Blog Posts by craig16229

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Push MSIs With PSexec (Freeware)

If you do not have Active Directory or some other means of pushing an .msi install to one or more workstations, consider using PSexec.exe from

PSexec is a part of sysinternals freeware PStools download ( After extracting the download, copy PSexec.exe to the system32 folder of the workstation or server from which you will control the push installation.

After starting opening a cmd box, run psexec from the command prompt. Your command may vary depending on what you want to do, but here is an example:

PSEXEC -u context\username \\target_machine -s -i -d msiexec /i "\\path_to_package" /qb

Before putting this to use in a production environment, it is a good idea to read the developer's notes on the download page referenced above, as well as here:

Craig --<>.

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Repackage Faster Using VMWare Snapshots

More and more techs are using clean vmWare virtual machines to repackage their apps. If you do the same, you know that reverting the vmWare machine to it's clean state in a matter of seconds with a few mouse clicks is a huge time saver.

If you use Wise Package Studio in combination with vmWare, there is subtle trick that can save even more time: Make your "Wise Clean Machine" snapshot part of your vmWare machine snapshot. Do the following:

1. Build your clean vmWare machine as usual, including only the OS, the service packs, and critical updates.

2. Install Wise Package Studio. Run the "Setup Capture" tool once as if you are creating an actual package. Complete the "Begin Installation Capture" scan, then cancel out of the capture process and close WPS.

3. Use vmWare to save a new snapshot of the OS, then make sure you lock the snapshot and set vmWare to "revert to snapshot when powering off".

The next time you start the vmWare machine and run Wise's "Setup Capture" tool, you will be able to choose "use the initial scan that was created previously for this PC". Therefore, you can skip running the "initial scan" and go straight to installing your app.

If you repackage often, this eliminates repeating the "initial scan" for each app, and save hours of time.

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Capture Only What Is Needed for Faster and Easier Package Cleanups

If you use a repackaging tool that performs "before" and "after" snapshots to build installs, here is a way you can make package cleanups faster and easier: Start your "before" snapshot after the software you are repackaging has completed its "pre-install" routine.

Example: This is a good technique to use with software that was originally authored in InstallShield Wizard format. Execute the installation right up to the point where InstallShield says "setup has enough information to begin installing". Perform your "before snapshot", then complete the installation.

If do you use this technique, be aware that some pre-install routines create required registry entries that contain product keys. Several Adobe and Macromedia products do this. However, they can easily be re-imported into your package. There are also several entries in the AppDeploy Package Knowledge Base that discuss this.

The advantage of this is that many registry keys, files, and folders that are used by legacy setups but are not needed for the software to function are not captured and can't become part of your package. You spend less time cleaning, and finish with a smaller, uncluttered installation.

Craig --<>.

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Making Ghost Network Boot CD-ROMs

Making your Ghost network boot floppies into CDÂ’s

Since more and more systems are shipping without floppy drives, it is becoming more and more convenient – if not necessary – to have Ghost network boot CD’s.

What follows assumes you have fairly solid experience and understanding of the Ghost Boot Disk Wizard, the Windows 98 boot diskette, PC DOS vs. MS DOS, and burning bootable CDÂ’s.

Here are two of the best options.

1. If you are willing to invest some time to build a boot CD that supports multiple network cards, some of the best information and utilities on the web are found at “Bart's way to create bootable CD-Roms” at

2. If you have Symantec Ghost and/or Nero or Roxio, you want to build a boot CD quickly, and you donÂ’t mind being limited to one supported NIC per CD, do the following:

a. Build your Ghost boot floppy with NIC support using the Ghost Boot Disk Wizard.

b. NOTE: do not build your boot floppy using PC DOS files; this is the Boot Disk WizardÂ’s default option. If you do, the CDÂ’s character set will not be recognized when you boot from it, and all you will see a single line of scrambled text.

c. DO build your boot floppy using MS DOS files. If this option is grayed out, you will need to load these files from a Windows 98 boot disk, or some other source.

d. Burn your CD. The following steps are for Nero, but most should translate for Roxio and other burning apps as well:

• From the “New Compilation” dialogue box, choose “CD-ROM (boot)”

• On the “Boot” tab, set your “Source of boot image data” as an “Image File”, and select your floppy drive that has the MS DOS Ghost Network boot disk you created above

• “Enable expert settings” should be deselected, making all other options underneath it unavailable.

• On the “ISO” tab, the “Data mode:” should be set to “Mode 1”

• On the ISO tab, “File System:” should be set to “ISO 9660 only”

• On the ISO tab, “File name length (ISO):” should be set to “Max of 11 = 8 +3 chars (Level 1)”

• On the ISO tab, “Character set (ISO):” should be set to “ISO 9660 (standard ISO CD-ROM)”

• On the ISO tab, “Relax restrictions”, all boxes under “Relax Restrictions” should be unchecked. Remember that this is an MS DOS boot disk, and that is why these should be deselected.

You are now ready to burn and boot.

One additional note: Ghost 8.x Enterprise Edition makes this much more difficult to do, since its new routine does not fit onto one floppy anymore. The easiest solution is to make your boot diskette with version 7.x if you have it, then replace ghost.exe with the 8.x version.

Otherwise, the PXE booting functionality in version 8 is worth learning.

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Installing an .MSI on A Remote System Using VBscript

The following is from Microsoft's "System Administration Scripting Guide". Note that Active Directory is needed for this VB script to work.


Installs a hypothetical software program (using a Windows Installer package) on a remote computer. Requires delegation for the computer and user accounts involved in the procedure.

Script Code


Const wbemImpersonationLevelDelegate = 4

Set objWbemLocator = CreateObject("WbemScripting.SWbemLocator")

Set objConnection = objwbemLocator.ConnectServer _

("WebServer", "root\cimv2", "fabrikam\administrator", _

"password", , "kerberos:WebServer")

objConnection.Security_.ImpersonationLevel = wbemImpersonationLevelDelegate

Set objSoftware = objConnection.Get("Win32_Product")

errReturn = objSoftware.Install("\\atl-dc-02\scripts\1561_lab.msi",,True)

Wscript.Echo errReturn


The System Administration Scripting Guide, part of the Windows .NET Server Resource Kit. For more information, contact

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