.NET Framework

The .NET infrastructure was created by Microsoft to allow users to connect and share data more efficiently using a variety of devices, such as a personal computer, cell phone, or handheld device. The .NET Framework is an environment for building, deploying, and running .NET applications. Some applications may be .NET applications and require the .NET framework to be installed to run.

administrative privileges

Administrative privileges are the highest level of permission that can be granted to a computer user. Levels of permissions are necessary in networked environments to ensure system security and prevent damage to computer hardware and software. A user with administrative privileges can perform tasks such as install and uninstall software and change a computer's configurations. Administrative privileges usually pertain to Windows NT 4.0, 2000, or XP machines as opposed to Windows 95, 98, or ME machines.

In most cases, home users are automatically the administrators of their home computers. If a home computer user is not the administrator some installations may fail. For instructions on acquiring administrative privileges, see How Do I Acquire Administrative Privileges on My Computer?

cabinet file

A cabinet, or CAB, file is single file that holds a number of compressed files. During installation of an application, the compressed files are decompressed and copied to your computer. Cabinet files are efficient because they save space and time when distributing software. A cabinet file usually has the file extension .cab. Missing or corrupt files may prevent installations from completing. It may be necessary to replace missing or corrupt operating system files or InstallShield files by extracting them from a cabinet file.


A cache, pronounced cash, is a temporary storage area for frequently accessed data. The purpose of caching is to store frequently used information in a location that is easy to access, resulting in a faster running computer.

There are two types of cache: memory cache and disk cache. Memory cache stores the data and the address of where the data is stored in main memory. Memory caching is useful because most applications access the same data repeatedly. Disk caching uses the main memory. It is used to hold information that has recently been requested from the hard disk or has previously been written to the hard disk. In general, installations usually use the disk cache. When data is read from or written to main memory, a copy is also saved in the memory cache. When data is called for, the computer first checks the memory cache, then the disk cache, and finally main memory.


The Component Object Model (COM) is a Microsoft-developed software architecture that allows for the creation of component-based applications. Component-based applications allow other components and other applications to use their features, adding functionality to these programs. For example, COM allows you to embed a Microsoft Excel chart into a Microsoft Word document.


An instruction that MS-DOS executes from the command-line or from the Command Prompt window to perform a specific task. If errors occur during installation, you may need to execute commands to run utilities, search your computer's directories, or delete files, for example.

command line

The command line is the area of the display in which commands are typed. The command line is used to pass commands to executable (.exe) files. For example, the following command installs ApplicationName.exe with administrative privileges:

"C:\WINDOWS\Desktop\ApplicationName.exe" -a

The command line can be accessed by selecting Start > Run. Errors encountered during installation may require you to use the command line to complete the installation.

Command Prompt window

The Command Prompt window is the interface to MS-DOS. To access the Command Prompt window, select Start > Run and type command.com in Windows 95, 98, and ME or cmd.exe in Windows NT, 2000, or XP. If errors occur during installation, you may need to open the Command Prompt window to input commands to run utilities or search your computer's directories, for example.

command-line option

A command-line option is an argument to a command that changes how a command is executed. For example, the "-a" command-line option installs ApplicationName.exe with administrative privileges:

"C:\WINDOWS\Desktop\ApplicationName.exe" -a

Commands can be entered at the command line by selecting Start > Run.

The Distributed Component Object Model (DCOM) is an extension of the Component Object Model (COM), a Microsoft-developed software architecture that allows for the creation of component-based applications. Component-based applications allow other components and other applications to use their features. For example, COM allows you to embed a Microsoft Excel chart into a Microsoft Word document. DCOM extends COM functionality by allowing applications to communicate over a network or the Internet.
dynamic link library (DLL)

A shared code-base file containing functions that can be called from other applications.


