ServersMSI Package Distribution Issue

MSI Package Distribution Issue

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by Dana Daugherty

Note: There are some known problems
with this approach. If it is not done properly your
installation may fail.

Dana Daugherty’s
latest article addresses several workarounds for an issue where
MSIExec may not be able to find .msi files on the package share
because the connection is closed. This is due to SMS clients
closing their connection to the SMS package share when MSIExec.exe

MSI packages rely on the MSIExec.exe file
located on client machines. While Windows Installer is a great
technology, it can’t be distributed using the standard
software distribution approach. SMS clients close their
connection to the SMS package share when MSIExec.exe begins to
execute. MSIExec may not be able to find the .msi file on the
package share because the connection is closed. You can get
more information about the MSI
distribution issue
by selecting the link.

The syntax for installing MSI packages
looks like this: MSIEXEC /I filename.msi

There are some workarounds for this issue.
They are not all available to Win 9x machines because of the
limitation of that operating system to have mapped drives
deeper than one share level.

Mapped Drives (NT/2000/XP only) – If a
drive is mapped directly to the directory. This can be done with a
wrapper script or by having all machines mapped using login
scripting or through manual means.

UNC Paths – This is the only option for
Windows 9x machines. The UNC path can be entered in the SMS
advertised program properties. Otherwise, it can be used in a
wrapper script.


What’s the Big Deal?

Why not just add the path in the advertised
Program properties? Why fool around with scripting a wrapper?
Take a look at the math:

If I must distribute a MSI package to 40
child sites, this issue would require 40 advertised programs
to be created. I would rather script a wrapper that allows me
to create 1 advertised program. The script could be used again
when another MSI package needs to be distributed. Again I
would not have to create the 40 programs for that

Here is a link to a
Installer script
that I created for the Win9x machine. The
script is designed to be added to another wrapper using the
include script action.

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