Windows Search Deployment Options

Applies To: Windows Server 2008

IT administrators have several options for deploying Windows Search 4.0: using attended mode, unattended mode and Group Policy. This section describes each of these options.

  • Deployment Modes

  • Deploying Windows Search with Group Policy

Deployment Modes

Windows Search can be deployed in attended mode or unattended mode, depending on the level of interaction you want your users to have with the computer during the installation. Installations for both modes can be performed through a combination of command-line options.

WS4 on Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 supports the following standard command-line options:

  • /help

  • /quiet

  • /passive

  • /norestart

  • /extract

  • /er

WS4 on Vista supports the following command-line options:

  • /help

  • /quiet

  • /norestart


For command-line switches to work on Vista, Knowledge Base article 929761 must be present .

For more information on these command line options, visit the Package Installer Command Line Options page on MSDN.

To test command-line options and the behavior of the installation package:

  1. Click Start.

  2. Click Run.

  3. Type CMD in the Open box and click OK.

  4. Locate the installer package, and then test the installer package with various options.


We recommend that you uninstall Windows Search before you install again with different command-line options.

Attended Mode

Attended mode is the typical installation method for an individually managed environment that requires end-user interaction. If you plan to make Windows Search available on-demand from an internal IT software download site, you can deploy Windows Search in attended mode.

In this mode, the Software Update Installation Wizard is started. Your end users must accept the end-user license agreement (EULA) and exit open applications when they are prompted to do so. Your end users must restart their computers, as necessary, at the end of the installation process.

By default, Windows Search installs in attended mode when no command-line options are specified.

Unattended Mode

Unattended mode enables the automated installation of software updates and doesn't require end-user interaction. There are several ways to accomplish unattended installation. You can develop custom batch installations using the command-line options described below, or you can use automation software, such as SMS or Windows Update Services, to install software updates on all the computers in a network.

If you manually install a software update, the installation runs in the user context. You should be an administrator who has the user permissions that are specified in the “Required User Right” section of the package installer documentation. If a software update is deployed using SMS or Windows Update Services, the package installer runs in the System context because the parent process runs as a service.


If Outlook is running during unattended Windows Search installation, Outlook remains open and the indexing of e-mail does not start until users exit and then restart Outlook.

Deploying Windows Search with Group Policy

In Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 environments, you cannot directly deploy package installer-based or update.exe-based Windows components using Group Policy. Instead, you must write a deployment wrapper, such as an Microsoft® Windows® Installer (MSI) package, that contains the Windows Search executable file. The package installer and the Windows Installer are not interchangeable. Packages that are built with one installer technology have been tested and optimized to work only with that technology.


Modification of the software package may result in its failure to operate properly. Microsoft does not support customers’ repackaging software updates with a different installer. This would include modifying the current update.exe package headers, files, or installation information to conform to another deployment method. Simply placing the package in a “wrapper,” such as an Windows Installer wrapper, is acceptable.

The WS4 for Windows Vista package does not carry the same requirements and can be deployed with Group Policy.

See Also


WDS 3.01 Administrator's Guide Windows Search 4.0 Troubleshooting Guide

Other Resources

Package Installer Command Line Options page on MSDN Command-line switches for Microsoft software update packages