An engine is a program that performs essential functions and coordinates the overall operation of other programs. Engines work behind the scenes. InstallShield uses the InstallScript engine (isscript.msi) and Windows Installer engines to drive installations. InstallShield also has its own proprietary engine called ikernel.

environment variable

An environment variable represents some aspect of your computer environment, that is, the configuration of hardware and software on your computer. Environment variables can be used to represent drives, program paths, directory names, and other items associated with your computer environment as well as information such as the date, time, and your default printer and text editor. Installation programs use environment variables to provide information to the installation and to store information for later use by the application you are installing.


To expand means to restore a compressed file to its original size. A compressed file is a single file that contains one or more other files, for example, a cabinet file. Compressed files are reduced in size, thus, saving space. Expand is a DOS command used to restore compressed files. During an installation, missing or corrupted operating system files or InstallShield files may need to be expanded from a compressed file to allow the installation complete.


To remove, or decompress, a file from a compressed file, such as a cabinet file. A compressed file is a single file that contains one or more other files. Compressed files are reduced in size, thus, saving space. To use a file that has been compressed, it must first be "pulled out" of the compressed file. A command-line utility called extract.exe can be used to extract files. During installation, missing or corrupted operating system files or InstallShield files may need to be extracted from a compressed file to allow the installation complete.

false positive
A false positive is something that gives the appearance of being true by a test, but in reality is not. Most cases of false positives are found in anti-virus software. For example, anti-virus software may claim that it has found a virus in an InstallShield file, but in fact, this is not the case; their virus definitions need to be updated.
hard drive

The hard drive is the primary storage device on your computer. A hard drive contains disks on which data is read from and written to magnetically. The term "hard" differentiates the aluminum or glass disks used in a hard drive from floppy disks, what are made of plastic.

hot fix

A hot fix is a term used for a quick, important fix for a bug that cannot wait until the next release to be fixed. Most hot fixes are in the form of small patches and can be downloaded from the software vendor's website.


Idriver.exe is the InstallShield Scripting Runtime engine. It is required on a computer to run some installations created with InstallShield. Idriver.exe is located in one or both of the following common file locations:

C:\Program Files\Common Files\InstallShield\Driver\7\Intel 32
C:\Program Files\Common Files\InstallShield\Driver\8\Intel 32

Some installation error messages may reference idriver.exe.


Isscript.msi is the InstallScript engine installer. Isscript.msi installs the required files to run an installation. The InstallScript engine is also known as the InstallShield Scripting Runtime. InstallScript is the programming language used to create installations. Some error messages may reference the InstallShield Scripting Runtime or Isscript.msi.


The Microsoft Disk Operating System (MS-DOS) was the first operating system created by Microsoft. MS-DOS is the underlying operating system of Windows 95, 98, and ME. Windows NT, 2000, and XP operating systems support existing DOS applications. When encountering errors during installation, you may need to use MS-DOS to run utilities or search your computer's directories, for example.

MS-DOS prompt

The Microsoft Disk Operating System (MS-DOS) prompt is the visual indicator in the Command Prompt window signaling that MS-DOS is ready to accept a new command. The default MS-DOS prompt is usually C:>, followed by a blinking cursor. If errors occur during installation, you may need to open the MS-DOS prompt and input commands to run utilities or search your computer's directories, for example.


A network is two or more computers connected together to share hardware, software, and information. During installation, it may be necessary to move installation files that are on a network to your computer's hard drive to install the software properly.


The path is the route to a file on a computer. In the Windows operating system, the path is the drive plus the location in the folder system. For example, C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office\WINWORD.exe, is the path for Microsoft Word.

regedt32.exe, regedit.exe

Regedt32.exe and regedit.exe are two versions of the Registry Editor. The Registry Editor allows you to edit the entries in the registry. Regedt32 provides more functionality for editing the registry. If errors occur during installation, you may need to edit the registry to complete installation. Regedt32.exe and Regedit.exe have been merged in Windows XP computers, thus these two applications perform the same functionality in the new operating systems.

run-time error

A run-time error is an error that occurs when a program is executed, or run. In the case of an installation, it is from the time an installation starts through the completion of the installation. Errors occur during installation for many different reasons, including your home computer settings, the way the software vendor made the installation, conflicts with other software, missing files, bugs in the software, etc. Because there are so many possible causes, it is often hard to determine the exact cause of a run-time error.

