What is "Advertising" and how does it work?
Advertising is a feature of the Windows Installer technology that advertises the availability of an application without actually having the application installed on the computer. Advertising can be used for an entire application, or for individual features such as a spellchecker or clip art. Advertising is also known as install-on-demand.
One benefit of advertising is that the application is not actually installed. This reduces the disk space used for applications, or portions of an application, that are infrequently used. Instead, advertising creates a shortcut that points to the location of the setup for the application. When the user clicks on that shortcut or opens a file associated with the application, Windows Installer installs the application for the user, and then runs that application.
To the user, an advertised application appears as though it is installed because the Start menu and desktop contain shortcuts that point to that application. In addition, the file associations are already made in the registry, so those files associated with the application will also have related icons.
A shortcut created with advertising is a file descriptor, which points to the location where the setup for the application is. As a result, the shortcut properties are disabled so they cannot be edited.
Note: The following details on advertising are paraphrased from the Advertisement topic of the Windows Installer SDK:
There are two types of advertising, known as "assigning" and "publishing." If an administrator assigns an application to a group, then these users can install the application on-demand. If, however, the administrator publishes the application to the group, no entry points appear to these users and installation-on-demand is only activated if another application activates the published application.
- Assigning makes an application available, and it appears as if it has been installed to a user, without it actually having been installed. Assigning adds shortcuts and icons to the Start menu, associates the appropriate files, and writes the registry entries for the application. If a user tries to open an assigned application, the installer then installs the application. For more information about how the installer advertises applications, see Advertising in the Windows Installer SDK.
- Publishing is another method of advertising a feature or application. Publishing, which does not populate the user interface, is only available from a Windows 2000 Server. If another process attempts to open a published application, the application is installed by Windows 2000.