How to silently install MSDN to a non-default location

I got a question from a customer who is trying to use the instructions in this blog post to perform a silent installation of VS 2005 and MSDN.  They ran into a problem where MSDN installation failed, and tracked it down to an issue where the C drive on the machine did not have enough available disk space to install all of the help content.  Setup was silently failing because it was being run in silent mode, and the customer had to rerun MSDN setup with verbose logging (using the steps here) to figure out why it rolled back.  Once the customer figured this out, they noticed that if MSDN setup is run with full UI, they could change the path in the UI and install successfully.  So the next question logical question was how to modify the silent install command line parameters to allow MSDN to install to a non-default path.  After digging through the verbose log file, the MSDN MSI, and finally talking to a developer I know on the MSDN setup team, here is a command line that can be used to install MSDN setup silently to a non-default path:

setup.exe MSDN_QTR.3643236F_FC70_11D3_A536_0090278A1BB8=”MyPath” /qn
In this command line, MyPath can point to any non-default location – for example d:\Program Files\MSDN\.  The path does need to be quoted in this command line.  Also note that if you want to, you can change /qn to /qb to cause a small progress dialog to appear during MSDN setup.


Comments (6)

  1. Daniel says:

    try "/qb-!" then no cancel-Button is shown…

  2. FREEMANJ says:

    Is is possible to pass ADDLOCAL properties through with this command

  3. Hi Daniel – thank you for this suggestion. You are right, you can use any of the supported msiexec.exe command line parameters, such as /qb-! if you want to show a small progress dialog but not show a cancel button during install.

    Hi FREEMANJ – I have not officially tried this yet but I believe it is possible to pass ADDLOCAL command line parameters through to the MSI in this command line. The MSDN_QTR item listed above is one of the features in the MSI. You would have to open up the MSI in a tool such as Orca to view the list of features. You could also turn on verbose MSI logging and perform a normal UI-based install of MSDN and then look at the command line listed in the verbose MSI log file to determine what features were enabled based on your selection in the setup UI.

    Please contact me at if you have any trouble getting this to work.

  4. This guide is intended to serve as a collection of links to articles, tools, tips and tricks that explain…

  5. Francis Favorini says:

    To get a Minimum MSDN install I set SCOPEDINSTALL=1. Not sure if this is the official way (other possibilities are INSTALLATION_TYPE=Scoped or INSTALLLEVEL=1). Note: I installed MSDN 2006-May after VS 2005. Also, Minimum is not small (mine was 890 MB), it just "installs a subset of the MSDN Library based on the features you have chosen during your Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 installation."

  6. This guide is intended to serve as a collection of links to articles, tools, tips and tricks that explain

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