answer file/install shield

Posted on 2000-01-28
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-12-28
I did this a few years ago, but now I can't remember how.

Programs that are installed using Install shield are capable of having an answer file created and replayed for installation purposes. Does anyone know the switches for these? I know there are other ways to script, but this is the one I want.
Question by:jg733
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Expert Comment

ID: 2404941
JG, there are several versions of InstallShield, however the later ones that were used with various versions of Windows 9X including Win98, can rely on scripts that you mentioned or they can rely upon an INF file (your reference to an answer file), largely depending upon what is being installed, software alone as opposed to software and hardware.

MS has released its Batch98 which can be used to create INF files, and there are a number of modified versions of the MS INF creator/installer that can be used.

Here are a couple of resources that will help you:


Now choose the Automated Installations button.

At this URL, you will find additional tools you may find useful.


If you need more, just let me know!


Author Comment

ID: 2407101
Well, thats not exactly what I meant. That seems to be more for the installation of the OS itself. What I realy wanted is the switches that can be used with Install Shield. I am not packaging with Install shield, I just want to tweak what a third party has already packaged. I have packaging options, it just seems easier this way.

The ONLY documentation I have seen on these switches came with an Adobe Acrobat 3.0 CD (In a help file) . It was not included in the download documentation. Unfortuately, I can't find the CD.

Dennis, maybe its there on the link, but I didn't see it.

Expert Comment

ID: 2410041
Here's a long comment but it explains how to do it with Groupwise.  This should also work for you.

Silent Installation of GroupWise 5 32-bit Client

A normal (non-silent) installation receives the necessary input from the user in the form of responses to dialog boxes. A "silent" or unassisted installation takes place completely behind the scenes; it doesn't display any user interface, so there is no need for a user to monitor the installation and provide input via dialog boxes.

The installation program for the GroupWise Win95 client, SETUP.EXE, was written with InstallShield3, a C-like, object-oriented programming language. Using the proper startup switch, 32-bit install programs written in InstallShield can be run in silent mode if you provide the proper values and returns for the installation choices in a script or "response file." A response file is a plain text file, so you can create it in Microsoft Notepad or any other text editor. A response file contains the information similar to that which an end user would enter as responses to dialog boxes when running a normal InstallShield3 installation. InstallShield Silent reads the necessary input from the response file at run time.

The format of response files resembles that of an .INI file, but response files must have .ISS extensions and must contain a silent header section, an application header section, a dialog sequence section, and a dialog data section. The response file you create must be named SETUP.ISS and saved in the same directory as the *.INS file for setup. For GroupWise 5, this directory is the Win32 directory found in the software distribution directory.

NOTE: Although you can create the SETUP.ISS file manually, you can also have InstallShield create it by running the GroupWise SETUP.EXE using the -r option (e.g., ..\client\win32\setup.exe -r). This causes InstallShield to write all your selections into a SETUP.ISS for you. It will write the file to the [windows] directory. I.E. c:\winnt

After you have created the installation and the response file, you are ready to run a test of the installation in silent mode. When running an installation in silent mode, be aware that no messages are displayed. Instead, a log file named SETUP.LOG captures installation information, including whether the installation was successful. You can review the log file and determine the result of the installation. The default location of the log file is the directory where the installation's .INS file resides. To verify if a silent installation succeeded, look at the ResultCode value in the [ResponseResult] section of SETUP.LOG. If the value is 0, the installation succeeded. If the value is -1, the installation failed.

After you verify the validity of your *.ISS file, users can run GroupWise Setup in silent mode by setting up a shortcut pointing to <software distribution directory>\CLIENT\WIN32\SETUP.EXE as the target and including the -s command line switch to run in silent mode. This launches the client setup and tries to load SETUP.INS and SETUP.ISS (the response file) from the same directory. The log file SETUP.LOG is created in the same directory.

Users can specify a different name and location for the SETUP.LOG using the -f1 and -f2 switches with SETUP.EXE. The -f1 switch specifies the alternate location and name of the response file (.ISS file) .
        setup -s -f1 c:\install\gwwin32\alternat.iss

The -f2 switch specifies the alternate location and name of the log file (by default, SETUP.LOG log file is created and stored in the same directory as that of SETUP.EXE).
        setup -s -f2 c:\install\gwwin32\alternat.log

Do not leave a space between command line switches and options.command line switches/options are not case sensitive.

For more information on running InstallShield in silent mode, please consult InstallShield's web page at http://www.installshield.com

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Accepted Solution

dew_associates earned 480 total points
ID: 2414402
JG, that's okay, I should probably been a little clearer in my post, I thought you had done this before. Installshield has a few setup switches which I'll post for you. O our people had a list of them over in the lab and they appear below.

