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Installshield 2015 does not remove program files during uninstall

Posted on 2016-11-07
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Last Modified: 2016-11-09
Hello,

I have a Basic MSI project I upgraded from Installshield 2010 LE to Installshield 2015 Professional. My issue applies to uninstalling the program (whether from Programs and Features in the Control Panel or from updating the software with a new installer).

To produce an updated installer in 2010, I had to change the product code then add an upgrade path. The process was simple and worked as expected: when I distributed my installer, it would uninstall the previous version first (removing all program files) and correctly install the new version.

In InstallShield 2015, I follow the same instructions but the previous version is never uninstalled... even though during the install process for the new version, it says that it is uninstalling the old version. If I go into Programs and Features and try to uninstall it, the program files are not removed from the system. So the new version installer is both not removing the old version and not overwriting the old version with new files. Even though there are plenty of progress bars that visually indicate that is happening.

From searching around online, there were suggestions from people 5-10 years ago with similar issue and the suggestions involved using Installscript to delete the installation folder during the uninstall process, but there were no real examples given. I have tried to do this but can't figure out how.

There was also a suggestion from 13 years ago to go through all of the components and make sure both Permanent and Shared properties are set to No. Almost all of my components were marked as shared for some reason, but none of them were permanent. I went through and set Shared to No on all of them, this did not make a difference.

So at this point I'm stuck and unable to distribute updated installers for new versions of my software. Can anyone assist me with this issue?
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Question by:wxitguy
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wxitguy earned 0 total points
ID: 41877729
Figured it out ... I had to go to each file in my project in the Files and Folders section and right click and select "Clear Key File" ... then the files are properly removed during the uninstall process.
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Expert Comment

by:Vadim Rapp
ID: 41878078
By all means, this should NOT be a solution t whatever problem it was. Whoever will find this question later, keep it in mind.
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by:wxitguy
ID: 41880634
Can you explain that further? I will admit I am not very experienced in InstallShield but the behavior of the key files appears absolutely counter intuitive.
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Expert Comment

by:Vadim Rapp
ID: 41880720
Sure... Any troubleshooting usually starts with examining (detailed) log files. If you are willing to go to the bottom of it, you can re-create the problem, upload log file, and I will be happy to look.

That said, there's one important aspect to understand during upgrade. When you upgrade version 1 to version 2, the un-installation of version 1 is not handled by version 2, it's handled by the installation of version 1. Version 2 only launches it. So, if you make a mistake in version 1 which in some way prevents its uninstallation or upgrade to the next version, you can't fix it in the new version 2. If you know what the problem is, you first have to fix it in version 1, run "repair from source" of version 1 (so now already-installed version 1 won't have the problem), and only then run the upgrade to version 2.

Further, the upgrade, roughly speaking can be either by (1) first uninstalling old version, then installing the new one, or (2) installing the new one, then removing the old one. In the latter case, the components that at that time belong to both just-installed version 2 and old version 1, won't be removed because they are still required for version 2. More details at https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/aa371197(v=vs.85).aspx . In your case, it's important to know which way it was in your new version.

What exactly happened in your case, is not possible to tell without finding the exact reason. Generally speaking, all components should have their key files.
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