SSE Setup

A Letter for Current & Previous SSE Setup 7.x Users Regarding Windows 10

If you have released any of your software using SSE Setup 7.x or earlier, this is to let you know that there is a serious bug that started on Windows 10/Server 2016 Version 1709 (Fall Creators Update) that affects all 7.x and earlier Internet Updaters. If you released any versions of your software with 7.x or earlier that either explicitly included the Internet Update Module for your own update checking purposes OR required any prerequisites that were set to download/install such as the .NET Framework, Microsoft Access, and others, then this bug likely affects you. This bug does NOT affect 8.x, which has been out for over a year.

Basically the bug prevents the old updater/downloader from being able to install any software it downloads. It can still see the software and download it, but cannot install it and will end without any notification other than a brief "Install Failed" message followed by the automatic closing of the updater.

It's taken me a lot of time to isolate this bug, and honestly I was kind of hoping Microsoft would just fix it in the meantime. But I finally was able to reasonably get to the bottom of it (at least on my end) and I now believe it is likely an obscure bug that unfortunately just happened to affect the old updater and because of the type of bug it is, I'm honestly not confident it's going to be fixed by Microsoft anytime soon. The line of code that is causing the issue is one that was a tad non-standard but had been in the updater for 10 years and works on all versions of Windows from Windows 10 Version 1703 down to Windows 98. I just happened to have changed that line (2 lines really) when I made the move to 8.x which is why 8.x is not affected. Until this latest Windows 10 release, the updater component was pretty rock-solid without any significant bugs or issues of any kind for over 10 years.

Since the problem affects the updater/downloader component, there's not much that can be done about it now after-the-fact other than hope the root problem gets addressed by Microsoft in a future version of Windows 10 (it might well happen, but I'm also not holding my breath).

If you have installs in the wild that used the 7.x updater for the purpose of updating your own software, then you can provide a More Info URL link in the IUI file it is accessing so that at least if install fails and the user tries again and clicks that link, you could have a webpage that explains the problem and provides them with a manual download link they could use. You could also tell them in the description that shows for them to click the More Info link if the update won't install.

If you had 7.x installs that were set to download missing prerequisites, the install of the prerequisite will likely fail and Setup will automatically open the manual download webpage where they can manually download and install the prerequisite.

Again this bug only affects 7.x and earlier on Windows 10/Server 2016 Version 1709 and later. 8.x is NOT affected by this new Windows 10 bug.

You do need to understand that though the last few versions of 7.x were developed with Windows 10 in mind, Windows 10 is constantly evolving - the Windows 10 of Version 1709 is NOT the same animal that Windows 10 was when the last 7.x version of SSE Setup was released in mid-2016, and going forward if you intend to support Windows 10, you should make sure you are using v8.x and keeping up with new SSE Setup releases (paying particular attention to any Windows 10 related news in the Changelog/Version Changes part of the help file). As Windows 10 keeps changing, it becomes more and more likely that previous versions may exhibit new problems and this is a particular concern with 7.x and earlier. [Note: While it is strongly recommended that everybody use 8.x, if for some reason you still must use v7.7 or 7.8 because you also need to support 9x/ME, there is a patch available to address this bug - contact if you need it.]

With that said, I am sincerely sorry for any trouble this issue may have been or is causing you. Hopefully since 8.x has been out for over a year and pre-dated Windows 10 Version 1709 by many months, you had already updated and most of your users are already on a version that was installed with 8.x. If you have NOT yet updated to 8.x, you need to be aware that since SSE Setup itself uses the updater to do its updating, it also is affected by this bug and you might need to download manually by using the download page.

For some positive news, speaking of the Internet Updater, the newly released v8.4 of SSE Setup brings long-requested support for HTTPS URL's, UNC (Intranet) paths, and the ability for the updater to follow redirects.

Chris Long
SSE Setup

Copyright © by Chris Long 2018. All rights reserved.