Mailbag: How to perform silent installs of Visual Studio hotfixes and service packs


Question:

I am trying to create a script that will install Visual Studio 2005 SP1 in silent mode.  I haven't been able to find any official documentation about supported command line switches, so I downloaded the SP1 setup package and ran it with the /? switch to view the usage information.  Doing that displayed a dialog with the following information:

The following options are provided in addition to the existing Windows(R) Installer command line options. For Windows Installer command line options, run "msiexec /help" to learn details.

    <update executable file name> [/Option] [Optional Parameter]
Options
    </help | /h | /?>
        Display this usage dialog box.
    </extract> [<directory>][/q | /quiet]
        Extract the .msp package to the specified directory.
    </uninstall>
        Uninstall the patch from all applicable products.

Consult Windows Installer SDK for additional documentation on the command line syntax: http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/

I see a quiet switch listed here, but it appears to be an optional parameter associated with the extract switch.  How can I perform a silent install of Visual Studio 2005 SP1?

Answer:

The information in this usage dialog is a little bit misleading.  Visual Studio 2005 SP1 (and all Visual Studio and .NET Framework update packages) support installing in silent mode by passing in the /q or /quiet flag.  That flag is not only applicable for extraction.  It can be used for installation, extraction or uninstallation, depending on what combination of other switches is passed in along with /q or /quiet.

Note: there is also a documented list of command line switches for Windows update packages at http://support.microsoft.com/kb/262841.  Visual Studio update packages do not use the same installation wrapper, but it does support some of the same switches in an effort to offer a consistent update deployment experience.

Comments (1)

  1. Christopher Painter says:

    The legality of installing the framework silently is clear as mud…

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