InstallShield Setup Silent Installation Switches

Those setup.exe files generated with InstallShield inherently support the creation and use of answer files that may be used to silent install applications. Although it has no logic to handle anything not expected by the answerfile (more or less dialogs, more or less options in a dialog) it can be a helpful means of installation for some applications. The supported switches are as follows:


Runs setup in debug mode. The -d switch also includes a [pathonly] option for specifying the path of the Setup.rul file. For more information, refer to the Visual Debugger help file.


Specifies an alternate compiled script. Unless the compiled script (.ins file) also resides in the same directory as that of Setup.exe, the full path to the compiled script must be specified. _setup.dll must also reside in the same directory as your .ins file. For example, setup -ftest.ins will launch setup using Test.ins instead of Setup.ins.


Specifies an alternate location and name of the response file (.iss file). If this option is used when running InstallShield Silent, the response file is read from the folder/file specified by[path\ResponseFile]. If this option is used along with the -r option, the response file is written to the folder/file specified by[path\ResponseFile]. If an alternate compiled script is specified using the -f switch, the -f1 switch entry must follow the -f switch entry.


Specifies an alternate location and name of the log file created by InstallShield Silent. By default, Setup.log log file is created and stored in the same directory as that of Setup.ins. If an alternate compiled script is specified using the -f switch, the -f2 switch entry must follow the -f switch entry.


Causes Setup.exe to generate a Management Information Format (.mif) file automatically at the end of the setup. Do not include a path - the .mif file is always placed in the Windows folder. [filename] is optional. If you do not specify a filename, the resulting file will be called Status.mif.

-m1[serial number]

Tells setup to place the indicated serial number in the created .mif file.

-m2[locale string]

Tells setup to place the indicated locale in the .mif file. English (ENU) is the default; refer to Microsoft documentation for a complete listing of locale strings.


Causes Setup.exe automatically to generate a silent setup file (.iss file), which is a record of the setup input, in the Windows folder.


Runs InstallShield Silent to execute a silent setup.


Prevents a network connection and Setup.exe from closing before the setup is complete. This switch works with setups originating from a Windows NT server over a network. Please note that SMS must be uppercase; this is a case-sensitive switch.


Prevents Setup.exe from checking the available memory during initialization. This switch is necessary when running a setup on a machine with more than 256 MB of memory; if it is not used, Setup.exe reports insufficient memory and exits.


Runs the setup as an uninstallation without reading the script.


Provides more detailed information when a Setup.exe error occurs.

Please note the following:

Setup.exe command line parameters are not case sensitive; upper case or lower case letters can be used.

Separate multiple command line switches with a space, but do not put a space inside a command line switch (for example, /r /fInstall.ins is valid, but not /r/f Install.ins).

When using long path and filename expressions with switches, enclose the expressions in double quotation marks. The enclosing double quotes tell the operating system that spaces within the quotation marks are not to be treated as command line delimiters.


  • Is there a way to suppress the installation (Installshield) dialog boxes? I created a response file (.iss). When I install with the response file, using "Setup.exe -s -f1c:\myresponsefile.iss", it does the install as I wanted but it still shows the dialog boxes complete with cancel buttons. I'm trying to make it not show anything AND use my responses. - bbarton1169 11 years ago
  • Try using "/s" instead of "-s" You might need to try lower & upper case as well. Over the years, Flexera has changed the switches that can be applied to their setup.exe, only making things much more confusing for us. - vjaneczko 11 years ago
  • Hi people,

    Though I created my .ISS with all the settings (i.e typical or custom, server name etc), when I try to install my Setup.exe /S /f1"c:\response\setup.iss" it still pops up couple of dialog boxes. Did u guys ever figure out completely suppressing the installation?

    I also noticed that both of those components are missing in the response file. so, I tried editing the response file but they still pop-up..its so frustrating.

    Hope some one could help me get through this,

    Thank you! - Dabears! 11 years ago
    • After struggling with InstallShield automated setup and switches forever, the command I finally got working is:
      setup.exe /S /f1.\setup.iss
      The '.\' in the command line specifies that setup.exe should look for the setup.iss file in the current directory. This allows for an automated, silent setup that uses your ISS file for the specific options you selected. - PGBITRM 11 years ago
  • If setup.iss is in the same folder as setup.exe you can just skip the /f1 switch entirely! - packageologist 10 years ago
  • Note that the /f1 switch actually IS necessary if you named the iss file anything other than setup.iss.... but why would you?

    Anyway, I think one of the things that may be missing here is that setup.exe ends up extracting more files on the target machine, which will also be run, so you need to add in the /a /s switches to continue the silent install throughout.... (refer to documentation on http://unattended.sourceforge.net/installers.php)

    So far I have

    filepath\setup.exe /s /a /s /f2C:logs\epsoneasymp.txt

    working. It creates the log file with the /f2 switch. The only problem I'm still having is the darn license agreement still popping up. This seems unique to the software I'm dealing with (Epson EasyMP 2.84), as documented in http://www.itninja.com/question/epson-easy-mp-installshield-exe-file-problem - cmgreene 10 years ago
  • Hi,

    Is there any setting in InstallShield which enables Setup.exe to read\write in Setup.iss file.

    I am running following command from command prompt
    Setup.exe -r

    and getting Setup.iss file at C:\Windows with following content,
    [InstallShield Silent]
    File=Response File
    [File Transfer]

    It does not created any record [there are atleast 5 dialogs which needs user interaction].

    Any help is highly appreciated.

    Thank you! - VijayDC 10 years ago
  • I am trying to create a response file (.iss) file and using the -r switch and can not find it in the c:\windows directory. I have also used /r and it doesn't work either.
    Any thoughts on why this is not working??

    Dave - Dave R 9 years ago
  • I'm also facing the same issue - perumaldass 9 years ago
  • Typing the command "filname.exe /r" worked for me. Then you just keep the "setup.iss" file in the same folder as the .exe and it auto installs.

    I did however have a weird thing happen where it still showed a message-box of wanting me to choose either the Pro version or Standard. When I tried to click on "Next" it didn't do anything. The silent install still finished and the message-box went away. Not sure what happened there.

    I also can't find out how to implement the license information so that when the application launches for the first time it will be pre-registered and not prompt the user for it. - iRninjar 8 years ago
  • Hello. And Bye. - XRumerTest 2 years ago
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