Automation tools / ideas ?

dachishdachish Registered User regular
Does anyone out there know any good software for automating installs? I have an application I need to install on about 200 machines and that is very time consuming and will take away valuable time from my other duties.
The application requires 1) installing 2) configuring the tool with some basic information such a server address and such in about 3 menus 3) Running the update tool.
The last time I did something like this was when Office 2007 came out and people who still had 2003 needed the compatibility patch to be able to read 2007 files. I simply made a text files with the PC names of all our PCs, then ran psexec (from the pstools suite) and had it go down the list, download the small file from out network location, and then install passively. All the user had to do in the end was hit "ok" when it finished. That saved me from having to install this about 400 times and I was very pleased.

We have an application called MS System Center or some such but I have no experience with it and am not sure it can do what I need. I am going to research that later.
I've found a couple of tools that let me 'record' installs much like photoshop records actions, and that would be ideal, except none of them seem to be able to record my steps after the install.

Any ideas folks?
Thanks so much.

My heart it ceases, my breath undrawn.
Eyes forever focused, on the sanguine, metal dawn.
dachish on

Posts

  • GrimReaperGrimReaper Registered User regular
    edited April 2008
    Is it on a domain network?

    If so - Install using an MSI and group policy

    GrimReaper on
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  • MonoxideMonoxide Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited April 2008
    If it's not on a domain or there are additional parts you want to automate, you could use AutoIt

    It's a pretty simple scripting language made to automate Windows tasks. I've set up installs with it before that I couldn't configure via group policy or deploy with zenworks and chained together others that I could.

    There's examples in the documentation and on their forums that should get you started, and once you're finished you can compile the script to an EXE so there's no requirements on the client machines.

    Monoxide on
  • ArcticMonkeyArcticMonkey Registered User
    edited April 2008
    You could duplicate the effects of configuring the tool. 99% of windows programs store configuration data in a config/ini file or in the registry. Finding out what registry data or files change after you have configured the program is not hard (googling registry monitor should doo it). Then copy that file/registry info to all machines with mass deployment of a batch file. This would require that the config on different machines are close enough that making some macro to write all the config files takes an acceptable amount of time though.

    ArcticMonkey on
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  • dachishdachish Registered User regular
    edited April 2008
    Thanks for the suggestions folks. I'm going try these options out when I'm off work and see if I can make any progress. AutoIT looks like I might have to dedicate a little time to it. GP would be ideal if it was on a domain. I think the registry method might be ideal but I'll have to try that out a bit first. The machines are mostly new and are from the same image so they should be pretty similar. Though on the new machines I don't even need to install the app, as the app is in the image, I just need to config.

    dachish on
    My heart it ceases, my breath undrawn.
    Eyes forever focused, on the sanguine, metal dawn.
  • bigwahbigwah Registered User regular
    edited April 2008
    I'd like to second AutoIt, I've used it numerous times and even recently.

    bigwah on
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  • dachishdachish Registered User regular
    edited April 2008
    Wow, there is a lot to Autoit. I'm pretty sure it will do what I want, but if I can figure out how to do it in the time I need is another story =)

    dachish on
    My heart it ceases, my breath undrawn.
    Eyes forever focused, on the sanguine, metal dawn.
  • steeefsteeef Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    dachish wrote: »
    We have an application called MS System Center or some such but I have no experience with it and am not sure it can do what I need. I am going to research that later.
    Do you mean Systems Management Services? This is what you should be using to manage all your computers, ultimately. It won't help you create an installer necessarily, but it will help you distribute it to all your machines. I run an Active Directory with around 100 machines, and it's helped managing them a lot easier.

    steeef on
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  • bigwahbigwah Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    dachish wrote: »
    Wow, there is a lot to Autoit. I'm pretty sure it will do what I want, but if I can figure out how to do it in the time I need is another story =)

    If you need help with a specific thing, just shoot me a pm

    bigwah on
    LoL Tribunal:
    "Was cursing, in broken english at his team, and at our team. made fun of dead family members and mentioned he had sex with a dog."
    "Hope he dies tbh but a ban would do."
  • MonoxideMonoxide Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited May 2008
    AutoIt is easier than it looks. You're basically just passing it the name of the window and feeding it keypresses. Just make sure no one touches the damn machines while the script is executing.

    Monoxide on
  • dachishdachish Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Steeeeeeeeeef - yes, that is the application I mean. I've not messed with it at all, as we just got it, and I really don't do that sort of stuff yet. I'm on the helpdesk (and trying like mad to get off of it!); the sysadmins normally do that stuff. But I'd like to get ahold of it and learn it.

    Bigwah - awesome, thanks. You might regret that offer soon though! =p So far I'm doing okay though.

    Mono - it's gotten a little easier already...it just threw so much info at me at first that it felt overwhelming. I'm having a good time messing with it.

    dachish on
    My heart it ceases, my breath undrawn.
    Eyes forever focused, on the sanguine, metal dawn.
  • bigwahbigwah Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Monoxide wrote: »
    AutoIt is easier than it looks. You're basically just passing it the name of the window and feeding it keypresses. Just make sure no one touches the damn machines while the script is executing.

    You can lock the keyboard+mouse (except Ctrl+Alt+Del), but when you do this you cant use Alt to access menus (ie alt+f for File), but instead you can use mouse clicks, just make sure the window is always in the same position and the same resolution is used (for simplicity's sake).

    bigwah on
    LoL Tribunal:
    "Was cursing, in broken english at his team, and at our team. made fun of dead family members and mentioned he had sex with a dog."
    "Hope he dies tbh but a ban would do."
  • steeefsteeef Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Check http://www.appdeploy.com. This is where I found a lot of tips for creating automated installs, as well as how to work around issues with particular programs. There are a few programs they mention a lot that cost money, but there are also free utilities out there that will do the same thing. I know for a fact that InstallShield has an SMS version that's free as long as you use it with SMS. It's not available from their site anymore, but it's out there.

    steeef on
    steeef.png
  • steeefsteeef Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    bigwah wrote: »
    Monoxide wrote: »
    AutoIt is easier than it looks. You're basically just passing it the name of the window and feeding it keypresses. Just make sure no one touches the damn machines while the script is executing.

    You can lock the keyboard+mouse (except Ctrl+Alt+Del), but when you do this you cant use Alt to access menus (ie alt+f for File), but instead you can use mouse clicks, just make sure the window is always in the same position and the same resolution is used (for simplicity's sake).

    Basically, if the workstation is locked, Windows doesn't allow any keyboard/mouse interaction. AutoIt and other macro lanugages can't do much when this happens, though they can still do batch stuff, like running programs or setting registry keys.

    steeef on
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