safe mode

Safe mode is a troubleshooting mode available in Windows 95, 98, ME, and 2000. When starting your computer in safe mode, only the operating system and mouse, keyboard, and display drivers are loaded. You may be able to start your computer in safe mode when it otherwise would not start at all. Safe mode allows you to troubleshoot the operating system to determine what is not functioning properly. For example, adding new software or hardware to your computer can cause conflicts. Safe mode is a way to locate the problem. You can attempt to run an application or use a hardware device in safe mode to determine if it is the cause of an error or if the error lies elsewhere, such as in the operating system.

To start you computer in safe mode:

Windows 95: Press F8 when Windows displays the Starting Windows 95 message and select Safe Mode from the menu.

Windows 98/ME: As soon as you turn your computer on, press and hold the Ctrl key down until you see the Start Menu, and then select the Safe Mode.

Windows 2000: Press F8 when Windows displays the "Please select the operating system to start, press F8" message.

security tool

A security tool is a privacy tool that detects and eliminates destructive pests, such as trojans, spyware, adware, and hacker tools on your computer. It complements your anti-virus and firewall software, extending your protection against non-viral malicious software that can evade your existing security and invade privacy.

self-registering file

A self-registering file is a file that can enter information about itself in the Windows registry and remove that information upon uninstallation. Other types of files can be used without entering information into the registry.

The installation of a self-registering file consists of installing the file to its desired location and then registering the file on your computer. Sometimes. because of system specific issues, self-registeration may fail, causing an error message to appear, for example, "Unable to register the file xyz.dll". When an installation is unable to register a file, you may need to register it manually to make sure that the application works. To register a file manually, see How do I Manually Register a File on My Computer?

service pack

A service pack is an update to a software product that fixes existing problems and may provide product enhancements. The next version of a product incorporates all services packs previously released.


Spyware is any technology that aids in gathering information about a person or organization without their knowledge. On the Internet, spyware is programming that is put in someone's computer to secretly gather information about the user and relay it to advertisers or other interested parties. Spyware can get in a computer as a software virus or as the result of installing a new program. Data collecting programs that are installed with the user's knowledge are not, properly speaking, spyware, if the user fully understands what data is being collected and with whom it is being shared.

Task Manager

The Task Manager provides information about the applications and processes running on your computer as well as your computer's performance. Prior to installation, you may need to use the Task Manager to end running applications and processes to prevent conflicts. For more information, see How Do I Detect and End Previously Running Installation Processes? and How Do I Close Applications Running in the Background?.

Temp directory

The Temp directory is a folder on your hard disk where the operating system or applications can temporarily store files while they are in use. When the application exits, the temporary files are deleted. It may be necessary to manually clean, or delete files from, the Temp directory. For instructions, see Clean the Temp Directory.

uninstallation log file

An uninstallation log file is a record of all the uninstallation-related events that occur during an installation. The log file is initialized at the beginning of the installation. If this log file becomes corrupt, it may create an error during uninstallation.

user profile

A user profile is a record of an individual user's settings, such as shortcuts, favorites, and application, display, and hardware settings. User profiles allow multiple users to share a single computer but maintain their own preferences.

Windows API

A Windows API, or Windows application programming interface, provides building blocks used by applications written for the Windows platform. Each API is a specific method prescribed by a computer operating system or by an application program. A programmer writing an application can make requests of the operating system or another application with the use of a Windows API. Each API has different system requirements to run properly. Some installation errors might occur as a result of a failing Windows API.

Windows Installation CD

The Windows Installation CD is the compact disc that contains the Windows operating system. If your computer manufacturer installed the operating system on your computer, the installation CD should have been included with your computer documentation. If you installed the Windows operating system on your computer, you used the installation CD to do so.

Windows System folder

The Windows System folder contains core operating system files. The files contained in the System folder are necessary to keep your computer running properly. Errors occurring during installation may be a result of missing or corrupt files contained in the System folder.

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