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Anyone with an in depth knowledge of how program installations work?

Discussion in 'Operating Systems' started by klepp0906, Mar 4, 2019.

  1. klepp0906

    klepp0906 Member Guru

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    Warning - a bit long.

    So id say im a core user moreso than a power user. A hobbyist/gamer perhaps. Know substantially more than your average user, but substantially less than someone in the IT field.

    Ive dug up a bit of "maybe" relevant information on my issue - but I want to ascertain its potential veracity before i go wasting time and mucking with the registry if its unlikely to garner a return so to speak.

    Here's my issue.

    Its actually twofold. One is more aesthetic and triggers my ocd :p The other is more functional/practical. Plus who doesnt want a pc where everything works as it should?

    I run Synapse 3. Razer's keyboard/mouse/macro software. It, like its predecessor allows for profile switching automatically. You can map keys, and when it senses xx game loads, you'll get a windows notifcation its changing profiles - and do such.

    If you clicked "link games" it would scan your games, and give you the option of which game to link. At some point, it went from finding all my games, to finding all my games AND all my roms which I had installed as shortcuts into steam. This went from a few dozen games, to a few thousand. It was messy and obnoxious, but until razer added a requested means to filter or limit what or where it was scanning, I wasnt concerned.

    Not too long thereafter, it began finding no games at all. After countless complete purges of synapse, and several updates by razer, and several windows updates, and sfcs and disms,and driver updates... I had finally given up.

    I recently decided to revisit it, and did some more digging. It turns out, it will scan for your games and give you a list - complete with a thumbnail/icon/art/grid type image representing the game to add. That was coming up blank/with nothing. However, a "dont see your game" button is present. If you click said button - your given a list of path's with executables at the end.

    Now the majority of said list is irrelevant stuff. 7zip, adobe, etc. Of course i dont need to link those to a keyboard profile. However, going through the list more thoroughly, it was only showing games that were A) present in the add/remove programs list and B) had their icon intact.

    I tested this by using that button to add overwatch and link it to a profile. It worked. A button beyond "game not seen?" is present. Browse. It allows you to navigate to your game via explorer and select the exe. So i tried navigating to World of Warcraft. Tried to add the exe, nothing. Literally did zero.

    Here's where it gets wonky beyond the scope of my computing acumen :p

    I initially thought this was due to some of my games being on my system/ssd (very few) and most being installed on a seperate hard disk. Not the case. However I DID remove the "separate hard disk" installed games from the add/remove program list entirely so i could keep track of what was directly on the SSD. Likely a mistake looking back, but ill address that at a later point if its even addressable. For now I simply want to fix the games that ARE on the list and their not being found or at worst, not being add'able manually.

    Hopefully this wasnt too long, and concise enough to get across the what's and why's. I'm not sure if these games "icons" disappeared in the add/remove programs list due to running ccleaner, due to a windows version update, due to restoring a backup image at some point for some reason. No idea exactly when let alone how they went from the game's icon, to the default icon, much less what else it affected on a structural level. (aka if its specifically the art not being there (unlikely) or some other change thats causing it to not be picked up, much less add'able manually).

    So the aesthetic portion is me trying to add the artwork back to said games/programs. This seems do'able ala

    https://www.advancedinstaller.com/fo...ic.php?t=26695

    and

    https://www.sevenforums.com/general-...-icon-fix.html

    however im not confident this will solve the issue.

    Is anybody familiar with synapse 3 or with how the windows installer adds games/recognizes them etc? or how synapse might be scanning for them versus whats missing/not allowing them to be found or even added manually? A recommendation for something/somewhere i should check, or where I can continue my process of elimination?

    Should i proceed with the aforementioned links and try re-adding the artwork and see if that fixes it? I cant see how it would, I just noticed that the games not being found also seem to not be displaying proper icons in the uninstall programs list.

    Sorry for the book. I dont even have a TLDR version for ya lol, most of its pretty relevant.
     
  2. mbk1969

    mbk1969 Ancient Guru

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    I will write only about Windows Installer (MSI) in Windows.
    When developer of any program decides to write installer he can create his own installer which will create needed resources for the installed program - target folders, registry keys and values, links in start menu (or on desktop), item in "Add/Remove programs" control panel applet. Or developer can choose to utilize installation facility included in Windows - Windows Installer.

