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 CD Browsers and Autorun Tools

It is recommended that CD-ROMs have autorun capability. However it is often desirable to directly launch the setup program. Instaead you can use a small "teaser" application, often also called "CD Browsers".

Autorun.inf Documentation

To enable autoplay for a CD-ROM you must place an autorun.inf file in the root directory. Format and command for autorun.inf files are documented in the following article in the Microsoft Platform SDK:

WWW Creating an AutoPlay-enabled CD-ROM Application

Microsoft knowledge base article 818804 also discusses this topic:

WWW HOW TO: Create an Autorun CD-ROM for Applications That You Create by Using Microsoft Visual Studio .NET

Note: Some setup authoring tools have an option to automatically create a basic autorun.inf file.

CD Autorun Applications

HTML Autoplay

This CD autorun application uses Internet Explorer embedded in a dialog to display HTML pages. It uses a simple ini file to direct the embedded browser to the autorun homepage and uses a custom HREF protocol to handle ShellExecuteEx commands to perform things like printing, launching readmes, and executing applications. These custom HREF commands are configured and defined in the self-documented autoplay.ini file. It was developed on Win2000, VC6, SP3 and requires IE4+ on the user's machine in order to function.


ZIP   Written by Matt Weagle
File size: 213.621 bytes   Last update: 2003-03-14

The source code for this tool is also available. Any bugs/mods/improvements that you have found/implemented should be reported to Matt Weagle.

ZIP   Written by Matt Weagle
File size: 30.179 bytes   Last update: 2002-04-29

CD Browser Written in InstallScript

This is a modified setup.rul that lets the user select which product to install, and launches the appropriate setup.

ZIP (3.869 Bytes)    Provided by Hans Krauer

Various other CD-ROM Browsers

There are several other tools to create CD-ROM autorun applications. Here are a few web sites that you may want to visit:

WWW IndigoRose Software Design Corp.

Note: DemoShield from Macrovision (formerly InstallShield) is no longer available as of January 1, 2007.

Various CD-ROM Helpers

Make Shortcut Independent of CD Drive Letter

You know the problem: In PCs with removable drives the letter of the CD drive tends to change frequently. Thus the shortcut you create to your CD-based application now may be invalid in the future. GetCD addresses this issue by searching all current drive letters, finding the first (if there are multiple) CD ROM drive. It appends to that drive letter the filename, or path and filename, you pass it in the command-line and launches the combination.

If you need to open a CD-based web document, GetCD will pull the default web browser command from the registry, append to it the CD ROM drive letter, then append to that the path/filename you pass to it from the command line.

If the filename/path in the command line does not exist on the CD, a browse dialog will appear, asking the user to manually search for the document or executable.

ZIP (116.904 Bytes)   Provided by Scott Yeager

Check Adminstator Privileges

Often it would be nice to check whether the currently logged on user has Administrator privileges before starting the installation. Here is a function written in C that you can use in a launcher application to check the user privileges.

Note: this package only includes C source code for this function, not a completed setup.exe

ZIP   Written by Torsten Brannolte
File size: 1.422 bytes   Last update: 2001-12-04

Setup Starter for CD Root

If you don't want to clutter the root of your CD with all the files that InstallShield needs in the same directory as setup.exe, this program is made for you. You place your "real" setup program in a sub-directory and specify its location in an INI file. When the user double-clicks this stub program (or starts it using the Add/Remove Programs control panel applet) it will launch your setup. Important: You have to rename your "real" setup.exe to something like install.exe.

This tool can use the same INI file as the Smart CD Autorun Launcher.

Use of this tool requires a license, which can be obtained free of charge. See the readme file for details.

ZIP   Written by Stefan Krueger
File size: 4.854 bytes   Last update: 2002-04-29

Smart CD Autorun Launcher

Launching your setup automatically when the CD is inserted into the drive is easy. But if the CD is required after your application has been installed (to access some data files that were not copied to the hard disk), launching setup each time is not desirable. Microsoft recommends a CD Browser, but starting this Multimedia application each time you insert the CD can be annoying. (Remember installing a device driver from your Windows CD, and suddenly "Tadaa" the CD browser pops up?).

Here is a smarter Autorun program. It checks registry to see if your application is already installed, and launches setup only if it was not found. In case your application is already installed, Autorun can be configured to launch the application. Also, this tool does not start a second instance of setup in case your CD has to be removed and later re-inserted while your setup is running (e.g. to install a device driver from the Windows CD).

This tool can use the same INI file as the Setup Launcher for CD Root.

Use of this tool requires a license, which can be obtained free of charge. See the readme file for details.

ZIP  Written by Stefan Krueger
File size: 11.672 bytes   Last update: 2003-07-04

Setup Launchers for Windows Installer

Programs to install the Windows Installer runtime files and launch the MSI file can be found on the Windows Installer Tools page.

Setup Launcher to Suppress Maintenance Mode in IS6 and ISD7

If you run a setup created with InstallShield 6 or InstallShield Developer 7 a second time it automatically enters maintenance mode. This program makes sure that setup is always started in "first time" mode. To achieve this it searches the computer's registry for all the Uninstall keys.  It then searches the keys for a DisplayName value that matches InstallShield's String Table entry for PRODUCT_NAME.  If found it then reads the value of LogFile which gives the Drive and Path to where the Setup.ilg is found. It will then delete this file and launch InstallShield's setup program. You can rename SetupLauncher.exe to Setup.exe to always launch in "First Time" mode. (Of course this requires that you also rename InstallShield's setup.exe. Detailed instructions can be found in the Readme file.)

See also:

ZIP   Written by Dave Pehrson
File size: 121.840 bytes   Last update: 2001-11-13




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