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FAQ: Symantec Ghost AutoInstall (AI)

How do I install a Sketchpad version 5 School/Institution License on multiple computers using  Symantec Ghost AutoInstall (AI)  network administration software?

Getting Ready to use Sketchpad

You have two tasks to perform before students and faculty can use GSP5:

  1. "Create an AutoInstall package" – Install the software on one or more "model PCs" running the AI Snapshot and AI Builder to capture and package the steps that occur when GSP5 is installed and registered.
  2. "Distribute the package" – Use Symantec Ghost to distribute and apply the changes captured in the package across the rest of your networked computers. Ghost also has the capability of putting the package onto a CD so you can also install GSP5 on non-networked computers.
We'll only discuss the first of these tasks in this document. You should be able to distribute the AutoInstall package the same way you distribute any other non-Microsoft package with Ghost.

Symantec Ghost AutoInstall, also known as AI, is part of Symantec Ghost Solution Suite (www.symantec.com/business/ghost-solution-suite). It is allows you to take a snapshot "before" and "after" you install a software application and create a package that will apply the same changes to multiple networked computers. You then use Symantec Ghost (also part of the suite) to distribute and manage centrally this package for networked computers across your lab, building, or even across multiple buildings. We'll focus on the process of creating the AutoInstall package by referring to the Symantec Ghost Implementation Guide (currently found online at ftp://ftp.symantec.com/public/english_us_canada/
). If you're not already familiar with using AI for creating packages, we recommend you take a few minutes to review Chapter 20 (Getting started with AutoInstall) and Chapter 21 (Creating AI packages) of the Ghost Implementation Guide, which provide a context for the instructions below.

Step 1 – Create an AutoInstall package

The process, as described on page 378 in the Symantec Ghost Implementation Guide, is:

  • Install AI Builder and AI Snapshot on the model computer.
  • Scan to capture existing system information.
  • Install the software that you would like to deploy. See instructions below on how to install GSP5 on the model computer.
  • Scan a second time to capture system information again to determine changes. AI Builder automatically builds and saves the file created by AI Snapshot as an executable AI package. You can use AI Builder to customize the installation script, prior to building, or after building the executable, if necessary.
  • Use the Symantec Ghost Console to deploy the AI package to target workstations.

Installing GSP5 on the Model Computer

Key Curriculum Press provides GSP5 as an installer program (called InstallSketchpad.exe). You have two methods for installing on the model computer.

  1. Right-click the installer, choose "Run as administrator," and answer the questions in the installation wizard.
  2. Run InstallSketchpad.exe from the Windows command-line and provide options for the installation to run "silently" without further interruption or required input. The syntax for this is:

    InstallSketchpad.exe /S /name="[LicenseName]"; /code=[AuthorizationCode] /dir=[install directory]

    The command-line switches have the following meanings:

    • /S ensures silent installation. No dialog boxes will appear on the computer(s) onto which GSP5 is being installed. This is important for centrally managed bulk installations since the computers may be in a locked room on the other side of your school, campus, or district – and no one will be available to respond by pushing a button!
    • /name=[LicenseName] allows you to input the License Name provided when you bought GSP5. Use quotes when replacing [LicenseName] to handle any embedded spaces.
    • /code=[AuthorizationCode] allows you to input the Authorization Code provided when you bought GSP5.
    • /dir=[install directory] is an optional argument. If omitted, GSP5 will be installed in the default location for applications on each computer. If you want to install in a particular non-standard directory, you can specify the full path here. Note that doing so will install it in the same location on every computer to which you apply the software deployment package containing this command-line.

Step 2 - Register

If one of the use cases below applies to you, you can create another AutoInstall package that starts recording changes on a model computer with an installed unregistered copy of GSP5 and ends with a registered copy. This package will only contain the changes caused by executing GSP5 from the command-line with the registration options.

If you entered your License Name and Authorization Code when installing GSP5 on the model computer (either in the installation wizard or on the command-line form of the installer) you have not only installed GSP5, but have also registered it. If you chose not to provide the /name and /code switches, you have only installed an unregistered copy of GSP5. When someone launches an unregistered copy of GSP5 on one of these computers, it asks you to either:

  • Enter your License Name and Authorization Code.
  • Go to the Key Curriculum Press online store to buy a license.
  • Run in Preview mode (limited functionality which also shuts down after 20 minutes use).

