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InstallPad Review

For those who are tired of downloading and installing program on a new Windows install, InstallPad can automate the process easily. Simply select which applications to download and install from the preloaded list, InstallPad would process the request automatically. The e-mail friendly package (including the 3 KB XML file) is 295 KB. We also showed you how to install Mozilla Firefox and Adobe Acrobat Reader using InstallPad using online and offline method.

InstallPad comes as an executable and an XML file and can be run after Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 installation. The application list and download location are defined in the applist.xml. The Applist.xml can be modified using Notepad or from the InstallPad main screen. To add, remove or edit an application in the main screen, right click on the application list area and select Add new application.

It is recommended to check the links provided in the XML as link provided might be out of date. The location of the installation file can be from local hard drives, network drives and FTP amongst others. Other advanced syntaxes (e.g. installation option, alternate download location, etc) are available from the help page.

How to Install Mozilla Firefox using InstallPad
For this review, we used InstallPad to download and install Mozilla Firefox. The XML from InstallPad website lists Firefox which is no longer available. When modifying the download URL, ensure that the link is not a landing page. For example, In Mozilla Firefox case, the direct link is usually formatted as the following

The Silent Install works with majority of installers (e.g. InstallShield, Nullsoft Installer System, etc). If this option is selected, /S switch is added after the setup file. This option can also be set in the XML file under the <SilentInstall> section. The Silent install usually means that the progress of the installation is not being displayed. For Mozilla Firefox, despite selecting the silent install, the progress is still being displayed. We found that the Silent Install can also mean no user interaction is required.

The default download location for the file in Windows XP is C:\Documents and Settings\username\Local Settings\Temp\Install Pad. If the file is in ZIP format, it would be extracted to C:\Program File. Both can be modified and located in the Preferences section.

How to Install Adobe Reader using InstallPad with install file in local hard drive
InstallPad can also be used with file located in the local hard drive. It is great for file downloaded previously. Adobe Reader 9 was used for this review. The installation file was obtained from and saved to C:\Install. Thus, the InstallPad Download URL for local hard drive is is file:///c:/Install/AdbeRdr910_en_US.exe Please note the three forward slashes following the word file. Once the path and other options have been setup, the installation process is similar to the online one.

We found that for Adobe Reader 7, the installation runs without interaction. On the other hand, as Adobe Reader 9 uses different type of installer. The /sPB (Silent Mode with Progress Bar for product) installer switch needs to be included in the Installer arguments section. The installer switches can be obtained by typing AdbeRdr910_en.exe /? in command line window.

InstallPad makes download and software easy and can be fully automated. It works with the Internet connection or offline. The available options to customize how software is installed are extensive.

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