Chapter 2: Get the answers to the most common deployment questions
You are probably wondering, “Where’s chapter 1?” It wasn’t actually called chapter 1 at the time. It was written a couple of years ago
and was called “IBM i Access Client Solutions: Customization and deployment made
easy“. Since that time, a lot of questions about deployment have been asked
and answered. The purpose of this article is to share some of those answers and
provide the steps to implement them.
I’m going to assume you’ve read the article “IBM i Access Client Solutions: Customization and deployment made
easy” and are familiar with it because some of the items in this article
will reference the types of deployments mentioned there. For example, I am going to
assume you know how to do an Admin Customized configuration using
the install scripts with the
/AdminConfig parameter as mentioned in
Summary of deployment options mentioned in chapter 1
The following deployment options were covered in chapter 1:
- Single User PC
The QuickStartGuide contains instructions about how a single
user can deploy and customize IBM i Access Client Solutions on Microsoft
Windows, Macintosh, or Linux systems. As a variation of this option, you may
also choose to deploy the product from a central location as mentioned in chapter 1 Option 1: Local and User
- Windows Multi-User PC
The QuickStartGuide contains instructions about how to
customize and deploy IBM i Access Client Solutions on a multi-user PC on Windows
using the install_acs_xx_allusers.js deployment scripts. As a variation of this
option, you may also choose to deploy the product from a central location as
mentioned in chapter 1 Option 1: Local and User
- Local and Admin Customized
For a deployment that copies the
product files to a user’s PC that was previously customized by an administrator
to only include specific features, see chapter 1 Option 2: Local and Admin
- Remote and Admin Customized
For a deployment that does not
copy the product files to a user’s PC and instead uses them from a remote
location that has been previously customized by an administrator to only include
specific features, see chapter 1 Option 3: Remote and Admin
Many of the deployment options mentioned in this article can be used in combination
with those just described and with each other. To avoid being repetitive, all the
various combinations are not detailed in this article. You can pick and choose the
ones that suit your requirements.
Here are the additional deployment options covered in this article:
- Silent install
Deploy a predefined configuration for a
single user and prevent the user from getting prompted, including not being
prompted to accept the End-User License Agreement (EULA).
- Accept End-User License Agreement (EULA) for all users on a multi-user
Accept the EULA for all users on a multi-user PC so they are
not prompted the first time they start IBM i Access Client Solutions.
- Custom location for product files
Change the location where
the product files get deployed on the PC.
- Custom location for configuration
Change the location where
the user’s configuration is stored.
- Importing a configuration
Propagate a specific
configuration to other users.
- Portable media
Deploy IBM i Access Client Solutions on a
flash drive and use it on any PC.
- AdminConfig for Mac and Linux
Customize a deployment for
Linux and Mac users with /
- Starting over
While experimenting with various deployment
options, you can start over by removing the product files and
To deploy IBM i Access Client Solutions in silent mode using the provided install
scripts, the following three items need to be silenced to prevent user interaction
- The prompts for selecting features
- The deployment completion message
- The prompt to accept EULA
To prevent the prompts for selecting the features that occur during deployment, you
need to customize the deployment using the
AdminConfig allows the features to be pre-selected by an
administrator before deployment so that the user is not prompted to select the
features during deployment. For example:
Further details about using /
AdminConfig are described in chapter 1.
To suppress the deployment completion message, specify the
on the installation script during deployment.
/Q can be used during the initial deployment and on subsequent
invocations of the script when applying updates. In either case,
suppresses the completion message.
To suppress the EULA prompt, use the
/Q parameter on a deployment that
has been customized using
/Q parameter is specified on a previously configured deployment
/AdminConfig, the EULA will be silently accepted, and the user
will not be prompted to accept it.
