MDT 2010 and Unattended Application Installs

While doing quite a bit of digging and testing with the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2010, I put 2 and 2 together and came up with a method of installing applications.

This is quite effective when you do a hybrid lite touch/zero touch deployment of Windows 7. It’s also useful when you need to install an application after the deployment of the desktop OS. The issue with this approach is that this requires a few manual steps. I’m sure they could be scripted further but this post gives you an example of how to isolate the installs in a separate task in MDT 2010.

First, let me set a test lab scenario for you.

1 machine with MDT 2010 installed and properly configured
1 client

Requirements: Whatever applications you choose to install from MDT 2010, make sure they can be deployed via a silent install or a method that won’t require manual interaction.

For my demo lab, I set up Microsoft ForeFront, and Office 2010.

Basically, all you simply have to do is add a custom task. You’ll note that the default custom task in MDT 2010 should only contain one task sequence. It just so happens the task sequence is all we need. It is “Install Applications”. How easy is that!?!

I labeled my task in MDT “Install Applications” with the comment of “Only use this step to manually isntall applications after an operating system is deployed.”

Now, add your application. For Microsoft ForeFront, in my lab environment, I used the following quiet install command: “CLIENTSETUP.EXE /NOMOM” Simple enough.

For Microsoft Office 2010, it’s a tad bit more complex. By default, you typically DO NOT need to include double quotes when dealing with paths that contain spaces. When using arguments, you DO.

I set up an MSP file using setup.exe /admin and followed amply documented instructions for creating a silent install file.

Then, the quiet install command line is:

setup.exe /config "\\server\share\MS Office 2010\Customizations\Office2010.xml" /adminfile "\\server\share\MS Office 2010 Customizations\Office2010.msp"

To follow the syntax, it’s basically setup.exe /config "\config.xml" /adminfile "\config.msp"

I won’t get any deeper into this. As I said previously, this procedure for creating and using the MSP is well documented. What is critical here is that many posts you’ll see about this is you need BOTH the /config and /adminfile switches. If you do not include both, the install will fail.

Ok, at this point, we have two apps and a task. Remember to publish and update your deployment share.

Now, how do you execute the installs?? Here’s the downside to this procedure; you need to log on to the computer where the installs need to occur. From the command line, you need to manually execute the litetouch.vbs file in the deployment share’s script folder.

In a domain with no public shares and guest accounts disabled, you MAY have to map a drive manually first.* Otherwise, just use the UNC path. I always have public shares and guest accounts disabled in my lab to mirror a production environment, so I simply mapped a drive:

net use f: \\server\share /persistent:no

I used a service account (the same one I’ll use when entering credentials for performing the installs after the script executes).

Then, simply execute the litetouch.vbs script:

cscript f:\scripts\litetouch.vbs

Voila! Now, just provide credentials, select the Install Applications task, select the application(s) and sit back and wait.

* Note: more on this in a future post. If you do this right, there’s no need to map a drive. But, you still have to run the script manually. Stay tuned for more.