Thursday, January 31, 2008

How to easily edit the username & password for unattended deployment of windows service installations that require username and a password

msi installers, love them or hate them, are in a world of their own.

One of the major problems is that it is not well documented. Neither is the method to make and run an unattended installation. Put those two things together, its always more than you've bargained for.

First, to edit the msi file, you need a msi editor. Unfortunately, the editors are not easily attainable. One is orca. To get orca, you just can't go to microsoft's website to download it. you first gotta download a large SDK, and then you can either extract orca.msi it if you're savvy enough, or you gotta install a 200meg sdk which you are not particularly interested in. Or you can download the msi package at an off a stranger's site like (fake link btw) but you get my drift. You should not have to go through this. But everyone does.

Your other solution is to go with something like Wise Installation Studio, which I think complicates the already complicated solution to what seemed like a overly simple question.

Anyway, what neither of these two pieces of software don't do well is let you specify a username and password to install a windows service for msi so that you can run an unattended installation through a GPO where no dialogues pop up for the username and password. The solution? Set a custom property with orca or wise, set the custom action, overide the install function to set the username/password, then build. Damn I'm clever. Screw Wise's overly complex solution with their buggy support for services. It might require more programming on your part, but its gonna be infinitely easier for the user.

Last tidbit today, you would think running an quiet installation of an msi package would just require just a flag like myprogram.msi /q. But nope. You have to run msiexec.exe /package myprogram.msi /q. I think /qn or /qb might work better.

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