HOWTO: Silently remove old VMware vCenter 5.x apps/tools and install the newest 6.x ones

It appears that VMware has finally figured out how to make vSphere 6 stable, which means it is finally time for my team to start migrating our clients off vSphere 5.5 and onto vSphere 6.    Upgrading a vSphere host takes all of 60 seconds with esxcli followed by a reboot of the host.  Upgrading all the apps and tools to manage the vSphere hosts however can take hours if doing it manually across all the machines in a domain though.

Like many of you (I’m sure), we generally have the various VMware apps and tools such as VIClient, PowerCLI, VMRC, Client Integration Plugin, and Update Manager client installed on multiple machines throughout the client’s computer system.  It’s time consuming and a real pain in the butt to go into Add/Remove programs and manually uninstall all the old 5.x tools and then manually install all the new 6.0 tools on each of these machines.  So, after a bit of testing and troubleshooting, I’ve come up with a series of one liners to cut and paste into an administrative command prompt to do all the time consuming pain the butt work without actually doing any of the work myself… Using these scripts, I can generally remove all the old 4.x and 5.x software and install all the new 6.0 software in less than 5 minutes per machine.

And I use our inventory and software management system to determine which machines have 5.x apps installed on them before I ever begin so I can target just the machines I need to without wasting time.  So basically once I have all ESXi hosts upgraded to version 6, I use Remote Desktop Connection Manager to connect to each machine I have identified as having 5.x apps, open an Administrator command prompt and cut and paste all my command lines in (both uninstall and install).  Once that machine is cranking away, I move onto the next machine and start the same process over again, and then on to the next machine.  Generally the first machine is completed before I get the last machine even started.  Then it is just a matter of verifying the apps work as expected…

So first we want remove all existing VMware apps on the target machine except VMware Tools and VMware Update Manager (server, not client).  You should be able to cut and paste all 7 of these command lines into the administrative command prompt at the same time and they will run one after the other, silently uninstalling any installed application on the machine with a name that matches the search parameters. The 7th line will open Add/Remove programs for you so you can manually verify everything has been removed before continuing.

Important – make sure there are no opened/running browsers on the machine and that none of the VMware apps are opened (very important if you are doing this on a Windows server that allows Remote Desktop for Administration and another admin is logged into it at the same time!!!)

**Note – if you are still using a Windows based vCenter server – it likely wouldn’t be too wise to run these uninstall commands on the vCenter server – consider yourself warned**

start /wait wmic product where "name like 'vmware c%%'" call uninstall
start /wait wmic product where "name like 'vmware r%%'" call uninstall
start /wait wmic product where "name like 'vmware vix%%'" call uninstall
start /wait wmic product where "name like 'vmware vsphere c%%'" call uninstall
start /wait wmic product where "name like 'vmware vsphere p%%'" call uninstall
start /wait wmic product where "name like 'vmware vsphere update manager c%%'" call uninstall
start appwiz.cpl

So now we all our old version 5.x tools and apps removed from our management stations, so we can go ahead now and silently deploy our new version 6.x apps.  Again, you should be able to paste these 6 lines all at once into a command prompt and they will run sequentially and install the VIClient, VMware Remote Console, vSphere CLI, vSphere PowerCLI, and the Update Manager client.


start /wait \\SERVER\SETUP\VMWARE\ESXi60u02\VMware-viclient.exe /q /s /w /L1033 /v" /qr"
start /wait msiexec /qb- /i \\SERVER\SETUP\VMWARE\ESXi60u02\VMware-VMRC-9.0.0-4288332.msi EULAS_AGREED=1 AUTOSOFTWAREUPDATE=0 DATACOLLECTION=0
start /wait \\SERVER\SETUP\VMWARE\ESXi60u02\VMware-vSphere-CLI-6.0.0-3561779.exe  /s /v/qn
start /wait \\SERVER\SETUP\VMWARE\ESXi60u02\VMware-PowerCLI-6.3.0-3737840.exe  /s /v/qn 
start /wait \\SERVER\SETUP\VMWARE\ESXi60u02\VMware-UMClient.exe  /s /v/qn 
start appwiz.cpl


Add/Remove Programs should once again automatically open for you to manually verify that everything has installed correctly.

As always – Use any tips, tricks, or scripts I post at your own risk.

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