Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Installation process insights - Guest Post

This Article is a Guest Post.

Information Technology has made notable changes in all walks of human life like, technologies used in business for transmitting, storing, manipulating and retrieving all kinds of data, communication, agriculture, banking, health, and education.

Information Technology is the combination of hardware and software that use to improve the efficiency and competitiveness of businesses that has led to technological change. Most businesses and companies network their computers so that information can be shared among each other and to their respective clients.
IT applications are widely prevalent in the modern business and their great benefit is the way they can lower costs and can mange the business in a more optimized manner.

While web applications are best medium of information sharing and utilizing their best services, the importance of desktop applications can’t be ignored where there is unavailability of internet and network shares. In case of a payroll system, multimedia distributions, CRMs, off line education and training resources, desktop applications play a vital role for end users. Thus, from usability and quality perspective, it becomes necessary for a user to test the installation/un-installation and verifying the compatibility of the desktop applications on multiple individual machines or network stations. Here, the need arises for Installation testing of CDs/DVDs/USBs/flash drives on which the desktop applications are commonly ported.
From QA and Testing point of view, Installation is the first interaction the user has with the product. An application needs to be installed on the system before a user can use it. It is very important to make sure that user does not face any problem while installing the application. This article describes the installation process on a windows platform. The widely used method of installation is from a CD. Instead of the traditional method of installing software from a physical CD, software can also be installed from the Internet, from a network location or can even be pushed to the end user's machine. Before starting installation, following are the checks that must be performed:
  • The package that contains the application CD is not tampered and includes all the supported installation manuals/documents.
  •  CD-ROM is working properly.
  • The serial or License key is available before installation.
  • The CD/DVD is physically un-damaged and is purchased from an authorized source.
  • Sufficient memory, processor and add-on, software are available
User starts installation on the machine by inserting the CD/DVD into the supported CD/DVD player. If, auto run is enabled, then CD/DVD will start running automatically; otherwise setup has to be run from the defined path. After the CD starts, [following checks, like EULA, ], the End User License Agreement will pop up with the two options of agree or deny. User has to read through the agreement carefully before agreeing or denying it. In this scenario user can check what happens if he/she denies the agreement. Some software requires the user to enter a serial number or software key (or code) during the installation. You can usually find the number or key printed on the installer disc, disc case, in the manual, or as a certificate provided with the software. If you had downloaded the software, the key may be sent in a separate email. You should make note of the number or key before installing the software.  This is when the installation process commences. If in this process any other supportive software is needed the application should prompt the user for it; else it should guide the user through the remaining part of installation. Now user should check whether the application can be run or not. Installer now performs certain actions such as:
·         Copy files to a destination folder on a hard disk
·         Create short cuts
·         Change system files
·         Check for expiry of trial version
·         Check for application install per user option such as   default or standard etc.
·         Testing of license key validation
Other methods of installation include: installation from dumps, network, online, and installation done by an administrator. In all these types of installation a particular and well defined process has to be followed. In verifying the installation it is necessary to take into account certain things which are mentioned below:
·         Type of installation being executed(i.e. how it is executed)
·         Features of OS on which the software is being installed
·         Interaction of the software being installed with other applications and tools on the system
·         Repeated installation factors like repair, modify, update
·         Entering the serial number / code correctly
·          System requirements

While installation a user might face the following obstacles:
  • Space  not available
  • Re-installation behavior
  • Abrupt exit of installation
  • Memory usage not as per specifications

These obstacles can be overcome by going through some very basic check points while carrying out installation such as:
  • Verify  you have administrative access
  • Going through the readme file: it contains exact instructions on how to install a program
  • Messages flashed during installation process: it will typically prompt you to install the program or you may need to run a separate install before the program can be fully used.
  • Close or disable other running programs while installation as it may hamper the process
  • Reboot the machines after completing the installation process

 Before a user starts working with any software, he first has to install it on the computer or on network. A proper installation will allow his application to perform what it’s supposed to do. Installation verification’s main focus is verifying successful installation and un-installation of the application. It's during the installation that users get the first impression of your product. Understanding this process is very important and justifiably requires special attention and hopefully this article explained this process implementation.

Author Bio

Knowledge Sharing Team at  QA InfoTech conducts  technical research, prepares technical documents, white papers and various content on software testing, security testing and quality assurance services. QA InfoTech is currently an ISO 9001:2008 and CMMI level three company with ‘Centers of Excellence’ in India and USA. Knowledge Sharing Team has made acknowledgeable contribution in research and content work pertaining to testing solution services.

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