This is makes sense for teachers or students buying their own individual copies, but is not convenient for an administrator who manages many computers. Fortunately, you can define and deploy a package containing only a command-line for GSP5 directly (not the installer) that will allow you to register and activate your license. Registering (or deregistering) without having to uninstall or reinstall GSP5 is useful in three cases:

  1. You forgot to register when you originally installed on the model computer when you created a package.
  2. If you buy time-limited (e.g. 1-year) licenses annually, you can deregister your current license and register the renewed license without uninstalling and reinstalling the software. This saves time and minimizes disruption.
  3. You are decommissioning computers (e.g. selling or giving depreciated computers to faculty or students) and wish to leave an unregistered copy of GSP5 on the computer. The recipients of these computers can use GSP5 in its limited Preview mode and choose to buy their own licenses.

The command-line syntax for GSP5 itself is similar to the installer's command-line syntax. There is no /S switch or /dir switch since you aren't installing the software. There is a switch to signal whether you want to register or deregister GSP5.

Sketchpad_Executable -license register -name "LicenseName" –code AuthorizationCode -all_users_only

Sketchpad_Executable refers to the complete path (location) and name of the actual executable contained with the Sketchpad folder. The location and name of Sketchpad_Executable is (assuming you haven't changed the name or location of the folder for Sketchpad)


where (PROGRAMFILES) is the default location for 32-bit Windows applications on the computer and GSP5.exe is the name of executable within the folder. On the 32-bit US version of Windows, (PROGRAMFILES) is usually "C:\Program Files"; on the 64-bit US version of Windows it is usually "C:\Program Files (x86)". The name is different for international versions of Windows.

Note: It is important that you protect not only the LicenseName and AuthorizationCode, but also any package that embeds them. Providing any of these items to an unauthorized user is tantamount to violating your license agreement for GSP5.

Deregistering Sketchpad

There are four common reasons to do this:

  1. You want to assure that you can successfully install and run Sketchpad on new computers without using more than the limited number of registrations allowed for the license.
  2. Your institution bought a 1-year license and you wish to replace your current licenses with new licenses.
  3. You are decommissioning computers (either to replace them or sell them as surplus/salvage) and wish to ensure that Sketchpad isn't being used in a non-compliant manner.
  4. Some 1:1 laptop initiatives deliver the computers to students when they graduate minus any software that wasn't provided as part of the initiative. If you wish to leave Sketchpad on the laptops in evaluation mode (and let students decide if they subsequently want to buy their own copy) all you need to do is deregister the software to remain compliant with your own license.

Running the Windows uninstaller provides an option for deregistering the application. Alternately, this is very simple to do with a variant of the Windows command used to register GSP:

Sketchpad_Executable -license deregister -name "LicenseName" –code AuthorizationCode

We require the LicenseName and AuthorizationCode as before to limit accidental deregistration by a student or teacher. This will reduce the need for you to make "house calls" for computers on which GSP5 "mysteriously" stops working.

As with registration, creating an deregistration package only requires you to use AI Builder and AI Snapshot to record the changes caused when you execute the GSP5 command with the –license deregister option (remember to use the –name and –code options as well so deregistration actually happens). You can then apply the deregistration AutoInstall package to the computers where you wish to deregister GSP5.

Deleting Sketchpad

Strictly speaking, this is outside the scope of this document. There is nothing different about using Symantec Ghost to delete GSP5 than using it to delete any other files from the client computers.

Additional note for mixed 32-bit/64-bit Windows environments

Since more and more Windows computers are being shipped with 64-bit capable CPUs and 64-bit versions of XP, Vista, and Windows 7, you might have to make two different sets of AutoInstall packages. This is because the directories to which 32-bit Windows applications (GSP5 is a 32-bit app for Windows) are installed are named differently. Since Ghost is effectively cloning changes – and the changes are different on the two different versions of Windows – you'll need to have two different versions of the packages.

More Information

For more details on silent installs and command-line registration options, see the silent installation and command-line options page.