You can Install an application on any Windows 10 or Windows 11 device by downloading the app from Vendor’s website and then using 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 file if you just have couple of devices where you need to install the application. Let’s say you are the IT administrator of your your organization that have more than 1000 windows 10 or windows 11 devices and you have been given an application to Install on all the devices.
Can you Install this application of all 1000 devices manually by logging on to each one and then going through the application setup installation wizard ? I think its not pracical and will take forever to complete your job.
Best way to Install the application is to use any device management tool to push the application remotely and silently on all the devices. Doesn’t matter which device management tool you use, the end result should be that the application should get Installed successfully without any user Interaction and the tool should be able to provide the Inventory report of Installation Success or Failures.
There are many Device management tools available which you can use. For example: Microsoft Intune, SCCM etc. or you can even use Active directory Group policy to install an application to the target devices.
These tools are able to push an EXE or MSI application silently. But you will need to know the Silent command line Install parameters or switches first and then provide the instructions to device management tools to use silent commands to Install the application on end user deivce.
Let’s check how to find the Silent command line switches for EXE and MSI applications for Windows 10/11.
Find Silent Command line switches for any EXE application
There are many ways to find the Silent command line switches for any .exe based application. The application vendor may package the application differently, therefore you may see that the Installer sometimes comes in just one .exe file which installs the application.
Some of the application vendors provide setup.exe file along with all other supporting file in a Zip file or a Setup folder contains all setup files along with setup.exe. Setup.exe may call a windows installer to install the application.
OPTION 1 – Find Silent Install switches using In-built help wrapped in the .EXE file
There are many Silent command line switches which could work with your application’s setup.exe file. For example: /s or /q or /Silent or /VerySilent or /Unattended or / quiet. You could also run the switches with hypen (-) instead of forward slash (/). For example: -s or -q or -silent or -verysilent or -Unattended or -quiet. Which one would work with the .exe file you are creating a Silent Installation package for ?
You can run the the executable file (.exe) Installer with either /? or /h or /help to find silent command line switches / parameters. Let’s take few examples to understand a bit more:
- Example EXE file: FoxitPDFReader121_enu_Setup_Prom.exe
- Command to find Silent command line Switch: FoxitPDFReader121_enu_Setup_Prom.exe /?
A pop-up is shown after running the command which provides a detailed list of switches which can be used with FoxitPDFReader121_enu_Setup_Prom.exe Installer.
- /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.
For example: FoxitPDFReader121_enu_Setup_Prom.exe /SILENT /NORESTART will Install the application silently without rebooting the end user computers. You could add more switches to this command for additional requirements.
OPTION 2 – Find Silent Install switches using .Exe Installer Documentation
Another method to find the Silent Install switches/ parameters for any .exe based application Installer is to look into the Installation document of the application or User Manual. These documents will provide details about how the application can be installed silently from command line.
You can also find the app Installation document or User manual with the setup itself. Extract the setup files in a folder and find the documentation for the application.
You can also find the Silent command line options from the application vendor’s website as well. Sometimes, you may find a dedicated page to provide Installation instructions or sometimes you may find it in FAQs or even in Community discussions.
- For Installation of 7 Zip app silently. You can the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page on 7-zip website.
- For Notepad ++, you can refer to the Notepad++ User manual to find Silent Installation Switches. Scroll down on the page to locate Installer Options section.
Find Silent Install switches by using Universal Silent Switch Finder tool
I hope that the above methods will be able to help you find the Silent Install switches for any .exe based app. However, if you are looking for any utility or app which will help you provide this information straight away then you can also use Universal Silent Switch Filter (USSF) tool.
There is a small utility .exe based app which is designed to find the Silent command line switches for any .exe based installer. You just need to browse to the .exe file and it will provide the silent installation command.
Find Silent Command line switches for any MSI application
Its easier to work with MSI based Installer to find silent command line switches than .exe based installers. MSI installers are commonly used to Install the aplications, for application configuration, application uninstallations, software updates, patching etc. It uses Windows Installer service in the background to install the software.
All MSI based installer invoke a process to Install an application which is msiexec. you can easily find a generic list of command line parameters which you can use with any MSI based installer by using by typing
msiexec /? on the command prompt or powershell console.
You can also run the MSI application Installer with /? to find the same pop-up / list of Install Options / switches / parameters which can be used to silently install an MSI application on Windows.
For Example: To find MSI command line silent switches for Zoom app. You can open command prompt or Powershell console and run the MSI installer with
/? as shown in below screenshot. As you have seen, this is the same prompt we got when we had run the command
Therefore, to Install Zoom Application Silently. You can use below command:
msiexec /i ZoomInstallerFull.msi /qn /norestart /log install.log
- /i = Install Mode
- /qn – No User Interface (UI) with quiet mode
- /log = to create a installation log file [optional].
In this blog post, we have seen how to find silent command-line switches for any .exe based installer and any .msi based installer. You can also repackage .exe based app into .MSI based app and install it that way. There are tools available for this. However, if you are able to Install the application natively without any complex conversion that thats the best approach. Make sure to go through application vendor Installation document which provides up to date info on silent Installation instructions.