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VFP 9 SP1 Installation Tip

I have not installed the public beta of VFP 9 SP1 yet. I will be installing it on September 27th after the last session I give at next week F1 Technologies VFE DevCon. I have a personal policy not to install software the week before a conference or major presentation. One of those once burnt, never gonna happen again type policies.

I have one tip for you concerning the installation of VFP 9 SP1 recently made available to the Fox Community. Before you install, back up your original files in case you need to go back to the original version. This tip also allows you to run both the release version (build 2412) and the beta of SP1 on the same computer. I have done this for the service pack testing of VFP 7 and VFP 8 and it worked well. Here is what I do before installing:

  1. Go to the following folder: C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\VFP
  2. Create a subfolder called VFP9NoSP
  3. Copy all the VFP9 Runtime files including VFP9r.dll, VFP9t.dll, VFP9rXXX.dll (resource files, especially the ones you deploy), the three Report*.app files, the FoxHHelp9.exe, and the FoxHHelpPs9.dll to this new subfolder.
  4. Go to the following folder: C:\Program Files\Common Files\Merge Modules
  5. Create a subfolder called VFP9NoSP
  6. Copy all the VFP 9 merge modules to the new subfolder
  7. Copy the main VFP 9 folder to another folder. I call mine: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual FoxPro 9 NoSP

If you want to be extra careful you can also export the registry settings for VFP 9. I have not done this in the past and have not had any problems skipping this precaution. You also might want to back up your FoxUser files.

Now I have backups of the VFP 9 files without the service pack beta.

I do this for two reasons. The first is so I can double check things in the released version to see if something works differently with the SP installed. I can verify bugs which are suppose to be fixed, and validate problems found in SP1 to see if they are newly broken since the released version.

The second and more important reason is I might have to release new versions of my current VFP 9 apps and I do not want to do this with the beta runtimes. I can build the apps using the VFP9.exe in the NoSP folder. Before doing so I swap in the VFP 9 runtimes and merge modules. If I need to do this I create subfolders with the corresponding SP1 files just like I did with the original files. After I am satisfied with the testing I build my installs with the released version files. Once I ship the product I swap in the SP1 files and proceed with the testing.

I install the SP1 beta over the original folder (C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual FoxPro 9). Note, this will automatically overwrite the merge modules and runtime files too. I create two shortcuts to VFP 9. One for the SP1 folder and one for the NoSP folder. I use the appropriate shortcut for the type of work I am doing, but I can tell you I use the beta version for most of the time. The Fox Team has been very good about shipping stable betas over the last few years.

The fix list for SP1 is very impressive and I am happy with the bugs squashed so far. It is now up to you to help out with the rest of the bug discovery. Make sure to follow the Microsoft specifications to reporting bugs. Making a post noting “the report designer is broken” just does not cut the mustard. Provide concise reproducible steps, code examples, observed behavior, detail what you expected to happen, your hardware configuration, and any additional notes you think are important.

Happy testing.

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