Remote into Windows 2012 Server and install program

We have an InstallShield setup. When the users run it, it installs our windows exe program to that user's "C:\Users\[username]\" folder and puts a shortcut on the desktop. If a different user logs in, they don't have the program, but if they need it, can also install it to their [username] folder. This has worked fine on desktops and Server 2003 and 2008 machines. But now a customer is trying it with Windows 2012 and having issues.

When User A remotes into the Win 2012 server, he can install our software and see the shortcut on the desktop. But then, if User B remotes in (and doesn't see the shortcut, as expected) and runs the setup, he gets a Modify, Repair or Remove prompt, as if it's detected the program is already installed.

Any ideas why this is happening?
Who is Participating?
I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

Cliff GaliherCommented:
A poorly written MSI.  Windows changed many things in the Windows Installer packaging over the years, and quite a bit in the 2008/Vista timeframe to account for UAC.  To do what you want, the installer needs to support installing in a per-user fashion, and ideally will only write registry entries to the user hive and not the system hive (or no registry entries at all.)  If the package was created with an old (pre Vista) version of an MSI creator such as InstallShield and has never been updated,  it will need to be.

Like most versions of windows, 2008 shipped with some backwards compatibility for 2003 and 2000 (but not a lot for NT.) And 2008 R2 had less for 2000. And 2012 had less for 2003. And so on and so forth. So your experience *will* change with newer versions of an OS and you must keep up to date with your software, packaging, and remove deprecated features. Eventually you hit things like this where backwards compatibility shims have been removed, either because they break other things or because they compromise security, or just plain cause bloat and performance issues.  Nobody expects 16 bit code to run on a 64-bit OS, after all (as an example...)

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
JAN PAKULAICT Infranstructure ManagerCommented:
have you try to copy this shortcut to C:\Users\Public\Desktop\

(desktop is hidden folder)
Vadim RappCommented:
Run validation of your setup. If this is your own setup and you have Installshield, you can do it right there; otherwise obtain Orca, open MSI and validate. The best if you take orca from SDK for Windows 2012. It will probably find some issues related to the terminal server environment, address them.

You may want to take a look at this article: "Distribution of Remote Apps and desktops in Windows Server 2012". As you will see, the ways of deployment are changing fast.
jjsatherAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the replies. I ran a validation (our setup and we have InstallShield) and there were no critical problems. I found new information and tested some results, which I've posted in a new question below. Thanks again for putting me on the right track!
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today
Windows Server 2012

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.