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InstallShield offers different techniques for modifying the default Windows Installer (MSI) file-transfer behavior for installation and uninstallation. Each technique meets a different need and can be adapted depending on requirements. The techniques include:

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  • Using the Never Overwrite component setting
  • Changing the REINSTALLMODE property
  • Specifying companion-file relationships
  • Using the Permanent component setting
  • Using the RemoveFile table to delete files created by your application

For example, you can modify the Never Overwrite setting in the Components view or the Setup Design view of the InstallShield environment. If you set the Never Overwrite component property to Yes, Windows Installer will skip installing the component if its key file is already present on the target system. If the component’s key file is not present on the target system, Windows Installer will follow the normal file-overwrite behavior.

Another option is to use the REINSTALLMODE property to modify the default file-overwrite behavior. The REINSTALLMODE property contains a string made of a collection of letters indicating how files should be overwritten. The default value is “omus,” where o indicates that older files should be overwritten with new files, m and u indicate that machine and user registry data should be reinstalled, and s indicates that shortcuts should be reinstalled.

To learn more about all of the modification techniques, check out the full “Tips & Tricks” article. Have a modification tip up your sleeve? Please share.


InstallShield® is the world’s leading Windows installation development solution. InstallShield is designed to enable development teams to be more agile, collaborative and flexible when building reliable InstallScript and Windows Installer MSI installations for desktop, server, Web, virtual and traditional applications. The software installer of choice for today’s sophisticated application producers, InstallShield is the only software installer that can directly convert MSIs to Microsoft App-V virtual packages. Get your free trial of InstallShield today or contact us for more information.