When installing and upgrading software, it is imperative that you do not go ‘all-in’ and just upgrade the software without thinking about it, a good strategy to take would be to sit down with a pen and paper and set out the upgrade step-by-step.
Backing up the current system
Backing up the current system is important because a risk of installing software is that data may be lost or corrupted during the installation. You would back up onto an external device such as a USB hard drive, or possibly a CD-ROM. There are two options when choosing a backup method. Image based backup is a backup of your entire hard drive. If your disk is damaged, you can quickly recover every piece of data, even things like software applications and registry data. But these do take a long time. File based backup This is a process that is much simpler that image based backup. It is basically when you just copy the files from your Hard Drive to your external storage device, an advantage of this is that you choose which files you back up and which you don’t, so it conserves both time and storage space. A disadvantage however is that you may forget or miss out certain files.
Disaster recovery plan
You need to ensure that, before you start to install your software that you have a disaster recovery plan in place, and that all pre-installation tasks have been completed. The reason that you would put a disaster recovery plan in place is because, should any damage occur, there will be a defined process for getting recovering from it, and getting your organisation’s computer system up and running as soon as possible. These plans cover such points as how you will recover from the loss of network services application software and also data files. It should also explain which personnel is responsible for the repairs and what is more important and less important to restore. A checklist should also be included, to ensure everything is in place.
The installation process
Undertaking the Installation
The installation process is when you actually install the software. Some examples of the steps involved in most software installations are;
- Reading and agreeing to a software license
- Selecting a location for the installation
- Extracting compressed files
- Creating a folder structure and re-arranging files
- Creating registry entries
- Creating the software configuration files
- Creating links and shortcuts
These tasks are usually quite simple, due to programs like install wizard, which make the process much easier, and then once installed you can configure things like shortcuts and manually configure updates and changes.
The upgrade process
The installation process has many similarities to the installation process, the major difference is folder structures, files links, registries and shortcuts are all already created. The installation process itself involves replacing many of the files and potentially creating additional files and folders and modifying registry entries. Most software programs have an upgrading program built in that updates itself, by automatically downloading the upgrade file.
Other Issues to Consider
Following agreed processes
When updating you should always follow procedures that have been agreed and predetermined within the IT department. This is to make the installation as smooth as possible and will minimise the negative effect to the business. If the agreed process is not followed, then you run the risk of the operation not being completed smoothly, and issues could arise. If this has been agreed with an employer, the ‘upgrader’ may even be contractually obliged to carry out the installation by following the agreed procedure. This may then mean that you may not get paid or even face legal action if serious issues occur, such as the system being out of action for a long period of time.
Contractual requirements as potential constraints to processes
The contractual requirements are part of the agreement between the ‘upgrader’ and their employer. This means that they can assess the success of the installation. If they feel that the work you have done is unsatisfactory, they can use this to take away some of the money that you would have paid. Examples of what they would look at are;
- How long the installation took
- What you were installing
- Where you were installing it
Most organisations allow little margin for error, which is why work should be thoroughly planned so that it minimises chances of issues arising.
The capabilities of available software loading facilities
There are many different loading facilities available that you can use to complete a software installation and it is important to choose the best option to fit the type of installation that you are doing.
Media to be used
There are many types of media that you could use. The most obvious examples are CD-ROM, a floppy disk, downloading the application from the internet or from an external media device such as a USB drive. The one you choose to use depends on the capabilities of your computer. Most modern software applications are quite large, so it is unlikely that will be stored on a CD, because they have a small storage capacity.
Speed and Connection Quality
Some devices load files a lot faster than others. For example, a CD-ROM can transfer from 150KB/s to 10,000KB/s. A DVD can transfer data at 21.13 MB/s. A USB 3.0 can transfer at 625 MB/s, and a USB 2.0 can transfer at 60 MB/s. So the speed of the installation can depend on which device the software files are stored on. The connection used by the loading will affect the speed of data transfer. The data will be transferred from the CD to the HDD of the computer. This connection is done by a SATA 2 cable. This can transfer data at 3 GB/s, which is pretty fast. If you are downloading files from the internet however, you will be limited by the speed of your broadband connection, which could be anywhere between 2MB/s to 300MB/s.