Software Installation/Uninstallation Testing

Have you performed software installation testing? How was the experience? Well, Installation testing (Implementation Testing) is quite interesting part of software testing life cycle.

If your installation is successful on the new system then customer will be definitely happy but what if things are completely opposite. If installation fails then our program will not work on that system; not only this but can also leave user’s system badly damaged. User might require to reinstall the full operating system.

In above case will you make any impression on user? Definitely not! Your first impression to make a loyal customer is ruined due to incomplete installation testing.

What you need to do for a good first impression? Test the installer appropriately with combination of both manual and automated processes on different machines with different configuration. Major concern of installation testing is Time! It requires a lot of time to even execute a single test case. If you are going to test a big application installer then think about time required to perform so many test cases on different configurations.

We will see different methods to perform manual installer testing and some basic guideline for automating the installation process.

To start installation testing first decide on how many different system configurations you want to test the installation. Prepare one basic hard disk drive. Format this HDD with most common or default file system, install most common operating system (Windows) on this HDD. Install some basic required components on this HDD. Each time create images of this base HDD and you can create other configurations on this base drive. Make one set of each configuration like Operating system and file format to be used for further testing.

How we can use automation in this process? We will make some systems dedicated for creating basic images (use software’s like Norton Ghost for creating exact images of operating system quickly) of base configuration. This will save you tremendous time in each test case. For example if time to install one OS with basic configuration is say 1 hour then for each test case on fresh OS you will require 1+ hour. But creating image of OS will hardly require 5 to 10 minutes and you will save approximately 40 to 50 minutes!

You can use one operating system with multiple attempts of installation of installer. Each time uninstalling the application and preparing the base state for next test case. Be careful here that your uninstallation program should be tested before and should be working fine.

Installation testing tips with some broad test cases:

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