Network, Multiseat or Standalone – How to utilize downloadable software for repair, reinstall, clean installs or updates.


We have been getting a few cases on helpdesk regarding downloaded software and what it means to keep the downloads on hard drive and why. This article attempts to strategize ways by how to utilize the downloads for the future.

In with the new – Using software downloaded from Autodesk Subscription website entails a little forethought where repair, reinstall, clean installs and updates are concerned. If many users are like me I will download and extract from an executable file, this is an example of one that is downloaded Autodesk’s subscription site:

Autodesk_Revit_MEP-B_2011_English_Win_32-64bit.exe

After downloading the executable file and extracting the contents of the executable file, the default folder is usually along the lines of the example below:

C:\Autodesk\Autodesk_Revit_MEP-B_2011_English_Win_32-64bit\RevitSetup\RevitMEP\

Users have the option to select the browse button to point to a folder on the external drive or the server that will extract the contents of the executable file. This will then create the contents of a DVD to the hard drive.

Out with the old – Now if DVD media was the deliverable source, for the purpose of repair, reinstall, clean install or update, the installer program would call for the location of the contents of the DVD in seeking an .msi file. Hence, I would have specified the alternate in the Use Source to be the contents on the Autodesk Revit MEP 2011 DVD. Contents remain on the DVD media to be utilized by popping the DVD back into the drive when Repair/reinstalls or clean reinstalls and updates are needed.

With deliverable DVD media replaced with subscription downloads; installations, repair, reinstall, clean install or update processes will instead call for the .msi file in the extracted contents folder. While it looks and behaves the same as the DVD installation, it will instead require the contents to be in a path on the hard drive, external drive or server. This will be specified in the use source field. (see image below)

This means if the executable and the folders are deleted after install, they have to be downloaded and re-extracted for the purpose of having to perform that subsequent repair, reinstall, clean install or update processes.

For Network or Multi-seat deployments; this is not necessarily a problem because, the software will be bundled as an “image” on a server location by which a initial deployment process will use the location of the image to install the networked or multi-seat program on the client PC. The image has to remain on the server so that subsequent repair, reinstall, clean install or update processes will transparently utilize the image for these operations. If you use a path of your choosing, it should be on a shared folder on the network server.

Single seat users, after installing products, are inclined to delete the extracted files on the local drive to save space. This fine with the exception that when repair, reinstall, clean install and applying updates are needed, the contents extracted to a folder are no longer available to utilize during these tasks when called for by the installer script. In addition to the msi file there may be a need for some of content of the extractions to be available when performing repair, reinstall, clean install and applying updates. So once again, the executable file needs to be extracted to a folder either default or user specified to utilize the Autodesk Revit x64.msi or Autodesk Revit x86.msi file.

Just for fun, I have attempted to use a Revit Architecture Autodesk Revit x64.msi file with my Revit MEP update to see if I could get around the need to keep or extract both of the program files on the server or my local drive. This was unsuccessful as it seems even similar named files are structurally different in some way in the code and the Revit Architecture and Revit MEP msi does not work across one another.

Being on subscription allows the benefit of using downloads of older versions, extensions and getting updates. When on subscription; regardless if a network, multi-seat deployment or single user, product downloads and extensions are available online and contract management is available online for the company’s contract administrator.  Where ever possible try and use a multi-seat standalone if network license is not an option in the firm. Because a multi-seat standalone allows the use of a single license serial number with deployment image configured at one time. It allows applying service packs to deployment image once and using the deployment on the server for repairs, reinstalls, clean installs and updates. Link to Autodesk Multi Seat Standalone

So to summarize how best to use downloaded executables in three scenarios:

Standalone installation – Extracted content can remain on users own hard drive or the server to use for repair, reinstall, clean installs and updates for more than one seat. This scenario uses a different serial number for each seat. At the users discretion, extracted content can be removed leaving the zipped executable to extract again if needed for repair, reinstall, clean installs and updates.

Multi-Seat Standalone installation – Deployment image can be left on the server to be used for repair, reinstall, clean installs and updates for more than one seat. Deployment image allows a single serial number up to the allowed number of seats licensed.

Network Installation – Like multi-seat deployment, image can be left on server to be used for repair, reinstall, clean installs and updates for more than one seat. Deployment image allows a single serial number up to the allowed number of seats licensed to be administrated by a license server.

If are any questions you can contact us at support@cadsoft-consult.com or call us at (480) 820-0408 and we can help you with your licensing, updates and managing your subscription options.

A good word to describe David is “mentor.” Whether he’s doing project management, troubleshooting, or training, he personalizes his communications for each person to ensure they will be successful. Customers like the way he provides the details they need to understand both the techniques and the underlying concepts.