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AutoTag setup, under the covers


The setup process for InstallAutoTag.exe is quite complex. If you are hitting a weird problem during the install, this may help you. InstallWindwardReportsDotNet.exe uses the same process, but without the Office hotfix & PIA parts.


InstallAutoTag.exe is a self extracting installer that contains 2 files. These files are

  • AutoTagBootstrapper.exe (the bootstrapper)
    • extensibilityMSM.msi (Office 2000 - 2003 hotfix)
    • lockbackRegKey.msi (Office 2000 - 2003 hotfix)
    • office2003-kb907417sfxcab-ENU.exe (Office 2003 hotfix)
  • SetupAutoTag.msi (the actual installer)

The bootstrapper installs Microsoft products and hotfixes required to run AutoTag. These are system extensions to Windows and therefore will not be uninstalled if you uninstall AutoTag. These products are:

  • The Windows 3.1 installer (required to run the .msi installers)
  • The Microsoft .NET 2.0 framework (required to run .NET programs)
  • The Microsoft .NET J# library (required to run J# .NET programs)
  • AutoTag Max only - Sql Server Express is installed if you do not have a copy of Sql Server on your system. This is the original version of Sql Server Express 2005 (Microsoft limitation) and if you are installing on Vista you must then install service pack 2 before running AutoTag Max.
  • The 3 Office hotfixes (depending on the version of Office installed)

The first 3 items above are not in the AutoTagBootstrapper.exe program and are downloaded during the install if needed. This is done because most systems have these items installed and so the installer is smaller. The Office hotfixes are in the AutoTagBootstrapper.exe because Microsoft does not make them available from a static location on their website.

After installing all of the above, AutoTagBootstrapper.exe then launches SetupAutoTag.msi. Because the bootstrapper install only needs to run once, for updates or if you know your system has all of the above prerequisited installed, you may run SetupAutoTag.msi to install in these cases.

The SetupAutoTag.msi program does the following:

  1. Check that the above prerequisites are installed (we're very careful). If not, it will take you to a web page where you can install them.
  2. Checks to see if the Office PIAs are installed. (These are the Microsoft supplied libraries that enable a .NET application to communicate with Office.) These are system libraries and so they may already be installed by another application (and they are not uninstalled if you uninstall AutoTag). These are never installed with Office 2000 & 2002, are usually installed when you install Office 2003, and are always installed with Office 2007 (but we check anyways).
  3. Asks you for your license key. You do not have to enter it here, but the license key is is the LOCAL_MACHINE part of the registry and if you are running on Vista (or XP with security turned on), you need administrator rights to write to this part of the registry. The setup program is running with admin rights (it requires it) and so you can do this now. If you don't, you need to run Office or RegEdit as an admin to enter this later.
  4. It installs the program. The installed files fall into three main categories:
    1. The non-executable files (help, samples, etc). These are placed in the selected Program Files folder.
    2. The general libraries (.DLL files). There are 39 of these at the time this wiki is written. These are placed in the GAC.
    3. The AutoTag program & it's language resources (.EXE & .DLL files). These are placed in the Program Files folder (and language resource sub-folders). The installer contains an Office version specific DLL as the primary program, one built for each version of Office. The installer will install the file for the oldest version of Office installed on your computer because newer version of Office can call the AddIn built for older versions, but not vice-versa.
      1. Because Office uses the same registry info for loading AddIns for all versions of Office we cannot install 2 versions of AutoTag if you have 2 versions of Office installed. And because of how Office works, we must install for the oldest version. This means if you have Office 2007 and an earlier version of Office installed, AutoTag cannot use the Office ribbon because it is installing the older version that is not aware of the Ribbon.
      2. Because of how security works in Office, the main AddIn that Office sees is the program AutoTagShim2007.dll which is a small C++ program that loads .NET and calls AutoTag2007.dll - which is the actual AutoTag main program. This is required for Office to see that our AddIn is signed with an authenticode signature.

And now you should be running.

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