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Level 3

Custom Actions, Standard Actions & Sequences

Hello everyone,

I am currently working on a modification / correction of an installer. It's the first time I'm working on such a subject (and the first time I'm using InstallShield). To do this I try to follow with the different forums and documentation of InstallShield.

I'm a bit lost... I have to fix the installer. But when I look at the sequence, it doesn't look like what I saw in the different documentations and I don't understand how it works...
There is only one Custom Actions (to launch an external executable file). No problem with that. The rest are standard actions (Execute part of the Sequences). But I don't understand how these standard actions work: for example, there is a standard action "MoveFiles" (certainly this Action I have to correct). But how do I know which files are moved by this action? If I look in the table of this action in the Direct Editor part, it is empty... There are no external scripts used (the InstallScript part is empty).

In short, I don't understand how we can visualize the functioning (the actions performed) of the installer? Is there any possibility to visualize this in code form? And how to know the exact actions that perfom the standard actions (which files are concerned etc..)?
I have never used this kind of software... And I am really lost (and desperate).

Thanks in advance for your help

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Revenera Moderator Revenera Moderator
Revenera Moderator


To understand what the standard actions are - we have to understand that Installshield is in its most simplistic form, a way to design and build installers. Installshield itself does not install anything, that is the job of Microsofts Windows Installer Engine (msiexec.exe)

Windows Installer will run through the actions in the UI and Execute Sequences and use the data located in the MSI tables to install the package.
By making changes in your project, Installshield automatically populates the correct values in the MSI tables so you don't have to do this manually.

The standard actions themselves are internal to Microsoft so there is no "script" to understand exactly how they work - however they are fully documented on Microsofts website so you can find information on how they behave and what they do.

For example details on the MoveFiles Action can be found here:

I hope this helps,

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Thank you for your answers. I think I understand a little better, as I am a total novice in this field.

But, there is still something I don't understand. For the standard action "MoveFiles", in the Microsoft documentation, it talks about a MoveFile table. But when I save the MoveFile table in the "Direct Editor" part (of InstallShield), it is empty (with the message "There are no items to show").
Is it really this table that defines the actions? If it is the case, it would mean that this action does... nothing (if I understand correctly) because no file, source and destination folders are filled in. Or this table "MoveFile" is not there (where to find it then?) ?

I'm sorry for these silly questions. But I am a total novice in this field and it is frustrating not to understand.

Thanks for your help.

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Level 8

I also recommend to execute the installer with detailed windows installer logging (voicewarmupx), then you can better understand what is happening.



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Thanks. I will look for voicewarmupx.
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