Accept End-User License Agreement (EULA) for all users on a multi-user
When deploying to a multi-user PC, by default, each user will be prompted to
accept the EULA during their initial use of IBM i Access Client Solutions. This is
true whether or not you were able to successfully use the Silent install option previously mentioned. In order to prevent each user
on a multi-user PC from having to accept the EULA, the EULA needs to be accepted by
an administrator running IBM i Access Client Solutions as an elevated administrator.
This can be done from an elevated command prompt by an administrator who has not yet
accepted the EULA.
Note: This must be done from a command prompt that has been
elevated. It is not enough to perform these steps from an ordinary command prompt or
with just an adminstrator’s user ID. They must be done from an elevated command
prompt using an administrator’s user ID.
To bring up an elevated command prompt, go to the Microsoft Windows Start Menu and
search for Command Prompt. Right-click Command
Prompt and then click Run as administrator. If you are
prompted for credentials, provide the credentials for a Windows administrator who
has not accepted the IBM i Access Client Solutions EULA on that PC. From this
Command Prompt, change directory to the root folder where the IBM i Access Client
Solutions product files exist. If you have already called either install_acs_64.js
or install_acs_32.js then the product files exist at:
If you have called either install_acs_64_allusers.js or install_acs_32_allusers.js
then the product files exist at:
If you have not called any of the install scripts, then extract the contents of the
IBMiAccess_v1r1.zip file to a location of your choice. Then, change directory to the
folder where you extracted its contents.
After you have changed the command prompt’s current working directory using
cd, launch the product from that same command
The EULA should be displayed. When the EULA is displayed, read it and accept it. The
EULA has now been accepted for all users on that PC.
If the EULA is not displayed during these steps and the product’s main GUI window
appears, then the current user has already accepted the EULA and you need to use an
administrator’s user ID that has not yet accepted the EULA.
location for product files
Using the installation scripts provided with IBM i Access Client Solutions, the
product files are copied to the following locations:
On Mac using Mac_Application/install_acs:
On Linux using Linux_Application/install_acs_64 or
On Windows using Windows_Applicationinstall_acs_64.js or
On Windows using Windows_Applicationinstall_acs_64_allusers.js or
To deploy IBM i Access Client Solutions to a custom location on a PC for a single
user, determine the folder where you want it deployed and move the
IBMiAccess_v1r1.zip file to that folder. Extract the contents of IBMiAccess_v1r1.zip
to that location.
For example, on Windows, use Windows Explorer to locate IBMiAccess_v1r1.zip. Then
right-click IBMiAccess_v1r1.zip and click Extract
All… to extract its entire contents to the current folder.
On Linux and Mac, you can use the
unzip command to extract the contents
At this point, you can start IBM i Access Client Solutions using the
platform-specific launchers by locating the folder where you extracted the contents
of IBMiAccess_v1r1.zip. Then look in the following sub-folders for the version of
acslaunch that corresponds to your platform:
If you are using your platform’s file browser (for example Windows Explorer on
Windows, Finder on Mac, File Browser on Linux, and so on), you can double-click the
version of acslaunch for your platform to start IBM i Access Client
Solutions. You can also start it from the command line using a Command Prompt (on
Windows) or Terminal (on Mac and Linux).
There are two disadvantages of using a custom location on Mac and Linux:
- You will only be able to start the product by invoking acslaunch as
just described instead of invoking it from an icon on the desktop.
- You will not be able to set file associations to the various product file types
(such as .hod, .bchx, .dtfx, .dttx, .sql and so on).
On Windows, you can place the product in a custom location and still start the
product from a desktop icon and also set the file associations, but the following
additional steps are required:
- Extract the contents of the IBMiAccess_v1r1.zip file to a location of your
- Locate the install_acs_xx.js file in the product’s Windows_Application folder
and invoke it with the
/AdminConfigparameter from a command
- Answer the questions as if you were doing “Option 3: Remote and Admin
Customized” in chapter 1. This is the option you would normally use to
deploy the product for users who would share the product files on a network
drive. However, in this case, the product files are not necessarily on a network
share. They can be anywhere including a custom location on the local PC. This
step sets the configuration in AcsConfig.properties so that any deployment made
from this location will not copy the product files, but will instead use them
from their current location.
