What is Installation Testing – Types & How To Do It

What is Installation Testing – Types & How To Do It

Everyone on the internet has had the experience of installing an app and realizing it is malfunctioning. The UI does not render well, links/buttons/text is scrambled and non-functional and the user cannot even get close to the expected outcome. 

If a business wants to lose customers and revenue, the easiest way to do so is to release an app with installation issues. This makes a terrible first impression and almost always causes the user to uninstall the app and leave a negative review. 

The absolute bare minimum for any app is that installation should be bug-free, effortless, and fast. However, given the thousands of devices using which users download apps, ensuring such a seamless process requires something called installation testing. 

This article will dive into the definition, details, and requirements of installation testing. Consider this your gateway to this testing technique, no matter the industry or technology in question. 

What is Installation Testing?

Installation testing checks that an app can be seamlessly installed and works as expected after installation. It tests the steps a user needs to take in order to install the app, and also verifies the app’s initial functionality. In industry parlance, installation testing is often called implementation testing. 

The primary intent of installation testing is that it green-lights the software installation process, and checks that it works equally well on multiple systems (mobile devices and OSes). This is especially important in the current age of device fragmentation, as it guarantees that software can be installed, configured and uninstalled without hassle. 

Installation Testing can be considered a subset of compatibility testing, as it must be run on multiple device-OS combinations to establish compatibility with all user preferences. 

Why use Installation testing?

  • Ensures that the installation process for any software is accurate, easy, and compatible with various systems and configurations. Establishes a smooth user experience, regardless of the browser-device-OS combination being used to access said software.
  • Ensures compatibility with all or most of major device-browser-OS combination end-users leverage to access software.
  • Identifies and helps with resolving installation issues like mission files, registry entries, and unauthorized dependencies that get into the way of seamless software functioning.
  • Enhances software quality by checking its overall quality and status right from the moment a user downloads it. This translates to better user experience and feedback.
  • Improves user experience by eliminating bugs that would hinder user experience. This is absolutely essential for generating and maintaining a loyal and satisfied user base. 

Types of Installation

Silent Installation

The software is installed without user intervention. In this process, installation messages are saved in a log file. It is generally used to place shortcuts of applications on a user’s desktop or home screen. 

Attended Installation

User involvement, such as accepting an app’s End-User License Agreement and designing passwords is required for this form of installation. 

Unattended Installation

Once again, user intervention is not required in this process. Generally, the installation progresses through an answer file in which the user establishes all necessary instructions. Installing OSes is a classic example of this. 

Network Installation

Also known as headless installation, this process doesn’t require a monitor, console or user intervention. Installation is initiated on a computer linked to a network. This process is generally initiated within companies where a single software application must be installed on multiple systems (hundreds, often) at the same time. 

Clean Installation

This simply means that software is being installed for the first time on a system that has no history of said application. 

Automated Installation

In this mode of installation, the system administrator installs a product based on targeted prerequisites. This process is initiated by experts who decide what app or product needs to be installed, and for which system. 

Read More: What Is Automated Testing? Your Ultimate Guide

Features of installation testing

Network Installation: Verifies the installation protocols operating on a network. In other words, it checks that software can be installed effortlessly on multiple connected machines simultaneously. 

Error Handling: Monitors how the installation pipeline for a software reacts to different errors, such as invalid input, inadequate disk space, and any other interruptions. In all these instances, the appropriate error messages, along with troubleshooting suggestions, should be automatically thrown by the software. 

Performance Issues: How does the installation process impact the functionality of the device? Installation should not interrupt the functions or other open apps or eat up too much of the system resources. 

Verifying Documentation: Checks that the installation guidelines are easy to follow with appropriate documentation explaining the process. This feature also checks that all instructions and documentation are consistent across different devices, browsers, and OSes. 

Establishing file integrity: Checks that all necessary files are copied as required through the installation process. This tactic confirms rights, checksums, and file sizes. 

Checking parameters managing registry and configuration: Verifies that the installation process modifies configuration parameters and registry entries as required. This feature of installation testing scans the software setup for anomalies and inconsistencies.  

The Goal of Installation Testing

Installation testing verifies and establishes the integrity of the installation process of any software. It works to prevent end-users from facing issues when they are trying to add new software to their devices. Some of the goals of this testing technique are:

  • Confirming that users will face no roadblocks when installing software, no matter which platform, device or technical knowledge level is in question. 
  • Confirming that software can be distributed to different digital environments. 
  • Identifying and eliminating errors and bugs getting in the way of smooth installation. 
  • Confirming that the users can easily install software upgrades, delete the app or even restore it to their system. 

Prerequisites to carry out installation testing

Take the following actions to ensure the smooth progress of installation tests:

  • Check if the software can be installed with equal ease from different sources – CD, digital download, network installation, erc. 
  • Check the disc space requirements.
  • Check if the installation process provides a clear display with easy-to-follow instructions. 
  • Create flow diagrams to automate test scripts. 
  • Verify if installation depends on any patches. 
  • Check that all options and pathways for installation (which will be different depending on system configuration and user preferences) are easily accessible to the user. 

Installation testing phases

  • Start by checking for existing applications on the system. The software should scan for any other apps that may interfere with its installation. 
  • Check if the installer draws all instructions appropriately.
  • Pause the process to verify that the system returns to its stable state. 
  • Validate that the installer accurately estimated disk space through manual monitoring. 
  • If disk space is low, confirm that the installer throws the right responses. 
  • Verify and validate the changes in the registry that occur during the installation. 
  • Verify that all the app’s related files are deleted once the software is uninstalled.

