Network Installation

Penfriend can be used on a computer network if you wish. First, you must purchase a site licence for the appropriate number of machines from Penfriend Ltd.

Unattended Installation

Penfriend is provided as an "MSI" file for Windows Installer, and can normally be installed remotely with no user interface; "unattended installation". This must be done as an administrator. On Windows Vista and beyond using UAC, it must have elevated privileges. See the UAC section.

You must specify the installation code (serial number) of your licence on the command line to MSIEXEC using the property PIDKEY. It is also recommended that you specify ACTIVATENOW=1 and provide an EMAILADDR, for example:

msiexec /qn /i "Penfriend XL.msi" /l*v penfriend-install-log.txt PIDKEY=EBEJ-EAMI-DDLL-ECOK ACTIVATENOW=1 USERNAME=Students "COMPANYNAME=Super College" ""

During normal installation, dialogue boxes may appear, but in unattended installation, they will not. To find out the status, you can request that msiexec generate a log file using /l*v logfile.txt as an option.

If activation fails, the installation will proceed, but the application will request activation again by the end user. If the serial number was incorrect, (fails its checksum), the application will not run and must be re-installed. If you have a group of related serial numbers, you can install on all machines with the same code.

Other properties that you can specify on the command line for msiexec include:
PIDKEY Installation code (serial number) for this copy of Penfriend XL, which will be used for activation and for support. A serial number must be specified, and there is no default.
APPDIR Directory on computer filing system where application will be installed. This is normally something like c:\Program Files\Penfriend\PF-XP but you can change it to any directory which will be readable by the users. If this is not specified, there is a default such as the example above.
USERNAME The textual name of the person or role to which the installation is assigned, or who owns this copy of the product. This appears in the "about" dialogue box, and is submitted with the activation request. If this is not specified, a default is taken from your installtion of Microsoft Windows.
COMPANYNAME The textual name of the organisation who owns or uses this product. If this is not specified, a default is taken from your installtion of Microsoft Windows.
EMAILADDR The email address of the person installing the product. This may be needed for support enquiries in the future.
ACTIVATENOW If this is 1 then the product will be activated during installation. This is recommended, because installation occurs with Administrator privileges. Ordinary users can activate the software but, depending on the computer, may not be able to save the confirmation. See the section on Windows UAC.
(others)There are other properties which can be specified to standard Windows Installer packages.


The software must be activated on each machine before it can be used fully. Please read the section on site licences in the help page for activation.

You can choose whether to activate during installation, or later for each user. It is recommended that it is done during installation, which is done by an administrator. In some computer configurations, ordinary users do not have permission to write the activation confirmation and so will be asked again, later.

If you have a USB Security Key, it is not necessary to install Penfriend XL at all. Simply insert the security key in the computer and run the program on it.

Windows User Access Control (UAC)

Microsoft Windows Vista and beyond are offered with a feature called UAC which denies administrator privileges to all users most of the time; when an application is detected which requires administrator rights is detected, a special dialogue box is used to ask for interactive confirmation. This process is called "elevation".

Penfriend should be installed by an administrator with elevated privileges. If you do this by double clicking on the *.msi file, then you will be asked to elevate your privileges during the installation process. If you install from the command line using msiexec.exe then you should do this within a command prompt or batch file set to "Run As Administrator".


It becomes very easy to handle individual lexicons for users, which should be done even on a stand-alone machine. There can be a directory for lexicons on the server which each user chooses their own lexicon from regardless of the computer they are using. Even better, however, is to map the user's home directory on another drive and make sure that each person has the same file name, for example U:\WRITING\MYDICT.LEX where U: is the user's home directory mount. Penfriend records in the HKEY_CURRENT_USER registry the name of the last lexicon to be used.

If your users all log in with the same Windows account, and they are starting Penfriend from the Start menu or a program shortcut, but do not wish to use the same lexicon as the previous person (each user should have their own personal lexicon), then you can switch off "Load Previous Lexicon" in the Advanced Preferences.