Last Friday, we had our lunch and learn on software extraction. One awesome benefit of these events are the tricks and tools we introduce to each other. Focus 25 IT admins on a single topic and you’ll have no choice but to learn something cool. The coolest thing I learned came from reader Kei Bi. When I first saw it, I couldn’t wait to share it with you!
The Problem with EXE Silent Switches
Most applications aren’t exactly standardized. Any silent switches that the EXE might support are dependent upon the packaging technology (ex: InstallShield) and the vendor. In our training, we spent a good bit of time talking about the different switches that might make an application install silently.
The issue with the above method is that you have to remember a bunch of useless information just to get your application to deploy. In the past, I’ve used two excellent websites to find installer switches: AppDeploy (now ITNinja) and Unattended Installers. While I prefer MSI deployments, sometimes you are stuck deploying an EXE. Finding silent switches for these apps can be time consuming. Like most things in IT, there is a better solution.
The Ultimate Silent Switch Finder (USSF)
First, grab USSF from our tools page. It is a standalone EXE within a ZIP so you will want to extract the contents. After launching USSF, select the “>” symbol next to File and browse to a setup file. I was working on a new deployment for a DYMO label maker and browsed to its setup file.
As you can see in the screenshot below, the DYMO setup is a NSIS package and it uses a /S for a silent switch.
I tried out a new application (Camtasia Studio). It turned out to be a Wise Installer than uses a /s for a silent install. Fun fact – these switches can be case sensitive!
Next, I tried out an InstallShield package. In the screenshot below, the /v”/qb” line indicates than an MSI is inside that EXE. We know this because /qb is an MSIEXEC command for a quiet+basic install.
I did run across one custom packaged EXE. Because it was a custom app, USSF couldn’t find a silent parameter. Hopefully, you won’t have too many custom apps like this. Overall, this tool should save you a good bit of time! Thanks again to Kei Bi for bringing it to my attention.