    Windows Installer provides many features for developers of installation programs: logging, silent mode, a database of all installed apps/components/features, versioning and modes for update/upgrade/patch, etc.

    All items you see in Control Panel`s "Add/remove programs" should be listed as subkeys of these specific registry keys:
    Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall
    Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall
    Each subkey describes the title, the icon, the actual uninstall action, and some other information.

    As for icons for any applications we see in Windows shell (Start menu, any shortcuts, ...) they can be located either inside the executable binary files (exe, dll) as embedded resources or in separate image files nearby.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2019
  3. klepp0906

    klepp0906 Member Guru

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    thank you, that should be enough to get me started. Im better off before i was posting anyhow :)

    Still cant be sure which portion of this is causing the hang up - but its widespread. Could even be synapse itself but razer's support has been very lackluster in trying to suss out the issue. Basically its my fault, sorry better luck next time.

    Mind you world of warcraft for example, ive also tried re-installing and synapse still doesnt find it, nor does it display an icon in add/remove programs still.

    Odd considering i havent blue screened in literally years. My pc runs 24/7. drivers and bios are all updated habitually. dism has been ran. chkdsk has been ran. sfc has been ran. All is square, yet im annoyed and inconvenienced by this for a looooong time now.

    Thank you again for the information! If nothing else, ill at least know that much more going forward for similar type issues that may pop up down the road.
     
  4. mbk1969

    mbk1969 Ancient Guru

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    @klepp0906

    There is a way to spy after any program for its actions in registry, in file system, in processes and threads, in network. So you can spy after the Synapse app - what and where it searches in registry and file system. But that process is very overwhelming because of the amount of generated data.
     

  5. klepp0906

    klepp0906 Member Guru

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    yea somebody in another forum had mentioned using processmonitor i think, or some such from sysinternals suite?

    I was going to give it a rip (if thats what you were referring to) but now im beginning to wonder if we're moving out of my depth ;p
     
  6. mbk1969

    mbk1969 Ancient Guru

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    Yes, that`s the one.
     
  7. klepp0906

    klepp0906 Member Guru

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    So i got process monitor filter set up. Managed to capture what was happening before i initiated a scan for games - and what changed as I did - then stopped and it reverted to the former.

    So the transition is obvious, but the data is a bit for me to chew on. Any chance that youd be able to decipher it? As well as be willing?

    Not sure which portion of it is relevant and what is supporting stuff so to speak. It writes some logs, reads some windows/assembly/nativeimages stuff opens and closes some reg keys it looks like lol.

    if not, i understand totally. The scope of the issue is why its taken me literally months and months to get this far. Shame razer's people wont help but it is what it is.
     
  8. mbk1969

    mbk1969 Ancient Guru

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    @klepp0906

    Which logs have you captured - file system and registry?
    You can save captured logs to file, archive it and upload it to some hosting.
     
  9. klepp0906

    klepp0906 Member Guru

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    the process monitor log file. i believe its called Logfile.pml. It was everything that was happening with synapse 3 from before, during, then after initiation of the "link apps" button which is supposed to scan for games but finds nil ;p

    Its ~7000kb but ill compress it, upload it, and get you the link momentarily.
     
  10. klepp0906

    klepp0906 Member Guru

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  11. mbk1969

    mbk1969 Ancient Guru

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    Razer Synapse 3.exe - 32 bit or 64 bit process?

    I have browsed the log file and I see no actions that look like the search of installed programs.

    Have you look into these two files:
    C:\Users\klepp\AppData\Local\Razer\Synapse3\Settings\GamesCoverArtInfo.txt
    C:\Users\klepp\AppData\Local\Razer\Synapse3\Log\Razer Synapse 3.log
    ?
    Hopefully there can be the clues.
     
  12. klepp0906

    klepp0906 Member Guru

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    nope, the log i provided to razer support and it evidnetly didnt help them, so i never looked myself. I will though. The other file i missed completely.

    ill peek and let ya kjnow if anything comes of it.

    Someone on another forum said it doesnt look like synapse is doing much other than communicating with other razer programs. There is a "gamescanner" (i know, facepalm) that is installed by razer as well.

    perhaps i ought to attach to that and see.

    Thank you again for taking the time <3
     
  13. klepp0906

    klepp0906 Member Guru

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    games coverartinfo is completely blank except for this []

    the log was insanely huge so deleted it and will give it a thumb through after trying again.

    to be continued...
     

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