Deploying Desktop Connector 14.9.0 (with Autodesk 2022)
We’re in the midst of our Autodesk 2022 Product rollout, on our Parallax machines, and this coming week i am taking my first trip in 15 months, to fully deploy/update a Client’s office, in Atlanta (road trip!). Needless to say, we had prepped all of our software packages over a week ago, including Desktop Connector 14.8.0 (which renamed from BIM360 to Autodesk Docs, since we last updated at 14.0, so we wanted to rip than band-aid off and get it done).
Imagine my surprise (on Friday) when i saw David Baldacchino’s tweet, about the installer not having a silent flag for automation (thanks for the heads up, David!). Evidently, version 14.9.0 was released last week, and I had missed it. And, as David points out in his tweet, the installer (while its named the exact same thing as 14.8.0’s) is an entirely different animal:
Note that the _Versions suffix on these installers are not there when you download them. I put those on ours, for version tracking on the installers. These are ALL named DesktopConnector-x64.exe when they are downloaded (a massive source of frustration for me, with application installers). You’ll notice the new one is much larger than 14.8.0 (which isn’t an issue, but worth noting), but more importantly: When you run it, it doesn’t install DC right away: It unpacks to C:\Autodesk, unlike the old DC installer:
Within the unpacked Folder named (take a breath) Autodesk_Desktop_Connector_14_9_0_1430_Win_64bit, youll see a structure that very closely represents the new 2021/2022 Deployment Structure, its just not “configured” as a Deployment, itself.
The GOOD news is, it is all Relatively pathed, so you can move this folder to your server, and name it something not stupid. We relocated and named ours the DC126.96.36.1990 directory you see a few images above.
With the “new installer” setups, you CAN run them silently even if they don’t have a full on Deployment config, by engaging the Setup.exe found in the folder, and passing it the arguments:
Setup.exe -i install -q
Note that some of the other “standalones” like the Navis Exporters, it seems like you want to pass -o as an argument (to accept the EULA) but that doesn’t seem necessary here. It might not be on the Exporters either, but we did.
Note: Here is where things get a little sideways, with this new Installer and using this method: They get angry, if Desktop Connector is currently installed and running (sigh). This is pet peeve number 02, on this installer. If you have to give yourself an oil change, make sure you turned your own car off, before pulling the drain plug.
You have two options for handing this, it seems (our samples are shown as Pragmatic Praxis Deployment Definitions Files, but you can do the same with SCCM / PDQ / MDT / BAT / PS1 / Whatever):
The first is to leverage Taskkill /F /IM DesktopConnector.Applications.Tray.exe to shut down the instance of DC that is currently running. This will let the 14.9.0 installer “run over” the old one, and install the new one. Its not pretty, but it gets you there.
The second option, is to uninstall all the Desktop Connector version that’s currently installed, first.
This brings me to pet peeve number 03, of other peoples installers: Installed Version of the program, vs the GUID: All of the Desktop Connectors are named “Autodesk Desktop Connector” even though they are different versions, and have different GUID’s. This means you would have to iterate through all of the Uninstallers.
What’s more, if Desktop Connector IS installed, obviously only one of those GUID’s will be correct for your machine. In our environment, this means the rest of the “uninstallers” would throw an error that the GUID doesn’t match, which is not awesome. This is why I am always happy to see Programs that register themselves as the specific versions they are installed as.
All that to say: We are going with the Taskkill method, and the Silent Installer relocated to the network.
It didn’t/doesn’t take a Herculean effort to make this work (and its functional) but it was a bit of a detour, two exits before the destination. So, just be aware that between 14.8.0 and 14.9.0 the method for silent deployment has to change. If you are having users simply download and Install, it wont be an issue (although the dialogues and process are slightly different).