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Monday, October 19, 2009

InstallAware Uninstall Problem

I was reading a news release where InstallAware boasted:

"InstallAware setups power the installation of the Activation Assistant for Microsoft Office 2007, pre-installed by OEMs on millions of laptops around the world," says Sinan Karaca, founder of InstallAware Software Corporation.

I decided to google "Activation Assistant for Microsoft Office 2007" and the results indicate that millions of people around the world can't get this software removed from their box. Way to go Microsoft and InstallAware! I don't have access to the installer, but from the symptoms I'm reading, it sounds like somebody forgot to listen to sage advice of always including "or Installed" in their LaunchConditions.

Anyways, the install issue caught the attention of PCWorld. Here's a snippet of the write up that is really worth reading.

Activation Assistant's Dirty Little Secret
It turns out that the Activation Assistant for Office 2007 has been a serious hassle for Microsoft. According to Joe, the Activation Assistant accounts for the great majority of tech-support calls. He wasn't specific, but said that the program is basically flawed. Apparently there's a fix coming in Office 14.

In fact, the Activation Assistant is so troublesome that when I suggested that we just reinstall the dang thing, he flat-out refused. He said that would likely cause more problems--and I don't argue with escalation managers...

So maybe InstallAware should dig a little deeper when trying to reference "successful" projects.


  1. Curious, is the issue then the fault of the tool (i.e. InstallAware) or whoever wrote the installer (i.e. engineer at Microsoft)?

  2. It's hard to say without more information but the point is if InstallAware is going to take credit for being the technology used to preinstall on millions of machines, shouldn't it also take the blame for not being able to uninstall also?

  3. Hi Chris,

    I was surprised that millions of people are having problems uninstalling the activation assistant, so I Google'd it. The error message appears to be:

    "Microsoft Office 2007 must be installed before Microsoft Activation Assistant can be installed."

    Sorry if this sounds a bit harsh, but if you knew anything at all about InstallAware (i.e. if you had even bothered to install one of those free copies I've given you), you'd know that this has to do with the way the setup script is coded by the setup engineer, and has absolutely nothing to do with "LaunchConditions".

    InstallAware, being the most flexible software installer on the market, lets people do things not thought possible before. This means that a developer can intentionally prevent uninstallation for any reason. In this case, obviously, it looks like the Microsoft developer erroneously enforced the install-time requirement globally (i.e. even at uninstall time).

    They can certainly do that, why they would is of course beyond me. But I wouldn't blame InstallAware for that, any more than I'd blame Microsoft because people are coding spyware and malware using their Visual C++ compilers, for instance.

    Anyways, thanks again for giving us the coverage! Best wishes from InstallAware,


  4. I'm sorry, I don't recal you ever giving me a free copy of InstallAware.

    I acknowledged that I'm not an OEM partner and don't have access to the actual installer, but your very long windows explanation sounds a lot like "or Installed" only with reinventing LaunchConditions on top.

    It's interesting that you now distance yourself from Microsoft when in your very own PR release you use it as an example of success. What's that saying about eating cake and still having it?

  5. Hi Chris,

    Oh, I'm not distancing from Microsoft at all. I'm just saying they purchased an InstallAware setup compiler and they can do with it as they please. We don't have the capability to monitor what our customers do with our setups :)

    I think you really need to take a look at InstallAware so you understand that what's going on here has nothing to do with LaunchConditions. I don't blame you at all for not understanding, if anything, this proves that InstallAware is revolutionary in its approach to building MSI files.

    In fact, anybody reading this blog and wanting to check out just how revolutionary InstallAware is, send sales at an email with the subject "Painter License" and we'll send out a complimentary Developer license your way. Till this Friday only :)