is not infallible.

Here's just one example:
System File Checker Tool Extracts Incorrect File Versions

You need to (assuming you really want to keep the old file to keep the backed up as I stated in "My Foolproof method".
That's what I have to do anyway, because as I say, SFC has it's flaws.

Regards, Bud
scullytjAuthor Commented:
I know SFC has its shortcomings. That's why I'm looking for a solution to the condition that creates its problems.
WEll I don't know how to make it perfect??
Please do look at these articles.

Look at

When you click Settings in the System File Checker tool, and then click Restore Defaults on the Advanced tab, the Default.sfc file may not be restored.


This problem occurs because you are not prompted to restart your computer. You must restart your computer for the Default.sfc file to be available.


To resolve this problem, restart your computer after you run System File Checker.


Microsoft has confirmed this to be a problem in Microsoft Windows 98.


For additional information about System File Checker, see the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

TITLE     : Description of the System File Checker Tool (Sfc.exe)

Regards, Bud
I've posted your message, along with mine at
along with several other newgroups.

I've also invited a friend to join us who will have an answer for you one way or the other.

Regards, Bud
Dear scullytj:

You are not alone in this, my friend.  You might be interested in an article by Fred Langa of PC Magazine that sums up your complaint and gives what little solace there is to be found, which you can read at

I am constantly told by installation programs that the application is trying to install an older version of a file than the one residing on my system (and I'm running Windows 98, not 95).  I suspect that the reason you've only had it happen once is a coincidence that has to do with the number and kind of applications you've been installing.  As Langa points out, the annoying thing is that there are a great number of older versions of .DLLs, etc. lurking around out there which have different file sizes but the same version number, vel sim.  That was a problem under 95, and remains what.  That is Langa's complaint.  He also suggests using VCMUI.EXE along with SFC.EXE to keep an eye on things.

Good luck!

A. G. Kozak
I just became aware that 95 never had a SFC??

Regards, Bud
Dear smeebud:

Dear smeebud:

I'm sure you're right.  I upgraded from 3.1 to 98, and so I really wouldn't know.  What I do know is that apparently people complained about your problem before, and they're still complaining about it, and SFC doesn't seem to be helping as much as it might.  You may very well be finding that files were overwritten with older versions when using SFC or VCMUI.EXE, and it's just a coincidence that YOU aren't getting as many warning messages during installation as the rest of us.  In other words, yes, it's a problem, and I suppose we'll all just have to continue being vigilant until installation programs are better written.


A. G. Kozak
scullytjAuthor Commented:
Ok, I've followed every path suggested here and found nothing available to help with this problem. However, before I give in, your last answer suggests that VCM may play a role here. I did a clean install of Win98 so a \windows\VCM folder doesn't even exist much less have files stored in it. Do you know of some way to use VCM to monitor normal application installations and save replaced/deleted files (it seems to have been developed to monitor just the Win98 install itself)?
Thanks AG,
I use Dllshow, but never heard of dllview.
can you tell me where to het it.

Regards, Bud
Thank YOU smeebud -- I intended to include the URL of the file, but ommitted it accidentally.  Its URL is

If you want to get Regmon, put

into the address bar of your browser.  I couldn't recommend the latter more highly -- it's a great way to figure out how registry tweakers do the tweaking, and to come up with your own tweaks, as well as to spy on what those f---ing installation programs are doing to you.  I often export the entire registry before installing a program, spy on it when it installs, and if it does something unconscionably hubristic, like changing a beloved file type association, you reimport the relevant keys.

Again, I'd give smeebud a good deal of credit.  I'm a nut for freeware, and I intend to try out all of the programs he recommended, and even put them on my quirky freeware site (which is not yet ready for publication, or I'd be handing out the URL) if I end up using them.  Thanks again, smeebud.


A. G. Kozak
scullytjAuthor Commented:
Both you and Bud have given this your best shot. But frankly I think Bud has gained more new knowledge from this dialog than I have. I'll catch up with Bud on the next question.
A. G.
If you haven't tried "" and Wmatch.exe yet i really think you'll like them.
I can install IE and take it completely out with these two.
Oh yea, not forgetting WRP.

Please let me know when you have you site going and I link you.
Drop me a note from my page so I'll have your address.

Regards, Bud

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