Find Silent Install Switches of any EXE or MSI

You can install an application on any Windows 10 or Windows 11 device by downloading the app from the vendor’s website. Then, use either the .exe or .msi file to launch the installer and go through the wizard to install the application.

This method of installation will work fine if you only have a couple of devices where you need to install the application. However, if you are the IT administrator of an organization with more than 1000 Windows 10 or Windows 11 devices and you have been tasked with installing an application on all the devices, this approach may be impractical.

Can you install this application on all 1000 devices manually by logging into each one and then going through the application setup installation wizard? I think it’s not practical and will take forever to complete your job.

The best way to install the application is to utilize a device management tool to remotely and silently deploy the application to all devices. Regardless of the specific device management tool chosen, the ultimate goal is for the application to be installed successfully without any user interaction. Additionally, the tool should be capable of generating an inventory report detailing the success or failure of the installation process.

There are many device management tools available that you can use, for example, Microsoft Intune, SCCM, etc. Alternatively, you can even use Active Directory Group Policy to install an application on the target devices.

These tools are capable of silently deploying an EXE or MSI application. However, you will need to be familiar with the Silent command-line install parameters or switches. Subsequently, you must provide instructions to the device management tools to utilize these silent commands for installing the application on end-user devices.

Let’s explore how to discover the silent command-line switches for EXE and MSI applications on Windows 10/11.

1. Discovering Silent Command-Line Switches for any EXE

There are various methods to identify silent command-line switches for any .exe-based application. The application vendor may package the application differently, and you might observe that the installer sometimes comes as a single .exe file, responsible for installing the application.

Some application vendors provide a setup.exe file along with all other supporting files in a Zip file or a Setup folder that contains all setup files, including setup.exe. The setup.exe file may initiate a Windows Installer to install the application.

Method 1 – Utilize Built-in Help Encapsulated within the EXE

Any of the silent command-line switches listed below could be compatible with your application’s setup.exe file. For example:

  • /s
  • /q
  • /Silent
  • /VerySilent
  • /Unattended
  • /quiet

Alternatively, you can also use hyphens (-) instead of forward slashes (/), For Example:

  • -s
  • -q
  • -silent
  • -verysilent
  • -Unattended
  • -quiet

The choice depends on the specific silent installation package you are creating with the .exe file. To Find out the Silent command line switches/parameters of any exe file, Execute the Application’s .exe file with below switches:

  • /?
  • /h
  • /help


  • Command to find silent command-line switch: FoxitPDFReader121_enu_Setup_Prom.exe /?

After running the command, a pop-up appears, presenting a detailed list of switches that can be used with the FoxitPDFReader121_enu_Setup_Prom.exe installer. Some of the important parameters of this EXE Application are listed below:

  • /Help or /? – For finding help or optional command line parameters.
  • /SILENT or /VERYSILENT – Silent Installation parameters of this application.
  • /NORESTART – Do not restart the computer after Installation.

Example: Install Foxit PDF Reader Silently

FoxitPDFReader121_enu_Setup_Prom.exe /SILENT /NORESTART
Method 1 - Utilize Built-in Help Encapsulated within the EXE
Method 1 – Utilize Built-in Help Encapsulated within the EXE

Method 2 – Use Application Installer EXE Documentation

Another method to find silent install switches/parameters for any .exe-based application installer is to refer to the installation document of the application or user manual. These documents will provide details on how the application can be installed silently from the command line.

You can also locate the application’s installation document or user manual within the setup itself. Extract the setup files into a folder and locate the documentation for the application.

Alternatively, you can also discover silent command-line options on the application vendor’s website. At times, you may find a dedicated page with installation instructions, or you might encounter this information in FAQs or community discussions.

For Example:

  • For Notepad++, you can refer to the Notepad++ User Manual to find silent installation switches. Scroll down on the page to locate the ‘Installer Options‘ section.
Method  2 - Use Application Installer EXE Documentation
Method 2 – Use Application Installer EXE Documentation

Method 3 – Use Universal Silent Switch Finder Tool

I hope the above methods will assist you in finding the silent install switches for any .exe-based app. However, if you are seeking a utility or app that can provide this information more conveniently, you can also use the Universal Silent Switch Filter (USSF) tool.

There is a small utility, a .exe-based app designed to find silent command-line switches for any .exe-based installer. Simply browse to the .exe file, and it will provide the silent installation command.

Method 3 - Use Universal Silent Switch Finder Tool
Method 3 – Use Universal Silent Switch Finder Tool

2. Discovering Silent Command-Line Switches for any MSI

It’s generally easier to work with MSI-based installers when finding silent command-line switches compared to .exe-based installers. MSI installers are commonly used for application installations, configurations, uninstallations, software updates, patching, etc. They leverage the Windows Installer service in the background to facilitate software installation.

All MSI-based installers invoke a process for installing an application, which is ‘msiexec‘. You can easily access a generic list of command-line parameters applicable to any MSI-based installer by typing msiexec /? in the command prompt or PowerShell console.

2. Discovering Silent Command-Line Switches for any MSI
2. Discovering Silent Command-Line Switches for any MSI

You can also execute the MSI application installer with ‘/?‘ to prompt the display of a pop-up/list of installation options/switches/parameters. This provides the information needed for silently installing an MSI application on Windows.

For example, To find MSI command-line silent switches for the Zoom app, open the command prompt or PowerShell console and run the MSI installer with ‘/?’ as shown in the screenshot below. As you can see, this is the same prompt we received when running the command msiexec /?.

  • /i = Install Mode
  • /qn – No User Interface (UI) with quiet mode
  • /log = to create an installation log file [optional].
2. Discovering Silent Command-Line Switches for any MSI
2. Discovering Silent Command-Line Switches for any MSI

Example: Install Zoom App Silently

msiexec /i ZoomInstallerFull.msi /qn /norestart /log install.log


In this blog post, we explored how to discover silent command-line switches for both .exe and .msi-based installers. Additionally, you have the option to repackage a .exe-based application into a .msi format for installation.

Several tools are available for this purpose. However, if you can install the application natively without complex conversion, that is the preferred approach. Always consult the application vendor’s installation document for up-to-date information on silent installation instructions.

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