ABSQUAD'S INSTALLATION PROGRAM REVIEW
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IT IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED THAT YOU DOWNLOAD FILES FROM THIS WEB SITE AND SAVE IT TO A TEMPORARY DIRECTORY (EXAMPLE: C:\DOWNLOADS), AND THEN RUN THE FILE FROM THAT DIRECTORY. OPENING THE FILE AND RUNNING IT FROM THE INTERNET IS NOT ADVISED, AS THE FILE CAN BE DAMAGED OR CORRUPTED DURING THE DOWNLOAD/RUN PROCESS.
View an .AVI file showing you the entire process by clicking here.
The installation program used for all of the downloads available from this site is the WinZip© Self-Extractor v2.2. For a more detailed look at this wonderful program, please click here.
Basically, the WinZip© Self-Extractor program takes the contents of a standard WinZip© file and makes the file an “executable” (.exe). However, it does more than just this. The WinZip© Self-Extractor program can also create the exact folder and directory structure needed for the plane, mission, campaign, etc., as indicated by the author of the file. Let’s look at an example.
Let’s suppose you find and download a plane that you want to use in Microsoft® Combat Flight Simulator (or Microsoft® Combat Flight Simulator 2), and it is in the standard WinZip© format. You unzip the contents of the zipped file to a temporary directory, and look for the “read me” file (the read me file is typically a notepad text document by the author of the item you downloaded that gives you information about the item, as well as instructions for “installing” the item). Most of the read me files will have you create a “main” folder for the item, and then move all of the contents from the WinZip© file into this folder. Once you do that, you then either move the main folder and all of its contents to the Microsoft® Combat Flight Simulator folder (or the Microsoft® Combat Flight Simulator 2 folder), or “paste” it there using the familiar cut, copy, and paste method.
So falling this method, let’s assume that the read me file says to create a folder called “f4u-5” for a Corsair plane you downloaded. Then you move all of the contents from the zipped file into this folder. Finally, you move (or use the cut, copy, and paste method) the main f4u-5 and all of its contents into the Microsoft® Combat Flight Simulator aircraft folder (or the Microsoft® Combat Flight Simulator 2 aircraft folder). The directory structure would look something like this:
C:\Program Files\Microsoft Games\Combat Flight Simulator\Aircraft\f4u-5 (32-bit)
C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Games\Combat Flight Simulator\Aircraft\f4u-5 (64-bit)
or like this for Microsoft® Combat Flight Simulator 2:
C:\Program Files\Microsoft Games\Combat Flight Simulator 2\Aircraft\f4u-5 (32-bit)
C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Games\Combat Flight Simulator 2\Aircraft\f4u-5 (64-bit)
Now to me, this seems like a lot of work. And for a “novice” who is not all that familiar with computers, it can be a nightmare. Here is where the installation program I use comes in. I do all of the steps listed above for you. I create the proper folder structure, according to the read me file by the author of the item. All of the author’s original files are placed in the proper folder. Then I use the WinZip© Self-Extractor program. It takes the entire contents of the “main” folder (in this case, the f4u-5 folder), and ALL of the sub-folders and files as well, and creates an executable (.exe) file. EVERY file, folder, and sub-folder needed to properly install the item is included in the executable file, as instructed by the author. To install the item (in this case, a plane), the user simply double-clicks on the installation program to start the installation process.
There has been some confusion about how the program actually works, because during the installation, the user sees what appears to be a standard WinZip© window, indicating that the files for the item you are installing will be “extracted” the C: drive. Questions have been raised about this, as many people do not install Microsoft® Combat Flight Simulator onto the C: drive for purposes of space (they may have a secondary drive with more hard drive space). Let’s take a look at the installation process for a plane, the Douglas AD-4 Skyraider. NOTE: Examples used here are for the 32-bit versions of current operating systems.
The user double-clicks on the installation program. The user will first see the installation’s welcome screen. It would look similar to the screen below:
This screen gives the user some “basic” information about the item that will be installed, and also lets the user know that the program assumes that Microsoft® Combat Flight Simulator (or Microsoft® Combat Flight Simulator 2) is installed in a particular drive on his or her computer. Simply click “OK” to continue.
After clicking OK, the user is taken to a second screen. Here is where I think a lot of the confusion takes place. It looks similar to this:
This is the standard screen seen in WinZip©. This is done to give the user a familiar screen that they have probably seen before. But this is also where the installation program does its thing. The confusion occurs because people “assume” that the files are simply “extracted” to the C: drive, which would be the wrong directory. The files are actually “installed” for the user by the installation program. If the user has in fact installed Microsoft® Combat Flight Simulator (or Microsoft® Combat Flight Simulator 2) to a different drive (say D:), all the user has to do is to change the letter of the “Unzip to folder:” section to that drive. Remember, the installation program remembers the original file and folder structure; so if the user has installed the program to the D: drive, for example, the installation program would install the plane to the following directory (if the user changes the letter in the “Unzip to folder:” section):
D:\Program Files\Microsoft Games\Combat Flight Simulator\Aircraft\f4u-5
C:\Program Files\Microsoft Games\Combat Flight Simulator\Aircraft\f4u-5
or for Microsoft® Combat Flight Simulator 2 it would be like this:
D:\Program Files\Microsoft Games\Combat Flight Simulator 2\Aircraft\f4u-5
C:\Program Files\Microsoft Games\Combat Flight Simulator 2\Aircraft\f4u-5
Now, if the user had in fact installed Microsoft® Combat Flight Simulator (or Microsoft® Combat Flight Simulator 2) to a totally different directory, say, C:\cfs (or say C:\Cfs2 for Microsoft® Combat Flight Simulator 2), then the user would need to actually extract the files first to a temporary directory, and then move (or cut, copy, and paste) the contents to the C:\cfs folder. As most people would agree, I cannot account for every installation variation of CFS on everybody’s computer. All I can do is use the DEFAULT directory structure that Microsoft® uses in the installation of Combat Flight Simulator and Microsoft® Combat Flight Simulator 2.
Looking again at the screen, all the user needs to do at this point is to click the "Unzip" button. The installation program will then install --- not simply extract --- the item for them, creating the proper folder and directory structure automatically.
The "About" button shows the user information about the author of the item (in this case, the plane), including his or her name and their email address. This screen would look similar to this:
The user then clicks "OK", and is then taken back to the main installation screen. They then simply click the "Close" button to complete the installation.
That’s it…Again, let me emphasize that this program in NO WAY alters ANY of the author’s original files. And ALL of the author’s original files are kept in tact, and are in fact part of the installation process. The author is given full credit for his or her work in the “About” section of the program. I have simply attempted to make it easier for the “novices” out there to install all of the truly fantastic planes, missions, campaigns, textures, updates, and scenery that have been created by so many wonderful people. I will NEVER take credit for ANY of the wonderful work done by these people. I am just attempting to make it easier for everybody to be able to install these items on their computer.
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"The only thing necessary for the triumph of Evil is for good men to do nothing."
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