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patching the same version

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Posted 20 August 2008 - 09:21

I build an msi, that is an upgrade of a previous version, and
the corresponding patch.

I install that full msi and then try to apply the patch.

The result is a small pop-up window that tells me, in a
very technical way and in the local language, that there is
nothing installed that this patch can be applied to. This is correct,
of course, but unfortunate because our users don't understand
this message. They would expect a message along the line of:

"The installed product is already of the same or a higher version
compared to this patch."

Apparently our support people are swamped by confused users that complain:

"The latest patch doesn't work. It just says that the product isn't
installed but I know it is because I am using it and it works well."

Can I build the patch in some special way to overcome this or
is there some other typical scheme for handling the situation?

/Olof W


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Posted 26 August 2008 - 14:45

I'm confused. Your post implies that the new MSI is an upgrade to a previous version and that it includes a patch to that previous version.

How come your users are applying a patch to a product which already includes it? Does your documentation make it clear that it's not necessary? If you're distributing the patch with the new product, I'd suggest that you no longer do that: users seeing a patch will most likely be tempted to apply it. If it's not there, that temptation is removed.
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Posted 26 August 2008 - 16:08

The MSI sits on the DVD that comes with the purchased box.
In some cases it can also be downloaded. The latest patch
can be downloaded by registered users.

>Does your documentation make it clear that it's not necessary?

I hope so but I don't really know. It would appear that our
users largely ignore any written words sent in their direction.


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Posted 01 September 2008 - 16:08

to clarify, sitting in support in the above case. full msi and patch are never distributed together of course but around once a year or so we are forced to update the version contained on the physical media.

At that point if we do not build dummy update patches to avoid the situation described by Olof herein, confusion ensues and no documentation can really help when users just grab the patch without comparing release notes or versioning to their own version... which they will do more often than not.

As stated by my colleague, the situation would not be so bad if the message received by end user was sufficiently informative for the level of non technical recipient it is presented to.

To be complete, it's never been a huge problem because by the time a specific release reaches the public through normal means of physical delivery we typically have a genuine update to the software to release anyway.

The problem is that we are trying to move into downloadable sales where no such delay exists. So short of keeping our delivered software systematically one step below the latest bug fix we have some serious logistic issues.

Hope you can help. Thanks for your time reading.

Edited by Rogue, 01 September 2008 - 16:09.

Stefan Krueger

Stefan Krueger


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Posted 09 September 2008 - 16:29

Did you check the obvious: is the message text in your project (in the error table) where you could edit it?