Why not Write Installation Software that Deletes the Old Version First?

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  • Updated 3 years ago
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  • (Edited)
Over the weekend, I encountered a "blue screen" Windows 10 crash. It had an adverse effect on on my FLEX-6500 where when DAX (v)1.7.30 was started, I got the dreaded "DAX Driver" error screen and the DAX channels would not work. I uninstalled SmartSDR (v)1.7.30 (and de-installed the DAX drivers) and reinstalled everything but was still receiving the DAX Driver error screen.

Rather than calling up Dudley right away or opening a HelpDesk Ticket, I decided to use Tim's all-inclusive instructions (https://helpdesk.flexradio.com/hc/en-us/articles/204975589) to completely remove ALL old versions of SmartSDR and install SmartSDR (v)1.7.30 as a clean, brand-new installation. That resolved the DAX Driver error.

For most software vendors, when a new software version is released, the installation software FIRST removes the old version and then installs the new version such that only one version of the vendor's software is installed on the hard drive at a time. For the Flex Radio Systems SmartSDR, unless one does Tim's complete removal procedure (a manual step-by-step process I might add), your Add/Remove Programs Window will possibly show five or more versions of SmartSDR. And as a CAUTION NOTE, you cannot use the Add/Remove functionality to remove the older SmartSDR versions. You MUST use Tim's method to safely remove the old versions which includes removing the most recent version first.

(EDIT: According to this post by Tim, you CAN remove old versions with no harmful effects. If that is the case, why Tim, does one need to use your procedure to completely uninstall SmartSDR for Windows starting with the latest version first?)

Sooooooo... Why can't the SmartSDR Installation software be written such that it does NOT leave residual old versions of SmartSDR on the hard drive? Then, should a DAX Driver error screen occur in the future, all one would need to do is to remove the one-and-only current version completely and re-install it whereby resolving the error.

Makes sense to me...

73, Dave Hamm K4EET
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Rev. David E. Hamm, K4EET

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Posted 3 years ago

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Rev. David E. Hamm, K4EET

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For some reason I got locked out from finishing editing my post above even though no other person has replied. The post that I referred to where Tim said it is OK to delete old versions of SmartSDR indiscriminately is posted here. But my question then is why do we need a manual procedure to completely remove SmartSDR to start afresh? Can we simply use the Add/Delete functionality of Windows and just remove all SmartSDR versions in any order from the Installed Programs List? 73, Dave Hamm K4EET
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Bob K4RLC

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Dave. I strongly agree with your suggestion for removal of old versions with the new installation. While I'm not a computer scientist, as a neuropsychologist, I work with very sophisticated hardware and software that measures and manipulates the electrical activity of the human brain. The two companies I primarily work with (one in Montreal, the other in Cleveland) write the new software installs to delete the old stuff. I'm with you.
Bob K4RLC
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Al / NN4ZZ

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There are valid reasons to keep the previous version so how about adding an option to the install process.   Something like this check box below.....although it is never as easy as it sounds.  .

Even for those of us that like to keep the previous version, it would be nice to have this option for those occasions when we have an issue and want to start clean. 


Regards, Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
6700 - HW.................... V 1.6.21.77
SSDR / DAX / CAT...... V 1.6.21.159
Win10
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DrTeeth

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I personally do not want old versions of programs floating around my systems. I have never yet found the need to downgrade a version of SSDR. If I would need to downgrade, I can uninstall and reinstall; which would be easier if the installer helped ;-).
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Roy Stiegler

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Is it possible to just have your computer restore to a previous restore point, like one that was identified a week earlier (or whatever) when the computer was functioning properly?  Easily done with Windows.

Not for this particular problem, but for other incidences, I have done that.  Not a bad idea to have a recent restore point handy.  Easy way out.

73

Roy  W5TCX
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G8ZPX

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I always create a manual restore point before installing any new apps. Especially HRD and SSDR!
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Lee, Elmer

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So whatyou're saying is you don't trust windows to correctly
manage your software either
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Jim Gilliam

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I have been trying to "hammer" this point home for two years now. I even said I'd trade that feature for a delayed WAN!


Jim, K6QE

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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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My preference with a clear out the old would be an option that allows archiving the old version in a file/folder that could later be used to restore back or be deleted. Just a hedge against those moments where an upgrade doesn't work quite right or one finds an otherwise perfect upgrade orphans third party software/hardware making a roll back desirable.

73

Steve
K9ZW
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K7NXT

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Add me to the list..

73, William  K7NXT
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Jay -- N0FB, Elmer

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In a Multi, Multi environment, you may have several Flex 6000 radio's on the network. They all might be on a different 'dot' releases for specific reasons. Can it be a pain sometimes? Sure it can. However, I would not want to give up that flexibility because a few folks can't read instructions.

Come on gang! We are all at least General class operators and supposedly at least a little more technically savvy than the average Schmo. I don't expect Flex Radio to be in the diaper changing business. It's time for a few of you to Cowboy Up!
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Bob K4RLC

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Your negative comment is why I don't like posting to this list. I take care of brains for a living and don't have time to mess with software revisions that are not seamless, and software updates that create additional problems. Maybe you have extra time to waste, but I don't
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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Don't miss the opportunity to "go positive" whenever possible is a great life value.

