VanDyke Software



Using VShell® to Install Software Remotely

This tip outlines how to install or update software on remote machines that run the VanDyke Software VShell server. Remote installation can save you the time and effort of moving to each machine, and allow you to automate software installations and updates. Examples are given for the SecureCRT® client and an Adobe Flash Player update.

In order for remote software installation to work, the software package must be able to run in a silent or unattended fashion. It is common for wizard-based installers to provide command-line switches that will substitute for user interaction.

For more information on silent installation of VanDyke Software products, see the tip, Silent Installation of VanDyke Software Windows Applications.

The process for installing software on the remote machine is essentially the same for all software packages. It is only the installation command that will change for each software package depending on the silent mode flags that must be passed to the installer.

First you transfer the installer file to the remote machine. Do this by connecting to the VShell server with an SFTP client and uploading the installer to a location that can be referenced later.

Next you remote exec the installer command. In our examples we use the vsh command-line utility to connect to the server and run the remote installation command.

The following command line shows the syntax to run the SecureCRT installer:

C:\vsh.exe username@hostname C:\installers\scrt673-x86.exe /s /v"/qn"

Note: The command given above is all one line.

This command runs the SecureCRT installer in silent mode. The installer uses all default installation parameters. If your environment requires a non-default installation directory or other non-default installation parameters, then you will need to use an "answer file" as discussed in the silent installation tip above.

If you have VShell 3.6 or later running on the remote machine, it is also possible to upgrade the VShell software to the latest version using this same method. VShell 3.6 includes the ability to launch remote exec commands in the background. This functionality is required to upgrade VShell because otherwise the remote exec connection will terminate during the upgrade and cause an incomplete installation.

The remote exec command for VShell must include the "bg::" remote exec flag:

C:\>vsh username@hostname bg::"vshell-x86. /s /v"/qn""

The next example shows how to install an Adobe Flash Player update on the remote machine using msiexec. Msiexec is a Microsoft tool that allows you to install MSI packages from the command line. The first step is to download the correct MSI installer from the Flash Player distribution site:

Once the installer is downloaded and transferred to the remote machine, remote exec the installer using the same method described above. This time you will specify the msiexec tool in the remote command:

C:\vsh.exe username@hostname msiexec.exe /i C:\install_flash_player_11_active_x_32bit.msi /qn

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