trying to get AIM to run unattended or silently without the toolbar. http://itninja.com/link/message-forum-post-from-dell4 is the resource notes on AIM, and I thought this process was working (even added a note with some changes...) but as it turns out, it's not.

I don't know if it's an installer bug or if something changed, but if you follow the instructions in those notes where you modify the custom .ini, it seems to be ignored by the installer.

There are three sections where there is a
selectable=y
checked=y
which are both by default "y" in the setup.ini file.

when I change them both to selectable=n and checked=n, along with the other sections, the install will run unattended just fine. However it seems to ignore the toolbar section and installs it anyway.

Oddly, when I leave check=n but selectable=y, the setup will then prompt to install it (no longer unattended), but if I hit the defaults and leave it unchecked it will not install. But I can't figure out any combination where it will pre-answer this and just run unattended. Also, I can't seem to find any flags to run at run time with setup that make it just pick defaults (knowing this would solve the problem, but everything I've tried seems to be completely ignored).

For reference, the section in question of setup.ini is this:

[IETOOLBAR]
ID=ietb
SysSize=2400
OS=XP,XP64,+
InstSrc=postproc.exe
InstParams=-alt toolbar.ini
InstTimeout=900
InstProgTimeout=900
Selectable=y
checked=n
StatId=I2E1
SelectProd=Install AIM Toolbar
InstTime=2
ExitCode=0
NoFail=Y
Optional=Y


there are two other sections where changing it to selectable=n and checked=n causes no ill effect and the installer parses it correctly. Only this section seems to not be the case.

I'm wondering if any of the other items listed have to be changed as well, and when they aren't the installer is just ignoring them because it's finding the results to be erroneous?
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well that was quick, I figured out I could comment out one other line and it would avoid installing it:

When I change it from what it was above to this, all works fine:

[IETOOLBAR]
ID=ietb
SysSize=2400
OS=XP,XP64,+
InstSrc=postproc.exe
;REMOVED InstParams=-alt toolbar.ini
InstTimeout=900
InstProgTimeout=900
Selectable=n
checked=n
StatId=I2E1
SelectProd=Install AIM Toolbar
InstTime=2
ExitCode=0
NoFail=Y
Optional=Y


i took a look at the postproc.exe file, and toolbar.ini. Toolbar.ini has one section "ExecuteFile1" with a parameter "shell=dnUpdate://70491/?Target=IEFF&StartPage=N&DefaultSearch=Y&S=_NOV_&_VSPEC_== /silent" ... It logs in the install log as "Attempt to launch installer: [N:\AIM7\postproc.exe -alt toolbar.ini] 06/21/2010 15:47:45 Installation completed." ... So if I had to guess, it looks like the installer calls postproc.exe, which does a shell update to switch the users' default search to AIM. This would seem to somehow defy some logic, though, since the "set your homepage" and "set your search" are actually two different sections of the setup.ini, and setting those flags to both "n" is respected by the installer. I tried commenting out the postproc.exe line as well and it still works fine, but I don't know if postproc.exe is also doing anything else (doubtful considering it's a 36kb executable as it is).

I don't fully understand all of their parameters in their setup inis, but it seems like this is a bug in how it parses if it's operating that differently based off of one y/n flag that did work in the past. And out of curiousity, this is somewhat unattended, but does anyone know how to run this from command line so it doesn't even show up on screen? ...i'm thinking there has to be some flag that needs to be set somewhere else in setup.ini, but it doesn't seem like they've documented any of this anywhere that I can find
Answered 06/21/2010 by: DaneKan
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Nice detective work. Have you updated your note in the 'Package KB'?
Answered 06/21/2010 by: VBScab
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How are you guys getting around the prompt at the end to launch or close?
Answered 06/22/2010 by: Kungfus0n
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I did update it in the notes. Hopefully it's not too confusing to follow. (By the way, I commented it out above but when it runs the setup just deletes the commented line from the file so the line just disappears on its own)

