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Author Topic: What Windows needs: fully streamlined application installation at setup  (Read 3118 times)
zridling
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« on: July 16, 2009, 04:05:17 PM »

There are so many things wrong with this idea, I won't start there. But here's what I have in mind. Although I no longer use Windows, all my rowdy friends do, and I get asked to be their tech support and repair guy (imagine that). But a good deal of time is spent reloading and setting up Windows on a given system for that friend, relative, their friend/roommate, et al. Win7 doesn't take long to install, but downloading, installing, registering, and then tweaking even a half dozen Windows apps after installation is a huge time sink. With most Linux distros, 95%+ of the apps you want are either installed during setup automatically, or you're allowed to click on which additional ones you want installed from the DVD. Boom, DONE! After that, I only need to grab Komodo Edit from their site and I'm truly done in 20 minutes, 30 if I'm not paying attention.So,

Wouldn't it be great if Win7 allowed users to burn their own ISOs that included their favorite software?



SUSE Studio is already doing this for Linux and it's really cool. It has so far proved quite powerful, and apart from adding packages from the regular openSUSE repositories of the latest stable release version, you can add/remove your own [software] repositories. Moreover, you can customize the artwork and share this custom distribution with the world. This video shows how to use SUSE Studio to build a custom Linux distribution based on openSUSE. All this is setup in the cloud, where it can be shared and downloaded by anyone. But for proprietary Windows application software, merely having a XML file that contains each app's registration info would likely be necessary to save the installation time I'm looking for.

It would be great not merely to install Win7, but to create a custom installation that would also install almost anything short of 8.5Gb DVD -- DC apps, your favorite file manager, graphics apps, music player, latest codecs, favorite IDE or text editor, VM, and so on. I can only imagine the:

PROS:
-- User control, less bloat, and caters to different user audiences -- beginners, advanced, or a specific industry.
-- Allow for specialized configurations (image developers, audophiles, programmers, gaming, video editing, etc.)
-- Allow users to pre-select which services Windows will enable.

CONS:
-- Possible licensing issues for proprietary software.
-- Server space (who could host such a thing short of Microsoft itself?)
-- Microsoft would find numerous legal issues against it, I'm sure.

I'm sure there's a lot to be shot down here. But I'm guided by the KISS Principle due to my unbelievably endless laziness. Could this work, though, for Windows?
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MilesAhead
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« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2009, 07:47:53 PM »

This may be a good starting point:

http://www.boot-land.net/forums/

I got a bare bones VistaPE boot disc going in the past, but I'm not heavy into it.  From what I gather there is a scripting engine for automated installs.  Once set up you would have an install DVD with the OS(be it Vista W7 XP whatever) and a bunch of applications. I don't know if there's an easy way to make this into a Techie Tool DVD as I don't know how the licenses work.  But somebody at BootLand can probably point you in the right direction.

But afa an individual setting up a disc to install the OS and a bunch of apps, if he has the install DVD, the whole slipstream disc is based on WinPE and this application install scripting engine(I forget what it's called.)

From what I understand, some people take this approach and just back up data, as opposed to making backup images of the entire partition.  Also it's seen as a method to periodically clean out the crap that accumulates in a running Windows system partition.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2009, 07:49:55 PM by MilesAhead » Logged

4wd
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« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2009, 08:01:54 PM »

But afa an individual setting up a disc to install the OS and a bunch of apps, if he has the install DVD, the whole slipstream disc is based on WinPE and this application install scripting engine(I forget what it's called.)

WinBuilder to make the actual PE discs?

Or WPI for the selection/installing of programs after OS installation?

I use WinBuilder regularly for the creation of PEs but not OS install discs because I normally strip quite a lot out, so nlite/vlite is better in my case.
I found WPI too annoying to use, (ie. it relied on some component I normally strip out of a XP OS, so it never worked properly), so I just use the RunOnceEx or ServicePack method of installing apps after the OS.

MSFN's Unattended Windows is probably the best source of information all in one place regarding automating installation of the OS and applications.

EDIT: I should note that the MSFN link above is meant for XP installs but there is so much more info available for other Windows OS' available in the forums.

Unattended 2000/XP/2003/
Unattended Vista
Unattended Win7
Silent Application Installs
« Last Edit: July 16, 2009, 08:08:43 PM by 4wd » Logged

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Jimdoria
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« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2009, 11:21:27 PM »

There's a package called Almeza Multiset that does pretty much this. I got a version from Giveaway of the Day once, but never took the time to set it up.

Quote
Want to create a WindowsXP installation disk that will automatically install the OS Windows without asking questions about username, product key, time and locale settings?

At the same time your favorite applications are automatically installed, the necessary keys are entered into the registry, drivers are updated, new patches (service packs) from Microsoft are installed. It's possible and you can do it easily with Almeza MultiSet!
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MilesAhead
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« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2009, 11:26:25 PM »

The application installer I mentioned is just that.  An application installer.  If you go to vLite forum I believe they have some scripts for it.  I don't recall the name of it but it shouldn't be that big a hunt.
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zridling
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« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2009, 11:33:02 PM »

Fantastic! This has been a great help guys. I really appreciate it.  Thmbsup
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- zaine (on Google+)
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« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2009, 11:37:20 PM »

keep us posted on how you get on (please)
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4wd
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« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2009, 06:27:16 AM »

The application installer I mentioned is just that.  An application installer.  If you go to vLite forum I believe they have some scripts for it.  I don't recall the name of it but it shouldn't be that big a hunt.

I think you mean WPI, (Windows Post Installer), there's a forum for it at MSFN along with vlite/nlite - it's the preferred way to add applications to a vlite'd Vista install.

It allows you to optionally select/install various applications or set it so it just installs them without user intervention - it runs after the Windows install.

IIRC, it comes with sample scripts for some common Windows programs, eg. uTorrent, etc.

WPI forum

@zaine: You might also want to look at RunOnceEx Creator, which can generate the cmd file for the RunOnceEx method of application installation.  This might be the easiest method because it has a database of program installations complete with required command line switches for silent installation method.

ie.
1) Run it.
2) Click the arrow next to the Add button and select Database.
3) Click the arrow next to Description in the next window and select the program you want to add.
4) It will fill out the install switches.

All you need to do is download the install package and make sure it's in the right directory with the right name ready to be called.

NOTE: This is for XP but here's a walkthrough for a similar procedure in Vista.

Installing RunOnceEx Creator may still be of help for Vista, in giving you the silent install switches for the various programs.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2009, 07:00:45 AM by 4wd » Logged

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MilesAhead
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« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2009, 12:35:58 PM »

WPI sounds right.  I kind of gave up on VistaPE when it didn't work on 64 bit.  But if you are running 32 bit I'm pretty sure they have a W7 PE type project for a bootable rescue environment, rather than a full blown installer(on the Bootland site I mean.)  That Bootland has some interesting stuff.  One of the things I liked about Linux was creating a floppy that booted the Linux installed on the HD(say for example the boot loader got hosed.) On Bootland they gave me pointers to do the same thing with a USB key and Windows. I can "boot" from the USB key and get my boot menu, then select W7 or XP and it loads it from the HD.  Pretty neat.  Not difficult to set up at all. Just like the Linux mechanism, it's particular to that machine.  Still it's an easy way to get into your system if the boot loader gets munged.

« Last Edit: July 17, 2009, 12:37:42 PM by MilesAhead » Logged

dementedmuppet
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« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2009, 01:03:05 PM »

Bart PE  is nice for XP installs
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