ConfigMgr Lab - Adding Ninite Apps

So you have a Personal ConfigMgr lab, but you want to add some app deployments to better simulate your actual environment.  So you add Chrome, Reader, and a couple others (NOT JAVA).  Next Month, they are out of date.  You probably don’t have time to keep your personal lab app deployments updated, so you keep deploying old versions.  How about, you leverage ninite.com’s ability to dynamically install the latest version of the app every time?  Now you're asking, "Isn't the command line version that supports silent install cost money?"  Yes, yes, it does, to use ninite’s silent install, you need the Pro version.  What, you don't want to pay for pro when it’s your personal lab?  I hear you.  Powershell to the rescue!  It doesn’t make it completely silent, but it will allow you to automate it to work with the ConfigMgr App Model during OSD and Post OSD.

If you're not familiar with Ninite.com, it's pretty awesome.  I've been using it for years, when I get a new computer, or just want to make sure my apps are updated.  Also use it to help setup how many friend's and family's computers. Basically, you go to the website, you check the box next to the app(s) you want, and click "Get your Ninite".  Then run the small stub installer file.  Awesome right?  They figured out all of the command lines. They keep the apps updated. They make it so easy.

Please remember, this is for your personal lab, if it is for anything other than personal use, you’d have to get the Pro version.  With the Pro version, you don't need my work around.

Basically my solution is a powershell wrapper that downloads the ninite stub installer,  runs the installer, waits for it to finish, then kills the installer dialog box.  Why would you want to do this?  Automation, being able to leverage Ninite's Free Personal installers in the context of a Task Sequence or App Model deployment in your Personal ConfigMgr Home Lab.

The Script does this:

  1. You choose the App you want to install from the predefined list built into the script
  2. The script then Downloads the Ninite.exe stub file from Ninite.com
  3. Then launches the Ninite Installer.exe stub file which downloads the actual app installer and launches
  4. Waits for either MSIEXEC.EXE or TARGET.EXE Subprocess of Ninite.exe to start.
  5. Monitors the SubProcess (MSIEXEC.EXE or TARGET.EXE)
  6. Once SubProcess (software install) completes and goes away, Sends “Stop-Process” signal to stop all Ninite.EXE processes
  7. Deletes the file it downloaded
  8. DONE.

In Software Center (Application Model Deployment).  It will Launch the installer, the ninite dialog box will be visible until it is complete. (See video below for demo

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In the TS, you can add the Applications like any other.  During at TS, the installers are not visible. (See video below for demo)

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Content: One PowerShell Script

Same Command Line Install for each, just change it to match the software.

Detection Method (File Only) - I don't use version number, as it's constantly changing.  If you want to rerun the app, uninstall it first, then rerun to get the updated version.  However, assuming this was a lab, I made the assumption the machines you're installing apps on, probably won't "live" for long before blown away or reloaded.
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PS Code

Readme.txt

 

See it in Action

Video (Task Sequence)

Video (Software Center)

Watch the Script in Action:

Notes: PERSONAL LAB ONLY!
If you'd like to add other Ninite App options into the script, feel free.  I've found not all of them use the target.exe or msiexec.exe sub processes, so you'd have to account for that (Examples are .Net 4.7.1 and Paint.Net, for my lab, I pulled those out and made separate app scripts).

More info: Ninite.com Terms: "The free version of Ninite is only licensed for home use and as a trial for Ninite Pro. If you get paid for running Ninite (like in an IT department, PC shop, managed service provider, school, non-volunteer helpdesk, etc.) you must upgrade to Ninite Pro. "

 

4 thoughts on “ConfigMgr Lab - Adding Ninite Apps

  • January 28, 2018 at 2:40 pm
    Permalink

    During the Ninite Apps installation what did you press for the command prompt to appear ? Does F8 work ?

    Reply
    • January 28, 2018 at 4:07 pm
      Permalink

      Hey Mike, you're correct, from OSD, if you enabled F8 on your boot media, you can press F8 and get the command prompt, even later in the TS once the OS is laid down. The same trick doesn't work during In Place Upgrade, you have to create an actual pause step that will launch the command prompt.

      Reply

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