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which type of installer?

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  • which type of installer?

    Hi, everyone. I've got a beginner question for you.

    I'm wondering about the costs and benefits of performing an MSI installation (in conjunction with the Windows Installer Service) vs. a traditional, script-based installation.

    The package I need to install (and I have no experience with installers) is, I believe, pretty simple. So far, it consists of a VB program, a DLL, and some small files. The only catch is that a hardware driver must be installed as the first part of the installation package. The program is for single users only; no networking (server side) is involved. Chances are good that it will be installed on everything from Win95 up to WinXP Professional.

    I know that Microsoft mandates an MSI installation as part of the Win2000 and WinXP logo requirements, but that's not a big deal to the developer of this software. MSI's rollback, reference counting, self-repair, etc. sound great, but I think he's more concerned with the prospect of installing the Windows Installer Service onto legacy (ie, Win9x, WinNT, and WinME) machines without the user knowing about it or having any choice. And scripting sounds like it might be simpler and faster, but I worry about running afoul of Win2000 and WinXP and all the other apps that DO use MSI.

    So given these conditions, would we be better off with an installation package that performs MSI installations (eg, Wise for Windows, InstallShield), or would be better off doing it the old-fashioned way (eg, Wise Installation System, Setup Factory)? Has anyone had any luck or horror shows installing the Windows Installer Service and MSI packages on Win9x, WinNT, and WinME machines? Has anyone had any luck or horror shows installing a script-based package on Win2000 or Win XP?

    Or should I just KISS and go with the future of installing (MSI and Windows Installer Service)?

    I'm not looking for a vendor recommendation so much as I'm looking for a "direction" recommendation.

    Thanks for your time, and thanks in advance for any advice.