Help on Automatic Installations to Remote PCs

Hi guys,
At our site, I have to update 200 PCs that are all standalone POS PCs to the
eInoculateIT antivirus software from VET.
They are not connected to the domain.
What we will be doing is creating a CD for users to install the software,
sending the CD to the store, and get the user to install it.
However, no matter how easy you seem to make the instructions, things still
go wrong.
What I want to do is to learn how to create installation CDs which can:
a)autorun on insert
b)use sendkeys or something like this to answer all prompts
Basically, I want to lower user intervention to streamline the process.

Any help greatly appreciated.

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Glen A.IT Project ManagerCommented:
Sounds like you should actually be using something of a more enterprise solution, like SMS or something of the like.
Glen A.IT Project ManagerCommented:
Course AFTER saying that I see the "They are not connected to the domain." comment.  Sorry.

Are these standalone machines then?
Glen A.IT Project ManagerCommented:
You can use Software Distribution Solutions (SDS) or WinInstall to do this as well, they create 'pre-installation' snapshots of a single system, then you install your software, then they create a post-installation snapshot of the system.

What they do is create an installation package then that includes all the necessary registry changes, file additions etc.  They allow further customization as well.

They should work for you.
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Simon336697Author Commented:
AlbertaBeef, thanks for your comments.
As all the machines are not SOE, I cant really create a before and after snapshot.
I have to send the CDs out and have the users install it.
Just wanted a way to automate this when they insert the cd.
Glen A.IT Project ManagerCommented:
not sure how you'd do that.

We use WinInstall in our environment, and make one install package for WinNT, one for Win2K, etc., etc.  Generally only the o/s seems to differ in the install of the software.

Even if you have a few more configuration changes, isn't it easier to create 6 - 10 installation packages than to correct 20 or 30 incorrectly installed ones?

Just a thought . . .
Simon336697Author Commented:
I totally agree with you AlbertaBeef.
Only one problem in my case.
I have just taken on the role of POS Systems Administrator supporting 200 + PCs that are already rolled out.
Each PC is in a retail shop.
No domain setup here, so I dont have the luxury of rolling out those big changes in one go. New stores only come up on average 1-2 months. There isnt the financial investment in the IT infrastructure for that, nor is there the time to pull back every store's PC. No PC, they lose money...that's retail.
Thanks for the advice though.

If this is CA's aussie stuff they have a 'master installation' technique that could be copied to CD including a workaround for cases where the current user doesn't have rights to make registry changes. 
Simon336697Author Commented:
Thanks chicagoan.
You are also right, but Im upgrading CA's Vet  software to eInoculateI, and the client PCs would not have access to a Master server. They are all standalone boxes, and even if they did, too slow through a dialup connection.
Thanks again though.

I think you can do this on the CD as if it were a share
Glen A.IT Project ManagerCommented:
Well Simon, you could create an app in VB that could launch the install program, control the SendKeys etc., but there's always the possibility of something not working with an un-attended install.  

I don't think it's the way I'd go, there's too many unknowns and it could be more of a headache.  Is there any command line switches or configuration files you can use/create with this software for silent installs?
bbaoIT ConsultantCommented:
the following options you may consider:

Deploying Windows 2000 with Unattended Installations deploy/w2koffice/dep03.asp

Automating Windows 2000 Deployments with Sysprep planning/incremental/sysprep11.asp

Deploying and Using Remote OS Installation reskit/deploy/ccmdepl/ccmch08.asp

Windows 2000 Deployment: Building Windows 2000 Disk Images with Ghost;dcopt=ist;sz=1x1;ord=1069678913624?

Windows 2000 Deployment: Choosing the Right Deployment Tools;dcopt=ist;sz=1x1;ord=1069678911139?

please let me know if you need further help,


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Check with the software vendor--most have a "silent install" option which, similar to what was stated above, creates an answer file.  One example is Adobe Acrobat reader.  When you run the installation with the silent install switch, it creates a file with all of the answers you made.  Then you copy the acrobat installtion package to a cd along with the answer file.  You run the install and reference the answer file, and you have a non-interactive install.  Include an autorun script on the CD and you have an automated install.

I know many other programs work like this and have installed them using silent installs, such as all Adobe products (for the PC,) all Microsoft Office products, Microsoft service packs and patches, AutoDesk, Norton Anti Virus Corporate edition, etc.

Another solution would be if you have a web site or intranet, you could put the installtion program and answer file there and run remotely.  This would be good for small installs, but not large ones, such as Office.
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