Where should I install VA

The simple answer

Anywhere you like. VA does not need to be installed in any particular place and you can put it in any directory on any disk. The only requirement is that the path names in the ashmount.ini file must give the correct locations of the program files and the message database, which the setup program will ensure for you.

VA does not use the Windows registry to store any of its configuration data, so you can copy or move your whole installation directory without causing any problems (though you will have to edit the paths in your ashmount.ini file, if you do).

If you have several users accessing the same VA messagebase over a network it is usual to install VA on a shared drive on the server and to use the "Map network drive" function of Windows Networking to give that drive a local drive letter on each user's PC. If VA is installed in D:\VA on the server and the server's drive D: is shared as "Data" you might map "\\server\Data" to drive V on the workstation and run VA from V:\VA. In this way several users can use the same copy of VA at the same time, and VA itself makes sure that every user can access the messagebase in turn.

Note that for VA5 the shared drive should be mapped to the same drive letter on every user's PC, but for VA6 (since version this is no longer necessary.

The more complicated answer

In the past it has always been usual to install the VA programs and data into one directory, (say C:\VA). The programs will then reside in that top-level directory, and the messagebase files for the various services will be kept in subdirectories of that directory. This has the advantage that everything VA needs to run is in one place.

It is, however, possible to install VA so that the programs are installed in one directory, and all the data files are installed in another. This is called a "split install", and is particularly useful in two main situations:

  1. When installing on Windows Vista (or other NT versions using a limited user account)
  2. When you want to use both VA5 and VA6 to access the same messagebase

The first of these cases is important because Windows Vista attaches special significance to the "Program Files" directory of the Windows system drive. Programs installed under that directory are trusted by the operating system more than programs that are installed elsewhere, and are protected from unauthorized alteration (e.g. by a virus). Data files should not be installed in that directory, though, so if VA is to benefit from the special treatment granted to applications installed under "Program Files" its data must be installed to a different location.

Other NT versions (Win2k, XP) do not attach special significance to the "Program Files" directory in the way that Vista does, and as they create all users with Administrator rights by default there is no particular advantage to placing VA there. If, however, you choose to work on these systems with a non-Administrative account there is still some benefit to installing VA (and any other application) under "Program Files" as it reduces the likelihood of damage being done by a virus infection or other malicious software.

Note that you will normally need to use an administrator account to set up VA (or anything else) in "Program Files".

The second case may be useful because VA6 does not yet support all the features of VA5, and some features may not be supported in exactly the same way. You can use the split install method to set up a set of VA5 programs that can share the same messagebase files that are used by VA6. This special case is also called a "shared install".

Setting up a split install

If you are performing a new clean install of VAOS 6.3 or later you can perform a split install simply by choosing different directories for the VA programs and the VA messagebase when you run VA_Setup. However the installer cannot automatically split an existing install, for that you can follow the instructions below.

To set up a split installation of VA prior to version 6.3 you should install VA normally into the directory that is going to be your data directory, then copy all of the program and library files (*.exe, *.dll) to the directory that is going to be your programs directory, leaving the messagebase files behind. This method can also be used to split an existing install.

So, if you wanted to put the VA programs into C:\Program Files\VA and all of VA's Data files into C:\VAData you would install VA into C:\VAData and then create the C:\Program Files\VA directory and move all the .exe and .dll files to that directory. If you use CIX you will also have to copy the files term32.ini and cixterm.ini.

Then, edit the ashmount.ini file in your data directory so that the "EXE Path" and "HTML DLL Path" values in the [Main] setting contain the location of the programs, like this (note that the relevant lines will probably not all be at the top of the [Main] section):

EXE Path=C:\Program Files\VA\
Message Path=C:\VAData\
HTML DLL Path=C:\Program Files\VA\
... etc ...

Then, create a "stub" ashmount.ini file in the programs directory, to tell VA where the messagebase is. This should contains ONLY the lines:


That's all you need to do. When you run VA from the "Program Files\VA" folder it reads its local ashmount.ini to find out where the messagebase is and then runs normally using the data in that location.

Setting up a shared install

The special case in which a messagebase is to be shared between VA5 and VA6 is very similar. In this case you use a full normal VA6 installation and add a second directory that holds just the programs from VA5.

Say you had a VA6 installation in D:\VA6 and you wanted to wanted to set up the VA5 programs in D:\VA5 to access the same messagebase. You would create the D:\VA5 directory and copy the VA5 programs into it, and you would create a stub ashmount.ini giving the location of the VA6 directory where the messagebase is to be found:


You would not alter the ashmount.ini in D:\VA6 at all.

Note that this is not a true split installation as only the va32.exe program from VA5 is used, all the supporting programs are run from the VA6 installation. This is because the EXE path in the ashmount.ini in the VA6 directory cannot point to both VA5 and VA6 at the same time, so we leave it pointing to the VA6 programs as they're compatible with both VA5 and VA6.

Note that you do not need (and should not have) an [Ashmount] section in the ashmount.ini file in the data directory (VA will ignore it if there is one).

vaosfaq/fawwhereinst.txt · Last modified: 21.07.2008 18:59 by daniel
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