I'm going to have eat a few of my own words now... I blogged in December about the "IT Pro" way of getting an unsupported program to install on a Windows Server box without a hint of an SDK in site. I relent, the Orca tool is the best tool for the job, not appcompat. Here's why.
If like me, you almost exclusively run Windows Server 2003 as a client, you can lose out on too many things. Yes, SP1 introduces Media Player 10 and some other cool stuff from XP SP2 (yippee), but at the brass tacks level, you all want things like the MSN Toolbar suite, powertoys and all the other goodies.... The method I'm going to show you is pretty well bullet-proof, and will cater for a lot more than just the toolbar suite, especially if the product group removes the highly known-about TBSDEVCODE workaround from their installer, which they almost certainly will before it goes gold.
When I wrote my previous blog, I was running the SP1 first release candidate of Windows Server 2003 on my laptop. As many of you discovered, the appcompat method was a bit troublesome on the RTM, and certainly didn't work for many programs. I tend to play around far too much, and ended up breaking that OS installation. If you know me, I do this far more regularly than is healthy. On the bright side, I rarely actually need to activate the OS 🙂 For now though, I'm now back at RTM build and with demo's next week in the pipeline, can't afford to break it quite yet. I wanted to get a chance to play with the MSN Toolbar Suite, which is particularly relevant as it had another beta refresh very recently.
What you'll need is the GUI tool, Orca, from the Platform SDK. Note that you'll have to use the XP SP2 Platform SDK installer, and select just the Windows Installer SDK Tools. You won't need anything else. When the installer opens, set the options to match the screenshot below.
Download the MSN Toolbar Suite and save it somewhere on your hard disk. Note that this is an EXE which introduces one slight complication - you'll need to unpack it. If you just run the .exe from the command line, all the parameters are given to you on a plate.
Assuming you saved the .exe on the C root directory, run "c:\MSNToolbarSuiteSetup_en-us /T:c:\temp /C". This will extract a setup.exe and an MSI file into the temp directory. Note that if the directory doesn't already exist, it will be created for you. Next you need to fire up Orca which will be under your start menu. You just knew they'd use a dolphin for the icon. Once Orca is running, select File/Open and navigate to the MSI file in your temp directory. On the tree on the left, click on LaunchCondition to see a number of options displayed on the right. Now you can see why the TBSDEVCODE workaround works in the Beta.
Change the following setting from "(REMOVE="ALL") OR ((VersionNT>=500) AND ((WindowsBuild<>3790) OR (TBSDEVCODE=1)))" to "(REMOVE="ALL") OR ((VersionNT>=501) AND ((WindowsBuild<>3790) OR (TBSDEVCODE=1)))" - ie change 500 to 501. Finally select file/save and quit Orca.
That's all there is to it - just run the updated MSI to install. MSN Toolbar Suite is just so fantastic - I know there's a lot of talk on the Internet about it, but I'm finding that just after a few days of use, it's invaluable. That's for another blog, but I hope you found this walkthrough useful. [Disclaimer....] Just remember that you'll obviously be doing something absolutely unsupported, and there may be licensing issues relating to the Platform SDK which you should check up on before doing this.