Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Finally! Access97 Runtime installs correctly thanks to Inno Setup

If you've ever struggled getting an Access97 Runtime installation to work correctly, you'll know what a black hole it is. First you have to buy the ODE Tools, and then the Setup Wizard uses files from your current system installation (not good) and even then the installation is incomplete.
As a result, a lot of Access 97 installations end up having unlicensed copies of Access97 Professional installed, simply to get the darn thing to work. This is no longer necessary, thanks to the brilliance of free software called Inno Setup. I downloaded the "QuickStart Pack" that has an incredibly useful utility called IStool. Then I found a German script for Access97 Runtime, and used it to learn how the whole things works.
Finally, I tried it out on my own software, and added in some additional features. Firstly, it had to install the Visual Basic 6 runtime libraries as well, along with the MouseWheel.dll and MyWeb.ocx files that I use in all my Miami applications. Next, it had to be able to display GIF and JPEG files correctly in Access, something that is left out of the ODE Setup wizard completely. It also had to create shortcuts that work, and install the required fonts if missing.
The end result is a 14.7MB install file that correctly installs the Access97 Runtime libraries, the associated graphics display files, ODBC drivers, some ISAM drivers (not tested) and the Graph display drivers. I went to a lot of trouble to get the correct versions of each of these files, so as not to mix Windows XP files with Windows 98SE files. I have completed the testing on a fresh install of Windows 98SE, and will be doing the same test on Windows XP Pro later.
Update: Testing on WinXP has been completed, and the setup program and script adjusted to set the correct permisions on the install directory.


Anonymous said...

What took you so long? What's wrong with the standard Microsoft setup?

Donn Edwards said...

The Microsoft Setup software just doesn't work properly. It leaves bits out and has bugs in it.

I've always done the install myself, and didn't mind going through a few steps. But when we needed to do a FishWise install on laptops run by someone who is only a basic computer user in a time zone on the other side of the world, a single install program becomes a necessity.

Anonymous said...

Looks great, but your link to the download is dead...http://mcprog.homedns.org/Access97rtSetup.exe any chance you could update it?


Donn Edwards said...

Oops. Use the other link.

Anonymous said...

Works great with machines that have less than 1gb otherwise appears and error telling that there isn't enought memory.

have any idea of how to fix it?
(this problem appears in office97 when the system have more than 1gb, apply sr1/sr2 it's necesary)

Donn Edwards said...

My Vista machine has 2GB ram and I haven't encountered this error. Please provide more info on where you are getting the error and what OS you're using.

Also, have you applied the SR2 patch I wrote?