Dynamic Path Relocation
Previous  Top  Next

An important feature and concept of Thinstall is Dynamic Path Relocation, which refers to the ability to move files and modify registry values to match the local host PC on the fly.

Thinstall performs dynamic remapping during application startup and during runtime which allows both applications and their assocated settings to migrate across different versions of Windows.

Instant Side-by-Side DLL migration
Windows XP Side-by-Side DLLs are migrated to Windows Vista Side-by-Side DLLs automatically depending on the platform you are running on  
If you capture an application that uses SxS DLLs on NT/2k/XP/w2k3 it will install SxS DLLs to a path location differently than when installed on Vista. Thinstall dynamically moves these SxS during the application startup if the platform has changed. Using Thinstall's Dynamic Path relocation, you can create one package that works on all platforms.  
Filesystem shell folder remapping
Many applications will access files using Shell folder locations, for example applications typically call GetWindowsDirectory to obtain the path to c:\windows instead of using a hard coded path. On different versions of Windows the system directory will be located in different locations. For example c:\winnt is used for NT and Windows 2000 by default, as well the user can select an alternate directory during installation of Windows. Applications will also typically use shfolder.dll to obtain the path various "shell folder" locations like c:\program files and c:\documents and settings\username. For a complete list of shell folder paths, see FolderMacros.  
An example is Macromedia flash which installs to c:\windows\system32\macromed\flash. At runtime, flash uses GetWindowsDirectory to obtain the partial path c:\windows\system32, and then appends macromed\flash to obtain the location of it's install directory. As well, flash uses a registry value which corresponds to this location:  
DefaultValue = C:\WINDOWS\system32\Macromed\Flash\Flash9b.ocx  
When running an application that installs Macormedia Flash dynamically or during the capture process (for example Firefox or Internet Explorer), the registry stores the path C:\WINDOWS\system32 and files are written to c:\windows\system32\macromed\flash.  
If the application is moved to another PC where the windows root directory is different (for example c:\winnt windows 2000), it will fail to work unless both the files and registry keys are remapped to point to c:\winnt.  
Thinstall's virtual filesystem stores file paths using Folder Macros, so the file paths will automatically expand to the correct location on different PCs. As well, Thinstall stores registry data using the same Folder Macros, so that registry values automatically re-adjust to point to the correct location on a different PC. For example, when the application writes the registry value C:\WINDOWS\system32\Macromed\Flash\Flash9b.ocx, Thinstall stores this internally as %SystemSystem%\Macromed\Flash\Flash9b.ocx. When the application queries for this value, it will transparent expand back to C:\WINDOWS\system32\Macromed\Flash\Flash9b.ocx when running on Windows XP/2k3/Vista and C:\winnt\system32\Macromed\Flash\Flash9b.ocx when running on Windows 2k and NT.  

Short pathname remapping
Thinstall has unique support for handling short pathnames which allows applications to be installed to their default location and migrate across PCs. For detailed information see Short Pathnames.

Registry data remapping
Thinstall intercepts all data written to the registry and sees if there are references to short pathnames or shell folders. If there are, it will internally store the registry data in macro format so that the data re-expands to the correct location on other PCs. This functionality is described in more detail in the Short Pathnames sections.