Opened 5 years ago

Last modified 18 months ago

#10452 new defect

TBB 3.5 Windows installer makes users think it's smearing itself across the hard drive

Reported by: arma Owned by: tbb-team
Priority: Medium Milestone:
Component: Applications/Tor Browser Version:
Severity: Normal Keywords: needs-triage
Cc: gamambel, mikeperry, mo, mcs Actual Points:
Parent ID: Points:
Reviewer: Sponsor:


We had a lot of Windows TBB users download TBB but then click 'open' rather than 'save'. Then everything worked great, but when they wanted to run it a second time, it was nowhere to be found (since they never saved it anywhere).

So for Windows we now have a simple installer that simply unpacks stuff and sticks it into the self-contained directory, just like before except it's more like what many Windows users expect.

But smart users don't *know* that that's all it's doing. We should a) make it clearer in the installer text itself that TBB remains self-contained in just the directory they specify, and b) make it clearer on the download webpage when they're fetching it.

Child Tickets

Change History (12)

comment:1 Changed 5 years ago by arma

I opened #10454 for the website documentation piece.

comment:2 Changed 5 years ago by arma

Is it crazy to offer a zip file too? If I were a Windows user I'd be happier using a zip file than I would be letting an arbitrary huge blob do arbitrary things on my computer, no matter how much the website assured me that it wouldn't.

(That said, as soon as they've unzipped it they would then run the next huge arbitrary blob; so maybe providing a zip file is more trouble than it's worth.)

comment:3 Changed 5 years ago by mo

Cc: mo added

comment:4 Changed 5 years ago by mo

I can add custom strings to the installer, but we have to take care of translations. Currently, it has one custom message (only in English), which is displayed when you select an existing directory for installation. I suggested writing a small po-to-nsis converter, so we can use Transifex for the translations.

What kind of string would you like to see, and where in the installation process should it be displayed?

[in the original discussion, I suggested our 'installer' to have two options, one "portable" where we explain that it does not 'install' anything, one 'proper installation' that adds shortcuts and an uninstall link.]

comment:5 Changed 5 years ago by bastik

The Windows version reads "torbrowser-install-3.5_en-US.exe". Wouldn't it better to replace the word "install" with "self-extractor" or "self-extracting"?

Some people in the Windows world are familiar with the term "portable". (See From that point of view it is in "installer" that puts everything into a single folder and can be carried around on an USB stick.

"torbrowser-portable-extracTor-3.5_en-US.exe" might make the situation more clear for some.

(I think I wrote most of this already somewhere. End of my attempt to "solve" this.)

Apparently you confuse people one way or another. When you release a .zip, the extract it but forgot where they extracted it to or they are lost because they don't know what to do then. When you release an .exe that contains "install" in the filename they think, and probably rightfully so, that it will hook up in the system (Start Menu, Registry and some private folders). I think the last one is more problematic.

In theory you can have both (.exe and .zip) but this will be more packaging for Erinn. (Can I request to get a .7z on top?, just to create more work.)

comment:6 Changed 5 years ago by mo

+1 for torbrowser-portable-3.5_en-US.exe

comment:7 Changed 5 years ago by cypherpunks

+1000 for a simple zip file I can extract rather than "install"

comment:8 in reply to:  7 Changed 5 years ago by mo

Replying to cypherpunks:

+1000 for a simple zip file I can extract rather than "install"

You can already open the .exe as a zip file in your favorite tool.
Many Windows users do get confused by zips, and they do get confused (even more) by multiple download options. (I worked for 2 years in Windows IT support, full-time)

comment:9 Changed 5 years ago by mcs

Cc: mcs added

comment:10 Changed 5 years ago by erinn

Keywords: needs-triage added

comment:11 Changed 5 years ago by erinn

Component: Tor bundles/installationTor Browser
Owner: changed from erinn to tbb-team

comment:12 Changed 18 months ago by teor

Severity: Normal

Set all open tickets without a severity to "Normal"

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