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Installing ActiveSync over a Network in unattended (silent) mode

CESD-S-0030

Applies To:

  • Microsoft ActiveSync 3.x

Overview:

Microsoft ActiveSync's default installation routine cannot be run without user intervention. You can use a command line script and a network share to install ActiveSync onto client workstations without requiring intervention.

You can use SMS server SP3 or above to roll out ActiveSync onto workstations. More information on this can be found on MSDN. This guide covers how to roll out ActiveSync without SMS.


How-to Guide:

Unattended mode setup for ActiveSync 3.x allows system administrators to roll out customised installations of ActiveSync in their environment with a minimum level of interaction.

  • This allows you to:
  • Install ActiveSync using a single command
  • Install a new instance of ActiveSync or Upgrade from a previous version
  • Use a configuration file to predefine settings

If you wish to install ActiveSync in unattended (silent) mode, using the default installer options skip to the 'Preparing setup files' section.

Creating a Settings file

The configuration file should be named Silent.ini. Below is a sample configuration file.

[ActiveSync]
InstallDir = %ProgramFilesDir%\Microsoft ActiveSync
UsePreviousPort = 1
CommPort =
ResetRasServerPorts = 1
DesktopIcon = 1
Reboot = 1

InstallDir:

Specifies the location to install ActiveSync. Valid options are:

  • %ProgramFilesDir% - Specifies the Program Files Folder on the same drive as the Operating System
  • %SystemDrive% - Specifies the root of the drive the Operating System is installed on (e.g. c:\)
  • Path - Allows you to specify a static path to install ActiveSync to e.g. e:\program files\activesync. This option allows for no differences in desktop installations

The default Installation folder is %ProgramFilesDir%\Microsoft ActiveSync

UsePreviousPort:

Specifies if ActiveSync should anchor to the last used COM port on the computer. If upgrading ActiveSync, this option is ignored. The default value is '1'

CommPort:

Specifies which COM port to scan for the presence of a Windows CE Mobile device. If 'UsePreviousPort' is set to '1' this option is ignored. If upgrading ActiveSync this option is ignored. By default this value is not set.

ResetRasServerPorts:

Resets the RAS COM port list under Windows. It is recommended that you allow this to happen. The default value is '1'

DesktopIcon:

Specifies whether the installer should add a shortcut icon to the desktop. The default value is '1'

Reboot:

This option either allows ActiveSync setup to reboot the computer (if required) or refuses it. The default value is '1' allowing a reboot. If you set this value to '0' ActiveSync may not work until the system is rebooted. Not all systems require a reboot after installation.

Preparing the setup files

The file you download from the Microsoft website is an installation package and does not accept the ActiveSync Silent mode installation options. If you wish to customise the installation you must inflate the setup files from the package. To do this:

Place the MSASYNC.EXE file on the root of C:\

Open a command prompt and type the following

c:
cd\
MSASYNC.exe /T:C:\ASFILES /C

 

The ActiveSync files will be inflated into C:\ASFILES

Setting up the server-side installation folder

The simplest way to do this is to copy the C:\ASFILES directory over to the host system and run the customised installation command.

If you wish to perform a silent mode setup using all of the default settings you need to run the following command against the setup.exe file in the ASFILES folder:

Setup.exe silent

If you have created a silent.ini file, use the following to have setup.exe run with your customisations:

Setup.exe "silent.ini"
-or-
Setup.exe "\\Server\Share\silent.ini"

To make the process more seamless, we recommend that you perform the entire process, bar the execution of the scripting file from the server.

To do this. Create a share on your distribution server and place the contents of the ASFILES folder in it as well as the silent.ini

The most seamless method for running the process is to map a network drive to the distribution server share. You can automate this by creating a .cmd or .bat script file containing the following script.

net use Z: \\server\share /PERSISTENT:NO
Z:
CD\
setup.exe "silent.ini"
net use Z: /delete /yes

The above file maps a new Network Drive to Z:, browses to the installation drive and executes the ActiveSync setup.exe with a custom script which is present on the same Network Drive. It then disconnects the Network Drive.
You need to replace "\\server\share with the UNC path to your distribution point. If you need to use a different drive letter, replace all instances of Z: with that of your required drive letter.

Alternatively you could burn the contents of ASFILES and the silent.ini to a CD and run the process from the CD.