Throwing the White Flag



  • I need help with MDT deployments, more specifically with deploying applications. For some reason I keep getting errors, the only deployment that I have working is with Office 2016 and that one is much more complicated!
    I have .MSIs' that should be extremely straight forward to install! They silent install for me when I enter the same darn command that's in MDT!
    example... In MDT I'm installing an MSI from a remote server (our file server, Hyper-v, Server 2012 R2, It's hosted on the same network as the install I'm making), so I use \server-location-file\store\software\Trend_micro\Trend.msi /qn
    Doing that in command prompt works just fine, though MDT doesn't like that! MDT installs while booted in the OS, so I fail to see why it can't do that simple command... That's just one example, the other is adobe reader DCs silent install .msi and the last one is BlueBeam Vu.

    There are several other programs, but I'm trying to get the free ones working.
    OH I did get AutoCAD working again, so there's that...which again is nowhere near as complicated as these simple MSIs' I'm trying to get to silent install.
    Ugh. Can anybody help?



  • Just a thought but do you have to use MDT?

    Have you considered a program like PDQ Deploy?



  • I don't have any experience with MDT either.

    Perhaps just build an image by hand and clone it with Clonezilla.



  • @DustinB3403 Hmmmm I've never heard of that, time to google!
    I might have to use MDT, we've already invested so much time into it. Though it has been a pain in the rear...I'd welcome anything more intuitive and convenient.



  • PDQ Deploy will definitely fit the bill. If you need it do to more complicated installs, then their paid version is very
    reasonably priced!



  • @Dashrender It's not that simple unfortunately, we have TONS of different programs that go to various people. Installing a slew of programs silently and without touching is what we want.



  • @dafyre Well what defines complicated in this case? We just flat install Windows 10 Enterprise and deploy applications to a new machine, which at most will be three machines that I work on at a time (maximum amount I mean, but regardless).



  • So you are spending time building install scripts for each person in the company.. man that sucks!

    If you can go by department instead, you could still build a single image per department.



  • @kamidon said:

    @dafyre Well what defines complicated in this case? We just flat install Windows 10 Enterprise and deploy applications to a new machine, which at most will be three machines that I work on at a time (maximum amount I mean, but regardless).

    The Paid version of PDQ Deploy would allow you to do installations that require custom settings that you can get to if you do a silent install.

    I'd say use it and see what apps you can do with the free version. I bet most of them you can.



  • @Dashrender Naaah MDT isn't like that... You check the box next to which program you want to install on a given machine. I'm a rookie with MDT basically....well at least with remotely installing applications from an NFS share on a separate server.

    Will PDQ Deploy deploy operating systems as well? Does it support PXE booting?



  • @kamidon said:

    @Dashrender Naaah MDT isn't like that... You check the box next to which program you want to install on a given machine. I'm a rookie with MDT basically....well at least with remotely installing applications from an NFS share on a separate server.

    Will PDQ Deploy deploy operating systems as well? Does it support PXE booting?

    Sadly, no. PDQ is only for Apps.



  • It's interesting, in my readings about MDT it seems mostly for use to make images following a standard process that was repeatable. I.e. you setup MDT, create a machine from the process, then image that machine and deploy the image.

    Of course, your way of using it works too, just must slower. But needed because all of your machines are snowflakes.



  • @Dashrender Well that would be wonderful if that was an option, we don't have a standardized specific machine that everyone in the office uses. There are Latitudes, Precisions, Dimensions, Micro form factor machines (for the receptionist and light users), older machines that we're slowly fasing out, Surface Pro 2, 3 and now 4s. So needless to say, drivers would probably be a major issue if we went with a one or even a few imaging system. Though there are very clear environments where that would and does succeed enormously.
    MDT isn't slow at all actually, it takes less than a minute to start the process, though spending hours on something I know little about does certainly lower my morale haha. Information on installing from a DFS share is sparse, it seems most people have the applications on the server thus making things a lot easier I suppose. Not all machines are snowflakes, it's just that in our business, people have a preference for what they like to use... Some designers like AutoSprink while others (vastly most) prefer AutoCAD. Some like HASS (very few since it's incredibly dated), but others prefer other calculating program. Some up north need Navisworks Manage....others don't...a few need the gigantic Revit, others don't. I'm just trying to get the basics to install, then from there I can focus on the bigger, more specific programs to install.



  • The reason I recommended PDQ Deploy is you just do a base image, and then build installer packages for each system or snowflake that you have.

    x gets applications 1 2 3
    b gets .... 4 8 5 and 9

    etc etc.

    Then you just push it via pdq to the computers IP adress



  • You can put most if not all drivers into the base image, when the image boots after the sysprep /generalize the system will scan the hardware and load the drivers from the driver repo you install into the image
    This won't solve your different software packages, but it would the driver issues.



  • @DustinB3403 @Dashrender
    Those are really good ideas, thanks! I'm definitely curious about PDQ Deploy, maybe someday I'll actually be able to try it.... (81 tickets just in my name at the moment)



  • @dafyre said:

    PDQ Deploy will definitely fit the bill. If you need it do to more complicated installs, then their paid version is very
    reasonably priced!

    I only do very small batches at a time (one and two at a go) - how would this compare to something like Ninite? I guess the advantage would be that I can include a whole bunch of other software that ninite doesn't do. Anything other than that?



  • @MattSpeller said:

    @dafyre said:

    PDQ Deploy will definitely fit the bill. If you need it do to more complicated installs, then their paid version is very
    reasonably priced!

    I only do very small batches at a time (one and two at a go) - how would this compare to something like Ninite? I guess the advantage would be that I can include a whole bunch of other software that ninite doesn't do. Anything other than that?

    AFAIK, Ninite does not work remotely like PDQ Deploy, does it?



  • I actually found out what my issue was, apparently you have to call msiexec first.
    so msiexec /i <program.msi> /qn /norestart(only if there is typically a restart involved, like an antivirus program)
    Yaaaaaaaay! lol.



  • @kamidon said:

    I actually found out what my issue was, apparently you have to call msiexec first.
    so msiexec /i <program.msi> /qn /norestart(only if there is typically a restart involved, like an antivirus program)
    Yaaaaaaaay! lol.

    I suppose that makes sense - if the system path can't fine the msiexec.exe you need to tell the system where it is. And if it's not a path problem, the system is in a state that can't use the associated feature, therefore it doesn't know that MSI's are excuted using MSIExec.exe, so you have to explicitly state that.

    We learned something, yeah!



  • @Dashrender What's weird though is I've gotten them to work here and there despite using msiexec. BUT then I changed some things around (added spaces....spaces make life hell but I wanted to see if I had to use " " around the path or not...utter failure, upon changing things back....I broke the installs)

    But yeah, I'm happy 🙂
    Now I just need to add what I've figured out to the other programs, which a few auto-activate lol, testing will have to be live.
    Ugh then I have to make more deployments for our Autodesk products, which actually isn't that bad..