Software Installation: What You Need to Know
When AutoPlay triggers this Autorun.inf file, Windows Vista opens a file named
Setup.exe when the CD or DVD is inserted into the CD or DVD drive. Because Setup.
exe is a program, Windows Vista runs this program. The Autorun.inf file also speci-
fies an icon to use, the status of the shell, and the program’s display name.
Although you’ll usually find that an Autorun.inf file opens and then runs a Setup pro-
gram, this isn’t always the case. When AutoPlay triggers this Autorun.inf file, Win-
dows Vista opens a file named Default.htm in Internet Explorer:
As long as AutoPlay is enabled, you can retrigger the AutoPlay and Autorun pro-
cesses by opening and then closing the drive bay.
With Windows Vista, only administrators can install software. This means you must
either install software using an account with administrator privileges, or provide
administrator permissions when prompted. Administrator privileges are required to
change, repair, and uninstall software as well.
Most software applications have a setup program that uses Windows Installer,
InstallShield, or Wise Install. The job of the installer program is to track the installa-
tion process and make sure the installation completes successfully. If the installation
fails, the installer is also responsible for restoring your computer to its original state
by reversing all the changes the Setup program has made. While this works great in
theory, you can encounter problems, particularly when you are installing older pro-
grams. Older programs won’t have and won’t be able to use the features of the latest
versions of installer programs, and as a result, they sometimes are unable to unin-
stall a program completely.
Because a partially uninstalled program can spell disaster for your computer, you
should protect yourself by creating a System Restore checkpoint prior to installing
any software or game. By creating a restoring point, as discussed in Chapter 21, you
can be sure that you can fully recover your computer to the state it was in prior to
installing the software or game. This way, if you run into problems, you’ll have an
effective recovery strategy.
Before installing any software or game, you should do the following:
• Check whether it is compatible with Windows Vista. You can determine com-
patibility in several ways. You can check the software packaging, which should
specify whether the program is compatible or provide a Microsoft Windows
Vista logo. Alternatively, you can check the software developer’s web site for a
list of compatible operating systems.