- Now, invoke the installation script as you normally would to deploy the product:
This will place the desktop icons on the desktop and set the file associations based
on the current location.
Custom location for product files: Apply updates
When an updated version of IBM i Access Client Solutions becomes available, extract
the contents of the updated IBMiAccess_v1r1.zip file over the top of the existing
product files. For this type of customization, you do not need to run the
install_acs_xx.js script to apply an update because the product files are being
referenced from the location where you extracted the new version of the
However, there is one extra step needed. Administrators need to make sure to restore
the customized AcsConfig.properties file by using
As an alternative, administrators can choose to save the AcsConfig.properties file
themselves before updating the product files and then restoring their saved version
of the AcsConfig.properties file after applying the update. Users can begin using
the IBM i Access Client Solutions product update after they stop and restart all IBM
i Access Client Solutions sessions (including all emulation sessions).
location for configuration
By default, users will have their own unique location where their configuration is
stored. The default configuration root directory is determined in a
platform-dependent manner. The configuration directories are created the first time
the user starts IBM i Access Client Solutions. To determine where the configuration
directory is located, start IBM i Access Client Solutions and in the main GUI, click
Edit -> Preferences. Then select the Local
The Configuration Root contains the path to the configuration location for the
The configuration location cannot be changed while the product is running. To change
the location of the configuration, see section 9.3 Changing Configuration Location in the GettingStarted document located in the product’s
Documentation folder. By setting the property,
com.ibm.iaccess.AcsBaseDirectory, you can change the location of
the configuration. For
The first time a user starts IBM i Access Client Solutions on Windows that has an
existing installation of IBM i Access for Windows, the systems defined for IBM i
Access for Windows are automatically imported to the IBM i Access Client Solutions
system configurations. Other configuration settings for IBM i Access for Windows
(for example, console, emulator, data transfer, and so on) are not automatically
It is possible to set up a configuration for IBM i Access Client Solutions and then
propagate that configuration to one or more users. Here are the steps:
- Customize the configuration to include all the settings you want for
preferences, systems, consoles, emulation sessions, saved data transfer
requests, and so on.
- Export the configuration from the product’s main GUI panel by clicking
File -> Export Configuration.
You will be prompted
to save the configuration to a file with the default name of acs_bak.zip. You
can choose a different name or location before saving.The Export Configuration
process will save your entire configuration including preferences, system
configurations, emulation sessions, consoles, saved data transfer requests, and
After you export your customized configuration to a file, you can rename or move the
file to any preferred location where it can be read by other users. This file
contains all the saved configuration files that existed at the time of export. This
saved configuration can be imported by other users or just saved as a backup
resource of your configuration.
Importing a configuration: Options
To import the saved configuration to other users, there are several options.
- Have each user manually import the configuration by clicking File ->
Import Configuration from the main GUI. They will be prompted for
the location of the acs_bak.zip file. After importing the saved configuration,
users must restart IBM i Access Client Solutions.
- The Restore command line plugin can be used to import the saved
configuration. See section 9.1 More command-line Options and 9.1.2 Restore in the GettingStarted document located in the product’s
Documentation folder. The Restore plugin provides the
flexibility for users to import the configuration from the command line or be
inserted in some other script or process. If IBM i Access Client Solutions is
already running when the Restore plugin is invoked, it must be
restarted to pick up the changed configuration.
IBM i Access Client Solutions provides a built-in way to automatically import a saved
configuration at startup. The following properties can be set in the
This example assumes you
exported the configuration to the default name of acs_bak.zip. By not providing a
path preceding acs_bak.zip, IBM i Access Client Solutions will look for acs_bak.zip
in the same folder as the acsbundle.jar file. In addition, if you keep the saved
configuration named acs_bak.zip and place it next to the acsbundle.jar file before
deployment, the installation deployment scripts copy the acs_bak.zip file to the
targeted deployment location automatically. This option allows you to deploy a saved
configuration along with the product files.
