unattended install of applications

Dear All,

I have to install several MSI applications (some well known apps and some less so) on several machines (100+) machines. More applications will be added to the machines in due course also.

I obviously want to install the applications silently/unattended.
To be clear I do not want to change the core MSIs at all - only that I always want to choose a specific set of options that are prompted for during a normal (GUI) install - ie selecting a "full install" rather than "typical", specify an IP addrees when prompted for etc.

From reading through several sites including this one I am unclear the actual process or the best way to do this. Please can someone help either
- guide me through the basic process/steps of what i need to do
- or provide me with reference links
- or any other suggestions
(various articles talk about Orca and transforms - but I am new to this and do not know how to create a transform)

(For old applications I used to use setup.exe /r to create a response file and feed them into a silent install. This is exactly what I need to do with MSi.)

I am new to application deployment so please bear with me if this question is trivial.
I have read through much of the newbie information on this site but have not found quite what I am looking for.

many thanks in advance,

0 Comments   [ + ] Show comments

Answers (7)

Posted by: Francoisracine 13 years ago
Third Degree Blue Belt
1. Do you have a sand box to test?
2. If you go to the packages section, you will find a lot of software and ways to deploy them.
3. http://support.microsoft.com/kb/314881/en-us
4. Go to the web site of the manufacturer and look to silent setup, unattend setup quiet setup, etc... I am suggesting you to download orka from Microsoft web site this will help you to explore the MSI and find the useful properties.
5. Ask the manufacturers about the way they are suggesting to install unattended their software. And do not believe them when they are saying it is not possible :) Frequently the guy on the other side do not know it is possible.
6. Check if the licence you have will have an unattended setup. With Record now, we had problem to automate it but after discussion with the manufacturer we found the premium edition was making the automation possible. We had similar problem with Dreamweaver and Adobe CS2.
7. Test Test and retest. I would say around 80-90% of the softwares are easily installable unattend. The others will need more works.
8. Consider buying wise.
Posted by: jmcfadyen 13 years ago
5th Degree Black Belt
can i reiterate the point Francois made.

8. Consider buying wise.

This is something that will make your life considerably easier. There are other products out there but in my opinion non of them are anywhere near the product wise is. This is definately not immediately apparent on initial evaluations of other products.

If you are repackaging / packaging for mass deployment its the tool of choice.
Posted by: Tone 13 years ago
Second Degree Blue Belt
There are other products out there but in my opinion non of them are anywhere near the product wise is. This is definately not immediately apparent on initial evaluations of other products.

If you are repackaging / packaging for mass deployment its the tool of choice.

Would you like to qualify that as I really see no functional difference between wise and installshield eval\licensed products..

You get what you evaluate.. except you need to recompile your wise setups..
Posted by: jmcfadyen 13 years ago
5th Degree Black Belt
ok sure.

capture an application which has a number of directories beneath prog files.

for example

c:\program files\test1\test2\test3\file.exe

you will see Wise reference the folder name like this


installshield will reference it like this.

[program files]test1\test2\test3\file.exe

the first is correct the latter is not.

reasons for this are:

a) if you capture a dll which went to [test3] for example then decided that was a mistake and wanted to move it say to [test2]

if the dll was registered in its original location wise would reference it like above installshield would be the other.

so now you move the file if there was any registry pointing to [program files]test1\test2\test3 it would remain pointing to that location, this means that effectively Installshield does not make use of the dymanic folder structures created with windows installer.

This in my opinion is enough to be concerned about but there is considerably more evidence as it being inferior to wise.

b) Wise compiles com registry data with its associated assembly or dll.

installshield dumps all the COM into a component called HKCR_Registry or something like that and then marks it NEVER to be uninstalled.

As such you can remove an assembly without removing the COM. this can cause all sorts of weird issues.

Shall I continue ? ok lets keep going..

c) Installshield does not offer an interface for scripting (wait for me here) it does not offer a scripting interface which is useful at packaging time. It does however offer a scripting tool for installation time. There is a considerable difference.

A scriptable packaging interface means that you can catch errors from your packaging team before they make the mistakes.

d) Wise conflict manager is far superior to installshield.

reasons are Wise keep a track of all files for all applications and make a list of all of those files with relative reference to all other packages. This allows you to swap assemblies / dll's between packages with little effort.

installshield does not offer this

e) Wise Creates a feature structure for captured packages which support both feature level and component level healing.

Installshield creates a single feature. To see why this is an issue lookup feature level healing i documented it once when i was bored but dunno where I put it.

f) perhaps this is my lack of ability but I did not find a way to make installshield access the process lists it can generate when you only want to perform a simple capture. This makes the tool quite poor from a team based perspective if your in a repackaging environment. In the past I developed custom tools to get around this but why should I have too.

g) Installshield support that stupid ISScript for idiots who dont know how to use the MSI tables making enterprise deployment more difficult than it needs to be. (if your a developer its great however)

are you bored yet ?

I could go on but I think you will get the picture.

Both of them create MSI's which cosmetically look exactly the same.

But I am sure if I gave you a ferarri and put in an engine from a mini you would think they look the same but the performance is another thing.

The both make msi's one does a rough job one does a reasonable job. There is a massive price difference but that is for a reason.

Believe me if your repackaging the cost in purchase will be paid back 10 fold.

ps i have no affiliation to Wise whatsoever I just use the product I believe to be the best product.
Posted by: jmcfadyen 13 years ago
5th Degree Black Belt

the plus's for IS.

it has cool interface for CA's.
you dont need to recompile like you say.
Posted by: Sguilly 13 years ago
Senior Yellow Belt
Well said John, all very good points :)
Posted by: jmcfadyen 13 years ago
5th Degree Black Belt
thank you its just a pet hate i have how so many people say installshield is a better product when it is not.

its has a nice interface and thats about it..

you get what you pay for.

as the saying goes pay peanuts and you get monkeys.
Rating comments in this legacy AppDeploy message board thread won't reorder them,
so that the conversation will remain readable.
This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site and/or clicking the "Accept" button you are providing consent Quest Software and its affiliates do NOT sell the Personal Data you provide to us either when you register on our websites or when you do business with us. For more information about our Privacy Policy and our data protection efforts, please visit GDPR-HQ