Using Log Files in InstallShield

There are several types of log files generated in an InstallShield installation. Most people are not familiar with all of them. This post will fix that.

The four types of log files are:

  • Build log
  • Installation log
  • Uninstallation log
  • Bootstrapper log

Build Logs

A build log is automatically generated when you build a release. InstallShield creates this file and it contains all the steps performed during the build process. It also lists any errors. The build logs can be found in the Release’s LogFiles folder.

Installation Logs

To create a log that shows the steps occurring during an installation, we have to go the registry. Now remember, this is for Windows systems earlier than Vista. You simply set the value of the registry key to voicewarmupx to have all of the installation steps logged in the file.

          Key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Installer
          Reg_SZ: Logging
          Value: voicewarmupx

If you aren’t clear on this, you go to the above registry key, look for the Logging entry, if it isn’t there, you must create it. It is a string entry. Then set the value to voicewarmupx.

On XP, it will be located here:

          C:\Documents and Settings\UserName\Local Settings\Temp

Look at the log file (it has a .log extension) with the latest date.

On any Windows system, you can enter %temp% in the Run box or Start Search box, and you will get the location of the log file.

Now, if you are on Windows Vista, you can just go to:

          Installation Information
               General Information
                    Product Properties
                         Create MSI Logs
                              Yes

This setting only applies to Windows Vista and higher and will be ignored on all other Windows systems. On those systems, you will need to use the first method to perform in-depth logging of your installations.

Uninstallation Logs

The registry entry we just set will also trigger uninstallation logs to be built. Just look in the Temp folder after you have uninstalled your product, and find the latest log file.

Bootstrapper Logs

InstallShield has a method for creating a log file for the Setup.exe and Update.exe bootstrappers. You can simply use the /debuglog parameter from the command line when you run Setup.exe. This command line parameter can be used with the Setup launcher for Basic MSI, InstallScript MSI, and Web projects.

Here it is:

          Setup.exe /debuglog

You will notice that a file called InstallShield.log has been created in the same folder as Setup.exe.

What you must remember here is that, this is only the log file for the Setup.exe bootstrapper. At least that is what it seems. When you look at this log file, you see that it doesn’t contain the detailed information available when compared to the log file created as a result of placing the value in the registry, which was outlined in the previous movie.

There is one more thing to know about the /debuglog command line parameter. You can also specify the full path to the log file, so it could be created in an entirely different location from Setup.exe. This is useful if Setup.exe is on a CD-ROM, or any other unwrittable location. Here is an example of that:

          Setup.exe /debuglog”C:\SetupLogFile.txt”

 

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