As far as getting around the launch button at the end, I haven't found a way around that, but at least there's no wrong choice for the user to make :] One thought aside from figuring out if there is any flag or file to truly make it unattended/silent, the process could just be terminated at the end without ill effect if you were able to detect that the launch button was present or that the installer surpassed a certain time. I wonder if the setup.ini file could be modified to inject your own custom .exe or script that then ran a kill on the setup job itself at the end. Say perhaps replacing postproc.exe in the above mentioned section with your own file to kill the process. I'm actually not on the desktop management team at my company, but I try to do as much as the leg work ahead as possible to speed things along. In an ideal world I would also kill any running AIM prior to even running the setup, since if you don't the setup program will prompt for that too.

The next challenge seems to be running the AIM Toolbar uninstaller silently, though maybe it's moot because I personally would only run this off business hours anyway since the installer has to close Internet Explorer to remove it
Answered 06/25/2010 by: DaneKan
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OK. part 3

-I now realize the setup.ini is not actually ignoring the flags to not install/set homepage and setting of default search just like it was ignoring the toolbar flags. We're running it as system user via Altiris, so it's not actually affecting the end user. But if you're running as any actual user who uses the system, to get around this, in setup.ini, I changed the bsetutil.exe lines to just run postproc.exe in those two sections instead so it doesn't do this (mainly important for my manual install directory, but worth noting for the auto install). You could actually keep the bsetutil.exe line and set the InstParams line to set it to whatever home page you want to set it to (-target default -homepage http://cnn.com for example). This bsetutil actually looks kind of useful for other tasks potentially, it has nice options to set it for both IE and Firefox, first and second tab homepage startup.

-On Vista and Win7 machines when running the package as System, it never displays the close/launch button, therefore the setup never terminates, so Altiris shows the status as 'executing' until it times out or the user reboots. Consequently the bigger problem on these systems is if Aim.exe is already running, the users never see the "Next" dialog, so the install just hangs. Pre-killing all Aim.exe tasks would fix this second problem. There might be a way to force it to run interactively as the system user I don't know, but killing aim before and killing setup after fixes it and other issues.

-Also if running the package as System or any elevated privileged user (which you would have to install to begin with), if users choose the "launch" button at the end at the end of the install, they'll get an Aim.exe that's running as the System user and that then opens Internet Explorer when they log in. That instance of Internet Explorer will be running as System (or whatever privileged user you ran the setup as), so this presents a potential security issue since they'll then have full admin rights via that instance.

-To get rid of the "close"/"launch" button you can just kill the setup.exe task at the end of the setup process. I don't know if there's a way to detect the "close"/"launch" dialog box in Altiris or whatever deployment method you're using, that would be the most graceful way. But short of that, I just changed the setup.ini file to run a task kill to itself at the very end in place of the last thing it runs (postproc.exe) and it seems to work well. I don't know if this will return an error status for the Altiris job status though if it were to do this via task kill. But if you do this in addition to also killing any aim.exe tasks running before setup.exe launches, this then makes for a completely unattended install, and more importantly it relieves the Win7/Vista issues noted above.

How to kill setup.exe at the end (to avoid launch/close) via the installer itself:

The installer requires the actual task kill executable in the same directory or it will terminate, so I put XP's taskkill.exe in the same directory and changed the IETOOLBAR section in setup.ini to use it. I tested XP SP3's version of Taskkill w/ with Win7 64 and Vista 32 as well and it works on these systems fine. (you could use some third party task killer obviously I suppose too; I actually experimented with pskill.exe, but the most current version from Microsoft requires you to accept the EULA on each machine via GUI. There's a /accepteula 0 flag to run to get around this supposedly, but in testing adding that flag in caused the setup to not wurn. I tested with version pskill 1.11 from Sysinternals though and that version works well.)

