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Deploying MS Visual Studio via ZEN



September 19, 2008 1:34 pm





A few years ago we published this OPEN CALL, and just today we received an additional suggestion.

Question: Has anyone used ZfD3.2 to deploy MS Visual We need to install this to close to 100 student computers. At the moment we do it one at a time as I could not get ZfD to complete the Snapshot process.


Kris Sulzberger

I’ve been deploying .Net for a couple of semesters now. Microsoft Visual Studio .NET offers an administrator mode setup that you can use to perform silent installation and deployment to a client computer. So I simply copied the contents of the 4 CD’s to the network, then reference the setup.exe file in an application object as well as the unattended file. The object is set to run as an unsecure system user and it’s worked fine for me.

Keep in mind, there is also the Windows Component Update disc that comes with .Net. This will need to be applied if you don’t have the particular items it installs already on your student machines. With the WCU disc, I was able to make a regular snapshot of the changes it makes and so for the complete .Net deployment, the WCU snapshot runs, then the .Net snapshot. Check the ReadMe file on Disc 1 (I believe) for some notes on copying the CD’s to the network. MS Knowledgebase article 812820 should get you through making the INI file.

If you have any questions you may contact Kris at

Andre Sumara

Snapshot might not be the best solution for a huge application like Visual Studio. MSI/unattended/scripted installation is more suitable.

We distributed an earlier version of Visual Studio (not .net) using an AutoIT script ( which is run from an application object. You can use it to record any keystrokes or mouseclicks required to install the software, and you can lock the keyboard and mouse during installation to keep students from interfering.

Justin Reynolds NEW

Here is what I did…

  1. Download the latest version from Microsoft. You need to download the entire DVD.
  2. Extract the program files from the ISO to your server, and place each program into its own folder
    Example: Visual C++ Express = \\server\volume\applications\VSExpress\VCExpress
  3. In ConsoleOne, create a new non-msi app and do not point it to anything.
  4. Under Run Options – Application, select “Path to File”
    • Path = C:\Windows\System32\msiexec.exe
    • Parameters = /i “\\server\volume\Applications\VSExpress\VCExpress\vs_setup.msi” VSEXTUI=1 ADDLOCAL=ALL
    • REBOOT=ReallySuppress /qn
    • Working Directory = \\server\volume\Applications\VSExpress\VCExpress
  5. Under Run Options – Environment
    I selected Secure System User and Unchecked “Clean up network resources” so the user has no interactivity to the installation
  6. Under Distribution Options – BITS Settings
    I selected “Background High” to give it priority
  7. Under Common – File Rights
    I added the directory listed above
  8. Under Common – Reporting
    I have it logging Distribution Success and Failure to my Log directory

Note: If anyone changes the default path of “My Documents” to a root of a server volume, they must change it back to default otherwise it will create folders on the root of the volume that other users won’t be able to access and the program will fail to load. It does work if you have it pointed to a drive letter that points directly to the user directory on the server, just as long as they have one.

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Disclaimer: This content is not supported by Micro Focus. It was contributed by a community member and is published "as is." It seems to have worked for at least one person, and might work for you. But please be sure to test it thoroughly before using it in a production environment.

1 Comment

  1. By:Anonymous

    Why using a simple application object instead of a proper native MSI application object? Saves you at least from having issues when you chain different application packages together.