Reviewing Methods Of Automatically Unattended Installing Windows And A
Set Of Software

Reviewing Methods Of Automatically Unattended Installing Windows And A Set Of Software



Reviewing methods of​ automatically(unattended) installing Windows and a​ set of​ software.
Nobody likes to​ install and configure software,​ everyone likes to​ use it,​ work with it,​ install all kinds of​ add-ons,​ plug-ins,​ skins .​
That is,​ customize software,​ make it​ suit their tastes and preferences .​
This process is​ routine,​ uninteresting,​ takes time and effort and so there are very few people who like to​ do it​ again and again .​
But sometimes you​ have to​ do it,​ for example,​ after your operating system crashes or​ you​ have a​ hard disk failure .​
Everything starts from the​ beginning: operating system installation,​ driver installation,​ service pack installation,​ software installation,​ then comes tuning the​ operating system,​ software configuration and localization,​ entering registration data (in commercial software).. .​
It is​ okay if​ you​ have all software at​ hand on​ disks and you​ have to​ install it​ only on​ one computer .​
But then you​ will have to​ do the​ entire configuration manually anyway .​
And what if​ you​ have no distribution packages or​ your registration keys are lost? you​ will have to​ contact the​ developer's support service .​
That is​ when you​ are in​ for some nervous work involving searching for the​ necessary software and restoring the​ working environment you​ had before .​
The following question emerges: how to​ automate it? in​ practice,​ there are only three ways to​ solve the​ problem of​ automatic Windows and software installation (www.almeza.com/content/view/115/117/).
* Use the​ standard automatic installation features for each program separately (silent installation keys)
* Write a​ script for automatic installation.
* Create a​ bootable disk for installing Windows and other software .​
Let us take each method and tools implementing it​ in​ detail.
1 .​
Standard software tools .​
Using silent installation keys (silent keys).
A lot of​ installers allow you​ to​ automatically install software using special keys (command line parameters) .​
The user does not need to​ do anything in​ this case .​
All values will be set to​ their defaults .​
Every installer has its own set of​ such keys.
Examples.
InstallShield: /s setup.exe /s
Windows Installer: /qn REBOOT=ReallySuppress setup.msi /qn REBOOT=ReallySuppress
Inno Setup: /VERYSILENT setup.exe /VERYSILENT
Pluses:
+ high installation speed without user attendance
Minuses:
* the​ user has to​ know for sure which installer and key are used during the​ software installation.
* some installers do not support silent installation .​
2 .​
Writing a​ script for automatic installation.
Special programming languages (scripting languages) are used to​ write scripts .​
The most popular is​ AutoIt .​
Its main purpose is​ automating work with the​ Windows graphical interface.
AutoIt can:
* Run Windows and DOS programs
* Simulate keystrokes and their combinations
* Simulate mouse moves and clicks
* Move,​ resize windows and control their parameters
* Directly interact with window control elements (get/modify a​ caption,​ move,​ disable windows and so on)
* Work with the​ clipboard controlling its text contents
* Read,​ modify and create registry keys and values
AutoIt includes a​ script interpreter and compiler .​
If you​ write and debug your own script,​ you​ can easily convert it​ into a​ regular exe file that already runs as​ a​ standalone file.
Pluses:
* writing flexible scripts
* creating a​ standalone exe file
Minuses:
- having to​ learn the​ scripting language and the​ Windows operating system.
3 .​
Creating an​ automatic Windows and software installation disk.
There are special program for creating an​ automatic Windows and software installation disk .​
The most well-known ones are nLite and MultiSet
nLite .​
The program can create a​ bootable disk with the​ following operating systems: Windows 2000/XP/2003 .​
It also allows you​ to​ integrate some service packs and,​ if​ necessary,​ remove some components from the​ operating system (Media Player,​ Internet Explorer,​ Outlook Express,​ MSN Explorer,​ Messenger,​ etc.) .​
As a​ result,​ you​ get the​ ISO image of​ a​ bootable disk with Windows.
Pluses:
* freeware
* create a​ bootable Windows disk
Minuses:
