How To: Create and test an .msi or .exe software distribution package

Version 12

    Verified Product Versions

    Endpoint Manager 9.6Endpoint Manager 2016.xEndpoint Manager 2017.xEndpoint Manager 2018.x

    Overview

     

    This document outlines how to successfully create and test a .msi and .exe software distribution package. For the purpose of this document we will be discussing a silent install method.

     

    Important sections of a distribution package

     

    PackageSections.PNG

     

    Package information

     

    This is where you will select the exe/msi and give a description for the package.

     

    Install/Uninstall options

     

    This is where you will put the required switches for a silent install.

     

    For msi packages the switches for a silent install are standard and if there are no special requirements for the package you can typically leave the Install/Uninstall options at the default. You can also find out the default msi switches using command prompt by navigating to the location of the msi and calling it with a /?. Example below

    msioptions.PNG

     

    For exe packages the switches vary from vendor to vendor and typically a Google search will reveal the correct switches for a silent install. You can also try to call the exe with the /? switch, however in my experience a lot do not show the switches and just go to the install. In those cases using Google or contacting the vendor may be required. Example of an exe that gives switches below.

    Exeswitches.PNG

     

    Additional files

     

    Some installations require more than just the main exe/msi to complete successfully. This section is where you can add those additional required files. Deployments like Office use the functionality of additional files.

     

    Accounts

     

    This is where you can change the account that installs the package. By default all packages are created to be run by the system account and in most cases this is the best practice. However there are some applications that require being installed by the user profile that will be using the software. I do not have any known examples but I have seen applications that have to be installed on the user profile versus the computer itself.

     

    Testing packages

     

    Important: If you cannot manually install the software using the switches you have configured, then the Ivanti EPM install will also fail. It is vital that you fully test your software configuration manually before building the package in Ivanti EPM.

     

    The most common issue is that the correct switches for a silent install were not used in the package creation. You can test this by calling the exe/msi manually with the switches you have in the package and see if it installs without prompting for any user interaction. Example below.

    TestPackage.PNG

    If there are any prompts visible you will need to continue working with the switches to get a completely silent install.

     

    Once you have the correct switches and information in place it is now time to test. I recommend testing on a handful of machines you have access to in order to troubleshoot if needed. Pushing it out to a limited amount of machines you have full access to will avoid any widespread issues with the package.

     

    If the install fails please see the following documentation.

    - How to troubleshoot Software Distribution