I have been scripting applications way too long and can never remember how to create an ISS file. So I decided to write this article to act as my own knowledge base for future reference, and hope you will also benefit.
An ISS file is a response file or unattended installation file used for installing any application software that supports ISS. With an ISS file, the application can take advantage of features such as complete silent installation logging, and no user interaction.
This is helpful when you want to make the install silent and deploy the installation to more than 100 users using Microsoft SMS/SCCM or Altiris. It also saves time from having to repackage the application from scratch using Symantec Wise Studio or Flexera Admin Studio.
In application packaging terminology, if the application was packaged with Install Shield, you can create an ISS file to make the install silent and automated without having to repackage the application into a new MSI format. Keep in mind that Microsoft application will not use ISS because they already use MSI technology.
ISS file installation usually works with vendors like IBM, Oracle, Sun, and any InstallShield type installation setup. When you run an install by manually clicking on it and you see the InstallShield logo. Then there is a 75% chance that you can use an ISS file.
So the command line to record an installation to produce an ISS file is: setup.exe -r -f1(path\response_file_name.iss)
The command line to install with your created ISS file is: setup.exe -s -f1(path to your ISS file) -f2(path\Logfile_name).
Creating a log file is solely up to you. It is best practice to always use a log file because you can troubleshoot any errors with the installation later. Also, your helpdesk team can use it as a reference point too.
Remember, this will only work if the application setup was packaged using Install Shield. Most of the time, when there is another ISS file included with the original vendor setup files; then you can try this command to create your own ISS file. There are other commands such as setup -record (path\response_file_name) too. It all varies between using –r or -s, but you can visit the Install Shield website to find out other variations.
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