As a side note though, the reason I provided the INF data as I did is that INF and INI files can and are used with Installshield on a routine basis as part of a detection and installation process. I posted the URL's etc you provide you with examples as to use.

Following is the list of command line parameters that can be used with Setup.exe. These switches are optional, but note that either a slash (/) or a dash (-) must precede the command line parameters.

 Runs setup in debug mode. The -d switch also includes a <pathonly> option for specifying the path of the Setup.rul file. For more information, refer to the Visual Debugger help file.
 Specifies an alternate compiled script. Unless the compiled script (.ins file) also resides in the same directory as that of Setup.exe, the full path to the compiled script must be specified. _setup.dll must also reside in the same directory as your .ins file. For example, setup -ftest.ins will launch setup using Test.ins instead of Setup.ins.
 Specifies an alternate location and name of the response file (.iss file). If this option is used when running InstallShield Silent, the response file is read from the folder/file specified by<path\ResponseFile>. If this option is used along with the -r option, the response file is written to the folder/file specified by<path\ResponseFile>. If an alternate compiled script is specified using the -f switch, the -f1 switch entry must follow the -f switch entry.
 Specifies an alternate location and name of the log file created by InstallShield Silent. By default, Setup.log log file is created and stored in the same directory as that of Setup.ins. If an alternate compiled script is specified using the -f switch, the -f2 switch entry must follow the -f switch entry.
 Causes Setup.exe to generate a Management Information Format (.mif) file automatically at the end of the setup. Do not include a path - the .mif file is always placed in the Windows folder. <filename> is optional. If you do not specify a filename, the resulting file will be called Status.mif.
-m1<serial number>
 Tells setup to place the indicated serial number in the created .mif file.
-m2<locale string>
 Tells setup to place the indicated locale in the .mif file. English (ENU) is the default; refer to Microsoft documentation for a complete listing of locale strings.
 Causes Setup.exe automatically to generate a silent setup file (.iss file), which is a record of the setup input, in the Windows folder.
 Runs InstallShield Silent to execute a silent setup.
 Prevents a network connection and Setup.exe from closing before the setup is complete. This switch works with setups originating from a Windows NT server over a network. Please note that SMS must be uppercase; this is a case-sensitive switch.
 Prevents Setup.exe from checking the available memory during initialization. This switch is necessary when running a setup on a machine with more than 256 MB of memory; if it is not used, Setup.exe reports insufficient memory and exits.


Please note the following:

Setup.exe command line parameters are not case sensitive; upper case or lower case letters can be used.
Separate multiple command line switches with a space, but do not put a space inside a command line switch (for example, /r /fInstall.ins is valid, but not /r/f Install.ins).
When using long path and filename expressions with switches, enclose the expressions in double quotation marks. The enclosing double quotes tell the operating system that spaces within the quotation marks are not to be treated as command line delimiters.


Additional Information
User-defined command line arguments can also be used in InstallShield 5.x Professional. These command line arguments are copied to the system variable CMDLINE at run time. User defined command line arguments must be specified before specifying any predefined Setup options. Like predefined command line switches, you can pass these arguments directly to Setup.exe, place them in Setup.ini, or (for testing purposes while you are using the InstallShield IDE) place them in the Setup Settings dialog box.

Note: Along with the command line switches listed above, -c, -e, -q, -t, -x, and -zi are command line switches reserved by InstallShield. User redefinition of these command line switches, both upper- and lowercase, can cause errors.

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Expert Comment

ID: 2414422
By the way, I have no idea why "Davy" posted the way he did as his answer is, by far, not an answer!

Expert Comment

ID: 2416962
to dew_associates: didn't sleep well last night?  My answer could be better but it clearly explains how to do it with an example and it contains a link to the site where jg733 can find more information (this way he learns to use the internet).

I normally don't post answers but in this case I think that my answer should be enough for jg733 to be able to do what he wants.  

I'll let him decide by withdrawing my answer.

(I slept well last night ;-)

Author Comment

ID: 2419481
I consider myself fairly adept at the internet. I spent a considerable amount of time searching the installshield site for the switches before I posted here. I kept coming up with a "novell client installation" and basically got nowhere.

Dennis, the -r & -s switches are the ones I needed. Thanks a bunch, your saving me a considerable amount of time.
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Expert Comment

ID: 2420244
Anytime my friend! If you need more, bookmark this Q and come back here.

Expert Comment

ID: 2434862
I still don't understand why my answer wasn't helpfull??  

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