Software Installation and Uninstallation Testing Guide

Have you performed Software Installation Testing? How was the experience? Well, Installation Testing (Implementation Testing) is quite an interesting part of the Software Testing Life Cycle.

Installation Testing is like introducing a guest to your home. The new guest should be properly introduced to all the family members in order to feel comfortable. Installation of new software is also quite like the above example.

If your installation is successful on the new system then a customer will definitely be happy but what if things are completely the opposite?

If an installation fails then our program will not work on that system not only this but can leave a user’s system badly damaged. The user might require reinstalling the full operating system.

Software Installation and Uninstallation Testing Guide (1)

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

What do you need to do to make a good first impression? Test the installer appropriately with a combination of both manual and automated processes on different machines with a different configuration. The major concern with 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 the time required to perform so many test cases on different configurations.

We will see different methods to perform manual installer testing along with some basic guidelines 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 the most common or default file system and install the most common operating system (Windows) on this HDD. Install some basic required components on this HDD.

Each time you create images of this base HDD 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 can we use Automation in this process? Well, make some systems dedicated for creating basic images (use software’s like Norton Ghost for creating exact images of the operating system quickly) of the base configuration. This will save you tremendous time in each test case.

For example, if the time to install one OS with a basic configuration is said to be 1 hour, then for each test case on the fresh OS you will require 1+ hour. But creating an image of the 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 the installer. Each time uninstall the application and prepare the base state for the next test case. Make sure here that your uninstallation program should be tested before and should be working fine.

Installation Testing Tips with some broad Test Cases:

#1) Use flow diagrams to perform installation testing. Flow diagrams simplify our task.

See example flow diagram for the basic installation testing test case.

Installation Testing Flow chart

Add a few more test cases to this basic flowchart such as if our application is not the first release then try to add different logical installation paths.

#2) If you have previously installed a compact basic version of application then in the next test case Install the full application version on the same path as used for the compact version.

#3) If you are using flow diagram to test different files to be written on disk while installation then use the same flow diagram in reverse order to test uninstallation of all the installed files on disk.

#4) Use flow diagrams to automate the testing efforts. It will be very easy to convert diagrams into automated scripts.

#5) Test the installer scripts used to check the required disk space. If the installer is prompting the required disk space to be 1MB, then make sure that exactly 1MB is used or whether more disk space is utilized during installation. If yes, flag this as an error.

#6) Test disk space requirements in different file system formats. For example, FAT16 will require more space than efficient NTFS or FAT32 file systems.

#7) If possible set up a dedicated system for creating disk images only. As mentioned above, this will save you time in testing.

#8 ) Use a distributed testing environment in order to carry out installation testing. The distributed environment simply saves you time and you can effectively manage all the different test cases from a single machine.

A good approach for this is to create a master machine, which will drive different slave machines on the network. You can start installation simultaneously on a different machine from the master system.

#9) Try to automate the routine to test the number of files to be written to the disk. You can maintain this file list to be written on the disk in an excel sheet and can give this list as an input to an automated script that will check each and every path to verify the correct installation.

#10) Use software’s available freely in the market to verify registry changes on successful installation. Verify the registry changes with your expected change list after installation.

#11) Forcefully break the installation process in between. See the behavior of the system and whether the system recovers to its original state without any issues. You can test this “break of installation” on every installation step.

#12) Disk space checking: This is a crucial check in the installation-testing scenario. You can choose between different manual and automated methods to do this checking.

Using manual methods, you can check the free disk space available on the drive before installation and disk space reported by installer script to check whether the installer is calculating and reporting disk space accurately. Check the disk space after the installation to verify accurate usage of installation disk space.

Run various combinations of disk space availability using tools to automatically make disk space full during installation. Check system behavior in low disk space conditions during installation.

#13) As you check installation you can test for uninstallation also. Before each new iteration of installation, make sure that all the files written to disk are removed after the uninstallation.

Sometimes the uninstallation routine removes files from only the last upgraded installation, keeping the old version files untouched. Also, check for the rebooting option after uninstalling manually and forcefully do not reboot.

I have addressed many areas of the Manual as well as the Automated Installation Testing procedure.

Still, there are many areas where you need to focus on depending on the complexity of your software under installation. These unaddressed important tasks include installation over the network, online installation, patch installation, Database checking on Installation, Shared DLL installation and uninstallation, etc.

Hopefully this tutorial will be a basic guideline for those having trouble starting with Software Installation Testing both manually or in automation.

Recommended Reading

84 thoughts on “Software Installation and Uninstallation Testing Guide”

  1. Hello all,
    Please do something like above Article on topic of TEST CASES also……

  2. This is one of the best articles I have ever read. Well documented, to the point, explained in simple terms.

    Good work.