There are compelling reasons to discuss several possible improvements, and fortunately the status quo works reasonably well and the documented remedies for the occasional glitch largely work well.

Keeping the discussion above personal jabs helps strive towards clarity. Acute time deficits are not uncommon, but are only one item of many being balanced. I would expect there are axis of discernment we've not even touched upon that FRS must deal with.

73

Steve
K9ZW
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DrTeeth

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Bob, don't be so precious. Many people here do different things for a living, all valuable for society. Please don't think that what you do is more important than what anybody else does.

If you don't have time for your hobby, maybe change your rig so that you don't have any updates. If you cannot take humorous criticism, then maybe this place is not right for you.
(Edited)
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Bob Craig, K8RC

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While we're on the subject, how about installing to ONE location. Putting the program in a new version-numbered directory each time may be useful for ALPHA testing purposes but is inconvenient and messy.

Inconvenient - My logging software can be configured to launch external programs but, since the path changes each time, it has to be modified for each new version release.

Messy - I have many directories of obsolete Flex software. I can imagine what the Registry entries look like.

We're making progress on DAX slobbering unused audio drivers everywhere  (still a long way to go). CAT is being unbundled at last for those of us who don't interface to COM ports anymore.

Let us finally admit that many of us use the hamshack machine for things other than ham radio and clean up our act on install practices.
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Martin Ewing AA6E

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I favor the "standard" (in the industry) of new software versions replacing old versions - and keeping the same app name (W/o version numbers). The installer should do all necessary registry cleanup, too. In the rare (?) event you need to downgrade, it's easy enough to re-download.

Multisystem ops who use multiple versions side by side have my deep sympathy, but surely there aren't many of them! As a rule, the burden of "big" installations should be borne by those folks -- who have the resources -- and not the vast majority (?) of us with simple setups.


73 Martin AA6E
(Edited)
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DrTeeth

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I'm with you chaps 100%. Ever since I started with computers the only two things that have annoyed me from the start were a) version numbers in the install folder and b) the company's name in the install path. *Very* occasionally I will keep it for tidiness, but I do not understand why a small company that has one product needs to do this.

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Walt - KZ1F

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Martin, that wouldn't work with ssdr as the radio needs to be syncd withe the UI. On muli-user systems each user have their own sandbax and can't even see other users non public data. Just as in the UNIX world people fell into the incredibly bad habit of signing on as root, giving themselves global access and execution privileges. This too could be done with Windows but, luckily, Windows never really made it into the multiuser would.
(Edited)
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Martin Ewing AA6E

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@Walt - I'm not sure I follow.  Of course the versions have to match between the radio, the PC, and (now) the Maestro.  If you're using one PC to support multiple versions, you've got a special problem -- maybe you're a developer or beta tester.  That's what virtual machines were invented for. :-)  Maybe I don't understand your use case.
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Walt - KZ1F

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Martin, I believe you and I are in agreement. My points were, given this is a 100% Microsoft environment, multiuser system is incredibly unlikely as multi user Windows is generally not simultaneously. But if I, as walt and you as Martin, did shifts at a multi station contest station I could have a different version of ssdr for windoze than you did but but I still couldn't use the same radios without breaking everything. I don't believe there is a viable use case for multiple active versions of ssdr for Windows so preserving them is nonsensical as well as non standard in the industry. Yes, I know about VMs, I've been running a cloud here in our basement for about a decade now, Eucalyptus then, more recently OpenStack.
(Edited)
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Walt - KZ1F

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I could see wisdom in archiving old installers for prior releases but none for old installed images. By virtue of downloading new installers in the Downloads subdir, that archiving chore is accomplished. I recall no instance where commercial InstallAnywhere executables don't remove prior versions. Similarly, rpm, yum, dpkg, deb, all clean up the environment removing orphaned versions.
(Edited)
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Walt - KZ1F

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Once a new release of ssdr is installed prior versions are, in fact, orphaned.
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KC2QMA_John

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The point of Updating to NEW version is to Replace the OLD version. I agree at minimum give an option to completely remove old version!
(Edited)
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KC2QMA_John

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What I have noticed is that even though we can almost all agree that the Sky Is Blue someone always will show up and say no... it’s BLACK?

People used to think the world was Flat once too. ;)

(Edited)
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Bob Craig, K8RC

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Actually, the sky, as observed at sea level on a cloud free day is cyan.

Blue is an adjacent but different part of the spectrum.

