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SMS Installer Process

Because SMS Installer creates installation scripts, SMS Installer-generated executable files produce scripted installations. SMS Installer uses installation scripts to control the installation process. These installation scripts contain script commands that each perform a single action. These actions can be based on sophisticated conditions that are robust and flexible. Scripted installations make installing software both easy and less prone to error. Installation scripts can move files to the correct directories, prompt the user for information, give the user messages, and set registry keys and other values. You can specify which actions are performed by SMS Installer installation scripts. SMS Installer scripts can perform the following installation steps:

  • Gather information from users

  • Gather information about the current system

  • Search for files

  • Install and delete files

  • Update .ini files and the registry

SMS Installer contains two user interfaces: Installation Expert and Script Editor.

Installation Expert

Use Installation Expert to automatically create a basic installation script on a reference computer, then use Script Editor to customize the script and add user prompts and other attributes.

Script Editor

Use Script Editor to view and edit an installation script generated by the Installation Expert, and then add user prompts or other attributes to your script. You can also use the script editor to create new installation packages.

SMS Installer also includes the options that are shown in Table 7.1.

Table 7.1 SMS Installer Options

Option

Description

Repackage Installation Wizard

A tool that replaces existing setup files with a customized script that you create by running the existing setup program and by creating a script from the changes that were made to the system during setup

Watch Application Wizard

A tool that creates a customized installation file for an application by noting the files that are used when you run the application and by creating a script from them

Compile

A program to create the self-executing file

Test

A program that tests the installation executable file without actually installing any files

Run

A program that runs the installation program on the reference computer

Compile as Windows Installer Package

A program to create Windows Installer (.msi) packages

Run as Windows Installer Package

A program that runs the Windows Installer (.msi) package

Uninstall Windows Installer Package

A program that uninstalls the Windows installer (.msi) package, if it is installed

The first time you start SMS Installer, Installation Expert opens. To switch between Installation Expert and Script Editor, click Script Editor or Installation Expert on the View menu. The user interface displayed at the end of your session appears the next time you start SMS Installer.

To create an SMS Installer-generated executable file

  1. Set up a reference computer on which you want to run the wizards to create the script.

    • If you are using the Repackage Installation Wizard to replace an existing setup program, the reference computer must be configured with exactly the minimum configuration that you require for your target computers.

    • If you are using the Watch Application Wizard to create a new setup program, there are no particular configuration requirements for your reference computer.

  2. Use one of the wizards to create an installation script, and then edit and complete the script in Script Editor.

    You can also create the script entirely within Script Editor. Compile the installation script and files to create the compressed executable file, and then test the script by installing the files on a test computer.

    If you prefer to keep the existing setup program but want to add a script that executes it, you can create a wrapper script by using Script Editor.

  3. Distribute the SMS Installer-generated executable file by using the following methods:

    • Distribute it automatically by using software distribution

    • Copy it onto a series of floppy disks

    • Copy it onto a CD

    • Post it to the Internet or a bulletin board system

For More Information

Did you find this information useful? Please send your suggestions and comments about the documentation to smsdocs@microsoft.com.

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