Automated Software Installs on NT and Permission IssuesKeywords: Automated Software Installs NT Permission Issues autologon runasuser service
Question:Forgive the general nature of this question:
Having just found out that our tool of "choice" does NOT support overnight/off-hours\logged-out software distribution, does Winbatch provide for this functionality at all?
For example, I'd like to be able to execute a setup.exe on a NT 4.0 pc in the NT domain even with the user(s)logged out.
NetInstall is probably not in our budget(SMS neither)
Answer:The big issue with running software install programs while nobody is logged on to a WinNT system, as opposed to simply replaying a "snapshot" of a software installation, is that not all software installation programs can run silently. Some of them require a desktop environment to interact with. When nobody is logged on to a WinNT system you can have a program "hang" if it tries to access the desktop.
One possible solution to this problem is to have a WinBatch script that determines that the WinNT system is idle and which then reboots the system after enabling the administrative autologon feature. The end result is that the WinNT system gets rebooted and then logged in with an administrative account that can then perform any software installations. If you write another WinBatch script to serve as a wrapper around the software install/setup program that you want to run you can guarantee that the installation will run to completion w/o any user input being required. Access to the desktop can be "disabled" for interactive users by having another WinBatch script keep on launching a screen saver (marquee is good to use) with RunWait() such that every time the screen saver terminates it gets run again. This will stop the average user from interfering with your software distribution process. Once the desired software installations are done your master WinBatch script can disable the autologon feature and reboot the system so that it comes back up and waits for a user to logon. You might need at least one reboot while the autologon feature is enabled so that the WinNT system can reboot and logon as an administrative user to complete any post-installation tasks that need to be performed.
I've implemented some scripts that use this method before for a project that I was contracted to work on. I know that it does work and gives you complete 100% control over the software distribution process during the off-hours. However, you need to be prepared to develop about 4 to 6 WinBatch scripts to control the WinNT environment as well as additional scripts to automate the various software installation programs.
Article ID: W14614Filename: Automated Software Installs on NT and Permission Issues.txt