I am attempting to put together a package for the silent (no user interaction) install and uninstall of an application using InstallShield. I did not create this application and don't have access to any kind of source for the installation. I created a response file using setup.exe /r for both the install and the uninstall, named install.iss and uninstall.iss respectively. When I run setup.exe /s /f1"%cd%\install.iss" with the program uninstalled, it runs just great. Trouble is, when I run setup.exe /s /f1"%cd%\uninstall.iss" with the program installed, I get an error code! (number 3) Did I not create this response file correctly? Why should it work with the install and not with the uninstall? Program is Teradata Manager 12.0, any input would be appreciated.

  • Does it uninstall manually after the silent install?
    – V. Romanov
    Jun 5, 2009 at 22:50
  • 1
    V. Romanov's question is a good one. You should probably re-record your silent uninstall after having run a silent install. My experience with InstallShield and playing back .ISS files is that if even one single dialog is different during the install or uninstall process, as compared with when the .ISS file was recorded, the wheels come off and it explodes. (Frankly, I think InstallShield is a bag of crap. Why people can't just use Windows Installer is beyond me...) Jun 6, 2009 at 3:58
  • Yes, it does uninstall manually even after silent install. I went back and recorded another .iss after silent install to see if it would make a difference, but it didn't seem to. The dialogs are still the same, the files are exactly the same, and it still won't run. I'm going to have to agree with your assessment of InstallShield, Evan :)
    – user8461
    Jun 8, 2009 at 15:17

3 Answers 3


You are probably dealing with an installer that was built using "Custom" dialog boxes and scripts that do not support the silent mode install or uninstall.

You could try running the installer using this :

setup.exe /s /f1"%cd%\uninstall.iss" /verbose"%cd%\logging.txt"

Which will create an MSI engine logging file. This is very verbose, but that might help you troubleshooting this issue. But this unlikely...

Unfortunately, I recently troubleshooted that same kind of issue in a setup I had the code for, and that "ErrorCode=-3" is pretty much useless, ranging from internal MSI variables not being set, to error messages being displayed by the installer and not being handled properly...


Since you're apparently using exe rather than windows installer, you might try using InnoSetup instead of InstallShield to package the install. We've had good luck with it for putting together complex installation packages, and it has /silent and /verysilent modes for unattended installs. It's free, so there's no risk in trying it out.

Big downside is that it can't make msi files for deploying w/ GPO, but it's great for exe installs.

  • Well this might work, I don't know. Since I didn't create the program in question (it's off-the-shelf), I was hoping I could make use of the intall that they provided without trying to hack into things too much. This silent install package isn't crucial, so I think I will just leave it there, unless I am missing your point?
    – user8461
    Jun 8, 2009 at 15:25

See this page in InstallShield's documentation that lists its command line options Setup.exe and Update.exe Command-Line Parameters for further options.

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