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Running a Minor Upgrade with Setup.exe
If you build a release that includes a Setup.exe launcher, your latest installation will be minor upgrade enabled. Setup.exe can detect when a previous version of your application exists on a target machine. When Setup.exe detects a previous version, it will run the rest of your installation in minor upgrade mode.
When end users run a minor upgrade on target systems that have an earlier version of the product installed, the first thing that they see is a message box that announces that an upgrade will occur. This message box specifies the name of the previous product, alerting the end user as to which existing application will be updated. At this point, the end user can stop the installation process if desired. This prompt is followed by a Welcome dialog, and when the end user clicks Next on the Welcome dialog, the setup installs its new resources. While installing its resources, the installation updates the progress bar in the Setup Progress dialog so that end users can track the upgrade process.
Tip: In the Upgrades view, you can disable the initial upgrade prompt when you click Upgrade Windows Installer Setup in the explorer and configure the Common tab settings for small updates and minor upgrades.
Note: At run time during a minor upgrade, Windows Installer does not reinstall a component if its key file would be downgraded in the process. Therefore, the key file in the upgrade needs to have a version number that is equal to or greater than that of the key file in the old package. The exception is when the end user sets the REINSTALLMODE property to a, which forces the installation of all files, regardless of version. For more information about file overwrite rules, see Overwriting Files and Components on the Target System.
A minor upgrade installs its new resources over the application that currently exists on the target machine. If you want to completely uninstall and then reinstall your application, you should consider a major upgrade.
Running a Minor Upgrade Without Using Setup.exe
If you intend to distribute your installation without including a Setup.exe launcher, end users must use the command line to start the installation. For this reason, you should consider using Setup.exe; however, you can achieve similar results without it.
The Installer properties REINSTALL and REINSTALLMODE must be set from the command line to start an installation in upgrade mode. In all but the most advanced scenarios, the property REINSTALLMODE should be set to vomus and the property REINSTALL should be set to ALL. A typical command line can look like the following:
msiexec.exe /i \product.msi REINSTALLMODE=vomus REINSTALL=ALL
If the update contains features that you do not want to update, you should set REINSTALL to a comma-separated list of the features that you want to update, as in the following command:
msiexec /i \product.msi REINSTALLMODE=vomus REINSTALL=F1,F3,F5
The feature names you use in the REINSTALL property are case-sensitive.
Note: Do not set REINSTALL equal to ALL for a first-time installation.
A critical point to note is that you do not want to set these properties on the command line unless a previous version of your installation already exists on the target machine. If you do, the installation will appear to run in minor upgrade mode, and your application files may not be installed. Be sure that your end users will be able to discern when command line should and should not be used.
Note: The REINSTALLMODE attribute v is very important if you are performing a minor upgrade. This parameter tells the installer to refresh its internal setup cache for your product with the new installation package. Without this parameter, your installation will have no knowledge of any of the changes that you have made to the latest installation package.
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