Below is a summation of the changes I made to setup.ini to get it to be where I am now:

[SEARCH]
ID=search
InstSrc=postproc.exe
InstParams=
InstTimeout=900
InstProgTimeout=900
InstTime=1
Selectable=n
checked=n
StatId=I2E2
SelectProd=This was the section to set AOL Search now just runs postproc (which does nothing)
NoFail=Y
ExitCode=0

[HOMEPAGE]
ID=homepg
InstSrc=postproc.exe
InstParams=
InstTimeout=900
InstProgTimeout=900
InstTime=1
Selectable=n
checked=n
StatId=I2E3
SelectProd=This was the section to set home page now just runs postproc (which does nothing). you could change instsrc back to bsetutil and instparm to: -target default -homepage http://cnn.com though for example
NoFail=Y
ExitCode=0

[IETOOLBAR]
ID=ietb
SysSize=2400
OS=XP,XP64,+
InstSrc=taskkill.exe
InstParams=/IM setup.exe /f
Selectable=n
checked=n
StatId=I2E1
SelectProd=Install AIM Toolbar
InstTime=1
ExitCode=0
NoFail=Y

...I'll edit into one consolidated note on http://itninja.com/link/message-forum-post-from-dell4 as well
Answered 06/25/2010 by: DaneKan
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Thank you for all your research! It totally has paid off. Just one question concerning taskkill.exe stopping a currently running version of AIM... Where would I put that entry?
Answered 07/09/2010 by: Dnice808
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to kill it before running setup, either put the call to the setup in a batch file or some other method via your deployment server... I created a simple batch file with 3 lines:

taskkill /IM aim.exe /f
taskkill /IM aim6.exe /f
call setup.exe

aim6 runs as aim6.exe so I do both...something like that.

On an unrelated note, 7.2.x came out this week so I haven't tested if anything with the above changed w/ the new version.
Answered 07/13/2010 by: DaneKan
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As ever, let me advise against using simplistic scripts which use command line tools. Why? Easy: you have almost no means to determine whether or not the tool worked. in the case whether the task was killed. There are many scripts around which use WMI to test for a process's existence and which can end a process. There are also scripts which combine those two activities. Use these scripts instead.
Answered 07/14/2010 by: VBScab
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well i did say "or some other method via your deployment server" [;)] ...The batch file was for a manual run though as an example of what needs to happen via whatever method is chosen
Answered 07/14/2010 by: DaneKan
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Thanks for this thread! It helped a lot. I do have one question: is there any way to change the default directory AIM 7 is installed to? I tried changing the InstDir parameter in the setup.ini, but my changes seemed to have been ignored. :(
Answered 08/12/2010 by: dfowler
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This info was really great! Thank you again! Yet again, I have another question related to this type of install. Where I work we use a Facetime server to log our IM's and need a proxy to route our clients to that server. In previous AIM apps it was set in the registry where I could extract it and then use it to push to the other users. I cannot find anywhere it stores this in 7.x. Any ideas?
Answered 08/17/2010 by: Dnice808
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Another option here is to remove the sections you don't want to install from the setup.ini - for example by removing:
[IETOOLBAR]
ID=ietb
SysSize=2400
OS=XP,XP64,+
InstSrc=postproc.exe
InstParams=-alt toolbar.ini
InstTimeout=900
InstProgTimeout=900
Selectable=y
checked=y
StatId=I2E1
SelectProd=Install AIM Toolbar
InstTime=2
ExitCode=0
NoFail=Y
Optional=Y

The toolbar will no longer be installed - same for [HOMEPAGE], [SEARCH],[DLUPDATER] and [TALKBACK] sections -remove them and the installs are ignored. For bypassing the install complete dialog I opted to use ResHacker.exe to remove the dialog completely (Dialog 107) from the GUI.dll. The caveats to this method are that it assumes a successful install so if install fails the install could no longer be unattended and could present one of the other dialogs in the package.
Answered 09/15/2010 by: vshluv
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