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How to Create an Unattended Addon for nLite

Overview

To do this, you'l have to understand what a "switch" is, in the context of executing a program. It's probably helpful if you understand basically how to use the Windows command prompt too. If you do understand what a "switch" is, then just go to the process below.

A switch for a program is an instruction to get it to run in a slightly different way. Specifically, we're looking to tell the installer program to install the program silently, that is, without asking us anything (just installing it in the default location, with the default options.

As an experiment, download the installer for Firefox, and rename it "installfirefox.exe" for simplicity. Now, if you double-click on it, you'll see a menu come up telling you about the EULA, asking you where you want to install it, etc. But, if you open up the command prompt (type "cmd" without the quotes into the Run box), and use the cd command to navigate to the folder in which you downloaded the installation program, you'll find you can run it in a different way. Instead of just typing installfirefox.exe to run the program (try it, by the way), you can type:

installfirefox.exe -ms

The above will cause nothing to come up on screen, but Firefox will install itself without opening any windows or asking you any questions.

The Process

  1. Download the .exe to install your program, and name it without any spaces, like "firefox3.0.exe".
  2. Create a folder (anywhere, just call it "temp" or something), and create a subfolder in that folder called "svcpack".
  3. Put the downloaded .exe into the "svcpack" folder.
  4. Create a file called "ENTRIES_Firefox.ini" (obviously changing the name of the program as relevant), and put it in the "temp" folder.
  5. Copy the .ini file from below, change the entries in the top section as relevant, and change the bottom line to include the switch necessary for the program to install silently.
  6. Put the .ini file, and the "svcpack" folder (including, obviously, the program installation file) into a .zip file, and that's it. Make sure you don't include the "temp" folder in the zip file.
  7. You're done!

The .ini File

[general]
builddate=16/07/2008
description=Firefox
language=English
version=3.0.1
website=http://www.mozilla.com/

[EditFile]
I386\SVCPACK.INF,SetupHotfixesToRun,AddProgram

[AddProgram]
Firefox3.exe -ms

How do I find what the Switch is for a particular program?

Google it. Yep, this is the best way to do it. Typing "silent switch for firefox" will be your best port of call.

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