Other Software Installation Peeves

Subject: Other Software Installation Peeves
From: Carol Van Natta <cvannatt -at- itc -dot- nrcs -dot- usda -dot- gov>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 01 Mar 2001 13:16:53 -0700

Since I just recently rebuilt my home computer system from scratch,
Emily Berk's deathless prose on her travails has inspired me to list
other software program installation peeves:

1. In the dialog box that asks for your name, organization, and serial
number, the "Organization" field is required and the extraordinarily
long and mixed alpha-numeric serial number is case sensitive, but
neither the install wizard nor the documentation tell you those things.
Instead, the install wizard stubbornly, silently refuses to activate the
Next button until you get things right. [Gee, the prerequisites list
didn't say I was supposed to wear the aluminum foil hat that activates
my psychic powers before I started installing the program.]

2. Documentation and online help that neglects to tell you the general
purpose of the program and what it does. [I know, I know, "why did you
buy the program if you didn't know what you were getting," but imagine,
if you will, that you're a new, small cog in a very big company. A
manager in the corporate office gets a really good deal on the XYZ
Frimjam program. The IT department dutifully installs it on all systems,
and puts the PDF'd documentation on a network drive. So, how the heck
are you supposed to know what it does, much less why you'd want to use
it? And don't mention the word "training," because it never even crossed
the corporate manager's mind.]

3. The installation wizard implies that you can change the installation
path of the program files to be anything you want, but responds with
snippy error messages until you change it back to the installation path
they originally "suggested." [Where did I put that aluminum foil hat?]

4. The program installs a whole bunch of fonts, graphics, tutorials,
file associations, and/or demo versions of other programs without
asking, or even telling me it's going to do it. [Gee, thanks, and only
yesterday, I had a clean and well-organized hard drive?]

5. The program doesn't come with an uninstall routine. ["We don't want
to give the users any ideas" is NOT a reasonable position, no matter
what the Marketing folks say. And before you ask, yes, I actually heard
that from a marketing VP who was trying to justify why he redlined the
uninstall routine in the development budget.]


Price list:
Opinions: Free
Thoughtful opinions: Cheap
Valuable opinons: How much do you have?
+ Carol Van Natta +
+ Senior Technical Writer +
+ Unisys Corporation +
+ ITC-NRCS Fort Collins, CO +

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