Microsoft Dynamics CRM silent installation without config.xml

Microsoft Dynamics CRM has the option of doing a command line install where the installation parameters are filled in a config.xml file. For Windows Server Core a command line installation isn’t just another option though- It is the only way.

Using PowerShell we can eliminate the need to fill out the config.xml by placing the config params in a hashtable:

 $Configuration=@{
    PatchLocation="";
    UpdateInstall=$true;
    LicenseKey="";
    SqlServer="";
    CreateDatabase=$true;
    ReportingUrl="http://"+({HOSTNAME.EXE}).Invoke()
            +"/reportserver";
    OrganizationCollation="Latin1_General_CI_AI"; 
    ...
 }

This allows us to display configuration properties like this $Configuration.LicenseKey. We can then also set them easily by doing this $Configuration.CreateDatabase = $false for example.

From this point, after setting up our Configuration object we can write it out to file. In our case we did this by storing a minified template config.xml in the PowerShell script and then inserting our hashtable values into the template.

$template='<CRMSetup><Server><Patch update='+$Configuration.UpdateInstall+'>'+$Configuration.PatchLocation+'</Patch>...'
#Write to current working directory
$template > Join-Path $PWD -ChildPath "config.xml"

In the example $Configuration.UpdateInstall sets a true or false value on whether we should update the CRM installation files.

Once we have generated the file from code we can then call SetupServer.exe in the CRM setup directory like this:

 $setup = Join-Path $CRMSetupFolder -ChildPath "SetupServer.exe"
    if (Test-Path $setup) {
        Start-Process $setup -ArgumentList ("/Q /config " 
            + $ConfigFilePath)    
    }

$CRMSetupFolder being our CRM setup folder. The arguments /Q and /config are our normal arguments which we pass to SetupServer to initiate a silent installation.

The full script code is available as a github gist here. You can install the script as a module and give it a whirl.

To sum up after installing the module you’d typically make the following set of calls:

Import-Module [ModuleName]
$config1 = New-SetupConfiguration
# Display default config
$config1.Configuration
# Set config values
$config1.Configuration.PatchLocation="\\Server\CRM\server.msp"
$config1.Configuration.Organization="CRM"
# Write config to file
$configpath="C:\config.xml"
Export-ToFile -OutputFileName $configpath -Configuration $config1.Configuration
# Install CRM
$crmsetupfolder="E:\InstallationFiles\CRM"
Install-CRM -CRMSetupFolder $crmsetupfolder -ConfigFilePath $configpath

The main aim is taking the pain from the config.xml file and also just technically requiring one file on the server for a silent install. In addition we can validate parameters in the script file and then even invoke this using PSRemoting.

Published: September 27 2016

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