    I would like to ask one question here:
    What do you mean by “distributed testing environment” ?
    Could you please explain the above term?

    Thanks in advance. Nice article.

  3. @Sameer – You can refer article on test cases, How to write effective test cases here –

    @ Ajay – Distributed testing environment generally includes more than one machine for testing. These different machines communicate with each other to perform specific task. Here we can take example of Installation testing, In installation testing you can use one master machine which can simultaneously trigger multiple installations on different slave machines on network and can collect the installation test result in single file.

  4. Hello, I want to know more about installation testing.
    Will you please tell me where to get more details about it?
    Thank you in advance.

  5. Very good information about installation/uninstallation of software testing. Defintley if increases my knowledge about this kind of testing. I will be using flowdiagram for testing in future . Thanks

  6. Hello to all,
    I want Know the difference between release version and build version.

  7. hi, all ,
    its very nice article, having lot of knowledge. i get lots from it .

  8. good article

  9. i have a doubt i am starting my career as a tester so please help me by answering simple questions
    Is sql server necessary to learn?
    Should we have knowledge on unix?
    Is it necessary to have knowledge on oracle?
    we have to gain deep knowledge on these platforms or is it sufficient to have littile knowledge?
    if yes please suggest me how to get knowledge on those databases?
    I cannot effort money for classes so suggest me any book or weblink to learn them.

    please mail me to

  10. hi,

    This is one of the best articles I have ever read.
    Well documented, to the point, explained in simple terms.Its very nice article, having lot of knowledge.
    i get lots from it.
    Currently i am working as s/w engineer for past 7yrs in IT. But i want to switch to s/w Testing as career seriously. So just tell me whether i am on right track because company may ask for exp in testing and i have theoritical knoledege and some practicle exp while doing course. I am individually developed s/w for our company and do all the required debugging/testing/releasing of s/w own.
    i am currenlty in Mumbai
    email id :

  11. Ajay,
    A more better example for “distributed testing environment” can be a mailing system. A truly distributed system. It uses multiple Routers, databases, frontend interaction application. Just think of a mail sent by you and recieved by your friend, where all it will pass through and how it will reach the destination.

    Release: Is done once you reach the milestone, release can be an interim release, internal release, release to a market, release to the client for beta testing etc.
    Ex: Mysql 5.0.45
    While developing a software we have some short term milestones, or say once developers develops a software you get to test it, (build1) he fixes the bugs and give it for regression (build 2), again some bugs are fixed (build3) and so on. This build might not be released, but will definately have a numbers to keep track of. For more clear understanding, google “Software Configuration Management”, as many of us might not be aware its also very important profile in S/W industry just like, dev, test, s/s admin etc..

    Regards, Suhas.

  12. hi..
    i read this one its good i need more information

  13. Very good article. Also please give me more information on database testing and also if possible please provide me some links/books where I can get more knowledge on database testings and database concepts.

  14. hi,

    This is one of the best articles I have ever read.

  15. one more point i want to add here is while installing the software it has to show the default path for example “c:\documents\settings………..

  16. is there a compulsion tat testing supports only some of the operating systems ,if so what are they plz help me out?

  17. an one more thing it need to be installed only were the programming files are there or can i allocate some other drive for it?if i need to do?

  18. It’s a Very good article which covers different methods of Instalaltion Testing in brief.It’s very informative.

    Thanks for very nice article.

  19. Hi friends,

    i need material on Automation framework plz do send a copy of doc or link to me


  20. Hi Swati,

    Automation framework is tool box for automation engineer who is creating automation suite. Anything that helps in the mission – is part of framework. It could be set of documents (guidelines) or Set of code components (vbs file or dll file etc) or a full-fledged software like an automation tool.


  21. hi
    this is very good.
    i will ask one question
    explain the recovery testing with example

  22. nice explanation …

  23. You can use Virtual Machines (VM images) for this type of testing. Virtual PC lets you create separate virtual machines on your Windows desktop, each of which virtualizes the hardware of a complete physical computer. Use virtual machines to run operating systems such as MS-DOS, Windows, and OS/2. You can run multiple operating systems at once on a single physical computer and switch between them as easily as switching applications—instantly, with a mouse click. Virtual PC is perfect for any scenario in which you need to support multiple operating systems, whether you use it for tech support, legacy application support, training, or just for consolidating physical computers.

