View Full Version : Installing programs under Safe Mode conditions?

Billy T
06-04-2003, 09:14 PM
Hi Team

I was trying to install Encyclopaedia Britannica 2000 on No. 1 Daughter's W2K box and got the following error messages: "Uninstaller load failure" and "Setup string variable is not large enough for string. Check the string declarations. Error 401" .

Reading the "Known Issues" for Britannica versions from 1998 to 2003 suggests that installation problems are a recurring theme (and IMHO their software writers need to learn a little more about writing programs that are compatible with bog-standard Windows installations). Anyway, I uninstalled by restoring from the current Ghost Image :D then contacted Britannica by email.

They replied promptly, sending me a zip file of winconfig (which I guess to be an add-on to install the Msconfig utility that is not included in W2K) and instructions on how to use it to kill all running applications prior to installing the program.

Getting to the point, it strikes me that it might be possible to achieve the same effect by installing under Safe Mode. Knowing that this speeds up Defrag etc, I recently tried running Adaware in safe mode and got a worthwhile speed increase there as well.

Is there any reason why Windows programs in general cannot or should not be installed in safe Mode? In the case of Britannica this could resolve my problems without the need to run Winconfig.


Billy 8-{)

06-04-2003, 09:35 PM
Gidday Billy :)

mate a few reasons I can think off...

reason not to install progs in safe mode:

the said programe might over-write a protected system file?
the " " " might fail to install ( thats more a pain in the ...)

reason to install progs in safe mode:
Yours worked!! :D
Back in my ole win 3.1 and 95 days it suggested that it was better to install ( most ) drivers in safe mode - after all it is called "safe mode" lol
only you had to remember to copy the drivers ( if they were on cd ) to the harddrive in "normal" mode first! :D when I was starting out in IT it was kinda fun to work out how I installed a cd drive when ( back then ) the drives were not "autodetected and installed" during a windows install :D

Although I've noticed less fragmentation of the harddrive when istalling stuff in safe mode! don't know if anyone else has noticed it??

Anyway Billy thats some I can think off and I think some of them you'd already know ;)


Billy T
07-04-2003, 12:18 PM
Bugger :( There is always a catch!

Another brilliant idea crashes & burns. :_|

Thanks Minos, but could you explain to me how "said programme might over-write a protected system file" as I wasn't aware that Safe Mode removed normal windows system file protection.

I guess I could try it out of interest as it only takes a few minutes to dump the drive image back if it all turns to custard, but my technical curiosity is aroused.

The way I saw it, Safe Mode lets you do all sorts of diagnostic things and I didn't think Windows would allow you to damage the OS installtion without throwing up a warning first. Any used file space should be protected by the FAT etc unless Britannica uses file names that parallel system files. I guess that is always an option, but then it would be trying to install them in its own folder wouldn't it?

I gotta quit here, I think my brain is about to fry :8}


Billy 8-{) :|

07-04-2003, 12:50 PM
morning Billy :)

we know in safe mode you don't get access to all "devices" such as cd-rom ( well you can boot safe mode with cd-rom support as a seperate choice ) but you get limited vga modes for example, no networking etc..

but I just did a test to find "boot.ini" in "normal" mode and couldn't find it untill I changed the serach to look in hidden files ( using windows xp pro - but then it should be the same for any win 9x ) whereas in safe mode if found it easy, maybe that suggests that hidden file attributes are removed in safe mode?

so it would follow if thats the case ( and user.dat for example is another one ) it would then be possible for an install to overwrite a hidden or system file in safe mode?

Thats now got me wondering more about it too, and I don't start doing my M.C.S.A till next month :) so I think I'm going to have fun with some safe mode questions!! lol


07-04-2003, 12:59 PM
Not totally related to this but I tried running Norton Antivirus 2003 in Safe Mode because I assumed a virus was on the machine. Booting into safe mode then trying to run NAV said that it can't be run in Safe Mode. Now I'm sure I've ran earlier versions of NAV on earlier OS in Safe Mode because sometimes you have to run NAV in Safe Mode to remove the virus. Only fix was to download the fix from SARC and perform the fix in Safe Mode.

Billy T
07-04-2003, 02:53 PM
Thanks Minos

I guess I'll just have to run Winconfig as supplied to do the install, but I will await with interest your post following your MCSA questions.

You sound like the sort of student that instructors just hate to have in their classes.]:)

Make sure you ask very carefully so that you don't end up looking daft. I don't mind asking this sort of question on PF1 because I know I'll be treated gently :8} but the same might not be the case in an MCSA class :O


Billy 8-{)

07-04-2003, 09:00 PM
yeah when I did my dip. in comp. the one thing that is constant when you are studying is always ask questions! ;)

There is no such thing as a stupid question! its better to know the answer to the stupid question than go and DO something stupid.

And in IT it will ( in the end ) cost if you go and do something stupid!!

So yeah I'll be asking questions during my study for my MCSA, and my last tutors liked the fact that I asked difficult questions ( it kept them on their toes ) and I said " I do realise you don't know everything though... but with respect you are being paid to know most answers!!" lol