Remote Software Deployment: Just How Quiet Do You Want Me To Be?


When it comes to deploying MSI installers, it’s almost always best to use the /quiet option to ensure that the installer runs silently. Almost. There is actually more than one level of “quietness” when it comes to MSI, and there are some very rare occasions when you may want to use one of them.
Recently, while troubleshooting an installer that wasn’t being deployed properly with Admin Arsenal, I discovered one such situation. The Apple QuickTime installer version (the latest version at the time of writing) has an unusual quirk. When installed with the /quiet option it doesn’t install all of the files even though it installs fine when run normally. (Note, the installer is packaged as an .EXE file, but it’s built with MSI as can be seen when you run it with the /? option.)
While troubleshooting I decided to try installing with one of the the less quiet options, just to see what would happen. For those of you not aware, the following are all of the various options for quietness:
  • /quiet or /qn (no UI) – Completely silent
  • /passive or /qb (basic UI) – Shows only a progress dialog
  • /qr (reduced UI) – Skips all parts of the UI that ask for information
The /passive option worked in my lab. There must be a bug in the installer where it’s not properly handling the /quiet option. There are valid reasons for doing things differently during a quiet install vs. a normal install, so it seems that the QuickTime installer developers just missed some case somewhere.
Swapping /passive for /quiet was very simple within Admin Arsenal since the installer is an .EXE file. But it’s not so obvious how to change the option when installing an MSI file. To achieve the same effect you need to uncheck the quiet option and then add the replacement option in the “Other Options” box.