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Installshield – Unable to save file c:\windows\downloads\…

June 28th, 2012

After upgrading an older, Installshield 11.5 Basic MSI project into a newer version of Installshield, although the project built OK, when I ran the installer I got a warning saying:

“Unable to save file c:\windows\downloads\ ….”

and the installer then brought up a folder dialog expecting to be told where else it could save a file. On a hunch I reran the installer with admin privileges and the installer ran cleanly with no message boxes or dialogs.

The problem turned out to be a permissions problem on Windows 7, with Windows refusing to let the MSI installer save working files onto the C:\ drive without admin privileges.

Here’s how I solved the problem:

1. In the Installation Designer, under the Media/ Releases node, select the release and then click on the Setup.exe tab as shown in this picture:

msicachepath

Note the Cache Path value – this is set to [WindowsFolder] which causes the installer to unpack its working data onto the c:\ drive which is not a good idea on Windows 7 without admin privileges.

2. Change the Cache Path value to:

[LocalAppDataFolder]Downloaded Installations

which is a writeable folder.

localappfolder3. Rebuild then run the installer.

All is now well and the installer runs without confusing popups on Windows 7, XP and Vista.

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