ExecDos plug-in

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Author: Takhir (talk, contrib)


ExecDos.zip (40 KB)
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Run with conda execute or install with conda install (see Conda).


Plug-in works with console applications - creates hidden child process with redirected i/o. Compared to nsExec, ExecDos has four add-ons:

  1. string parameter that serves as stdin for running application - may be useful if you want to give login/password to running application;
  2. sync/async (background) process launch option - async is good for long running applications;
  3. it works out of section - for .onInit check outs;
  4. multithreading - allows to run a few applications at the same time.

Plug-in can put application output to log file, 'detailed' installer window, any other text window, to installer stack or calls script function to handle every line. Maximum input (stdin) string size (i.e. plug-in second parameter) is up to 8 kB in the special NSIS build, 1 kB otherwise. The same with output lines length if target is not a file.
'exec' return code depends on the execution mode: application exit code for sync mode and control thread handle for async one. Handle required for 'wait' - it helps to understand what application exit to wait for. If stack is not used between 'exec' and 'wait', both Pop after 'exec' and 'wait' parameter may be skipped - handle just sits in the stack.

ExecDos is licensed under the same license as NSIS; ZLIB. [1]


"exec" function

         [/ENDFUNC=func] application_to_run [stdin_string] [log_file_name | window | function]
Executes console application.
does not wait for process to exit. Use 'wait' call if you want to get exit code. (/NOUNLOAD is mandatory!)
TOTAL execution time, milliseconds, for example /TIMEOUT=10000. Default is big enough. Short timeouts may cause app to be terminated.
pushes output to stack instead of log_file (do not use log_file_name parameter with this option). May be confusing if few apps puts lines to stack in the async mode.
puts output to installer DetailedView window.
adds output lines to target window. Edit, RichEdit, ListView and ListBox supported
pushes output lines to installer stack and calls script function
Added /DISABLEFSR switch to disable WOW64 file system redirection on Windows x64 for the internal ExecDos thread
application to run.
all that application can get from stdin (optional, use "" if stack is not empty)
file where to put app's stdout (optional, but use "" if stack is not empty)
output window handle
script function pointer

"wait" function

ExecDos::wait handle
Waits for process exit.
Control thread handle returned by 'exec' call in the /ASYNC mode.

"isdone" function

ExecDos::isdone /NOUNLOAD handle
checks thread is running. Returns 1 if application have exited, 0 if still running, -1 on error. /ASYNC mode only.
Control thread handle returned by 'exec' call.


Sync execution:

ExecDos::exec /TIMEOUT=2000 "$EXEDIR\consApp.exe" "test_login$\ntest_pwd$\n" "$EXEDIR\execdos.log"
Pop $0 # return value
MessageBox MB_OK "Exit code $0"

Async execution:

ExecDos::exec /NOUNLOAD /ASYNC "$EXEDIR\consApp.exe" "test_login$\ntest_pwd$\n" "$EXEDIR\execdos.log"
Pop $0 # thread handle for wait
# you can add some installation code here to execute while application is running.
ExecDos::wait $0
Pop $0 # return value
MessageBox MB_OK "Exit code $0"


Push "ExecDos::End" # Add a marker for the loop to test for.
ExecDos::exec /NOUNLOAD /TOSTACK "$EXEDIR\consApp.exe" "test_login$\ntest_pwd$\n" "$EXEDIR\execdos.log"
Pop $0 # return value
StrCmp $0 0 0 Failed
## Loop through stack.
    Pop $1
    StrCmp $1 "ExecDos::End" ExitLoop
    DetailPrint $1
    Goto Loop
Return # Exit Function / Section
MessageBox MB_OK "Exit code $0"    
Return # Exit Function / Section


Function OutputToLog
  #Log the Output into the nsis logfile
  LogText "$0"
  Pop $0
Section -Core SEC0000
  LogSet on
  #Get the Address of the function
  GetFunctionAddress $R2 OutputToLog
  #Install Service
  ExecDos::exec /TOFUNC '"$WINDIR\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v2.0.50727\InstallUtil.exe" "$INSTDIR\Core.exe"' '' $R2

BAT files specifics. On some of Win98 systems where "Close on exit" option is not set for DOS apps it was found that after batch execution was finished (and installer continue it's job) hidden window still remains in the system as "winoldapp". Following two lines solve the problem

@echo off
# place your code here

Telnet and ssh Plug-in doesn't work with applications requiring terminal emulation.

/TOFUNC option and isdone function added by Afrow UK

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