[wpkg-users] Problems with the WOW64 mess

heiko.helmle at horiba.com heiko.helmle at horiba.com
Tue May 18 08:32:31 CEST 2010

Hello list,

I'm currently and regularly running into the WOW64 mess while trying to 
make my wpkg-package collection "Win64-ready". The problem consists of two 

* A 32 bit installshield .exe
* the WOW brain-hurt diversion layer
* WPKG running as user SYSTEM and the SYSTEM profile sitting in 
c:\Windows\system32\config\systemprofile by default.

The symptome is that the install works fine as a normal user, though 
there's an UAC prompt (obviously). But if run via WPKG-Client-Service 
(which runs as user SYSTEM) the install fails _very_ early.

The cause is the following.

* Installer gets run and unpacks its MSI to %TEMP% - %TEMP% expands to 
* Because the installer is 32bit, WOW64 diverts this to 
* Installer calls the MSI via MSI API
* MSI Service is 64bit, so no WOW64 diversion - it looks into the 
...system32.. path
* FAIL -> File not found

This is mainly a problem with "Installshield MSI" packages. Some of them 
are solvable:

1) A few (SecureCRT for example) accept the /b switch, which allows the 
MSI-cache location to be specified. Specify an alternate path (That's not 
covered by WOW64) and you're done.
2) Some package (like X-Manager) can be fooled by re-defining %TMP% or 
3) Some simply won't work and have to be disected (like unfortunately 
Suns/Oracles JRE/JDK) (as described in the wiki), because the installer 
gets its extraction path from the registry.

My question is: Did anybody find a good way around Case 3? - because 
disecting a package should obviously be the very last resort. I'm still 
hoping that I missed some low hanging fruit :)

The only other thing I thinked of was using a dedicated user for wpkg (so 
the profile path is in c:\users). Did anybody do this? How does UAC get 
involved when you're using a normal (but admin) user for this?

Kind Regards
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