Scripting Question

Problems With Silent Install on EXE and MSI

06/10/2015 10795 views
Hello -
I have a major software upgrade tomorrow and I'm having some serious problems. Keep in mind I am not much of a scripter. 

We are using a leading end point management software (Promisec) to perform this deploy. We have successfully deployed many MSI and EXE packages in our environment so I know the software and our standard deployment packages work.

I received an executable file from the Vendor company who owns the software we are upgrading. I've made multiple attempts and used a variety of delimiters but no matter what I do I cannot get the executable to run. I converted the .exe file to an MSI and I run into identical issues.

My end-point software packages reaches my test machines - I see the process start (i.e software.exe) pops up in task manager. The problem is once the proces start the install never completes. When I run the MSI package my endpoint software reports success (It is using msiexec.exe for the deploy). When I run the .exe through the end-point software I get failed results that the process timed out.

The Vendor company is not offering up much advice. They sent me some information about creating a setup.iss file
I was asked to run the following command. But I dont know what platform/shell to run this from or what command to use to kick it off. I'm not familiar with these setup.iss files.They asked me to run this command from a PC that has the .exe installer and a specific folder on the C:\ drive.
SoftwareName.exe –a –r –f1c:\FolderName\setup.iss

I did not anticipate problems with this installer. Our backout plan is to touch all 150 machines -which will be horrible.

Can anyone offer any help?

2 Comments   [ + ] Show comments


  • I should note that when attempting the msi deploy ive attempted both /quite and /qn commands. Both same results. I see the process kick off but the application is never installed.
  • are you doing this just in a CMD to see if it works ok or straight in the deployment tool??

All Answers

Create a verbose log file during installation (for the created MSI) and see what went wrong..
Answered 07/28/2015 by: jagadeish
Red Belt

ISS is InstallShield Script files for automating install of exe files - messy.  Being a packager, I think exe files are the worst to play with.  I try to repackage into MSI as much as possible. 
if you have to install via the exe, try looking for "universal silent switch finder (ussf)" - tis free.
You can get some very strange silent switches.

Without knowing much about the app you are deploying, I could not tell you how to deploy it, or convert a legacy app to msi.  You end point software tells you it has installed because the msi thinks it has dropped its load.  it could be the way you are re/packaging the MSI.  what sort of capture/snapshot are you performing and with what software (wise/installshield/something else?).

Too many questions to ask.
Answered 06/12/2015 by: Tempril
Purple Belt

It sounds like the EXE is extracting and executing an MSI so enable MSI logging on a target (you're using VMs for testing, right?). RDP to the target and run the installation, then search the resulting log for the command line. You can then set the appropriate property values in a transform or on the command line passed to MSIExec. Revert your VM to the cledan snapshot. Add the logging switch to the command line instead of using logging policy (you can use a proper name and path for the log this way). Re-test that that all works as expected. Then use PSExec to do the same thing. Once you have all that done and you're happy, revert the VM and test with your deployment system.

Answered 06/12/2015 by: VBScab
Red Belt

Setup.iss is a file that stores a record of the steps you followed when installing the application manually. As long as the application has been written correctly by the vendor, it should work quite well.

The methodology is:
1. On a test machine, instead of running setup.exe, run setup.exe -r
2. Go through the manual install until the application is installed completely.
3. Go to the c:\windows folder and look for setup.iss - this is the default location it gets written to.
4. To test a silent install, reset your test machine or test VM to a clean state, and run the following command:  setup.exe /s /f1<absolute path>\setup.iss

The command line options for Installshield setup.exe files can be found in many places using Google, eg:
Answered 06/12/2015 by: EdT
Red Belt

>It sounds like the EXE is extracting and executing an MSI
That'll teach me to try and read posts a) too quickly and b) without my glasses! I thought you meant you'd extracted an MSI from the EXE but no: you "converted" it to an MSI - whatever 'conversion' involved. Did you mean you repackaged it or did you wrap the EXE installer in an MSI?
Answered 06/12/2015 by: VBScab
Red Belt

The .iss is essentially an answer file.  It sounds like you haven't yet created one, which could be the source of your installation issues.  

Take a look here at the InstallShield section and it should shed some light on how this should work:

Answered 06/12/2015 by: kalucas
Senior Yellow Belt

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