- impossible to​ automatically install any custom software
MultiSet – the​ program for creating bootable disks for the​ automatic installation of​ Windows and sets of​ software (www.almeza.com/content/view/58/72/) .​
As a​ result,​ you​ get bootable disks of​ three types:
* Automatic Windows installation (www.almeza.com/content/view/92/105/)
* Automatic software installation
* Automatic Windows and software installation .​
Since MultiSet can run disks of​ any types with parameters,​ the​ two above methods can be easily integrated in​ it​ (using silent keys and executing a​ written script from AutoIt) .​
Advantage MultiSet:
* Automatic Windows installation .​
It is​ possible to​ create a​ CD/DVD for the​ automatic installation of​ the​ Windows operating system on​ any computer .​
The operating system can be installed in​ any mode: repairing Windows (installing above the​ current version of​ the​ operating system) or​ reinstalling it​ completely.
* Automatic installation of​ any software .​
It is​ possible to​ create a​ CD/DVD that will automatically install any sets of​ software on​ multiple computers .​
For example,​ after Windows is​ installed,​ it​ is​ possible to​ install service packs,​ drivers,​ localizations,​ any software (codecs,​ audio players,​ service tools...) and configure them automatically as​ well.
* Creating a​ bootable disk for simultaneous unattended Windows and software installation .​
It is​ possible to​ create a​ disk that will install both Windows and a​ set of​ software.
* Automatically restoring software settings and tuning Windows .​
It is​ possible to​ automatically restore software and Windows settings .​
It is​ possible to​ restore registry keys,​ run special tools.
* Remote automatic installation .​
It is​ possible to​ automatically install sets of​ software via the​ local area network (www.almeza.com/content/view/59/73/) .​
The necessary software will be automatically installed on​ any number of​ computers connected to​ the​ local area network .​
MultiSet already studied at​ University!
The Academy of​ Modern Information Technologies has created a​ special course dealing with unattended Windows and software installation .​
The aim of​ the​ course is​ to​ provide students with theoretical and practical skills allowing them to​ create a​ bootable Windows distribution package that will be automatically installed on​ a​ PC with maximum number of​ drivers and software without the​ user's attendance .​
The MultiSet software is​ studied within this course .​
This program is​ a​ leader in​ the​ field of​ automating unattended software installation .​
Upon completing the​ course,​ students will get enough knowledge to​ create a​ completely automatic Windows distribution package that will be installed on​ a​ personal computer without a​ single mouse click and then automatically install all drivers (these drivers work for 95% of​ personal computers) and automatically install all software necessary for this or​ that computer .​
MultiSet became the​ de facto standard in​ this field long ago that is​ why educational institutions choose this product.
Pluses:
+ creating a​ bootable disk with Windows and a​ set of​ software
Minuses:
- impossible to​ enhance a​ created script
Summary.
All methods,​ and the​ above programs in​ particular,​ serve the​ same purpose – create a​ bootable disk for the​ automatic Windows and software installation .​
But they do it​ differently .​
nLite and SetupStudio are tailored towards the​ modification of​ the​ Windows distribution package,​ i.e .​
the integration of​ service packs and patches into it .​
As to​ the​ automatic installation of​ other software,​ it​ is​ done easily – the​ user has to​ either use silent keys or​ specify the​ approximate installation algorithm based on​ the​ one the​ program offers .​
MultiSet placed the​ emphasis on​ the​ automatic installation of​ any software together with Windows making it​ possible to​ use silent keys and automatic configuration.
The programs can complement each other: a​ script written in​ AutoIt can be easily executed in​ MultiSet,​ an​ nLite disk can automatically install sets of​ software from MultiSet.
Download the​ 30-day free version of​ the​ program: Automate system deployment (www.almeza.com/download/multiset.exe)
Almeza MultiSet (www.almeza.com/): Reinstalling Windows without any data loss




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