;)
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Lee, Elmer

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Too funny
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DrTeeth

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You beat me to something similar Bob. LOL.
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KC2QMA_John

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I rest my case. ;:)
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Lee, Elmer

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You are making the PRESUMPTION uninstalling everything first in a windows environment and across several versions of windows is without consequence.   My experience is that is not the case.  So tell me how do you feel about installing the entire O/S again in the face of corruption?  Would that be Flex's fault or would Flex just get to wear the blame?   The dreaded DAX issue as far as I can see is a problem with how Microsoft enumerates and integrates sound cards, not a problem with DAX per se.  Windows is hardly bullet proof

73  W9OY
(Edited)
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Steve (N9SKM)

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Agreed, I deal with usb to serial equipment at work and windows tends to do a terrible job with that kind of stuff. I have made it a habit to go in and delete unused ports before connecting. The dax and cat stuff is up the same alley. Not a FRS problem IMHO
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Walt - KZ1F

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I'm not sure I'd go that far. It may, in fact, not be their 'problem' but they are the closest to knowing, for any given update, if keeping two incompatible versions is going to be a problem and, in deed, if two or more versions are, in fact, incompatible. The problem I have with 'make it optional' is only the vendor knows if having the newly installed version coexisting with one or more prior versions would cause destabilization s. And, if they don't, they should. And that is independent of the vendor or who gets blamed for it.
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Walt - KZ1F

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Further, this is not about afixing blame. It is about doing whatever ensues the best user experience. That generally involves following industry best practices. Doesn't mean there can't be exceptions, but generally not, which is why they are best practices.
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Lee, Elmer

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When a customer shows up saying his computer is screwed up and its your program that broke it its about fixing blame
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Rich McCabe

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I would appreciate something like this as well.  With Windows 10 I get tired of setting up my tile menu again every time I update. Small thing but sure would be nice.  Flex is pretty solid now and the odds of having to go back to old version are getting small.
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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Would a separate "Remove Everything" application work for those who would like to see things done differently.

On automatically deleting the prior versions, I would think it very wise to have a way to opt-out of a choice that could leave your system radio dead if something didn't work out well. 

The statements that no other software leaves old versions intact puzzle me, as several major packages we professionally use do leave the prior setups intact or archived.  We usually delete them after a couple backup-cycles if the latest software has proven stable in our instances.

73

Steve K9ZW

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DrTeeth

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Hi Steve,

The vast majority of my programs silently delete the previous versions during an install of an updated version. Strangely, some installers do it whilst the manufacturer advises an uninstall before updating!

Cheers and beers

Guy
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Walt - KZ1F

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I think remove everything is only slightly better than removing nothing. My premise, and this is from experience, not wishful thinking is, as the software vendor, what needs to happen to upgrade this environment. That is an active process, not a passive one. Take mainframe environments, any feature or fix has prerequisites and corequisites. This also is true in the Linux environment. In the application of a fix or installation of a feature a decision is made what needs to occur to facilitate this fix/feature/program. The user does not know this and neither does the operating system vendor, only the vendor of the fix/feature/program does. So the decision on installing missing prerequisites or installing missing corequisites or removal of mutually exclusive items is completely within the domain of the vendor that is installing or upgrading. For example, the older version of dax is incompatible with the new version or the older version of VSP is incompatible with the newer version. Maybe the older version of something has registry hooks and they too need to be removed. To say, let the user choose, is assigning responsibility to precisely the wrong person. This is, what could lead to, blame the vendor, what Lee reacts to.

Actually, implicit in what I am proposing is where on the continuum of PC-DOS wild wild west and commercial Windows program support does SmartSDR fall. My background is from a commercial software development environment whereas many reading this thread are from the PC-DOS, Windows consumer consumer.  I don't believe users can make that choice for the vendor, but they can telegraph what they are willing to accept. With that distinction, I believe I have contributed all I can to this conversation.
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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Ditto on commodity/consumer software here, but not so on a few of the complex packages we use. 

Granted these packages are typically multi-user split server/client packages, some with per-seat license costs more than a Flex-6700 costs.  Having the old version living alongside the new has saved us from blackout periods when upgrades didn't have all functionality working right.  Sometimes that was caused by difficulties from our site specific customization breaking the upgrades initially.

What the point in the end is, I have three major packages running on my work machine and our servers that follow the FRS model of not deleting.  So FRS is not alone in their decision to leave the old.

I just browsed the server and each also seems to have a common area, where less version specific stuff must live.  User Data is in another file tree.

YMMV of course as we won't be using the same software, at least professionally I doubt you need our industry specific packages for your practice and the same in return here.

73

Steve K9ZW

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G8ZPX

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Surely, just giving the user the option to keep old versions, or clean-sweep is all that is required here. In most cases we all want to have the latest and greatest, not some mish-mash of old versions which often wont match the firmware on the radio anyway. Too much conjecture for such a simple improvement.
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Dan -- KC4GO

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As an ALPHA I sometimes get 1  to 2 releases a week. I can manage the uninstall with no problem but most of the time I leave 1 or 2 past versions. (I can go back and see if the problem is new or something I missed in an older version) There is no problem with older versions. 
When you un-install just remember to leave the DAX drivers in-place and all is well.  See second picture click OK
For version 1.7.30 this was 30 + times... 
I also have Windows 10 installing the latest updates including Insider Preview Builds. 
After the upgrade to 1511 of Windows 10 there have been no problems.