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\->Windows Installer FAQ (the basics)->Installation Types (per-user or per-machine)->Per-Machine (all user) Installations

Per-Machine (all user) Installations

Per machine resources are those that effect more than one user and include "HKLM" registry and "Program files" directories. See "system folder properties" for locations Windows Installer defines along with some sample values.

Unlike per-user installs the software will be visible by all users using the Add/Remove Applet.

You may need need elevated rights to complete the installation (administrator etc), for example if "c:\program files" is read only).

Per User Resources (HKCU etc)

If your msi installs any per-user resources (files, registry etc), then you should read the "Per-Machine Installations with some Per-User Resources" section.

If you have any influence with the developers of the product try to get this functionality moved into the application, this would seem to be a good way:

  1. The msi installs default "HKCU\Software\YourCompany\YourApp\Options" registry to "HKLM\Software\YourCompany\YourApp\Options".

    This also allows the installing user control over what those default options are.

  2. When the application gets invokes it detects that the user hasn't been initialized and copies the default registry across from the installed "HKLM" copy.

  3. The approach above applies to files or any other required per user resources also.


Microsoft awarded me an MVP (Most Valuable Professional award) in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 & 2009 for the Windows SDK (Windows Installer) area.Please email me any feedback, additional information or corrections.
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Microsoft awarded me an MVP (Most Valuable Professional award) in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 & 2009 for the Windows SDK (Windows Installer) area.