Setup Capture application works by taking 2 snapshots for a PC's
filesystem and registry before and after installation the target
application. The Thinstall project is created using the differences
between the two snapshots. We recommend using a clean PC to capture
application installs because installers will skip files that
already exist on the PC. If the installer skips files, they will
not be included in the Thinstall project and the application may
fail to run on other PCs where the files do not exist. Another
positive aspect of using a clean PC is that SetupCapture can scan
the PCs filesystem and registry very quickly when it is clean,
typically in 15 seconds for a clean PC, but may take several
minutres to an hour for non-clean PCs. What is a clean PC?
A clean PC is a PC which has Windows base OS installed and nothing
else. In a corporate environment where you have a base desktop
image, the base desktop image is your "clean" PC. In such cases the
back desktop PC may already have some components and libraries
installed (for example .NET 2.0). When you capture a package on a
PC which has .NET 2.0 already installed, .NET 2.0 will not be
included in your package and the application will then only run on
PCs which have .NET 2.0 already installed. We have a guide for
installing VMWare Server (a
free product) which can provide you with a clean environment any
time you need it for capturing and testing purposes.
What version of Windows should I use for capturing? We
recommend capturing on the lowest platform you plan to support for
your users. In most cases this will be WIndows 2000 or Windows XP.
Most packages captured on XP will work on 2k, however in some cases
Windows XP comes with some DLLs which Windows 2k does not have and
they will be excluded from the package if the application normally
installs these DLLs.
I'm a developer and my application changes everytime I rebuild,
do I need to recapture it every time? No. Once you have
created the Thinstall project structure, you can overwrite files in
the project with newer versions and then rebuild the application
without the capture process. The process of compiling the
application, copying updated files, and building a Thinstall EXE
can be easily automated using batch files.