  24. And also here we can cover more scenarios like,
    1) Attempting the installation without having pre-requisites on the system
    eg, Your application needs IIS to be installed on your machine, but you try to install the application without IIS installed and see the behavior.
    2) Try to install the application in diffrent paths on your machine (with the choice of customer)
    Eg, Install on C:\program files would be the default one, now try with different things like d:\Test or F:\Test
    3) Some of the installations may need administator (user) permissions, try with this one as well, I mean try with Administrator rights and without Administrator rights as well.
    4) After completion of the installation check all the componets like, services, event log entries, registry entries etc have been installed properly.

  25. I read most of the articles in my free time …really it is worth reading …. cleared lots of testing concepts,covered every area of software testing …very useful for my testing career 🙂

  26. Hi All,

    I have made many new friends from the field of testing with the help of this site.

    All the thanks to Vijay

    Good Work!
    Keep going

    Vishal Chhaperia
    Call: +91-9830704327

  27. Excellent! Good Info about Installation Testing


  29. I want to learn testing and was confused how to start and from where. but this article really helped me in introducing me to the complete out scketch of testing. Really appreciatable. Thank u so much.

  30. Hi,
    its realy a nice document but test cases are missing as well.

  31. Please share some thoughts regarding the iPhone native application testing in detail, expecting a research and findings from vijay or any domin experienced hands and please include Mac application testing tips.

  32. Awesome information and truly helpful

  33. Hi,
    what qualificaton is needed in testing field . its realy a nice document but test cases test reports & bug reports are missing as well.

    mail me :

  34. good one

  35. hi suggest me which automation tools i should learn , right now i am working as manual tester

  36. A Very Good Info..

  37. Dear Vijay,

    Could u please tellme , What is Patch Installation, how to test installation useing patch.


  38. I-PAD Technologies is a best training for Testing tools.

  39. Dear anybody,

    Could anybody please tellme , What is Patch Installation, how to test installation useing patch.


  40. nice one!!

  41. Thanks!!!! really usefull.

  42. Thanks dude nice info. Keep posting !!

  43. Very nice article…as i have to prepare a document on this…so very helpful…

  44. @sudha
    after product is released in market and if the piece of s/w is having somr BUG/SOME minor enhancement then that could be done using PATCH..
    u could think service pack 2 of windows as a patch(not 100%)

  45. Its great article. Thanks for this..

  46. Hi vijay,
    I m new to this site and i found it full of knowledge, up 2 mark description. It helps me a lot in my testing carrier.

    Thanks and Keep it up

  47. Good One..!!

  48. great! ü

  49. Hi Vijay,

    This is really a nice article. I am working in Software Install Test team for last three years. The article you have provided has also given me some ideas of exploring new test areas. Thanks a lot. Keep up the good work.

  50. Very good article!! Cheers

  51. its very helpful article

  52. Hi everyone can any one tell me how we can do database testing

  53. Good one

  54. hi i dont have much computer knowledge, i did not do
    any computer course, but i want to do qa testing computer course , can you give me a advice or suggestions. please give me your valuable advice through my mail id. thanking you.

  55. HI
    #22 sravanthi

    Recovery testing is the activity of testing how well an application is able to recover from crashes, hardware failures and other similar problems.

    Recovery testing is the forced failure of the software in a variety of ways to verify that recovery is properly performed.
    Examples of recovery testing:

    1. While an application is running, suddenly restart the computer, and afterwards check the validness of the application’s data integrity.
    2. While an application is receiving data from a network, unplug the connecting cable. After some time, plug the cable back in and analyze the application’s ability to continue receiving data from the point at which the network connection disappeared.

    Thanks and Regards
    Santosh Patil

  56. hi friends in this type of websites are useful. i am currently working Software Tester. Lots people sharing their knowledge.

  57. Hi

    Thanks to the author as this article is very helpful.
    Great work 🙂

  58. I need some testcases for JDBC wrapper driver with Junit test suite. plz help me …………….

  59. I wnat some sample testcases for JDBC Wrapper Driver.Please help me …It’s the urgent task for me……….please

    This is my email id

  60. i need some test scenarios about DDL,DML,TCL,Joins,Views……plz help me

    This is my email id

  61. Excellent work on “Installation Testing”. Thanks .

  62. Hi,
    this article provides useful information regarding installation and un-installation testing.


  63. Good One!!!!

  64. excellent!!

  65. hi, all ,
    its very nice article, having lot of knowledge. i get lots from it .

  66. Hi Vijay,
    Good article about Installation testing.

    In software installation test, we are performing;

    # Compact installation test
    # Complete installation test
    # Re-installation test
    # Installation environment test
    # Installation hardware test
    # Un-installation test
    # Test for version upgrade with existing product
    # Registry and cookies on installation
    # Temp and back-up on installation

    I think it’ll be useful for u.

