This really isn't InstallShield's fault. But today, I had an interesting problem with a customer outside the U.S.
He had ordered the InstallShield training course for Basic MSI and InstallShield 2009. He received it today, and when he tried to install it, he couldn't. Actually, he didn't even get to the install part. He tried looking in Windows Explorer and couldn't even read anything on the DVD. So, he tried it on another computer. Didn't work there either. I think he told me he even tried it on a third computer. Didn't work either. So, I got a long distance call this morning.
He was very nice and explained the problem. I was puzzled because I always hand-check each DVD before I send it out. Plus, I've sent the MSI 2009 course out to lots of people around the world over the past six months. So, what was it?
Well, I have a robotic duplicator, and something I learned years ago is that when you work with duplicators, you need to duplicate at the lowest speed possible, in order to be compatible with the majority of machines around the world. The other thing is that I always use MAM blanks. MAM used to be called Mitsui. They are generally regarded to be the best blanks out there. So the combination of using the best blanks and duplicating at the lowest speed has served me well since 1993. I've been duplicating CDs in house and sending them out since then, for a research business I have with a partner in New Zealand. In all those years, I can only think of one time where with this combination of things, a customer couldn't read a disk duplicated by me in-house. And that was probably my fault, not the fault of the process.
Now, back to the customer from this morning. He was having this problem and I went through the checklist in my mind. Duplicated at the lowest speed, used MAM blanks, hand-checked to make sure it worked, then sent it out. With him on the phone, I eventually told him that I would upload the files to my web server and he could download them from there.
As I was uploading the files today, I wondered if the DVD was too full, and that was what was causing the problem. I have worked with multimedia, burning CDs, and InstallShield since 1992. The classic symptom of a CD (or DVD) being too full was that, when you run the installation program, it will crash during the loading process. I have seen it over and over and over. The reason is that the installation program is usually in the root folder of the disk, and the root folder is written to the CD last. So, if the disk is too full, the install program is what will be short-changed, and it will crash during loading. However, that wasn't happening with this guy. He couldn't even read the DVD. But the DVD was very full, so I decided to pull the course example projects off and put them on a second DVD. That would take care of the disk being too full.
I just wanted to document this, as I have never seen behavior like this from a CD or DVD being too full. Only the aforementioned behavior. Perhaps this will help someone in the future.
(To watch free InstallShield training videos, please go to www.wavepointstudios.net/Free-InstallShield-Tutorials.aspx)