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Windows 7: WinZip 14 won't run if installed to non-default path

11 Dec 2009   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit
WinZip 14 won't run if installed to non-default path

If WinZip 14 is installed to a non-default location, the program won't run.

Install WinZip 14 (8688) on Windows 7 Home Edition 64 bit, and select a non-default install path. I used c:\Program Files\WinZip, rather than the default c:\Program Files (x86)\WinZip.

Installation completes without error, but afterward WinZip fails to run with the error: "Unable to install over the MSI version of the installation Please obtain the MSI version or uninstall WinZip first."

I don't know if the problem is isolated to Windows 7 Home Edition 64-bit or not, but that is my configuration.

Note also despite choosing the alternate path, it apparently installed in x86 folder anyway. Probably the installer didn't uniformly apply the alternate install location, and some registry entries pointed to the wrong place.

Workaround: install WinZip to default path.

My System SpecsSystem Spec

11 Dec 2009   #2

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit

OK, this is narrower than the first post indicates. Problem only happens if WinZip is installed to c:\Program Files. If installed to any other path or on any other drive, it works OK. E.g, e:\Program Files\WinZip works, c:\ProgFiles\WinZip works, etc.

The WinZip installer/app is somehow hard coded to expect c:\Program Files (x86). Apparently if installed to c:\Program Files, it writes the wrong path to the registry. Later when the app is run, it queries the registry and believes it hasn't been installed yet.

It's true starting with Vista, c:\Program Files by convention is for 64-bit apps, and c:\Program Files (x86) is for 32-bit apps. However to my knowledge that's only a naming convention. App installers allow overriding this. I've installed many 32-bit apps in c:\Program Files, and they all work. For better or worse my naming convention is 32-bit apps go in (drive letter):\Program Files and 64-bit apps go in (drive letter):\Program Files (x64).

If \Program Files is a reserved folder name that will break 32-bit apps if installed there, it seems the installer or OS itself should enforce this.

Nonetheless given the above it seems wise to stick to the \Program Files (x86) folder name for 32-bit apps and \Program Files for 64-bit apps. It avoids the possibility some installer and app will not handle correctly a user-provided alternate folder name.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 WinZip 14 won't run if installed to non-default path

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