  67. this cRaPPy site haZ 2 many ADz and jUnK on the pAGe

  68. Hey my dear blind bug,

    Lot of information and useful articles are there in this site, but I’m so sad about your blindness. 🙁

    I think your comment be the crap of this site.

  69. could you please let me know how to create an image of OS.

    Thanks in advane

  70. This site has altogether the information in 1place which otherwise had to be searched from many places. this is really useful…

  71. Need common Test cases (list of testcases) for Installation and Uninstallation.

    Verifying/testing security ?
    Distributed control systems ?

    Thanks in advance.

  72. Hi..I have tried written Some testcases by reading the above information (which used for me to write even more TC’s)…
    Here comes below…also please share if you think there are more TC’s can be written…

    please send to

    Sl.No Test Case Description
    1 “Log on as an Operator.
    Pre-req: Installation should be successful and this is tested when logged into OP. WS straightaway)”
    2 Logging out of the maxSTATION
    3 This test case shall test the capability of the Windows7 Operators workstation application to install and execute on Windows 7 64 bit OS Professional and higher.
    4 This test case shall test the re-installation capability; If you have previously installed basic version of application then in next test case install the full application version (choosing different installation options for ex: typical, custom settings etc..) on the same path.
    This also verifies that configuration and .ini files are updated only after confirmation during re-installation, otherwise those are continued with old saved values.
    5 This test case shall test the un-installation capability.This also verifies that the configuration and .ini files are not deleted.
    6 Make sure that all the files written to disk are removed after un-installation. Sometimes un-installation routine removes files from only last upgraded installation keeping the old version files untouched.
    7 Attempting the installation without having pre-requisites on the system (you try to install the application without pre-requisites installed and see the behavior).
    8 Try to install the application in different paths on your machine (with the choice of customer)
    9 Try installations with Administrator rights and without Administrator rights as well (Some of the installations may need administrator (user) permissions).
    10 After completion of the installation check all the components like, services, event log entries, registry entries etc have been installed properly (Covered in TC_03, but explicitly we can have TC for this)
    11 Recovery Testing during Installation.
    Forced failure of the software installation in different ways (like suddenly restart the Target PC, unplug the network cable etc., ) to verify that recovery is properly performed.
    12 Test the installer appropriately on different machines with different configuration.
    13 Test/Verify the Operator Station Installation behavior when multiple attempts of installation of installer CD/DVD is triggered.
    14 Test the installer scripts used for checking the required disk space. If installer is prompting required disk space 200MB, then make sure exactly 200MB is used or whether more disk space utilized during installation. If yes flag this as error.
    15 Run various combination of disk space availability by using some tools to automatically making disk space full while installation.
    16 Check system behavior on low disk space conditions while installation.
    17 Verify the registry changes with expected change list after installation.
    18 Database checking on or after Installation ??
    19 Provision to collect the installation test result in single file ? (especially in case of installation failure)
    20 Distributed Installation Testing (in VMware)
    Use one master machine which can simultaneously trigger multiple installations (taking installer CD or single setup.exe as source for both the slaves/target PC’s) on different slave machines on network.
    21 Run/Install in VM machine (on multiple operating systems) at once on a single physical computer and switch between them.
    22 This test case shall verify that Windows 7 64bit operator’s workstation performance will meet or exceed the speed of the existing operator functions running under Windows XP.
    (Primarily it should support English Language).
    23 Able to start Operator’s Workstation services/applications when switched from Engineer Workstation to Operator Workstation.
    24 Any operator workstation with maxSTATION V 3.x, 4.X or 6.x can interoperate / Co exists with each other configured per our system specs on the same network. Provide features such as Network Printing.
    25 Support for New feature in current installed test PC.
    26 The application shall maintain a log to maintain a list of tasks run and their status.


  73. relay full of knowledgeable …..

  74. Hi All,
    Could somebody please help me like,, I want to know which Automation Tool aptly used to automate the Build Installation..

  75. What is ISO disk image?

  76. really this article is very useful for ………..i get cleared about the installation testing after reading it..thanks

  77. i want to know installation testing perform before system testing or after system testing

    module testing->integration testing->installation->system

  78. good one…….really it is useful

  79. I need testcases for mobile application behavior.The Modules are SD card and Dual sim. can any one help me pls?. its urgent requirement

  80. very nice article. well explained about installation testing. getting good knowledge by referring this site.
    thanks a lot.

  81. which tools use to rgression testing????
    please quik answer

  82. Very nice article.

    Can someone explain roles and responsibilities of a tester who engaged in doing installation testing ?


  83. Thanks Vijay for this article.. When i try to do installation testing i found something like, the uninstallation files are getting saved in C drive even after selecting another folder during installation… Can it be a bug ?


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