XE2: New Delphi, same old broken installer

Since D2009 at least, I’ve never managed to get a new Delphi release to install correctly on the first try.  Each time, it’s been the same basic problem.  Each time, I’ve contacted Embarcadero about it and asked them to fix it.  Unfortunately, they still haven’t.

I got my SA notification and went to install Delphi XE2 today.  I’m a SA holder for Delphi Professional, which is what I got a serial number for, which I entered when the installer prompted me for it.  But that’s not what it installed.  See, if you’ve had a previous installation of a different SKU level, (a demo, for example, which always seems to be Architect level,) it will disregard the serial number you enter (even though it makes sure that you enter a valid serial!) and install the feature set for what the leftover license file specified.

I’ve seen a lot of bugs in a lot of software in my day, but there have been very few that mystify me as much as this one.  I don’t understand how it is possible to screw this up.  Taking input directly from the user and acting on it is the most basic principle of software design there is!  It’s the first thing any of us learn, usually even before “simpler” programs such as Hello World.  You prompt the user for input, and you act on it.  But somehow, the Delphi installer prompts the user for input, and then… disregards it and acts on something completely different if it’s available?  What is this I don’t even

How?!?  This is not an easy mistake to make; you really have to go out of your way to screw something this simple up!  (To add insult to injury, the License Manager tool conveniently provided by Embarcadero, presumably for managing your licenses, can find the invalid licenses, and there’s a Delete menu item, but it’s always grayed out.  I’ve never figured out anything that will actually enable the Delete option.)

It gets worse.  The installer doesn’t really understand the implications of choosing not to install things.  For example, I chose not to install the iOS development stuff because I have no use for it.  It still spent several minutes downloading the package, which is quite large and whatever server it’s downloading from doesn’t have the world’s greatest bandwidth.

And it will still display and require you to agree to EULAs for bundled third-party components you tell it not to install.  I can’t help but wonder about the legal ramifications to that…

Dear Embarcadero,

Your installer sucks.  Please fix it.  It’s the first impression a new customer gets of the quality of your engineering, even before using the new product, and it makes Delphi look bad.


Everyone who has to put up with it


  1. Currently fighting with the trial setup on my home PC that keeps telling me I don’t have enough space on my partition while it clearly states that there is enough space.

  2. Larry Hengen says:

    I too have had some issues with the installer, but the most troublesome was installing a full version after having installed a Trial. My issues sound very similar to your own, and I thought at the time, that EMB should at least have a utility that users can run to remove all licensing information, registry keys and files to make your machine a virgin Delphi box again. Ideally the installer should take care of this on an uninstall, but that doesn’t seem to happen.

  3. @Stefan Glienke: Check the space of your %temp% directory. The installation puts a lot of stuff there before it moves it to wherever you want to install. I had a similar problem with earlier Delphi versions because my %temp% is on a ram drive.

  4. François says:


    I installed XE2 full blown Architect this week-end, and I end up not having any of the source installed.
    I never installed any XE2 trial version BUT I did install and remove an XE version before.

    Also,I wanted to give a try at FireMonkey, but unfortunately none of the object and property I tried to get help had anything useful to get started on the very basic things I wanted to do.

    When I compare with the user experience I had installing a “public” beta of D1, back when I had no real exposure to Pascal nor Windows development, and building right away 2 small utilities in 1/2 day, just using the F1 key a lot and reading code…

    If they want to conquer the Mac developers crowd, this needs to be fixed ASAP.

  5. François says:

    To be fair, doing an “install repair” did install the source…
    But the Help is still useless.

  6. Warren says:

    I had exactly the same “old SKU is really persistent” problem today, and I find it very frustrating indeed. I think you can get rid of it by nuking the cglm.ini file after you do an uninstall. I zapped the ProgramData\Embarcadero and ProgramFiles\Embarcadero folder, and the registry keys, and that cleared it up.
    Still it shouldn’t be so hard.


  7. alex caudron says:

    @Warren : Thanx for the tip on deleting the EMB directories.

    Isn’t bad of the installer to leave about 2 MB’s of files after an uninstall anyway ?
    I love Delphi, but some things are just not right …

  8. Gary B says:

    Strangely enough I have never had any problems at all with any of the installers since 09. And I did a trial of all of them. Now the piece of crap they call Visual Studio really had me pissed as I tried for a whole day to install it and got nothing, what’s worse is the support staff had the nerve to tell me that they couldn’t help me because they were not “Technically Inclined”!!

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