Test cases for installation testing

A few test cases that are commonly utilized to run installation tests on website and apps:

Disk Space & Memory Validation

Checks that:

  • The installer computes disk space accurately.
  • The disk space is verified and calculated before installation.
  • The disk space is verified and calculated after installation. 
  • The installer throws up appropriate messages in the event of low disk space.

Installation Path Validation

Checks that:

  • The installer identifies the path of any installation of the same product’s previous installation (in case it has been installed before).
  • The installer chooses the accurate installation path (default or custom) according to immediate circumstances.
  • The installer places the software in the chosen location (if the user selects it manually)
  • The path of extraction of software is accurate and stable. 

Registry Validation

Checks that:

  • The right changes are initiated in the registry files after installation. 
  • The registry modifications that occur during installation are accurate.

Product Version Validation

Checks that:

  • The installer can work for all software versions.
  • That the right files and system packages exist for installation packages for different software versions. 

Forced Installation Stop Validation

Checks that:

  • In the event of a forced stop, the installation process immediately stops, and the system returns to its original state. 

Time Validation

Checks that:

  • A reasonable amount of time is taken for extracting files.
  • The expected amount of time is required for completing installation.
  • The expected amount of time is required for uninstallation.

How Installation Testing is performed: The Process

Installation testing requires QAs to validate environmental protocols, implementation, and uninstallation flows. While the actual steps will vary based on software type, project scale, and business requirements, most test plans require the following steps:

Validating the ability of the application to calculate minimum disk space

The software installer must be able to calculate the minimum disk space for installation, and verify that the system has the requisite memory space. Testers must also verify that the installer can seamlessly complete operations that consume more disk space. 

Validating the relevance of the keys in the registry

Testers must verify that there is no key registry corruption during installation. All keys must match the configuration under test. On deleting software, the key registry should also be removed entirely. 

Validating the structure of files in the file system

Once the software is installed, the device should have instant access to the app data. Software files should be stored in the user’s chosen location. All files should carry the right software version number. In case of uninstallation, all residual app files should be completely deleted. 

Validating product update installation

Users should be able to install software updates seamlessly, without making changes to the older version already on the system. Software should be installed whether on a distributed or consolidated config. Partial installation of components and updates should proceed without interruption.

Ensuring a safe uninstallation of the entire app, a patch, or a component

Users should be able to delete the app, whether on a distributed or consolidated configuration. Uninstallation should be equally easy for single components, patches, or updates. 

Pros & Cons of Installation Testing


  • Helps check software versions for compatibility quickly and thoroughly.
  • Helps improve software quality, right from the installation stage. 
  • Validate software designs for basic performance standards.
  • Acts as a critical stage in the SDLC for the purpose of maintaining software quality standards. 


  • The outcome depends on the test case and its structuring. 
  • Can be tedious and time-consuming as the same process needs to be validated on different browsers, devices, and OSes.

Challenges That Can Impact the Installation Testing Process

Two main challenges often impact the installation testing pipelines:

  • Multiple validation conditions: The installation mechanism for any software must be validated on various systems (browsers, OSes, configurations, screen sizes, resolutions, etc.). For each of these systems, the requirements for testing installation will vary quite a bit. Testers must take all these requirements into account for each test, which can be time-consuming and prone to error.
  • Testing on varied, different product hardware-software configurations: Since an app needs to be tested on multiple browser-device-OS combinations, QA have to setup and run automated tests. This is easier than running the same tests manually on different configurations. 

Installation testing tips

  • If you are installing updates for software that you have already installed, the systems should allow you to install the full version on the same path without interruptions. The installer should throw up a message mentioning that the old version is installed and verify that the user wants to continue the installation.
  • It is critical that the installer checks that the minimum required disk space is available before proceeding with installation. This is true for both manual and automated tests.
  • Since dish space varies on different systems, installation test vases should be grouped within multi-platform test cases.
  • Use distributed test environments to save cost and time while running installation tests. Leverage parallel testing to run tests simultaneously on different systems.
  • Use automated scripts to check all required files have been installed successfully. For complete assurance of quality, you can check disk space availability manually (as well as whether the installer is reporting disk space availability correctly.
  • Check for changes in registry files after installation. Unexpected changes (as opposed to expected ones) will hamper software performance.
  • Use negative testing to apply pressure on the installation process. This checks how the installer will respond to different real-world circumstances.
  • Don’t forget to run uninstallation tests with as much scrutiny and intensity as installation tests.  

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Installation testing is an essential component of all SDLC pipelines. After all, it scans, monitors, and verifies the first action any software must perform when being downloaded – to install itself (with or without user intervention) on a system.

Consider this article as your first step into installation testing. Note the essentials, the prerequisites ,and recommendations.

Installation testing is the vanguard that protects software from being riddled with errors and anomalies from the get-go. It ensures a positive first impression on users and creates the doorway to a desirable user experience in a competitive digital market.  

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an installation test report?

As the name suggests, an installation test report details the findings of installation testing. Such a report enumerates and explains how the installation protocols of the software under test function under real-world conditions, namely, real browser-device-OS combinations. 

In the event of bug capture, the report should also leave extensive information on the nature of the bug and steps for replicating it so as to facilitate verification by developers.

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