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Automating application installs

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I have been using AutoIt to automate the installation of some standard software we install on all of our PCs and Laptops such as Adobe Reader 5.0, Winzip 8.0, etc. Basically I step through the install and run it with the keyboard and record my keystrokes and the window titles. Then I write my script using the WinWaitActive and Send commands and then I compile it into an exe and place it on the server. Is there a better way to automate the install process for applications? Just wondering how other people are doing this. Thanks for any input.

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hi, i agree with your method.

I only wonder, when you say:

record my keystrokes and the window titles

how can you record them? automatically?, without spy?

Thanks guys


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hi, i agree with your method.

I only wonder, when you say:

record my keystrokes and the window titles

how can you record them? automatically?, without spy?

You go through the install once, and as you go, write down the window titles to identify them, the controls of the buttons and fields you filled out, and the text you entered into the various controls. All this information can be discovered though use of the AutoIt Spy (well, except the text you enter, but that's not hard :D.) Then, just write a script to wait for the proper window titles, and fill out the proper controls as required.

[font="Optima"]"Standing in the rain, twisted and insane, we are holding onto nothing.Feeling every breath, holding no regrets, we're still looking out for something."[/font]Note: my projects are off-line until I can spend more time to make them compatable with syntax changes.

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I have created several scripts of which some are in my folder (http://www.autoitscript.com/fileman/users/public/ronaldvr/)

However, in the software.ini I posted there, there are also some handy silent install switches.

And on www.appdeploy.com you can find more.

For some software the silent install is not the way to go though, since their default options clutter up your dekstop, systemtray, and the default choices are not those you want. (RealPlayer and MediaPlayer are prime examples)

I have been talking with BasicOS about creating a database of silent install switches and autoit scripts, that can be used by anyone (and anyone can add a tested script and/or silent install method)

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For some software the silent install is not the way to go though, since their default options clutter up your dekstop, systemtray, and the default choices are not those you want. (RealPlayer and MediaPlayer are prime examples)

RealPlayer is just EVIL isn't it. I wish companies would stop insisting on using Real for streaming then I could get rid of it.

Icons everywhere, you have to turn off "automatic go to the internet and do god knows what" in about 5 different places, same with stupid messages that pop up telling me about stuff I don't care about. And that's the registered version - the free one must be doubly awful.

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RealPlayer is just EVIL isn't it.  I wish companies would stop insisting on using Real for streaming then I could get rid of it.

Icons everywhere, you have to turn off "automatic go to the internet and do god knows what" in about 5 different places, same with stupid messages that pop up telling me about stuff I don't care about.  And that's the registered version - the free one must be doubly awful.

Jon, check out Real Alternative (Google search, I don't have a link). It lets other players play Real's garbage. It also includes Media Player Classic which even properly handles streaming Real media (Windows Media Player 9 does not handle streaming, though it can play local Real files). Also, QuickTime Alternative is the QuickTime counterpart. I hate QuickTime almost as much as Real, so both of these components are very nice.

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Oh sorry, Valik... I didnt read your post... :huh2: Well... At least I gave a link :D

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#9 ·  Posted (edited)

Not to say that AutoIT cannot do this, but it is perhaps overly complicating the problem. Many programs, including Acrobat Reader, and perhaps the corporate edition of winzip, allow command line flags to be used to install the program with no user interaction. This is especially useful for creating a windows xp unattended installation cd, where the need only perform the slightest of input, and then let the cd install XP, and all the programs required. To find more information on the silent installation flags, check this website: http://unattended.msfn.org/xp/applications.htm

The forum link on that page contains installation flags for many more programs than those listed on that site.

Not to bash AutoIT's almost limitless functionality, another such way to install a program without a script pressing the buttons, would be to use InstallRite ( http://www.epsilonsquared.com/ ) and install it on your host computer, then choose to make an unattended install package. This method makes a simple executable that installs the program silently, or not depending on the options selected.

Edited by msb5150

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Not to bash you msd5150, but Autoiter always advice using automatic install if avaiable. But sometime they are not, also installrite cant make choice it just copies the modification done to the system by the installer. In multiple OS enviroment can give problems...

Still you are not wrong. Just Installrite and /q flag are not all the answers.

Autoit + Installrite + /q flags are. :D

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Well, Real seems to have woken up to these annoyances (See:

Wired Story) But how it worls out we'll have to see.

About the "Alternative Players" I have read quite a few people who complained that they could not play all content.

And of course if you can use autoit to have the "real" thing, without annoying stuff turned off, why not use it....

I can think of another reason why Jon is so annoyed with Real, because window spy does not work well with version 10. It seems Real have a non-standard method for their windows, and so it has been quite impossible to write a script for it.

Of course there are always different ways to go with unattended installs. But all have advantages and disadvantages. The main disadvantage of repackaging, is that it is very much dependent on the target system having a very similar setup to the source system. So you may have to take several snapshots for different systems. (Whereas an autoit script will work regardless, so reusability is higher) But in a place where systems are similar, it may be the way to go.

Silent install switches, are OK too, but some software may need a custom setup that is not attainable through changing an .ini or with a transform (MST). It is my preferred method, but as said, some packages are extremely devious.

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To find more information on the silent installation flags, check this website: http://unattended.msfn.org/xp/applications.htm

There is also this web site : http://unattended.sourceforge.net/

The guy is not really kind about AutoIt, but you can find very useful informations there.

Sometimes you can configure what your installer will do :

- Here is a useful post about Inno setups :

http://www.forums4free.net/izsoft/index.php?showtopic=9

- About InstallShield :

http://www.appdeploy.com/tips/detail.asp?id=18

- Office 2003 installation can be changed using ORK...

There is solutions to change the default feature of an installer...


Cervélo Soloist 2004 & Cervélo P3C 2007

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