You can also provide a path to acs_bak.zip and/or rename it if you don’t want the
The installation deployment scripts will not copy over the
top of an existing AcsConfig.properties file. So, if you would like to use this
option to deploy a saved configuration to a user who already has the product
deployed, you have two options:
- Add the following properties to the user’s AcsConfig.properties file
- Uninstall the product for that user and redeploy it using the installation
For other ways to automatically import the configuration using the property,
com.ibm.iaccess.autoimport, see section 9.4.1 Automatically import configuration settings in the GettingStarted document located in the product’s
Importing a configuration: How it works
Importing a configuration does not completely replace an existing configuration.
Importing will add configurations that do not currently exist and will replace
settings for an existing configuration. It will not remove an existing
configuration. For example, assume a user already has systems A and B configured,
and the user imports a saved configuration which includes systems B, C, and D. After
the import, system A would still be there, system B would be replaced with the saved
configuration, and systems C and D would be added.
Importing a configuration: Suggestion for administrator
If you need to set up multiple configurations for different sets of users, you may
want to start with an empty configuration. You can retain your existing
configuration and switch to a new temporary configuration by setting the
com.ibm.iaccess.AcsBaseDirectory property in AcsConfig.properties.
See section 9.3 Changing Configuration Location in the GettingStarted document located in the product’s
Documentation folder. By setting that property, you can start with a fresh
Z:SomePathDeveloper_Configuration has never been used by IBM i
Access Client Solutions before, you will begin with a freshly initialized
configuration when you start the product. Each time you change AcsConfig.properties,
you need to restart IBM i Access Client Solutions for the changes to take effect.
To switch back to your default configuration, change the property back to its default
Restart IBM i Access Client Solutions and your default configuration will be
com.ibm.iaccess.AcsBaseDirectory property allows you to
start with a new configuration, make an update to a previous configuration, or
maintain as many custom configurations as needed for your various groups of users.
When you have the configuration set the way you want it, click File ->
There are times when it may be convenient to run IBM i Access Client Solutions from a
portable media device (for example, flash drive). For this type of deployment, we
will not use the installation scripts because we will be placing the product files
on the portable media ourselves. Here are the steps:
- Copy the IBMiAccess_v1r1.zip file to the media device. You can put it in its own
- On Mac and Linux, you can use the
unzipcommand to extract the
contents of the zip archive.
Windows, you can use Windows Explorer to extract the contents of the zip archive
by locating and selecting the IBMiAccess_v1r1.zip file on the media device. Then
right-click the file and click Extract All… (as shown in
After you extract the contents of IBMiAccess_v1r1.zip, it is no longer needed, and
you can delete it if you want to free up some space.
At this point, you can start IBM i Access Client Solutions from the portable media
device on any PC, regardless of the OS (for example Windows, Linux, or Mac), that
has Java installed. Locate the folder where you extracted the contents of
IBMiAccess_v1r1.zip. Then, navigate to the subfolder that contains acslauch
for the platform where the portable media is
To start IBM i Access Client Solutions, double-click acslaunch. You
can also start it from a command prompt (in Windows) or terminal (in Mac and Linux)
by entering the fully qualified path to acslaunch.
Portable media: Plus configuration
Even when IBM i Access Client Solutions is on a portable media, it will not, by
default, create or use a configuration on the portable media device. Instead, it
will use the configuration on the PC for the current user. That may or may not be
what you want.
If you want to create and use a configuration on the portable media device, you need
to make a change in the AcsConfig.properties file. This file exists in the root
folder where you extracted the contents of the IBMiAccess_v1r1.zip file. Using a
text editor (for example, Notepad in Windows), open the AcsConfig.properties file on
the portable media device. Replace the following
You can keep the name
Portable_Configuration or choose something more
meaningful. Save and close the edit session.
