Tips for Upgrading SafeHouse when using Groups

When you are using groups with SafeHouse, and there comes a time when you wish to deploy a new version of SafeHouse to people with an existing installation, it's important that you understand the mechanics of what needs to take place in order to guarantee that your re-deployment goes smoothly, and that you don't inadvertently change any of your existing group assignments.

Existing Volume Group Assignments Never Change

First, please know that the group assignments for existing SafeHouse volumes cannot be changed. Volumes are associated with a group at the time they are created, and that association stays with the volume for life. This means that no matter what, you cannot mistakenly change the group affiliation of a volume; nor can you change it on purpose.

Upgrading using a New Custom Installer

The most-common method of deploying a new version of SafeHouse is to create a new custom SafeHouse Setup program based upon the latest software distribution from SafeHouseSoftware.com. This way, you have complete control over all aspects of the deployment.

When you prepare your new custom Setup program, please be sure to include the exact same .BRAND file as you included when you prepared the installer for your original deployment. Using any other file effectively changes the group association for SafeHouse, and new volumes created will be assigned to that new group.

Please also know that if you lose a group file, you cannot simply make another that "looks the same" and figure it will be the same; because to SafeHouse, it will be completely different. You can, however, extract a lost .BRAND file from an existing branded copy of SafeHouse, or download a copy of your .BRAND file from SafeHouseAdmin.com (provided you have enabled web administration).

Changing Groups

If you find it desirable to change the SafeHouse group for a set of users, you can do so by creating a new custom installer which includes the .BRAND file for the new group and deploying it to the affected machines. From then on, those copies of SafeHouse will belong to the new group, and any new volumes created will belong to that new group as well. As already explained, the group association for existing volumes will not be changed.

Custom Installer without a Group File

It is in fact possible to create a custom SafeHouse Setup program which does not include a .BRAND file. In this case, when the installer is run on a machine with an existing copy of SafeHouse, the Setup program will extract the group information from the existing copy of SafeHouse, upgrade the core program files, and then re-embed that original group information into the newly-installed set of files. This effectively means that whatever group association existed before running the new Setup program will be maintained and will correctly survive the upgrade.

Upgrading Directly with Off-the-Shelf Software

If your customized version of SafeHouse is installed on a PC, and that copy of SafeHouse has been branded to belong to a group, and then somebody attempts to upgrade the SafeHouse software to a newer version by downloading the latest version directly from the SafeHouseSoftware.com website instead of using a newly-prepared custom Setup program, the off-the-shelf SafeHouse Setup (upgrade) program will detect this situation and re-embed the original group information into the newly-upgraded set of files.

This has the following two benefits:

Whether or not people in your organization can or should be upgrading SafeHouse without going through you is something you'll obviously need to work out internally. Here, we're simply trying to explain the technical ramifications of various upgrade scenarios.

This ability to re-embed the old group information into upgraded code files is not compatible with Windows 95/98/Me.

A Note about Old 2.xx Versions of SafeHouse

The concept of SafeHouse groups is new starting with SafeHouse version 3.00. Older versions of SafeHouse are not code-compatible with any of the group-related features. The volume file format has also changed; however, SafeHouse v3.00 is backwards compatible with this file format and fully supports reading and writing to volumes created with older versions of SafeHouse. In contrast, versions of SafeHouse prior to 3.00 will not be able to read the newer file format.

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