Installing Java using Transforms – To MST or Not to MST


Do you really need a Java MST?
Do you really need a Java MST?

There was a bit of discussion after my earlier post about installing Java 1.6 update 25. The question came up about TRANSFORMS with Java. Users have reported that using the provided sp1033.mst from Java (Oracle) was taking up to 5 mins longer to do an installation.

I took a look inside the sp1033.mst and there is very little that I would change (and by very little I mean nothing at all). Most of the changes come in the profile section, which can be set during installation with an MSI parameter (/SYSTRAY=0 /JAVAUPDATE=0, etc.). That being said, I’m not really sure what the value is to even calling the MST. It seems to me that only using the actual msi and data1.cab are just fine. The defaults from Java are installed, and you can overwrite quite abit with MSI parameters if you feel the need. I haven’t seen any negative effects from only copying the data1.cab and MSI and using those for your installation.

If you find that you need to make some custom registry changes you can do so in a batch file or if you are using PDQ Deploy Pro, you can have multiple actions in your installers. These actions can be commands or other installers. Choose command. Here’s an example of making a reg add/change with an action in PDQ Deploy Pro.

Action 1 is the installation (calling the MSI):

install java update 25 silently

Action 2 is a reg change:

reg key change during java install

Unless you know what each column in the MST is, I would recommend against making changes. Unfortunately I’ve not been able to find any published info from Oracle on the subject of the JRE provided MST’s.

One thing that I have discovered is that change is constant at Oracle. MSI profiles (parameters) are deprecated from earlier versions of Java (for instance IEXPLORER=1 MOZILLA=1). Registry paths are changed, so if you blanket use a reg value from an earlier installation script for Java you may create that key, but it won’t be doing what you think it is.

Lesson? BE WARY of using parameters from earlier versions of Java updates. They have changed from update 22 to 23 and 24 to 25.

Lastly, I’ve learned that very few forums are buzzing about Java update 25 right now. I get the distinct impression that there are many sys admins who are simply waiting on pushing it out.

On the discussion that using the provided sp1033.mst is taking longer; that may well be the case though I wasn’t able to replicate that behavior in our lab. My Java installations using PDQ Deploy consistently came in around 1 minute (sometimes faster). Still, if you’re not changing any values in the MST I don’t see a need to even include it during the push. Just be certain that your msi and data1.cab file are ready for pushing and you should be OK.

If you have experience with the Java 1.6 update 25 MST and you feel confident that it’s valuable to make changes (that can’t be made during installation via paramters) then PLEASE shoot us the MST and let us know what changes you made. We’d love to see what can be done to make this a clean install for folks.