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HOWTO: Install Files to the Windows Directory

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  • HOWTO: Install Files to the Windows Directory

    HOWTO: Install Files to the Windows Directory

    HOWTO: Install Files to the Windows Directory

    Document ID: IR02001
    The information in this article applies to:
    • Setup Factory 6.0


    This article describes how to install files to the Windows\System directory.


    All Windows operating systems have a "Windows" directory (folder) where most of the operating system and many shared files on the operating system are stored. Normally this directory is either located at "C:\Windows" (Windows 95,98,ME) or "C:\WINNT" (Windows NT,2000,XP), although it can be located elsewhere.

    Normally, it is not necessary to install your program's files to the Windows directory or a subdirectory of the Windows directory. Here are a few cases in which you may need to do so:

    • You are installing a shared DLL or OCX (ActiveX control) on the system (usually to the Windows\System directory.)
    • You are installing a font. (usually to the Windows\Fonts directory.)
    • You are installing a screen saver.
    • You are installing a control panel application.
    • You are installing a program that needs to be in the system path so that it can be run without a directory specifier.

    Of course, there are other reasons as well, but they are less common. As a rule, if you do not have a good reason for installing to the Windows directory or a subdirectory of the Windows directory, don't.

    All of that being said, to tell Setup Factory to install a file to the Windows directory, do the following:

    • Select the file that you want to install to the Windows directory on Setup Factory's main screen and select Edit | File Properties from the menu.
    • Go to the General tab of the File Properties screen.
    • Set the Install file to this location field to be "%WinDir%" (no quotes) and click OK.

    %WinDir% is Setup Factory variable that represents the user's Windows directory at design-time. We need to use a variable because at design-time we do not know what the user's Windows directory will be at run-time. When the user runs your install on their system, the variable will expand to the proper directory and the file will be installed there.

    If the file that you are installing is a shared DLL (a file that is used by more than one program), make sure that you turn on the Shared/System File option on the Advanced tab of the File Properties screen. This will ensure that your uninstall program does not remove the file if it is being used by other programs.


    Read the topics in the Command Reference | Variables book of the Setup Factory 6.0 online help for more information about variables.

    KEYWORDS: Windows directory, %WinDir%, Shared files, DLL, OCX

    Last reviewed: September 18, 2002
    Copyright 2002 Indigo Rose Corporation. All rights reserved.