PRODUCTDIR is a special keyword indicating that the configuration’s root
folder is in the same folder as the acsbundle.jar file. If the
Portable_Configuration folder doesn’t already exist, it will be
created in the same folder as the acsbundle.jar file. The first time IBM i Access
Client Solutions starts with this setting, it will prime the configuration with any
systems configured for IBM i Access for Windows for the current user of the PC. The
configuration is primed like this only the first time IBM i Access Client Solutions
starts. It will not automatically import the configuration from other PCs.
At this point, you can add, update, and change the configuration however needed. Both
product files and the configuration on this portable media device can be used on any
PC where Java is installed.
for Mac and Linux
/AdminConfig parameter to customize IBM i Access Client
Solutions before deploying it was previously explained in chapter 1.
Then to deploy the customized version, you must remove the
/AdminConfig parameter is supported only when using any
of the following deployment scripts for Windows:
No matter what deployment script you use with
AcsConfig.properties file will be updated based on the selected options. Note that
/AdminConfig parameter only customizes the deployment, and it does
not actually deploy the installation.
The Linux and Mac deployment scripts do not support the
parameter. However, you can still use the Mac and Linux deployment scripts to deploy
any previously customized version, including those customized with
/AdminConfig on Windows. There is one caveat. The Linux and Mac
deployment scripts will always copy the files to the local PC and will never try to
access the files from a remote location (for example, network share).
In the process of getting IBM i Access Solutions ready to deploy in your
organization, you might want to experiment with the various options, features, and
ways to deploy it. As part of testing out your deployment strategy, you might want
to start with a clean slate where your PC has neither the product files nor any
configuration. This section covers the following topics:
- Removing the product files from the default deployment location and from a
- Removing the entire configuration
Note: Removing the product files does not remove the configuration.
Starting over: Deleting the product files
To remove the product files that were copied by one of the deployment installation
scripts, invoke the corresponding
uninstall_acs script in the same
… This will remove the product files copied by the install script. On Windows, it
will also remove the desktop icons and file associations that were created by the
If you deployed the product files in your own custom location by just extracting the
contents of IBMiAccess_v1r1.zip or copied the product files using your own
customized deployment, then you need to delete the product files from that location
along with any subfolders that were created by extracting the contents of
Note: Removing the product files does not remove the configuration.
You can run the install and uninstall scripts repetitively without affecting the
configuration. However, because AcsConfig.properties is one of the product files
that gets removed by uninstallation, any customizations in AcsConfig.properties (for
example, restricted features) will also be removed.
Starting over: Deleting the configuration
To delete the entire configuration, you need to delete the Configuration Root folder
and all its subfolders. If you want to save the configuration before you delete it,
you must export the configuration from the product’s main GUI panel by clicking
File -> Export Configuration.
You can save it with the default name acs_bak.zip or provide a different name. By
default, File -> Export Configuration will choose a path in the
Configuration Root. You need to make sure you save or move acs_bak.zip to some other
location so that when you delete the Configuration Root, you do not delete your
saved backup too.
To delete the entire configuration, locate the Configuration Root folder as
Start IBM i Access Client Solutions and in the main GUI, click Edit ->
Preferences. Then click the Local Settings tab.
Root folder contains the path to the iAccessClient folder.
Figure 2. Configuration Root folder
By deleting the iAccessClient folder, your configuration will be deleted. Clicking
Clear will not delete the configuration. You need to use your
system’s file browser or command prompt to delete the iAccessClient folder. Before
deleting the iAccessClient folder, you should end IBM i Access Client Solutions
first by closing all windows including any 5250 emulator sessions.
This article has covered several options about how to deploy IBM i Access Client
Solutions. The options can be used in combination with each other or with those
mentioned in chapter 1. You can pick and choose the ones that suit your
More information about the product and how to download it is available at the IBM i Access for Client Solutions website.
instructions on how to provide feedback or to get support, refer to IBM i Access for Client Solutions support.
Keep an eye on the above websites for future updates and enhancements.