software installation

Installation Testing

software installationThis type of testing is used to verify the installation, setup, update and removal of software. Most of the software is installed with the help of special programs – installers that also require attention in the installation process testing.

Well, now let’s see how to pass the quality test while testing the installation process.

Testing installation process is divided into several parts depending on how installer has been configured, i.e. – it all depends on what it can do.

Usually installers do 4 things:

  • Install the application;
  • Restore the application (optional);
  • Update the application (optional);
  • Remove the application.

Installation of an application

The first step is to get a list of all files that need to be copied or created at the end of a successful installation. We should pay particular attention that for different versions of operating system a different number of files can be installed. Therefore it is necessary to check the file sets for each OS separately.

Also, do not forget about such an important component as a registry for all the operating systems Windows. The correctness of data entry and registration of the installed application should be checked.  To do this, it is desirable to specify in advance the number of new entries in the registry, as well as the range of values for each variable in the generated keys.

Note, that all installers often offer several types of installation (Custom, default, etc.) for a user. You need to check all types of installations, also during the Custom installation you should experiment with different settings options.

Next point while testing installation should be manipulating access rights. To do this, you must set the attribute “Read Only” for the directory and try to install program in it.

The next step would be to test the installer itself. During testing do not pay attention to GUI installer, as it may vary depending on the installer. It is important to check the following three things:

  • Cancel installation buttons should work absolutely everywhere and always.  The installation must be stopped and the system should not remain any external files, as well as new records in the registry;
  • The operation buttons “Forward” / “Back” need to be checked. All selected options should be kept when going back. A user should not re-enter the data if it has already been entered before;
  • The installer should not go further, if any data entered incorrectly.

Recently installers began installing some other product except the application. This may be an eXtra software for full functioning of the main software or third-party software. Usually additional checkbox is responsible for this or a small message that a certain product is going to be installed.

It sometimes happens that during installation the installer asks to restart the computer. It is necessary to verify that the installation starts automatically, even if you refused to reload computer right now.

It is also very important to check that all unpacked temporary files are deleted after successful completion of the installer.

Restoration of an application

To test the recovery feature it is needed to delete some files or registry keys for the application to run incorrectly. After that, the installer should be launched and restore function chosen. At the end of restoration, files should be re- placed in the appropriate folder, and changed / deleted records added to the registry.

Updating an application

There are two ways to update an application:

  • The application updates itself and the computer asks to restart or restarts itself. The whole process is automatic, the user only needs to confirm that he really wants to update the software. But it is also optional.
  • The user installs the installer of a newer version of the program over the earlier version, the necessary files are being updated in the process and some registry entries are being changed/ added.

We are interested only in the second option, so let’s see what should be checked on this stage:

  • Created files should open and work without any problems, personal settings should be applied to a new version.
  • When changing the format of the created files, a new version of the application must be able to work with files that were created in earlier versions (unless otherwise is specified in the requirements).
  • If the application is running at the time of the update, the user must be notified about this before the installer starts to install a new version of the application. The exception to this rule should be marked in the requirements.
  • If the update process was terminated before the end, all changes should be abolished. Application should continue to work as before. Version of the application should not be changed.

Removal of an application

Typically, installers must fully clean your computer from all files and registry entries that had been created during installation and updating of software, so let’s look at the main points of the testing process uninstallation:

  • All the folders and files that were created by installers should be removed from the disk. If you copy a file to a folder with software product and that file has no connection to software product, the file and the folder directory should not be deleted.
  • All entries added during the installation process, should be removed from the registry.
  • All data created during the usage of a product should not be deleted.
  • If file extensions were changed after installation, then after removing the pre-existing ones should be restored.
  • If the software is running, during removal, the user should be notified that the application is running and get an option – to stop it or to cancel.

Finally, I would like to repeat, that installers should always be tested on multiple versions (the most used) of operating system in order to be sure that the application really does not have problems with installation, restoration, update and removal.


About Ivan P.

6 years I've worked in IT at the QA department. Now I grow up as automation QA specialist. Also I play football in different amateur tournaments.


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