There is a really weird thing that has bugged me for Windows Installers (mostly .msi ones, but sometimes others too).

Namely, the progress bar resets multiple times during the operation, rendering it absolutely useless, as you have no way of knowing how many more progress bars you have to go through.

Is this somehow a feature?! Can somebody explain this behavior?

Here is an example of the installers I am speaking about.

enter image description here

  • 1
    The bars may indicate something like: 1st bar: extracting contents to temp file 2nd bar: installing files creating reg keys ect... 3rd bar: cleaning up temp files from install. Does this happen with every MSI? the above is just a guess I have never compiled an MSI nor am I programmer(so don't jump down my throat if I'm wrong). – Not Kyle stop stalking me Feb 18 '11 at 18:28
  • In my experience, progress bars don't actually reflect install time. They're only there to let the user know that something is happening, and they shouldn't reboot. – Satanicpuppy Feb 18 '11 at 18:45
  • @Kyle: That's what I'm trying to find out. It might be something like that, but from the user perspective, there's just no way to know. I attached a picture of what kind of installer I mean to the original question for clarification. – houbysoft Feb 18 '11 at 18:46
  • Sounds like you need something like like Super Orca to break down exactly what each MSI is doing. However your crossing into too localized territory if you question is about what each specific msi is doing.. it's probably different for all of them. – Not Kyle stop stalking me Feb 18 '11 at 19:23

Depending on the install routine, the progress bar can also be tied to the individual files being installed and the progress bar runs from 0 to 100% for each file as each file is extracted and installed to the destination folder, in addition to having progress runs from 0 to 100% for other steps. But as Harold said, it's often times just there running over and over to make you feel like it hasn't frozen up.


Many times the progress marker is used to reassure the user that the installation process has not stopped. Too many programs (not just installers) just appear to hang when performing some long lasting task. This results in the 3-finger salute or other forms of computer abuse.

Not connecting the progress bar to, well, progress, is also irritating. And ironically, the progress indicator is often run by an independent thread and the main operation could still hang.


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