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Several tools are available for high-end software deployment, ranging from Microsoft Systems Management Server (SMS), for automatically rolling out applications as a network evolves, to Symantec's Ghost, for imaging and deploying entire preconfigured systems. But when network administrators need to roll out single applications on an ad hoc basis, they must regress to completely manual setup methods. Fortunately, InstallShield-based setup routines for software such as Adobe Acrobat Reader typically let you take advantage of a standard record-and-deploy automation method.

1. If the program's InstallShield-based setup package comes in a monolithic setup executable, run the executable to extract the files, then wait until InstallShield finishes the extraction and is ready to begin installation. Instead of continuing installation, press Alt+Tab to switch to the desktop (don't exit the setup window). Look through your \temp folders for the extracted source files. Copy these files to another location. Then, exit the setup program.

2. Open a console prompt in the folder that holds the extracted setup files, and enter

setup /r

(assuming the setup application is setup.exe). In some cases, you might need to use the -r option rather than /r. InstallShield will record your setup answers in a setup.iss file.

3. Perform a complete standard installation of the software. Don't use the Back button during the installation; if you make a mistake, quit and start over with Step 2.

4. During Step 2, InstallShield saved your setup answers to a setup.iss file in your Windows directory. You need to copy this file to the folder that has the extracted setup files. Put the entire set of files in a location from which you can easily access them for installation on other systems.

5. When you want to automatically install the software on another machine, open a command prompt in the folder that contains the extracted setup files and enter

setup /s

from the extracted setup folder. InstallShield will automatically perform a silent installation with the settings it finds in setup.iss.

A few InstallShield-based setup packages can't be automated with this method. These programs typically have alternative OEM deployment instructions.