Track program installations

How to keep track of the programs that you install on workstations and servers.

Track program installations
Serdar Yegulalp

If you're trying to install a particular piece of software and are running into problems you want to troubleshoot, or you want to track installations of software for safe removal later, Microsoft has a free downloadable tool called the Installation Monitor for just such a task.

Download the Installation Monitor at:
http://www.microsoft.com/windows2000/techinfo/reskit/tools/existing/instaler-o.asp

The Installation Monitor is a command-line program, so you must pass operating parameters to it manually. The best way to do this is to open up a command prompt, go to the directory you have the tool installed in, and type instaler logfile (where logfile is the name of the installation log file you want to generate). Don't press enter yet -- instead, leave a trailing space after the name of the log file, and then drag and drop into the command-prompt window the installer file you'll be running. This will automatically copy the path and filename of the installer file into the command line. Press Enter and the tool will run, documenting all changes made by the program in question.

Installation Monitor also has some command-line options that can be passed after the name of the log file:

-9: Lie to the application and tell it that Windows 95 is the host operating system. (This is useful if you have an older application that works in Windows 2000, but the installer bombs because it can't figure out what OS is running.)
-r: Force a failure on any attempt to do a wildcard scan of the root directory of any drive.
-dA: Show all errors.
-dE: Show all debug events.
-dC: Show all API calls.

If you want to see the results of the log, run the program showinst with the log file as a parameter. Passing -c as a parameter displays the contents of any text files created.

To undo all the logged changes, run the undoinst program with the log file passed as a parameter, and any of the following options:

-r: Performs the undo, but also replaces the contents of the log file with a script to redo the installation.
-v: Verbose output.


Serdar Yegulalp is the editor of the Windows 2000 Power Users Newsletter.


This was first published in October 2001

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