Installing app from vendor using windows installer

I have a vendor application that I have to package for deployment through Octopus but it requires a windows setup application to run. I have an AutoIt script that automates the application but how can I get it to work under Octopus?

Hi Stephen,

Thanks for reaching out. You say you have a script to automate this process. Have you tried invoking that script from a Powershell Script step in Octopus already?


HI Dalmiro,

Yes and no. I have a script that is invoked via a powershell script but at the moment it doesn’t do the windows installer automation.
I don’t think it will work as the tentacle running on the server runs as a service and cannot interact with the desktop.

Has anyone come across this problem and if so, what did they do to get around it?

Hi Stephen,

We’ve heard of users that were able to make that work using one of the following approaches:

  • Enabling [Tentacle Service] -> Properties -> Logon -> “Allow Service to Interact with Desktop”.

  • From Octopus creating a Scheduled task to run the Installer process.

That said, while we’ve heard of some users being able to do this, its not something we have documentation for.

Hope that helps,

Thanks Dalmiro,

I have tried setting “Allow service to interact with Desktop” on the tentacle service but it fails to start when that setting on. Not very clear what the error is.

Creating a Scheduled Task is a brilliant idea. Hadn’t thought of that. I’ll try that approach.

I was thinking of trying to automate Remote Desktop.

Hi Dalmiro,

I have tried running a scheduled task but that doesn’t work unless the user that the tasks is running as is logged in. Not really suitable.

Can’t run the tentacle service with “Allow service to interact with Desktop” selected as the service errors and won’t start.

The only way I can get it to work is to have the Tentacle running as a desktop app rather than a service.

My last resort is to try to get remote desktop automation working.

I’d have a discussion with the vendor about command line options… if they follow MS guidelines, they should have an answer file or command line options that can be provided to do a silent install of the application.

If setting the service to “Allow interact with desktop” or the Scheduled task don’t work, I’m afraid our hands are tied and the only way would be to ask for a silent install option like @fxprogrm said.

Sorry for the crappy news

The vendor is well aware of the shortcomings of it’s installer. Users at the user group meetings have called out this issue loud and clear.

So far they aren’t interested.

So we have to wear it.

SO far the only way I can get it to work is to run the Tentacle as a desktop app.
ie. stop the Tentacle service and run tentacle.exe directly from within windows. This relies on being logged into the server with all the security issues around that.